Tuesday, July 28, 2009

2009 July Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament

The annual Grand Sumo Tournament held in Nagoya every July ended last Sunday after 15 days of bouts.
The winner of the tournament this year was yokozunza Hakuho who finished with a 14 win 1 loss record.

Some of the more prominent and popular wrestlers receive sponsorship.The sponsors banners are paraded round the ring before each of the wrestlers bouts.A variety of companies and firms provide sponsorship including the hamburger chain Makudonarudo,known elsewhere around the world as McDonalds.

The judges and referee sometimes confer in the middle of the ring after a bout where its difficult to see which wrestler won the bout.In such instances one wrestler is usually awarded the win or if a clear decision isnt possible then the wrestlers will have another match.

One of the bentos available at the sumo tournament.There are a number of stalls selling bentos and a variety of food,drinks and souvenirs.Some of the more expensive seats include bentos and drinks in their price.A cheaper alternative is to purchase a 300yen bowl of chanko nabe which was served up to long queues of spectators each day from 1pm.

One of the lower ranked wrestlers awaits his turn to compete.Despite their apparent size and bulk many of the wrestlers are surprisingly nimble and flexible.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Haagen Dazs Sorbets

My battered Oxford dictionary defines the word sorbet as "a water ice".To my mind these two recent additions to the Haagen Dazs range are thicker and less watery than I imagine sorbets.I associate "sorbet" more with something like kakigori a Japanese summertime staple of shaved ice covered with various toppings.
Not that the thicker density is unwelcome because each sorbet comes in a 100ml tub 20 ml less than the usual ice flavours.

The pear sorbet was quite sweet and definitely tasted of pear.As it melted in the heat a thin clear syrup formed on the surface which again tasted of pear.It had a clean refreshing taste and I think I would try it again in the future.

The raspberry sorbet seemed a little more watery and icy than the pear one but was still quite dense and more resistant to the spoon than I imagined a typical sorbet to be.As with the pear sorbet this raspberry one also tasted of fruit and in this case also smelled strongly of raspberry.Again as with the pear sorbet a thin syrup congealed on the surface as the contents melted and I will probably try it again.
Of the two sorbets Id probably go for the pear one more than the raspberry flavour mainly due it being a less common flavour.
Both sorbets came in a 100ml tub and cost around 228yen depending where you purchase them.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lets Go Home....

Im in the midst of leaving Japan and moving back home.
Hence the long break between posts.
Having resigned from work ive been busy making preparations to leave by the end of July.
Arranging to get my possessions back home or sold.Arranging the electricity,gas and water to be disconnected and the accounts closed.
Arranging for my apartment to be inspected so I can claim back some of the deposit.
Arranging airplane tickets and travel.Arranging final visits and farewells.
Arranging to get tickets to the grand sumo tournament that starts this Sunday in Nagoya..
The following photos below come from one of the practice venues dotted around Nagoya.

This particular beya or stable training venue was near Ichinomiya about a 45 minute train ride from Kanayama station.It was set up in the grounds of a small kindergarten.In fact the early morning high pitched chatter of the pre-schoolers was in stark contrast to the dull thud and thumping of the wrestlers as they practiced their moves and charges.

There were three higher ranked wrestlers at this stable.They can be distinguished by the fact that they wear white or lighter shaded loincloths.They also start their routines later than the lower ranked wrestlers who begin around 7am.
We arrived about 7:45 am to find a small crowd had already gathered.This crowd swelled as the morning progressed.Parents dropped their offspring off at the adjacent kindergarten.Jostling,elbowing elderly Japanese men and women tried to burrow their way through those who had arrived earlier to get a better view of the proceedings.

The heat and humidity built up as the wrestlers exercised.The practice formally ended at around 10:30am so it was a long and strength sapping session.

The coaches and stable masters offered advice and encouragement to the wrestlers as they grew tired and weary.