Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hmm. What to wear, what to wear

Sumo wrestlers have very limited wardrobe choices. Much like myself.

Whenever a sumo wrestler is seen in public, he must wear traditional Japanese clothing, either the yukata (which is the lightweight version of a kimono) or a regular kimono. This is required for the entire time he belongs to a stable. So, if a rikishi happens to go out clubbing and hits the karaoke machine, you won't see him in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and skinny jeans. In a way, I guess, it's kind of a mercy.

For shoes, they must wear traditional Japanese footwear. The lower ranked rikishi wear geta, the wooden flat shoe with the strap between the toes like beach flip flops. The platform for the foot is supported underneath by two wooden, sideways slats, one at the ball of the foot and one near the arch. They're not the best running shoes, and some say they were invented to prevent runaway slaves. This makes sense that the lower ranked wrestlers would have to wear them, as they basically act as the slave-servants of the upper ranks. I guess you don't want your sweat-towel wielder to get any ideas of escape.

The upper ranks wear something more comfortable, like a slipper bootie thing. Ah, the perks of class.

I tried to walk in geta a time or two while I lived in Japan. They created this rackety feeling in the joints as I walked. It's probably much worse for guys who weighed three times as much as I did at the time. Ka-chonk.

I guess they have a variety of bathrobe looking yukata they could potentially choose from in their closets, but basically that's it. My heart goes out to the more fashion-minded of them. If there be such a thing. Bless their hearts.

Of course we all know about their "evening wear," the mawashi diaper of the ring. I found out today it is made of silk. SILK. Who'd'a thunk.

Oh, and yesterday I talked to my brother in Texas. TEXAS. He said a guy came up to him at a Boy Scout thing and was passing out flyers for a sumo class he was starting. The guy looked tall, but not sumo. I'm telling ya. It's everywhere. Even Texas.

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