Aki 2018 Jungyo – Days 19 and 20

There was relatively little information coming from these two events, so I made them into a single post.

dohyo-preparation
Local high schoolers prepare the dohyo

🌐 Location: Anan, Tokushima
🚫 Scandal level: 0

I often show you photos of this or that rikishi in a corner of the venue. This may give the impression that most rikishi are on the dohyo, and a few are lurking on the edges. The truth is – there simply isn’t enough room for everybody on or around a single dohyo. When the makushita-and-below rikishi train, the sekitori hang around the walls, and only later they get to the dohyo.

all-bases-are-loaded

Some sekitori, by the way, are “kamaboko”, which is the sumo term for someone who avoids practice though present in the keiko-ba.

kamaboko
Kamaboko

Kamaboko is this fish-paste, round at the top, flat at the bottom. The sumo term derives from rikishi whose back is pressed so hard against the keiko-ba’s walls to avoid the dohyo and the attention of the stablemaster, that it becomes flat.

The Yokozuna tsukebito wars continue. But what is this? Is there a new-found love between Gokushindo and Arikawa?gokushindo-arikawa

Err… not exactly.

gokushindo-picks-arikawas-nose

Ewwwww!!!

Don’t worry, Arikawa gets his revenge:

arikawa-revenge

Did I mention “Ewwwww!!!”?

Apropos Arikawa, here is a selfie he took with Awajiumi.

awajiumi-does-yumitori-again

And this selfie is significant because it tells us that Awajiumi did the bow twirling ceremony again today. Impressive oicho-mage there.

Some practice footage:

Some reverse butsukari between Kakuryu and Ryuden. “Reverse” meaning the higher ranking guy pushes and the lower-ranking guy lends his chest. It also means that none of the rolling around in the mud is to be expected:

Ichinojo vs. Daieisho:

Daieisho just too dynamic for mr. Glacier.

Goeido vs. Kaisei:

Asanoyama vs. Tochinoshin:

The huge brace is home again.

Here is a video summary of this day’s event, featuring the Tochinoshin-Goeido bout and the Kakuryu-Kisenosato bout:

And POOF! That brace has disappeared again, and Tochinoshin fights bare-legged, and despite that, lifts Goeido.

Kakuryu also fights seriously today. He lets Kisenosato do what he pleases with the left, and works on neutralizing his right – complementing it with a nice trip.

No Tobizaru, and the only Enho/Wakatakakage I could find is this photo with the local mascot:

enho-wakatakakage-mascot

I assure you that the mascot always has this expression. It’s not a result of being hugged by Enho.


🌐 Location: Kochi, Kochi
🚫 Scandal level: 0

Kochi prefecture boasts three sekitori. Well, two sekitori (Tochiozan and Chiyonoumi) and one on his way to gaining sekitori status again: Toyonoshima.

The two latter ones were the darlings of today’s event. In the previous Kochi event, two years ago, Chiyonoumi was in Sandanme. Now he is well-established in Juryo:

Toyonoshima was not part of the Jungyo so far. He is not officially sekitori as the Jungyo follows the previous basho’s banzuke. And he is married and well respected, so they wouldn’t just assign him as some youngster’s tsukebito. However, there was a special request for him to be present in this event, and he did show up.

toyonoshima

Tochinoshin doesn’t give autographs easily out of the designated fansa time. But you might get lucky if you are young enough:

Some practice bouts:

Meisei vs. Aoiyama:

Tamawashi vs. local boy Tochiozan:

Tochinoshin vs. Onosho:

…aaand the brace is back again.

Chiyonokuni vs. Kisenosato, NSK version:

Chiyonokuni vs. Kisenosato, spectator video version:

Here is a series of butsukari sessions:

  • Yoshikaze-Chiyonoumi
  • Takayasu-Tobizaru
  • Kotoshogiku-Azumaryu
  • Takayasu-Tsurugisho

I’m impressed with Tobizaru. He may not be the strongest pusher ever to mount a dohyo, but he sure gets up fast whenever he is thrown.

