Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 17

🌐 Location: Rikuzentakata, Iwate

venue
Dream Arena Takata – spiffy new building, shiny parking lot

The Jungyo headed East on August 15th (yes, I’m late again), and landed in the coastal town of Rikuzentakata, holding the event at the brand new Dream Arena Takata which was opened this spring.

There is good reason both the building and everything around it is brand new. Rikuzentakata was virtually wiped off the face of the Earth in the tsunami of 2011. It was one of the hardest hit towns, with death toll nearing 2000 people – around 10% of its population. This is the first time in 63 years a Jungyo event takes place at this small town, but Hakuho is actually returning to it 7 years and 5 months after his previous visit – doing Yokozuna-dohyo-iri to encourage the survivors after that devastating natural disaster. “I was the sole yokozuna then”, he recalls. “I did a dohyo-iri twice a day”.

The memory of the disaster was not the only reason for solemnity, though. August 15th is the day Japan announced its surrender in WWII, and it’s designated as a memorial day for those who lost their lives in war. The Jungyo officials held a moment of silence:

moment-of-silence

As such, there were fewer goofs and frolics documented today.

The Makushita-and-below rikishi had their practice first as usual. Tamawashi was there as the head torturer, er, generously offered chest owner:

low-rank-practice-with-tamawashi

Tochinoshin started with light practice:

So light that he did it without his brace.

Hakuho still confined himself to basic drills:

As usual, when he showed up and started to warm up, everybody stood in line to greet him. But what’s this, is Terutsuyoshi sneaking away without a bow?

No, he is not. Quite the opposite – he goes and gets the ladle to offer water to the Yokozuna.

Takayasu has taken a shine to Onosho, and Onosho is making good use of his quality time with the Ozeki:

Attaboy. But Takayasu is not going to stay a loser for long:

Ah… Onosho’s typical overcommitment. Takayasu seems amused – and makes sure the audience is as well.

We are still in Iwate prefecture, so Nishikigi is still very much the center of attention. As such, he is getting some more love from Kakuryu:

He is lucky it’s Kakuryu rather than Hakuho. Hakuho doesn’t settle for slaps on the tush. He likes to kick.

Goeido started doing serious san-ban and upping his pace heading for Aki. At Oshu, he had 9 bouts with Yutakayama and won all. Today he continued with the same rival:

Here are some bouts for you. First – rather rarely for this Jungyo – we have a video for non-sekitori action. Well, former sekitori – Chiyootori vs. Ohata:

Moving up, we have Enho vs. Churanoumi:

Aaaagh… too bad. But rather entertaining for the spectators.

Nishikigi, star of the day, vs. Yutakayama.

Yutakayama gets the upper had on the tachiai, but Nishikigi manages a makikae (change from overarm to underarm grip) and takes control of the bout.

As Kisenosato is back on the torikumi list, today we had the Ozeki facing each other (Tochinoshin not doing bouts as yet):

This one was all Goeido. Poor Mitakeumi who sits by the dohyo as kachi-nokori (winner staying around to give chikara-mizu if needed) is hit by an incoming bear, and it takes him a while to come around and get to the bucket.

Finally, the musubi-no-ichiban really looks like the battle of two Yokozuna.

Kakuryu’s foot seems to be much better.

Signing off with the not-too-happy Enho of the day:

enho
Totally photobombed by Emmet “Doc” Brown there

 

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 15

🌐 Location: Sendai, Miyagi

arena-inside

Today’s event… well, honestly, it’s not today’s event. It took place on the 12th. But anyway, day 15th event took place at Sendai, Miyagi prefecture. Sendai has been one of the places hit most severely in the 2011 Tohoku disaster, and sever years later, it’s still seeking revival. Accordingly, two Yokozuna with their entourages reported in to perform a ceremonial dohyo-iri for the revival of Sendai:

If you’re wondering about the absence of Hakuho, just remember that in 2011 he did the rounds as lone Yokozuna to perform dohyo-iri all over Tohoku, including Sendai. The other Yokozuna get to be in the spotlight this time.

The event also included some solemn sumo jinku:

jinku-for-restoration-of-sendai
Tochigidake, Mutsukaze, Motokiyama

Back in the venue, Hakuho continued his off-dohyo workout routine. Though who knows what he was exercising here:

hakuho

If you think that looks silly, that’s one Hakuho record easily broken by Kakuryu, who seems to be really creative when it comes to looking silly:

kakuryu-silly-exercise

Other than that, most practice was sane. Takakeisho was doing butsukari with Daieisho:

takakeisho-butsukari-daieisho

And Takayasu was doing san-ban with Yutakayama:

takayasu-sanban-yutakayama

Goeido also had gave butsukari, but was still off the torikumi. Apparently, he has an ear infection. Takekaze, by the way, is back in the bouts.

Just before the Juryo torikumi, a drum exhibition took place:

Here is another duty performed by gyoji: the announcer in the venue is always a gyoji. In this case, Kimura Ryosuke:

ryosuke-chiyootori

Here accompanied by Chiyootori, who seems never to let go of that portable mini-fan.

It’s the announcer’s duty to explain what is going on on the dohyo – who is coming up for sanban or butsukari, what performance is about to take place and what it means. He gives the audience the kimarite at the end of each bout, reads out the names of kensho sponsors, and also gives general guidelines such as what to do in case of earthquake.

Dohyo-iri time is goof time. Chiyomaru decided to make sure all the photos taken by the sumo ladies were decent:

chiyomaru-self-censored
I wonder how he got those removed (cringe)

Tamawashi and Chiyomaru bullied poor Shodai so badly he ran away:

Tamawashi didn’t settle just with that. He also pestered Ikioi:

tamawashi-annoys-ikioi

…and bothered Kagayaki:

tamawashi-annoys-kagayaki

I guess somebody forgot his Ritalin today?

Alas, I do not have any torikumi videos. I can inform you that Aminishiki, who is very popular in Sendai, won his bout vs. Takanoiwa:

aminishiki
That’s a pretty determined face for a mere Jungyo bout

Apparently, Chiyomaru lost to Arawashi, while Mitakeumi beat Takayasu. And honestly, I don’t know who won, but Endo seems to be really enjoying his bouts:

endo-enjoys-himself-too-much

Now, in our Enho corner, I wanted to give you yet another solo dreamy prince photo. Or maybe one of him doing his shiko. But I have been informed that there are still a few people not trained enough to recognize Yago on the spot. So I give you Enho – accompanied by Yago:

enho-with-yago

Easily recognizable by having his center of gravity in his jaw.

And so as not to diminish Enho, here is a little clip from Instagram, which shows you why people love the little prince to bits. He recognizes the lady fan who is filming this from a previous occasion, and turns to greet her. She: “Hey, you remember me?”, He: “Yes, I remember”. She “Oh… thank you!!!” 😍

That guy waiting for Enho there is Kyokusoten, who has also fallen under the spell of the little pixie prince. Just today I saw a tweet in which he refers to him as “Uchi no Enho” (“My Enho”). 💕

 

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 14

 

🌐 Location: Nanyo, Yamagata

nobori

The Jungyo continues to make its way north, and stopped this time at cloudy Nanyo.

Like the Nobori in the above picture, the rikishi were all over town – not just inside the venue. Onosho was appointed Chief of Police for the day:

onosho-chief-of-police
Break the law on my watch, I dare you!

Ikioi went to a local charitable facility to cheer the residents. No pics – modest guy, I guess.

