Basho! Haru 2017

More Sumo!

The Haru Basho is in the books and featured some pretty fun story lines. The once-invincible Hakuho continues to show his decline through nagging injuries.  Some of my lower-tier favorites like Ichinojou and Hokutofuji had rough fortnights.  Fast-charging Takayasu, wrestling out of the same heya as our new yokozuna Kisenosato, put on a clinic of domination before flagging in the last five days.

A sample of the great fun before we get to the main story: Day 8, courtesy of Moti’s YouTube channel:

But this basho will be remembered for a long time thanks to three wrestlers: the aging Kotoshougiku, the callow Terunofuji, and the rookie yokozuna Kisenosato.  Their intertwined, epic story involve two of the core concepts of sumo that require a bit of explanation–the relegation system and henka. Continue reading Basho! Haru 2017

Old Hobbies Renewed

What do Chess and Sumo Wrestling have in common?  Me as a fan!  Or rather, I’ve renewed my interest in each.

==De Summo Sumo==

Back in the ’90s there was a brief surge of interest in sumo wrestling in the United States.  Chad Rowan, wrestling under the shikona Akebono, became the first (and so far only) American to be promoted to sumo’s highest honor, yokozuna.  He carved out a pretty nice sumo career before retiring for WWE, K-1, and other sideshow sports.

220px-sumoakebono
Don’t call him Chad

Thanks to Akebono, for a short time sumo could be found on some sports channels at weird times.  My younger brother got me interested, although we couldn’t watch often and I was always trying to catch up to him in understanding.  Our sumo phase lasted only a little less than did America’s in general.  I remember being fascinated by the affair but it was not easy to be a sumo fan in those days.

Enter the internet!  YouTube makes it extremely easy to be a sumo fan living in Not Japan these days, and there are plenty of easy-to-use online resources to get you through the byzantine maze of language and custom shrouding the sport.  Inspired by an article on ESPN about Hakuho, one of the greatest rikishi of all time, I threw myself back into the sport with glee. Continue reading Old Hobbies Renewed