Kotokuzan is the first wrestler from Yokohama to make it to makuuchi in 30 years. The last, I believe, was Kiraiho. (Thank you SumoDB!) In celebration of his promotion, he was presented with a new kesho mawashi from the Japanese confectionary maker, Ariake.
Artwork from their Yokohama Harbour World line of sweets is featured on the mawashi, specifically the “double marron” cake. This features a white bean paste with bits of chestnut, inside a boat-shaped castella cake. The image is modeled after the 2009 visit of the Queen Mary II to Yokohama.
While there have been handful of wrestlers from other cities in Kanagawa, like Kawasaki and Odawara, his promotion breaks quite a drought for Japan’s second city. Yes, Yokohama has higher population than Osaka, by more than a million. The scale of the Kanto region can be difficult to imagine as the Tokyo-Yokohama-Kawasaki urban area is like taking New York City and putting it next to L.A., with Philadelphia squeezed in there as a bit of an afterthought. Somehow, several top division wrestlers have been coming from the Philadelphia-sized city of Kawasaki, but not from the L.A.-sized Yokohama…until now.
For those who travel to Tokyo, it can be easy to overlook Yokohama but I always suggest a visit if you’re planning to be in Tokyo for more than a weekend. Andy’s a bit partial because he called the residential district of Hodogaya as home (懐かしい). While Hodogaya is a sleepy bedroom-community of mostly commuters, the harbor area of Minato Mirai offers an amusement park with Ferris wheel, spectacular views, several malls, and proximity to Chinatown, Yamashita Park, Bashamichi, Yokohama’s baseball stadium, as well as Akarenga, where I saw Konishiki at a Hawaii-themed festival. Even Andy’s hazy memory of being kicked out of some club down there (Gas Panic?) brings a smile. Great times.
Yokohama is also home to the Hiyoshi campus of Keio University, and their neighboring high school. Keio is one of the top Japanese universities, with a deep rivalry with Waseda University (where Ajigawa and Nishonoseki oyakata have pursued graduate education).
My memories of Yokohama are quickly fading and I need to go back, pronto. I’m sure many things have changed but hopefully Yume is still there. A popular curry chain had uprooted a few of the smaller local shops last time I was in town.