It’s the last few days before the basho, and I thought our readers would like a few insights, based on news reports of practice sessions, of who is genki and who is not.Continue reading
We had an interesting day today at the EDION arena in Osaka. Before I dive into the Makunouchi bouts, I’m sure the fans will be happy to see this:
Aminishiki is in dire straits down at the bottom of Juryo, but he managed to get his first win today vs. Akiseyama – and do that moving forward!
So, fast forward through Juryo (Arawashi doing well this basho, Enho gets his second loss in a row), we begin with Yutakayama vs. Kotoeko. Kotoeko looking good this basho, and may just be able to get that Makunouchi kachi-koshi which has eluded him so far. He attacks Yutakayama with a harizashi, lifts his arm high, and sends him off to the arms of the time shimpan.
Due to Chiyonokuni’s injury, we have a visitor from Juryo every day, and today it was 0-4 Hakuyozan facing Ishihenka, I mean, Ishiura, who was 4-0. Ishiura tried to get under Hakuyozan’s attack, but as he pulls, his knee folds below him and he finds himself rolling. His first loss, Hakuyozan’s first win.
Toyonoshima slammed into Chiyoshoma and intended to railroad him with his bulk, as he is wont. But the nimble Mongolian freed himself, stepped sideways, and left the veteran to ponder the difficulties of age and sumo.
Kagayaki launches himself head-first into newbie Daishoho‘s chest, keeps himself low, keeps his opponent upright, and clears him from the dohyo. Basic and clean.
The Tomokaze–Terutsuyoshi bout ended almost as soon as it started, with a plain, almost dismissive, hatakikomi. I believe something is wrong with Terutsuyoshi’s legs. He keeps ending up with his center of gravity way ahead of his feet. There is an expression used for this state: “ashi ga nagaremashita” – “his feet have flowed away”. His legs don’t work as fast as he needs to support his lunge.
And the Isegahama pixie is not the only one in trouble. Yoshikaze also didn’t show up for today’s bout. He leads head-first into the tachiai, but Ryuden immediately lands a morozashi – two arms under the opponent’s arms – and Yoshikaze just goes limp. Ryuden is haveng a good basho with 4-1.
Meisei tries to take the initiative against Yago. Doesn’t quite land a grip. Short tsuppari ensues, and then the two engage in migi-yotsu. Meisei only has one layer of Yago’s mawashi, and the Oguruma man patiently maneuvers into a better grip and leads Meisei out.
An impressive Shohozan showed up today to face Sadanoumi. Starting his bout with a harizashi, he lands a grip, and then throws Sadanoumi in a beautiful uwatenage. I want more of this Shohozan.
Ikioi tries hard to keep Kotoshogiku‘s pelvis as far away from him as possible. But eventually the former Ozeki decides to use the pressure against him, moves, and shows him out. Ikioi limps back to his spot to give the bow.
Asanoyama has a good tactic against Aoiyama. Since he is a yotsu man and Aoiyama is known for his fierce tsuppari and soft knees, Asanoyama quickly drives in and gets a fistful of mawashi. But Aoiyama shows versatility, uses a kotenage to release himself from the Takasago man, complements that with a nodowa, and hands Asanoyama his second loss.
Abi starts his bout with Takarafuji, as usual, with that morotezuki and follows with tsuppari. Takarafuji is quite ready for that, patiently weathers it, moves slightly to the left and grabs Abi’s mawashi. Abi manages to release himself, tries a half-hearted hikiotoshi, and fails. Instead, the Isegahama man slaps hard, and Abi rolls all the way to the other side of the dohyo. Olé!
The next bout, Chiyotairyu vs. Okinoumi. Chiyotairyu does his locomotive tachiai. Okinoumi backs up and sidesteps. Chiyotairyu dives into the janome, hands first. And Kimura Konosuke calls it Chiyotairyu’s win! No monoii. I guess the shimpan trust Chiyotairyu’s heya-mate, Konosuke, too much. The replay clearly shows this was a mistake. Okinoumi’s feet are firmly on the tawara, so he is very much alive when Chiyotairyu hits the dirt.
Ichinojo starts off with a harite – it’s not a harizashi as there was no attempt to go for the belt – then follows with a kachiage, and finally paws Onosho down with both arms. Scary. Onosho finds himself in a heap as Ichinojo, as usual, worriedly checks if he hasn’t overdone things. I guess Ichinojo left his sleepy secret twin in Tokyo.
Endo gets a grip on Tochiozan‘s belt right off the tachiai, and rolls him like his favorite barrel of beer. Makiotoshi, Endo’s first win this basho.
Mitakeumi and Hokutofuji clash head-to-head. Mitakeumi leads at first, but Hokutofuji manages to stop the pressure, and it’s Mitakeumi who starts pulling back. Maybe it’s the knee, but whatever it is, the Mitakeumi magic is not working against his fellow komusubi, and after a short halt, again he pulls and finds himself below the dohyo.
