Tochi-plomashi

Tochinoshin entertained a high-profile guest yesterday…new Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili. Mrs. Zourabichvili was elected last December and is their first female head of state in the Caucasus. Born in Paris, she actually served as the French Ambassador to Georgia before claiming Georgian nationality (both of her parents were Georgian) and serving as Foreign Minister of Georgia under Michail Saakashvili, himself a rather entertaining character. Perhaps she learned an appreciation for sumo from Jacques Chirac?

In this op-ed, published shortly before taking office, she stressed her desire to strengthen the country’s European ties, including hopeful EU and NATO membership. Cold-war rivalries play out with more than bitter elections here. For five days in 2008, the country fought Russian-backed independence wars in the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a warm-up for eventual seizure of Crimea. Zourabichvili was elected one month after Russia attacked and boarded Ukrainian ships in the Azov Sea. The country shares its Southern border with Turkey.

Putin is a Judoka, Right? (photo: @NicolaAnn08)

As noted in her article, the President is also hoping to end the outward flow of young talent from the country, bringing them back to Georgia. Tochinoshin has expressed a desire to return home after his eventual retirement from sumo. As long as his knees hold out, he will carry on. And, as we see in the video below, the Georgian giant has his own skills in diplomacy.

Fantastic video provided with permission from our friends at AdjaraSport.com

President Zourabichvili’s term has so far been characterized by these East-West tensions. Protests erupted in June when a Russian member of the Duma, and representative of the Communist Party, was allowed to make a speech from the Georgian Parliament. Public outrage at the Russian occupation of Georgian territory is still substantial and efforts by the Georgian Dream party to soften its tone and attempt diplomatic solutions with Russia have been…not liked.

The protests led to a push for sanctions against Georgia in the Russian Duma. Russia is Georgia’s largest trading partner, drinking more than 60% of its wine exports. Zourabichvili has said she would like to visit the US to meet Donald Trump as soon as invited. Her meeting with Tochinoshin appears to have been in Tokyo yesterday. If European ties haven’t been able to get her on Trump’s guest list, maybe Eastern ties will do the trick?

Aki 2019 Jungyo report – Day 9

Today’s event was supposed to have been day 10, but of the three events in Shizuoka prefecture, the one at Izu – which was the place where the typhoon made its landfall – has been cancelled. Around noon October 13th, the rikishi finally left Yamanashi prefecture and headed around Mt. Fuji, down to Shizuoka, in big buses. There have been no safety issues for the rikishi and their support staff from the weather.

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Aki 2019 Jungyo report – Day 7

From Chiba, we head west to Kanagawa prefecture. Since these Jungyo reports are actually posted a couple of days after the event, we now know that Typhoon #19 has been through many of the areas the Jungyo was planned in. You’ll see a happy town of Sagamihara today, but two days later, it will be disaster area. Post-typhoon events are likely to be accompanied by rounds to comfort the survivors. But today we’ll concentrate on the happy side.

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Aki 2019 Jungyo report – Day 6

Having visited Tochigi, we now go south, back to the center of sumo. Not quite Tokyo, but Chiba prefecture is home to several sumo stables and many savvy fans, as you will see from the number of photos and videos we have today.

By the way, if you want to feel something akin to actually being in a jungyo event, set a couple of hours aside. Hey, it’s Sunday, isn’t it? We have a video at the end of this report which covers almost all the essential points, including a lot of keiko and Makuuchi bouts.

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