Wait, what? Day 7? Did I skip days 4-6? Um, yes I did. I skipped Asanoyama Day, and Mitakeumi Day. Maybe I’ll get back to them later. Who said I have to do this chronologically anyway? But day 7 had some fun materials I just couldn’t skip. So let’s get to it.
🌐 Location: Tokorozawa, Saitama
The Jungyo is reaching the environs of Tokyo, stopping at Tokorozawa. And you know who was born and raised in Tokorozawa?
One very proud Hokutofuji.
So this was definitely Hokutofuji Day. For example, hand shakes. Compare, as baseline, the very nice to kids, and usually popular Endo:
And now the very polite but usually less popular Hokutofuji:
Nevertheless, Hokutofuji is not the only rikishi in the venue. So let’s take a look around the arena. We have Kagayaki taping himself up:
Almost every sekitori has this big taping kit without which he doesn’t start the day. I say “almost”, because the ones from the former Takanohana beya have been taught that taping turns your limbs into weapons, so they don’t, unless actually injured. It’s not some strange ideological Takanohana thing either – his brother expressed exactly the same view when he commentated for Abema TV during the basho. Must be something they got from their dad.
Anyway, taping and stretching at the same time. Who else is extending their limbs? We have Wakatakakage, who is stretching as well as chatting with Daishoho:
Meisei is warming up:
Lower body as well:
Ichinojo is giving the evil spirits in Tokorozawa ground an urgent eviction notice.
Enho is doing some suri-ashi at the hana-michi:
Kakuryu is also doing suri-ashi next to the dohyo. He finishes it with a practice of his best Yokozuna expression. What will it be? Sombre? Dignified? Fierce?
Ahahaha… Nope. He just can’t pull off the “I’m an awe-inspiring, fearful, representative of ancient samurai” look. That’s more Hakuho’s domain.
Speaking of whom, Yokozuna in the house!
He joins the stretching:
That lady in the striped blouse with the smartphone got herself a very strategically placed seat, let me tell ya. The Yokozuna is showing her every single phase of the moon.
Laughing aside, that’s some awesome flexibility there. The Yokozuna was also practicing his tachiai:
Seriously, Yokozuna, if you want to improve your tachiai, try touching the ground and then springing. Doing it from a crouching position without touching the ground is just a bad habit that will get you into more trouble.
Kiribayama was stretching in a corner, when this lady asked him what his name was. After all, he is a pretty new sekitori.
His answer? “Takanofuji”. OK then…
“What is this?”, you may be asking. “We are used to having more serious goofs than that. Where are our nipple tweaks?”
Ah, yes. Here you go. Gokushindo, if you recall, has a a very interesting chest:
Facing us are Gokushindo and Shohoryu – the guy who is not Hoshoryu. They are both members of Kakuryu’s team. And Gokushindo seems not to even notice that he is being milked.
Better send Kotoyuki to rescue him!
OK, readers. Let’s make this interesting. Kotoyuki is a superhero, obviously, given the cape and all. What is his hero name, and what is his superpower? Please reply in the comments!
Shodai is practicing his cartoon powers using a rubber tube.
Somebody buy the man an anvil!
Shohozan is asked to take a photo with a baby. He gets into a deep conversation with said baby:
Definitely an “awwww” moment there.
Meisei is not waiting for the dohyo to clear up, and just goes at it with Onosho:
But everybody is gathering at the dohyo eventually. Here is Wakatakakage again, and he is friends with Ichinojo:
And Shohozan is friends with Enho, I guess:
Tobizaru is being coached by the Jungyo master, Kasugano:
OK, let’s look at some serious practice. This one’s pretty intense:
And then there are Hokutofuji’s practice bouts, which get a mention on the PA, and attention from the spectators:
Also pretty intense.
Here is Aoiyama vs. Ryuden. A bit of a long shot…
Hakuho did not do the kawaigari today – we’ll get to that in a minute. He was working on various techniques with Okinoumi. Tachiai practice:
Sigh. Where is Konosuke when you need him? Get those hands down, Yokozuna!
Eventually, the two relax and have a conversation, which is reported to include a lot of gestures. So I’m hoping Okinoumi also got at least some coaching after being pressed into service as a crash-test dummy.
Next up is the kawaigari-du-jour. Only, it’s given by Kakuryu, not by Hakuho. The recipient is, of course, Hokutofuji. Here is part of it:
Hakuho likes kicking, Kakuryu prefers slapping tushes. The end result is the same: our home boy dragging himself away:
Poor Hokutofuji (his nickname is “Hokkun”) still has a full schedule ahead of him. But now that practice is over, it’s time for the low-ranker’s bouts, and the entertainment. Hakuomaru is looking up his bout in the torikumi listing:
A lone rikishi is laying out mawashi to dry outside. And we can see that, yes, it’s still quite hot.
The second mawashi from the bottom looks like it has seen a lot of action over the years.
Inside the venue, the entertainment includes a drum demonstration. On the side lines, Hokutofuji is waiting for his turn to demonstrate his hair being tied. Juryo rikishi are getting ready for their dohyo-iri. And Kyokutaisei, listening to the drum, gets into a drumming mood:
Yes, it’s Hokutofuji’s turn… to be nice to the audience:
After the Juryo bouts are over, it’s time for the Makuuchi dohyo-iri… and the goofing around that comes with it, of course! Nishikigi is trying to give Abi a konpachi:
Abi has good instincts and escapes, but then they all decide to do a rock-paper-scissors competition, with the loser getting a “dekopin”, which is that same konpachi to the forehead.
The loser is apparently Shohozan. But just look at Shodai’s face.
(At some point he lost, too. Yes, there was more than one round. And he got the konpachi in the eye, which is not very savory).
So you see this photo of the very happy faces in the dohyo-iri, the kind you wouldn’t get in honbasho? Now you know why…
With the dohyo-iri over, it’s time for the bout. All the makuuchi members wear their silk mawashi, and… what exactly is Enho doing?
He’s probably the only rikishi who would dare to go up on a service cart and even jump up and down…
He will soon forget his joie de vivre, though, as Daishoho sets him up with the oldest trick in the book. Remember? Salt in the chikara-mizu, how original!
Just before Tomokaze and Terutsuyoshi have to go down the hanamichi, they get busy with some fansa, when Terutsuyoshi decides to test the fan’s magic marker on Tomokaze.
And lest you think Tomokaze is an angel who is only ever abused and never abuses, here he is a few moments later, being bored…
But what about the bouts themselves? Well, I only have one: Hokutofuji vs. Endo:
And I think the only time you’ll ever see Endo smiling is during those bouts with the home boys:
And I sign off with today’s pin-up boy, Ichiyamamoto: