I took L and N to the Wanpaku Sumo registration tent at the local shrine at the appointed 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. After a lot of waiting around, some long speeches at the opening ceremony and some demonstrations of improper moves (using the mayor as a test dummy) the matches began. Halfway through the first grade matches I sent L off to get his mawashi , the wraparound Sumo "underwear" put on over his gym shorts. AS it was a tournament type event, each player continues until he or she loses and then they watch their friends or go off and enjoy the extra activities like catching goldfish, spinning tops, walking on stilts, making cotton candy or eating some of the special Sumo cuisine a former wrestler who runs a restaurant prepared in a huge pot under a tent.
L managed to win his first match but was pushed out of the ring after many unsuccessful attempts by his opponent to topple him in the second match. He seems to have good balance.
N went to be outfitted with some nylon sumo pants (J and M had the wraparound outfit but times are changing and the pull-on style seems more popular with girls these days) as soon as L's matches were over, but it took a long time for the 3rd graders to finish their qualifying matches so she had lots of time to play. She caught a bunch of goldfish which are now swimming in a bucket on the balcony as the crayfish L caught last spring is housed in our single aquarium. The crayfish might enjoy some sashimi, but I doubt the goldfish would enjoy sharing the same tank.
When the 4th grade girls finally did begin their matches, I got a good spot for taping it and sat to watch. N won her first match and was very pleased. Several of her friends were also participating so she seemed happy just to be their with them all. Her second match was against the running champion from last year, a willowy tall blond girl from the American school. N got in to push the girl out of the ring but the girl pushed her shoulders down and N touched the ground with her hands, losing the match. The other girl went on to become this year's champion again and I expect we'll see her next year and the year after unless her dad gets a new job somewhere else. N says she had fun and wants to go back next year, but I think it may have been the cotton candy as well.