January Grand Sumo Tournament

18 01 2010

On Sunday we went to the sumo again.

In the morning we had no luck finding doughnuts at Tokyo eki (they rotate the flavours and there were no vegan soymilk doughnuts that day) or soy icecream at a Seiyu supermarket.

Feeling a little dejected we bought some yatsuhashi wrappers and ate red bean mochi on the way to the sumo stadium.

Around lunch time we settled into our seats to watch the junior ranking sumos compete. In one match a much larger opponent (maybe 60-80kg heavier, at least) landed on a smaller sumo’s knee. He looked to be in pain and the knee was probably broken as he got carried off.

There was lots of throwing – the judges were landed on several times and the front row of seats was a dangerous place to sit with sumo falling off the dohyo and rolling over the first 3 rows.

At 3pm the middle ranking sumo paraded in their aprons – one had a Hello Kitty embroided on his. By 4pm the highest ranked wrestlers had started and all seats were filled. We listened to the English commentary on our radio. The last few bouts were full of tension as the sumo wrestlers stood throwing salt, stretching and psyching each other out. However, the final match was over in about 5 seconds with a quick defeat.

After the sumo we met Emma and had dinner at It’s Vegetable, a Chinese/Taiwanese vegetarian restaurant.

September Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo

21 09 2009

We had already bought our tickets from the Loppi machine at Family Mart but still got to the sumo early by train. We got to the Kokugikan for the 8th Day of the September Grand Sumo Tournament around 8.30am. Drummers high on a wooden tower drew people into the arena where we watched some of the low ranking sumo compete.

Before each match a singer calls out the names of each competitor in a high pitched, poetic voice while opening a fan single handedly. Then the sumo wrestlers climb onto the dohyo (the clay stage), clap, lift each leg, stare each other down (for up to 4 minutes) before they start the fight. Some of the fights were over quickly, with the opponent being pushed out of the ring without any dificulty. Other matches were longer as the opponents came to a standstill, trying to get a grip on the other’s arm or mawashi (belt). A few fights were very impressive, with the winning sumo throwing, lifting or flipping the opponent.

The arena was fairly empty from 8 until 1pm so we were able to sit down the front in the first few rows or in the first row of the balcony. We also looked through the sumo museum, had our photo with a wrestler in a cotton robe and ate our gyoza bento for lunch. After 2 it started filling up a little more as the Juryo ranking sumo competition started. By 4pm it was packed (it was a sell out night) full of people watching the Maku-uchi ranks enter and compete.

There didn’t seem to be too many Japanese sumo in the Maku-uchi ranks. We listened to the English radio broadcast from 4-6pm and the commentary told us that the sumo came from South Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Estonia and Bulgaria. One Mongolian, Tokitenku, had his 300th career victory over Aran from Russia. The judges were called onto the stage when Tochinoshin and Aminishiki fought as the landed on their sides at the same time. Kotomitsuki entered his bout on a 7 win 0 loss winning streak but then lost to Kisenosato. The final match was most exciting – Asashoryu, the current leader (8 to 0), defeated Kotoshogiku after much ‘cold warring’ (squatting, standing up, throwing salt, wiping face, squatting, pacing, shouting etc).

We had dinner one station away at Kinshicho eki at a Taiwanese Vegetarian restaurant called It’s Vegetable. We had sweet and sour v.pork, v.chicken with cashews, spring rolls, v.chicken nuggets, jasmine tea and almond soy milk jelly (that tasted like marzipan).

A rather large sumo wrestler…

20 09 2009

… although not the largest by any means.


Sumo in Tokyo

20 09 2009

The 8th day of action at the Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, September 20th 2009. More to come later, but for now here are some photos.

Sumo and Rice

10 09 2009

We now have tickets to the O-Sumo Grand Tournament in Tokyo this month. Yay! We have arena tickets for the 20th September. When we first bought our TV we watched a bit of sumo so it will be good to see it live in Tokyo. However we’d better be careful that we don’t get swine flu as many sumo wrestlers have come down with swine flu recently.

Also, I bought 2 winter jackets for under $30 total from the Second Street store which should keep me warm in the snow, ice and freezing wind that we’re anticipating over autumn and winter. Spring in April this year was cold enough, so winter is bound to be FREEZING, especially if we head to Sapporo.

The rice was all harvested in Kisarazu by the first week of September. Here’s what the fields look like now with the tops of the rice cut off.

harvested_riceAlso, more wooden-stump statues appeared outside the rice farm across the street from us. In addition to the big Totoro there are baby Totoro, Pooh, Anpanman and more!

The Totoro family, Pikachu, Anpanman, Doraimon.

The Totoro family, Pikachu, Anpanman, Doraimon.