Day 6 – Back To Life, Back To Reality

The storm is over at the Kokugikan

Probability factor of one to one… we have normality, I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can’t cope with is therefore your own problem.

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

Today the deities of the dohyo finally realized that the god of Crazy crashed their party and threw him out. Hopefully, permanently (though I wouldn’t mind a few upsets in the future. Yes, Goeido, I’m looking at you.)

The scanty, pitiful band of up-rankers, led by a harried Yokozuna, finally managed to put in a show that would justify the title of Sanyaku. Well, at least most of them did. Yes, Goiedo, I’m looking at you again.

So this time, rather than predictions of doom and speculations on the medical condition of Ozeki’s knees, we can actually focus on sumo.

To do that, we’ll start with Juryo, because Kintamayama was kind enough to include Aminishki’s bout in his reel and make my day. Whenever I see one of those Aminishiki performances I keep thinking “Wow, he is so much like Harumafuji”, and then, of course, I have to remind myself that it’s the other way around. The sempai sent a message to his Yokozuna friend and stablemate, “this is how we roll”. And Isegahama did roll today. All of its sekitori from Terutsuyoshi to Harumafuji won, if you don’t take Terunofuji’s fusenpai into consideration. Not that this is sufficient to please the oyakata (who is not an easy man to please even when all his deshi are genki).

So Aminishiki basically does a half-henka, then grabs Kotoyuki firmly by the neck, and decisively throws him all the way from the tachiai line to the tawara. Now, I was watching the full version after I finished up with Kintamayama. Usually, while the NHK shows the replay, the dohyo announcer calls the kimarite in the background. This time he took a lot of time – they had to dust off the books and call in a calligrapher to write the kimarite on the boards. Tokkurinage. And a well planned one. That old fox.

OK, so let’s climb up the stairs of the Makuuchi now.

Sadanoumi returns from a 5 day kyujo. Unfortunately for him, he loses. He is trying to keep himself in Makuuchi, and trying hard, but it’s going to be tough going for him. Asanoyama also loses, but Endo keeps himself in the group of chasers.

Chiyomaru’s bout was as nice to watch as yesterday’s. Perhaps he is hoping for that yakiniku to materialize again (actually Chiyonoo lost, so he didn’t really have a chance…). Today he showed that he can also do yotsu-zumo with conviction. BTW, the meaning of his name is “Eternally round”. Did the late Chiyonofuji really have that kind of sense of humor?

I don’t really know what to make of Ishiura. On the one hand, that man is muscular and very serious. On the other, he is as stable as francium.

Takarafuji, who seems to be the stablest of his stable, throws Chiyoshoma nicely despite his height advantage, and further denies Chiyomaru his yakiniku. Chiyonokuni, however, is certainly in yakiniku-producing mode, and despite a matta, hands Takanoiwa his second loss.

Now let’s slow down a bit for Ichinojo’s bout. There was a matta there as well. But a very slow matta. It’s like watching a submarine surface. The bout starts, and Kagayaki slaps him enthusiastically. Only he might as well call that Teppo rather than Tsuppari. Ichinojo is about as movable as a sumo stable’s teppo pole. Finally, Ichinojo hesitatingly goes for Kagayaki’s mawashi. Engages him. Then waits until his brain assesses the new situation and sends new instructions to his limbs. The gyoji can scream “Haiki-yoi” as much as he likes. But then Kagayaki makes a mistake, and tries to change his hold. In a heartbeat, the teppo pole changes into a sumo wrestler and forcefully throws him down.

Ichinojo’s bouts are so weird to watch.

Hokutofuji seems to be suffering from acute kinboshi poisoning. He’s been ousted twice since grabbing that one from Harumafuji. If you look at his record now, it’s not what you’d expect from a top-level tadpole. Three wins, one by fusensho, one over a very weak Terunofuji. Anyway, Shohozan gave him a quick tour of the perimeter of the dohyo, then showed him out. He has a career as a nightclub bouncer ahead of him once he quits sumo.

Yesterday some of you here claimed that Tochinoshin screamed in pain at the end of his bout with Mitakeumi. I don’t know what that was. Perhaps it’s like when you have a dislocated shoulder, and the doctor sets it, and you scream to heaven but then your arm starts working again? Because today Tochinoshin finally got his first win, against hapless Tamawashi, in about three seconds.

Oh, we’re in the sanyaku, if you haven’t noticed. Ladies and gentlemen, Mitakeumi is back on the premises, preserving the Tachiai team’s dignity yet further, showing some decisive, massive, and nice-to-watch sumo. Quickly neutralizing Kotoshogiku’s right arm from the start, followed by the left as well, and he pushes him to the tawara with massive pelvic heaves. Kotoshogiku doesn’t give up and tries to use his right arm to throw Mitakeumi, but he just uses that to throw the massive daisy (OK, OK, a chrysanthemum) to the floor. Thank you, Mitakeumi. Your pelvis has saved mine.

