Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Sumo Blog

So, I just got a comment from a sumo fan who is living in Japan to learn Japanese. She's starting her own sumo appreciation blog. Would you like to check it out? It's going to be pretty sweet!

Thanks for the intro, Francesca! Wave to Hakuhou for me if you see him, will you?

Oh, and she does sumo doodles, too. Excellent!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sumo Delights

A friend of mine on Facebook found these gems while perusing a bookstore yesterday.

Baby sumo wrestler salt and pepper shakers. For just $18.99. Does every home need a set of these classic items? Probably. (The one in white is the lower ranked, by the way.)

Monday, April 2, 2012

New Ozeki Last Week

So, the rank below Grand Champion (yokozuna) is called Champion. (Imagine.) The sumo term is ozeki. Last week at the end of the March tournament in Osaka, the Nihon Sumo Kyokai (JSA) met in council and opted to promote Kakuryu to the rank of ozeki.

There breakdown of stats on Kakuryu can be seen here. He's a Mongolian, just like the yokozuna, Hakuhou is. He weighs 148 kilos, which translates for us on the English system as 325 pounds. Kind of a lightweight, as sumo guys go.

Meanwhile, I have this friend on Twitter, @kanryuyuu, who is a huge sumo fan and posts pics all the time. I asked if I could repost one of his pics, and he said yes.

Sumo and vending machines. Two things that are oh-so-Japanese. How perfect. Thanks, @kanryuyuu!

Friday, March 16, 2012

More Sumo in Texas

How do these things keep happening? Is the universe converging?

It kind of reminds of when my sister in law and I wrote a screenplay about Elvis coming out of hiding and admitting he was really Deepthroat, and THEN, the true identity of the Watergate informant revealed himself. Weird.

Now, I write this fun book about a Texan who accidentally becomes a sumo wrestler, and kaboom! We get these exciting news stories about sumo happenings in Texas. What are the chances?

So, now I read this article, courtesy of my sister, a Houston dweller, although she did not attend this fundraising event as it was only for men. Shrug.

The sound of 960 pounds of naked human flesh colliding at full speed is not easily forgotten, falling somewhere between a violent slap and a cringe-inducing crunch.
Just ask any one of the tuxedoed guests at the third annual Men of Menil event who showed up to watch four elite Sumo wrestlers compete for several sweat-drenched hours at Richmond Hall Thursday night.
The gender-specific event has become a popular annual fundraiser for the Menil, one that has the playful feel of a silver-haired boys club, if only for a single night. Organizers said it was the first time professional Japanese Sumo wrestlers have made an appearance in Texas.
Modeled after an antiquated male gathering known as a "smoker," Read More...

And you should read more because there are 30+ pictures of awesome sumo wrestlers in Texas!
Sumo wrestlers were featured at this years Men of Menil event Photo: Pete Holley / HC

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sumo at the Rodeo

So, this picture proves the whole premise of my book: that Texas and sumo CAN mix.
Japanese Sumo wrestler Takuji Noro who competes as "Noro" rides a mechanical bull during a tour of The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Wednesday, March 7, 2012, in Houston. Photo: James Nielsen, Chronicle / © 2011 Houston Chronicle

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not since 2006???

A Japanese sumo wrestler has not won the tournament since 2006. Seriously?

I guess we had the era of Asashoryu, and now it's Hakuhou, both of them Mongolian sumo wonders.

During January's basho, a Japanese wrestler, Kisenosato, was promoted to Ozeki (champ, the rank just below Yokozuna, which is Grand Champion, the highest rank in sumo.) For a while NO Japanese occupied the top two ranks!

In September after the basho in Tokyo, Kotoshogiku (another Japanese) was promoted to Ozeki, but before that, it was all foreigners.

The year 2011 was a rocky one for sumo and some fans lost their fire for the sport after a bout-fixing scandal. And there was the baseball scandal. And that came after the brutal 2007 beating of the Japanese recruit that resulted in his death.

Sumo needs to shape up! Shape up for the fans! Maybe with some fresh, native blood in the top ranks there will be an increased interest in the show. I hope so~

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tweeting Sumo

I followed a hashtag on Twitter -- #sumo -- and found a Tokyo sumo fan tweeting the result of his favorite match of the day. I retweeted it. He direct messaged me and said he's going to the Kokugikan tomorrow for the January Basho. Is that cool, or what? I told him to wave to Hakuhou for me. He got excited and said, "Hakuhou is my favorite!" He said he'd wave.

So, Hakuhou is going to get a vicarious wave from me tomorrow.

Totally feeling special right now.

Coming of Age Day: Seijinshiki

January is a great month to be in Japan. Each year they celebrate "Coming of Age Day," a festival for every child who has become an adult -- at age 20. The women wear beautiful kimonos, the men dress in suits. They attend parties, and best of all for us non-Japanese, they clog subway stations wearing their gorgeous garb.

Tonight I hooked into a fantastic photography site via Google Plus (my first foray into that social networking site, yikes!). This photographer, Dave, spent time in Tokyo shooting pics of the colorful day.

Check out his site!