Back in the shitaku-beya, Teraoumi takes a picture. Haruminato tries to strike a cool pose. He ends up looking like he is totally checking out Ichinojo’s hefty backside:

haruminato-checks-out-ichinojo

Of course, the sekiwake himself is totally oblivious to all this.

Time for dohyo-iri. I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but when Shohozan went off the torikumi for a few days in the middle of the Jungyo, Yoshikaze took his place as Kisenosato’s tsuyuharai. And Yoshikaze is still doing that duty, despite Shohozan being back and active:

yoshikaze-tsuyuharai

By the way, do you see a difference between the Yokozuna’s kesho-mawashi and his two assistants’? The Yokozuna’s kesho mawashi is worn differently, with the top tucked into the mawashi. They design them with that in mind. Here is the designer‘s sketch of this set of kesho-mawashi:

kisenosato-kesho-mawashi-design

The design, by the way, is intended to express the spirit of the warrior (bu), as well as a dragon in the clouds (the meaning of the word “Unryu”, which is Kisenosato’s chosen style).

Personally, I think this set is one of the coolest I have seen.

Here is the Toyonoshima bout with Azumaryu. There is a monoii. And a kyogi. And then Furuwake oyakata tries to explain the kyogi. He is not exactly the best explainer in the world, but of course, the result is a torinaoshi:

And the result of the rematch is… wow, what did Toyonoshima just do?

toyonoshima-azumaryu

Certainly no questions about it this time around.

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 18 (Oct 21)

hanging-nobori
Nobori being hanged at Takamatsu

🌐 Location: Takamatsu, Kagawa
🚫 Scandal level: 1

The town of Takamatsu prepared for the sumo event, after two years of wait, hanging nobori and preparing the venue:

hanging-roof
The Jungyo hanging roof is a simple, light canopy, unlike honbasho

But alas, two years ago, when the previous Jungyo took place here, the prefecture boasted two sekitori: Kotoyuki and Amakaze. Amakaze is no longer among the sekitori ranks, and Kotoyuki is unfortunately kyujo.

Although he didn’t participate in the torikumi due to an unspecified injury, Takayasu was present at the practice session:

takayasu-practices

Tochinoshin, still no brace but with elaborate taping, did some suri-ashi in the hana-michi:

At one of the corners of the hall, this child is trying to figure out the double-assed monster:

double-assed-monster

Or maybe he is waiting to see if the expected hernia develops right in front of his eyes.

At another corner, Wakatakakage and Gokushindo were doing a mini-Shokkiri version of their own:

I would have expected people to start gathering around, and maybe asking where the hat is to throw coins into. But this is Japan.

Practice bouts:

Gagamaru vs. Yago:

Gagamaru has zero stamina.

Takekaze vs. Akiseyama

Takarafuji vs. Aoiyama:

Yet another Isegahama sekitori is fading away.

Shodai vs. Chiyonokuni:

Mitakeumi vs. Ryuden:

Not in the same league, apparently.

Mitakeumi vs. Tochinoshin:

That’s a whole different level. Note that since the morning Tochinoshin’s taping has become a heavy supporter – though I think it’s still not his usual brace. Maybe it’s being dry-cleaned.

Time for Juryo dohyo-iri. A kid asks Gagamaru for an autograph. Gagamaru replies: “If I said I can’t it would be a lie”:

Maybe it’s just me, but I find it really amusing when a huge rikishi has such a girly voice. It’s the same with Terunofuji. Huge, menacing rikishi, and a high-pitched, small voice.

