With the Christmas holiday over, I’m back home and can get back to work. The added benefit of the partial US Government shutdown means I will have extra time to pay attention to sumo!
I’m excited to see this banzuke for a number of reasons. The nostalgia center of my brain is thrilled to see so many grizzled vets back, as Bruce mentioned. With Myogiryu holding on to a sekiwake slot, Tochiozan as top maegashira, Kotoshogiku on a decided upswing, and Yoshikaze stabilizing in the top half, my own knees don’t feel like they’ll be 40 years old in 2019.
I welcome the Ozeki talk surrounding that whipper-snapper yusho winner Takakeisho and applaud the rise of junior tadpole Yago. I don’t think it will happen this go-round for Takakeisho but as I eluded to in the podcast, I do think it will come soon. I’m not a fan of 9-win tournaments in ozeki runs. I like to see consistency, especially when the presence of the full sanyaku slate has been anything but consistent. We’ll see if he has it if he picks up 11 wins in January and March. I know that’s setting the bar high but I like the bar high, dammit.
This brings us to our ozeki and yokozuna. There will be change in these ranks this year, but for hatsu I am hoping for full, championship level participation from all six men. As Herouth’s jungyo reporting has showed, however, not all have been able to participate. Of those who have shown up, they’ve largely taken it easy… except for those intense kawaigari sessions. And this is why I’m optimistic that 5 of the 6 will be ready for the first tournament of the year. Rather than risking further injury on the PR jaunt, they will be relatively rested and ready.
It’s great to see Ura back and bounding up the ranks but I really want to see Terunofuji throwing people. One more tournament off will be fine and dandy but if he’s ready now, by all means let’s have us some kaiju. I’ll be back with a New Years post soon!