This spring’s Jungyo tour is quite the working holiday. The troupe of warriors will travel to 25 different locations over the course of a month, possibly the most ambitious (or nightmarish) tour on record. I find the prospect fascinating, as if MLB Spring training would leave the comforts of balmy Florida to swing by Durham, NC, Austin, TX, Nashville, TN…
Herouth‘s updatesnot only give me the needed dose of sumo between basho, but also a dose of their personalities and interaction with fans that gets lost in the shuffle during honbasho. Josh has been able to enjoy a jungyo event and I am very jealous. I encourage any Tachiai readers who live in Japan or happen to be visiting these areas to attend a jungyo and share what you can of your experience.
Thanks again to Herouth for her reporting on the Natsu Jungyo! Not only does it help mitigate sumo withdrawal symptoms, I feel like I learn something new about the sport every time, making it much more accessible. From the different forms of practice (keiko) to what the wrestlers do to kill time and horse around, to the way the yokozuna rope (tsuna) is tied and how their hair gets done. These jungyo reports are always something special so I wanted to call it out. I want to make it to at least one of these jungyo events next time I am in Japan.
If you want to re-visit the jungyo tour, you will find it in the “Features” menu along with past tours. I’ll also re-blog this next week in the lead-up to the tournament. It’s great to glean what we can of the fitness of our favorite rikishi. I am hoping all of our Yokozuna and Ozeki are able to compete this basho!
I got a wee bit behind in my jungyo site posts and suddenly we’re already back in Tokyo. Aoyama Gakuin University, informally called AoGaku, is in a fantastic location. If you’ve never been to Tokyo, Aoyama is in the Shibuya area, not far from Omotesando. Aoyama and Omotesando seem to have a more posh reputation than Shibuya, itself, and neighboring Harajuku. The university is found out the opposite side of Shibuya station from most of the famous stuff. Walk along Aoyama-dori about half way to an entrance for Omotesando station.
The university, itself, has ties to the sumo world. Last year, an event was put on here with the help of proud parents of current and former AoGaku students, Isegahama Oyakata, Takanohana Oyakata, and Harumafuji. It is known as a school for the children of celebrities. Private Universities like AoGaku and Keio have grade schools, as well. So many kids who go to the private grade schools go straight into the Universities when they graduate.
Omotesando is a shopping district not far away, but far enough from much of the hustle and bustle of Shibuya. Omotesando Hills is probably having its 10th anniversary about now? It’s a nice mall there that used to feature a wine bar with a wall full of what are essentially wine vending machines. It’s been a long time, though, so it may not be there anymore but I will need to do some research next time I’m back. As with all of these posts, it’s my goal to update and repost them with more information (especially pictures if I get a chance to go).
Gifu is the site of the first leg of the this summer tour as it snakes its way from Nagoya back to Tokyo, then up to Hokkaido. Do train/bus miles accumulate award points like airline miles? I found this great tweet of them setting up the dohyo in preparation. It’s a pristine thing of beauty, isn’t it? Kinda makes me want to have one in my living room…my wife would make me put it in the back yard but it would get rained on. This week makes me think it would get washed away.
Of particular interest to this post is the fact that all three Yokozuna are scheduled to appear. The post comes from the account of the local Gifu-ken newspaper. Local newspapers seem to be frequent sponsors of honbasho, so it makes sense that they’d put in on the tours, too. According to the Jungyo presser, tickets are sold out. Apparently, they were only on sale until the 20th…which is a little weird…but, whatever. Some were being sold through a newspaper but their website also says their tickets are sold out.
That makes me think that I’ll need to plan any Jungyo visit well in advance next time I’m in Japan. None of my, “no schedule,” “flying-by-seat-of-pants” -style vacations. Bummer. The moral: plan, plan, plan, and I need to start researching October’s Jungyo schedule if it’s going to be of any help to any of you traveling. I’d rather the “fun, fun, fun,” method…till my T-Bird got taken away.
Gifu is home to Shirakawago, which is a very unique, historic village. It was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. These peculiar roofs on the buildings are made from straw and tied together with rope instead of using nails. That’s a two hour drive, though, from the Jungyo site in Oogaki city.
A bit closer in, along the Nagaragawa river, is this kind of night fishing with fire. They use cormorants (birds) to catch the fish (called ayu). The birds catch the fish, the fisherman reels back in his birds, and…well…a delicacy is born. Gifu city has a very historic downtown along the Nagaragawa River and the scenery is dominated by the mountains and forests. Oogaki-city itself has a castle, like Nagoya.