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

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 6 (Oct 8)

🌐 Location: Minamiashigara, Kanagawa
🚫 Scandal level: 1

The day dawns on Kanagawa. People gather in for some sumo.

Abi and Tsurugisho are still off the torikumi, but Tsurugisho participates in the fansa part of the event.

I suppose it’s a rarity for both sides: there aren’t many black kids in Japan, and I’m sure the kid hasn’t seen many people Tsurugisho’s size, either.

Kagayaki lifted some weights. I mean, lifted the weight of Shonannoumi.

Shonannoumi is a local boy, but I don’t think this activity was exactly front and center.

Hakuho, as usual, was at the foot of the dohyo, exercising:

And Kisenosato… was doing his “dance”:

I still don’t know what this is, really. An attempt to stretch the scar tissue in his chest?

Tochinoshin, being Tochinoshin, was on the dohyo, giving some love to Shodai:

I’m not sure the kawaigari was Shodai’s biggest torture this day, though. Here is a very suspicious game some of the rikishi invented. Do rock-paper-scissors. The loser gets one of his nipples busted. Serious ouch. The first victim is Yutakayama.

First, I would think this is the last game Kagayaki would want to get involved in. Second, from the way they arrange a barrier of rikishi when they do the deed, I think they know they are over the line.

Next victim is Shodai:

Now Yutakayama is doing the barrier thing – but that doesn’t stop him from signing an autograph while Shodai learns the meaning of pain.

In the next exchange, Yutakayama has a very worried face and very defensive stance. I wonder how many of those he lost. But this time, the head criminal, Tamawashi, is the one who loses. And he doesn’t take that very well.

Eventually, though, he straightens up and growls at Shodai: “Do it. Do it already!”, and Yutakayama turns around and guards the scene.

Mmm… I wouldn’t recommend showing any of this to your kindergarten kids. They may get ideas.

Rikishi abuse didn’t end at the dohyo-iri, though. Here is Ryuden pinning Arikawa to the wall. The other day I thought that Arikawa was Shohozan’s tsukebito, but as it turns out, he is Kisenosato’s. Hence the white gloves.

This must be right after or right before Kisenosato’s dohyo-iri. Ryuden is already in his fighting mawashi as his torikumi was the second. Kagayaki seems to be still in his kesho-mawashi (he is Kisenosato’s tachimochi).

The only bout I have is this rather low-quality video of Onosho vs. Shohozan.

The first time I watched it I thought I was watching a bit of shokkiri. Only after the announcer calls the kimarite and says it’s Onosho’s win that I became somewhat convinced that this was an actual match.

Here is your Tobizaru.

Tobizaru in a bona-fide sumo moment on the dohyo.

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 5 (Oct 7)

🌐 Location: Chiba, Chiba
🚫 Scandal level: 0

venue

First, let’s all stop and bow as the king enters the building:

At Chiba, the Jungyo trail comes closer to Tokyo again. This was the opportunity for a few changes in kyujo status. I’m sad to tell you that Ikioi has left the Jungyo.

But the happier news is the return of this guy:

enho
Danger, measurements of Cute in Chiba are approaching critical level

The man most happy about this news seems to have been his fellow pixie, Terutsuyoshi:

Awwww… then, ewwww.

Anyway, it was really hard to peel Terutsuyoshi off Enho’s skin that entire day. Someone with an evil sense of humor decided to pit them against each other in the torikumi of the day. Terutsuyoshi won. And yes, he continued to hover around Enho even after they showered.

But we are still on the subject of kyujo. Tsurugisho continued off the torikumi (though still staying with the Jungyo), and Abi is also not in the wrestling list – although he did participate in the fan service:

abi-autographing

Aminishiki – not kyujo – was also giving autographs, though he looks very tired.

aminishiki-fansa

Inside the main hall, Shohozan was utilizing TRX to maintain his pythons:

Some moshi-ai sessions:

Yago-Wakatakakage, with Daishoho and Chiyonoumi:

Kaisei-Endo, with Asanoyama and Kagayaki:

Mitakeumi-Tochinoshin, with Shodai and Hokutofuji

Nice to see Mitakeumi practice. He also did some basics earlier on:

There was a series of quick butsukari on the dohyo:

While on the dohyo, Tochinoshin was offering his chest in butsukari to Takanosho (the high rankers love torturing the newcomers), some bored low-rankers engaged in arm wrestling. Well, kind of:

Here is part of the sumo jinku of the day:

This was followed by the Shokkiri (and yes, apparently they are alternating between the same two pairs of performers as in the previous Jungyo). Then came the Juryo dohyo-iri. With all the absences, this looked positively sad:

Many cheers for Aminishiki – who waves. It’s the Jungyo, after all.

Then there was taiko demonstration (only part is shown):

This was followed by the Juryo torikumi. Today, Nakazono was allowed to rest a bit, and Chiyoarashi joined the Juryo bouts instead, sporting an oicho for the first time in a long while (he last had an official one in 2013!):

chiyoarashi

This is, of course, because he is a local Chiba boy.

Daishoho tried to pull the old salt-in-the-ladle trick on Daiamami.

Crickets.

Nice display of self-control by Daiamami.

Here is Aminishiki vs. Meisei. Watch Meisei’s shiko, by the way. He doesn’t have Abi’s long legs but his shiko is top notch.

A lot of support for Uncle Sumo, but he still gets off the dohyo frustrated.

On the way to the Makuuchi dohyo-iri, Tamawashi continues to make Mitakeumi’s life hard:

tamawashi-badgering-mitakeumi

Here’s Daieisho vs. Nishikigi:

For some reason, this is the only Makuuchi torikumi I found.