After three losses, Tamawashi vindicates himself somewhat in this fierce battle with Takakeisho. Takakeisho leads at first and nearly bounces Tamawashi out the front side of the dohyo, but Tamawashi takes it in his stride, and returns with his own windmill. Tamawashi proves that even in oshi, Takakeisho is not invincible. With two losses in the first trimester, Takakeisho’s Ozeki run seems less certain than it looked before the basho started.
Nishikigi has run out of luck this basho. Takayasu slams into him with all his bear-power. Nishikigi tries an arm lock on the Ozeki’s left arm, but to no avail. Nishikigi is 0-5.
Kaisei and Tochinoshin lock into a “gappuri” stance – firm yotsu. Tochinoshin’s first attempt doesn’t work. There is a short impasse, and then Kaisei makes a mistake and tries to gaburi him, or at least, that’s how it looked. As a result, his center of gravity ends up just where the Ozeki wants it, and he actually lifts the heavy Brazilian – though he quickly abandons the idea. He then adds a couple of pelvis thrusts of his own, to bring his thick opponent across the tawara. 3-2, and his chances of clearing kadoban look slightly brighter.
Goeido treats Shodai like a ragdoll, and the Tokitsukaze man finds himself out of the dohyo almost straight out of the tachiai. What version of Goeido is this? Has his kernel been replaced?
Kakuryu butts heads with Daieisho (not a smart move in the long run, Yokozuna), then immediately pulls. Hatakikomi, and Kakuryu is visibly annoyed with himself. Trouble always begins when Kakuryu pulls. But the win is a win.
I’m not sure what’s going on with Hakuho. The bout itself looked fine. No dominance, but the Yokozuna leading with a kachiage, Myogiryu fending him off, and the Yokozuna coming in again and slapping his opponent to the ground. But like yesterday, he couldn’t quite stop his own movement after finishing his work. Yesterday he ended up in the crowd, and took quite a while to get up from there, and today he ended up doing the splits on top of myogiryu. Control of legs? Dizziness? We won’t know unless he goes kyujo and needs to publish yet another public proof of injury
So that’s the end of Act 1, and we have four men in the leader group – Hakuho, Goeido, Ichinojo and Kotoshogiku. Let’s see what the second trimester brings!
It’s Day 2, and here’s another wrap up from Juryo. This time we’ll throw in a couple bonus bouts from the Makushita promotion race, which is already shaping up to be a hot one.
Makushita Bonus Action
Akua defeats Chiyonoo – After his disastrous basho in Fukuoka, Chiyonoo doesn’t look like coming back up any time in the near future. Akua gives him the ol’ push and pull and he’s face flat on the dohyo. Woof. Akua looks the more likely to be back up in Juryo the soonest.
Takanofuji defeats Ryuko – Takanofuji nee Takayoshitoshi wins despite not having a solid grip for most of this match. Ryuko, a former Tachiai One to Watch who was surprisingly tipped by John Gunning as a future Ozeki, has got a left hand grip and gives a couple attempts at an uwatenage, but Takanofuji manoeuvres him close to the bales and crushes him down via yoritaoshi.
Chiyonoumi defeats Daiseido – Daiseido, having lost already, gets a visit to Juryo on day 2 against Chiyonoumi. After a matta, the Kokonoe man uses Daiseido’s inertia against him, steps to the side and thrusts him down to win by tsukiotoshi. Daiseido now has very little room for error with 13 days to go, if he’s going to make it to the penultimate division. Chiyonoumi now 2-0.
Sokokurai defeats Gagamaru – There’s a combined age of 66 on the dohyo with these two. You know that facebook meme going around right now where you’re meant to post your first profile picture from ten years ago and your most recent? Well if you’re feeling bad about how you’ve aged then bear in mind that Gagamaru is 31. Before this match starts, I notice that cool man Tomozuna is in the shimpan crew, which in fairness is a good distraction from some gnarly shiko. There’s another matta, and then Sokokurai pulls a planetary-orbit altering henka that sends the Georgian to the clay. Both men are now 1-1, and Gagamaru is not massively pleased.
Shimanoumi defeats Kyokushuho – Kyokushuho deploys some strong nodowa attempts in front of his stable master, but can’t find the killer move and as Shimanoumi gets him going backward, he pulls and it’s all over. Shimanoumi checks his balance, stays low, and shoves his man out.
Jokoryu defeats Tsurugisho – Jokoryu beats Tsurugisho with one of those throws that feels like it lasts an entire year. Jokoryu lands his left hand inside after the Tachiai, and then the entire rest of this match is him attempting to unload the throw. It looks like it may backfire but eventually he controls Tsurugisho’s momentum and executes a very satisfying shitatenage.
