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Everything posted by themistyseas

  1. themistyseas

    Preparations of the masses- Aki 2021

    Looks like probable future sekitori Mineyaiba (nee Ito) out of Shikoroyama beya, (whose brother, new Ito, also joins up this basho)
  2. themistyseas

    Grand Sumo Breakdown - John Gunning Interview

    I'm sad it isn't just the case for sumo unfortunately, but across the board. I've put in years and many many miles studying sumo to understand it as best I can, but I still struggle with my NPB knowledge (and that's even after doing my best Kaisei impression and importing Purosupi for PS4 in Japanese!). But to your point, I'm a subscriber to the Athletic and the level of analysis on baseball or the premier league is just insane. I wish they would be able to incorporate global leagues that sometimes feed players into MLB like NPB, because it's all good writing about Ohtani, but you get more understanding about the achievement when you understand the league where he's come from, and how that league works, and it gives you a more full appreciation of the sport. Hopefully they are able to take on this kind of feedback, but - bringing it back on topic - I think that broader sports media paying attention to leagues like NPB or the J-League when they're covering MLB or the premier/champions league could act as a gateway for folks to discover more of Japanese sport, like sumo. Both of those leagues are really unique experiences and if I had been a newcomer to Japanese sport when I discovered them I'd definitely want to know what else was out there.
  3. themistyseas

    Miyagino beya out of Aki

    Considering he has at most 6 more basho including Aki (due to Miyagino retiring next August and clearly given all of Hakuho's prolific recruiting efforts, that stable is not going to be transferred elsewhere), that's probably not a bad thing for him in terms of maintaining his fitness without attracting yet more unwanted criticism
  4. themistyseas

    Grand Sumo Breakdown - John Gunning Interview

    I don't think you're being over-harsh, but there are some tough realities with this stuff, especially in the last couple of years. The first one is that, at least for the one I'm on (which is not one of those three), we all record from vastly different locations, which means we've had to hone how it can work over the course of the past few years. Since we're not in the room together, we don't really shoot the shit once we start recording. So I think it takes time for it to improve. For Tachiai, the idea was to make a companion piece to the written site content which some people like and some people don't, it's a different format but when we haven't done them, people will say "oh my god where did they go." I personally contribute a lot less written content than I used to, simply because a lot of my content (interviews, keiko, stuff happening at basho, etc) came from being in Japan - which isn't currently possible - which I think makes it harder to then deviate from the standard talking points when you're then doing a podcast. When you're there 4-5 basho a year, it makes it easier to discuss things that don't get covered elsewhere, and to make that interesting. So in the absence of that, I personally tried to at least develop as an analyst, so that I could give my opinions, because if you're not doing that, you're just regurgitating news stories or someone's scores in the previous basho, and I don't know how interesting that is. I listen to a lot of professionally done sports podcasts and they're done by people whose business it is to make them and have years of experience, so it's a hard to compare that to a fan made product - I think with experience everyone will improve, but all these folks presumably also have day jobs which limits how much they can necessarily put into it. That leads to my second point, which is kind of more of a thought based on some of the other comments here. I come at it from a different angle than most because I work in (digital) entertainment, but I think the biggest reason currently for the fragmentation of the fanbase across different digital platforms is that no one's really been able to attack the sumo fan community with a business model. Even the NSK doesn't, which we all usually loathe to some degree. There was an explosion of online interest probably 2-3 years ago which has died down a bit for obvious reasons, but I do think that if you're able to build something and feed it with content people want, you'll attract a pretty decent audience regardless of the level of knowledge of the various fans. I think the reason it's fragmented as much as it is is definitely as a result of the variation in what the dominant platforms were when fans discovered sumo, but equally if someone really goes for it, I think that can be surmounted.
  5. themistyseas

    Corona and sumo

    I can see how it might be problematic if a guy has to battle for 14 or 15 days to scratch out the 8 that he needs to stay in the division (let's say Takakento or Asashiyu, who are just below Hokuseiho), and then someone like Hokuseiho is able to show up and get 4 wins, possibly against a depleted field or with even one or two matches against a makushita opponent late in the basho, and ends up in a banzuke position for the following basho that more or less guarantees their sekitori status for a further tournament beyond that. It makes the playing field more uneven than if they were to simply hold their current rank by virtue of being kyujo. That being said, I think it's tough for them to look at this and make one heya kyujo in full, multiple times per year. I just don't know that there's a winning solution.
  6. themistyseas

