It was the okobo I heard first, clip-clopping down the hill like horses' hooves on a stable floor. A small crowd had already gathered in front and behind; the salarymen next to me scrambled for their mobile phones. Nervous, blocked off by unwanted bodies, I missed with the first shot but got all four with the second, framed against a lattice door. As they passed there was silence. The last of the maiko half turned her white ceramic face, smiling remotely in my direction. Or that's how it seemed at the time.
I walked around the corner and bumped into two more, taking pictures of a temple with a point-and-shoot camera.