Friday, September 21, 2012

Sunday Sumo Tournament

On Sunday morning, after the Belgium Beer Festival, we went to the Ryogoku Kokugikan for opening day of the Sumo Tournament.
There were a throng of fans lined up outside to take photos of their favorite sumo stars.
We were hungry so we had our lunch inside the stadium, watching on TV.
The ladies ordered the sumo special ~ chanko nabe and it was very good. Tina and Martha had theirs with rice but I ordered udon.
Opening day also meant more ceremonies and we were fortunate to have good seats to witness the tradition of this ancient and unique sport.
Those with ringside seats obviously paid more, but they had to sit "indian style" on zabuton's (pads) which would have been a bit uncomfortable.
We arrived mid afternoon, in time for the better bouts for the juryo's.
Our group photo, except for Tim who was taking the picture.
There were lots of spectators in the stadium and each bout ranged from a few seconds to almost two minutes.  Russ and Tim figured out that the wrestlers had three "false" starts, then wiped their faces and bodies with towels and finally, the real match began.
There were several judges who changed throughout the tournament. I liked seeing their ornate robes.
The final section of the tournament, makuuchi, were the Ozeki's and Hakuho, the Mongolian yokozyuna.
The walked around the dojo wearing their colorful silk aprons.
Russ and Efrain enjoyed their Japanese beers!

We stayed until the final match and enjoyed watching all the bouts.
The arena has huge posters of Hakuho, the reigning Yokozuna in various poses.
Two sumo wrestlers had new posters unveiled that day.

I took many photos as the matches were so interesting with their ceremonial acts. Notice how the guy in the back lifted his left leg high? The crowd cheered wildly when the wrestlers did this.
The opponents returned and threw salt on the ground.
In the photo below, the wrestler squats (plies) and raises his arms above.
Before the final bout where Hakuho fought, people with banners displayed their sponsors.
Russ and Tim bet 100 yen per bout and in the end, Russ won 800 yen for the day!

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