Health knowledge made personal
Join this community!
› Share page:
Search posts:

attention, sports fans

Posted Jan 19 2012 7:46pm
2010 01 10_0864

The whole family took the opportunity to attend the Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo this on Tuesday. We loved it! It's funny, I will likely happily go the rest of my life without attending a boxing or wrestling match, yet I was charmed by sumo.

What's so great about sumo?

  • The pomp and ceremony, the respect, the that!
  • You do get to see a lot of tush. And a parade of silk nappie-clad tush is a funny thing.
  • The first thing that a gaijin notices on entering the arena is how calm and quiet the place is. Clean plush chairs, a quiet feel like you're going to a theater as much as a sport match. The ritual  around the matches is one of those gorgeous Japanese experiences. . .that distinctly Japanese blend of modern and traditional shines here.
2010 01 10_0886

2010 01 10_0880


2010 01 10_0891

 The wrestlers parade in from the East and West and form a ring in the center.

2010 01 10_0979


2010 01 10_0914

The sand of the outer rim is swept during the elaborate bowing, warming up, and squatting rituals that happen before each match. If one player has any part of his body outside the rim, he loses. The smooth sand shows all record of any breach of the circle.

The matches are quick. The earlier several lasted a few seconds each. As we got into the highest ranks, there were a few that lasted close to a minute, to the delight of the crowd. Some are a stable arm-locked shove, some are quick shoulder jabs, and a few were slapping matches that reminded me of MMA.

2010 01 10_0958_edited-1 2010 01 10_0983

 A lot of salt-throwing for purification goes on.

2010 01 10_0963


2010 01 10_0987


2010 01 10_0998

Following are a few shots from the highest ranked match. As far as I understand, the grand champion was unseated by the underdog. The specators were completely into it and there was a shower of seat cushions at the end of the match.

2010 01 10_1005 2010 01 10_1009


2010 01 10_1012


2010 01 10_1013

We were fortunate to go to sumo on a tour organized through the YIS PTSA. It was an easy way to start, but if you missed it, don't hesitate to go. There are guides and even radio commentary in English, all simple to navigate.

2010 01 10_0863

Our guide, Ms. Doreen Simmons, is an 80-year old, 5-foot-tall, sumo aficianodo who moved to Japan 35 years ago for her passion for sumo. She was memorable, informative, funny, engaging...everything you would ever want in a guide. Especially when you imagine her hanging out with her wrestler pals! (If you happened to know my old SF housemate Maria Marta back in the day, just imagine her with a passion for sumo instead of Mayan rights, and you've got a pretty clear picture.)

**And thanks to my friends Deb and Arun for the loan of the zoom lens. Now I know. You can be in the cheap seats and still get some good photos. Hey, buying one would be like saving money, wouldn't it? I can sit wherever I want.



Post a comment
Write a comment:

Related Searches