August 11th is a public holiday called “Mountain day” – “Yama no hi”. And some rikishi were showing appreciation for mountains, or rather, for slopes:

playful-rikishi

This quickly turned into this:

roll-me-over-in-the-clover

Note that in Japanese, practice outdoors is called “mountain practice” (yama-geiko). But this looks suspiciously more like fun than like practice.

Inside the venue, two Yokozuna who missed the previous day’s keiko reported for duty today:

kisenosato-back
He can smile!

Kisenosato apparently hurt his heel a couple of days ago. Yesterday he was excused from all activities and didn’t show up in the venue at all. Today he was doing some basics around the dohyo, and his dohyo-iri. No torikumi. He says the heel is improving.

hakuho

Hakuho gave a more detailed report of his injury. Apparently no cartilage was found found out of place in his knee, only some soft tissue “lump” which he’ll be treating with medication. He has already begun, and will have to take it easy for a few days. He says it’s like “having a bomb”, which I guess means he wants to be very careful about returning to activity. In addition, he also received some treatment for his other knee, where he had an old injury.

He returned to his routine so far, which included light off-dohyo practice:

And also a rope-tying demonstration and dohyo-iri. Again, no torikumi. The only Yokozuna participating in the bouts was Kakuryu.

The star of the day was Hakuyozan, the Makushita yusho winner who is about to return to Juryo. He hails from Yamagata. This made him the chosen victim partner for Goeido for some butsukari:

hakuyozan-butsukari-goeido

Yes, Goeido seems to be back as well. I didn’t see any explanation of the nature of his absence.

Hakuyozan also became very sought after for fansa:

And the reason you see him wearing an oicho-mage in this video is because he had a Juryo torikumi as well, facing Homarefuji:

hakuyozan-homarefuji

Here is another moshi-ai photo for you. Takakeisho is going all out to be chosen:

moshiai
Look into my eyes… there’s only me… you cannot choose another…

Chiyomaru’s torikumi with Myogiryu. Apparently, Chiyomaru belly-bumps the veteran over the tawara. It’s called a yori-kiri, but only because the name hara-kiri is already taken:

chiyomaru-myogiryu

But fear not, I shall not leave you with just stills of bouts. Here is a video which includes:

  • Sanyaku soroi-bumi (synchronized shiko of the participants of the last three bouts)
  • Tamawashi vs. Shohozan. Whoa, where are they going?
  • Takayasu vs. Mitakeumi. Takayasu continues his quick tsuppari barrange. This seems to be very effective against Mitakeumi.
  • Kakuryu vs. Goeido.
  • Yumi-tori, which was performed again today by the young Hokutoo. So you have a chance to get a first impression of him.

By the way, those makeshift kensho flags are another one of the duties of gyoji in the Jungyo:

writing-signs-gyoji
Gyoji Kimura Satoshi

To wrap things up, here is Enho, this time with guest stars Terutsuyoshi and Chiyonoo:

enho-terutsuyoshi-chiyonoo

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 13

🌐 Location: Shirakawa, Fukushima

Today’s newsreel is going to be short, as little material floated my way from that location.

shirakawa

First, for those who worry when they hear the name “Fukushima”, let me assure you that Shirakawa is not really anywhere near the unfortunate nuclear disaster area. You can verify on the Japan Radiation Map. The latest reading from Shirakawa is 115nSv/h.

The star of the day – appearing for the first time in his home prefecture as a sekitori – was Wakatakakage. As such, he was trying to give a good show during morning practice, but when he was about to do some butsukari with yusho winner Mitakeumi, the oyakata around the dohyo stopped him. “What’s that on your forehead? Having issues adjusting to the Jungyo?” (It’s his first).

wakatakakage-cold-sore

As it turns out, a big fat cold sore found the worst timing to make an appearance on the young wrestler’s forehead. He was told to take it easy and rest a bit.

But he did participate in the torikumi and enthusiastically answered fan requests for photos and autographs.

There have been reports that Kisenosato was also absent from keiko this day – he was definitely not in the torikumi, and visitors reported not seeing him anywhere, though he was not officially reported as absent.

Absent stars did not disrupt the usual energetic flow of keiko:

moshi-ai

This is moshi-ai. Or rather, the part of it where somebody just won and every wrestler tries to be picked as the next opponent. You snooze – you lose.

After practice was done, Takayasu and Onosho found a spot suitable for more practice in a publc park:

See, doing sumo is very simple. Find a clear spot of hardened earth, mark a circle and two lines with a stick, and off you go. Of course, no tawara tricks are available.

In addition to Wakatakakage and Terunohana (Terutsuyoshi’s tsukebito), who also happens to be from Fukushima, there was a third Fukushima man who caught some limelight:

hokutoo-yumi
Hokutoo, the backup yumi-tori performer

Introducing the backup performer of the yumi-tori. This is Hokutoo, 25 years old, from Hakkaku beya. And he is no less than 196cm tall, which could make for a very impressive performance. That’s taller than Ikioi, believe it or not.

Being a local boy, he got to do the duty today rather than Kasugaryu.

This probably means that, alas, the chances of us ever seeing Satonofuji holding a bow again are getting extremely slim. I have a feeling that Harumafuji’s retirement ceremony may well be his last performance, and may be the reason he has not retired as yet.

At the end of the day, Hakuho re-joined the Jungyo, just in time to catch the bus as everybody was leaving for the next destination. Apparently, he will need neither arthroscopy nor surgery.

Signing off this short report, here is your Enho. With the Yokozuna back, Enho will stay with us for the rest of the Jungyo. Yay!

enho

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 12

🌐 Location: Ryugasaki, Ibaraki

dohyo-neat-and-ready
Even prefabricated, temporary dohyo are dedicated

On day 12, the Jungyo hit Ibaraki, the prefecture that proudly boasts a Yokozuna and an Ozeki. Almost every nobori in the venue had “Kisenosato” on it, with the occasional “Takayasu” and very few others. This was the first time a jungyo event takes place in the town of Ryugasaki.

Takayasu started his day practicing his tachiai with his tsukebito:

This may have done him good, because later, he went on-dohyo to re-do his practice bouts from yesterday. If you recall, yesterday he went 7 wins and 13 losses, especially facing Onosho.

Today,  the picture was completely different.

takayasu-onosho

He had sanban with Asanoyama and Tochiozan, three matches and three wins against each of them. And he had 10 bouts with Onosho, and won 8 of them. That’s what playing at your home court does!

The main course in the Ryugasaki event, however, was Yokozuna Kisenosato. If you think Japan in general is swept by Kisenosato fever, Ibaraki is like the Vatican of the Kisenosato religion. And Ryugasaki in particular served as the Yokozuna-to-be’s home until his middle school days. An old teacher recalls his days as a child sumo wrestler in this video from NHK.

The man in the white shirt near the end of the clip is none other than Kisenosato’s father. I can’t see any family resemblance at all. He even speaks a lot more clearly than his son (I always suspect that if it weren’t for the subtitles, even Japanese natives wouldn’t understand half of what Kisenosato is saying. But maybe that’s just my horrible listening comprehension skills…)

Kisenosato, of course, featured in the okonomi of the day, having his rope tied:

kisenosato-tsuna-shime

And you already saw his bout with Kakuryu in the above video. Kakuryu’s left foot is still hovering 2 cm above dohyo level. At this rate, Kisenosato is going to be the sole Yokozuna in Aki.

