Narrator (Sayuri as an elderly woman) quotes

A story like mine should never be told. For my world is as forbidden as it is fragile; without its mysteries it cannot survive.

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.

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.

To a man, Geisha can only be half a wife. We are the wives of nightfall. And yet to learn of kindness, after so much unkindness... To understand that a little girl with more courage than she knew, would find that 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.

My mother always said my sister Satsu was like wood; as rooted to the earth as a sakura tree. But she told me I was like water. Water can carve its way even through stone...and when trapped, water makes a new path...

A year without news, except news of death. Rumors of cities evaporating into clouds of smoke. And then another year, and another. Nothing. Rice...work...rice...work. Nothing.

I could be her. Were we so different? She loved once. She hoped once. I could be her. I might be looking into my own future. Until the real future came falling from the air... [referring to the war]

Now I understood the thing I´d overlooked; the point wasn´t to become a geisha but to be one. To become a geisha...well, that was hardly a purpose in life. But to be a geisha... I could see it now as a stepping-stone to something else.

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