Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sumo Time

I was looking forward to the Sumo Wrestling tournament and I wasn't. Who wants to sit and watch a bunch of large almost naked men bounce off of one another in a ring for 5 hours? While we Americans have our favorite baseball, basketball, football players, the Japanese have their favorite sumo wrestlers. Kate and Nick passed some of the time on their Nintendo DS's and somehow connected with a 10 year-old Japanese girl a few rows away who was also on her DS ( I don't get how this happens). It was actually pretty cool. They kept writing back and forth, exchanged seat information, school information, waved to one another and then the girl started writing about all of the wrestlers...she knew all their names and had opinions about them. She was our private announcer for a while as we didn't understand anything being said over the loudspeaker.

We arrived 3 hours into the 6 hour event, just in time to see the special Kid's Sumo Tournament - they hosted about 15 kids from TIS, Kate and Nick's school. Anyone (boy) could sign up ahead of time. No surprise that Nick didn't sign up, but his good friend from school was out there. It was hysterical. Kudos to those kids who were willing to get up in front of all those people in less than a diaper- the mawashi belt, not to mention having to stand up against the real deal. See below. It was great.

The actual matches were very fast- 10-15 seconds. The first man to go outside of the ring - dohyo - won. There were a few things I wish that I better understood. At the start of each match they grab some talcum powder or something and then throw it in the ring- sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Then they lift one leg - like a dog peeing, and bring thit back down giving it a slap. Then they get into position, but stand up and go back over to the talc - or whatever it is...sometimes they would get ready, get set and not go 5 or 6 times. Never understood. And in the proper Japanese way, when a competor lost he calmly walked out of the ring after bowing to his opponent. As the wrestling group narrowed down it got more interesting and the crowd got a bit more intense. We decided to stay until the end because we wanted to see who would win. The crowd became very vocal near the end and we could actually figure out what name they were chanting. It was very exciting - definitely recommend this.

Our 3 little sumo's

Three kids from TIS go for it

Although blurry, you get the idea - the crowd loved this! Bit of a wedgie I imagine?!?!

The sumo guy did not budge.

The Contenders

The big guy.

Typical match

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