The geiko our class got to meet was named Miehina, and she was lovely. At lunch, she came around all of our tables so we could talk to her and ask her questions, which she would answer in strong Kyoto-dialect. Our table was last, and we were all kind of nervous and giggly and couldn't think up many questions. But she didn't seem to mind. In many ways she was just like a normal girl. One of the students at my table had a tiny toy camera, and Miehina was very interested in it, and started playing around with it, taking funny pictures and doing the 'peace' pose. Speaking with her, she was much less formal than I'd imagined a geisha to be - she smiled and laughed a lot. Then she performed a dance for us, and it was like a different person - so very poised and controlled. You could tell how seriously she takes her art.
When I went home and googled Miehina, I found countless photographs, posts, and even a documentary about her. It seems that within the geisha world, she's like a celebrity. I guess if I had the chance to talk to her again, I'd ask what it feels like to be photographed all the time, to constantly have people's eyes on you? Being a geisha is a beautiful job, but also, I imagine, a tough one.