omoimori

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Everything posted by omoimori

  1. omoimori

    Health of the Yokozuna

    I know this has been discussed in other threads, but perhaps it deserves its own. In both the January and March Basho, Hakuho's dohyo-iri looked weak. Particularly because he was bracing his left hand against his leg. I haven't seen any this basho. Has anyone else noticed a problem with it? (Indeed, after seeing his dohyo-iri in January, I wondered whether his Unryu performance at the temple over the winter was an attempt to hide an injury.) In January they mentioned that he injured a toe on his left foot, but from the beginning of the tourney he was already bracing himself during the dohyo-iri. In looking at his most recent bouts, he really doesn't seem sound. I think maybe he needs to take a basho off to heal up now that there are six strong Ozeki.
  2. omoimori

    Health of the Yokozuna

    and what else is new? when you are right at the top in a big game, you don't bleat out every little thing to the awaiting multitudes, do you? Especially in Japanese culture, you turn up day by day and give it all you've got. And that, IMHO, is what is happening here. Orion I have been away for several days. I just wanted to thank you for your remarks. I rather regret starting this string, what with the resulting acrimony and conspiracy theories.
  3. omoimori

    Yokozuna promotion criteria

    If I may ask a question. What is a yokozuna anyway? Is it a prize to be earned or a position to be filled? Consider: in the present day in the US there is a tendency to refer to "defending champions." But the actual definition of "champion" is "defender," so that is redundant. We think that a championship is a prize instead of a position. If a yokozuna is the defender of the integrity of the sport/way of life, then Hakuho is certainly capable of defending ozumo single-handedly. Maybe the meaning is that no other yokozuna is presently needed and no crisis exists. Asashoryu had some issues -- physical and behavioral -- which eventually provided an opening for Hakuho's advancement. If Hakuho doesn't get injured -- which seems both likely and statistically unlikely -- then no other rikishi can advance to yokozuna, but no 2nd yakozuna is really needed. This would suggest that the two yusho standard has some value. If the sitting yokozuna shows up for every bout and rarely loses, you may call him a dai-yokozuna or anything else you want (a word is just a word), but he is still properly defending the integrity of ozumo solo. Figuratively: some lions, depending upon geographic factors and lioness population levels, must ally with other lions to hold their breeding prerogatives within a pride, but some lions are able to do it alone. On the other hand, if yokozuna is merely a prize to be won, then making it easier to achieve could be seen as watering down the deed. Or, on my third hand, if yokozuna is just a pay grade then the Kyokai can pay anybody anything they wish and the whole discussion is purely academic.
  4. omoimori

    Ozeki Back-Scratchers' Club

    There's no way we can tell from visual alone what kind of pressure Harumafuji felt, if just for the briefest of moments. He's experienced enough to fear the damage looming by that kind of Kaioness. It might not have been a conscious effort at all, but only his body screaming "get the hell outa here!". A little painful nudge can do that, especially coming from Kaio The Relentless. And don't get me wrong either, I don't want search for evidence, quite on the contrary. I rather like to point out that video footage is subject to interpretation and can't prove anything in this case. My opinion is that Harumafuji was in physical danger and bailed out. I am not disagreeing with anyone that he did in fact bail. I will admit that it is odd that at the beginning of the basho Kaio looked helpless, and he has appeared to grow much stronger.
  5. omoimori

    Ozeki Back-Scratchers' Club

    And tottari is essentially a submission hold, especially from Kaio. If Kaio had a solid hold, H. may have rolled out of it just to save his arm. One doesn't need OBSC to explain H. quitting in that situation. In fact it may have required a high degree of wrestling intuition and athleticism just to escape for the day.
  6. omoimori

    Hazing vs. Punishment

    This irks me for some reason, so I thought I would finally say something about it. Hazing is a form of intentionally unpleasant and frequently violent behavior directed at initiates to a community. Its purpose is to instill a common experience and to toughen up the newcomer. Everyone suffers when they join and then when they have accumulated seniority, they get to to deal out the misery, so over time anyone who sticks with the community learns both what it is like to be the recipient of brutality and the giver of the suffering. Hazing is intended to strengthen the community through common experience. Punishment is a form of intentionally unpleasant and frequently violent behavior directed at deviants within the community to make it painful for them to continue to deviate. When they get with the program, presumably the unpleasantness ends. Punishment strengthens the community by singling out individuals for unpleasantness that itself deviates from normal procedures in order to deter the undesirable deviant behavior of the perceived transgressor. The 17-year-old rikishi who was beaten to death was not the victim of hazing that got out of hand. He died from corporal punishment that got out of hand. That distinction is sometimes important.
  7. omoimori