Tobizaru defeats Takekaze – Takekaze had a bad loss on Day 1 and needs to sort himself out if he isn’t going to suffer a potentially career-ending drop out of the professional ranks. This match is a slap-fest in which the veteran is determined to rough up Tobizaru’s face, much to the chagrin of the younger man’s fans. Takekaze unleashes about 13 slap and pull and poke and scratch attempts before Tobizaru is able to keep the wily elder statesman at arms length in order to set up the push and pull for the slap down. Takekaze is now 0-2, and Tobizaru is now 1-1.
Arawashi defeats Kyokutaisei – It’s not Tobizaru’s fault, but I could get behind his Tokyo banana mawashi if Kyokutaisei was still sporting the Hokkaido melon tinted belt. Arawashi’s sumo has been a mess lately but he executes a pretty solid tsuppari into mawashi grip transition and chaperones Kyokutaisei out. The best lead actor of any recent sumo film puts up a decent fight at the edge but there’s nothing he can do, and that’s the kind of match Kyokutaisei should probably be winning against a sekitori in freefall. Both men are now 1-1. Bring back the melon!
NHK cuts the feed at this point over from the broadcast satellite to NHK G and shows Kisenosato entering the Kokugikan, and the footage kind of looks like there’s going to be an intai announcement. But it turns out they’re just announcing that he takes on Ichinojo later.
Hidenoumi defeats Mitoryu – disappointing from Mitoryu as Hidenoumi tries and fails to get a mawashi grip, but doesn’t really need it to get the Mongolian high and escort him out in fairly short order. Disappointing match, and Mitoryu is getting a little inconsistent at this level. Both of these guys are now 1-1 as well.
Azumaryu defeats Enho – Ura had better hurry up, because here’s more incredible sumo involving Enho, who is turning into the can’t miss rikishi. Azumaryu’s ring demeanour is so much calmer and measured than the more frantic Enho. They take a while to get ready at the tachiai, but eventually this bout gets underway, and Enho gets in low. Azumaryu tries repeatedly to simply push him down, slap him down, as the smaller man buries his head into Azumaryu’s stomach. Eventually Enho tries to get a mawashi grip, but this doesn’t work and it looks like the Mongolian has him off balance. But the little guy recovers, tries a throw and can’t pull it off. Then he tries a sotogake leg trip and can’t pull that off, and Azumaryu now has Enho off balance and throws him to the dirt. Enho gets up with a bloodied face and nothing to show for his efforts but his fans. Both men are now 1-1.
Chiyomaru defeats Akiseyama – It’s the battle of the bulbous! Chiyomaru tries to hit a slap down and then the match looks like it’s turning into a yotsu-battle. The two men lock up in the middle of the dohyo and it’s possible one of them is about to fall asleep when Chiyomaru twists the awkward Kise-beya rikishi around and tosses him down with a tsukiotoshi. Chiyomaru heads to 2-0, with Akiseyama now 0-2.
Wakatakakage defeats Hakuyozan – Dominant performance from Wakatakakage. Hakuyozan gets the better of the tachiai, but once the smaller Arashio-beya man lands his grip, Hakuyozan is totally out of control of the match and Wakatakakage deposits him over the edge. Both of these young starlets are now 1-1 as well.
Toyonoshima defeats Tokushoryu – Here’s a match featuring an awful lot of belly. Toyonoshima puts his to good use as he takes control straight from the tachiai and wins with an insanely straightforward yorikiri. Tokushoryu tries to get his arm around the senior sumo citizen’s head and execute some kind of throw or slap down in desperation, but he’s got nothing. Everybody here is now 1-1 as well.
Aminishiki defeats Tomokaze – Old meets young in a generational battle. Uncle Sumo mounts the dohyo in an attempt to get something from the current division’s yusho holder. Tomokaze has his usual nonplussed expression as the two men get down for the tachiai. You’ll never guess what happens next: pusher-thruster Tomokaze has backwards-moving slap-down specialist Aminishiki going backwards. Aminishiki dances around the ring and hits the hikiotoshi as Tomokaze goes flying. It’s a good lesson for the youngster. It’s increasingly likely in 50 years we’ll still be watching them wheel the bones and bandages of Aminishiki onto the dohyo – he can still win at this level. He, like Tomokaze and just about everyone else, is 1-1.
Ishiura defeats Terutsuyoshi – Here’s the battle of salt vs protein. Terutsuyoshi deploys a sodium explosion that’s impressive even by his lofty standards. Ishiura takes charge of this match though – and it’s interesting to watch him when the opponent is also small – it’s a reminder he can do some great sumo when he goes head on. Despite Terutusyoshi being small, Ishiura does manage to get in a bit lower, grabs the Isegahama man, spin him around and throw him out. There may have been some discussion of a matta, but Ishiura’s already on his way back to the locker room to make a shake, with both men’s records now 1-1.