But there were other rikishi visiting Ryugasaki as well. For example, Takakeisho was doing some heavy lifting. This time, no tsukebito – just a modest sack of dohyo salt:

takakeisho-salt

By the way, Takanohana is on this Jungyo as a shimpan. In the previous Jungyo, as three of his sekitori were kyujo and tsukebito-beating Takayoshitoshi was suspended, he was taken off the Jungyo shimpan list and told to keep an eye on his deshi at home. But this time he was back in the Jungyo – and incidentally exactly the same sekitori and TYT (aka TJT) are in the Jungyo anyway.

The NSK’s and Takanohana’s strained relationship aside, while he is at the Jungyo, he seems to fill the time he is not in the black shimpan kimono with actual coaching to aforesaid deshi:

takanohana-teaching

In some other corner of the venue, Takekaze, who is still off the torikumi (as is Goeido), used Chiyomaru as a teppo pole. And like a good pole, Chiyomaru wouldn’t budge. Eventually Takekaze decides to move the immovable, no matter what:

I hope he doesn’t do the same to the teppo pole back in his heya, because that would mean serious damage… to the pole… 😜

Now, while we’re in goof mode, try to guess what Chiyomaru and Daieisho are doing here:

This is actually a Japanese game called “atchi-muite-hoi”. It’s based on rock-paper-scissors. First, the two participants do rock-paper-scissors. Whoever wins moves his finger up, down, left or right, and the loser moves his face up-down, left or right. If the finger and the face go in different directions, nobody wins and the game starts again from rock-paper-scissors. But if the finger and the face go the same direction, the finger owner wins and the face owner loses.

Apparently, there was a penalty for the loser in this particular game: loser gets a dekopin. A dekopin is a finger snap to the forehead – usually quite painful. Rikishi get lots of those on the day they get their first chon-mage arranged. But as you see, that’s not exclusive. And Chiyomaru-tan seems to be quite merciful with his ‘pin.

Here is a (slightly off-focus) video showing the sanyaku soroi-bumi, the following three bouts, and the yumitori-shiki. Actually, the video starts with Kagayaki stepping off the dohyo as the winner of a bout. His rival of the day was Shodai.

The yobidashi couldn’t be more off-key. He could open an off-key opera with Gagamaru.

Shohozan scares me.

And Takayasu with a tsuppari show that wouldn’t have shamed Terao in his day.

As for the yumi-tori, you can see that Kasugaryu is still with us, despite Hakuho’s departure. But as it turns out, he is not the lone performer in this Jungyo as I thought at first. A new yumi-tori performer from Hakkaku beya has been trained. More about him in tomorrow’s instalment. So the “Always two there are” rule is still being kept.

Here is another, less unfocused, look at that musubi bout:

At the end of the day, the dohyo looked a lot less neat than in the image at the top of this post:

dohyo-after

By the way, I wonder why they had the nobori dangling down like that instead of properly stretched on poles. This caused some funny effects. For example, this one seems to be saying “Kagayaki-zeki, the man” (男 輝関):

strange-nobori

In fact, it’s a nobori for Kotoyuki-zeki (琴勇輝). Got to love Kanji. (Credit for this find goes to Azechi, the sumo camera man, aka Sumotophone).

Finally, here is your Enho for today. Yes, for some reason Enho was still on the tour at Ryugasaki. It’s not clear why, as he was taken off the torikumi, so it’s probably not a question of local popularity.

enho
Don’t feel down, little prince. You’ll soon be on the Jungyo on your own merit.

 

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 11

🌐 Location: Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo

takayasu
Welcome back, big bear

The Jungyo made its way back to Tokyo on day 11, and in the middle of a typhoon, took place at the Aoyama university campus in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Tokyo is a convenient places for rikishi to join or leave the Jungyo. Joining today was Ozeki Takayasu – just in time for the next event, which takes place in his home prefecture of Ibaraki.

But though it would have been understandable if he took it easy in Tokyo which served as a convenient convergence point, he decided all of a sudden to go up the dohyo and have san-ban with Asanoyama and Onosho. The results were less than spectacular – at least as far as the Ozeki was concerned:

The Ozeki’s shoulder is still not quite right?

Ah, finally, a win:

So, although he managed 4 wins and 1 loss to Asanoyama, he was completely smashed by Onosho, 3 wins and 12 losses.

In between, Nishikigi-mama and his assistant, Takanosho, wiped what little dirt Takayasu managed to put on Onosho.

Ryuden: “you missed a spot!” 🙂

So that was the man joining. But there were also men leaving. First, the whole Arashio gang which went to Suwa lake with Sokokurai disappeared. I thought they were joining to be there in time for Fukushima – especially the two elder Onamis – but no, they just made an appearance on that particular day. Special sponsor request, I guess. Perhaps specifically an Arashio beya sponsor.

But that’s a minor disappearance. The major one was, of course, Hakuho, who announce that he will go kyujo as of the next day. He did make an appearance as usual, and worked out lightly below the dohyo:

hakuho

But he informed the press that his knee was bothering him more than he let on at first. A few days ago he said that his knee was “feeling odd” but “there was no pain”, but today he qualified that to “I’m taking strong painkillers, so there is no pain”. Ouch.

He will be re-examined, and while he expressed his hope that he’ll be able to re-join the Jungyo at some point, he said there was a possibility he’ll need surgery or at least an arthroscopy. This may well mean he’ll be absent from Aki.

The Yokozuna is going to stay at Tokyo, but not with his full entourage. Kasugaryu will be needed to perform the yumi-tori, as there is no backup currently at the Jungyo (Satonofuji stayed home this time). And what will be the fate of our  daily Enho photos?

Hakuho is not the only worry – two notable participants were off the torikumi this day: Takekaze and Goeido. I believe they did participate in the keiko session, but can’t find evidence of any on-dohyo activity of these two.

But the show must go on! Yokozuna Kakuryu is still around, and probably slept at home, so he didn’t have time to get a decent shave in the morning:

unshaven-kakuryu

But later in the day he became pretty to celebrate his birthday – although that’s actually on the 10th. That’s probably because it’s easier to get those cakes in Tokyo:

kakuryu-early-birthday
Soccer cake to celebrate his unofficial soccer analyst position in the recent World Cup?

Aoiyama lent his chest to a lower ranked rikishi (I would guess his tsukebito). Interestingly, his usual bracing is not used for this exercise:

aoiyama-butsukari

Ryuden was using his tsukebito for weight training. Version one:

 

And version two:

The ever rounder Chiyomaru was doing some fansa right before his bout. His brother-come-tsukebito was fanning himself:

chiyomaru-chiyootori

Onosho continued to goof around just before the dohyo-iri, and got a bit of shoulder massage:

So here are some bouts for you:

Kagayaki vs. Ikioi:

Shodai not only serves as padding for the fall but also politely folds Ikioi’s sagari.

With Goeido off the bouts, Takayasu faced yusho winner Mitakeumi. The bout is part of the following news report:

Sigh. Mitakeumi should watch the Hakuho-Tochinoshin bout from Natsu to learn how to deal with tsuri-yori. That leg wriggling – not helpful!

