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KYOTO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 13:  Photographers take pictures of Maiko and geiko geisha girls as they walk outside the traditional art and tea house after showing their gratitude for the past year and best wishes for the new year on December 13, 2011 in Kyoto, Japan. The annual ritual is called 'Kotohajime', and is the start of preparation for the new year.

KYOTO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 13:  Maiko and geiko geisha girls  walk with their teacher as they attend an event to show their gratitude for the past year and best wishes for the new year on December 13, 2011 in Kyoto, Japan. The annual ritual is called 'Kotohajime', and is the start of preparation for the new year.

KYOTO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 13:  Maiko and geiko geisha girls line up to receive special fans from their traditional dance master as they show their gratitude for the past year and best wishes for the new year on December 13, 2011 in Kyoto, Japan. The annual ritual is called 'Kotohajime', and is the start of preparation for the new year.

KYOTO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 13:  Maiko and geiko geisha girls receive special fans from their traditional dance master Inoue Yachiyo (L) as they show their gratitude for the past year and best wishes for the new year on December 13, 2011 in Kyoto, Japan. The annual ritual is called 'Kotohajime', and is the start of preparation for the new year.

KYOTO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 13:  A geiko geisha girl walks after receiving special fan from her traditional dance master as they show their gratitude for the past year and best wishes for the new year on December 13, 2011 in Kyoto, Japan. The annual ritual is called 'Kotohajime', and is the start of preparation for the new year.

KYOTO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 13:  Maiko and geiko geisha girls pose after bowing to their teacher of traditional art and tea houses, to show their gratitude for the past year and best wishes for the new year on December 13, 2011 in Kyoto, Japan. The annual ritual is called 'Kotohajime', and is the start of preparation for the new year.

KYOTO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 13:  Maiko and geiko geisha girls bow after receiving special fan from their traditional dance master Inoue Yachiyo (L), as they show their gratitude for the past year and best wishes for the new year on December 13, 2011 in Kyoto, Japan. The annual ritual is called 'Kotohajime', and is the start of preparation for the new year.

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