Banzuke for Nagoya: Ozeki Terunofuji! Maegashira 1 Tochinoshin?

Hat-tip to Yohann at for reminding me that the banzuke is out today.

The yokozunas are as expected: Hakuho leading the East, Harumafuji leading the West, and Kakuryu at Y2W. Harumafuji is coming off surgery on his arm so I doubt he’ll be competing. I hope Kakuryu is finally healthy.

I’m sure everyone’s been eager to see Terunofuji at Ozeki. As it happens, Kisenosato claimed the top Ozeki slot in the East while clutch Goeido got the top in the West. Kadoban Kotoshogiku is the second ozeki in the East while fresh Ozeki Terunofuji is the second ozeki in the West.

For the rest of the sanyaku, Tochiozan and Ichinojo moved up from komusubi to sekiwake on the basis of their 8-7 records in May. Takarafuji’s strong 9-6 record was rewarded with the East Komusubi position.

But, in a bit of a surprise, Myogiryu remains in the sanyaku as the West Komusubi and Tochinoshin shifts from top Maegashira in the West to top in the East. I think that’s a bit of a disappointment as he had a strong May at 9-6, where he not only beat Myogiryu, he also beat Ichinojo. Both wrestlers beat Kisenosato, effectively ending the Ozeki’s strongest hopes at a yusho. Perhaps it was Myogiryu’s victory over Harumafuji that kept him in the sanyaku, even though it was a visibly weakened Harumafuji? I thought perhaps they’d have a third komusubi but I guess not.

Sadanoumi joins as the top maegashira in the West. Takayasu and Aoiyama follow at M2, followed by Ikioi and Kaisei. All four had a strong Natsu basho and appear to be returning to form. Ikioi struggles when he has to face the sanyaku gauntlet, with 34 wins and 71 losses when ranked M4 or higher. So it may be a tall task for him to pick up 6-7 wins, much less a winning record. Here’s hoping he can turn it around and stay toward the top of the maegashira.

Terunofuji’s rise seems to have lit a fire under some wrestlers, notably Ichinojo, so I think we’ll see some strong sumo next month.

Sushi Bar Edokuni (すし処江戸國): Great Sushi in Kameido

Edokuni Sushi (note picture of Takanohana - in the suit - over her shoulder)
Edokuni Sushi
(note picture of Takanohana – in the suit – over her shoulder)

The other night, to celebrate my birthday, my mother-in-law treated my family to sushi at her local sushi bar. This sushi bar, called Edokuni. The owners are sumo fans, as evidenced not only by the recent banzuke on the wall by the entrance and the calendar featuring Goeido on the back wall…they also have pictures of when Takanohana came to eat and Mainoumi has gone there, too. The pictures of Takanohana are at the left of this picture, over the chef’s shoulder.

Kameido is only a couple of stations from Kokugikan, the main sumo stadium, but this restaurant is tucked away and hidden in a tiny alley off a small side street…as seems to be the case for so many great restaurants in Tokyo. From the station, head north along Meiji-Dori (306). Take your second right at the Mitsubishi UFJ bank. Then head about a block and a half down that side street and it’s in a tiny little alley. Thank God for internet maps. The address is in Kameido 4-chome:
〒136-0071 東京都江東区

The sushi was great so I’ll write about it in more detail on my other blog in the days to come. Aside from the great sushi there were other traditional Japanese dishes that were very well done. They also made a special au gratin for our kids since my 2-year-old doesn’t eat sushi yet. My 6-year-old liked the crab and maguro…but I’ll write about all that later.

The restaurant is also notable for the fact that it is owned by, and the sushi is prepared by, women. I’ve eaten hundreds of pounds of sushi over my life so far and I honestly cannot think of a time when I’ve seen a female sushi chef. In fact, there’s some conventional “wisdom” B.S. about how women cannot be sushi chefs because their hands are too warm. The restaurant was opened shortly after the war by the current owner’s father. When he died suddenly, his wife really had no choice but to take over herself. She’s still there and makes the rice at over 90 years old. However, sushi making duties have been handed down to the daughter – a still spry 68 years old. I only know about the place through my mother-in-law, as I mentioned before, because they go to the gym together.

Now, I’ve eaten a bunch of sushi and Japanese okaiseki but I’m not going to claim to be a super snob. I generally have 4 grades for sushi: terrible, edible, good, and great. I’d classify this as great but ultimately it depends on what you’re willing to pay for. They’ve got higher grade fish than what I ate but what I ate was excellent. I love salmon and this is up there with the best I’ve had. The fish is all very fresh and the all-important rice is very well done but I’ll write more specifics about the food in a post on my food blog.

Ramadan 2015 (June 18-July 17)

Last year, Ramadan coincided with the July tournament. During Ramadan, practicing muslims fast during the daylight hours – which are at their longest this time of year. As sumo’s only muslim sekitori, Oosunaarashi is at a distinct disadvantage. However, last year he was able to pick up two kinboshi in a row – one off Harumafuji, the other from Kakuryu – though at other times he did seem to be a bit off. He was able to finish with a very respectable 7-8 record from the position of Maegashira 3.

Coming off injury in July’s tournament, if healthy, Oosunaarashi stands to have a much easier schedule than he did last year. Ramadan and the injury will probably force him to take a much lighter practice schedule and the extra rest may be beneficial, helping to recover. Too often these guys are coming back way too early and then aggravating their injuries so I hope he gets to rest. This July, he will not be facing any yokozuna as he will have surely dropped into the mid-maegashira ranks…perhaps M8 to M10?

Anyway, I know it was raised as an issue during last year’s tournament and I think coming back healthy from the injury will be of more concern this year.

Takanonami Died Saturday, 6/20

Otowayama oyakata, former Takanonami, died suddenly on Saturday of heart failure at the age of 43. The former Ozeki remained in the sumo world as a coach and continued to have a relatively high profile in the sumo world as a talent on television. The news today showed Takanohana accompanying his body at the funeral. Sorry to get this news to you so late but I was in Chiba camping over the weekend.