Kisenosato back from demonstrating his rope tying. Yokozuna wearing their ropes don’t stop for fan service, but Awajiumi is serving as his proxy:

Time for Makuuchi dohyo-iri, and Takakeisho once again shows that his face is capable of more than just a pouting frown:

takakeisho-pleased

But of course, he is no competition to his new heya-mate:

takanosho-dakko

This is from earlier in the day, of course. If you wonder why rikishi are so often photographed with kids, well, there is a belief in Japan that if a rikishi carries your child she will grow up healthy and strong. This one took a long stare at Onigiri-kun, I mean, Takanosho. I guess trying to decide whether he was edible or not.

Waiting for the Yokozuna dohyo-iri, Nishikigi and Shodai exchange – let’s call it an elaborate handshake?

So why have I upped the scandal level to 1? Because once again Tamawashi is tweaking nipples:

tamawashi-tuning-yutakayama

He really seems fascinated by the things. Or is he trying to break into a safe? We have decided to call him Chichiwashi over at Twitter. That means “Boob Eagle”.

So as brain bleach against the booby monster, I give you a great photo of Abi’s shiko:

abi

Now that’s more wholesome. As long as you’re standing on this side, of course.

Here is a summary of the day’s event from NHK, where you can see some glimpses of bouts, and the full Kisenosato-Kakuryu bout:

So here is your daily Tobizaru:

tobizaru

If he ever opens an online dating account for the purpose of marriage, that’s the photo I’d recommend as his profile pic.

 

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Days 15 and 16

I couldn’t get much stuff yesterday about the Ikeda event, so I decided to give you a double-header today instead.


terutsuyoshi-salt-throw

🌐 Location: Ikeda, Osaka
🚫 Scandal level: 0

Feast your eyes on that salt throw by Terutsuyoshi, because after this event, he goes off the radar.

Well, not before he manages to join the list of rikishi with a moob fixation. But while Tamawashi at least chooses fine-chested harassment objects, Terutsuyoshi is going for one who is not really known for his good build.

And while he does this, he continues to talk to Wakatakakage, completely ignoring his squeezy toy. No wonder Akiseyama looks sad. Eventually he fends off the groping pixie and covers his chest with his arms defensively.

Tamawashi gives Chiyotairyu a command: fetch Enho. Enho arrives at the dohyo at the komusubi’s request, and Don Tamawashi takes him a side for a little conversation:

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me like Enho is twice trying to escape. I can only imagine the conversation:

“Hello, little one. I hear a lot of good things about you lately, you know. We were in Kanazawa the other day. You have family in Kanazawa, right? Well, I sent some people to pay them a visit, see that they are alright. You know, family is important. Your brother seems like a nice guy. I’d hate to see anything bad happen to any of them. So now, half pint, I have something to tell you. I’m sure you’re not going to be impolite and not listen”

[gulp] “Um, yes, sir?”

“Happy birthday! Many happy returns!”

Yes, yes, this was Enho’s birthday. And that’s what Tamawashi wanted him for, apparently. Well, I’m sure it is. Positive.

So let’s look at some keiko.

Chiyonoumi vs. Tomokaze:

Azumaryu vs. Meisei:

Meisei is not having the best of times lately.

Takakeisho vs. Aoiyama:

Kisenosato continues with Mitakeumi:

Aoiyama lending his mighty chest to Meisei for butsukari:

Tochiozan turns out to be a rather severe dealer of butsukari:

Get your legs moving! Get up quickly! The legs, I told you to get your legs moving! [slap on arm] Legs!

Arikawa is a friendly guy. Here he is following his bout:

Admit it, before this Jungyo you didn’t have a clue who Arikawa was. Now you know!

And speaking of Yokozuna tsukebito, here is Kasugaryu, the servant without a master, getting his oicho done in preparation for his bow twirl:

I wonder who it is he is greeting with that shy smile and “osu”.

Finally, the only bout I have is Meisei vs. Kyokushuho:

How Kyokushuho manages to get his front mawashi end loose like that in this slow match is beyond me.

Here is your Tobizaru:

tobizaru


🌐 Location: Kurayoshi, Tottori
🚫 Scandal level: 0, despite this being Tottori.

hiyonoyama-misasa-onsen
Hiyonoyama decides to go to Misasa Onsen

Do you know what day it is?

It’s Ichinojo day!

Everybody knows that Ichinojo and Tottori are synonymous. Well, in a world in which he is not a Mongolian giant specializing in shepherding and wolf avoidance, that is.

Having graduated from the famous Tottori Johoku high school – and also worked there after graduation – the locals consider him a home boy. Especially when all the other home boys, like Ishiura, Takanoiwa and Terunofuji are MIA. He has managed to stay away from last year’s scandal by being kyujo due to hernia, so this year, he is the subject of adoration. Sought after when he is in his practice mawashi:

ichinojo-in-practice-mawashi

And when he is in his kesho-mawashi:

ichinojo-in-kesho-mawashi

Requested for interviews:

Looking mighty worried until he remembers the magic incantation: “Gambarimasu!”

Note how he always shuffles his feet and seeks something to cover himself up:

Even Abi wants a piece of Ichinojo this day:

Which he obviously doesn’t need because as soon as Ichinojo leaves, everybody is running to Abi.

Speaking of Abi and attention-seeking, here is how he avoids stopping for autographs:

“Oh, my shoulder hurts! Ow, it hurts terribly! Oh, woe is me!”

Five minutes later he was signing autographs with a totally straight face, of course.

Right outside the venue a great board was set up, for people to write encouragements following the Chubu Earthquake. Some space was allocated for the rikishi to put in their tegata, autograph and words of encouragement. Here is Takanosho applying his:

Ichinojo chose this spot for todays fashion statement:

ichinojo-fashion-statement

I want a towel that’s big enough to wrap around a whole Ichinojo!

Here is a part of the board:

tegata

Ichinojo’s message is the one without a Tegata, right below the 回. He wrote in shaky Hiragana “All Tottori people, gambarize! I love Tottori! Please support me.”

By the way, the tegata marked with that triangle is Takakeisho. The tweet author noticed that he has a much smaller hand than most other rikishi. It’s a real mystery how this man is the level he is, given his short arms, tiny hands, and severe respiration issue. I guess he has serious gambarization skills.

I can’t pretend to be able to read the rikishi signatures, but I can recognize Tochinoshin (to the right of Ichinojo’s spot), and Nishikigi (below Takakeisho’s).

Back inside the venue, Chiyonokuni once again demonstrates his superb flexibility:

chiyonokuni-really-flexible

While Shodai is harrassed again – but not by Tamawashi, but by Kaisei:

kaisei-hazes-shodai

Shodai was doing his stretches, when out of nowhere Kaisei appeared, declared “You are not flexible enough”, and proceeded to apply pressure to Shodai’s legs to make them more like Chiyonokuni’s above. This was countered by cries of “Ouch! It hurts! It hurts! Stop forcing it! You are the sumo world’s dark side!”

Kotoshogiku practiced a bit on the side lines:

Some practice bouts on the dohyo:

Meisei vs. Azumaryu:

Ah, the voice of frustration.

Nishikigi vs. Tochiozan:

Chiyonokuni vs. Tochiozan:

Chiyonokuni seems to try to go for the mawashi – but that fails miserably.

Ryuden vs. Myogiryu:

Practice time over, and Nishikigi shows us how he survives through a Jungyo full of practical jokers who fiddle with his glasses when he is away:

nishikigi-three-pairs-of-glasses

Three pairs. Simple.

Are we going to see a whole day without somebody groping somebody’s boobs?

No we aren’t!

A… A… Aoiyama?! People who live in glass houses…

And why is everybody picking on Shodai anyway?

On a brighter note, remember the new yumitori performer, Awajiumi? Well, today was his debut. This doesn’t mean Kasugaryu has been deposed, yet, though I’ve seen many on the net wishing for that to happen… Guess why…

The man has talent! Still needs to brush up his transitions, but look at that shiko!

