In modern times joining the fascinating yet cloistered world of a geisha — even for young Japanese girls — is rare indeed.

But if you weren't born Japanese and still harbor aspirations of becoming one of the traditional teahouse entertainers, though it's probably easier than in centuries past, it's still no walk in the park.

That was what Kimicho, who declined to give her real name, endeavored to achieve when she arrived at the doors of Yoshinoya, a geisha house in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward, for her very first "job interview" in March 2015. An American university student at the time, she had been in Japan less than a year.