Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 8 (Oct 10)

🌐 Location: Kofu, Yamanashi
🚫 Scandal level: 0

nobori

It’s Ryuden day! Take a look at these nobori. There is one “Kisenosato”, and all the rest are a colorful array of “Ryuden”.

Why?

Because Ryuden comes from Kofu, Yamanashi. A rikishi from the same prefecture is enough reason to celebrate. But one from the same town? And a Makuuchi wrestler at that? Let the Ryuden-fest begin!

To ease you in, let’s start with some other people in the hand-shake phase. Here is Nishikigi, who doesn’t want Teraoumi to get any of the spotlight:

nishikigi-hides-teraoumi

Teraoumi maintains his cool, and reminds Nishikigi that he is two months his sempai!

teraoumi-hides-nishikigi

(Yeah, that conversation actually took place)

Abi was goofing around. When does Abi not goof around? First he got Nishikigi’s glasses:

abi-with-nishikigi-glasses

Then he said they give him a headache. Then he got Teraoumi’s glasses:

abi-with-teraoumi-glasses

…and said he can’t see anything. And then he asked Shodai for his secret drink:

But gagged upon smelling it. Shodai told him to take a mouthful. Abi declared it tastes like sewage. Which brings up the question: how does Abi know what sewage tastes like?

In short, Abi and Nishikigi were being pests:

(But hey, at least no nipples got crushed).

Shodai, still with that drink in hand, was stopped inside the main hall for a photo. Now, if you look at Twitter photos of sekitori with fans, you may notice that they are almost never selfies. That’s another job of one’s loyal tsukebito, in this case, Asakura:

Kototsurugi, who apparently travels with the Jungyo, got Ryuden to sign one of his likenesses:

kototsurugi-gets-ryuden-autograph

Now, let’s get closer to the dohyo. And get a couple of lessons in etiquette. First, here is Yokozuna Kakuryu. First, he bows to the oyakata. Only then he stands and start accepting bows from the other sekitori:

But of course, then comes the anti-etiquette part. Tamawashi just sticks around and starts having a conversation with Terutsuyoshi, and everybody else needs to go around him to greet the Yokozuna. How rude!

Here is Endo going to greet Yokozuna Kisenosato. Then he notices someone else and bows to him, too. Who is it?

It’s Jokoryu, his university sempai.

And note also Onosho going to hand a ladle to Kisenosato. Alas, Kisenosato rejects the offering, as he is busy dancing.

On the dohyo, Ryuden gave butsukari to Shobushi. Shobushi is also a local Yamanashi boy:

So the spectators got two locals for the price of one! Other sessions on the dohyo:

Kotoeko vs. Gokushindo in moshi-ai:

Aminishiki vs. Yago:

Takarafuji vs. Kagayaki. Oops.

Meisei vs. Onosho:

Climaxing at Tochinoshin vs. Ryuden:

But of course, for a local boy, you can’t do without a lengthy kawaigari (butsukari) from a Yokozuna. Kakuryu doing the honors:

Note that part when Kakuryu signals to the spectators to applaud.

This session over, Ryuden looked like this:

Keiko over, everybody wants to shower. Actually, it’s Japan. Not just shower – ofuro (bath). And for a bath you need to go to a sento or an onsen. There is a shuttle service:

The sekitori get out of their training mawashi. Here is Goeido’s, hanging out to dry:

goeido-mawashi

Quick reminder: mawashi are never washed.

The fans love capturing Yokozuna as they come back from the bath. Here is your Kakuryu:

It’s a real hinkaku challenge, this thing. Here is Kisenosato, who is famous for coming back from the bath with his hair in a bun, which looks like a one-eared Mickey-Mouse:

In the meantime, the show goes on inside the building. The local boy, Shobushi, performs the Shokkiri, and is then called in for an interview with a local TV station:

shobushi-interviewed-after-shokkiri

There is also a drum demonstration, performed by Yobidashi Shigeo, of Kokonoe beya:

yobidashi-shigeo

Note the cool T-shirt, featuring Chiyonofuji brushing his teeth. Yeah, Shigeo has been with Kokonoe for quite a while.

Here is (a part of) the performance itself:

Time for dohyo-iri. And… you guessed it. Tamawashi is at it again:

tamawashi-abuses-shodai

Shodai gets a free dental examination. Only, the only rikishi who has an actual dentistry license is Tochinoshin. Definitely not Tamawashi.

Then the sekitori’s bouts start. Guess which one I have for you?

There’s a glimpse of Meisei-Chiyoshoma in there, but you only get to see Endo vs. Ryuden there. Endo is a good actor. He has never ever beaten a local boy, though, ain’t than funny?