The musubi:

And here is your Enho. I think this photo ranks pretty high on the heart throb Richter scale:

enho

So let’s hope he didn’t leave the Jungyo together with Hakuho…

PS: more synchronized workout by Enho and Tobizaru:

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 10

🌐 Location: Tokorozawa, Saitama

The Jungyo took us today to rainy Saitama.

venue

There are many rikishi hailing from Saitama, with three current sekitori – Abi, Daieisho and Hokutofuji. In the nobori in the above picture you can see many Hokutofuji flags, one for the absent Abi, one for Daieisho (and one for the… NSK’s Jungyo department? OK…). Hokutofuji comes not just from Saitama, but specifically from Tokorozawa, which made him king of the day.

And as befits a king, he arrived an nothing less than a Corvette:

And his driver was wearing a matching outfit, no less. Remember that rikishi are not allowed to drive (remember Osunaarashi?).

Even before this, he had a pep rally sponsored by his personal support group:

hokutofuji-support-group

Note the guy in the audience who is wearing a shirt made of that same Hokutofuji yukata cloth.

On the dohyo, Kakuryu decided to give him no less that 8 minutes of butsukari:

hokutofuji-kawaigari

No footage of the deed itself, but you can see the results of it in this little clip:

Kudos for still being a nice guy and shaking that spectator’s hand.

Later he starred in the hair styling show:

hokutofuji-oicho

And had a bout with Endo. I mean, the torikumi guys seem to always assign the star of the day to Endo. Kill two birds with one stone, I guess. Which means that Endo has been losing a lot of bouts lately. This one Hokutofuji won by Yori-Kiri.

hokutofuji-endo-wardrobe-malfunction

OK, wait a second. This is like Groundhog Day. A wardrobe malfunction again? This is the third time I see one (and I haven’t seen all of Endo’s bouts). I think Konosuke is starting to get a little exasperated. Endo is growing too thick for his own shimekomi? Or his tsukebito is due for a lesson in knot tying from some seasoned sailor (I recommend Aminishiki).

In non-Hokutofuji news, Hidenoumi decided to go get some health boost. Rikishi seem to believe in all sorts of weird health claims and alternative treatments. And this visit was to a “cryo sauna”, or “Whole body cryotherapy”:

Those are degrees celsius. This footage was taken by Churanoumi, BTW.

In addition to the famous sekitori from Saitama, Baraki from Shikihide beya and his brother, Rao from Tatsunami beya, made an appearance in this Jungyo event. I think they just came in for the day, as Saitama is not far from Tokyo:

baraki-rao

Kisenosato continued to do san-ban with exactly the same results as yesterday – 12 wins, 2 losses, mostly against Daieisho, yet another local boy. Far from perfect yet, the papers say. When his rival gets a right hand inside, the Yokozuna is still helpless.

The goofy part of the day included Terutsuyoshi getting very intimate with Yago. You do remember who Yago is, right? 🙂

terutsuyoshi-yago

But the pixie’s aim was not to get his face caressed, but rather to lift Yago. And here are the results:

terutsuyoshi-lifting-yago
“Whoa, this is not actually happening!”

Mitakeumi decided to give Kaisei a pretty hairdo. Only… he wasn’t doing the hair on his head:

mitakeumi-brushes-kaisei
“Can you braid them for me?”

Fine, fine, you want to see some sumo. Here is today’s Kakuryu vs. Kisenosato:

That’s it for the day in Saitama. Here is your Enho du jour:

enho

 

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 8

🌐 Location: Nagano city, Nagano

olympic-stadium

The event at Nagano might have well been called “The Mitakeumi Basho”. It was held at the White Ring, the stadium that hosted the ice skating events during the Nagano Winter Olympics of 1998 – a very fancy venue. And no less than 6,000 spectators – twice as many as a usual Jungyo event – went there to cheer for their favorite yusho winner.

Mitakeumi T-Shirts, Mitakeumi Nobori, Mitakeumi everywhere!

The mayor even led everybody in Banzai for Mitakeumi:

But wait, what is the Mitakeumi fan club doing being photographed with… Hakuho?

mitakeumi-fan-club-with-hakuho

Some explanation is in order. The lady in the middle, hanging on Hakuho’s right shoulder, is Margarita, Mitakeumi’s mom. Turns out she is a huge Hakuho fan, as this other news video will show you:

She is running around screaming because Hakuho shook her hand and said “congratulations for the Yusho”.

The photo above, by the way, was taken by non other than her dutiful son.

Speaking of Hakuho, I wondered in the past if he is still staying flexible, given the nature of his current injury. Well, this is his answer:

flexible-yokozuna

A nice sum of money will go to anybody who gets me an authentic photo of this scene taken from the seat right behind him. 🙂

Goeido gave all his love to Wakatakakage:

goeido-butsukari-wakatakakage

Kisenosato didn’t just watch, but did the same for Chiyonoumi:

kisenosato-butsukari-chiyonoumi

By the way, you know that when a Yokozuna shows up for practice, everybody has to greet him. This is how it looks when Kakuryu is the Yokozuna in question:

That ladle of chikara-mizu Ikioi is pringing the Yokozuna (the out-of-focus part, sorry) is also a show of respect. But seriously, Ikioi, you’re holding up everybody else.

The same ceremony when Hakuho is in the building:

Which Yokozuna is politer?

There was kiddie Sumo:

And a demonstration of oicho-mage construction, featuring you-know-who:

mitakeumi-oicho

And… guess what move Ishiura used for his bout?

ishiura

Finally, the Musubi-no-ichiban:

Another angle:

Signing out, you know what’s coming. Enho! Doing some synchronized workout with Tobizaru:

 

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Days 6 and 7

Today I’m wrapping two Jungyo days into one post, because frankly, materials about the visit to Yuzawa were scarce. Both events took place in Niigata prefecture, so they fit together anyway.

Edit:

  • Turns out Gagamaru and Takekaze have joined the Jungyo at Niigata
  • The full bout between Yutakayama and Endo turned up. See below.

🌐 Location: Yuzawa-machi, Uonuma-gun, Niigata

In a small, sleepy ski resort, Churanoumi, who is soon to lose his sekitori status, is nevertheless diligently working out. The surprising aspect of this is the guy he is using for weight lifting:

We have seen several sekitori lifting their tsukebito or their trainer. Or in the case of the Taka twins, their brother. But in this case, Churanoumi is lifting a man who outranks him a whole division. Yes, that’s Ishiura on his back.

And we have good news – a second Yokozuna mounts the dohyo for practice. This involves giving Yutakayama, the local boy, some TLC, Yokozuna-style:

Hakuho was practicing with a rubber band. And the Yokozuna can’t finish this rubber band practice without targeting his tsukebito’s sensitive parts:

He does it every single time. This time he was even a little merciful, letting it loosen a bit before letting go. I suspect his partner had a stiff insert inside his mawashi in anticipation of this. Here is Enho (who, you may recall, is also one of the Yokozuna’s tsukebito, so he has to do this thing from time to time) in the training camp before the Nagoya basho. His face tells of anticipated pain.

enho-waiting-for-the-inevitable
Enho knows what’s coming. And that towel won’t help a bit.

