Published: November 28th 2006November 24th 2006 WARNING:
The ring, made from packed clay, is built before each tournament, and repaired every morning.
The following contains language not suitable for younger audiences. Discretion is strongly advised.
Ever have one of those moments that stop you dead in your tracks? Where you freeze and think "Did that really happen?".
So there you are, sitting in the cheap seats drinking beer, discussing the sound made when a hand smacks a fat guys bare ass, when suddenly 'it
' happens. There is no warning, no time to react. From behind you comes a stunted cough followed by moist projectiles of partially chewed food landing in your hair and all over your back and neck, with the largest offending piece coming to rest on your spouse's thigh, its flight path marked by a trail of saliva.
What. The. Fuck?!
Your hand reaches back to inspect the bits clinging to your hair, and you confirm that it is, in fact, half-eaten food from the mouth of the spectator sitting directly behind you. Relieved that it isn't vomit, but still in awe, you sit there in silence pondering your reaction. What do you do? The man is 80-years-old, a fight is out of the question. This is Japan, so making a scene will get you no
Also known as the 'Dohyo-iri'. Yokozuna Asashoryu performs the ritual before the start of the Makuuchi division bouts.
where. Instead, you look over at your equally disgusted partner and mouth the words
I think I'm going to be sick
then check your beer to make sure no chunks are floating in your brew.
You feel a sweeping motion across your shoulders as the old man tries to wipe away the errant matter. You hear apologies and hushed comments and it's all you can do to prevent from bringing to attention everyone in the stadium the fact that you just had food violently deposited all over you and your spouse.
Wait...it's not over yet. One final indignity. The old man and his wife get up from their seats, apologize again, and leave without compensating you in any way. Minutes later, two people show up to claim the now vacated seats. It dawns on you...you were the victim of racial discrimination.
Those motherfuckers came and sat behind you with the sole intention of spitting food all over you, only to return to their proper seats in another section after making a mess of your clothing and ruining your day because you were a foreigner at a sumo tournament!
Now breathe...in through the nose, out through the mouth...
Keeping with the old tradition, men showing banners before the start of bouts as a form of advertisement for local shops.
not a patient person, but I bit my tongue, knowing that an angry reaction wouldn't help our cause. I am a saint for not punching him in the mouth right then and there. But if I ever see that fucking asshole again, I'm going to jam toothpicks under his fingernails and shove rusty metal objects up his pee hole and rectum until he agrees to buy me a new shirt and Denise some new pants.
Other than that, we had a great time! Ate at Wendy's twice, did some shopping, and spent an evening at Round 1, that cool all-night arcade complex. We also treated ourselves to a fancy dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, joined by a couple of friends from Calgary who are also JETs living in Miyazaki-ken. It was nice talking with proper foreigners again.
We attended Day 13 of the Kyushu Basho, the final major sumo tournament of the year. I've watched it on TV for quite some time and have come to appreciate sumo
. It's not just a couple of couch potatoes feeling each other up. These guys are extremely strong and muscular and very fast (and they smell of baby
Banners outside the home of the Kyushu Basho.
powder too). It's a very complex sport as well - there are something like 80 different moves, holds, and throws in sumo.
The best part is being among these giants. Many of them show up to the venue by walking from their hotel right through the front doors and down the hallway to the dressing rooms. You're allowed in those same hallways too. It's not uncommon to see people chatting with the wrestlers, or shaking their hand or giving them a high-five after the match. North American athletes need to learn a thing or two about fan appreciation. There's actually no security at the event either. I could casually stroll right up to the ring at any time.
Next time we plan on buying better seats so we can be closer to the action, take better pictures, and avoid getting spat on by racist pricks. Camille & Denise Note:
Originally, this entry was untitled and a contest was held for most creative title based on the events presented. After several submissions and voting among subscribers, a winner was selected and that title now graces the headline. Congratulations Dutch!
There are more photos below