Today’s event took place at Habikino, Osaka. By the way, the English language tour schedule on the NSK website is wrong. It’s actually last year’s schedule.
So, as expected, Hakuho keeps giving kawaigari to youngsters. This time, no genetics – he just picked up Ichiyamamoto, from Nishonoseki beya. You can see him in the photo above, observed by Okinoumi, Shohozan (his senior heya mate), and Tochiozan. Coincidentally, I’ll be talking more about both Okinoumi and Tochiozan further down.
Back to the victim himself, he got five minutes of kawaigari, which is a considerable time (though Hakuho has been known to give 8 minutes or more in the past. I guess not to beginners). Hakuho said he was hitting him too high, which makes sense, because Ichiyamamoto’s sumo style is very close to Abi’s and as you can see, he has rather long legs as well. Hakuho added that there was something fragile about him, but that he does have a “core” and “if there was nothing good about him, he wouldn’t be a sekitori”. Well, I guess that’s the sort of compliments you get when you don’t have yokozuna DNA.
Ichiyamamoto is an odd bird in the world of Sumo. He graduated from Chuo university and became a government worker up in his home area of Hokkaido. But then he decided to switch to professional Sumo, taking advantage of the extended age limit working wrestlers may enjoy, as he was just past his 23rd birthday.
So now he is a sekitori, and he said the practice with Hakuho “gave his status as a sekitori a sense of reality”.
The reporters asked Hakuho if he intended to do Kizakiumi and Ryuko next. He just gave them a big grin. He said “maybe tomorrow the young ones will say there is a devil on the dohyo”. I guess that means he will keep the kawaigari flowing.
Moving on to the next figure in the photo, it was Okinoumi’s 34th birthday today. Mazel tov. His ototo-deshi (younger heya mate), Hokutofuji, gave him a cake.
Okinoumi was a bit embarrassed at the attention, and said he prefers to stand out on the dohyo, and off it he would like to be just an old-fashioned man.
So what about Tochiozan? Well, the day before this Jungyo event, this was aired on TBS. It’s from an episode in a serialized drama called “No-side game”.
The guys practicing at Kasugano beya are supposedly some sort of Rugby club. I’m not sure what that skinny dude is supposed to do in a Rugby club, or what the plot is in general. But anyway, this having aired the day before caused a swarm of reporters to land on Tochiozan today (Tochinoshin being kyujo, he missed the 15 minutes of glory).
Tochiozan was mighty pleased with all the attention. As it turns out, this was filmed some time in June, before the Nagoya basho, for two and a half hours – after morning keiko. Tochiozan recalls “it was quite tiring, since it was after keiko and all, and some of these guys are pro wrestlers and hit rather hard”. There were also former National Team members (in Rugby, I assume) among the group. And he was doing most of the butsukari. Tochinoshin just stepped in for the “star moment”. It’s good to be an Ozeki. Tochiozan recalls he kept getting instructions to assume a more fierce expression and to avoid laughing.
All that attention must have done the veteran some good, because in today’s Jungyo practice, he had 11 rounds of moshi-ai with Tamawashi, Abi, and others, and won 9 of them. Dosukoi!