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
🌐 Location: Ome, Tokyo
Although today’s event takes place in a town that’s part of the greater Tokyo, it seems most Tokyoite fans are actually waiting for the bigger event the next day at Yokohama. So we have another short report for you today – but use the time to buy some popcorn and find a babysitter – because the next installment will be a lengthy one.
First, I want to update the sick list. Unfortunately, Kagayaki came up with a rather late case of the flu, and departed from the Jungyo together with his tsukebito.
OK, so in the hand-shake corner, Tsurugisho decides to simulate a crucifix. Shimanoumi is amused:
There are not many people who can dwarf Mitakeumi, but his tsukebito, Dewanojo, certainly seems to have the knack:
Inside the main hall, Abi gets ready to stretch his fine legs, and Daieisho is doing his shiko, and searches for Takakeisho with his eyes:
Up on the dohyo, Takakeisho has some practice with Onosho:
He had seven of these bouts, won 4-3.
Onosho was then given some butsukari by Kakuryu:
Takayasu took Ichinojo for a spin, and as is usual with him, destroyed the boulder 7-1.
This completed the practice part. Everybody hurries to the shower. Apparently, it’s Takakeisho’s shampoo day:
The photographer who took this then found the special Ozeki-and-Yokozuna-only shower room, and set up camp there in hope of capturing the shin-Ozeki when he goes in and out of the shower.
However, the shin-Ozeki is probably still not used to the idea of Ozeki privilege, or maybe he doesn’t want Hakuho to stare at him in the shower… whatever the reason, he failed to show up, much to the lady’s disappointment.
The only bout I got any record of was this Abi-Onosho one. Onosho seems to be really fascinated with Abi’s shiko – despite having seen it many, many times already:
In that bout, Abi proceeded, as usual during the Jungyo, by attacking Onosho’s mawashi:
Hmm… where did the gyoji go?
Anyway, Abi won this bout.
And yes, that’s my report for today. I couldn’t even find a decent photo of Enho for the pin-up corner. So instead, though I can’t in good conscience call a Yokozuna a “pin-up boy”, I give you a photo of Kakuryu being nice to kids although it’s time for his bout soon:
🌐 Location: Hidaka, Saitama prefecture
We have a short one for you today. The Jungyo is back in Saitama, which means these guys are once again in the spotlight:
“Hey, hey, hey, wait a second! What about me?!”
Yes, Abi, you’re a home boy, too. Now stop obscuring the other ones.
Not many visuals from the sidelines today, except Chiyoshoma, quietly doing his shiko in the hanamichi while others are practicing on the dohyo:
The practice on the dohyo includes some attention to Wakamotoharu, who has been very popular with the upper echelon this Jungyo:
Can’t say whether that’s a full fledged kawaigari or just plain butsukari. Meisei is also getting some quasi-Ozeki attention. But in his case, it’s pretty clear that when you look like this from the front:
And like this from the back:
…it’s kawaigari. Tochinoshin is making good use of his last days at Ozeki.
Practice bouts: Shimanoumi-Wakatakakage, Endo-Sadanoumi (with a bit of Yokozuna shiko at the end):
Actually, the more interesting san-ban is taking place away from the dohyo. Kotoshogiku and Toyonoshima are having at it in the corner:
Enho – we can’t do without Enho in any report – has finished his practice and wants to go get a shower, when all of a sudden, a team of hoodlums gangs up on him:
“Shortstuff, meet Yuki. He is my VP of Beating People To Pulp”
“Now, for some reason it looks like you think I was born yesterday, but I was not.”
“So I can’t get you to see reason? OK, Yuki, you have a go at making him see reason”
Poor pixie… Got in trouble with the Tamawashi-gumi.
I have absolutely nil material from the afternoon part of this event, sorry. All I have is Hokutofuji serenely having his head shampooed.
Rikishi don’t wash their hair every day, and when they do, it’s basically done with car-mechanic-grade grease remover, because the suki-abura used for their hairstyles is pretty much like having a head full of butter.
So I bid you farewell with our pin-up of the day, Tsukahara, from Kasugano beya, who is also a Saitama home boy:
🌐 Location: Sano, Tochigi
We have a small event today, with 1800 participants. Let’s start today with the consecration of the dohyo:
If you recall, at the Yasukuni event, the dohyo was consecrated with a full dohyo-matsuri, featuring high ranking gyoji and all that jazz. But since this is a temporary dohyo, it is consecrated by the local organizers. A bit of saké, and off we go.
Who are our home boys of today? Well, there are Dewanojo, Mitakeumi’s tsukebito, and the pretty Toshonishiki, Mitoryu’s tsukebito:
But the real pride and joy of the prefecture are the Taka twins:
Since I rarely write about the twins, this would be a good opportunity to remind you how to tell them apart. Little brother (by half an hour or so) Takagenji, when he smiles, has a gap between his front teeth. Big bully brother Takanofuji (formerly Takayoshitoshi) has a mole over his right lip. And he smiles a lot less than his little brother, probably because he knows that his days as a sekitori are numbered.
The twins were interviewed by the local papers and struggled to come up with memories of the prefecture, which they have left at a very young age – they grew up at Ibaraki. They did mention that their kindergarten teacher came to see them at the venue.
Turns out they are also a bit stung about the fact that their ototo-deshi (member of the same heya who joined more recently) has left them in the dust and made Ozeki. Takagenji says: “What’s important is what your rank is when your mage is shorn”. He has been told in the past that he is a future Yokozuna, and apparently believes he will be at that rank by the time he retires.
Meanwhile, though, Takakeisho is Ozeki, and they are not. Hence, kawaigari!
Yeah, as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself. We were at the handshake stage, weren’t we? For some reason, it seems like they had the handshakes today in the toilets:
At least, for some reason, the outer corridors of this community hall are lined with sinks.
Takayasu enjoys the sunny day, and uses it for a bit of deep contemplation:
Nishikigi wants to change from Clark Kent to Superman… or maybe just get on the dohyo:
We only have one practice video from the NSK, but this one is significant: Kakuryu starts on-dohyo training. We are officially at the last leg of the Jungyo, then.
His chosen opponent – and butsukari victim – is Daieisho.
So we are done with the practice part. It’s time for some shokkiri. Ebisumaru and Shobushi keep refining small points of their routine:
Ebisumaru lets Shobushi do his high kicks alone, and goes around encouraging the audience to clap.
Juryo dohyo-iri. Gagamaru and Sokokurai fool around happily:
Aminishiki seems not to think much of the behavior of these two kiddies.
Arawashi is about a meter ahead of them, busying himself, as always, with being dreamy:
Then they all wait for their turn to wrestle, as the Juryo bouts start with Shonannoumi, who is today’s “filler”:
Filler or not, he beats Daiseido.
And now, where are the aforesaid Gagamaru and Sokokurai?
Ah, right in the middle of the crowd. More specifically, right in the middle of a bunch of primary school kids:
Gagamaru tries to camouflage himself. For some reason «cough»212kg«cough», this doesn’t work all too well.
But the man is sure enjoying himself:
And so do the kids. His tactic works – when he goes on the dohyo, he is accompanied by many little voices calling “Gagamaru! Ganbare!”
Oh, you think this sort of foolish antics is solely the realm of the likes of Gagamaru or Shodai? I give you:
Prince Charming himself! The funny thing is, it looks like the hat actually fits him.
The Juryo bouts end with local boy Takagenji vs. Chiyomaru. Chiyomaru is showing us his prize winning… lunar aspects.
And I swear that Kotoyuki is showing much interest in the full moon that rises on the other side as well.
Ahem… let’s take a look at the three Yokozuna:
Hakuho and Kakuryu do their duty to the local sponsors – and the local mascot, who became a Yokozuna for a day.
On to the Makuuchi bouts, and here is Kagayaki’s shimekomi, sans kagayaki:
Ah, the duties of a tsukebito.
Here is a summary video of today’s event, which includes a few bouts:
Note the “gaijin-cam” there…
Our pin-up boy of the day is the slightly blurry Ryuden:
🌐 Location: Takasaki, Gunma prefecture
Unlike our previous location, which boasted a local sekitori, a local tsukebito, and a semi-local former Yokozuna’s nephew, Gunma prefecture is really short on famous or high-ranked local boys.
