Monday, June 14, 2010

Life of Luxury?

More evidence that sumo is everywhere, as soon as you start noticing.
My sis in law just notified me of a very funny starburst commercial with sumo theme. Ha.

I was thinking about how different the sumo life is from the life of a professional athlete in the United States. There are even TV shows (not that I've watched any, sadly) about lifestyles of the rich and famous and athletic. They live in mansions, drive multiple sports cars/SUVs, party hardy, etc.

By contrast, the life of the rikishi is truly ascetic. They sleep in a dorm type situation with futon mattresses on the floor. They don't eat breakfast (!)* They aren't allowed to drive cars. Their training is rigorous and year-round--no off season to "let themselves go." (Ha ha ha ha ha.) They have to do chores to earn their keep in the stable until they are promoted to the higher levels of the sport. They wear only certain, traditional clothing in public--including those painful looking shoes that must certainly hobble them to an extent. They have to eat what they're told.

I'm sure they do get out some. I saw a video recently of the (former) yokozuna, Asashoryu drinking and doing karaoke, but I'm told he isn't the pinnacle of sumo manners-perfection, either. Their lives aren't the fast lane of the American athlete.

Partially I would guess this is attributable to the fact that the sport is steeped in religious ceremony, history. Its roots are Shinto. The opening ceremonies, etc., are all Shinto related. The Japanese people I knew--very few were practicing Shinto. Most claimed to be Buddhist, and throngs hit the local temples during festivals and on religious holidays, but on the whole they weren't a particularly religious people on a daily basis. However, the old Japanese religion was still revered by the people I met, and it was everywhere in their architecture and weddings and culture--if not written on their hearts, per se.
Anyhow, to me the most important lesson I take from all this is: eat breakfast. If the tubbiest athletes on earth--tubby by design--are avoiding breakfast religiously, I should definitely make it part of my beginning to a healthy, thinner day. Yes? I think I'll use it on my kids when they want to skip it. "Sure, sweetie. You can skip breakfast. That's what the sumo wrestlers all do. And look at them!"



  1. Pass the cold cereal and milk.

  2. Hahahaha!
    Thanks! I'll take the oatmeal. :)