This was actually Endo’s second bout of the day, as he was also pulled in to replace Daishomaru, who had some sudden health issue. Daishomaru joined two other absentees from the torikumi – Shohozan and Hakuho. Yes, this is the day Hakuho practically started his kyujo, although he still did the fansa. He did not participate in keiko nor do a dohyo-iri, according to eye witnesses. Here he is on his way back home (or rather, to the next location) at the end of the day:

hakuho-barely-walking
Not the happiest expression on Hakuho’s face

And so, everybody went home. But Ryuden was still accompanied by a TV crew till the last possible moment:

ryuden-interviewed-on-way-home

Sorry, no Tobizaru nor Enho for you today. I hope your big helping of Ryuden softens the blow.

 

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 7 (Oct 9)

🌐 Location: Higashiizu, Shizuoka
🚫 Scandal level: 0

venue
Heavy-duty rural atmosphere

The Jungyo tours between small towns and villages. But this time they really hit a tiny rural place with a population of about 12,000, famous mostly for its onsen and fisheries.

And the rikishi seem to have started gathering just about the same time the fishermen get up for work:

good-morning
Guys, sleepwalking is detrimental to one’s health!

The day started with the usual handshake parade.

tamawashi-shodai-kaisei
Tamawashi is up to something, and Shodai knows it.

Terutsuyoshi seems to be cultivating a little goatee:

terutsuyoshi

Inside, while low-ranking wrestlers were taking the dohyo, some sekitori were exercising around the perimeter. Here is Enho:

enho-exercises
Sleepwalking, OK. But sleep-exercising?

If you want to have the Abi Shiko, you have to be able to do the Abi splits:

abi-splits
Distance between big toes: 2km. Shuttle busses leave every half hour.

Abi was back in the torikumi this day, as was Tsurugisho.

Moving forward, the sekitori started to practice on-dohyo:

Nishikigi vs. Shohozan in Moshiai. Awaiting the winner are Sadanoumi and Ryuden:

Asanoyama vs. Tochinoshin, with Shodai on the sideline:

Asanoyama beats Tochinoshin? That’s not something you see every day.

There was also a practice bout between Ichinojo and Kaisei. The dohyo remained stable – which is remarkable for something made of polystyrene.

Here is the full Shokkiri of the day (by the Kasugano pair), taken by a very lucky fella who got a ticket in the front row:

This was followed by the Juryo dohyo-iri and Juryo bouts, and before the last three of those, Kisenosato demonstrated rope tying:

kisenosato-rope-tying

Note that stick thing stuck in the front tsukebito’s mawashi? No, it’s not a wand. This is used to adjust the “shide” – those zig-zag pieces of folded paper hanging from the Yokozuna’s rope. If any of them hangs too loosely or is bent, that stick has a flat head that helps push the straps of paper between the tight strands of the rope.

At this point of the Jungyo, all Yokozuna were still present and accounted for:

three-yokozuna

By the way, I read a post today where someone criticized Hakuho (or his team of tsukebito?) for having shide that were too short. “They used to reach all the way down to the fringe of the kesho-mawashi” he said. What do you think? I’m thinking they are about the same length as everybody else’s, only the dai-Yokozuna is rather taller than average.

I only got still photos from the Makuuchi bouts. So here is Ichinojo vs. Takakeisho:

ichinojo-take-1

What do you mean, you don’t recognize Ichinojo? He is very recognizable. His cheeks are his most prominent feature… OK… OK… Let’s try that again. Ichinojo vs. Takakeisho:

ichinojo-take-2

Ichinojo won that one.

I can give you a photo of Goeido-Kisenosato, but really, it’s from the same angle, so you may wish to skip that. Kisenosato won.

Let’s hope that the next destination sports more video-equipped phones.

tobizaru

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 4 (Oct 6)

🌐 Location: Saitama, Saitama
🚫 Scandal level: 0

venue-inside
Once again, full house

Many rikishi hail from Saitama, among them Hokutofuji, Daieisho, and Abi – but would you believe that the only decent photo I could find of Abi from this day is this one?

abi-what-no-fans
Where is my army of groupies?

Twitter says he was very busy giving autographs. I guess people were busy handing in shikishi to sign, and forgot to take photos…

Hokutofuji received the attention of Tochinoshin, who gave him Butsukari.

tochinoshin-butsukari-hokutofuji

Tochinoshin, reports say, went all the way with butsukari and did this 38 times (not all of them with Hokutofuji). I’m going to assume this means he got pushed 38 times, because I don’t really think any human being would withstand 38 full butsukari sessions, even as the receiving chest.

