Having visited Tochigi, we now go south, back to the center of sumo. Not quite Tokyo, but Chiba prefecture is home to several sumo stables and many savvy fans, as you will see from the number of photos and videos we have today.
By the way, if you want to feel something akin to actually being in a jungyo event, set a couple of hours aside. Hey, it’s Sunday, isn’t it? We have a video at the end of this report which covers almost all the essential points, including a lot of keiko and Makuuchi bouts.
🌐 Location: Chiba, Chiba prefecture
Our local boys today are Kotonowaka and Takanosho, AKA “Onigiri-kun”:
We start our day with them outside, handing over tissues to the incoming spectators:
But those are not just plain tissues. Oh no! These are Yakuza Eradication tissues! Be sure to fully cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze. Don’t let any gangster get away!
So we know we are safe from any organized crime as we go inside and watch what the rikishi are doing.
Ikioi is exercising with his tsukebito:
Behind them you can see Sokokurai stretching. Asanoyama is also in the stretching business:
The Iwasaki brothers, Tobizaru and Hidenoumi, exercise together:
Mitakeumi and Hokutofuji finish with their handshakes and head for the main hall:
As do Abi and Enho:
Kagayaki seems to be working on strengthening his toes:
Or maybe he is stretching them. Don’t underestimate toe exercise, by the way. Last basho, when uncle Asashoryu had his angry tweetstorm about Hoshoryu’s loss, in addition to nearly disowning the poor fella, he remembered to tell him that his toes were weak and specify an exercise he should do with a flattened newspaper to remedy the situation. Tough love. The point being that toes are extremely important in sumo, like little fingers.
Over at the dohyo, Goeido also seems to be concentrating on his feet (and showing us his best side):
Over at the hana-michi, Hakuho has ran out of juice. His tsukebito hurriedly replace his batteries before the customers notice.
OK, I don’t suppose that’s really what they are doing (I’m sure the skull is not where you insert the batteries anyway), but I’m completely stumped as to what is really going on here. Suggestions are welcome in the comments.
Next to the dohyo, Narutaki (from Isenoumi beya) receives instruction from Asahiyama oyakata:
I’m always amused by the way these coaching sessions go. “You do it like this (gesture)”. “Yes sir, like this (gesture)”. “Exactly, like this (same gesture)”. “Right sir, like this (same gesture)”.
Kakuryu has his own special exercise plan. It starts with this:
I wonder if prayer is part of the exrecise. Then, of course, there is his Bugblatter Beast Of Traal exercise:
This one is with the resistance backwards. Its complement is this one:
And yes, there is also a sideways version (available in the big video at the end).
Let’s watch some Juryo moshi-ai:
I know, it’s hard to know who’s against who and the NSK is not writing any captions. I think I saw Kaisho, Kizakiumi, Hidenoumi and Kiribayama there.
Local boy Takanosho gets some TLC from Tochinoshin:
Tochinoshin himself, by the way, got some butsukari from Goeido:
But of course, that’s just plain butsukari, not kawaigari.
Here is some Makuuchi practice:
Lot’s of good stuff in this video, and Shohozan seems to be in a very good shape – as is Kotoyuki.
Mitakeumi won his moshiai against Asanoyama, and everybody was raising their voices to get the next bout, when in stepped Hakuho. Everybody retreated, it’s san-ban time.
Note how Hakuho started using his right hand to grab the mawashi again. According to the newspapers, this sanban included 10 bouts, of which Hakuho won 9.
Following that there was the usual clean-up butsukari that follows each session of moshi-ai. At some point Shodai was giving Mitakeumi a lengthy butsukari – about 2 minutes – and then again, the Yokozuna stepped in to do some of his own kawaigari:
This was not a lengthy session, though. The Yokozuna added a little over two minutes of his own. Mitakeumi, as per protocol, was very thankful:
So no repeat of the Yutakayama mutiny. Mitakeumi himself noted that he was out of breath pretty early: “Once again I realize that my body is not ready”, he said. But he still wants to go on that Ozeki run in Kyushu. “I need at least double figures. It would be a shame if I got just 10 and could win no more.”
With practice over, the sekitori hit the showers. Some rikishi still have work to do, though. Here is Ebisumaru getting ready for his Shokkiri act:
Today’s yumi-tori shiki is to be performed by Shohoryu. Is this him carrying the bow and the NSK’s kesho-mawashi?
No. Actually, it’s another member of Team Kakuryu, Gokushindo. All for one and one for all!
The Yokozuna leaves the practice area, but before he can get anywhere near the showers, there is a sea of fans to satisfy:
This is actually part of the big video we have at the end of this post. Note that Kasugaryu has a job not just guarding the Yokozuna, but also picking up overlooked shikishi boards and handing them to the Yokozuna for signing. This ensures that no fan goes home disappointed. This is how you earn the title “Fansa kami-sama”.
And in between the fans, Hakuho also manages to rub shoulders with the France Rugby coaching team:
Those are some big Frenchmen.
Other tsukebito, serving lesser sekitori, are outside drying mawashi. These are Narutaki and Yoshoyama, who have been inseparable this Jungyo, despite the fact that they are from different heya:
Speaking of inter-heya relationships, how about an inter-profession friendship?