Daishoho defeats Takanosho – Daishoho and Takanosho are so close to makuuchi they can smell it. After some good old fashioned slapping, the Mongolian locks up Takanosho’s arm and the Chiganoura man simply can’t escape. Daishoho unloads a kotenage and it might not be surprisingly that Takanosho is in bad shape after the rough throw. Takanosho needs the help of multiple yobidashi to dismount the dohyo and this will put his attempt to gain promotion back to the top level in deep trouble. Both of these guys are also now 1-1. Despite a kotenage arm lock throw being notoriously harsh on the receiver’s arm and elbow, it seemed the injury was to his leg/thigh area.
🌐 Location: Kawagoe, Saitama
😝 Goofometer: ◾️◾️◾️◾️◽️
This is the penultimate day of the 2018 Fuyu Jungyo. Before we begin, a health check:
- Absence since mid-Jungyo: Yutakayama, Kotoyuki
- Off the torikumi but present: Kotoshogiku, Kakuryu
- Started off the torikumi but now participating: Hakuho, Goeido, Yoshikaze.
While Terutsuyoshi gets over his morning blues, rikishi are already exercising with vigor around the venue. Asanoyama is stretching:
And Takayasu is stretching while trimming his fingernails:
Who said men can’t do two things at the same time?
Takayasu doesn’t settle for just the pedicure and flex. He also lifts his weight – Tagonofuji.
OK, I’ll go off at a tangent here for a second. There are lots of fujis in the sumo world. We are used to seeing fujis at Isegahama beya, but they don’t have an exclusive hold on that suffix. Hokutofuji is from Hakkaku beya, for example. Most of those fujis end with 富士 – the same as the kanji for Mt. Fuji. Many of them are “no-fuji”. The “no” is a particle that indicates possession or characterization. The most common ways to write the “no” are の, ノ and 乃. So the other day, it was announced that Takayoshitoshi, Takagenji’s more evil twin, is going to be renamed “Takanofuji”, and some Terunofuji fans got really pissed off, because that name was chosen by Takanohana, and he used the same “no” as “Terunofuji” – ノ- and they really don’t want the unfortunate former Ozeki from Isegahama to have anything in common with the tsukebito-beating brat from Takanohana beya (now Chiganoura).
But not all fujis are even 富士. In this case, the “fuji” in “Tagonofuji” is 藤 – “Wisteria”, which is a lovely plant with lilac-colored flowers. He also has that ノ – but nobody seems to have any issue with that.
OK, back from our tangent, let’s continue our round around the walls. Ikioi and Chiyoshoma want to have a practice bout, and go for the full monty, including the sonkyo (ceremonial crouch):
But the actual execution is a little less impressive:
The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast Of Traal must be roaming the Jungyo grounds again, because Aoiyama is doing his best to hide from it:
See how useful towels are?
Guess who the rikishi stretching near the wall is?
Hint: he is considered about as ravenous as that beast of Traal. Look at those thighs!
And I can’t really move on to the on-dohyo exercise without showing you Takanosho and his Mickey-Mouse towel:
Now that Kakuryu has joined the Jungyo, he also practices with his tsukebito. So we can get reacquainted with Shohoryu. Who is not Hoshoryu.
Looks like Shohoryu’s servitude is rather intense. I assure you, though – Kakuryu is not the type to give his tsukebito bitter memories. Hard work – sure. In fact, the one who gets to practice in this photo is the tsukebito, not the Yokozuna:
His former tsukebita all respect the Yokozuna very much.
Another tsukebito who is being respectful is the American delegate to the Jungyo, Musashikuni:
Actually, judging from their positions, Takayasu is on the dohyo. So I’m guessing this is not just a show of respect, but the cup of water Ozeki enjoy when they do san-ban. There is probably another tsukebito with some towels around as well.
At one corner, we have a nice show of rhythmic gymnastics:
These guys take their exercise seriously. Here is Tobizaru doing a wheelbarrow exercise:
Enho is not allowing himself to trail behind:
It’s actually very rare to see Enho practice together with his heya-mate, Ishiura, in Jungyo.
So here is some on-dohyo practice. We have Azumaryu with Chiyomaru and with Ishiura:
Jokoryu with Akiseyama, then Jokoryu with Hakuyozan:
The on-dohyo exercise that really drew attention this day was this:
Yes, for the first time in this Jungyo, Yokozuna Hakuho is practicing actual sumo, not just giving butsukari/kawaigari. In fact, it’s the first time in the past 3 months!
Hakuho took Shodai for 8 san-ban matches, and won all of them.
He said at first he was a bit hesitant about doing actual sumo (interestingly, he doesn’t consider the “wari” bouts to be actual sumo), but as the bouts flowed, he was relieved to find himself in satisfactory shape.