No Tobizaru was forthcoming this day, so here is Enho instead:

enho

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 11 (Oct 13)

venue
Venue at Toyota. What, no cars?

🌐 Location: Toyota, Aichi
🚫 Scandal level: 0

The city of Toyota is mostly known for the headquarters of a certain motor company. But if we are in Toyota, we are in Aichi prefecture again. And if we are in Aichi prefecture again, then the star of the day is once again…

akiseyama-and-nishikigi
Akiseyama! (And Nishikigi)

OK, it’s enough that Akiseyama looks inelegant in a mawashi. But that sash is certainly not doing him any favors. You see, in each event there are a few rikishi – usually the local stars if any, but others if not – stand in a corner dedicated to the prevention of violence wearing those sashes and shaking hands with the fans. The rest of the rikishi don’t wear a sash, just their practice mawashi.

But anyway, somebody designed these sashes with a normal-sized Japanese person in mind. So it doesn’t really work well for rikishi.

I mean, someone the size of Wakatakakage could look half-way decent in it.

gagamaru-just-cant-fit

But Gagamaru just had to give up.

Outside the venue, young Yobidashi Shigejiro from Kokonoe beya, who is a Jonidan Yobidashi, was doing the drumming duty for the day. But for some reason, there is a whole Yobidashi conference around him:

yobidashi-conference

What is this all about? I can’t say for sure, but take a look at the official photo:

taiko-shigejiro-seiza

Oh, a young Yobidashi in a traditional seiza posture (ouch, I can’t sit seiza for more than 30 seconds!), doing the fine traditional duty of… wait a second… is that his smartphone?

That may or may not be the reason for the rather shocked expression of the high-ranking yobidashi behind him in the first photo.

I don’t think he got too badly disciplined for this, though. In fact, he was relieved from duty for a while to have a drink of water, by no other than the san-yaku yobidashi Shiro.

shigejiro-replaced-by-shiro

Or maybe Shiro just decided that he, too, wants to watch a movie while drumming.

Going back inside the venue, let’s move along the walls and see who’s doing what.

Takekaze and Okinoumi working out:

okinoumi-working-out

I wouldn’t be surprised if that rubber strap with the convenient handles actually belongs to Takekaze. He’s been going around with all sorts of portable workout devices which I think are provided by a sponsor.

Remember I talked about Chiyonokuni’s splits? Well, judge for youself:

shodai-opines-about-chiyonokuni
Shodai: “Are you sure this is not hazardous to your future parenthood?”

Aminishiki, rather than practicing sumo, was practicing his future oyakata skills.

aminishiki-practices-oyakata-skills

Looks like he is explaining something about a maemitsu grip.

I keep showing goofy pictures of Abi. But the boy is pretty serious when it comes to customer service:

abi-serious-about-his-fansa

Or maybe he just hasn’t woken up yet.

Kakuryu was doing some push-ups at the side of the dohyo:

kakuryu-pushup

While his tsukebito, Gokushindo, was engaged in a battle of Yokozuna tsukebito off on the tarp:

gokushindo-arikawa
Gokushindo vs. Arikawa. Not fair!

Gokushindo was always at it with Arikawa this day:

Wait, these two were spitting at each other?

Speaking of Arikawa, remember that strange Kise Dance? The Yokozuna does that every day. There are miles of footage on Twitter of that puzzling little exercise. But take a look at this one:

Arikawa is quantum-entangled with Kisenosato? Or… is he making fun of the Yokozuna behind his back? Chiyonokuni must have given him a significant look as he passed there, because Arikawa hurriedly stops.