Daieisho, in the mean time, didn’t seem to get much limelight – just kept hanging with Takakeisho.

takakeisho-daieisho

Of course, these are just fan shots. It could be that all three of the locals were engaged by the high rankers, as is usual for local boys, but for some reason, neither the NSK Twitter has been active nor have the local fans at Saitama recorded any of that.

Here is Kakuryu with his rubber strap:

kakuryu-rubber-band

That’s actually one of the best shots I’ve seen of him in a while. Kisenosato was also practicing off-dohyo, but I have to admit that… I’m not sure what I’m seeing here…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve already seen short videos of him doing this on several occasions. What is that? The fans call it “The Kise Dance”. Is Kisenosato considering exotic dancing as a second career?

Goofiness mostly concentrated around the dohyo-iri. For example, in the Juryo dohyo-iri, Wakatakakage was picking at Terutsuyoshi. But I must say the Isegahama pixie seemed to actually enjoy the attention:

wakatakakage-plays-with-terutsuyoshi

In the Makuuchi dohyo-iri, Tamawashi was looking for fun. In the past couple of days his trick has been to just stop dead and cause Mitakeumi to bump into him. Mitakeumi seems to be on the alert now, so disappointed Tamawashi starts pestering Ikioi instead:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The West dohyo-iri is not exactly a show of solemnity, either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This time it’s right on the dohyo, too. But hey, it’s Abi.

The Yokozuna dohyo-iri was a bit more serious. But if you have ever wondered what Nishikigi does with his glasses when he has to accompany Kakuryu in his dohyo-iri, here is your answer:

 

 

 

 

 

The Yokozuna’s tsukebito are on the alert at the hana-michi to take the sword, clean the kesho-mawashi and whatnot. And one of them has the glasses, for an exchange that looks like a relay race, only the baton is passed to the arriving runner instead of the other way around.

In less happy news, Tsurugisho seems to be injured or ill, and was abruptly taken off the torikumi. Daishoho replaced him vs. Gagamaru (meaning Daishoho had two bouts this day):

daishoho-replaces-tsurugisho

At some point that same Daishoho took some time to relax together with Tobizaru… in the guest seats. I don’t think the spectators minded too much, though:

tobizaru-daishoho-in-the-crowd
Don’t mind us, we’re just here to make the place smell nice.

Further up the banzuke, here is the sanyaku-soroi-bumi (well, one side of it, anyway):

 

 

 

Nice synchronization, there!

Hakuho seems to have gotten over his rather embarrassing match yesterday:

hakuho-got-over-his-booboo

This picture, by the way, given that the last three bouts were Mitakeumi-Tochinoshin, Kisenosato-Goeido, Kakuryu-Hakuho, tells you that Tochinoshin lost. Otherwise there would be no need for the Yokozuna who wrestles last to hand the chikara-mizu to anybody.

Here is the Kisenosato-Goeido bout:

 

Oops. Shikimori Kandayu – who is to be promoted to Shikimori Inosuke after the Kyushu basho – loses his footing there. He then keeps a good distance from the still skirmishing Ozeki and Yokozuna.

Too bad the video doesn’t continue, because Goeido, again, is on Hakuho’s side, meaning there would be no kachi-nokori, and we would be treated to Hakuho’s tsukebito handing him the chikara-mizu with a bare shoulder. I wonder if Kasugaryu is qualified to do that, given that he is wearing a (kesho) mawashi anyway, and is on his way to the dohyo anyway for the yumi-tori ceremony.

Following which, everybody went home, and the dohyo was dismantled:

dohyo-destroyed

But I will not leave you without a Tobizaru for the day – accompanied by Yago, because I am still not sure all of you can recognize the man with the chin. Or is it the chin with the man?

tobizaru-with-yago
Watch out, Yago! There is a monkey eying your shoulder!

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Days 2 and 3

I did not post an individual report about day 2, because frankly, there wasn’t much to write – even on the NSK Twitter account there were very few tweets about it. So here it is, bundled together with day 3.

🌐 Location: Ota, Gunma
🚫 Scandal level: -1 (yawn)

If you’re here for the goofy pictures, here is one by the surprisingly popular Arikawa, who is one of Kisenosato’s tsukebito, and despite his hair, is only 29 years old. Here he is accompanied by a rather demonic-looking Ryuden:

Maybe Ryuden was still upset by his earlier moshi-ai bout with Chiyonokuni, which looked like this:

For those of you who are new here: moshi-ai is a form of practice in which the winner gets to choose his next rival. This means that at the end of each bout there is a melee of rikishi vying for the winner’s attention.

