Published: May 31st 2008May 26th 2008
: the highest rank a sumo can achieve fundoshi
: sumo thong thing yowai
: weak higashi
: east nishi
: west chanko nabe
: a type of nabe dish (hotpot dish) that is specific to sumos...it, along with rice and beer, seems to be the staple dish of
their diet. Like all nabe, it consists of a broth in which items are simmered, but I think chanko nabe is particularly high in protein. izakaya
: japanese bar/eatery that serves a wide variety of drink as well as Japanese small plate bar food...like a Japanese tapas bar
On Christine's birthday, we went to the second to last day of a big sumo tournament in Osaka a couple of months ago! Watching sumo is crazy…people drink beer and get noisy and when one of the yokozuna
(highest ranking sumo) is defeated in a match, everyone throws their seat cushions in the ring. And seriously, you don’t see this much skin in Playboy…thongs EVERYWHERE! GIANT thongs covering miniscule portions of GIANT, jiggling men.
Also, think Sumo is the most Japanese sport of all?…think again! The best sumo seem to be mainly Mongolian. According to a local taxi driver, Japanese people are too yowai
This is the building where it all happens...the building looks pretty normal outside except for all the colorful banners and the vendors selling Sumo souvenies.
too small. In Japan, I guess there are two “leagues” of Sumo (like how US baseball has the American and the National leagues), the Higashi
and the Nishi
. The two current yokozuna
are Hakuhou and Asashoryu, who happens to be my personal favorite. But to look at them, you really can’t tell that they are not Japanese. They speak Japanese and live in Japan…in fact Asashoryu looks every inch a Sumo…like the type that you see depicted on old scrolls and paintings and such. He’s like super sumo man.
And people who think that sumo are just big fat men are completely wrong. Because under those layers of jiggling padding and insulation is solid muscle…you can see it when they fight. Their legs are, especially their calves, are often relatively lean…I heard that they actually only try to put on weight in their from torso area so when they lunge at each other, it makes a solid, yet cushy, impact. All of this, plus the massive calorie intake, can't be good for one's heart, but I think most sumo are able to retire from the sport relatively early and either open up their own Sumo training stable or open
Soooo, in the second half of the tournament, which includes all of the higher ranking sumo, the east and the west take turns walking in....
up chanko nabe restaurants.
It was interesting watching though...there's so much ritual throughout the entire tournament. Every match has a long drawn out ritual that they go through before they fight. The ref guy, who changes after a certain amount of matches, is always robed in a really elaborate costume (I think maybe Shinto style) made of really beautiful, vividly colored material. Also, the sumo needs to always have his hair long enough to be tied into a topknot...soooo, no bald sumo. All in all, it was a very intense experience, especially when you get crowd favorites... I mean, even if you're not into fighting or wrestling of any sorts, it's something that is interesting to watch because you can tell that the crowd has a lot invested in the matches...which last only a short amount of time, but in that short moment a lot can happen I guess. The reigning champion can be overturned in the blink of an eye. And even though the matches are short, the amount of energy expended is amazing- from launching themselves at each other, the sheer force of impact and then the burst of energy it takes to push, pull, lift and
grapple around the ring with another 300 lb man, by the time the match is over, be it 2 seconds or 20 seconds, the men are dripping with sweat.
It must be a sort of powerful feeling to be a sumo wrestler...granted, I am sure day to day life is guided by routine and a somewhat strict regime to follow (such as consuming loads of beer and chanko nabe), but even still. To be purposefully so massive and at the same time muscular...and be secure enough to walk around in a fundoshi, wear your hair long and wrestle skin-to-skin with other sweaty men. I mean, who would even have the nerve to make fun of them anyways?
There are more photos below