The local organizers gave Hikarifuji and Kayatoiwa their due glory, but their real pride and joy is not regularly a part of the jungyo anymore. He was brought in specifically for this event.
That, of course, is 42 years old Satonofuji, the grand master of the bow, who hails from Gunma prefecture. And while all the other low-ranked rikishi were working on the dohyo, Satonofuji was working with the struggling new performer, Shohoryu, giving him a master class.
This was just one of the various outdoor activities today. The weather was deemed warm enough to have the handshaking sessions outside:
Though the sky looks pretty gray, if you ask me. Not all the rikishi just stand for handshakes. Some famous veterans sit in a separate corners, and fans can go and have a photo taken with them:
But actual practice takes place inside the venue. The first sekitori arrive and pull their taping kits:
Others start stretching:
Some squatting and suri-ashi are in order:
Wakamotoharu works on his upper body:
But then he and Mitakeumi decide to gang up on poor Enho:
The Yokozuna synchronize:
But then each goes his own way. Kakuryu manages an exercise that doesn’t look ridiculous:
While Hakuho is doing suri-ashi in the hana-michi, and interacts with the spectators:
Near the wall, a group of lower-ranked rikishi prove to us that titty obsession is not just a Tamawashi thing:
What are you doing, guys?
Up on the dohyo, Ichinojo is giving butsukari:
While Terutsuyoshi seems to have… a toothache?
By now, you should know who it is who makes Takakeisho smile this wide:
Takayasu finishes stretching, has a bout with Mitakeumi, and butsukari with Onosho.
Some more practice bouts: Daieisho-Takakeisho, Myogiryu-Ichinojo, Kiribayama-Takanofuji:
Practice over. Lower-ranked rikishi get their hair done and go about their chores:
Some sekitori go out and enjoy the food stalls outside the venue. Namely, Terutsuyoshi, Chiyotairyu and Enho. Enho starts well with some yaki manju:
But seems to pick up something that doesn’t suit his dainty palate:
Or maybe it’s the camera crew that affect his apetite.
Terutsuyoshi and Chiyotairyu enjoy some yakisoba:
With everybody fed and in good order, it’s time for the afternoon part of the day. We begin with a Jonidan bout, because of course we don’t want to miss Satonofuji:
Nice throw. Next up, we have the Juryo dohyo-iri, or as Gagamaru calls it, “cheeky time”:
The cheeks in question being Takanosho’s of course.
Azumaryu and Akiseyama have a less painful way to enjoy the wait:
Next up, the Juryo bouts, and we have Aminishiki vs. Hidenoumi for you:
Nice effort from old Uncle there, but to no avail.
Chiyomaru makes short work of Daiamami:
And we are up in Makuuchi. And the dohyo-iri there is not free of sin, either:
For some reason, Chiyotairyu decides that facing the spectators is just too much for him and turns around in the middle of the dohyo-iri. Abi tries to argue with him.
Takakeisho, by now getting used to all the “shin-ozeki” stuff, receives gifts of local produce – rice, meat, etc.:
The bouts start, and Yoshikaze has a wardrobe malfunction:
Is it me or does Toyonoshima surreptitiously improve his mawashi hold during this matta? Zurui… he won this bout.
Next up, Terutsuyoshi throws his usual bucket load of salt… and seems to hit his own eye:
Typical Terutsuyoshi sumo. Sorry, Yago, maybe next time!
Next up, Ichinojo vs. Endo:
Ichinojo is not sleeping.
Kaisei is pitted with Nishikigi, and doesn’t let the green mawashi man set up any sort of defense:
Last before the san-yaku, Hokutofuji vs. Mitakeumi:
Takakeisho is up next vs. Tamawashi:
No rolling into the crowd today. The last bout whose footage I got is Goeido vs Tochinoshin:
And after Kakuryu beats Takayasu (sorry, no video), comes the part everybody has been waiting for – good old Satonofuji’s yumi-tori shiki. Watch it, then go back to previous reports and compare with Kasugaryu, never mind poor Shohoryu. This is the work of a true master:
Our pin-up of the day is Wakamotoharu. Adieu!