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About Ichimawashi

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  • Birthday 01/12/1962

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    Vancouver-area, Canada

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  1. Ichimawashi

    Hiro Morita’s “Sumo Prime Time”

    One of the all-time best Murray Johnson comments came from this decision, when he told us that “tomorrow’s coverage will be handled by Hiroshi Morita” and, presumably after someone in his ear or in the studio pointed to the memo, continued by saying “…and Morita Hiroshi will be here too.”
  2. Ichimawashi

    Aki Basho 2021 - Discussion Thread (Spoilers!)

    12 different kimarite in the first 12 matches of Makuuchi, then a repeat of the first one, so still on a streak of 12…
  3. Ichimawashi

    Sumo Limericks (in case Haikus are not your thing)

    A short tale that would fit on a page Has caused some to erupt in a rage 'These novellas', they plead 'Are just too much to read Start a new thread and get this offstage!' A sad sign of this temporal blip "Don't you dare make me read or I'll flip!" Hey there, video head: This just has to be said: You might look ahead, scroll down, and skip.
  4. Ichimawashi

    Ridiculous Predictions Aki 2021

    Miyagino rikishi pitch a perfect yusho, all of them KK by Day 11 and several in yusho races at all levels. Surprisingly, the one thing that unites all of them is a fair bit of yawning and napping as they await their bouts, and even occasionally on the dohyo before the bouts begin. Journalists check out the Miyagino rooms expecting to find early morning training going on that would explain all the yawning, but the opposite is true: the entire stable is sleeping in and training in the evening! Other oyakata interviewed about this find it preposterous and against the traditions of sumo, but the Miyagino guys keep winning and staying up late. Hakuho has yawned his way to an 11-0 record and Terunofuji suffers a new injury in an early match against Kotonowaka, which is initially described as not-knee-related but eventually turns out to be an elbow problem forcing an early withdrawal. A new story begins to emerge around Day 9, when Ichinojo, recovered from a positive covid test, asks the media if there was a small earthquake in the Tokyo area during his bout. "Not joking, it felt like the dohyo was for just a moment a little weak," he claims. Other wrestlers begin to report the same, a slight feeling of imbalance which is usually felt near the exact centre of the dohyo. Skepticism and denial as usual come from the NSK, while the dohyo makers are not amused and threaten to have it left to amateurs for future bashos if these insults are not stopped immediately. Hakuho yawns his way to another zensho. Ishiura finishes 13-2 and looks like a possible sanyaku candidate. Hokuseiho and Enho fight in a playoff for the Juryo yusho each at 14-1 and Enho wins by yorikiri to the surprise of everyone on the planet. All six yusho winners are Miyagino guys with only one non-Miyagino wrestler in a yusho playoff. All await the yusho interview. The interviewer makes his opening comments as Hakuho yawns, then asks the first question. Hakuho takes a deep breath and ignores the first question completely. The translation of his words is quite accurate, but commentators say that it lost much in the translation, having a calm and serene sound in Japanese. "My friend, if you don't mind, I will gracefully sidestep the question and say a few respectful words of my own. I have been in this position many times and have answered much the same questions each time, sometimes getting myself into trouble when I improvise a bit with the best of intentions. I'm happy to have won, and happy that my stable has had such fine success in this basho. I am sorry to see that injury has befallen a worthy new yokozuna and I want to keep competing until we can meet again in the dohyo. "I do want to say something about the recent Olympics and Paralympics. It saddens me that sumo had almost no part in the ceremonies, so I have arranged for us to honor some of the Japanese medalists by inviting them here today so that we can honor their achievements. Thanks to some kind people who gave up their seats upon my request, they are seated very nearby so you can introduce them all from this list, rather than hear the same old things you have heard from me so many times. That's all I wish to say at this point." The audience erupts with applause and the interviewer reads off the names on the list one by one, to more and more applause as the medalists stand to receive their accolades. The effect is marvelous. Even Kitanofuji is impressed to the point of being visibly moved in the broadcast booth. It seems, he muses, that Hakuho has finally found true hinkaku. Much later, when the innumerable prizes are being handed out, a presenter slips and falls over, but is caught just in time by Hakuho with amazing deftness! Finally the last prize is given, the other rituals completed, and the dohyo dug up to retrieve the traditional items placed just below the centre of the action before the basho. It is at this very point, televised for all still watching to see, that the final words of Hakuho's speech take on a completely new meaning.... The traditional grains and rice were gone, replaced, apparently from below, with a bloody horse's head! When carefully removed, there was one other item, later identified as a silver medal from the 1968 Olympics. Underneath it, forensic evidence showed, a carefully cut-away dohyo replaced by other material to hold up what was left (although not as well) and a secret entrance, partially by way of a fresh tunnel, to the spot directly below the dohyo where the theft of the traditional items had begun. Kokugikan janitors were questioned; none had any idea how or when such an operation took place, other than to confirm that it must have been in the early-morning hours, over the course of several days, and during the basho, after the dohyo-building was completed. Police were called in and were baffled and remained so for weeks. The Great Sumo Mystery reverberated through the world's press for weeks, achieving the level of press coverage only previously reserved for lost jetliners, toddlers falling into wells, and murder trials of former athletes. It was quickly noted that solving the mystery required an intricate knowledge of sumo's traditions, and that as these became well-known, more and more people were viewing the YouTube videos of recent tournaments and enjoying what they saw. New sumo fans were everywhere! And the obvious theory was that it was the yawning Miyagino guys who had pulled off the great heist in the wee hours, to send a message (some called it An Offer They Can't Refuse) to the NSK about the shoddy treatment of their yokozuna during the Olympics. But how could they have pulled off such a heist and done so well in the basho while being up all night digging tunnels and lurking around? One wild theory was that they had gained the extra energy required by consuming the rest of the horse. The NSK reacted as usual, calling Hakuho to address a meeting and answer some very serious questions, but delaying and rescheduling the meeting several times. Finally the day of the meeting arrived. Denied the opportunity to hold a press conference before or after the meeting, Hakuho chose to walk, attracting a huge crowd of people on a beautiful sunny day, including several media with cameras and recorders. He had chosen to wear his father's silver medal from the 1968 games, showing it off to the cameras to prove that it was genuine, but answering no other questions. The meeting was surprisingly quick and no comments made by anyone; nothing was done, even after some time had passed. The media stayed on the story until the Big Break just before banzuke day for the November tournament. This consisted of two photos of the home of one of the NSK spokesmen (you know the one I mean), one photo taken the day before the meeting, from which it was speculated that just inside a window you could see the container that the traditional grains and rice were placed into. The other taken the day after had one subtle difference. Apparently, after the meeting, the offending item was quickly removed. So, quietly a few weeks later, was the official.
  5. Ichimawashi

