On February 5th Sumo's Grand Champion Asashoryu resigned following a long line of sumo code transgressions culminating in a drunken assault outside a nightclub. (please stop for a minute and imagine defending yourself against a drunk sumo).
On Feb 7, 2010 there was a one day knock out sumo tournament held in Tokyo. After years of failing to make it to Sumo (including one set of unused tickets) we finally made arrangements to go. It was a fantastic event. We had high hopes and it was even better than expected.
We arrived at about 1:30 not long before the main event was to start. There were some lesser bouts and demonstrations before that. We saw some tiny kids from Tokyo International School fighting with sumos. Then there was a parade of the competitors. Then the knockout event started.
There were lots of great bouts. The we've always rather liked the Bulgarian sumo Kotooshu (yes, there are lots of foreign sumos). He made it to the final round. But our new favourite is Takamisakari from Aomori. He really wound the crowd up with lots of aggressive posturing before each fight. When he lost there were cushions thrown all over the place. The final winner was Goeido who knocked out the Mongolian favourite in the semifinal.
The Winner Receives his Ticket
We were seated in the outer ring in the downstairs section. Great seats I think. We paid about 6000 yen each in blocks of 4. They were more like 10,000 yen each, but we got a discount through our company. Imagine the size of cushions in a Japanese restaurant and then image a small section with 4 of those together for 4 people. It was a tight fit. Go with people you don't mind being jammed together with and/or get more than 1 seat each. On the other hand we weren't uncomfortable with 4 in our box.
Since it was our first time at sumo so I can't say how it compared with other sumo tournaments. My impression was that since this was not part of the regular tournament schedule the competitors were more relaxed and we saw some horsing around by the sumos that I don't normally see on TV.
There was one foreign guy with his girlfriend (Japanese, I guess) who were dressed in yokata. They looked really cool. That might be fun for next time.