2019 Natsu Basho Preview

With the Natsu Banzuke published, it’s officially Basho season again! With less than a week until the return of sumo action, here are some of the biggest stories and most pressing questions on the minds of sumo fans this May!

Keep watching until the end for a sneak peek of a new series coming soon.

Jungyo Newsreel – Day 22

🌐 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.

First Class Shower, economy class passengers not welcome

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:

Jungyo Newsreel – Day 21

🌐 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:

Hokutofuji, Daieisho

“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):

Hokutofuji-Kaisei:

Actually, the more interesting san-ban is taking place away from the dohyo. Kotoshogiku and Toyonoshima are having at it in the corner:

Then again:

And again:

Good stuff!

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:

Jungyo Newsreel – Day 14

Guess who’s back?

🌐 Location: Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo

After the fairly modest event we had up north in Ibaraki, the Jungyo returns to Tokyo for one of its permanent events – the dedication sumo event at Yasukuni Shrine.

As John Gunning mentioned in his recent article about Jungyo, this event is free of charge, and allows about 6000 spectators to enjoy a day of sumo right at the heart of the big city.

The upshot of all this is that there were a lot of visuals on the ‘net, and you are in for one long post. Clear up a couple of hours of your time, folks. Prepare a bento box, visit the toilet, tuck in the kids.

Continue reading