    Hattorizakura (Shounanzakura)-intai

    Just when you thought nothing new could happen to him, a new wrinkle in his final basho: a loss on day one and then an unprecedented four full days off before losing again on day six, seven, nine, ten, eleven, and thirteen.
  6. Ichimawashi

    Sumo Limericks (in case Haikus are not your thing)

    Hey, Shonanzakura retired! His “will-to-lose” finally expired Will we see him again? Probability: ten! When Abema calls he’ll soon be hired He’ll be looking for something to do Get him on to a commenting crew! With his youthful good looks If he talks like he cooks This could be a life-changing breakthrough!
  7. Ichimawashi

    Sumo and the Olympics

    They found room in the opening ceremony for Sadaharu Oh. They found room in the opening ceremony for a baseball manager who could hardly walk. I didn’t get up at 4am to watch specifically a dohyo-iri, it was clear from the silence from all parties concerned that if it happened it would be a surprise. I agree with the comments that anything formal and in keeping with sumo tradition would be slow and misinterpreted and not much of a promotion for sumo itself. But deliberately not including him at all and making excuses that “he was kyujo when the offer came in” is just lame, especially when you do invite a baseball star with some very dubious history (three foreign players on the verge of breaking Oh’s single-season HR record were repeatedly intentionally walked in the final days of the season while playing Oh-managed teams, pitchers each time producing convenient excuses for the hero such as ‘the front office told me to’ and ‘it was the pitching coach’s orders’ — compare THAT with lining up behind the shikiri-sen and throwing a bit of an elbow against a tough opponent and tell me who should be more ashamed), who now sits on a committee looking to remove post-career benefits that have been freely given to non-foreign yokozuna with lesser career success. That’s just insulting on a personal level. When I saw Oh with the torch I assumed the next one in sequence would be Hakuho or maybe both current yokozuna — how much training would they need to trot 50 yards and hand it off to some other star? Don’t tell me there was no room because the other links in the relay were already booked: you can do extra laps of the stadium or reduce the length of the path a little for everyone. This was deliberately done to spite Hakuho and his supporters. There is no other way to spin it.
  8. Ichimawashi

    strange Rikishi names

    A few years ago when Abi was in a slump of his own making by developing the idea that he could go backwards and survive by tawara ballet, an idea that was repeatedly proven wrong, I began calling him Iba. Then Yago started doing the same thing and I thought it would be best to discontinue the practice.
  9. Ichimawashi

    Hakuhou caught watching Judo

    I welcome them and concede the good points you made, and I am relieved to have been able to make the points I did without giving offense, although I do appreciate (and often cringe) that many of Hakuho's foreign base of fans are less diplomatic when making such points. It may simply be that sumo has such a long history that it is natural that its acclimatization period for foreign involvement will be longer than other sports. I mentioned hockey above, and the first Europeans in the NHL were stuck with the 'can't take a hit' tag, while the Russians were seen as non-individualist robots when they starting beating us in the 1970s: now anyone who applies the old stereotypes usually loses, whether it is a coach, or a high-profile commentator, for the imports have adapted and few of them ever fit the stereotypes in the first place. If you told me in 1976 that in 35 years my favorite player of all time would be a Swede who preferred passing to shooting, who with his twin brother found new ways to gain back possession with pure skill while getting roughed up on the boards, and took my city's hopeless franchise to within a win of the championship, I would have looked at you like you had escaped from an asylum. But it happened.
  10. Ichimawashi