    NO live broadcast of Nagoya basho

    Count me among those who fail to understand NHK being too embarrassed to show it live, but not too embarrassed to show taped matches. Is NHK concerned that there will be demonstrations or other disruptions to their broadcasts? Are they worried that the front rows, like in MMA, will be be filled with men in black suits who have folded their arms to hide their fingers? Is the airtime too valuable to waste on Sumo? That might mean that it's gone for good. Is NHK simply posturing? I don't quite get the point.
  8. I would say the most important reform would be finding some way to allow injured rikishi to sit out tournaments and return to health. As it is now, the talent is too often just ground up and discarded (not that that is much different than some other professional sports.). I will leave specific recommendations to others, but maybe there are simply too many hon-basho. As far as the structure of Ozumo and the Kyokai, how about instituting the concept of the journeyman. In order to become a full-blown oyakata, one would first have to leave Ozumo for a year and work in a similar field to get experience in the outside world. For example: a coaching intern for a college or high school athletic department or maybe work with a professional coaching staff in another sport or even another country. The prospective oyakata then learns new health, fitness and sports medicine techniques while spreading sumo techniques and culture to other sports.
  9. omoimori

    The intriguing story of one gambler

    From what I've read former makushita rikishi are eligible for a parting gift of "at least" 200,000 yen, but I have no idea how it's calculated specifically. In any case, Furuichi's a former two-time juryo so he's eligible for that level of retirement money, I think 530,000 yen or thereabout. Heigh-ho. If the players could regularly win, the bookies would soon be out of business, right? Why don't these idiots see this? Well, each guy is hoping he's the one to beat the odds and it'll only be everybody else who ends up subsidizing the bookie's Maserati... My understanding is that there are in fact people (in the United States) who manage to make a living through betting on baseball, though I'm not sure if their - Nevada-based, I guess - bookmakers skim 10% off any bet like these Japanese guys apparently did. And of course, much like for professional poker players the swings in luck are probably huge even if you're good at it, so burning through your bankroll is still easy to do. The legal Nevada casino probably does collect a small fee for each bet, but that is not the reason for offering a sportsbook. The bettors are basically betting against each other (parimutuel betting). The casino wants to break even on the bets. The sportsbook is just a scheme to get cash physically inside the casino. The bet has to be made in person, and the casino knows the winners are all not going to just walk out with the winnings. There's always going to be some guy who bets a $1000 and wins a $1000 on a baseball or football game, then loses $500 at the craps table on his way out. He still leaves happy and will come back again because he thinks he took the casino for $500. In reality he won $1000 from other bettors and then just flat gave $500 to the casino.
  10. I'm talking about casinos. Do you have them in Japan, where people can bet huge sums legally against each other and the house, involving substantial amounts, in a public place? I'm not professing to know anything about this, except that you can bet on baseball, for instance, in casinos in the US. While legal here, it is an illegal activity in Japan, no? I'm just saying that all kinds of gambling is encouraged while out of Japan, so why could that not turn into an activity that the boys perceive may not be, despite the statutes, anything really criminally wrong? I certainly don't know the extent of it these days, but the casinos in the US were historically established and run by crime families. As someone else said, either here or on the ML, they're only hurting themselves. Not to distract the thread any more than necessary, but _sports_ gambling in the United States is illegal. There are a few exceptions which are "grandfathered in" because they were in existence at the time the federal government otherwise outlawed it. The most obvious examples: In Nevada sports book betting is legal in a casino, but bets must be placed in person in the casino itself. There is no legal online/wire bets that may be placed that cross state lines, including the location of the internet servers that maybe handle any bets. (The US Congress has complete jurisdiction over interstate trade, so that covers both the online betting aspect and the fact that most high level sports events occur between individuals/teams that travel across state lines during their normal competition schedules.) Online betting at offshore websites is also illegal as the telephone/internet transmissions necessarily cross state lines. Horse racing. This is protected due to tradition and that it is an agricultural endeavor, and American politicians always like to help "farmers." So inter-track and offtrack betting (on horse races only) is legal in the states that allow it. Only _about_ a dozen of the fifty states allow gambling on horse races. I believe there may be a couple more exemptions but they are not in common use, so that's about it.
  11. omoimori

