Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 3

🌐 Location: Katsuyama, Fukui

Today, the sumo nobori flags were flapping in the wind in Katsuyama city.front-image-katsuyama

Those of you with sharp eyes (and Kanji skills) will note some flags that one doesn’t normally see in honbasho. For example, a flag for Kimura Ginjuro – the gyoji, and a flag for… Naruto beya, which is certainly not participating in the Jungyo due to having as yet no sekitori whatsoever.

The rikishi practiced. Not only on the dohyo, but all over the venue. Take a look at Ryuden lifting weights. Well, the sort of weights that are available in abundance in the Jungyo:

ryuden-lifting-weights

The towel, by the way, is a point of courtesy. Keeps your sweat away from your partner.

Ishiura was busy… nail gazing? I thought that was reserved only for yokozuna.

ishiura-nail-gazing

So… maybe this is not actually a practice photo. It seems there is a line forming (that’s Homarefuji behind him), which probably means they are waiting to greet one of the Yokozuna.

But here is some actual practice. Wakatakakage seems to be doing an off-dohyo reverse butsukari for Mitakeumi. Just a reminder – a butsukari practice is when a low-ranking rikishi has to push a high-ranking one again and again until he dies, or at least feels as if he did. A reverse butsukari is when a high ranking rikishi feels he needs the exercise, but only has someone ranked lower than himself available to push. It’s basically the same thing, but since the high ranking one calls the shots, it’s usually a lot less like a torture and a lot more like an actual practice.

wakatakakage-reverse-butsukari-mitakeumi

Mitakeumi later switched to the dohyo and gave straight butsukari to youngsters, much like yesterday:

mitakeumi-butsukari

And yes, that’s Kisenosato on the dohyo. This is the first time in this Jungyo a Yokozuna practiced on-dohyo, and that it should be Kisenosato only tells you how badly banged up the other Yokozuna are.

Kisenosato was giving butsukari as well – first to Nakazono, a low ranker (I’m not sure, but I think he is one of his tsukebito):

nakazono-butsukari-kisenosato
The Yokozuna has a lot of chest, but very little of it is muscle

Then he switched to Takanosho:

kisenosato-with-takanosho

And you can see a bit of this action here:

The Yokozuna doesn’t have to do anything, really. Just be heavy.

In addition to practicing, the various sekitori also did a lot of fansa. This included, for example, Shohozan volunteering as a photographer:

shohozan-assistant-photographer

And also Tamawashi signing autographs and having his photo taken with fans. Which for some reason, Kaisei was doing everything in his capability to prevent:

Relax, Kaisei! I’m sure Tamawashi has no intention of applying a kotenage to any of the fans!

Between the practice and the torikumi, the tokoyama re-arranged the hairdos for the rikishi:

tokoyama-working

Just before the Juryo dohyo-iri, the Shokkiri took place. Surprise – we have reverted back to the Shokkiri team from Takadagawa beya, rather than the Kasugano pair from yesterday. And just to show you that each pair has unique features in their act, they went and got what looks suspiciously like an Acme-branded hammer:

shokkiri-team-hammer

Moving on to the Torikumi, it seems that Enho is the regular fill-in in Juryo. That makes sense, but why not just let the guy wear his shimekomi, and be done with it?

enho-vs-tobizaru

Short stop here for beginners: Low ranking rikishi practice and compete in the same black cotton mawashi. When they compete, they insert loose sagari (those cords hanging down from it) into it. Sekitori, on the other hand, practice in a white cotton mawashi which is folded at the front like a roll of toilet paper. When they compete, however, they wear a silk mawashi in the color of their choice, with matching, stiffened sagari. This silk mawashi is called “shimekomi”.

So in the picture above Tobizaru is the sekitori wearing his off-white shimekomi and you can see the stiff sagari protruding to his sides. Enho is a Makushita fill-in, so he wears his black cotton mawashi and you can see his loose sagari hanging down his hips.

