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Memoirs of a Geisha book cover

Memoirs of a Geisha Quotes

At the temple there is a poem called "Loss" carved into the stone. It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read loss, only feel it.
The heart dies a slow death, shedding each hope like leaves until one day there are none. No hopes. Nothing remains.
This is why dreams can be such dangerous things: they smolder on like a fire does, and sometimes they consume us completely.
Adversity is like a strong wind. I don't mean just that it holds us back from places we might otherwise go. It also tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterward we see ourselves as we really are, and not merely as we might like to be.
He was like a song I'd heard once in fragments but had been singing in my mind ever since.
Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.
I don't know when we'll see each other again or what the world will be like when we do. We may both have seen many horrible things. But I will think of you every time I need to be reminded that there is beauty and goodness in the world.
I dont think any of us can speak frankly about pain until we are no longer enduring it.
We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill, going more or less in one direction until we splash into something that forces us to find a new course.
Sometimes," he sighed, "I think the things I remember are more real than the things I see.
I had to wonder if men were so blinded by beauty that they would feel privileged to live their lives with an actual demon, so long as it was a beautiful demon.
Sometimes we get through adversity only by imagining what the world might be like if our dreams should ever come true.
Hopes are like hair ornaments. Girls want to wear too many of them. When they become old women they look silly wearing even one.
Now I know that our world is no more permanent than a wave rising on the ocean. Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper.
Can't you see? Every step I have taken, since I was that child on the bridge, has been to bring myself closer to you.
If a few minutes of suffering could make me so angry, what would years of it do? Even a stone can be worn down with enough rain.
I never seek to defeat the man I am fighting, " he explained. "I seek to defeat his confidence. A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory. Two men are equals - true equals - only when they both have equal confidence.
From this experience, I understood the danger of focusing only on what isn't there. What if I came to the end of my life and realized that I'd spent every day watching for a man who would never come to me? What an unbearable sorrow it would be, to realize I'd never really tasted the things I'd eaten, or seen the places I'd been, because I'd thought of nothing but the Chairman even while my life was drifting away from me. And yet if I drew my thoughts back from him, what life would I have? I would be like a dancer who had practiced since childhood for a performance she would never give.
A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course of victory.
If you have experienced an evening more exciting than any in your life, you're sad to see it end; and yet you still feel grateful that it happened.
We can never flee the misery that is within us.
If you keep your destiny in mind, every moment in life becomes an opportunity for moving closer to it.
Waiting patiently doesn't suit you. I can see you have a great deal of water in your personality. Water never waits. It changes shape and flows around things, and finds the secret paths no one else has thought about. [Mameha].
Of course, a sign doesn't mean anything unless you know how to interpret it.
We none of us find as much kindness in this world as we should.
Was life nothing more than a storm that constantly washed away what had been there only a moment before, and left behind something barren and unrecognizable?.
After all, when a stone is dropped into a pond, the water continues quivering even after the stone has sunk to the bottom.
You cannot say to the sun, 'More sun,' or to the rain, 'Less rain.' To a man, geisha can only be half a wife. We are the wives of nightfall. And yet, to learn kindness after so much unkindness, to understand that a little girl with more courage than she knew, would find her prayers were answered, can that not be called happiness? After all these are not the memoirs of an empress, nor of a queen. These are memoirs of another kind.
I could no more have stopped myself from feeling that sadness than you could stop yourself from smelling an apple that has been cut open on the table before you.
Watch for the thing that will show itself to you. Because that thing, when you find it, will be your future.
She paints her face to hide her face. Her eyes are deep water. It is not for Geisha to want. It is not for geisha to feel. Geisha is an artist of the floating world. She dances, she sings. She entertains you, whatever you want. The rest is shadows, the rest is secret.
An en is a karmic bond lasting a lifetime. Nowadays many people seem to believe their lives are entirely a matter of choice; but in my day we viewed ourselves as pieces of clay that forever show the fingerprints of everyone who has touched them.
I will think of you every time I need to be reminded that there is beauty and goodness in the world.
Occasionally in life we come upon things we can't understand, because we have never seen anything similar.
A tree may look as beautiful as ever; but when you notice the insects infesting it, and the tips of the branches that are brown from disease, even the trunk seems to lose some of its magnificence.
Every man has his destiny. But who needs to go to a fortune-teller to find it? Do I go to a chef to find out if I'm hungry?.
Even stone can be worn down with enough rain.
Flowers that grow where old ones have withered serve to remind us that death will one day come to us all.
I can see you have a great deal of water in your personality. Water never waits. It changes shape and flows around things, and finds the secret paths no one else has thought about -- the tiny hole through the roof or the bottom of the box. There's no doubt it's the most versatile of the five elements. It can wash away earth; it can put out fire; it can wear a piece of metal down and sweep it away. Even wood, which is its natural complement, can't survive without being nurtured by water. And yet, you haven't drawn on those strengths in living your life, have you?.
We don't become geisha because we want our lives to be happy; we become geisha because we have no choice.
I was thanking him for...well, for something I'm not sure I can explain even now. For showing me that something besides cruelty could be found in the world, I suppose.