    29 kyokai people admit to baseball gambling

    Gambling of all types creates opportunities for extortion. The situation Kotomitsuki has put himself in is obvious, but Kotomitsuki would be in serious trouble regardless of the sport or even the profession. If he were a teacher, banker, businessman, doctor, or even a factory-worker or farmer he would still be in a serious position. Even a friendly game may not be everything it seems. Many small-time hustlers will set up crooked games and extend credit for even small stakes. (If you know anyone who is always wanting to get up a card game, then you probably know someone like this.) They know eventually the loser will want to break even and will propose to double-or-nothing, then double again and again. The amount can quickly go from insignificant to unpayable. The hustler can then offer to subtract a part of the amount for favors: running errands, washing a car, or (if employed by the same company) perhaps asked to cover for the hustler while he goes home. Little things like this may not always qualify as extortion, but they are a form of duress and are corrupting and may lead to further difficulties. Rule of thumb: if anyone ever offers you a line of credit to gamble, regardless of how small, please know that you have just been invited to walk into a trap. Now consider that Ozumo has a communal lifestyle with men and boys living together in a strict hierarchy. I don't know if any sekitori have allowed lower ranks into their games, but it is difficult to imagine a worse situation than 30-year-old men inviting teenagers to join a crooked card game, particularly when those men are intended as role models and may have supervisory authority over the youngsters, possibly even the prerogative of corporal punishment. If there is a lot of gambling going on in the heya, then I would think the Kyokai would want to find out what exactly is going on and put an end to it. There can be no "'friendly" card games among people in a society that practices extreme inequality among its members.
  12. If it helps anyone... Mongolia channel TV5 shows Makuuchi replay from NHK broadcast. It requires use of Internet Explorer from what I can tell. The picture quality is a better than "Keyhole." It is in Cyrillic, but the sumo broadcast is easy to find. "Sumo" is spelled with the Cyrillic characters which look like roman "cymo." http://www.tv5.mn (Sorry, I didn't set the link up correctly, but it is a short URL.)
  13. omoimori

    Edit

    Well, as far as Kotomitsuki is concerned, the Kaio-nage is pretty much a submission hold. It is not at all unusual to see a rikishi who is facing a kotenage or totari to look for the quickest way out of the match. I assume 'mitsuki didn't want to end the year with a wrecked arm. Having said that, the quality of sumo deteriorated to an embarassing degree toward the end of the basho. Except for the bout between the yokozuna, day 15 was pathetic. It was not so much that it looked choreographed -- it looked liked neither guy was even interested in being there in many of the matches. I could almost swear that sometimes they were holding each other up. They can't be making much money with the attendance being what it was, and with no one really interested in competing, maybe it would be better to just have 5 basho per year. It would give the rikishi a chance to get healthy. Certainly less chance of that zombie-sumo, or *whatever* that was.
  14. omoimori

    Doreen comments on TV (Day 8)

    I also wish to salute Doreen. She is truly a unique color commentator. My view of sumo (and somewhat more subtly, sport in general) has been shaped by her perspectives.
  15. omoimori

    Asa's Day 3 Dohyo-iri - a question

    I can't say whether there was any error in ritual, but all of the Makuuchi dohyo-iri were out of kilter. They were running behind, some people were trying to speed things up; some were keeping to more conventional speed; the yobidashi who were striking the ki couldn't seem to maintain a real rhythm; it was crowded in the hanimichi; it was a very hot day in temporary facilities. All in all it looked like nobody had ever done a dohyo-iri before. Some rikishi seemed amused, some a little peeved, some lost. Just a little confusion with human beings thrown off their normal timing. I was wondering, though, as I watched on TV if that venue meets whatever fire code must exist in Japan.
  16. omoimori

    Baruto needs yaocho lessons

    At first I thought that Chiyotaikai's Days 2-14 were actually competed and the Kyokutenho and Baruto bouts were rather embarassing. However, I have just been reviewing DVR of the Baruto bout and this is the way I understand it: It is known before the bout that Baruto has a bad right ankle. In any event he is clearly no longer competitive in the basho. At tachiai Chiyotaikai applies a nodowa and stands up Baruto, who thens circles to Chiyotaikai's left. As he attempts to complete this movement Baruto plants his right foot while his left foot is still in the air. The right foot begins to roll inward (I believe this is called "pronation," but someone may correct me) in what seems is an unnatural and painful angle and Baruto immediately lifts his right foot off the ground. At that point Baruto has no feet on the ground and has not be able to stop his circling movement. This causes him to spin out of the ring virtually untouched. So, the bout was actually competed in a sporting manner. It would seem that the choice to match Chiyotaikai against Baruto on the final day was a gift to Chiyotaikai. Probably a better match would have been Kisenosato. A problem with that though, is Kisenosato would have to win to remain within reach of the yusho, however a win by Kisenosato would have demoted Chiyotaikai to sekiwake and would have prevented Kisenosato's possible promotion to sekiwake. It looks like someone may have given both Chiyotaikai and Kisenosato a gift.
  17. omoimori