Enho has a shimekomi stored somewhere in his heya, from the Haru basho this year, in which he participated as a sekitori. Since he is going to be a sekitori again next basho, he will be putting it back into use.

So let’s move on.

Actually, again, there is not much information about the day’s torikumi, other than the fact that Kagayaki has beaten Ikioi by yori-kiri. And this was only mentioned because Ikioi was doing the duties of “local boy” today, on the premise that his… grandmother hails from a nearby town. 😀

But there is a video of the musubi-no-ichiban:

At this point I’m really getting worried about Kakuryu. Three wins in a row for Kisenosato against the man who won two yusho in a row only a couple of months back? What the heck is going on with Kakuryu’s foot? He looks like he is doing laundry with it, not sumo.

That’s it for today, and since, for some unknown reason, the sumo ladies did not take any Enho photos other than that one against Tobizaru, I’ll have to settle for Arawashi instead:

arawashi

Fukui: Jungyo Site #3

Day 3 of the Summer Tour, July 31, will take wrestlers to back to the Chubu region of Japan after dipping its toes in Kinki at Lake Biwa. Fukui is not exactly a sumo powerhouse like Hokkaido. It is the shusshin of two active wrestlers, Koshinoryu of Fujishima beya and Maikeru, top-ranked wrestler of Futagoyama beya. Maikeru has been doing well his first year of sumo. After his fifth kachi-koshi, indeed a strong 5-2, he will find himself around sandanme 30, where Ura was ranked this past tournament. Maikeru already sports a massive knee-supporter. Koshinoryu has been as high as Makushita but has not been able to establish himself there for long. Most of his career has been in sandanme. Neither have faced Wakaichiro yet but Koshinoryu may be on the radar for next tournament.

Murakami Nightmare

Fukui prefecture, itself, is a coastal prefecture along the Sea of Japan. The prefecture is famous for those long-legged red crabs, the echizen gani. There are hot springs and there’s also a dinosaur museum. Katsuyama, site of the jungyo event, is in the far north, near the capital, Fukui, and the border with Ishikawa. This is also near the scenic Tojinbo cliffs. I will find myself there chowing down on crabs. I’m from Maryland, now, so it’s a requirement to find good crabs.

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 2

🌐 Location: Otsu, Shiga

hakuho-practices-tachiai

The Jungyo took the sekitori to Otsu today, where 2300 spectators came to enjoy some sumo.

Lest people fall under the impression that Shiga prefecture is all about stinky fermented sushi, Yutakayama is here to provide you with a more balanced view of the menu.

Yeah, that’s Yutakayama + tsukebito + Shodai + tsukebito + my mouth watering.

The Jungyo day opened with a drum roll:

drum-welcome

Note how yobidashi performing the drum duty don’t wear the special Yobidashi costume (Tattsukebakama).

Sekitori were practicing where they can – on or off the dohyo. Here are Ishiura and Chiyonoumi.

Mitakeumi, who didn’t practice on the dohyo yesterday, and said to the press that he was doing things at his own pace, suddenly showed up on the dohyo and gave butsukari geiko and general pushing guidance.

mitakeumi-gives-butsukari

It’s not that the Yusho winner just woke up in a mood for keiko today. He is known to hate keiko. This attitude does not fly too well with the veterans. Hakuho already said yesterday that once he feels well enough to get on the dohyo, he is going to give Mitakeumi a lovemaking session he will never forget. I hope a video of that turns up because Hakuho tends to make his torture sessions very entertaining.

