Checking in on the Waseda Sumo Club

This week there’s been a flurry of activity on the Waseda Sumo Club’s blog. Most are authored by the club’s manager, a junior named Yoshimura.

They have set up a YouTube channel with a couple of short test videos featuring some practice bouts between Hashimoto (橋本) and Igarashi (五十嵐). One looks like a yorikiri win by Hashimoto and the other a hatakikomi win by Igarashi. If UNC (my alma mater) had a keiko-ba like this, I would have jumped at the chance to join. It looks like fun!

Seeing a woman with a mawashi reminds me of Lisa, my roommate’s girlfriend, and a few of her friends — not because she wore a mawashi but she was a gymnast, and I swear she would have destroyed me. I seem to remember she won more than a few sparring sessions against Matt in the living room, come to think of it. Sorry, these were in the days before YouTube so I do not have footage of those classic bouts. I did have a digital camera back then (I’ve always been an early adopter) but it had a floppy disk inside of it and the image quality wasn’t even anywhere near what you could get with one of those disposable cameras. And it definitely would not have handled video.

Waseda Chanko — 美味しそう!

Now that I’m in undergraduate-nostalgia-mode, I recall my diet in college was probably not optimal for competitive sumo. I think I would have had fewer pizzas, fried chicken tenders, fries, and pancakes if I had a sumo club. Instead, perhaps I would have eaten better chanko like what we see from the other posts this weekend. What we see here from Waseda’s post is a simple dish but would have been better than most cafeteria food and certainly better than what I would have been eating.

Yes, those pork buns are THAT good

The shimeji mushrooms strike me, in particular, because for like 25 years I thought I hated mushrooms — until I had one of these. I was at an izakaya called Yume (夢) in Hodogaya, close to the station. I think it’s along the highway 第一京浜 or close to the big intersection there. Or at least it was. It’s been ages. I got the mushrooms as one of those little dishes that they serve you before your meal (前菜), kinda like an appetizer. I used to go there for the buta kimchi (pork with kimchi) and to be polite I ate what was given to me, and they were fantastic. That’s actually how this “Southern Boy” had okra for the first time, too. I think the okra was served simply with sesame or something. Delicious.

Anyway, until that day I had thought all mushrooms were those terrible, bland “button” things they put on pizza and in salads here in the US. It turns out they’re not all the same. (I know, shocker, right?) I like shimeji while my wife is more of a fan of enoki. There are so many different kinds of mushrooms and some are absolutely amazing (others aren’t) but there’s so much variety. Why don’t we learn this stuff in elementary school? This is basic. Nowadays I’m actually jealous of makuuchi yusho winners getting that giant container of shiitake. Mmmmmmm….

Back on topic, the pork here was a gift from Waseda supporters, along with rice, nikuman (pork buns) and protein supplements, given by family and other supporters. This environment would foster a bit more community and more of the atmosphere I missed out on in college by choosing to double major in MarioKart and Bond.

With Ajigawa and Araiso’s new links to Waseda, in particular, it would be great to see more attention to University sumo in general. We also learn from Yoshimura’s post that the sumo club would have normally eaten with their supporters but these COVID times are weird for everyone. This is their way of showing what they did with it and showing appreciation. Another post from this past week brings us back to that Zoom Roundtable which featured Ajigawa and Demon Kakka. That would be an awesome Chanko-kai.


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