Asashoryu the Great
Those of us who have a passion for sumo, we are truly blessed to be witness to the age of Asashoryu, perhaps the greatest yokozuna of all time. Last night he won his 19th Emperor's Cup with a perfect basho score of 15 bouts and no losses.
The Mongolian was truly awesome this time out. And his 15-0 score was in a highly competitive basho where all three of the ozeki managed at least 10 wins, and the next-great-Japanese-hope Hamasho captured 12 wins and two of the main prizes.
Connosieurs of the sport say that the November basho in Kyushu is a throwaway, without the interest of the spring and summer tournaments. It is true that the arena seating and back corridors seemed somehow provincial and temporary -- especially when compared to the temples of the sport in Tokyo; but last night seemed very real. Real and unstaged. Everyone tried hard and the audience was into it. I enjoyed it more than I have some others recently.
If you are not into sumo, then just bear with me. Or, better, give it a try. The next tournament (basho) is in mid January and good cable operators should be able to hook you up to Japan TV for a premium. It's worth it.
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Thank you for your overview. It is too bad that the Kyushu basho isn't as popular as some of the other venues, but the boys really like it. The food is good, the weather is usually very nice, and there's a lot to do for the casual visitor.
I've been following Asashoryu since he first stepped on the dohyo back in 1999, and I sincerely believe that we are witnessing the era of one of the greatest ever yokozuna. He is a kind and generous man, a good family man - but a terror in the ring.
As for Homasho, he looks to have a good future ahead of him. I hope his master - the former Terao - can steer him to great heights and advise him sagely when he is up against the higher ranks. He was pretty consistent this past tournament. By the way, one of his kesho-mawashi (ceremonial aprons) has the head of an American Indian - it is said he has classic American Indian looks.
Posted by: Barbara | Nov 28, 2006 3:39:07 AM