But Hakuho was not the only one miffed by the lazy would-be-Ozeki. Kasugano oyakata gave the sekiwake direct orders to start guiding the youngsters. So he did, and then told the press how important it is to guide the youngsters. 😀

The rikishi were not only practicing – there was also fansa (“fan service”) to be done. Kakuryu was being polite:

And Hakuho also signed stuff before going in to get dressed up. But he somehow seems rather impatient about it:

The thing to note about this scene, though, is how the Yokozuna is wearing a chon-mage, while his tsukebito is wearing an oicho-mage. This is the kind of thing you’ll see only on a Jungyo. His tsukebito, Kasugaryu, is the yumi-tori performer. Apparently, he gets his hair done for the performance early – perhaps in order not to bother the Tokoyama while they are busy with the sekitori. So he and the shokkiri team walk around in fancy hairdos while the sekitori are still wearing their off-stage chons.

Speaking of shokkiri, it turns out that today we had a different shokkiri team. Yesterday we had Shobushi and Ebisumaru, but today they were replaced by Tochimitsuru and Tochisato of Kasugano beya. Here is their act:

Once again we have the gyoji involved in the shokkiri routine. Kudos to that gyoji. I wouldn’t dream of fighting with a rikishi of that size.

Here is a curious way of getting ready for the Torikumi:

terutsuyoshi-hidenoumi
Terutsuyoshi feeling up Hidenoumi. Terutsuyoshi is a very touchy-feely guy for a Japanese.

Yes, there were torikumi. The star of the day, in lieu of any local sekitori, was the former sekitori Nionoumi. And he won his (Makushita) match with Daishoryu and even got interviewed, where he said he aims to win all his bouts in the Aki basho and become sekitori again. Just so you know, in the last three basho he was 2-5, 4-3, 4-3. Tall order, I’d say, especially given the bubbling cauldron that is the top of Makushita today.

The four missing Mongolians were back in action today and participated in the Juryo torikumi.

The only bout I have any information about is Takakeisho vs. Endo, which Takakeisho won, apparently using yotsu-zumo. Again. I wish I had a video of that, but the only one I do have is the musubi-no-ichiban:

Once again, what’s up with Kakuryu’s foot?

And of course, I’ll finish with the obligatory Enho:

obEnho

Because let’s face it, the sumo ladies just love this guy.

Shiga: Jungyo Site #2

July 30 and the second site of this year’s summer tour brings us to Shiga prefecture. This is the western loop of this long tour, before we head east again toward Ishikawa, Niigata, and Nagano on back to Tokyo in 10 days. Shiga prefecture is dominated by Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan. The southwestern section of the lake is surrounded by Otsu city, where the Jungyo event is being held. There’s quite a bit of historic significance, like the assassination attempt of the future Tsar Nicolas II of Russia, and World Heritage sites. A particular kind of fermented sushi, funazushi, is considered a delicacy in the area. It sounds like something Scandinavian that I’ve read about, gutted and salted when fresh to draw out the moisture, then stored for a year. It’s then taken out and stored again in rice. I’m a glutton, so I like food but my nerd side wins in Otsu – this Open Data site looks more appealing than fermented sushi. http://www.city.otsu.lg.jp/opendata/ I wonder whether a sumo jungyo mash-up with tourist or restaurant locations would be helpful…

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 1

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to our series of Jungyo Newsreels, in which I’ll try to provide a taste of what is going on in the Jungyo and keep us all from getting Sumo Withdrawal Chills (a very dangerous symptom of Sumo addiction!)

kisenosato-kakuryu-ogaki

I can’t promise to be able to post every day, and sometimes I’ll have to wait at least a day for any news to turn up if any, especially in remote places where sumo ladies are not of the smartphone-bearing age.

🌐 Location: Ogaki, Gifu

Let’s start with the bad news: many wrestlers are absent from this Jungyo due to unspecified injuries and maladies. Some have already been absent during the Nagoya basho, and some not:

Makunouchi absentees:

  • Takayasu (left elbow injury)
  • Tochinoshin (Toe injury)
  • Ichinojo
  • Kotoshogiku
  • Chiyonokuni
  • Abi
  • Yoshikaze
  • Takarafuji
  • Chiyoshoma
  • Meisei

Juryo absentees:

  • Kotoyuki
  • (edit) Takagenji
  • Gagamaru
  • Sokokurai
  • Kizenryu

The good news is that all three Yokozuna participate. Well, kinda sorta. They all did their dohyo-iri, but they are all pretty banged up. None of them did any keiko on-dohyo, and Hakuho was not even in the torikumi (bouts of the day).

