Nagoya 2016: Banzuke


Hakuho, fresh from his historic 37th yusho, will lead things off in the Nagoya tournament, back in his usual spot at Yokozuna 1 East. Presumably late in his career (15 years, 10 at Yokozuna), it’s remarkable he achieved a zensho (undefeated) yusho, his 12th. Kakuryu and Harumafuji follow.

Kisenosato’s jun-yusho and 13 wins earned him top Ozeki with Kotoshogiku and Goeido following. Sadly, we will see Terunofuji on the bill at Ozeki 2 West. His kadoban status means that if he sits at home and recovers from his injuries – as this armchair M.D. recommends – he would be demoted to Sekiwake for September. If he’s still injured, it will be excruciating to watch him fight to save his rank.

Losing records for Kotoyuki and Yo-yo Ikioi mean we will have two new Sekiwake, both have now achieved their career-high ranks. Kaisei’s 8 wins were good enough to let him not only keep his sanyaku rank, but promotion to Sekiwake East. Tochinoshin’s excellent 10 wins will boost him from Maegashira 4 to Sekiwake West. Both will need to capitalize on any bouts with maegashira if they hope to remain in the sanyaku.

Kotoyuki slipped to Komusubi East. Though he lost to two maegashira, he beat an ozeki and yokozuna. Takayasu has reached Komusubi for the third time in his career, the last time was at the start of last year. Both times he finished with losing records in the next two tournaments before regaining his comfort level around maegashira 8.

Speaking of the M8 rank, Mitakeumi’s 11 wins at the rank in the last tournament will leapfrog him to top Maegashira. Tochiozan will try to rebound into sanyaku but M1W will be a challenge. I’ll be watching Osunaarashi at M3 to see if he can stay healthy. I hope he’s learned how to protect himself at the edge. Shodai’s drop to M5 will hopefully not be a pattern repeated by Mitakeumi.

Tokyo’s Tinseltown: Kinshicho (錦糸町)


16577578035_881deb5ea3If you read this blog and have never been to Japan, one day you will hopefully make it to Tokyo and to Ryogoku Kokugikan (両国国技館) – the main sumo venue. The next train station is literally Tokyo’s Tinsel Town, Kinshicho (錦糸町). You will recognize the first character as nishiki. I’ve written before about the meaning of nishiki. Together with the kanji for thread, it means tinsel.

Now, the city itself is not really all that much of a tourist attraction. There are a couple of big malls that service the neighboring communities, including Ryogoku and Kameido (亀戸); the train station is also a local hub with an express train of the Sobu Line. Off the main streets, there’s also a bit of the rather unseemly side of Tokyo with the hostess clubs, massage parlors, and love hotels. Don’t worry, as a foreigner you won’t be hassled too much because most of the fuuzoku (風俗) places are off-limits (NG) places so not many touts will bug you. But as I mentioned, the area is really best known locally as a shopping district for the neighborhoods.

I’ll No Longer Link to Yahoo! Sites


You may have noticed my tweets from last night but probably didn’t realize the level to which my mind melted when I did it. I check several news sites looking to keep up with sumo news during these weeks between tournaments. However, Yahoo! treated a piece of rather disgusting satire as they do with any regular article they cull from Huffington Post despite the fact that any self-respecting journalist would disregard such slime. Google’s news aggregator got caught, too. Yahoo! seemed quicker to notice as it was removed shortly after my tweet.

I recognize this is just a blog and I hope you do, too. It’s full of my opinion and I know I’ve posted satirical headlines…such as the one on Terunofuji’s desire for early retirement. However, I do try to uphold the basic tenets of journalism and that’s why I have been careful about rumors I’ve seen about Homarenishiki and stuff like that. I want confirmation.

Anyway, I’ll no longer be using Yahoo! or Yahoo! Japan and I felt I should explain my tweets from last night.

Softbank Brings Team Japan to America’s Cup


Recreational sailing is very popular in the US. Many other people use motor boats for waterskiing. In Japan, however, 「ヨット」 seems inaccessible, sport for the rich. It’s surprising because, as an island, Japan seems an ideal location. Shimantogawa7In 116 years of Olympic competition, Japan has won a total of 2 medals – fewer than the great sea-faring nations of Poland, Austria, and Switzerland.
That said, I did see this boat sailing in Shimantogawa when I was in Kochi.  And don’t get me wrong, there’s a ton of commercial boating but there does not seem to be much recreational. So, I’m very happy that Softbank is helping field Team Japan to compete for the America’s Cup in 2017. With naval heroes like Katsu Kaishu, I would hope it would start to take off.

Wakanosato Misquoted By Yahoo! Japan


Unfortunately in the American press, headlines are deliberately misleading in order to get attention and stir up controversy. I think this case shows Yahoo! Japan resorts to the same tactics. The headline says that, “without hesitation, former Wakanosato said Takanohana was the strongest Yokozuna.” The statement deliberately tries to create a controversy by implying a comparison with other yokozuna, past and present. However, reading the whole article and getting more context, we see that is not what he meant at all. In fact, he says that the quality of the athletes continues to improve.

In all, this WAS going to be a post about a has-been athlete making a provocative statement attacking present-day champions in order to get attention… But that’s not the case at all, at least by my reading. Instead this is a case of Yahoo! Japan making up a bad, clickbait headline.