🌐 Location: Mito, Ibaraki prefecture
Yes, friends and readers, this is the last – and relatively short – report of the Haru Jungyo! It’s day 25, and the rikishi are finally at the end of their long, long journey. The next day, the banzuke is to be published, the era is going to end, and then it’s intensive practice all the way to Natsu basho.
In the evening before this Jungyo event, these two guys (and others) were spotted at a Mito restaurant:
This pair is always up to something. And unlike some, this does not mean pain to others necessarily. What are they up to? We shall see!
So the next morning, we have our rikishi shaking hands as usual. Nishkigi decides he is a great admirer of Ryuden, and stands in line to shake his hand:
Inside the main hall, rikishi are stretching and exercising along the walls. Here we have Tobizaru doing his mata-wari (splits):
This is not the last Tobizaru we have today.
Ichinojo wants to play with Enho (don’t we all). Just look at the size difference between Ichinojo’s hand and Enho’s.
This being nearly May, the weather is fine, thus exercise is not limited to the venue itself. Outside, under a great tree, Yutakayama makes sure no evil spirits haunt the grounds of the city of Mito:
Back inside – and on the dohyo – we have yet another practice bout between Takayasu and Tochinoshin. I think both benefit from these practices, and we may hope to see both in good form in Natsu:
Sekitori practice over, it’s time for all the activities like Jinku and Shokkiri, then low-ranking bouts. So first the low-ranking rikishi get their hair done:
Then they opt to wait in the customer seating section, as the venue is far from full. Actually, the smart ones keep the seats folded and just sit on the floor. Why smart? See that rikishi in the third tier wedged between the hand rests? That’s why.
It’s a known fact that rikishi have a problem going on dates, partly because common activities like cinema or theme park rides become rather awkward when you are twice as wide as anybody else.
But where are the sekitori? Now we come to what Kotoshogiku and Toyonoshima have been plotting. This day, April 29th, is Showa Day. It used to be the Showa Emperor’s birthday.
So Kotoshogiku and Toyonoshima decided to organize a photo shoot to celebrate the Showa-born sekitori (that means, anybody born before January 8th, 1989), and show that they are still alive and kicking and ready for the third era of their lives. This was the result:
The “S” stands for “Showa” though they said it can stand for “Sumo” as well. Brilliant photo, isn’t it? It was taken using a Birdie:
It’s not the first time Toyonoshima and Kotoshogiku arrange a fun activity for the sekitori. Three years back, they were also behind the sekitori rendition of “Hiyonoyama Kazoe Uta”, better known among Sumo fans as the Hakkiyoi Song – reminder:
(“Sekitori rendition” – because the song was originally performed by the oyakata)
Toyonoshima and Kotoshogiku are cool guys.
So this ends the practice part of the day, and here are the Juryo wrestlers waiting for their dohyo-iri, just as their juniors did earlier:
But they don’t have as much sense as Yoshoyama and his mates.
Then they await their bouts. Tobizaru is doing fansa during the wait, and not just simply signing autographs with a bored face, either:
Gagamaru is all envy for all the attention the handsome monkey is getting. He then grabs a camera from one of the su-jo and photographs Tobizaru close up:
Sorry, Gagamaru, Tobizaru is still prettier than you. Tobizaru returns the favor:
But we are spared the resulting close-up of Gagamaru. Thank you, camera owner.
As Takanosho is interacting with a fan, or at least standing near her, waiting for the oicho demonstration to be over and the bouts to start, Hidenoumi nearly topples him over her:
(Sorry, I know you’re going to ask, but Hidenoumi first asks whether this is a photo or a video, she says video, and then… I can’t quite catch his reply).
For some reason, this is the only glimpse of a Juryo bout I managed to uncover – looks like Daishomaru beating Kyokutaisei:
Time for Makuuchi. But this is Ibaraki prefecture. So we have this guy coming as a guest star:
Now the bouts can begin. Again, sekitori waiting in customer seats, but this is really pushing the limits:
Shodai is doing some fansa, and he is a lot nicer to kids than he is to his tsukebito, let me tell you.
I don’t really have much in the way of videos. Again, only tantalizing photos. For example, who is winning this bout between Abi and Onosho? I’m sure it’s somebody whose name begins with a 阿.
Whichever it was, they seem to be having fun.
And here is Takarafuji with his tsukebito, Sakurafuji. His sagari says he lost this bout.
Mitakeumi is giving Hokutofuji a nodowa from hell. But is it a winning nodowa?
The musubi-no-ichiban is also not quite clear:
Sigh. Well. Here is at least the summary video of the day. Actually, a concatenation of two news reports:
At least it includes a bit of Takakeisho vs. Tamawashi. That’s it – the last bout of the Heisei era we are going to report!
And our pin-up boy of the day is – of course – Tobizaru!