Blast From The Past

I’ve been positively giddy with excitement these last few days with the Fukuoka Basho approaching. Now that it’s here, I’m scouring the web for insight into who will win. My pick: Goeido. Why? Okay, follow me down the rabbit hole:

I’ve created a spreadsheet to track Josh’s “Ones To Watch” and populated it with data on the 21 rikishi and the match-ups of the 10 fighting on Day 1. Sadly, no Wakaichiro, Jokoryu, or Enho. Hattorizakura is fighting in the first bout of the tournament. Can we invent some ceremony? Maybe I’ll just drink a beer in a few hours, at 6:30pm Eastern, to commemorate Hattorizakura opening the basho, hopefully with a win!

So, who else am I going to watch on Day 1? Let’s see… Oh, what about our good friend Shunba? He’ll likely post footage on his blog afterward so we’ll be able to see it. Who’s he fighting? Obamaumi? Obama-umi. For real? That’s an interesting name. Obamaumi. I like it. Let’s take a quick check of the SumoDB and see his stats. He’s a Sakaigawa boy there with Goeido, Myogiryu, Sadanoumi, and Toyohibiki. Funny. He actually started sumo as President Obama was taking office. There’s got to be more to this story.

Googling the kanji for Obamaumi in Japanese (小浜海) yields a bunch of articles but one thing catches my eye immediately: Geocities. WTF? There’s a Geocities site still active on the web in 2017? Click. Up pops some amazing data, only overshadowed by the fantastic 1990s background and web design. What is this? Some random Sakaigawa fan site? This is great! My terrible Japanese picks up the fact that he has an O blood type, his favorite food is curry, and his brother is the recently retired Sadanofuji who he followed into the sumo world.

I click to the homepage and a realization hits me… This is the official site for the Sakaigawa stable. Half of me is tempted to pass around a hat to solicit donations to bring this site into the 21st Century. With my vinyl copy of Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits playing in the background, nostalgia started to kick in hard. Flashbacks are now pouring back, including my first website – which was populated by pictures I had stored on floppy discs.

“…this time the hurting won’t heal. You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille…”

Nostalgia aside, the Hakuho era is coming to a close. His reign on top of the sport has peaked as injuries begin to pile up. For years the movers-and-shakers in the sport were looking for a worthy rival. Harumafuji, while certainly worthy of the title yokozuna, was never quite able to be a consistent threat as Hakuho’s mantle overflowed with macarons. So as they scanned the next plateau, they found Kakuryu, swiftly hit with the injury bug. Kisenosato bobs up – and before he can lift his second cup, he falls to injury. There will be a changing of the guard and the moves will be swift. Who will be there to start mopping up? Goeido 2.0

8 thoughts on “Blast From The Past

  1. Well, here is a clue to the mystery:

    Sadanofuji is a graduate of the Nagasaki Prefectural Obama High School. It has been named Obama since 1949, so I don’t think it has anything to do with the former president of the USA. There is also a city called Obama in Japan, same kanji, but it’s up in Honshu, far away from Nagasaki, where both Sadanofuji and Obamaumi were born.

    So if Sadanofuji is a graduate, we may assume that Obamaumi is also one. And he probably loves the sea or something.

    I had a web site in the ’90s, with photos scanned from newspapers (which I blurred and resharpened to get rid of the moire-like effect from scanning). It has evolved into the first official sports site in Israel (the official Maccabi Tel-Aviv basketball club web site). Those were the days. :-)

      • Confirmed that he’s named after the town – actually, it’s interesting that the Obamaumi discovery came separately from Ones to Watch – I actually featured him last time out!

        He’s always been a name I’ve followed for the very reasons you stated Andy and we are not the first to catch the coincidence, I had a search through Sumoforum when I was looking to find out the origin story of his name and it looks like a couple others noticed that Jan 2009 debut as well!

  2. Two of my favourites are wrestling today and I am also giddy! Shunba being one of them!!! Seriously, if he gets another winning record this Basho, there will be many happy dances done!!

  3. So I’m reading this account of an upcoming basho. Mysterious websites and some connection between Sadanoumi and President Obama; Kenny Rogers playing on the vinyl in the background. Then I realize it: I’m reading a Haruki Murakami novel! So I open up a pack of Seven Stars, knock the filter off the first one, and think about cooking up a plate of spaghetti …

  4. Great yusho prediction! And love the Sakaigawa rabbit hole. Pretty incredible.

    Maybe for Hatsu we can do something cool like a joint Tachiai contributor post, sharing our yusho picks and why (or we just all do them, haha). I toyed with doing something similar to predict the first day’s results since we get those a few days in advance, but just didn’t get to it this time. Next time!

    • This is a great idea. We should definitely do this for Hatsu. It’s a new year and there will be changes on the banzuke, for sure.

      • Based on this first day, there might be quite a few changes on the banzuke. This is definitely going to be an intriguing basho.


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