In my last post I wrote about the maiko Takahina and how I tried to get her to reveal her personality in front of my camera through role playing. Here is an example, with Takahina imitating me imitating the one-and-only Arthur Fonzarelli.
For those of you who are not children of the 1970s and early 80s, Arthur Fonzarelli, aka “The Fonz” or “Fonzie,” was a character on the television show Happy Days and the epitome of cool to elementary school kids like me.
When Fonzi thought something was cool, he would give the thumbs up sign and say, “Ayyyy!”
I was photographing Takahina on the very narrow veranda of teahouse late in the afternon on a warm spring day. I can’t recall the exact circumstances, but I said something and Takahina responded with what in my opinion was a very lame version of a thumbs up. After all, I learned from the master, Fonzie.
I asked her what she was doing, and she showed me her version of the thumbs up sign again. It wasn’t working.
I said, “You can’t do it like that. You’ve got to do it like this.” And I did my best version of Fonzie and gave Takahina a big double thumbs up and a long and drawn out “Ayyyyyyyy!”
Fortunately, my camera was on a tripod.
If Takahina didn’t think I was crazy already, she certainly did then. I had to elaborate.
“You can’t just give a thumbs up,” I said. “You’ve got to say ‘Ayyy!'”
I demonstrated again.
With a little more coaxing, Takahina gave it her best shot, but it wasn’t long before she was laughing uncontrollably at the ridiculousness of it all. The image I’ve posted here is my favorite from that sequence.
To me, Takahina’s thumbs up still looks more like she’s trying to hitch a ride than to give her approval to how cool I am, so I guess I failed in my task to channel my inner Fonz.
For those who would say maybe it’s just because I’m not that cool, I will reply with a simple “Sit on it!”