Kisenosato was sort of working out his left arm:

Hakuho was doing mostly shiko and suri-ashi etc.

Turns out that he hurt his ankle in addition to the knee we already knew about. He said the doctor drew four syringe-fulls of fluid from his ankle, and that he received shots to both his ankle and his knee, but now “there is no pain, just discomfort”.

As for Kakuryu, we’ll get to him later, at the musubi-no-ichiban.

In addition to the many injured and banged-up wrestlers, there was a bit of an incident with four sekitori arriving late. As it turns out, Takanoiwa, Kyokushuho, Azumaryu and Daishoho took advantage of the small gap between the basho and the Jungyo, and went home to Mongolia for a bit of a vacation. The problem is that due to Typhoon Jongdari, the flight back to Japan was delayed.

The four sought an alternative flight through either Beijing or Seoul, but it wasn’t clear that any flights would be leaving for Japan from those cities, either. They were delayed for over 20 hours at Ulaan Baatar, and instead of arriving properly at Narita at noontime on the 28th, they landed there at morning 29th. They made their way to Ogaki by their own means using Shinkansen and trains – and arrived just barely in time for the Juryo dohyo-iri.

azumaryu-dohyo-iri
Kyokushuho, Azumaryu – made it in the nick of time

Their bouts for the day have already been canceled, and Japan being Japan, they were reprimanded by Kasugano oyakata, the head of the Jungyo department. Because of course work is work and they should be at work on time!

Enho and Ichiyamamoto were called in to fill the gaps in the dwindling Juryo ranks. Of course, Enho is a legitimate Juryo wrestler – but on the Jungyo he is still ranked according to the previous banzuke.

enho-with-buddies
Enho still in his black Mawashi

This was not the only mishap of the day – it turns out that there was no air-conditioning at the venue. Or if it was, it wasn’t making much impression on anybody.

turkish-bathhouse
Glistening Yokozuna and Ozeki

The Shokkiri team for this Jungyo: Shobushi and Ebisumaru from Takadagawa. Here is a bit of the action:

But you are here for the bouts, right?

  • Hokutofuji ☆ – Takekaze ★
  • Ryuden ☆ – Okinoumi ★
  • Kotoeko ★ – Ishiura ☆ (Flying henka, what else?)
  • Tochiozan ☆ – Asanoyama ★
  • Sadanoumi ? – Arawashi ? (No word)
  • Aoiyama ☆ – Onosho ★
  • Nishikigi ★ – Yutakayama ☆
  • Myogiryu ★ – Chiyomaru ☆
  • Kyokutaisei ★ – Daieisho ☆
  • Endo ☆ – Chiyotairyu ★
  • Daishomaru ★ – Takakeisho ☆
  • Ikioi ★ – Kagayaki ☆
  • Shodai ☆ – Kaisei ★

Kore yori sanyaku!

Tamawashi vs. Shohozan:

Goeido vs. Mitakeumi (Sorry for the quality):

And the Musubi-no-ichiban, Kakuryu vs. Kisenosato:

Now… it looks normal. But as Andy noted on Twitter, something is up with Kakuryu’s foot:

First, what’s up with that? Kakuryu has been kyujo because of his elbow, not his foot.

Second, this video was taken from TV as you can see. The caption on the top right says “The Yokozuna, who faces his make-or-break basho, makes his first move at the summer Jungyo”. So, despite the YDC and NSK saying nothing about Kisenosato, he is in a “make-or-break” situation, or so NHK thinks.

That’s it for today. Or wait a moment. I can’t really do without yet another Enho picture.

enho-modeling
Yep, he’s definitely put on some additional kilos. Good for him.