Firefly Catching (蛍狩り)

As a gimmick, many of the districts’ entertainment houses ordered large amounts of fireflies to release in their gardens and party rooms. But since everyone was doing it, it had lost its charm. Even the low folk making their homes in a riverbed could enjoy the view of fireflies released near the K River. At night, during the start of the festival season, all mingled. Groups of children, yelling and running along the riverside through willows and cherries, chanted the firefly-hunting songs, though there was no sweet water in the capital. Surely it was also tiresome for the prostitute boys dressed up in pale greens and yellows for the occasion. There were even rumours of gold dust glowing on buttocks in shows of excess among patrons.

Other houses took their inspiration in advertising from anything that might give them an advantage with the tourist crowds. Many a historical and mythical figure turned out. Yoshitsune and the master tengu descended from Mt. Kurama to entertain with a crowd-pleasingly unsophisticated repertoire, and were booked flat till the end of the month. The great M-district courtesan, Sasanami, became an older Takeru with his hair tied in buns, which caused quite a sensation among his fans.

“Can you believe that shit?”