    Hakuhou caught watching Judo

    Despite being a North American, I do like to watch sports from elsewhere and I am aware of Mr. Bradman of course. There was some talk of Sachin Tendulkar getting close to the title and when I saw that one of the cable stations was showing IPL matches a few years ago, I watched a few, checked online to find out that he was on one of the rosters, smiled at the uniforms (only league I have ever seen where some players have three-digit uniform numbers and 24-letter surnames!), and set an alarm to watch a championship match so I could say I saw him play before he retired, and it turned out he was either injured or too old to be effective. Oh well. :)
  11. Ichimawashi

    Hakuhou caught watching Judo

    This may be true -- in my case, I had seen some of the NHK highlight packages back in the late 1980s, when I was younger and poorer, on a monochrome set from a local multicultural TV station in Japanese only. Then, probably because I never could figure out why it would be on for a week or two and then disappear, I lost track and when the same program in colour and in English hit my YouTube feed in early 2017, I developed an interest and (key difference 25 years later) quickly found the answers to many questions about sumo online. The first basho I saw as it was happening was May 2017, without having found this forum or sumodb yet, but I quickly 'upgraded' to the Kintamayama nightly videos that showed all the top-division matches. Once that basho ended I watched the stored highlights of several previous ones, going back almost a full year, before actually realizing that Hakuho was the top dog. That he was not Japanese was something I learned much later. What foreign fans do notice is that sumo is slow to react to the idea of foreign born participants. When I was a child over 90% of pro hockey players were Canadian, even though the majority of pro teams were in American cities. Since then, hockey has had waves of American players, Western European players, Iron Curtain players enter at the top levels in the past half-century and the game is better for it. Other sports are the same. Even the board game Go, invented in China but developed and played at the highest levels in Japan for centuries, has now gone international and is not dominated by mostly Japanese as it was just a half-century ago. By contrast, sumo's top brass seems to take great public pleasure in making things as hard as possible for foreigners, from limiting entry to forced immersion in Japanese culture to more harshly criticizing transgressions to open favoritism of Japanese over foreigners: and no one incident or story is as fully damning as the trend over time. I was unfamiliar with Hakuho's latest mouthy critic's record so I looked it up. Four years to get to Juryo, a 5-10 record sent him back down to the Makushita joi for three more tournaments, where he advanced slowly for three tournaments while adding bulk. Then he returned to Juryo and scored a 10-5, then 11-4Y, and found himself at M9, went 8-7 and was promoted all the way to M2! If that ain't smoothing the path for the Japanese hopeful, I don't know what is, but then it continued: 6-9 at M2, down to M5, then, with a mere 8-7, boom, up to Komusubi! Those who watched his rise will probably say that the signs were there, and he did have a strong stint in sanyaku, ozeki, and then as yokozuna before injuries caught up. What I am saying from my point of view, not having actually seen it happen at the time, is that there seems no way the path would be that easy were he not Japanese. Plus, as many have commented, the consternation over the dominance of foreign-born rikishi is making the people who make the rules look ridiculous. You force stables to recruit only the very best, burden these recruits with the added responsibility of learning Japanese culture, leaving no time in their lives for distractions, and you're surprised at their success rates? Really? Are you serious in telling a 36-year old champion that he must fight like he is 24 and finding alternate legal ways to win is not proper? In any other sport, finding a legal way to win with declining skills would be seen as commendable, and when Aminishiki began racking up the rare kimarite, it was, but for Hakuho, the default reaction is to look for reasons to bash. Does anyone really think that a Japanese yokozuna, invited to an Olympic event and given accreditation to do so, who didn't ask the NSK for permission, would get the angry tirade Hakuho got? If it had been Kisenosato's father who won an Olympic wrestling medal and he made the same hopeful statement about participation in the opening ceremony, don't you think a few strings would have been pulled by the elders running the show, instead of what looks at best like looking the other way and at worst like cruelly and publicly cutting those same strings with scissors? This double standard irks foreign fans to no end. There's a lot to like about sumo beyond the fact that its current top guy has compiled a record for the ages: I think I would have stuck with it upon my rediscovery whatever the GOAT situation was. I find the slow and unpredictable changing of the guard and the mysteries of the ranking system fascinating. But the trend toward unpreferential treatment for some is perpetually troubling and does not seem to be going away.
  12. Ichimawashi

    Hakuhou caught watching Judo

    My response to this is in the limerick thread so go have a look…
  13. Ichimawashi

    Sumo Limericks (in case Haikus are not your thing)

    ‘The GOAT’s Ode to Shibatayama’: Hakuho will now ask for permission In writing, with not one omission To sleep, fart, and mate And sometimes defecate It’s his ultimate “piss them off” mission
  14. Ichimawashi

    Have a go at a Haiku!

    Sadaharu Oh, Naomi Osaka, IN. But Hakuho, OUT
  15. Ichimawashi

    Have a go at a Haiku!

    The linked article implies that translation to English is step one? (I think it’s time to scrap the two hour march-in: seat ‘em, let ‘em wave.)