The other sekiwake, Yoshikaze, also showed his real sumo today. We have normality. This time he actually looked at Tochiozan. And Tochiozan didn’t give up easily. This was probably the best bout of the day. Especially if you are a Yoshikaze fan, which I’m not. But I love seeing good sumo. Which the next bout isn’t.

Here is another one who suffers from kinboshi poisoning. Onosho. We put too much hope in the Red-belted Bane. Goeido repeated his previous match in more or less the same way. Three steps back, one step to the left. Don’t tell my heart, my achey-breaky-heart. Darn it, will we ever see that Ozeki do some deashi? Is his transmission stuck in reverse? Will any rikishi be able to teach him a lesson?

As for Onosho, I’m disappointed that he didn’t foresee that. Don’t these guys watch the videos from the previous days’ torikumi? Or doesn’t onosho have the footwork skills to save himself from a side step? Because if the latter is true, I’m sure the rest of his opponents from now on are going to figure it out and join the line dancing band.

And on to the musubi-no-ichiban:

Harumafuji. Left – day 5. Right – day 6. Aki basho 2017

Truth be told, it was touch and go there. Harumafuji did have Chiyotairyu at the Tawara pretty quickly, but the solid Chiyotairyu almost turned the tables on him. But this time, the Yokozuna’s reaction was quick enough. Perhaps because Chiyotairyu is not 21 years old. He moved his foot, supported himself, and quickly dispatched of the maegashira. No kinboshi for you! And a very, very relieved yokozuna picked the kenshokin.

He is still very vulnerable, though. Tomorrow he’s up against the one-eyed Shohozan. Soon he’ll start to face a recovering sanyaku. My worst nightmare (other than an injury) is that he’ll get to the last day at 7-7 and face a highly motivated Goeido.

But for the time being, the barber has been evaded, and we have normality.

13 thoughts on “Day 6 – Back To Life, Back To Reality

  1. I really enjoyed having to flip over to another tab to look up tokkurinage. You don’t see that one every day! He looked mighty pleased with himself afterward, as well he might.

    I thought Ichinojo’s win was pretty nice. He moved very fast once Kagayaki went to change grips. They switched agility scores for a minute there; that grip-change wasn’t just risky, it was slow as hell.

    I laughed out loud at Mitakeumi’s sense of humor. Do mine eyes deceive me or is that a bumpety win against Bumpety-Dumpety? Loved it.

    I think Onosho may have stunned himself on the tachiai, putting his gourd right into Goeido’s forehead. Same with Takakeisho yesterday–I’m not a fan of CTE and I worry about these no-pads collisions.

    Two days in a row Hokutofuji simply failed to stop a charge that I’m pretty sure he’s strong enough to stop. Something wrong with his base maybe. He looked like he was bent forward a bit awkwardly.

    Lot of nice, basic sumo. A refreshing break from the crazy.

        • Reminds me of a post Amakaze made the other day. He was upset because a fan accidentally stained his (one and only) kesho-mawashi with a permanent marker asking for an autograph. So he said that he will not be accepting requests for autographs when he is wearing his kesho mawashi. He felt badly about rejecting fans, though, so he was pleading for forgiveness and promising that he will be at their service at any other time, including right after a torikumi. “Only”, he said, “many times when I get off the dohyo I’m disoriented. So just call out my name, no problem.” And – apart for feeling sorry for the guy – I really shuddered at the thought that being dazed is a regular part of a rikishi’s job.

  2. For a split second we were worried that Harumafuji was going down, but his technique shown through. What a relief. I’d like to see Uncle Sumo back up in the top division next time, but it still wouldn’t fill the Ozeki sized hole in my heart from today.

    We went to a restaurant that had line dancing next door before watching the basho last night. Now after reading this, I can imagine is all the rikishi doing the Wobble in sync by the end of this tournament.

      • I could try to stuff Ichinojo in there, but then all I’d want to do is eat ramen all day. He’s the nomadic Brontosaurus instead of a Kaiju.

  3. Share the disappointment in Onosho not managing to deal with the side step but over commitment seems to be a common tadpole failing and it’s easy to forget the young padawan is not yet a full jedi.

    My chiyonokuni love was further consolidated today, and seemingly shared by the chap doing the NHK highlights. The ‘isshokenmei’ is strong with that one.

    • The chap is called Hiro Morita, by the way. You can identify him by his “Konichiwa and thank you” which always makes me raise my eyebrows because, man, the guy is Japanese. Why is he pronouncing it “konichiwa” and not “konnichiwa”? Just to make us gaijins “understand” him?

      And I usually can’t stand him, but he actually sounds better than usual in this tournament. Perhaps sobered by the absence of his personal deity, Hakuho. So yes, he was nice to Chiyonokuni today.


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