Banzuke Out!


Hakuho leads the East. Duh.
Kakuryu leads the West. I hope Harumafuji sits out and gets healthy. That elbow has been nagging at him for a long time.

Terunofuji starts his second ozeki tournament as the top Ozeki in the East with Kisenosato in the West and Goeido following as Ozeki #2 in the East. Faux-zeki* Kotoshogiku is in the West.

Tochiozan gets to follow up his strong July as East Sekiwake with Myogiryu in the West.

Tochinoshin gets into the sanyaku where he should have been in July, paired with Okinoumi.

Aoiyama and Yoshikaze lead the maegashira with Osunaarashi and Sadanofuji behind them. They’ll have a rough first week. Ichinojo falls to M4 so he’ll probably do well this tournament with a weaker schedule. Endo and Amuru are up to M7. Ikioi falls all the way to M12. I’m counting on 10 wins from him and will be disappointed with anything less.

* Kotoshogiku’s continuing status as Ozeki is fishy so he’s not an ozeki in my book. Ben Stewart’s term is perfect.

Kadoyama (神田山), Great Western BBQ Near Kokugikan


I’m from North Carolina so I’m pretty picky about barbecue. I’m not not a fascist about it, so I don’t just eat our pulled pork BBQ. I definitely enjoy Texas style, Memphis style, as well as various international barbecues, particularly cochinita pibil from the Yucatan in Mexico. This is relevant because in Japan, it’s pretty hard to find Western BBQ. Sure, there’s yakiniku all over the place, and great Korean bulgoki/galbi places…it’s just very hard to find Western BBQ.

One of my favorite things about good barbecue is the way it’s so soft and tender after low-and-slow cooking. A great sign is the way that it falls off the bone when you pull on the meat. I was really impressed with the barbecue ribs at this restaurant. It’s called Kadoyama and it’s on the third floor of a building near Ryogoku station. The flavor was amazing but what really sealed the deal for me was the way that I was able to basically unwrap the meat from the bone with my fork. I only needed a knife to basically hold the ribs in place.

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By the time I thought to take a picture of the dish, I’d already finished. Sorry. The website has decent pictures of their food but I really wish I’d thought of it before I ate. The presentation was excellent for a $10 lunch. I mean, back here in DC, a slice of pizza costs $4. Most food trucks run you ten bucks, easy, and you don’t even get a glass of water, or a chair, or silverware (and you can forget about service). It still befuddles me how those silly “experts” claim Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world. This particular dish was served with mashed potatoes, vegetables, salad, and bread – all tasted great. In the States, I’d be expecting to pay $25-$30.

Anyway, if you all are making a pilgrimage to Ryogoku and have a hankering for some western food, swing by. Great food.

Tai, a symbol of celebration


Tai (sea bream) is a fish that is commonly used at times of celebration because of its bright, red color. In the world of sumo, when a rikishi is promoted to ozeki, pictures of him holding tai are ubiquitous. Recent pictures of Terunofuji, and Goeido from last year, are no exception. In many Asian cultures, red is the color of fortune. For example, the Chinese stock market uses red to signify rising stock prices and green to reflect falling prices – the exact opposite of western exchanges like those in New York.

Picture of Tai at Tonkatsu Restaurant
Picture of Tai at Tonkatsu Restaurant

I found this particular picture at a Tonkatsu restaurant in Kinshi city in Tokyo. The Arcakit mall is just outside the north exit of Kinshicho station. The 10th floor has a whole bunch of restaurants. Near the west end of the mall is this tonkatsu restaurant, called Inaba Wako. Since Kinshicho is one station away from the Kokugikan, it’s pretty common to see sumo related art and souvenirs in the stores and restaurants around the area.

Now, I’m hungry…