🌐 Location: Niigata city, Niigata prefecture

Now, this was a whole different thing as far as coverage is concerned. As I said, Yutakayama hails from this city, and he was the star of the day:

The second lady there wants Yutakayama to become Yokozuna. Well, time will tell. In the meantime, Kakuryu again gave him a butsukari session:

A slightly longer video of this is here:

Yutakayama at least fared better than Daiamami did two Jungyos ago – he finished up on his own two feet. You can also see that as usual, Kakuryu does away with much of the Alpha Male bravado part of the butsukari. The usual way to complete a butsukari session is with the receiver knocking on the giver’s chest, who in turn rolls him one last time in the dirt. Kakuryu here is all like – “OK, we’re done. I get it, I got a knock on my chest. But really, do you like rolling in the dirt? Just go…”

That bout between Yutakayama and Endo of which you saw a glimpse in the video, in fact included a wardrobe malfunction. Konosuke did not let it go this time, and had a mawashi-matta:

wardrobe-malfunction-1

Endo seems to have lost both front and back there. And something about this amuses him very much. Maybe the prolonged hug with Yutakayama:

wardrobe-malfunction-2

That’s not an expression you’re likely to see on anybody’s face during honbasho – even in the middle of a wardrobe malfunction.

And here is the full bout:

Anyway, Yutakayama may have been the main course in this meal, but there were many other activities going on around the venue. For example, Kotoeko joined a calisthenics class:

The sekitori were doing moshi-ai. Here we have Endo and Myogiryu:

endo-myogiryu

And Shohozan vs. Okinoumi:

shohozan-okinoumi

Tochiozan was trying to hide from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal:

tochiozan-bugblatter-beast-of-traal

You see, knowing where your towel is is very important!

Tamawashi shook off his murderous ways and instead taught Kyokushuho a resistance training drill:

tamawashi-kyokushuho-1
You wrap the rubber band around your arms like so…
tamawashi-kyokushuho-2
And then pull those arms together.

As the sekitori were getting ready for the dohyo-iri… OK, we interrupt our programming for the following message. This is Yago:

introduction-to-yago

Kintamayama claims that only 3 out of 10 fans would recognize this man. I’m here to rectify this. I have a soft spot for Yago, as my very first post on Tachiai was about Yago. He was amateur Yokozuna, got a Makushita tsuke-dashi position, and struggled a bit to find his place in Juryo at first. He is now one of the mainstays with a good chance of making it to Makuuchi soon. Yago is his real name – his stablemaster said he will not give him a shikona until he matures from a “yago” (different spelling, a dragonfly nymph) to a full-fledged dragonfly. Dragonflies, by the way, are symbolic in sumo – they can only fly forward, so they are a symbol for forward-moving, no-retreat attitude.

Oh, and Osunaarashi in his day nicknamed Yago “Ago”. Which is Japanese for “chin” or “jaw”. Yago is very highly recognizable by his substantial jawline. No, he is not a pretty boy like Enho or Tobizaru, but he is a friendly guy with great potential.

So now I hope you all know who Yago is and how to recognize him, and we shall now proceed with the our planned programming.

Speaking of Enho and Tobizaru, Enho was pulling the oldest prank in the book on Tobuzaru today:

This involve mixing a good amount of the dohyo salt in the ladle of chikara-mizu before handing it over to the awaiting wrestler. The yobidashi usually sees what’s happening but keeps his mouth shut. This is not something you ever do in honbasho, but there is not a single jungyo where this is not done – several times, if possible.

I won’t be surprised if revenge awaits Enho in tomorrow’s event. As Enho always fights first in the Juryo bouts, he will be receiving the water from the wrestler that follows him… which is very likely to be the same Tobizaru.

Goofing around in the Jungyo is not reserved just to Juryo. Take a look at Onosho in the Makuuchi dohyo-iri, as Mitakeumi ascends the dohyo:

So here is the musubi-no-ichiban. And finally, it seems that Kakuryu is able to produce some forward motion:

This is it for today. But I can’t finish without the obligatory Enho photo!

enho-shohozan

Ah yes, Shohozan is in it, too. 😀

And there is even a “the making of” version of this picture:

enho-shohozan-the-making-of

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 5

🌐 Location: Uozu, Toyama

dohyo-iri-ouzu

Day 5 of the Jungyo was Asanoyama Appreciation Day. Asanoyama is the hero of Toyama Prefecture. In fact, a documentary about him is about to be aired in a few days in a local TV station. And this day, Asanoyama worship reached new heights. There was a large Asanoyama panel at the entrance:

asanoyama-panel

A few days ago the Toyama Post Office issued a special set of Asanoyama postcards an stamps, which the man himself presented this day:

asanoyama-stamps

The man was flooded with fan requests for autographs:

And Kisenosato gave him butsukari to the cheers of the 3000 fans who filled the Ariso Dome:

And a local news outlet’s summary of the Jungyo event was also rather Asanoyama-centered:

Asanoyama says there he will work hard and try to achieve double digits in the next basho as well, and that he wants to become a superstar.

However, there were other people in this Jungyo event, too. Hokutofuji was doing suri-ashi:

Watched over by… Asanoyama.

Tamawashi was lending his chest to the low rankers, in what looked like a combination of butsukari and moshi-ai:

By which I mean that he didn’t stick with one victim until exhaustion in a full-fledged “kawaigari”, but rather quickly finished with one and replaced him with one from a group of eager boys.

Hakuho did not ascend the dohyo as yet, and used one of his tsukebito as a Teppo pole:

And Kakuryu exercised Harumafuji-style, with weights on his wrists:

Nishikigi was stretching, and for some reason felt he needed to cushion his hands. And by “cushion” I mean use the fluffiest, softest cushion available: Chiyomaru!

nishikigi-chiyomaru
Practicing for the role of Sisyphus in a movie, perhaps?

Tamawashi was doing fansa and using Shodai for his writing desk:

shodai-writing-desk
“If you’re good and let me use your chest, I won’t break any of your arms in our next bout. Deal?”

Mitakeumi learned to clap the hyoshigi – those wooden clappers the Yobidashi use to punctuate the ceremonial parts of Grand Sumo events. There is a certain art to producing the right sound from these things. Hakuho learned that in the past from the now-retired Yobidashi Hideo.

mitakeumi-hyoshigi

We haven’t seen many Yokozuna dohyo-iri since this Jungyo started, right? So here are the three Yokozuna for you:

Kakuryu:

Hakuho:

And Kisenosato. Since it’s more or less the same angle, you can compare Kisenosato’s Unryu-style rope tie and dohyo-iri to Hakuho’s Shiranui-style above:

There was a bit of the Musubi-no-ichiban in the above “Asanoyama Appreciation Day” video, but here is the full thing:

Kakuryu is still drawing circles with his left food, but not as badly as in the first three days.

That’s it. Take a look at the Komatsu post, where I added the full opening drum roll which turned up in YouTube.

And instead of an Enho photo, I give you his “mystery rikishi” video by the NSK. Guys, the teleprompter should go above the camera!

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 4

🌐 Location: Komatsu, Ishikawa

komatsu-dome

Today the Jungyo found itself in the Komatsu Dome, a semi-outdoors stadium, rather different than the usual local gymnasiums where the Jungyo takes place. It has a retractable roof and a bare-bones design, and is used to host baseball, soccer, and other turf-based sports. Well, tatty artificial turf, but still.

And there is no air-conditioning there. At all.

And it was 32ºC (~90ºF) today.

Did I mention it was hot?

There were electric fans and “tsurara” – blocks of ice, of which the rikishi made as much use as they could. For example, Kyokushuho thought this would be an ideal place for his rubber-band training:

kyokushuho-ice
Komatsu Hot

Takekaze, on the other hand, used the ice to cool off his aching elbow:

takekaze-ice

You can imagine that doing fansa under such conditions is not easy. But Kakuryu was very dutiful:

kakuryu-fansa
Where is Shinzan (the scary-looking bespectacled tsukebito) when we need him?

