Day 2 – Slip Slidin’ Away

The Battle of the Tsuyuharai

Before we turn to Aminishiki, who is still carrying Isegahama beya on his shoulders all alone (well, Homarefuji also won today), let’s drop and visit one of our favorites down in Makushita.

Yes. Unfortunately, Tokoryu was not letting the boy wonder outdo him. Hakuho’s pretty uchi-deshi tastes his first defeat.

In my personal watch list of Naruto beya – Torakio wins, Sumidagawa lost yesterday to Ezuka, who is a third of his size. Gap starts to open?

So, back up to Makuuchi. Nishikigi shows good fighting spirit and pushes Ishiura’s face with his lower arm several times. Ishiura, on the other hand, shows why he is in Juryo. Something is not working there.

Takekaze gets Kotoyuki down, stumbles over him, and both fall awkwardly below the dohyo. Takekaze seems to be OK, but Kotoyuki limping. Unfortunately, it’s not the worst injury of the day. Following the Aminishiki-Kagayaki bout, we have Aoiyama vs. Okinoumi. Aoiyama somehow damages his foot against the tawara, and ends up in the dreaded giant wheelchair. Following the doctor’s check, his stablemaster says that he hurt his heel, and that there was a “snapping sound”. This does not bode well for the Bulgarian.

This is not basho-related, but if we’re in the hospital already, the NSK finally released the reason for Takanoiwa’s kyujo, and it sounds very unpleasant: Concussion, ear canal inflammation, skull fracture, and a suspicion of cranial fluid leakage. For some unfathomable reason, the press says the expected recovery time is two weeks. From a skull fracture? Hmmm. Wishes of health go out to Kotoyuki, Aoiyama and Takanoiwa.

So, rewind a bit to the battle of the Tsuyuharai. That is, Kagayaki is Kisenosato’s tsuyuharai, whereas Aminishiki continues to serve as Harumafuji’s tsuyuharai, despite the fact that it strains his knees and ankles, and that it leaves him precious little time to get ready for his bouts. An honor is an honor. And anyway, he doesn’t seem to be affected by it too much, and might be running out of Yokozuna pretty soon the way things look up the banzuke. The torikumi itself was pretty short: Uncle chose to rise high at the tachiai to match Kagayaki’s height, and already had a grip in preparation whilst rising. Then it was left, down, and 2-0.

Endo and Kaisei take some time to fight over their mawashi grips, when Endo decides he has had enough, pulls on the one side of Kaisei’s mawashi he has a firm grip on, and twists him down. Shitatehineri. Nice!

Chiyomaru seems to have had a good night sleep, and came back with his usual genki today. Slap-slappity-slap, grab, push, and out with Daieisho.

Chiyoshoma on the other hand, makes the mistake of retreating after a good tachiai vs. Shodai, tries to grab something for one of his throws, but runs out of dohyo doing so.

Chiyonokuni loses by slippiotoshi – not the last one of the day – to Arawashi. Today was not a very good day for Kokonoe, either. But really, their fare is better than Isegahama…

What mode did Ichinojo boot up in for this basho? What a lovely bout against Takarafuji. Shoulder blast at the tachiai, a combination of oshi and yotsu zumo, some patience, and a couple of gaburi to put the Isegahama man out. As a general Isegahama fan this makes me a bit sad, but on the other hand, I really like Ichinojo. Especially when he’s wide awake.

OK, we’re up in the sanyaku. Hokutofuji looks convincing vs. Mitakeumi. Or is it that Mitakeumi is all… fishy…? Sorry, but that man’s face…

The ghost of Terunofuji tries to do all sorts of things with Shohozan, but, quite expectedly, fails. Shohozan is kind enough not to push the ailing Kaiju off the dohyo.

Chiyotairyu drops the lid on Yoshikaze‘s hopes to make an Ozeki run.

Goeido. Well, Goeido. That is, Goeido. He does to Kotoshogiku exactly what Harumafuji did to him in the playoff match in Aki. Simply prevents the henka and pushes the local man out so quickly he doesn’t know what hit him. Well, it was Goeido, Giku-zeki. He studied the monitor well and probably watched that match dozens of times since. The way Goeido looks right now, Hakhuo can start worrying.

Takayasu is back. Blast, push, and Tochiozan learns the pain of the joi. So, you’re saying the man from Tagonoura was injured? When was that?