The practice part of the day gone, the sekitori went to shower and have their hair done. Then some relaxed in the shitaku-beya and… what are you reading, exactly, Mitakeumi?
It’s a magzine. And it appears that it’s a magazine about very poor women, who can’t afford to buy much in the way of clothing. I’m sure he is reading this magazine out of warm empathy with the poor women who need to go through the winter wearing no more than three square centimeters of cloth each.
OK… outside the shitakubeya, Juryo wrestlers were getting ready for their dohyo-iri. And that means Enho. And that means a bunch of guys vying for Enho skin:
In this very short clip we have Terutsuyoshi who, as usual, has the pixie in his arms. Then as the pixie cuts loose, it gets groped by Jokoryu, and then, although Terutsuyoshi tries to get some attention, Tobizaru also lays a paw on the tiny Miyagino man. Twice! And how about that hand fan the fan hands him? It’s bigger than his head! And it has “Enho” on one side and an element from his Kesho-mawashi on the other.
Seriously, everybody loves Enho.
Juryo bouts are performed, Kakuryu demonstrates rope tying, and so Yago has to wait his turn patiently (when there is a rope tying demonstration, it takes place before the last three Juryo bouts). Yago is lonely, and needs a hug:
And then it’s time for Makuuchi dohyo-iri. And of course… it’s boring to wait for dohyo-iri… so let’s play a game!
For those who have not seen it in previous Jungyo, this game is a Japanese children’s game called Atchi-Muite-Hoi. The two players do rock-papers-scissors. The one who wins moves his finger in any of four directions – up, down, left or right, and the loser has to move his head in one of the same four directions. If he moves his head in a different direction than the winner’s finger, he is safe, and the game begins again. But if he moves his head in the same direction – he loses the game. And in this case, he receives a punishment – a dekopin. The second dekopin is so painful, that Tamawashi immediately decides he wants to play, too. 🙄
The dohyo-iri is followed by the Yokozuna dohyo-iri. It seems Hakuho is working on straightening his arms:
But Kakuryu’s are still straighter:
And then it’s time for Makuuchi bouts. And if you thought for a second that Tamawashi would leave off at the dohyo-iri, you are dead wrong:
Poor Kagayaki. Definitely got the cooties there
Tamawashi has been on his best behavior as long as he was on the Island of Kyushu. He has a reputation to maintain in Fukuoka. But as soon as he is back in Honshu… rikishi beware!
Later (because Nishikigi is in a surprisingly high position on the banzuke) we also get the good old “where are Nishikigi’s glasses?” game:
Glasses make you look smarter!
Well… unless you’re Shodai. In his case, glasses make him look ridiculous. But then, many things tend to make Shodai look ridiculous.
Eventually Nishikigi gets back from his bout and wins his glasses back:
Ooh, somebody is getting confident (much to the amusement of Narutaki).
Ah, yes. I have no bouts whatsoever. Sorry… Here is a cogitating monkey for you instead:
🌐 Location: Kitakyushu, Fukuoka
😝 Goofometer: ◾️◽️◽️◽️◽️
In this event we get back to Fukuoka, but this is in fact the last event in Kyushu for this Jungyo. The next stop is far-away Okinawa, and then the rikishi go back to Tokyo, rest a while and finish with three additional days near home in the Kanto area.
Although Kotoshogiku is one of the Fukuoka locals, sadly, he is off the torikumi for the day, and Yutakayama also continues without participating in the bouts.
So lets start our day with handshakes. Here is Aminishiki, alongside his poor, freezing tsukebito, Terumichi:
It’s not that Aminishiki is better dressed than him. I guess it’s having grown in cold Aomori.
Around the walls we have practicing rikishi. Enho is doing his stretches:
…and signing autographs while he’s at it. But he is not the only stretchy rikishi. Here we have Kyonosato, who shows us that despite having a bigger chin than Chiyomaru and beer-storage flaps, he can do the splits like a pro:
Not impressed? How about this?
By the way, he is still being subjected to “Wiggle the Wattle”:
And not just by his brother (Narutaki).
For a 22 years old, he has the patience of a saint!
Along another wall, some low-rankers are doing the rikishi version of the Locomotion:
Mitoryu and Ichinojo are having a chat. Ichinojo wants to demonstrate one of his colt-tossing moves. Mitoryu will have none of that:
Rikishi around the passages and walls are, of course, fansa magnets. Especially when asked to pose with a cute kid (sorry for censoring the cute):
Even kids want to lay their hands on the pixie!
But this kid is not just a pixie fan. Apparently, he gets along with Americans, too:
Love the kid’s shirt!
The NSK even has an official kiddie photo-op:
But I feel it’s a poor replacement to the old “kiddie sumo” that used to be the highlight of the Jungyo day. At least the kiddie photo-op allows girls equal access to the rikishi.
