Monday, July 17, 2006

Nagoya Summer Grand Sumo Tournament 2006

I had my annual day out at the sumo on Friday.For some it may be a day at Melbourne for the Cup or Addington or Riccarton during Show Week or even Ascot.For me the sporting event of the year in Nagoya has to be the annual Grand Sumo Tournament.
I arrived on Friday, day 6 of the basho, a little later than I anticipated.
Having slept in I still managed to get a ticket and found my seat by about seats were vacant as the lower ranked wrestlers went through their paces.
I like going early.You can get a feel for the place.Scout out all the souvenirs.Work out what to have for lunch.Sit closer to the ring on some of the more expensive cushions.Study the upcoming bouts between the higher ranked wrestlers.
As it was a boiling,sweaty day outside I passed on the chanko nabe this year.It was just too hot and unbearable trying to digest the hearty nabe in the 35 degree heat.I opted for a sumo boxed lunch instead.
The Prefectural Gym starts to fill throughout the early afternoon.The higher ranked wrestlers fight between 5pm and 6pm.
I saw Kaio and Baruto win their bouts while also enjoying the long and theatrical pre match antics of Takamisakari who was promptly lost his.
In the last bout of the day Asashoryu showed why he is the only top-ranked wrestler or yokozuna with a powerful display coming back from injury in the last basho.
All in all, a good day out.The number of foreign wrestlers and spectators seem to increase each year while the vast majority of Japanese spectators appear to be elderly.Having said that though, I sat next to a group of four twenty-something locals,only one who had been to the sumo before yet all seemed to enjoy the experience and would, like me, be back again next year.

The day after I attended the basho Russian wrestler Roho and Chiyotaikai had a "contentious" match.After Roho was pushed from the ring and had lost the bout Chiyotakai joined him outside the ring and said something to him.
The upshot appears from the news reports that Roho having lost his temper later injured his hand having put it through a door and reportedly assaulted two photographers.There was a photo of Roho in the daily paper with his right hand bound in a towel.
For his post bout performances Roho was suspended for three days from the tournament.He has since withdrawn from the basho.
At work today some of my students were critical of both Roho and also Chiyotakai for their unsportsmen- like actions.Apparently its rare for a wrestler to be suspended even more so for actions outside the ring.

** Marine Day**
Today Monday 17th July is a public holiday.Marine Day, the official start of the summer season.Or the drowning season for the cynically inclined.
The local region had a short heatwave last week.Temperatures in the mid 30s and the odd death from heatstroke being reported.This has been ended abruptly with the last throes of the rainy season and slightly cooler if wetter days.
Im still trying to work out which I like less; hot humid days with 98 percent humidity or hot rainy days when the heavens open up.Lashing and dernching you with horizontal rain that no umbrella can hope to ward off....

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