There aren’t many rikishi hailing from Gunma prefecture. The most famous one is Satonofuji, but he no longer participates in the Jungyo. However, Yobidashi Shiro, the san-yaku yobidashi, is from Gunma, and therefore got to do the drum presentation today:

That’s more or less all I have from Ota. Here is a Tobizaru for you:

Almost as charming with toddlers as Harumafuji used to be

OK, now brace yourselves, because day 3, unlike day 2, was well covered. This may be because they packed a full house – they even had the “Thank you for the full house” flags hanging.

🌐 Location: Ashikaga, Tochigi
🚫 Scandal level: 0

There are two very popular rikishi from Tochigi prefecture: the Taka twins. However, due to Takagenji and Takanoiwa being kyujo they were absent (Takayoshitoshi is Takanoiwa’s tsukebito, so if Takanoiwa is not there, he is not there). Maybe the reason Kisenosato chose to give butsukari to Takanosho is that he is somewhat related… he is their new heya mate now.

By the way, of the three Yokozuna, two seem to be practicing on the dohyo at the moment. Hakuho, as usual, starts the Jungyo doing the basics at the foot of the dohyo. The two others seem to settle for doing butsukari at the moment.

Somebody brought in balance disks, and rikishi were given a challenge: do shiko on the balance disks.

Ryuden finds this a bit challenging
Nishikigi follows instructions successfully
Shohozan tries to ignore the laughter
Chiyonokuni executes well… only… his foot was out – like in the basho!

So, if you run into anybody who thinks that sumo is two big flabby potatoes in diapers flapping at each other until one falls over – hand him a pair of balance disks and tell him to try that.

Shohozan seems to have brought his invisible golf club to the Jungyo:

Takakeisho seems to have received less attention than he got in Tokyo, which allowed him to relax and enjoy the jungyo. Like, for example, pestering Daieisho:

Also, for some reason, it seems he has never heard of wax or laser. Instead, he has his tsukebito pull his back hair, one hair at a time. 😨

Yeah, I’m serious. He actually returned the favor there, and they looked like a couple of apes socializing by picking nits off each other. Guys, please remember that you’re on camera out there in the Jungyo, always.

Here is Abi doing some san-ban. First, with Onosho:

Then, with Takanosho:

Notice something?

Abi is going for the mawashi. Again, and again. Other rikishi practicing:

Hokutofuji vs. Kagayaki
Kaisei vs. Ryuden

As the day progresses, the torikumi begin. Again, because of the shortage in Juryo wrestlers, Nakazono, Gokushindo and Tomokaze wear oicho (well, Tomokaze doesn’t – his hair is not long enough, yet) and wrestle in Juryo. Somehow, Gokushindo seems to be way too happy about this:

That smile is suspicious…
Aha. The rim is loaded with salt.

So, Gokushindo takes the opportunity of his first appearance in a Juryo bout in Jungyo to play the oldest trick in the book – giving the waiting wrestler a ladle full of salt. You see, there is no chikara-mizu in Makushita and below. That ceremony is reserved for sekitori bouts.

Actually, he was taking a risk there, because his bout was the one following Nakazono, so if Nakazono won, he could easily have returned the favor with some interest. I guess he trusted Azumaryu (Nakazono’s opponent) to take care of that problem.

I don’t have torikumi from Juryo, but I do have this photo:

Meisei vs. Aminishiki

The report is that Aminishiki fought hard at the edge, but as you can see, Meisei is the one still on the dohyo at the end. And seems very pleased about it.

In Makuuchi, I want you to take a look at the musubi-no-ichiban. First, take a look at Hakuho’s final salt throw. He always does that in Jungyo. In honbasho he settles for a modest throw befitting a Yokozuna. But in Jungyo, he goes all Terutsuyoshi, much to the pleasure of the crowd.

But then, watch the bout itself. It’s… surprising.

Whoa, what was that? Kakuryu is all “Oops… Sorry, Yokozuna, are you alright?”, and Hakuho bangs the dohyo with his fist in embarrassment. I mean, a respectable loss by yori-kiri or oshi-dashi is not uncommon, especially not in Jungyo, where the wins seem to be distributed evenly between Yokozuna (well, Kisenosato didn’t get the memo, but that’s him). But a sukuinage? Or any other kind of throw?

OK, finally, here is a digest of the day’s events. Some Yokozuna dohyo-iri. Some Shokkiri. Ryuden vs. Takanosho, Kisenosato vs. Goeido, and a glimpse of that odd musubi-no-ichiban:

But of course, I won’t say goodbye without a final Tobizaru:

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 1 (Oct 3)

🌐 Location: Ota Ward, Tokyo
🚫 Scandal Level: 0

abi-being-abi
It’s the Jungyo! Let the Goofiness commence!