At the dohyo, Wakatakakage decides to do some push-ups. Apparently, Mitoryu decides the load is too light:
A serious-faced Enho grabs a ladle of water. What is he going to do with it?
Ah, of course. Greet the Yokozuna:
When the greetings are over, the Yokozuna can practice away from the dohyo:
On the dohyo, we have practice bouts between Hakuyozan Takekaze, then Hakuyozan and Jokoryu:
Kagayaki seems to have enjoyed his practice with Onosho.
Maybe because he got to experience how it feels to be flat-chested for a few seconds there. Onosho completely eliminated his boob there! Not an easy task!
Then there was some sanban between Tochinoshin and Shodai:
And some butsukari between Takayasu and Hokutofuji, and Nishikigi and Aoiyama:
In fact, that is not just butsukari between Takayasu and Hokutofuji. It’s full-fledged kawaigari. Lots of dirt:
And lots of suffering:
Takayasu is no gentler than Hakuho, but well, Hakuho seems to enjoy it more:
If you’re wondering, the victim (“This will make him even stronger!”) today is Tochinoshin.
One thing Tochinoshin doesn’t lack is stamina. In fact, the Yokozuna ends up looking more tired than he is. But in any case, I’m sure it will motivate the Georgian to try for a rope. After all, nobody gives Kawaigari to a Yokozuna. Not even a dai-Yokozuna.
Time for the Juryo dohyo-iri. And here, too, fans were asking for autographs. Wakatakakage wants to sign Terutsuyoshi while he’s at it:
Terutsuyoshi was known as a “Yanki” – a delinquent – when he was in school. So it’s no surprise he react with a prompt wedgie:
That same Terutsuyoshi, though, goes and buries his head in Hidenoumi’s chest.
Hidenoumi looks like he is considering a MeToo protest against the Isegahama homunculus.
The actual dohyo-iri ends up as a photo-op as well:
Imagine them doing that in honbasho…
In the Juryo bouts, Terutsuyoshi ends up frustrated after losing to Ishiura:
And Enho has no trouble showing Chiyonoumi the way off the dohyo:
I guess not enough weight-lifting, Chiyonoumi. Maybe instead of lifting Chiyomaru you should try Ichinojo!
I don’t really have any Makuuchi bout footage. But here is an awesome nodowa for you:
That’s Takanosho vs. Onosho. Twitter folks report that this was a stormy bout. Takanosho won it and was rather breathless as he stepped – with some kensho – off the dohyo.
Also, there was apparently something very funny about Shohozan’s bout:
Or maybe it’s the amount of kensho he finds amusing?
Between practice and dohyo-iri, Hakuho got himself photographed with his heya’s tokoyama.
The reason Tokohachi got this commemorative photo with the Yokozuna in his full regalia is that this is his last Fuyu Jungyo. He is supposed to retire next year.
I think when he shows this to his grandkids they won’t believe it’s the real Hakuho he was standing next to. “No, grandpa, that’s just one of those panels they put up everywhere there is a sumo event!”
Now, it’s time for our pin-up rikishi, but I had a hard time making a decision today! Lots of fans were in Kitakyushu and took pictures of gorgeous rikishi. Whom would you choose?
Asanoyama lovingly looking at the camera Takarafuji borrowed from a fan to take his picture? Or maybe…
Tough-looking Wakatakakage recovering from the wedgie incident? How about…
…the more mature-looking Tamawashi? He has been on his best behavior while in Fukuoka! But then, there is…
…Myogiryu going for a fashion statement and a manly pose. Meanwhile…
Tobizaru is outraged by the idea that he lost his exclusive hold on the pin-up position this Jungyo in general, and in this post in particular!
However, I think he’ll have a hard competition in Abi here:
Because apparently Abi is not just about shiko! He can also throw a nice handful of salt! (Though both Yobidashi seem a little critical of it. Maybe because they have to sweep the damn stuff all the time).
I leave it to the readers to decide which one is the most worthy of the pin-up section. Though I think we can fill up a whole calendar with these guys!
Note: there will not be a post tomorrow. I hope I’ll be able to catch up during the weekend.
Wear your sunglasses and prepare your insulin shots – we have a lot of kawaii today!
🌐 Location: Uto, Kumamoto
😛 Goofometer: ◾️◾️◾️◽️◽️
We complete our journey through Kumamoto in Uto, home to two active rikishi. One is Ryuko, a Makushita wrestler who did well this basho and will be in the race for sekitori status in the next basho:
Um, Narutaki. What are you doing? I thought we were done with this stuff last jungyo. Anyway, you’re drawing attention away from the local boy!