Those of us with water in our personalities don't pick where we'll flow to. All we can do is flow where the landscape of our lives carries us.
I stumbled out into the courtyard to try to flee my misery, but of course we can never flee the misery that is within us.
Well, a peach has a lovely taste and so does a mushroom, but you can't put the two together...
Some people have difficulty telling the difference between something great and something they've simply heard of.
Autobiography, if there really is such a thing, is like asking a rabbit to tell us what he looks like hopping through the grasses of the field. How would he know? If we want to hear about the field on the other hand, no one is in a better circumstance to tell us-so long as we keep in mind that we are missing all those things the rabbit was in no position to observe.
A woman who acts like a fool is a fool.
I've lived my life again just telling it to you.
Seeing him again after so long awakened something inside me. I was surprised to find myself feeling sad rather than joyful, as I would have imagined.
And then I became aware of all the magnificent silk wrapped around my body, and had the feeling I might drown in beauty. At that moment, beauty itself struck me as a kind of painful melancholy.
Neither you nor I can know your destiny. You may never know it! Destiny isn't always like a party at the end of the evening. Sometimes it's nothing more than struggling through life from day to day.
I began to feel that all the people I'd ever known who had died or left me had not in fact gone away, but continued to live on inside me just as this man's wife lived on inside him.
Nothing in life is ever as simple as we imagine.
Here's the thing: this eel spends its entire life trying to find a home, and what do you think women have inside them? Caves, where the eels like to live...when they find a cave they like, the wriggle around inside it for a while to be sure that...well, to be sure it's a nice cave, I suppose. And when they've made up their minds that it's comfortable, they mark the cave as their territory...by spitting.
When we fight upstream against a rocky undercurrent, every foothold takes on a kind of urgency.
What an unbearable sorrow it would be, to realized I'd never really tasted to things I'd eaten, or seen the places I'd been. What life would I have? I would be like the dancer who had practiced since childhood for a performance she would never give.
All at once I felt so vain, like a girl posturing for the crowds as she walks along, only to discover the street is empty.
Couldn't the wrong sort of living turn anyone mean? I remembered very well that one day back in Yoroido, a boy pushed me into a thorn bush near the pond. By the time I clawed my way out I was mad enough to bite through wood. If a few minutes of suffering could make me so angry, what would years of it do? Even stone can be worn down with enough rain.
We must use whatever methods we can to understand the movement of the universe around us and time our actions so that we are not fighting the currents, but moving with them.
We human beings have a remarkable way of growing accustomed to things.
His face was very heavily creased, and into each crease he had tucked some worry or other, so that it wasn't really his face any longer, but more like a tree that had nests of birds in all of the branches. He had to struggle constantly to manage it and always looked worn out from the effort.
Here you are...A beautiful girl with nothing to be ashamed of...And yet you are afraid to look at me. Someone has been cruel to you...Or perhaps life has been cruel. "I don't know sir" I said, Though of course I knew perfectly well.
Water never waits. It changes shape and floes around things, and finds the secret paths no one else thought about __ the tiny hole through the roof or the bottom of a box. There's no doubt it's the most versatile of the five elements. It can wash away earth, it can put out fire; it can wear a piece of metal down and can sweep it away. Even wood, which is its natural complement, can'survive without being nurtured by water.
A geisha has studied a man's moods and his seasons. She fusses and he blooms.
I fell into a sound sleep and dreamed that I was at a banquet back in Gion, talking with an elderly man who was explaining to me that his wife, whom he'd cared for deeply, wasn't really dead because the pleasure of their time together lived on inside him.
I tried to continue, but somehow my throat made up its mind to swallow – though I can’t think what I was swallowing, unless it was a little knot of emotion I pushed back down because there was no room in my face for any more.
I cannot tell you what it is that guides us in this life; but for me, I fell toward the Chairman just as a stone must fall toward the earth. When I cut my lip and met Mr. Tanaka, when my mother died and I was cruelly sold, it was all like a stream that falls over rocky cliffs before it can reach the ocean. Even now that he is gone I have him still, in the richness of my memories.
We all know that a winter scene, though it may be covered over one day, with even the trees dressed in shawls of snow, will be unrecognizable the following spring. Yet I never imagined such a thing could occur within our very selves.
If those sorts of moments would be the only pleasure life offered me, I'd be better off shutting out that one brilliant source of light to let my eyes begin to adjust to the darkness.
Geisha is always called beautiful even if she is not.
As a young girl I believed my life would never have been a struggle if Mr.Tanaka hadn't torn me away from my tipsy house. But now I know that our world is no more permanent than a wave rising on the ocean. Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper.
I expect you to go through life with your eyes open! If you keep your destiny in mind, every moment in life becomes an opportunity for moving closer to it.
In the instant before the door opened, I could almost sense my life expanding just like a river whose waters have begun to swell; for I had never before taken such a drastic step to change the course of my own future. I was like a child tiptoeing along a precipice overlooking the sea. And yet somehow I hadn't imagined a great wave might come and strike me there, and wash everything away.
If he couldn't forgive you for what you'd done, it was clear to me he was never truly your destiny.
Nothing is bleaker than the future, except perhaps the past.