Here is a smiling Ichinojo I just couldn’t let pass:

smiling-ichinojo

And speaking of smiles, this photo is from the Chiganoura Twitter account. They had somebody take picture of their Jungyo participants this day – on duty, off duty. I think they weren’t quite prepared for the stir this photo (and the others that accompanied it) will cause:

smiling-takakeisho

This got replies such as “Takakeisho can smile? I can’t believe it!”, “Chiganoura oyakata, you’re a magician!”, “Wow, this changes my whole perception of Takakeisho”, and so on. It’s not as if Takakeisho never smiled in Jungyo, but it’s a kind of thing you usually only see in unofficial photos.

But Chiganoura seems to be a heya of smiles. This is a picture of Takanosho:

takanosho-and-omusubiman

Takanosho’s nickname is “Onigiri-kun”. Fans claim he looks like an onigiri:

Onigiri

…only with a smile. Some fan gave him that figure of “Omusubi-man”. “Omusubi” is another name for “onigiri”. And yes, there are some similarities, aren’t there? :-)

On the dohyo, Tochiozan, who started this Jungyo kyujo, joined it a couple of days before, and has been working hard since:

tochiozan-working-hard

But if you take a look at his lower body, it seems like maybe he should have stayed off the dohyo for a while longer:

tochiozan-leg

I guess that’s what happens when your oyakata is the Jungyo master.

Now let’s take a look at some of the on-dohyo action:

Here’s Chiyonoumi vs. Gokushindo:

See, that’s why I wrote above that Gokushindo vs. Arikawa is just not fair. Gokushindo is very serious and beats Juryo rivals left and right. He is literally out of Arikawa’s league.

Chiyotairyu vs. Aoiyama:

Given Aoiyama’s knee situation, he’s pretty mobile.

Kagayaki vs. Asanoyama:

Kagayaki seems to have a rather frustrating Jungyo.

Going off the dohyo again and outside, there is a new yumi-tori performer in training!

This is Awajiumi from Tagonoura beya. He is Kisenosato’s tsukebito. Remember the guy with the little wand-like stick standing in front of Kisenosato in the rope tying demonstration? That’s the guy.

This seems to be significant. In the previous Jungyo a new backup performer was introduced – Hokutoo from Hakkaku beya. But Hokutoo is not a tsukebito for any of the Yokozuna. Tradition requires that the performer should be a yokozuna’s tsukebito. Kakuryu has several tsukebito from Hakkaku beya, but Hokutoo is not one of them.

Now that Kisenosato is out of kyujo, and has passed his “probation” basho, a rikishi from his own team – and his own heya – can be introduced to the bow-twirling ceremony. I’ve seen many tweets wishing to see him installed at Kyusho, though that remains to be seen. I don’t think they depose an existing official performer unless his associated Yokozuna retires – though I don’t know what the custom is when the Yokozuna involved is kyujo.

Going back inside, it was time for Shokkiri. And the performance didn’t even begin, but the gyoji was already bursting with laughter in anticipation:

gyoji-laughs-before-shokkiri

Time for the Juryo dohyo-iri. And fans, of course, don’t settle just for the designated fansa time, but ask for autographs at all times. Enho obliges, but that doesn’t mean that Terutsuyoshi is going to let go of him for even a second:

enho-terutsuyoshi

I generally think it’s really nice to have someone always ready to hug you when you are on a long, tiring tour of the entire country, far from the comforts of home (or at least your private Sekitori room). But maybe Terutsuyoshi is overdoing it just a a tad.

By the way, lest you think that I have a bias for pretty rikishi, here is a pretty gyoji for you:

shikimori-kinosuke-attracts-the-little-ladies

This is Shikimori Kinosuke, who is apparently doing the announcer duty for this event. And he is pretty enough to attract the attentions of the ladies. Though admittedly this particular lady seems to be a bit on the young side.

So of course, all I have from either the Juryo or the Makuuchi bouts is just Terutsuyoshi’s salt throw:

terutsuyoshi-and-his-salt-throw

Come on! Where are all the aunties with the video-capable phones?

Sigh,

So here is your Tobizaru of the day.

tobizaru
Who dared blemish that face?!