Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Osaka basho, sans Dan

The Osaka sumo tournament came and went without Dan in attendance for the first time since 2003. So many happy memories of queueing for tickets, watching the palookas in the morning bouts, getting drunk, betting on east versus west, etc.

Thanks to youtube and the crappy video stream on the sumo association website, I was able to keep up with the tournament's progress: Hakuho strode to an unblemished 15-0 tournament victory, while Asashoryu, after, a very promising start, slumped in the second week and finished on 11-4.

Easily the best bout I saw was Harumafuji vs Kisenosato on the second day, both having lost on the first: Harumafuji got all mixed up after the tachiai and ended up with his 178-kg opponent behind him, pushing him towards the edge of the ring.

Unfortunately for Kisenosato, he had neglected to get hold of Harumafuji's belt; Harumafuji did what most normal human beings would do (and very few sumo wrestlers can do)- he span out of the way. Kisenosato suddenly found himself pushing at thin air and, unable to stop his own momentum, leapt rather gracelessly from the ring and into the lap of some lucky soul in the VIP seats.

I laughed and laughed, although I was a bit stumped as to how the judges were going to record the kimarite (winning technique): deftly pirouetting out of the way of an onrushing opponent, before watching him jump his fat ass into the front row doesn't correspond to any of the (admittedly few) kimarite I recognise.

I had a feeling that it ought to have been recorded as a hiwaza (a victory achieved without the victor doing much), as Kisenosato had jumped out of the ring entirely under his own steam. The judges, rather bafflingly, declared the bout to be Harumafuji's by virtue of hikiotoshi (described on the sumo association homepage as a hand pull down).

Well, whatever. Harumafuji marked on to a respectable 10-5 record and, on the very day he tossed Asashoryu out of the ring, I received the following in the post:

Harumafuji keitai cleaner!

Big thanks to the Man in the High Castle- hope you had a good time at the tournament without having to share a masu-seki with my malodorous socks.

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A bad omen then!

The two bouts I assumed Asa would no doubt win were against the once and always Ama, and Kotomitsuki. After he lost those it was all easy street for Hakuho and I didn't even have to force myself out of bed for senshuraku tickets. A damn shame.

Looking at that photo you need to use that joint to clean your camera, shit is downright blurry.
My hands have developed a nice shake, thanks to all the SHINAA ASOBI a welfare cheque can cover.

It arrived the morning that he tossed Asa out the ring, rather fittingly. Looks like the curse of the sliver mawashi may have lifted- let's hope he can throw down the right Yokozuna next time.

Peace to my peeps.
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