The sekitori and their tsukebito eased into the Jungyo, starting the rounds in Tokyo. This time, at the Ota ward, close to Kawasaki.

That is, the sekitori eased into it. The tsukebito are a different story:

kyokusoten-carries-tamawashi-akeni
Kyokusoten shouldering Tamawashi’s Akeni

They have to do all the fetching and carrying – here showing the akeni, packed into protective tarp.

Wait, whose Akeni is this?

yutakayama-akeni

The name on this package is “Oyanagi”. Actually, it’s Yutakayama’s Akeni. They simply didn’t replace the name on the canvas bag when they gave him his shikona – which happened when he was already a sekitori. Generally, it’s best to avoid changing shikona when the rikishi is already sekitori – it means that his kesho mawashi and akeni become obsolete.

Here is someone who has been sekitori for a long time. Very long time.

aminishiki-birthday
Happy 40th birthday, Uncle

Poor Aminishiki always gets to celebrate his birthday in Jungyo. He did get an early surprise party from his loved ones, but the day itself is always spent away from home. Aminishiki noted that with post-basho events, Jungyo, and Kyushu basho, it won’t be until after Fuyu Jungyo is over – ending December 22 – that he will get his much yearned-for “Family time”.

So let’s turn to the Jungyo event itself. Here we see the sekitori coming to greet Kisenosato, one by one. This Jungyo started with all Yokozuna present and in working order, so they had a lot of greeting to do.

But unusually, the focus of attention wasn’t Kisenosato. The focus of attention in this event was Takakeisho, although he is not a local boy. The reason for this is the Takanohana beya dissolution. Of the three sekitori coming from that heya, Takakeisho is the only one participating in the Jungyo. Many people cheered him on. But not just spectators, it seems! Here is a piece of the TV coverage of the event.

First, the commentators focus on the fact that Takakeisho is still wearing a Takanohana yukata. That’s actually something I didn’t think was too surprising. Naya wears a Taiho yukata frequently. Hoshoryu goes around in an Asashoryu yukata. And they are still in the strict part of the banzuke. Why shouldn’t Takakeisho, a san-yaku sekitori, wear whatever yukata he pleases?

Further forward, moving through showing his participation in keiko and the fans showing him a lot of attention and asking for autographs, and talking about keiko and stuff, they show him greeting Hakuho in the morning. Hakuho usually all but ignores the sekitori who come to greet him – except his particular friends like Tamawashi etc. – but this time he stopped, turned around, and held on to Takakeisho’s arm in an encouraging fashion.

The news piece ends showing the first item that sold out in the memorabilia stands: “Gambare, Takakeisho” towels.

The event schedule went on as usual regardless of the Taka-no-drama, though. Here we have the Shokkiri routine for this Jungyo.

The Shokkiri team from the previous Jungyo contines into this basho – Ebisumaru and Shobushi. In the previous basho they alternated with another pair, so I’ll check tomorrow if they alternate this time as well.

Due to the many absences from Juryo, no less than three Makushita wrestlers were thrown into the Juryo torikumi to thicken it up. Jokoryu faced Ms8E Nakazono. Azumaryu faced the newly promoted Gokushindo, and Gagamaru, who is going to say goodbye to his sekitori status in the next basho, faced the man replacing him – Tomokaze.

I ran into only one photo from the Juryo bouts – Terutsuyoshi vs. Tsurugisho – and boy, I’m dying to know who won and by what kimarite, exactly.

terutsuyoshi-tsurugisho

Here is Hakuho’s dohyo-iri. Due to Ishiura’s absence, his dew-gatherer is Daieisho. This state of affairs is likely to remain so until at least Hatsu basho, as Ishiura will not be in Makuuchi in Kyushu.

Here are Chiyotairyu and Daieisho awaiting their Torikumi. This is a boring time for rikishi, so they are playing a game – one rikishi has to guess how many thumbs the other rikishi will put up. This game is actually more interesting when played with more than two rikishi, because then the answer is not just zero, one, or two.

daieisho-playing-with-chiyotairyu
Chiyotairyu guesses 1, but it was actually 0.

Of the bouts themselves, I have Takakeisho vs. Ikioi. Notice the announcement for Takakeisho: “Hyogo-ken, Ashiya-shi shusshin, Chiganoura beya”.

Poor Ikioi, getting no love.

And we have Kisenosato vs. Goeido.

What a struggle. I wish I had this from another angle to see what the Yokozuna was trying to do with his left.

Finally, by popular request, here is your daily Tobizaru!

tobizaru
“Of course I’m smiling! I’m the new Tachiai pin-up boy!”