June 22nd, 2019| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


Last month I had the blessed opportunity to visit ye olde country of Japan for three weeks!

To eat sushi, drink sake, visit students, and see sumo.

“What?” you ask. “See sumo?”

Yes, sumo, 相撲 (sumou, which literally means “to strike another”).

If you come to this country, you see baseball to experience a slice of America. If you go to Japan, it’s sumo (though the baseball craze is also quite prevalent in that land).

When I realized I’d be in Tokyo during the national championships, the honbasho, I decided I’d have to attend. And through contacts (friend of a friend of a friend), I managed to get tamari-seki seats, those ringside locations that are usually only open to corporate sponsors. What a thrilling experience!

So there I was in the Ryōgoku Kokugikan, Tokyo’s indoor sumo arena, capacity of 12,000, right up front, close to the dohyo (ring), that, BTW, doesn’t have ropes. And these close-in seats aren’t chairs, but mats, upon which you sit cross-legged. Which means one of those 400-lb hulks could come flying in your direction at any point, because the point of the whole game is to push your opponent (rikishi, wrestler) outside the ring, or to down him within.

(The guy in the photo is Takayasu Akira, 29, 6’1”, 392 lbs, an ōzeki, one of the highest ranks in the business.)

Not many sports in the world have the best seats in the house carry health warnings. Sumo does. They tell you there is a medical tent outside that will care for you should one of the rikishi land on you, but that after the event, your broken bones and battered organs are your own responsibility. Caveat spectator!

The day I was there, twice a rikishi landed in a couple of seats in front of me, both times in the lap of one of the black-clad judges. (He, the judge, that is, survived, with a wry smile, and to the wild applause of the packed crowds.)

That’s also why the tamari-seki seats don’t allow children, food, or cameras.

Every other seat is packed with all three. Combine it with a raucous atmosphere, with everyone cheering for their own favorite rikishi, the pervasive smell of the bintsuke hair oil rikishi use for their topknots, a lot of pomp and parading, and it all adds up to be a riot!

Oh, and I also got to be on NHK-World—the international broadcasting service of Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai, i.e., Japan Broadcasting Corporation), watching the Tochinoshin v. Kotoshogiku bout (one of about 20 bouts in the latter half of the day I was there).

And there are the food stalls and souvenir stalls and museums and all the usual stuff of any hugely popular sporting subculture.

Altogether, a lot of fun.

But there’s only one fight children of God have to engage in.

Fight the good fight of faith;
take hold of the eternal life to which you were called,
and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things,
and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate,
that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach
until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which He will bring about at the proper time—
He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light,
whom no man has seen or can see.
To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen!
1 Timothy 6:12–16

Share Your Thoughts

Copyright © 2012 Homiletix  |  Blog theme by ThemeShift customized by Gurry Design  |  Full sitemap