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

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 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: