Saturday, February 13, 2010

Grand Sumo Tournament - Tokyo

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.


owenandbenjamin said...

I would like to see a sumo tournament someday. And I would like to wear a yukata also.

Andrew Joseph said...

Hello David,
My name is Andrew Joseph, and I was the AET (Assistant English Teacher) with the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) Program in Ohtawara (my spelling of choice) between 1990 - 1993. I was at the junior high schools working with the Ohtawara Board of Education.
I'm currently writing about my time in Japan via my blog It's a Wonderful Rife. Mostly its humorous. If you get a moment, read the first episode:
It's nice to read YOUR blog. Great photography - I would have killed for a digital back then!

davidfromoz said...

Thanks for dropping by Andrew. I've been having fun reading your blog. You have really captured the feeling of being a gaijin in Japan I think.


Yup, modern digital cameras are the greatest aren't they? I had cause to go back through the best photos I have taken over the years recently. With little or no improvement in knowledge or skill, my photos have improved so much.

Andrew Joseph said...

So... how do I become a follower of your blog - and when is the next installment.
By the way... I too went aiyu (fish) trapping - they are the tastiest fist I've ever eaten... I pigged out and had 10!

davidfromoz said...

mmm. I'm not too sure how you become a follower. I'll look into putting a follow button up there if I can work it out.

Yup, its time to start blogging more often. Spring is here and we've started hiking in the mountains again. Not to mention very cool restaurant and coffee shop/music lounge last night.

Thanks for the nudge. Lets see if I can convert it into posts.


Andrew Joseph said...

Do it David! I want to know what I've missed these past 20 years!
By the way.,.. when I wrote that I ate 20 fists, you know I meant fish, right? :)

MjH said...

Cool blog - and AJ' is too. I check in on them both from time to time. @Andrew - the best way to "follow" David's blog - or any blog - is through an RSS feed reader.

David, FYI - I'm the "Matthew" that Andrew lovingly admires through his comments and compliments on his blog! ;-)

Keep up the good work guys!


davidfromoz said...

Thanks for dropping by Matthew. Sorry the blog is updated so infrequently these days. I really should get back into it. There are certainly lots more great places in the area that deserve to be written about.

angela said...

Thanks for this post! Sumo looks fun (to watch, that is). I'm thinking of teaching English in Kanuma. Have you been there? I'm a little concerned that I'll be scraping on the typical "English teacher" salary, especially with rent.
Your blog is very interesting and informative. I'll bookmark you guys. I hope to read some more great stuff in the future!

davidfromoz said...

Hi Angela,
Thanks for visiting our blog. The only time I have been to Kanuma is the 7 times I tried to pass the driving test. Its pretty close to Oya which seemed nice when we visited it. I guess its really the outskirts of Utsunomiya really.

We're old, settled and live a very quiet life so I don't think I can much comment about cost of living for you in Japan. However, I will say one of the best things I ever did was leave home and come to Asia (Taiwan) to teach. It was nearly 20 years ago and I still haven't gone home. I subsisted on rice and water for a while at the start but don't regret a minute of it. It was very hard to achieve escape velocity when I was comfortable at home.

Japan questions are welcome if you're thinking of coming over.

Unknown said...

that was truly fascinating a must share

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