The only thing I have from any of the top-level wrestlers is this picture of Hakuho, flirting with the Yobidashi, as he always does just before the kore-yori-san-yaku:

hakuho-flirting-with-yobidashi

I would comment about the size proportions between the Yokozuna and the average Japanese man. Only, with Ichinojo in the background, Hakuho kind of loses the “huge” effect.

Finally, here is Tobizaru. Though maybe now I should revert back to “daily Enho”.

tobizaru

 

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Days 2 and 3

I did not post an individual report about day 2, because frankly, there wasn’t much to write – even on the NSK Twitter account there were very few tweets about it. So here it is, bundled together with day 3.

🌐 Location: Ota, Gunma
🚫 Scandal level: -1 (yawn)

If you’re here for the goofy pictures, here is one by the surprisingly popular Arikawa, who is one of Kisenosato’s tsukebito, and despite his hair, is only 29 years old. Here he is accompanied by a rather demonic-looking Ryuden:

Maybe Ryuden was still upset by his earlier moshi-ai bout with Chiyonokuni, which looked like this:

For those of you who are new here: moshi-ai is a form of practice in which the winner gets to choose his next rival. This means that at the end of each bout there is a melee of rikishi vying for the winner’s attention.

There aren’t many rikishi hailing from Gunma prefecture. The most famous one is Satonofuji, but he no longer participates in the Jungyo. However, Yobidashi Shiro, the san-yaku yobidashi, is from Gunma, and therefore got to do the drum presentation today:

That’s more or less all I have from Ota. Here is a Tobizaru for you:

Almost as charming with toddlers as Harumafuji used to be

OK, now brace yourselves, because day 3, unlike day 2, was well covered. This may be because they packed a full house – they even had the “Thank you for the full house” flags hanging.

🌐 Location: Ashikaga, Tochigi
🚫 Scandal level: 0

There are two very popular rikishi from Tochigi prefecture: the Taka twins. However, due to Takagenji and Takanoiwa being kyujo they were absent (Takayoshitoshi is Takanoiwa’s tsukebito, so if Takanoiwa is not there, he is not there). Maybe the reason Kisenosato chose to give butsukari to Takanosho is that he is somewhat related… he is their new heya mate now.

By the way, of the three Yokozuna, two seem to be practicing on the dohyo at the moment. Hakuho, as usual, starts the Jungyo doing the basics at the foot of the dohyo. The two others seem to settle for doing butsukari at the moment.

Somebody brought in balance disks, and rikishi were given a challenge: do shiko on the balance disks.

Ryuden finds this a bit challenging
Nishikigi follows instructions successfully
Shohozan tries to ignore the laughter
Chiyonokuni executes well… only… his foot was out – like in the basho!

So, if you run into anybody who thinks that sumo is two big flabby potatoes in diapers flapping at each other until one falls over – hand him a pair of balance disks and tell him to try that.

Shohozan seems to have brought his invisible golf club to the Jungyo:

Takakeisho seems to have received less attention than he got in Tokyo, which allowed him to relax and enjoy the jungyo. Like, for example, pestering Daieisho:

Also, for some reason, it seems he has never heard of wax or laser. Instead, he has his tsukebito pull his back hair, one hair at a time. 😨

Yeah, I’m serious. He actually returned the favor there, and they looked like a couple of apes socializing by picking nits off each other. Guys, please remember that you’re on camera out there in the Jungyo, always.

Here is Abi doing some san-ban. First, with Onosho:

Then, with Takanosho:

Notice something?

Abi is going for the mawashi. Again, and again. Other rikishi practicing:

Hokutofuji vs. Kagayaki
Kaisei vs. Ryuden

As the day progresses, the torikumi begin. Again, because of the shortage in Juryo wrestlers, Nakazono, Gokushindo and Tomokaze wear oicho (well, Tomokaze doesn’t – his hair is not long enough, yet) and wrestle in Juryo. Somehow, Gokushindo seems to be way too happy about this:

That smile is suspicious…
Aha. The rim is loaded with salt.

So, Gokushindo takes the opportunity of his first appearance in a Juryo bout in Jungyo to play the oldest trick in the book – giving the waiting wrestler a ladle full of salt. You see, there is no chikara-mizu in Makushita and below. That ceremony is reserved for sekitori bouts.

Actually, he was taking a risk there, because his bout was the one following Nakazono, so if Nakazono won, he could easily have returned the favor with some interest. I guess he trusted Azumaryu (Nakazono’s opponent) to take care of that problem.

I don’t have torikumi from Juryo, but I do have this photo:

Meisei vs. Aminishiki

The report is that Aminishiki fought hard at the edge, but as you can see, Meisei is the one still on the dohyo at the end. And seems very pleased about it.

In Makuuchi, I want you to take a look at the musubi-no-ichiban. First, take a look at Hakuho’s final salt throw. He always does that in Jungyo. In honbasho he settles for a modest throw befitting a Yokozuna. But in Jungyo, he goes all Terutsuyoshi, much to the pleasure of the crowd.

But then, watch the bout itself. It’s… surprising.

Whoa, what was that? Kakuryu is all “Oops… Sorry, Yokozuna, are you alright?”, and Hakuho bangs the dohyo with his fist in embarrassment. I mean, a respectable loss by yori-kiri or oshi-dashi is not uncommon, especially not in Jungyo, where the wins seem to be distributed evenly between Yokozuna (well, Kisenosato didn’t get the memo, but that’s him). But a sukuinage? Or any other kind of throw?

OK, finally, here is a digest of the day’s events. Some Yokozuna dohyo-iri. Some Shokkiri. Ryuden vs. Takanosho, Kisenosato vs. Goeido, and a glimpse of that odd musubi-no-ichiban:

But of course, I won’t say goodbye without a final Tobizaru: