Bouts from the lower divisions – Kyushu 2018, Day 2

As is usual in a regional basho, there are few lower-division videos available, but I do have some for you – from all the lower divisions this time!

Jonokuchi

Hattorizakura is back on the dohyo! And this time he means business! Just look at this stare. He is facing Yada from Asahiyama in his first ranked bout.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zaGab0RZ8w
And my, he almost won that one! A very atypical show of deashi there. But his lack of muscle tells.

Jonidan

If you are wondering who the heaviest rikishi is, now that Orora is no longer with us (he still tweets fun stuff, though!), then the answer is Kenho, from Tokitsukaze beya, at a mere 239kg. Here he is vs. Kamada.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgzTSxHW8A
Kenho may be too big for his own good, but he is certainly more mobile than Orora has become, and seems to actually do sumo rather than just be heavy. Still, he is a Jonidan wrestler and has spent his entire career between Sandanme and Jonidan.

Sandanme

I’m still keeping an eye on Torakio, the next big Bulgarian thing. At least, that’s what Naruto oyakata hopes. Here is his bout with Kotozensho.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrWLGhXbiIQ
Well, no zensho for Kotozensho, but Torakio still bends at the waist instead of at the knees.

Makushita

Yesterday we had Naya, and today we have his rival, Hoshoryu. He has been working out since the previous basho, but how is is his sumo?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMSV9hQmD8M
Frankly, it’s hard to tell from this bout. Ikeru simply doesn’t seem to belong in the same division as Hoshoryu. This maybe because Hoshoryu is a sekitori-in-waiting, but it could just be that Ikeru is on his way to sandanme. We’ll need to wait for the next bout! While his brother is really not doing too well in Makuuchi, Chiyootori is trying to make his comeback to the sekitori ranks. It’s not an easy way.
Eerily, you can hear the wrestlers breathing in this Abema TV clip. And Ikegawa certainly makes Chiyootori breath heavily. He ends up splat on his back with a mountain of flesh on top for his trouble, though. Yoritaoshi. Another veteran who wants to get his silk shimekomi back as soon as possible is the ever-popular Sokokurai.
Sokokurai complained in the previous basho that everybody thinks that since he is old, they will win by prolonging the match. Kagamio still seems to employ this tactic, but Sokokurai just oozes experience and patience. I’m pretty sure with five wins he’ll be able to secure his return to Juryo, and he looks like he can make those five, even in the Makushita purgatory.

Juryo

Of course, the individual video I have is Enho. Enho won the Juryo Kanto-Seishin today. That’s the spectators’ (and paid app users) selection for “The wrestlers full of fighting spirit”. So how did the pixie take first place?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyL6xIuwUYQ&t=12s
Well, like this. Chiyonoo knows better than to let Enho anywhere near his mawashi. Enho has a left ottsuke, and after some circling and improving his position, he uses his own weight to change Chiyonoo’s center of gravity. Makiotoshi. Here is the full Juryo digest:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jREBljo8-sI
  • Shimanoumi-Tomokaze: Tomokaze shows why he belongs in this division. Both sides very tenacious.
  • Daiseido (filling in from Makushita) vs. Gokushindo. Despite the rival from the lower division, Gokushindo looks lost in his Juryo debut.
  •  Toyonoshima and Mitoryu make an interesting combination of body shapes, that makes it hard for either of them to manipulate the other. Mitoryu tries to lift Toyonoshima at some point but Toyonoshima’s naturally lower center of gravity saves him. He wants to go back to Makuuchi. At this rate, he will.
  • Tobizaru manages to annoy Jokoryu quite a bit, when after a stalemate, he plants a reverberating slap that seems to shock Jokoryu for just enough time for the monkey to get him outside the dohyo.
  • Not that I have anything against Azumaryu, but after yesterday’s bout between two of my favorites, I’m glad to see Chiyonoumi bounce back quickly. He drops Azumaryu on Enho, so maybe that’s a little revenge. 🙂
  • Takekaze also manages to bounce back against Kyokushuho. Many Takekaze bouts end with a hikiotoshi.
  • Another one bouncing back is Kyokutaisei, also with a very quick hikiotoshi downing Tsurugisho.
  • Wakatakakage, on the other hand, looks less impressive than he did yesterday, with the size differences between him and Hakuyozan clearly deciding this bout.
  • You don’t see it in this video, but Ishiura starts his bout with Akiseyama with what seems to be a premeditated matta. Akiseyama has a hard time bending down for the tachiai, and Ishiura kind of forces him to do it twice. He adds the henka – yet another one – to that. I was actually glad to see Akiseyama drop him off the dohyo. I’m liking Ishiura less and less.
  • Terutsuyoshi keeps doing proper, forward-moving, sumo, this time besting Hidenoumi. That man may be 169cm tall, but he has a 220cm fighting spirit. I wish the spectators would appreciate him more, and not just for his salt throw.
  • I guess Takagenji is too young to master the secret of rolling the Kotoyuki bowling ball. Kotoyuki, with his experience, bests the young twin. Well, some humble pie won’t hurt the dude.
  • Aminishiki starts his bout with Tokushoryu going forward, but at some point decides to pull, pull, and pull – and yeah, he beats himself up for that on the Isegahama website. Tokushoryu continues his good form.
  • Yago continues his good performance from yesterday, and beats Daishoho by yori-kiri.
Today’s visitor from Juryo to Makuuchi was Kotoeko. From tomorrow there is no more chance for Juryo wrestlers to pick up envelopes – Kaisei is back, and the Makuuchi divisions numbers are even again.

Bouts from the lower divisions – Kyushu 2018, Day 1

Chiyotaiyo-Tabara

During honbasho, my day mostly looks like this:

  • Wake up, switch on Abema TV, watch while eating and getting prepared. Be late for work.
  • At work, try to catch live glimpses of the top Makuuchi bouts.
  • At lunch, watch Kintamayama’s digest
  • Coming back home, look for some action from the lower divisions, where some of my favorite rikishi lurk.

I’ll share a few of those with you.

Jonidan

Last basho I introduced you to Chiyotaiyo, the stick insect from Kokonoe beya. I’m pretty sure nothing is left for Jonidan wrestlers in the Kokonoe chanko nabe after it has gone through Chiyotairyu, Chiyomaru, Chiyootori, and the rest of the lot. Otherwise, it’s hard to understand how Chiyotaiyo just seems to get thinner and thinner between basho.

But he does have sumo.

Tabara makes use of his advantage of mass, while Chiyotaiyo uses his agility, tries a trip, then opts for a kotenage.

Sandanme

We can’t do without Ura, can we?

Ura, try to prolong those bouts a little, just so we can enjoy you a little bit more… No tricks, no acrobatics, just simple and effective push. Ura has grown some formidable muscles.

Another interesting Sandanme bout is Naya vs. Kaizen. Naya had his first make-koshi last basho, and as a result dropped back to Sandanme. He will want to get at least 6-1 to get a good place back in Makushita next basho.

Whoa, that was a bit of a tsuppari storm, wasn’t it?

Makushita

The man who finds himself ranked fourth among the Isegahama wrestlers this basho is the back-flipping Tomisakae. But he looks like he did a little too much flipping lately. He has more bandaging than Aminishiki! Take a look – there is not a joint in his limbs which is not supported, taped or braced. Here he faces Churanoumi, who had a short visit in Juryo a couple of basho ago.

Despite all the rattled joints, Tomisakae is full of genki, and gets the win.

Juryo

I have Enho’s bout as an individual video. Enho claims he managed to pass the 100kg barrier during the Jungyo. His throw certainly turned lethal. He faces Chiyonoumi, who is also one of my favorites.

This is a typical Enho match. The rival tries to force his own sumo. Enho lunges at him below belt level. Chiyonoumi knows the business and tries to keep his distance and get the pixie off balance. He can’t quite manage that. Enho stays on his feet. Once, twice, another attack – and he gats at Chiyonoumi’s mawashi. From then it’s a done deal. He gradually moves his hand along the mawashi to the knot area. It’s hard to see in the videos, but I’m pretty sure his other hand is holding the mawashi at the maemitsu area. Once he gets the exact positioning he wants, he throws with all his might. Did I mention “lethal”?

The rest of Juryo I can bring you in digest format:

Tomokaze shows Gagamaru why the two of them switched places. As you can see, there is a monoii, but the shimpan’s discussion ends in upholding the gyoji’s decision – Tomokaze’s foot “stayed”.

Gokushindo’s debut in Juryo ends in a defeat, as Shimanoumi wants to stay away from Makushita.

Toyonoshima got wild cheers during his dohyo-iri, and his family was there to watch him. No wonder he looks so aggressive. What a killer nodowa. I hope Jokoryu didn’t hurt himself in that fall. He looks pretty frustrated.

Tobizaru tries getting inside Mitoryu’s defense, but the Mongolian keeps him well at bay. Eventually the monkey pauses, takes an assessment, and aims a little kick on Mitoryu’s right leg. The kimarite is kekaeshi. This seems to be somewhat of a Tobizaru specialty, as the previous two times it has been used in the top two divisions were his as well.

Then follows that Enho bout which we have already seen.

That was a fierce Tsukiotoshy by Azumaryu.

Takekaze works out all the time and tries his best, but he is fading and fading.

Hakuyozan seems to have a bit more patience than Kyokushuho. Kyokushuho tries a throw but can’t quite finish it, and finds himself on the floor instead.

I’m not sure what it is that makes Wakatakakage so effective despite his light weight. Kyokutaisei’s stance is fine, and he seems to have confidence, but Wakatakakage simply seems to use his muscle power very efficiently. While his brothers are struggling, he seems to be a Juryo mainstay with an eye towards the top division.

Terutsuyoshi simply pushes with all his might and every ounce of his weight (he seems to have put on a couple of kilos). He simply seems not to think of himself as a small rikishi.

Ishiura. Sigh. Starting the basho with a henka. How… unsurprising. It did work, but it’s sad to see, especially when comparing him to his heya-mate, or even to Terutsuyoshi, whose muscles are a lot less defined than the Miyagino man’s.

Takagenji is denied his first day win by Tokushoryu, who seems to be keeping the good form from the previous basho, despite having been kyujo from the Jungyo.

Aminishiki is just unbelievable. No tricks, no pulls. Straight on – and this after he, too, has been absent from the latter part of the Jungyo.

Kotoeko seems to try a kind of sidestep, but not very decisively or effectively, and finds himself doing the splits.

The final man in Juryo is not in this digest as he did a Makuuchi bout today – and won it, too, proving that perhaps he should have been up there instead of his rival, Chiyomaru. I hope he found something nice to do with his kensho money!

 

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Final Day (Oct 28)

Here it is, the final chapter of this Jungyo series. I hope you have a lot of free time this weekend, because I stumbled across a treasure trove of raw footage. Usually I give you short bouts or scenes from the side lines. But this person has what seems like the entire event uploaded to YouTube, and that is bound to give you a whole different perspective of what going to a Jungyo event must be like.

So hang on to your coat tails, here we go.

the-jungyo-is-over
The Jungyo is over!

🌐 Location: Shunan, Yamaguchi
🚫 Scandal level: depends how you look at moob groping

I’m skipping the videos that show the venue from outside, the sekitori arriving and the concession stands. Also the handshake part. Let’s start with some still photos from the side lines instead. Here are Chiyonoumi, Hokutofuji and Tomokaze. All graduates of the Nippon Sports Science University. Which, apparently, has its own not-so-secret hand gesture. Demonstration:

university-grads

And that’s the only wholesome sidelines picture you’ll see today. Because the Tamawashi bug seems to have taken in everybody. Here is Gokushindo with Dewanojo:

gokushindo-dewanojo-boobies

But Gokushindo himself does not escape abuse. From our university graduate, Tomokaze, both front:

tomokaze-gokushindo-boobies-front

and back:

tomokaze-gokushindo-boobies-back

Kagayaki is lifting his tsukebito as a form of weight. And that’s no problem. But what is Wakatakakage looking at?

what-is-wakatakakage-looking-at

OK, OK, better get on with those videos, shall I?

There aren’t any sekitori from Yamaguchi prefercture at the moment. So attention was focused on the lower-ranking wrestlers from that prefecture. This video starts with Harada, who is one of those Yamaguchi wrestlers, receiving butsukari. The chest is offered by none other than Enho.

The video then moves on to some moshi-ai among the Jonidan and Sandanme wrestlers.

I must say seeing Enho as the dominant in butsukari is rather comical. Harada is taller than him, and although light, Enho doesn’t seem to offer much of a stamina challenge for him.

No wonder, then, that the exercise is soon over. Moving on to the moshi-ai session. Remember, moshi-ai is a series of bouts in which the winner gets to stick around and chooses his next opponent. Therefore, the wrestlers who want to get some exercise vie for the winner’s attention as soon as the match is decided.

I didn’t like the first winner (sorry, at this level, I really can’t recall names from faces. If you know, please let me know) too much. He is prone to dame-oshi. The second one sticks around for quite a while – but you see his stamina seeping out with every bout until at last he is ousted.

I didn’t think that Mr. Huge there would be called by anybody, but I guess some rikishi like a challenge. So he was.

The attention wars are also quite amazing. Wrestlers are not shy of hanging on to the winner’s neck or poking his cheek or whatever it takes.

And all the while, Aoiyama and Tochiozan stand on the sides and do their shiko.

In the following video, the Sandanme-and-below moshi-ai continues, when sekitori start mounting the dohyo, and give short butsukari sessions to the low-ranking rikishi. You’ll see Akiseyama, Jokoryu, Enho (again) and Abi.

When no sekitori offers, the lower ranking wrestlers just continue on their own. Each butsukari session ends with a tap on the dominant’s chest and, answered with a throw for a korogari (roll).

In the next video, we start with some yobidashi activity on the dohyo – pouring new sand, watering, and sweeping. Then the moshi-ai starts again, with Makushita and some more rikishi joining in. You can see Kyokusoten and Musashikuni.

Kyokusoten is doing the typical Mongolian mawashi sumo. And despite winning, he just gives the right-of-way to a new pair and rests. Musashikuni’s koshi-daka is still unresolved and he isn’t likely to get a second chance quickly.

Apart from what’s going on on the dohyo, though, it’s interesting to watch the opposite corner where a little Mongolian clique is gathered to do some stretches, and apparently, joke around: Kyokushuho, Chiyoshoma and Azumaryu. Also, watch the lower left part of the screen for Tamawashi. Shodai shows something on his smartphone. Smartphone? In keiko? Anyway, that exchange of course evolves into Tamawashi slapping Shodai around.

Next vid. The moshi-ai continues, and then, once again, sekitori mount the dohyo, and we get a series of butsukari: Yago, Kotoshogiku, Jokoryu, Yoshikaze, Ichinojo, You can see how Ichinojo’s submissive actually asks him to do it. Some guys like challenges, as I said.

And now it’s time for the sekitori to start their own practice. The moshi-ai is more relaxed at this point. There are three men on the dohyo and when one of the two wrestlers loses, the third goes in.

We start with Meisei-Tochiozan-Takanosho. In the background you can see Kisenosato doing his wobble exercise, and various rikishi coming to hand him some water. I assure you, in this ladle there is not even a single grain of salt. Nobody is suicidal.

Kisenosato switches to Shiko. On the opposite side you can see Goeido doing the same. Takayasu is not far away from his Yokozuna. From time to time the wrestlers on the dohyo take a towel break.

It’s nice to see Aoiyama and Ryuden move to save Meisei from a bad fall.

After Tochiozan leaves the field and only Meisei and Takanosho are left, again, as if by magic, other sekitori get on the dohyo and a sequence of butsukari follows. If you notice, the first session is always with the winner of the last moshi-ai. Endo lends his chest to Takanosho. Then Aoiyama-Tochiozan, and finally, Ryuden takes Meisei.

The next video continues in the same pattern. This time we have four men on the dohyo – Aoiyama, Ryuden, Daieisho and Myogiryu. This means the two “free” wrestlers have to vie for the winner’s favors.

This session, too, ends with a series of butsukari, though curiously, the first two are between the same four wrestlers. We then switch to Nishikigi-Onosho-Shodai.

I’m going to skip the next sequence, which is just a continuation of that trio, and go to the next one, which shows you a san-ban session. Goeido engages Shodai. Reminder: san-ban is a series of bouts between the same two wrestlers, who do as many bouts as the higher-ranked one wants.

As the session progresses, you can see the increasing frustration on Shodai’s face and in his body language. Goeido is relentless, and Shodai can’t stay in the ring for more than two seconds, let alone win.

Note how every time the Ozeki wants a rest he has his two tsukebito hurry up with a ladle of water and a couple of towels to service him. Shodai has to settle for Nishikigi-mama, who keeps handing him his towel, then folding it back neatly.

Eventually, after 16 minutes of this Goeido love, Shodai is saved by Tochinoshin. Again, the proper way to finish a session is with some butsukari, so poor Shodai, who is already out of juice, has to also push an ozeki for a while for his trouble. Tochinoshin doesn’t make a full-fledged kawaigari of this, though. So the nightmare is soon over.

What follows is reverse butsukari. Nishikigi offers his chest, Goeido pushes. But of course, Nishikigi runs around so as not to waste the Ozeki’s precious time, and there is no rolling in the mud. Finally, a short one between Onosho and Daieisho. Apparently, the etiquette here is that all participators in the moshi-ai or san-ban session (Remember this started with Nishikigi-Onosho-Shodai) get to do some butsukari.

This next one starts with a san-ban session between Asanoyama and Mitakeumi. Not as lengthy as the one between Goeido and Shodai, though. Then Asanoyama goes out and Tochinoshin engages Mitakeumi.

Earlier, in that butsukari session with Shodai, Tochinoshin only had taping on his knee. Now that he is about to engage in san-ban, he puts on his brace.

Of course, being Ozeki, he also gets serviced by his tsukebito. One for ladle, one for towels.

A few minutes later he switches to Asanoyama.

The session, of course, ends with butsukari. Reverse ones this time. Tochinoshin pushes Mitakeumi, and Mitakeumi pushes Tochiozan. Then, not to leave the third man out, Aoiyama takes Asanoyama.

In the background you can see Mitakeumi thanking Tochinoshin for his attention by offering him a ladle of chikara-mizu.

I’m going to skip the lower-ranks bouts, the Jinku, drum demo and shokkiri, and skip right to the Juryo bouts. By the way, here are Yago and Wakatakakage, waiting for their dohyo-iri. Yago seems to also be a man who loves to keep his hands on other people’s bodies:

yago-wakatakakage-love

But at least there doesn’t seem to be much fondling going on. So let’s see how these guys (and the rest of the rather miserable division) did in the bouts:

JokoryuChiyoarashiTsuridashi
TomokazeEnhoUwatenage
AzumaryuNakazonoTsuridashi
GokushindoChiyonoumiOshidashi
TobizaruGagamaruYorikiri
TsurugishoWakatakakageYorikiri
KotoekoTakekazeUtchari

Enho is fast!

Watch out for the faces Tobizaru makes at Gagamaru. 🙂

Note how the “fillers” from Makushita don’t have their rank called out. The gyoji announcer describes each Juryo wrestler by shikona, rank, shushin and heya. But the “fillers” only get shikona, shushin and heya.

Next we have Kisenosato’s rope tying demonstration, and then the rest of the Juryo bouts:

DaiamamiKyokushuhoYorikiri
DaishohoAkiseyamaYorikiri
MeiseiYagoYorikiri

Ah, the look of frustration on Yago’s face.

In the Makuuchi dohyo-iri, of course we have the continuing Mitakeumi-Tamawashi saga:

mitakeumi-loves-tamawashi

Skipping the Makuuchi dohyo-iri, the Yokozuna dohyo-iri and the mayor’s speech video, we move straight to the Makuuchi bouts.

The first bout is missing a few seconds.

ChiyoshomaYoshikazeTsuridashi
RyudenTakanoshoYorikiri
SadanoumiOkinoumiYorikiri
NishikigiDaieishoUtchari
HokutofujiAoiyamaYorikiri
TakarafujiKotoshogikuYorikiri
ShohozanTochiozanOkuridashi
OnoshoAsanoyamaTokkurinage
MyogiryuKagayakiYorikiri

Takanosho gets a fast morozashi there, and Ryuden can’t make the makikae.

Daieisho rains tsuppari on Nishikigi. Nishikigi doesn’t lose his cool – saves himself at the edge with a nice utchari. Speaking of Nishikigi, where are his glasses today?

nishikigi-glasses-1

Apparently, right on Shohozan’s nose.

nishikigi-glasses-2

Onosho steals Aminishiki’s tokkurinage (“sake bottle throw”). But hey, Aminishiki does that in honbasho.

Continuing right from Abi’s shiko:

ChiyonokuniAbiUwatenage
ShodaiEndoUtchari
YutakayamaChiyotairyuTsukidashi
KaiseiTakakeishoYorikiri

Chiyonokuni goes on a shiko match with Abi. He is a little shaky on the left side, but still pulls it off, much to the appreciation of the crowd. He also gives Abi a serious stare-down. All is well and good – but Abi finishes him off within half a second.

Kaisei yori-kiris Takakeisho, but has an inertia problem. Takakeisho flies off the dohyo straight onto Tomozuna oyakata (ouch), but then Kaisei falls on top of both of them. That’s… well, a real-life drop-bear (hi, Australians). He helps Takakeisho up, and poor Tomozuna oyakata also asks for a hand up. Everybody is still in one (albeit squashed) piece.

Finally, we have the last four Makuuchi bouts. This includes Tamawashi vs. Ichinojo. And of course, Goeido still has his tsukebito heckling Tamawashi:

goeido-still-heckles-tamawashi

Kakuryu doesn’t seem to approve. So what did Tamawashi (and Goeido, and Kakuryu) do?

Now, Tochinoshin’s leg has neither taping nor brace.

TamawashiIchinojoOshidashi
MitakeumiTochinoshinTsuridashi
GoeidoTakayasuUwatenage
KakuryuKisenosatoYorikiri

Tomozuna oyakata gets hit again! Luckily, Ichinojo’s brakes are better than Kaisei’s, so he didn’t get hit by yet another drop bear. And that is Ichinojo’s killer nodowa making an appearance again.

I have a feeling of déjà vu about Mitakeumi’s bout with Tochinoshin. Haven’t we seen this bout a few days ago? First Mitakeumi attacks, tries a couple of gaburi, then Tochinoshin takes over and forklifts him out?

Takayasu seems pretty amused about how his match turned out.

And Kakuryu’s left foot is once again doing circles in mid-air. I thought his problem was his right foot.

Here is a link to the complete YouTube playlist from which these clips were taken. It’s a bit of a mess, so if you want to watch in order, pay attention to the numbers.

And your final pin-up boy for this Jungyo, I give you Asanoyama:

asanoyama

Kyushu Banzuke Posted

banzuke-day

The banzuke for the upcoming Kyushu basho has been posted to the official website of the Sumo Association.

http://sumo.or.jp/EnHonbashoBanzuke/index/

Some items of note –

  • Yago did not make the cut to Makuuchi.
  • Chiyomaru survives at Maegashira 16.
  • Nishikigi is catapulted all the way to Maegashira 3, entering the joi-jin for the first time.
  • Hokutofuji is at Maegashira 1, now’s his chance!
  • As expected, Kaisei takes the open Komusubi slot.

Further down the banzuke –

  • Oguruma’s rising start Tomokaze makes his Sekitori debut at Juryo 14.
  • Gokushindo gets the Juryo 13 berth after a fantastic tournament and yusho in September.
  • Hawaiian Musashikuni ranks in at Makushita 53.
  • Returning fan favorite Ura is Sandanme 33.
  • Texan Wakaichiro finds himself at Jonidan 5 after a disappointing Aki.

We will have our usual podcast later in the week, once Josh returns from his current exotic locale.

Aki 2018 Jungyo – Days 15 and 16

I couldn’t get much stuff yesterday about the Ikeda event, so I decided to give you a double-header today instead.


terutsuyoshi-salt-throw

🌐 Location: Ikeda, Osaka
🚫 Scandal level: 0

Feast your eyes on that salt throw by Terutsuyoshi, because after this event, he goes off the radar.

Well, not before he manages to join the list of rikishi with a moob fixation. But while Tamawashi at least chooses fine-chested harassment objects, Terutsuyoshi is going for one who is not really known for his good build.

And while he does this, he continues to talk to Wakatakakage, completely ignoring his squeezy toy. No wonder Akiseyama looks sad. Eventually he fends off the groping pixie and covers his chest with his arms defensively.

Tamawashi gives Chiyotairyu a command: fetch Enho. Enho arrives at the dohyo at the komusubi’s request, and Don Tamawashi takes him a side for a little conversation:

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me like Enho is twice trying to escape. I can only imagine the conversation:

“Hello, little one. I hear a lot of good things about you lately, you know. We were in Kanazawa the other day. You have family in Kanazawa, right? Well, I sent some people to pay them a visit, see that they are alright. You know, family is important. Your brother seems like a nice guy. I’d hate to see anything bad happen to any of them. So now, half pint, I have something to tell you. I’m sure you’re not going to be impolite and not listen”

[gulp] “Um, yes, sir?”

“Happy birthday! Many happy returns!”

Yes, yes, this was Enho’s birthday. And that’s what Tamawashi wanted him for, apparently. Well, I’m sure it is. Positive.

So let’s look at some keiko.

Chiyonoumi vs. Tomokaze:

Azumaryu vs. Meisei:

Meisei is not having the best of times lately.

Takakeisho vs. Aoiyama:

Kisenosato continues with Mitakeumi:

Aoiyama lending his mighty chest to Meisei for butsukari:

Tochiozan turns out to be a rather severe dealer of butsukari:

Get your legs moving! Get up quickly! The legs, I told you to get your legs moving! [slap on arm] Legs!

Arikawa is a friendly guy. Here he is following his bout:

Admit it, before this Jungyo you didn’t have a clue who Arikawa was. Now you know!

And speaking of Yokozuna tsukebito, here is Kasugaryu, the servant without a master, getting his oicho done in preparation for his bow twirl:

I wonder who it is he is greeting with that shy smile and “osu”.

Finally, the only bout I have is Meisei vs. Kyokushuho:

How Kyokushuho manages to get his front mawashi end loose like that in this slow match is beyond me.

Here is your Tobizaru:

tobizaru


🌐 Location: Kurayoshi, Tottori
🚫 Scandal level: 0, despite this being Tottori.

hiyonoyama-misasa-onsen
Hiyonoyama decides to go to Misasa Onsen

Do you know what day it is?

It’s Ichinojo day!

Everybody knows that Ichinojo and Tottori are synonymous. Well, in a world in which he is not a Mongolian giant specializing in shepherding and wolf avoidance, that is.

Having graduated from the famous Tottori Johoku high school – and also worked there after graduation – the locals consider him a home boy. Especially when all the other home boys, like Ishiura, Takanoiwa and Terunofuji are MIA. He has managed to stay away from last year’s scandal by being kyujo due to hernia, so this year, he is the subject of adoration. Sought after when he is in his practice mawashi:

ichinojo-in-practice-mawashi

And when he is in his kesho-mawashi:

ichinojo-in-kesho-mawashi

Requested for interviews:

Looking mighty worried until he remembers the magic incantation: “Gambarimasu!”

Note how he always shuffles his feet and seeks something to cover himself up:

Even Abi wants a piece of Ichinojo this day:

Which he obviously doesn’t need because as soon as Ichinojo leaves, everybody is running to Abi.

Speaking of Abi and attention-seeking, here is how he avoids stopping for autographs:

“Oh, my shoulder hurts! Ow, it hurts terribly! Oh, woe is me!”

Five minutes later he was signing autographs with a totally straight face, of course.

Right outside the venue a great board was set up, for people to write encouragements following the Chubu Earthquake. Some space was allocated for the rikishi to put in their tegata, autograph and words of encouragement. Here is Takanosho applying his:

Ichinojo chose this spot for todays fashion statement:

ichinojo-fashion-statement

I want a towel that’s big enough to wrap around a whole Ichinojo!

Here is a part of the board:

tegata

Ichinojo’s message is the one without a Tegata, right below the 回. He wrote in shaky Hiragana “All Tottori people, gambarize! I love Tottori! Please support me.”

By the way, the tegata marked with that triangle is Takakeisho. The tweet author noticed that he has a much smaller hand than most other rikishi. It’s a real mystery how this man is the level he is, given his short arms, tiny hands, and severe respiration issue. I guess he has serious gambarization skills.

I can’t pretend to be able to read the rikishi signatures, but I can recognize Tochinoshin (to the right of Ichinojo’s spot), and Nishikigi (below Takakeisho’s).

Back inside the venue, Chiyonokuni once again demonstrates his superb flexibility:

chiyonokuni-really-flexible

While Shodai is harrassed again – but not by Tamawashi, but by Kaisei:

kaisei-hazes-shodai

Shodai was doing his stretches, when out of nowhere Kaisei appeared, declared “You are not flexible enough”, and proceeded to apply pressure to Shodai’s legs to make them more like Chiyonokuni’s above. This was countered by cries of “Ouch! It hurts! It hurts! Stop forcing it! You are the sumo world’s dark side!”

Kotoshogiku practiced a bit on the side lines:

Some practice bouts on the dohyo:

Meisei vs. Azumaryu:

Ah, the voice of frustration.

Nishikigi vs. Tochiozan:

Chiyonokuni vs. Tochiozan:

Chiyonokuni seems to try to go for the mawashi – but that fails miserably.

Ryuden vs. Myogiryu:

Practice time over, and Nishikigi shows us how he survives through a Jungyo full of practical jokers who fiddle with his glasses when he is away:

nishikigi-three-pairs-of-glasses

Three pairs. Simple.

Are we going to see a whole day without somebody groping somebody’s boobs?

No we aren’t!

A… A… Aoiyama?! People who live in glass houses…

And why is everybody picking on Shodai anyway?

On a brighter note, remember the new yumitori performer, Awajiumi? Well, today was his debut. This doesn’t mean Kasugaryu has been deposed, yet, though I’ve seen many on the net wishing for that to happen… Guess why…

The man has talent! Still needs to brush up his transitions, but look at that shiko!

No Tobizaru was forthcoming this day, so here is Enho instead:

enho