Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sumo - The changing of the guard  大相撲2010年2月レポート

So now, at the Changing of the Guard, I have decided to start getting back into my Sumo commentary. When I last wrote about Sumo was in May of 2009. That was the tournament where new Ozeki Harumafuji won his first championship. For the first time in a long time, we had some exciting new blood in the Ozeki ranks. In particular, I think Harumafuji becoming an Ozeki has caused Kotooshu to raise his game.


I have been a Sumo fan for about five years. In that time, Chiyotaikai and Kaio have been the Grand Old Veterans of Sumo. But to say it charitably, their last few years have not been their best. Well honestly, I must say that Kaio does still earn his keep. He does have that powerful right arm, and if he catches a Sekitori with it, well he will sweep him out of the Dohyo. In the case of Kaio, the younger Rikishi have to fight harder against him. But he just hangs in there, it is a long time since he regularly got more than a bare Kachikoshi.


On the other hand, Chiyotaikai's Sumo has been dismal for quite some time. Especially in the last year, there have been a lot of henka, and I do not like henka. True, he was once a great Rikishi, and a great Ozeki. But he hung on too long. He should have retired two years ago. I think it is sad that defining memory of Chiyotaikai will be the film of his defeat by Kaio, giving Kaio his record breaking 808th win.


We are going to be seeing that film clip for years. The thing about any sport is that we all get older, and there comes a point where no matter how great one might be, physically you can no longer perform.


If you want to be a sport where you can go on into middle age, you should do golf.


But then golf can have it's problems too, just go ask Tiger Woods!


Last week, I wrote this much about Sumo. But since then, there has truly earth shaking news, and this is the retirement of Asashoryu. Well, frankly, I think it was time. Despite being a fantastic Yokozuna, he just could not control his behavior.


There is no excuse for violence. And his stable tried to cover it up. In a press conference where Asashoryu apologized for this most recent episode, he did not at all seem sincere. And it seems that this latest incident is merely the tip of the iceberg. Since his retirement, all sorts of stories are coming out in the media, Asashoryu punching hostesses in Osaka and that sort of thing.


This is not the sort of behavior that any Sumo Rikishi should do, let alone a Yokozuna. He has to be an example for the entire sport. But the ultimate blame does not lie with Asashoryu. The person most responsible is Takasago Oyakata. It was his job to teach Asashoryu how to behave like a Sekitori, and a Yokozuna. And in this he failed miserably.


Well two high notes to finish up here. I am very happy to see that Takanohana Oyakata was elected to the Japan Sumo Association Board. And I was REALLY impressed by Aminishiki. There he was with that banged up leg. Half the time, he seemed to be limping around after a win. Yet win he did, for a total of 11 wins. Absolutely outstanding!


Changing of the Guard - 警備隊のシフトは変わります。会社で、上司の変化と言う意味です。相撲の場合、三役の上位の力士は変わります。

New Blood - 新人です。

Ranks, rank and file - 軍隊で普通の兵士達です。相撲で三役以下、前頭の力士と言う意味です。会社で役員以下の普通の社員です。

Raise his game - 自分のやり方をよくすると言う事です。

Earth shaking news - 地球を揺るがす、とても驚きなニュースです。

stable - 相撲部屋

Tip of the iceberg - 氷山の上の分です。氷山は海に浮かんで、上の一割しか水面から上がらないです。9割は水面下です。アメリカ人はこのフレーズをよく使います。例えば政治家の賄賂事件の場合、"What the newspapers reported is only the tip of the iceberg" 新聞で書いたより話は深いです。

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