Japan is still stuck its twenty year economic slump, and was recently surpassed by China as the world's second-largest economy. The tough economic times have opened up the secret society of the Geisha.
A Geisha's prestige and value is entirely dependent on what their clients are willing to spend for their time. It takes years to study and master the craft and the woman as a final product should be a work of art.
Geishas have existed for hundreds of years and their numbers reached its zenith in the early 1900s with around 80,000 trained Geishas. Today they number fewer than a 1000.
Geishas in training have been turning to rooftop beer gardens and other establishments open to the general public to finacially support themselves as the client list of wealthy Japanese men willing to pay for their services decreases each year.
I would totally pay $40 to drink beer with a Geisha in training. I will add that to my to do list on my next visit to Japan.