Asanoyama Keiko With Araiso-oyakata

As Herouth noted yesterday, Asanoyama was not exactly thrilled to receive an invitation to join Tagonoura-beya for degeiko (出稽古) or keiko outside of one’s own heya. Perhaps the risk of kawaigari with the former yokozuna was a bit less scary than the idea of kawaigari with the current dai-yokozuna, so Asanoyama did make the trip.

Welcome to Tagonoura-beya!

I digress, but for those going to Tokyo or in Tokyo, Asanoyama’s stable, Takasago, is in a great location for a visit. I LOVE THIS PLACE. I could just walk around these areas for days. Oh, wait, I actually do that whenever I’m there. It is a bit of a hike from Ryogoku station, between Ryogoku and Kinshicho of the Sobu Line and the Asakusa Line’s Honjo-Azumabashi station. Ryogoku is the station that is home to Kokugikan. Honjo-Azumabashi is in between Sky Tree (Oshiage) and Asakusa (home of the Kaminarimon Gate). Honjo-Azumabashi is on the side of the river with the big unchi, otherwise known as the headquarters of Asahi beer.

Maybe Asanoyama went with the longer trip?

So in his case it may have made more sense for Asanoyama and his entourage to go from Kinshicho, and take the Sobu line up to Koiwa…or get someone to drive them. I favor the idea of a bunch of sumo wrestlers on the train, especially if Asanoyama wanted to delay his punishment.

At least Araiso seems to have had fun, judging by the maniacal laughter while Asanoyama lies, defeated, on the dohyo behind him. The former Yokozuna took 16 of their 17 bouts. While Takayasu was available, the opposing sekiwake opted for butsukari with Asanoyama rather than doing any bouts. This worries me because if Takayasu isn’t ready for keiko bouts against a sekiwake — a week before the honbasho — he won’t be ready to win 10 of 15 real bouts against 1) a pair of Yokozuna with something to prove, 2) two desperate ozeki hoping to maintain their status, and, 3) a half-dozen up-and-comers gunning for his place.

Yokozuna Kisenosato’s Retirement Ceremony

Sunday in Tokyo, the retirement ceremony for Yokozuna Kisenosato, now Araiso Oyakata, was held in front of a capacity crowd at the Ryogoku Kokugikan. As is customary with retirement of a top ranking rikishi, the entire event was a celebration of sumo and his long and noteworthy career.

The ceremony included his final dohyo-iri, with Ozeki Takayasu serving as his sword bearer, and Shohozan as his herald / dew sweeper.

Of course the primary event was the cutting of his mage, with many sumo greats mounting the dohyo to take a snip, and pay their respect to the retiring Yokozuna. Though there were a lot of great folks, I got a bit misty when Harumafuji took his cut.

But in time the friends and family had had their turn, and the Yobidashi read a summary of his career, and his accomplishments. Following that, Tagonoura Oyakata mounted the dohyo to finish the job. The last vestiges of Kisenosato were put to rest, and his career as a rikishi was complete.

While it was enough to make a long-term sumo fan a bit wistful, things quickly changed gear, and Araiso received a proper hair cut, donned his suit and shortly thereafter the parties began. One of the reasons I love Japan, the passing of time and the changes in peoples lives are frequently celebrated with family, co-workers and friends.

Thanks for all of the awesome sumo, Kisenosato. We are eager to see your deshi.

Upcoming Sumo Calendar

With banzuke weekend upon us, all of team Tachiai are eagerly awaiting the September ranking sheet, and to see how close lksumo came to hitting the bull’s eye on one of the more difficult to predict transitions in a while.

But while we wait with eager glee to see how many Komusubi and Sekiwake there are for Aki, let’s look forward to the next month or so of glorious sumo action. Here’s the plan

August

  • August 26th – Aki Banzuke (afternoon August 25th for us lucky Yanks)
  • August 31st – YDC Soken – Many of the top ranked rikishi will practice and compete in front of YDC committee members and some media luminaries

September

  • September 6th – Day 1 Torkiumi drawn up
  • September 7th – Dohyo Matsuri and yusho portrait unveiling
  • September 8th – Aki basho day 1
  • September 22nd – Aki basho day 15
  • September 25th – Banuzke committee meets to draw up the Kyushu banzuke
  • September 29th – Kisenosato’s retirement ceremony (Kokugikan)
  • September 30th – Meiji shrine ceremonies / dohyo-iri