And now we’re into the Yokozuna. And… when was the last time Harumafuji had two black stars from day one? The answer is Natsu 2010. Never as a Yokozuna, of course. He tried to tackle Takakeisho. Once. Didn’t work. Twice. Didn’t work. Third time… and he ran out of clay. Takakeisho was benevolent enough to pull him in so he will not roll off the dohyo (this is the real meaning of karma, by the way). The Yokozuna has as much chance of becoming a dai-yokozuna as I have of becoming a Japanese…

The bout between Kisenosato and Onosho was, in Onosho’s words, “Not what I thought it would be”. It looked a bit like a cartoon character starting to run, with feet shuffling but no forward motion. Big, big, slippiotoshi, and all Kisenosato had to do was let him fall in a way that could be called a kimarite.

Slippiotoshi, reverse angle

The Japanese broadcaster said he did a “left ottsuke”. Anybody see an ottsuke there? Because I don’t. I see a man falling down.

Finally, Hakuho back in the musubi-no-ichiban. Slips in his usual face slap. Disengages for a second, and before Tamawashi can think of anything, shows him the way out.

Get out, trespasser!

So, two days go by. Maybe we’ll see a yusho playoff between Hakuho, Goeido, and, er… Aminishiki? Nah, I’m just jinxing him talking like that. Seriously, though, Hakuho, Goeido and Takayasu are currently the only dominant-looking rikishi on the clay.


17 thoughts on “Day 2 – Slip Slidin’ Away

  1. I thought Endo-Kaisei was bout of the day. Both men deserved to win that one, and Endo finished it beautifully. Onosho’s slip was the disappointment of the day. The rest was fun, but I don’t get why Daieisho tried to out-big Chiyomaru. That’s, uh, not how that works. Good to be back, and good to have my awesome Tachiai ™ Scorecards in hand!

    • No question there, Endo-Kaisei was a great bout. Even better than their previous one, although not quite as good as their meeting in Aki 2015. Beautiful shitatehineri, though, I’ll have to make a note of that one when I get back to writing about kimarite.

      Ichinojo’s bout against Takarafuji was good too, but unfortunately, the start of the bout was overrun by the news, and I don’t have an intact video of it anywhere.

  2. I hate to say this but Aminishiki had the most beautiful win of the day, most of the rest looked a little lost on the first day.

  3. Ishiura is mentally unwell. His standard tactics have been figured out by the other rikishi, so he is lost and literally doesn’t know what else to do when he is on the dohyo. I am hopeful that he learns some other sumo techniques so he can vary his attack. His “submarine” tachiai is worthless now too, so he can’t even start “on the right foot” in his matches.

    I feel really badly for Aoiyama. That looked like a painful injury! I also am angry at the Japanese press based on your reports for Takanoiwa. Two weeks for a skull fracture and more head damage?! Ridiculous.

    I have a feeling that Aminishiki has a lot to teach the other rikishi of the Makuuchi division. His sumo is so smooth and looks effortless.

    • Well, I don’t blame the press for that estimation. They must have gotten it somewher, probably from his medical certificate or something. So blame the doctor who wrote that certificate. Either he exaggerated the injury, or underestimated the length of the recovery.

      For a man who is the son of a sumo school master and a member of Hakuho’s heya, it’s really strange that Ishiura is not able to pick up more waza.

      • Maybe that whole “Hakuho’s vicinity is the place to be if you want to become an awesome sumotori” narrative was a wee bit overblown to begin with?

    • No. Hochi says that the injury was sustained during the Jungyo, on October 26th. So I went and looked at my report from that day, and Takanoiwa was actually in a video there, completely genki.

      So on the one hand, that may explain why it will only take an additional two weeks to heal (the yahoos in charge are even talking about him showing up in the middle of the basho [shudder]), since he was already healing for almost three weeks now. But on the other hand, what the heck? Maybe he sustained the damage falling from the bus, or slipped in the bathtub or something.

      • I can only imagine that when you are that size, it can be hard to move around and travel to new places gracefully. Heck, I had trouble navigating some of the tiny hotel rooms as an relatively smaller American. Slippiotoshi are a dangerous thing even off the dohyo.

        I had more comments swirling in my brain from Day 2, but after sleeping on the irritation has muted into a general sadness at by the end of the day. But no matter what, there’s nothing but love for the horse and the kaiju in our house.

        I’m really glad to see Ichinojo and Aminishiki showing some fighting spirit. I hope every day I see Aminishiki this basho, that he avoids any bad tumbles and injuries. He doesn’t have many more ligaments to spare. It would be great if when his day comes to retire that one of the broadcasters picks him up as a commentator.

        • He will make it to commentator for sure, because they pick various oyakata for that, and thankfully (for the sake of the future of sumo), he has a kabu and will be oyakata. Can you imagine a whole heya full of wily rikishi? :-)

      • The obasan who photographed this said he was smiling… Anyway, not sure why you’d involve poor Moti in all this…

        And if he did it to anybody other than Ichinojo, it must have been Harumafuji rather than Terunofuji… still shocked by today’s news.


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