🌐 Location: Ginowan, Okinawa
😛 Goofometer: ◾️◾️◾️◽️◽
We left off with the sekitori completing their Kyushu rounds. Next stop is Okinawa – for two consecutive days at Ginowan. But not everybody is participating. The Juryo wrestlers – with the exception of Yago and Kotoeko – left for Tokyo with their tsukebito. The Makuuchi wrestlers remained at Fukuoka, and boarded a plane for Okinawa the next day:
When they landed in Okinawa, the traditional welcome ceremony with Miss Okinawa was held:
I’m reporting both days together because, frankly, it was hard to tell which image came from which day. In any case, we don’t have many practice photos – even the NSK didn’t post any keiko videos. I do have Tochiozan practicing near the dohyo:
The conscientious Kasugano man was dripping with sweat by the end of his practice, and so he took care to clean up after himself:
How typically Japanese.
The more famous Kasugano man was also practicing on the dohyo. Quite seriously. But he must have thought he was underwater. Why else would he raise his periscope?
I meant his chon-mage, people. 😝
With all Juryo rikishi away, including all pixies, kawaii levels were threatening to go below the su-jo survival threshold. But fear not, when they need to, Makuuchi wrestlers can generate enough kawaii for everybody. There is the reliable Takarafuji:
The self-confident Asanoyama:
And the military-grade cute Takanosho:
Hold on, that’s from the dohyo-iri. Let’s back up a little, because before the dohyo-iri, the rikishi were still in their mawashi, and then started the part of the day for which every sports reporter in Japan came to Okinawa: the beach party! Everybody’s at the beach – tsukebito and sekitori:
Some are even playing beach volleyball!
And these three guys are attracted to a drone flown by one of the photographers:
It’s nice to see Ichinojo smile from time to time!
My personal favorite of all the beach-boy photos is this one, though
The Sekitori then had to go get their baths and do their hair. But some lucky people got to linger on until sunset:
The only rikishi who couldn’t enjoy the beach were the poor shokkiri and Jinku performers who were entertaining the audience at this time. Here is the full Jinku performance, for those who have not yet seen one:
Back in the venue, Hakuho had a busy day. There was the official photo with the local dignitaries:
And then his dohyo-iri:
On both days, the top 16 Makuuchi wrestlers had bouts in an elimination tournament format. Here is a summary of the first day:
There is only one sekitori from Okinawa, Chiyonoo, but unfortunately, he is kyujo from this Jungyo. Therefore, the report concentrates on Makushita Chiyonokatsu. You could see his bout with Takakento there. He said in his interview: “It would have been a shame to lose the bout here with all the support I was given from the audience”. Indeed, a nice throw!
And as you could see, the tournament final was between Mitakeumi and Tochinoshin, with the latter winning. Here is another angle on this bout:
In the second day, the “local boy” focus was more on the local Yobidashi, Shigejiro (Kokonoe beya):
In the Makuuchi tournament, Tochinoshin was dominant enough to reach the semi-final against Ichinojo:
But it was the Mongolian Boulder who won this match of thick thighs. Apparently, there was a prize for the winners of the semi-finals? A… tyre?
Or maybe he just thought it was a donut.
In the final, Ichinojo met Ryuden:
No match, really. I guess all that jumping and swimming did good for the colt-tossing glacier. He won the tournament yusho:
And also enough rice to last… a day?
And this concluded the visit to Okinawa this time. The Jungyo went into a hiatus, to be renewed on December 20th back in the main island of Honshu.
To bid goodbye, once again I present an “I can’t believe this is a former rikishi” oyakata:
No, seriously, can you believe this is the same person?