As I reported yesterday, the Jungyo was on a day off today, but some of the rikishi went to Asakura, Fukuoka, which was struck by torrential rains in July and suffered great deveastation, to comfort and cheer the surviving residents.
But what was first reported as “Hakuho and Kotoshogiku and a few officials” turned out to be a delegation of 46 men, 30 of whom were rikishi, who were there to make the survivors happy.
After observing a moment of silence beside the sculpture of Yokozuna Umegatani, who hailed from Asakura, the rikishi proceeded to a local venue where they mingled with the locals, and offered red-and-white sweets.
About 1200 people, including the local primary school kids, filled the main hall, where they viewed a demonstration of how an oicho-mage is done, listened to sumo-jinku, and of course, savoured the experience of Hakuho’s dohyo-iri.
Outside the venue, the locals could also enjoy free chanko-nabe.
The man of the day surprisingly turned out to be Tamawashi. His heya stayed at Asakura during the Kyushu basho. Many of the locals showed warm hospitality toward the former sekiwake, and he, in exchange, promised them that he would win a double-figure kachi-koshi. And as you may recall, he delivered!
So today, when he came back there, he was greeted warmly as a returning son, and said “So many familiar faces. It feels like a homecoming. I’ll consider Asakura as my second home town from now”.
He added that now he is eyeing the “top of the top”, meaning that he is not settling for a return to san’yaku, but he is going to go for an Ozeki run. Best of luck, Bejeweled Eagle!
Taking a break from the Aki Jungyo, Harumafuji payed a personal visit to some very sick children at Ehime University Hospital on the island of Shikoku across the Seto inland sea. As part of his cooperation with the Heart Saving Project, he spent time speaking with and encouraging the pediatric patients.
The HSP charity is dedicated to treating and preventing the high prevalence of juvenile heart disease among Mongolian children, and we salute Ama / Harumafuji for taking time to brighten these young patient’s hospital stay.
As an additional note – the bumblebee Yukata is awesome.