So, in yesterday’s post’s comments, I was asked whether these tsukebito actually get any practice. Well, yes they do:
The practice session is more or less the same as that of the sekitori, only held earlier. It consists mostly of moshi-ai sessions, punctuated by quick butsukari for the participants. At the later stages, that butsukari is offered by sekitori:
Not that Enho is much of a pushing challenge. In Midorifuji’s case, it seems he got his butsukari from Tamawashi. At least, the mud on his back says he got rolled.
That’s a bit more of a challenge, and apparently Tamawashi makes sure that he didn’t hurt the micro-rikishi.
While the low-ranking wrestlers have their time on the dohyo, the sekitori are either outside in the corridors doing handshakes, or finding themselves quiet spots for some exercise. Meisei, who is out doing handshake, is so cold, he starts laughing uncontrollably:
Ishiura is all like “Who put me next to Crazy here”?
Which may be the reason why later Meisei had to settle for an isolated spot between a stroller and some derelict equipment:
Don’t worry, he didn’t stay alone for long:
A bit earlier, near the dohyo, just as yesterday, the Kokonoe guys do their morning workouts in front of their oyakata. This includes not just the sekitori but also Chiyosakae, who does this:
This seems to embarrass Kokonoe oyakata, whose voice you can hear in the background “take it seriously, will you?”. He also assures us in the tweet that Chiyosakae actually does take it seriously.
Around that same time, Akiseyama arrives at the dohyo and greets Kasugano, the Jungyo master.
I have a feeling Kasugano wishes he didn’t.
In some corner of the venue, Toyonoshima works out with a piece of rubber, assisted by his loyal Miyazaki:
The Juryo men start their own practice on the dohyo. Here is some butsukari between Chiyonoumi and Hakuyozan:
Jokoryu gets to have Ikioi’s chest:
And Enho… well, Enho is everywhere and practices with everybody. That is, anybody who can possibly find an excuse to lay his hands on the pixie:
Even the Yokozuna smiles when his little uchi-deshi greets him with a respectful ladle of water:
You’d think that Enho is the star of the show rather than Shodai. But actually, Shodai got a lot of attention. Some keiko with Asanoyama:
And some with Tochinoshin:
To which Tochinoshin also adds a hearty Kawaigari:
Practice part over, everybody gets cleaned, have their oicho-mage started, and have lunch. There are food stalls outside, and… it’s the perfect oportunity to grab Enho and ask him for a pic:
Hey, is that a way to start a conversation with a sekitori? Is there a single rikishi in the whole sumo world who doesn’t think the Japanese National Sport is actually “grab the pixie”?
As practice mawashi dry in the sun…
Inside the venue it still seems pretty cold. Take a look at Terutsuyoshi, all bundled into his… is that a kimono or a Mongolian Deel?
Sure looks like a Deel to me, but Terutsuyoshi is not Mongolian.
Nishikigi, on the other hand, gets warm by pestering his tsukebito:
In the entrance, however, Shodai was being photographed with his grandmother:
The Japanese press love Shodai’s grandmother, because of her name. Shodai is one of the wrestlers, like Takayasu, Endo and Yago, who wrestle under their own name. His grandmother’s name is 正代正代 – yes, twice the same pair of kanji, two completely different readings: Masayo Shodai.
It’s time for the Juryo dohyo-iri, and Enho is turning up the kawaii level:
Gokushindo is doing the same thing on the East side:
Those two are supposed to face each other this day. And they both exude kawaii like two idol group members on a save-the-cute-bunnies campaign. Enho signals to Gokushindo across the dohyo as they wait their turn:
When Gokushindo gets up on the dohyo, Chiyonoumi gives him the good old salted ladle routine:
Which you can’t blame him for doing, when that’s the reaction he gets. Then the two kings of cute battle in the cutest sumo bout you have ever seen:
I did warn you to prepare the insulin in advance, didn’t I? And those two kept it up even after the bout was over!
Well, Toyonoshima and Tomokaze were a little more serious about it:
But then came the Makuuchi dohyo-iri and of course, the usual suspects were goofing around. Abi had an arm-wrestling contest with Chiyotairyu:
And Nishikigi was still looking for somebody to bother, and found Shodai:
Shodai: “Come on, my grandma is here!”.
Looks like a little bit of cute rubbed off even on Takarafuji and Asanoyama:
But if you want to see a little actual sumo, here is this short video:
Shodai was paired, unsurprisingly, with Endo, who must be rather frustrated at having to constantly lose to local boys. Utchari, no less!
And how about that tsuridashi Hakuho did on Takayasu? It’s very encouraging to see him do that. Remember, Jungyo bouts are not something anybody is advised to put money on. There are lots of “gentlemen’s agreements” there, and at the very least, nobody is going to risk injury to win. But still, you can draw some conclusions about wrestlers’ health, and if Hakuho can do something like picking Takayasu up, it means his legs are up to the extra load.