    Ozeki Back-Scratchers' Club

    It seems to me that Kotooshu more often than not walks off with the ya (arrows) on senshuraku. I could spend all day speculating what he does with them, but it's clear the guy likes arrows. Arrows are important to him. So any theory of the OBSC should also include an explanation of how the Ozeki are manipulating the system so that Kotooshu is consistently able to appear in the bout immediately following koreyori sanyaku and then win it. It's just not always about KK you know.
  18. omoimori

    how to view

    This is only slightly off-topic... For those in the United States, Dish Network satellite TV offers TV Japan which carries the makuuchi bouts live during the basho. $25.00 a month for one TV channel seems a little expensive, but Dish now allows subscribers to add or delete programming from their website. So if one adds TV Japan a day or two prior to the start of the basho and then deletes the programming the day after it ends, the pro-rated cost is around $15.00 for the basho. This essentially makes the basho pay-per-view, and if one is watching all 15 days it's a pretty good bargain, compared to other pay-per-view events. Just make sure you get it added correctly before the basho starts, and don't wait until the last moment. If you don't subscribe to any other Dish programming, they charge you an access fee to have an account, but I don't know what that is at present. At one time it was $5.00 a month. But there might also be an equipment charge that you wouldn't have if you were already a subscriber. Oddly, if one wishes to hear the English language broadcast on TV Japan, the alternate language on the satellite receiver must be set to "Japanese." If it is set on "English" the language broadcast will be Japanese. This is just the opposite of all other international programming with Dish. (Only a portion of TV Japan's schedule, which fortunately includes the live sumo broadcast, has an alternate English soundtrack. Some of the sumo replays will have English, some have Japanese.) The replays are an abbreviated broadcast, typically 2nd half of makuuchi from the previous day. TV Japan actually allows occasional shows, such as news, to be shown to all Dish subscribers. I believe one of the abbreviated sumo replay shows is free each day and includes part of the Japanese language broadcast. Don't hold me to that however.
  19. omoimori

    banzuke - east and left, west and right

    Or, as Kipling wrote: "Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat; But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the Earth!"
  20. omoimori

    Was Ama - Now

    I believe Ama has frequently worn a kesho-mawashi depicting a winged horse and a rising sun. Clearly he's getting the name from that. And "Haru-ma" does sound a lot like "Ama." I would be curious as to what it actually means. Sir Pegasus? Rider of the Sun Steed? Horse that Flies Between the Sun and Fuji-San? There's some wonderful iconography in there, but I don't have the knowledge to understand it. "Harumafuji" certainly could be a mouthful though.
  21. omoimori

    Ama vs. Hakuho

    Aminishiki and Ama both beat Hakuho with identical shitatenage in the same spot on the dohyo. The only difference was that against Ama, Hakuho seemed to say to himself, "Oh, dear, not again!" so he put his hand down to keep from getting his face pushed in the dirt a second time. I think the real conspiracy is that... wait for it... Ama and Aminishiki are working together! That's right! Ama and Aminishiki are sharing information and scheming between themselves. Need further proof? Get this: both Ama and Aminishiki are in Isegahama Beya. I am willing to bet that even the oyakata was in on it! People, there is no telling how deep this thing goes!
  22. omoimori

    Pics of day 11, Kyushu Basho 08

    Wonderful pictures! Thanks much!
  23. omoimori

    Former Makushita Arrested for Smuggling

    Moving people across international borders in a manner that is not in accordance with the laws of one or both countries -- regardless of how well- intentioned it may be -- is also smuggling. More generally, it is a form of human trafficking. I do not know any facts in this story, other than what has been mentioned in this thread. I am not expressing any opinion about it what is true or not, but there are several odd aspects to this story.
  24. omoimori

    Wakanohou arrested for drug possession

    Well, since no one else has mentioned it, I guess I shall play the foole: Wakanoho had promised to retire from Ozumo if he again performed his leaping henka. He did and now -- it seems -- he will.
  25. omoimori

    New Juryo for Aki 2008

    245kg