Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sumo Do Sumo Don't

The spring sumo tournament is currently being held in Osaka, so yesterday afternoon I went into Namba and to the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium where the tournament is hosted. I had a general idea of where to go and a tiny map on my phone, but in the end found it pretty easily. The point at which I started to be unsure of which way to go was when I looked left and saw the following, which solved the problem.

Getting a ticket wasn't too tricky and the line wasn't too long. The seats we got were pretty good, on the diagonal of the gymnasium. I got a bit of a sore neck from looking off to the right for most of the afternoon, but that is only a minor complaint.

I took a fair few photos (102 in total, although some have been culled before uploading to Flickr), and now I'm not so glowing in praise of camera phones. The phones OK for general sightseeing, but is limited when trying to zoom in a long way, for example from seat D7-107 to the dohyo (sumo ring). A few of the better ones will be at the end of this, and all but the worst are here.

Sumo is a very ritualised sport, and the actual sport part is only a tiny part of the performance. One bout had about 3 minutes of build up and 3 seconds of actual sumo fight. Sometimes the build up had the feeling of "I don't want to fight this guy", and some of the fighters who had this done to them would play to the crowd acting cocky, which always got a good response from the crowd. The longest actual fight went for only about 30 seconds. There were only a few fights where one wrestler was thrown out of the ring and landed on some of the spectators (the best seats are only a few feet from the ring, so being squashed by a falling sumo is a very real possibility.

The crowd in general was pretty quiet, although for some of the big (pun unintended) fighters the crowd got more vocal. Also, there was a little kid near us who would yell out the name of a lot of fighters, which helped us keep track of the bouts. Names I remember being yelled out were Ama, Hakuho, Tochiazuma, and Asashoryu.

End Post
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1 comment:

SpacePup said...

Hey Kevin,
sounds like you had an interesting time :D haha some of it sounds just like that stupid WWF wrestling (or is that the world wildlife fund? meh, whatever), the way they play up to the crowd.

Just letting you know I'll be in Osaka for three nights from Monday 26th march till Wednesday 29th of March (next week) if you were interested in catching up.