By the way, Yoshikaze was back on the torikumi this day for the first time since the Jungyo began – while Yutakayama dropped off it.
With the sun setting, everybody’s Akeni was packed and wrapped and loaded onto the truck (the side-loading Japanese trucks are very clever):
The Akeni and their wraps carry the names of the sekitori. I always amuse myself by trying to identify as many names as possible. Try to learn the kanji for the wrestlers names!
During this visit to Uto, the Yokozuna paid a visit to the grave of Shiranui Nageimon, the 8th Yokozuna, performing his Shiranui dohyo-iri in front of the grave:
Shiranui Nageimon was actually the master of the 11th Yokozuna Shiranui Kotsuemon to whom that dohyo-iri style is (mistakenly) attributed.
And with this, we wrap up the day, tying it all up with Tobizaru:
That lovely Tobizaru really needs to be credited, so here is the Tweet from which he was taken:
🌐 Location: Nobeoka, Miyazaki
😛 Goofometer: ◾️◽️◽️◽️◽️
Nobeoka is a small town in Miyazaki. But it boasts a sekitori! Today was Kotoeko day. Most of the nobori you see in the photo bear the name “Kotoeko”, with a few “Yoshikaze” (he is from the neighboring Oita prefecture).
So naturally the crowds gathered around a rather overwhelmed Kotoeko:
Inside the venue, Hakuho was doing some teppo. And you know what happens when there is no teppo pole in site:
Somebody’s neck becomes very very red.
Hakuho also did shiko on the dohyo:
The other day some fan on Twitter asked Daishowaka what it takes to get a nice, tight rikishi butt. The answer was “Do shiko”. So now you know.
Hero of the day, Kotoeko, practiced with Hakuyozan:
Here’s Aoiyama vs. Yutakayama and then Myogiryu.
Hakuho keeps that shiko going in the background.
Meisei practices with Shodai:
He is very active, and seems to have the upper hand, until Shodai just pulls him down. Meisei seems pretty frustrated at all that hard work going nowhere.
Takayasu does reverse butsukari with Nishikigi.
Reverse butsukari means no rolls. Nishikigi is actually very daring in that he takes Takayasu on a quick monkey walk there.
Takayasu practices with Shodai:
The same Shodai who frustrated Meisei earlier now takes his turn to be frustrated. Shodai has this problem in bouts with high-rankers. He is just not quite up to that level, and I think that frustrates him because he feels he should have been there by now.
Today’s lucky target of kawaigari is Asanoyama. I do not have footage of the kawaigari itself – but here is how Asanoyama looks at the end of it:
He takes a sip of water and a couple of breaths – and back he goes to the dohyo. Rest after a kawaigari? Not unless you passed out.
Fast-forward, and everybody gets cleaned and put on their best clothing. The top echelon get their picture taken in front of the venue:
Hakuho’s guest – the elderly man in the kimono – is Kimura Shonosuke the 35th, who retired in 2011 (and at the time, Hakuho invited him to sit in the yusho parade car). He is also a resident of Nobeoka.
Back inside, and we have the Makuuchi dohyo-iri. And unsurprisingly, Shodai is being pushed around:
Looks like Takakeisho also got the Mitakeumi treatment. Mitakeumi is careful, though. Next basho they will be trading places. You don’t get on the bad side of someone who has a reasonable chance to be Ozeki in a couple of basho.
Bouts! Here is Daieisho vs. Aoiyama:
Aoiyama doesn’t waste time. BTW, take a look at that gyoji’s gunbai!
Yutakayama vs. Abi:
Boom! And Abi is not the sort of rikishi who hides his pain. 😝
Here is a summary of the day, including the special bout Kotoeko had with Endo. He also had an “official” bout with Daiamami a few moments later.
Endo is the king of Jungyo yaocho. He takes care to entertain the spectators, but never fails to lose to the local man.
Note Kotoeko’s tearful parents thanking everybody for coming to see their son. The Jungyo passed through this city 10 years ago, and at the time Kotoeko was just in Sandanme. So this time, returning as a sekitori was a big deal for both himself and his parents.
This is it. I’ll just pause to notice that Kotoeko’s heya mate, Kotoyuki, has been missing from the torikumi for the past couple of days. Yoshikaze is still not putting on his mawashi, and Hakuho still not doing torikumi.
So off we go to Kumamoto!
But didn’t I tell you that Hakuho chose to be in the back seat of the bus? What are they doing there, you may ask?
Well, there’s more than one bus. There are around 270 participants in an average Jungyo. And these Juryo guys are unlikely to be in the same bus as the boss.
So…. who shall we pick as our pin-up rikishi of the day? I couldn’t find a trace of Tobizaru. So how about his brother? Hidenoumi, your turn to shine!
OK, so maybe his little brother is a little prettier.