Despite the heat, some rikishi made good use of the facilities for some track-and-field:

Participants, from the left: Terutsuyoshi, Nishikigi, Shodai, officiated by Shohozan. And… Shodai could have won this, if he only had a… better… start…

The NSK’s PR department made an appearance in today’s event, for the first time bringing the NSK’s mascot, Hiyonoyama, to the Jungyo. They were there to promote ticket sales for the Aki basho, which start in a few days. They picked a nice way to do it – videos of “guess the rikishi”, followed by “come and support us in the basho, ticket sales start on August 4th”. I’m including a few of those here, you can see them all in the NSK’s twitter account if you want:

This mystery rikishi was captured in his undies. Doesn’t seem to bother him much, though.

And this one was actually captured coming out of the bath! And got photobombed, too.

“Make sure you come!” cries the intruder.

Apart from this, business was as usual. Onosho did some suri-ashi on the artificial turf:

onosho-suriashi

Goeido lended his chest to Tobizaru. The Ozeki seems to enjoy this immensely.

goeido-butsukari-tobizaru

Yutakayama and Asanoyama engaged in an energetic moshi-ai bout. A moshi-ai is a series of bouts, in which the winner decides who his next rival will be. This always involves several anxious rikishi hovering around and begging to be selected as soon as the current bout is over:

yutakayama-asanoyama-moshiai

The king of the moshi-ai in this Jungyo seems to be none other than Aoiyama:

asanoyama-aoiyama-moshiai
Aoiyama vs. Asanoyama

He has been doing serial moshi-ai (which means he was winning) for four days in a row now. Today it was just four, but on day 1 he had 5 bouts, on day 2 11, and on day 3 9 straight moshi-ai bouts. He is taping padding to his injured heels, and gambarizing in general, and it seems to be working.

Komatsu is in Ishikawa, and there are two and a half sekitori Ishikawa boasts as its own. These are Endo, Kagayaki, and Enho:

three-ishikawa-natives
Enho in a Taiho yukata, Endo in a Takanohana Yukata, and Kagayaki going for monochrome sakura.

169cm Enho right next to 193cm Kagayaki. It’s the story of his life, really:

enho-with-kagayaki-in-middle-school
Enho and Kagayaki, or rather Nakamura-kun and Tatsu-kun, in their middle school days.

Endo is, of course, the undeniable superstar of the three. He was everywhere. He gave butsukari:

endo-butsukari-daishoryu
The victim is Daishoryu (I think he is his tsukebito)

He also received some butsukari:

yutakayama-butsukari-endo
The chest is offered by Yutakayama

The okonomi acts of the day also involved the local boys. In addition to the usual Shokkiri (this time by the Kasugano pair, they seem to be alternating), Endo was used to demonstrate how an oicho-mage is tied:

endo-oicho

The other okonomi allowed Enho, who is not a sekitori, to also partake of the limelight. How? Well, put Hakuho on stage for a rope-tying demonstration:

hakuho-rope
Enho on the right, pulling with every ounce of his (considerable) strength

The three local boys were also in the news! So here are three torikumi packed into one news report:

Whoa, that’s some nice tsuri-yori from Enho there. Churanoumi gets a reminder why he is going back to Makushita while Enho back to Juryo.

That’s it for today. If I get my hands on the Musubi or any other bout I’ll add it here. Here is your daily Enho (as if you didn’t have enough…):

obEnho4
The kid is actually wearing an Kokonoe shirt… Oops…

PS – Since I found this on the net after the post was already published, but couldn’t just let it slip away: Here is the full opening drum roll:

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 3

🌐 Location: Katsuyama, Fukui

Today, the sumo nobori flags were flapping in the wind in Katsuyama city.front-image-katsuyama

Those of you with sharp eyes (and Kanji skills) will note some flags that one doesn’t normally see in honbasho. For example, a flag for Kimura Ginjuro – the gyoji, and a flag for… Naruto beya, which is certainly not participating in the Jungyo due to having as yet no sekitori whatsoever.

The rikishi practiced. Not only on the dohyo, but all over the venue. Take a look at Ryuden lifting weights. Well, the sort of weights that are available in abundance in the Jungyo:

ryuden-lifting-weights

The towel, by the way, is a point of courtesy. Keeps your sweat away from your partner.

Ishiura was busy… nail gazing? I thought that was reserved only for yokozuna.

ishiura-nail-gazing

So… maybe this is not actually a practice photo. It seems there is a line forming (that’s Homarefuji behind him), which probably means they are waiting to greet one of the Yokozuna.

But here is some actual practice. Wakatakakage seems to be doing an off-dohyo reverse butsukari for Mitakeumi. Just a reminder – a butsukari practice is when a low-ranking rikishi has to push a high-ranking one again and again until he dies, or at least feels as if he did. A reverse butsukari is when a high ranking rikishi feels he needs the exercise, but only has someone ranked lower than himself available to push. It’s basically the same thing, but since the high ranking one calls the shots, it’s usually a lot less like a torture and a lot more like an actual practice.

wakatakakage-reverse-butsukari-mitakeumi

Mitakeumi later switched to the dohyo and gave straight butsukari to youngsters, much like yesterday:

mitakeumi-butsukari

And yes, that’s Kisenosato on the dohyo. This is the first time in this Jungyo a Yokozuna practiced on-dohyo, and that it should be Kisenosato only tells you how badly banged up the other Yokozuna are.

Kisenosato was giving butsukari as well – first to Nakazono, a low ranker (I’m not sure, but I think he is one of his tsukebito):

nakazono-butsukari-kisenosato
The Yokozuna has a lot of chest, but very little of it is muscle

Then he switched to Takanosho:

kisenosato-with-takanosho

And you can see a bit of this action here:

The Yokozuna doesn’t have to do anything, really. Just be heavy.

In addition to practicing, the various sekitori also did a lot of fansa. This included, for example, Shohozan volunteering as a photographer:

shohozan-assistant-photographer

And also Tamawashi signing autographs and having his photo taken with fans. Which for some reason, Kaisei was doing everything in his capability to prevent:

Relax, Kaisei! I’m sure Tamawashi has no intention of applying a kotenage to any of the fans!

Between the practice and the torikumi, the tokoyama re-arranged the hairdos for the rikishi:

tokoyama-working

Just before the Juryo dohyo-iri, the Shokkiri took place. Surprise – we have reverted back to the Shokkiri team from Takadagawa beya, rather than the Kasugano pair from yesterday. And just to show you that each pair has unique features in their act, they went and got what looks suspiciously like an Acme-branded hammer:

shokkiri-team-hammer

Moving on to the Torikumi, it seems that Enho is the regular fill-in in Juryo. That makes sense, but why not just let the guy wear his shimekomi, and be done with it?

enho-vs-tobizaru

Short stop here for beginners: Low ranking rikishi practice and compete in the same black cotton mawashi. When they compete, they insert loose sagari (those cords hanging down from it) into it. Sekitori, on the other hand, practice in a white cotton mawashi which is folded at the front like a roll of toilet paper. When they compete, however, they wear a silk mawashi in the color of their choice, with matching, stiffened sagari. This silk mawashi is called “shimekomi”.

So in the picture above Tobizaru is the sekitori wearing his off-white shimekomi and you can see the stiff sagari protruding to his sides. Enho is a Makushita fill-in, so he wears his black cotton mawashi and you can see his loose sagari hanging down his hips.

Enho has a shimekomi stored somewhere in his heya, from the Haru basho this year, in which he participated as a sekitori. Since he is going to be a sekitori again next basho, he will be putting it back into use.

So let’s move on.

Actually, again, there is not much information about the day’s torikumi, other than the fact that Kagayaki has beaten Ikioi by yori-kiri. And this was only mentioned because Ikioi was doing the duties of “local boy” today, on the premise that his… grandmother hails from a nearby town. 😀

But there is a video of the musubi-no-ichiban:

At this point I’m really getting worried about Kakuryu. Three wins in a row for Kisenosato against the man who won two yusho in a row only a couple of months back? What the heck is going on with Kakuryu’s foot? He looks like he is doing laundry with it, not sumo.

That’s it for today, and since, for some unknown reason, the sumo ladies did not take any Enho photos other than that one against Tobizaru, I’ll have to settle for Arawashi instead:

arawashi

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 2

🌐 Location: Otsu, Shiga

hakuho-practices-tachiai

The Jungyo took the sekitori to Otsu today, where 2300 spectators came to enjoy some sumo.

Lest people fall under the impression that Shiga prefecture is all about stinky fermented sushi, Yutakayama is here to provide you with a more balanced view of the menu.

Yeah, that’s Yutakayama + tsukebito + Shodai + tsukebito + my mouth watering.

The Jungyo day opened with a drum roll:

drum-welcome

Note how yobidashi performing the drum duty don’t wear the special Yobidashi costume (Tattsukebakama).

Sekitori were practicing where they can – on or off the dohyo. Here are Ishiura and Chiyonoumi.

Mitakeumi, who didn’t practice on the dohyo yesterday, and said to the press that he was doing things at his own pace, suddenly showed up on the dohyo and gave butsukari geiko and general pushing guidance.

mitakeumi-gives-butsukari

It’s not that the Yusho winner just woke up in a mood for keiko today. He is known to hate keiko. This attitude does not fly too well with the veterans. Hakuho already said yesterday that once he feels well enough to get on the dohyo, he is going to give Mitakeumi a lovemaking session he will never forget. I hope a video of that turns up because Hakuho tends to make his torture sessions very entertaining.

But Hakuho was not the only one miffed by the lazy would-be-Ozeki. Kasugano oyakata gave the sekiwake direct orders to start guiding the youngsters. So he did, and then told the press how important it is to guide the youngsters. 😀

The rikishi were not only practicing – there was also fansa (“fan service”) to be done. Kakuryu was being polite:

And Hakuho also signed stuff before going in to get dressed up. But he somehow seems rather impatient about it:

The thing to note about this scene, though, is how the Yokozuna is wearing a chon-mage, while his tsukebito is wearing an oicho-mage. This is the kind of thing you’ll see only on a Jungyo. His tsukebito, Kasugaryu, is the yumi-tori performer. Apparently, he gets his hair done for the performance early – perhaps in order not to bother the Tokoyama while they are busy with the sekitori. So he and the shokkiri team walk around in fancy hairdos while the sekitori are still wearing their off-stage chons.

Speaking of shokkiri, it turns out that today we had a different shokkiri team. Yesterday we had Shobushi and Ebisumaru, but today they were replaced by Tochimitsuru and Tochisato of Kasugano beya. Here is their act:

Once again we have the gyoji involved in the shokkiri routine. Kudos to that gyoji. I wouldn’t dream of fighting with a rikishi of that size.

Here is a curious way of getting ready for the Torikumi:

terutsuyoshi-hidenoumi
Terutsuyoshi feeling up Hidenoumi. Terutsuyoshi is a very touchy-feely guy for a Japanese.

Yes, there were torikumi. The star of the day, in lieu of any local sekitori, was the former sekitori Nionoumi. And he won his (Makushita) match with Daishoryu and even got interviewed, where he said he aims to win all his bouts in the Aki basho and become sekitori again. Just so you know, in the last three basho he was 2-5, 4-3, 4-3. Tall order, I’d say, especially given the bubbling cauldron that is the top of Makushita today.

The four missing Mongolians were back in action today and participated in the Juryo torikumi.

The only bout I have any information about is Takakeisho vs. Endo, which Takakeisho won, apparently using yotsu-zumo. Again. I wish I had a video of that, but the only one I do have is the musubi-no-ichiban:

Once again, what’s up with Kakuryu’s foot?

And of course, I’ll finish with the obligatory Enho:

obEnho

Because let’s face it, the sumo ladies just love this guy.

Natsu 2018 Jungyo Newsreel – Day 1

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to our series of Jungyo Newsreels, in which I’ll try to provide a taste of what is going on in the Jungyo and keep us all from getting Sumo Withdrawal Chills (a very dangerous symptom of Sumo addiction!)

kisenosato-kakuryu-ogaki

I can’t promise to be able to post every day, and sometimes I’ll have to wait at least a day for any news to turn up if any, especially in remote places where sumo ladies are not of the smartphone-bearing age.

🌐 Location: Ogaki, Gifu

Let’s start with the bad news: many wrestlers are absent from this Jungyo due to unspecified injuries and maladies. Some have already been absent during the Nagoya basho, and some not:

Makunouchi absentees:

  • Takayasu (left elbow injury)
  • Tochinoshin (Toe injury)
  • Ichinojo
  • Kotoshogiku
  • Chiyonokuni
  • Abi
  • Yoshikaze
  • Takarafuji
  • Chiyoshoma
  • Meisei

Juryo absentees:

  • Kotoyuki
  • (edit) Takagenji
  • Gagamaru
  • Sokokurai
  • Kizenryu

The good news is that all three Yokozuna participate. Well, kinda sorta. They all did their dohyo-iri, but they are all pretty banged up. None of them did any keiko on-dohyo, and Hakuho was not even in the torikumi (bouts of the day).

Kisenosato was sort of working out his left arm:

Hakuho was doing mostly shiko and suri-ashi etc.

Turns out that he hurt his ankle in addition to the knee we already knew about. He said the doctor drew four syringe-fulls of fluid from his ankle, and that he received shots to both his ankle and his knee, but now “there is no pain, just discomfort”.

As for Kakuryu, we’ll get to him later, at the musubi-no-ichiban.

In addition to the many injured and banged-up wrestlers, there was a bit of an incident with four sekitori arriving late. As it turns out, Takanoiwa, Kyokushuho, Azumaryu and Daishoho took advantage of the small gap between the basho and the Jungyo, and went home to Mongolia for a bit of a vacation. The problem is that due to Typhoon Jongdari, the flight back to Japan was delayed.

The four sought an alternative flight through either Beijing or Seoul, but it wasn’t clear that any flights would be leaving for Japan from those cities, either. They were delayed for over 20 hours at Ulaan Baatar, and instead of arriving properly at Narita at noontime on the 28th, they landed there at morning 29th. They made their way to Ogaki by their own means using Shinkansen and trains – and arrived just barely in time for the Juryo dohyo-iri.

azumaryu-dohyo-iri
Kyokushuho, Azumaryu – made it in the nick of time

Their bouts for the day have already been canceled, and Japan being Japan, they were reprimanded by Kasugano oyakata, the head of the Jungyo department. Because of course work is work and they should be at work on time!

Enho and Ichiyamamoto were called in to fill the gaps in the dwindling Juryo ranks. Of course, Enho is a legitimate Juryo wrestler – but on the Jungyo he is still ranked according to the previous banzuke.

enho-with-buddies
Enho still in his black Mawashi

This was not the only mishap of the day – it turns out that there was no air-conditioning at the venue. Or if it was, it wasn’t making much impression on anybody.

turkish-bathhouse
Glistening Yokozuna and Ozeki

The Shokkiri team for this Jungyo: Shobushi and Ebisumaru from Takadagawa. Here is a bit of the action:

But you are here for the bouts, right?

  • Hokutofuji ☆ – Takekaze ★
  • Ryuden ☆ – Okinoumi ★
  • Kotoeko ★ – Ishiura ☆ (Flying henka, what else?)
  • Tochiozan ☆ – Asanoyama ★
  • Sadanoumi ? – Arawashi ? (No word)
  • Aoiyama ☆ – Onosho ★
  • Nishikigi ★ – Yutakayama ☆
  • Myogiryu ★ – Chiyomaru ☆
  • Kyokutaisei ★ – Daieisho ☆
  • Endo ☆ – Chiyotairyu ★
  • Daishomaru ★ – Takakeisho ☆
  • Ikioi ★ – Kagayaki ☆
  • Shodai ☆ – Kaisei ★

Kore yori sanyaku!

Tamawashi vs. Shohozan:

Goeido vs. Mitakeumi (Sorry for the quality):

And the Musubi-no-ichiban, Kakuryu vs. Kisenosato:

Now… it looks normal. But as Andy noted on Twitter, something is up with Kakuryu’s foot:

First, what’s up with that? Kakuryu has been kyujo because of his elbow, not his foot.

Second, this video was taken from TV as you can see. The caption on the top right says “The Yokozuna, who faces his make-or-break basho, makes his first move at the summer Jungyo”. So, despite the YDC and NSK saying nothing about Kisenosato, he is in a “make-or-break” situation, or so NHK thinks.

That’s it for today. Or wait a moment. I can’t really do without yet another Enho picture.

enho-modeling
Yep, he’s definitely put on some additional kilos. Good for him.

 

Day 9 In The Lower Divisions

Today was an interesting day in the lower divisions. Here are some stories (guided, I admit, mostly by what can be found by the way of videos, which is not much this basho):

Jonokuchi

First and foremost, it was Hattorizakura’s birthday today. He is now officially an adult by Japanese law. And he engaged in today’s bout like an adult:

This is the true meaning of gambarization. Too bad it didn’t work out. The rival, Houn, BTW, has only ever won against one person. Hattorizakura, of course.

Jonidan

Shunba, who is known to many of us as Terunofuji’s fatherly tsukebito, and who now serves as Takarafuji’s tsukebito, has lost some weight and seems to have gained some energy together with that. He is now kachi-koshi, and has a good chance of making it back to Sandanme next basho. Unfortunately, I found no shareable footage of this bout.

Sandanme

How are our three princes faring?

First, let’s look at Naya, Taiho’s grandson (and Takatoriki’s son, which is a fact the press likes to gloss over). Most of the bouts he engaged in looked one-sided, but today he met his high-school rival, Kototebakari.

Ah, apparently Naya stretches diligently. That didn’t look like a comfortable pose down at the edge of the dohyo. This loss probably denies him the Sandanme Yusho.

The second prince is, of course, Asashoryu’s nephew, Hoshoryu. He already dropped one bout on day 1. I’d say that was ring rust for sure, because he has been looking quite formidable since. Here he is against Tochikodai:

Kachi-koshi. The prince continues his ascent.

The third prince is the heir to the kingdom of Kotooshu, Torakio of Naruto beya. He has had a very strong basho so far – much better than his previous three. Unlike Naya and Hoshoryu, he still maintains the possibility for a yusho with this bout:

But wait, what was that at the end there? He seemed rather aggressive as he pulled his arm away Hokutoshu’s arm lock. Let’s look at this from a different angle (the following video has a glitch, but it’s time stamped to the replay of this bout which is fine):

Ahem. That’s not how a rikishi is supposed to behave. And his stable noticed.

Naruto beya’s tweet translates:

Good day, everybody. Here are the results for day 9:

Torakio wins, 5-0
Kawamura wins, 3-2

Some allowance may be made for the fact that Torakio has little dohyo experience. And yet his behaviour at the end of today’s match lacked respect towards his rival. He shall be strictly disciplined.

“When you win, don’t gloat. When you lose, don’t sulk”. “Start with a bow, end with a bow”. Fundamentals first.

In addition, it seems that Torakio once again ends a bout with some level of injury. Let’s hope that he learns manners and keeps up the good sumo.

Makushita

Tomisakae from Isegahama – known mostly for his agile backflips, his charming smile, and a shikona that stands out in a heya fulls of Terus and Fujis – has recorded five straight wins for the first time in his sumo careers. He seems to be bursting with genki:

If he does find himself with a surprising Makushita Yusho (which mathematically he is in the race for), he will find himself next basho in the Makushita purgatory – the zone separating heaven from hell. That will be a whole different story.

Enho is currently in that same purgatory, and his chances of making it back to sekitori heaven have improved with Murata dropping out of the basho after an injury. Of course, for this you have to have a kachi-koshi. And the schedulers were not merciful today, sending him to a Juryo bout against a rival 26 cm taller than him – Kizenryu, the purgatory yo-yo, who has spent no less than 9 basho in Juryo, but none consecutively.

Yo-yo or not, 26 cm, let alone the near 50kg weight difference, are something to be reckoned with. So let’s take a look at one of the best bouts of the day:

At first, Kizenryu denies Enho access to his mawashi. Enho takes a step back and then attacks again, this time finding his favorite mae-mitsu grip. Then he changes his grip to the back of Kizenryu’s mawashi. Kizenryu manages to get a grip on the pesky little mosquito’s mawashi. Enho tries a throw, realizes he doesn’t have the right hold, lets go of the mawashi with his right hand and grabs the leg. Within seconds – the end. Worth watching again from another angle:

This Ashitori got Enho first place in the kanto-seishin, the crowd favorite ranking, for the Juryo division – despite the fact that he is not in Juryo at all… yet!

Juryo

Alas, my personal Jurya favorites have all been losing today:

Aminishiki-Kotoyuki.

Aminishiki is doing well for his age and condition, and managed to tie Taiho’s record of career wins (8th place, 872 wins) yesterday, but not to pass him today. Still has 5 days in which to get 2 wins for a kachi-koshi.

Terutsuyoshi was trying for straightforward sumo against Chiyonoo, but it didn’t work out for him:

Another favorite of mine is Chiyonoumi, the newcomer to the Juryo division. He is not doing badly for a beginner, with 5 wins in 9 days, but today he didn’t get one of them:

Takanoiwa seems to be heading for the Juryo Yusho. He has made his kachi-koshi already, at a record speed for himself as a sekitori. That is, this is the first time in his sekitori career he has only one loss in 9 days.

Good survival skills, there! Whether or not he wins the Yusho, we are almost certain to see him back in Makuuchi next basho (well, unless he happens to be in the same place as a Yokozuna and a Karaoke remote control again).

Akiseyama, the local Aichi boy, has been suffering greatly in this basho. He was down to seven straight losses, when he decided to go back to wearing his old purple Mawashi.

In purpule mawashi – two wins.