These are actually Takataisho, from Chiganoura beya, who I assume is in the Jungyo as Takagenji’s tsukebito, though he is usually Takakeisho’s. And the guy he is wrapping his arm around is Kimura Ryosuke, the Makushita gyoji from Hakkaku beya. They seem to be pretty close.
Tamawashi is on his way back to the shitaku-beya after his shower, wearing a… well…
Shobushi, who is just come back from Shokkiri, is totally trying to brain bleach what he just saw:
By the way, this is what’s left from Ebisumaru’s pretty oicho after that shokkiri:
And if the Shokkiri team is on its way to the showers, there’s a good chance somebody is having his hair tying demonstration up on the dohyo. Today it’s Shodai. He is not a home boy, but since both home boys are Juryo, and they need to be ready for their dohyo-iri very soon after the hair-tying demonstration, a Makuuchi model is used instead:
Speaking of pre- and post-shower hairdos, here is a fashion show for you:
Meisei shows us the basic man bun design. Some rikishi, however, don’t have that much of a luxurious hair, so:
Daishoho’s bun is lean and tall.
Local boy Kotonowaka, on the other hand, has great luxurious hair, so it’s a pity he chooses a neglectful, unkempt bun option:
Ryuden goes for the “Tower of Babylon”, or maybe “Tower of Pisa”.
Abi chooses the “Octopus”:
Yutakayama surprises with a Vermeer head wrap:
I wonder if he also has a pearl earring.
But Asanoyama wins our fashion contest with a scarfless head wrap:
Honorable mention, not for the hairdo, but for the branded bath towel, goes to Enho:
I didn’t even know Louis Vuitton bath towels existed.
It’s time for the Juryo dohyo-iri. And you know it’s boring. So how about a game of Atchi-muite-hoi?
The rules are simple. You do rock-paper-scissors. The winner moves his finger left to right, right to left, top-down or bottom-up. The opponent needs to move his head at the same time. If they go in the same direction, the finger wins. If not, it’s a draw and you play again.
The sumo version involves punishing the loser by konpachi. It seems Yago keeps losing. So let’s move on to the Juryo matches, and the rikishi who wait to do them.
Girls, find yourselves a man who will look at you like Ichiyamamoto looks at Mitoryu:
Juryo is pretty depleted with all the kyujo and retirements, so we have two Makushita rikishi doing Juryo bouts each day. One is usually a home boy if possible. Today, that’s Chiyoarashi, a Chiba native. The other is usually Shonannoumi:
He’s getting used to that oicho-mage by now.
Near the end of the Juryo bouts, it’s time for the rope tying demonstration. Kakuryu is waiting for his cue, when he suddenly realizes:
“Oh my, I have an awesome tush!”
…Let’s move on to the Makuuchi dohyo-iri. Tamawashi arrives singing:
And you know that’s going to develop into a situation, don’t you? If Chiyomaru is the harbinger of trouble in Juryo, Tamawashi has to be in the thick of it in Makuuchi:
The rules here are simpler: lose the rock-paper-scissors, get a konpachi. But Chiyotairyu is not satisfied with Kagayaki as a tormentor, and requests the head Inquisitor, Nishikigi.
And here is something from the dohyo-iri you can’t see in the video below: a smart salute:
Well, my commanding officer would have wrinkled his nose at this one, but it’s a start. At least he’s doing it with the correct hand.
We have Makuuchi bouts aplenty in the big video ahead. One thing you’ll be glad to hear is that Futagoyama oyakata is back from kyujo:
Here is Enho getting back to the shitaku-beya after his bout (those of you who have been following these reports in previous Jungyo will know if he won or lost by the state of his sagari. Try guessing before going to the video). A fan calls from above “Enho… look this way”. So Enho looks his way. Fan satisfied, and no need even for a permanent marker!
Is it a Jungyo event? Yes. So does it have a kore-yori-sanyaku? Of course. Is Hakuho participating? He is! That means we have this scene:
So here it is: the big video I have been referring to. Did you clear out two hours? Do you have popcorn? Good.
A list of events for the impatient among you. I recommend watching at least the keiko in full, there’s lots of good stuff in there.
- 00:00:00 – Handshakes, merchandizing
- 00:01:00 – Morning keiko
- 00:28:11 – Hakuho’s sanban with Mitakeumi
- 00:34:34 – Hakuho’s kawaigari with Mitakeumi
- 00:35:15 – Final butsukaris
- 00:37:08 – End of practice, fansa.
- 00:40:58 – Sumo Jinku
- 00:56:25 – Shokkiri
- 01:07:45 – Drumming demonstration
- 01:13:32 – Shodai’s hair styling
- 01:26:17 – Yokozuna rope tying demo
- 01:29:28 – Makuuchi dohyo-iri
- 01:34:14 – Kakuryu dohyo-iri
- 01:36:39 – Hakuho dohyo-iri
- 01:39:17 – Makuuchi bouts
- 01:52:00 – Sanyaku soroi bumi (kore-yori sanyaku)
- 02:03:05 – Yumitori-shiki Shohoryu (he’s doing great!)
- 02:05:30 – Buses leaving the venue
And I won’t leave you without a pin-up. Today it’s Ryuden and his slightly risqué bath-towel: