Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sumo! (Saturday 1/26/08)

This past Saturday myself and two other people from the dorms I live in got up at 4 a.m. to make it to the second-to-last day of the Grand Sumo Tournament in January in Tokyo. (There will be another in May, but I'll be gone by then) It's the easiest way to see a bunch of sumo wrestling for an inexpensive price, if you're willing to get up early and only have good seats for the less important guys.

When we got off the train at Ryogoku station we immediately knew it was a sumo district. This is the area of Tokyo where all the sumo training and wrestling goes on. Incedentially it's also the location of the Tokyo Edo museum, which is about the Edo period of Japan.

Even McDonald's is in the sumo spirit. We stayed warm here after we got our tickets. We were there before it opened at 6:30 a.m.

When they started selling tickets, at about 7:30 a.m. the line was so long it wrapped around the block.

As we stood in line we were given these vouchers, which represented our place in line, we wouldn't' be able to buy a ticket without this voucher. I was 32nd in line!

Look! We played sumo!

The sumo stadium had a great mural on the outside of it.

This was a surprise to me. There's a row of shops that give gift bags to the expensive seats. Isn't it pretty?
A sumo shrine outside of the stadium.

That's the actual sumo ring, but before anyone had gotten to it.

Before sumo started we were basically allowed to do as we pleased. I was so close to the ring, it was pretty cool. 

Even though we had no seat assignments with our tickets we were allowed to sit wherever until that person came and said that was their seat. We sat in the 8th row back, we didn't want to get hurt by any falling sumo wrestlers, that sometimes happens I hear.

Before each match the ring attendant calls to the east and west with a special song. The attendant changes frequently, but this one had the best voice.

Another ring attendant calling out before the match. The guy in the colorful outfit is the referee, he also changes often.

Another referee!

A sumo wrestler psyching himself up for his upcoming match. He needs it because that was the unlucky side of the ring! Nearly everyone that won came from the other side.

Sumo is highly ritualistic. Before it can begin the wrestlers face out and stretch, face one another at those lines and stretch, squat, get up, squat, and then may begin. It can be prolonged longer, but the lower rank guys don't really do that.


Sumo smash!


These two both fell at the same time, so there needed to be a conference to see who won.

Here they are, deciding. You can lose sumo by stepping out of the ring, or falling. At least that's what I gathered. Once there was a tie too. I didn't know why.

And they're falling!

Going to sumo was defiantly worth it, but it is kind of repetitive and I don't think it'll become a favorite sport of mine.

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