Tuesday, February 7, 2012


We attended the Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo this last month...

Before coming to Japan, this was the only sumo wrestling I had known. Two inflated people, in socks, trying to stand long enough to knock over their opponent. But the real thing is so much better...

Once you get over the initial shock of such large men in such small uniforms, the sport itself is very interesting.

Sumo, Japan's national sport, began around 2000 years ago to honor gods in the Shinto religion during festivals. Many of the same traditions remain, but occur symbolically. Wrestlers lift legs up high in the air and then stomp them down to scare away demons. They also throw salt to purify the ring.

In Sumo, unlike in boxing, there are no weight classes. Wrestlers are trained by their coaches in 'stables'. The object is to get your opponent out of the ring or have them touch the ground with something other than their feet. Though very exciting, the matches usually last only a few seconds...

After the tournament

Outside of Ryogoku Station

A super kancho!

Sunshine City in Tokyo

And remember, just like in a movie theater, it is not advisable to sit in the front row. Because instead of stiffness in your neck you could be crushed by a wrestler.