    Banzuke Surfing Aki 2021 (17th Wave)

    JK19 Raiho JK21 Ito - edited due to Miyagino kyujo
  7. themistyseas

    Corona and sumo

    The idea of "joining later" feels like a really tough situation to try and apply for banzuke purposes What they have done to this point is just treat it like a "kosho kyujo" and you (normally) hold your rank. But what happens in this case if they decide that Miyagino must start kyujo but can re-enter after (for example) nakabi? Do they treat a 4-3-8 like a 4-11 as they usually would, or do they treat it like an 8-7? Seems like both outcomes would be a little unfair and would have a tough precedent to be able to set.... especially where in the cases of Enho and Hokuseiho, someone's salary is on the line, or in Ishiura's case, his top division status. I appreciate however that no one really has the answers and they're trying to put the best product out there that they can in spite of a never ending headache.
  8. themistyseas

    Grand Sumo Breakdown - John Gunning Interview

    Yes these get posted on Tachiai but are also on the usual podcast subscription sites (iTunes etc), along with the others mentioned above
  9. themistyseas

    Hattorizakura (Shounanzakura)-intai

    One piece not to miss here is that it would appear overwhelmingly likely that the reason he doesn't currently have a myoseki is that his stablemaster's may be promised to him - whether or not the intention is for him to take over as shisho (ie. stable becomes renamed after one of the other oyakata - which seems unlikely - or there ends up being a swap that sees one of the other oyakata become Nishonoseki, and Shohozan takes over their kabu). But anyway yes, I will personally miss Hattorizakura, the only rikishi I've ever actually wanted to take on in the dohyo!
  10. themistyseas

    Favourite gyoji

    Shikimori Kandayu - we love that guy! For avoidance of doubt, there have been many and I count them all
  11. themistyseas

    Understudies for the Yokozuna dohyo-iri?

    Certainly there's always at least one rikishi who should be ready, as you might have noticed that if a rikishi is fighting the yokozuna, they won't be tsuyuharai or tachimochi that day. So normally, you would see days where Shodai wouldn't take part in Kakuryu's dohyo-iri, or for example Takarafuji against Hakuho. I believe on those occasions it's gone to the next-highest ranked guy in the ichimon (since anyone who might be fighting the yokozuna is only even in the dohyo-iri because the yokozuna hasn't got enough makuuchi guys in his own stable), but I would personally be curious especially if that's not the case. Not sure if anyone keeps data on this (but it wouldn't surprise me if someone did)?
  12. themistyseas

    Preparations of the masses- Nagoya 2021

    Annoyingly, it's apparently been (exactly) 45 years since an east Yokozuna faced a Maegashira 1 on Shonichi, which is a shame since I think the early match most folks are salivating over will be Hakuho's rematch of last year's epic against (Kakuryu-career ender) Endo. Although perhaps after that latest banzuke the Kyokai could feel like doing something a bit wild...
  13. themistyseas

    The English commentators- views

    Yes - it was the conversation I had with him a couple years ago. There are 4 pages to the interview so quite a bit of meat in there for people interested in his thoughts on this and more. Bear in mind this is all pre-pandemic so I'm sure priorities at NHK will have changed. This is the portion (the first of the 4) which has the bit you're referring to: "Getting back to your question in relation to how I’d like to see it expand, now, that’s what I see happening in the short term – but to what degree, I have no say in that. (NHK) are going to cater for an audience that wants more, they’re going to give it to them. And they’ve got a bit of power. Because last year, it was the most watched program at NHK World." The highlights show? "All of it. By a street. So the guys that run the show go: “OK, we had better take notice of this.” They’re expanding the amount of people that work in the program. I’m not going to tell you how much it is to make the Preview show, but it’s a 30 minute show in Edo Noren restaurant near the Kokugikan – it costs a fortune!"
  14. Sorry for going all the way back to the quasi-OP here, I wonder if the better way to look at these types of things is in terms of the style of the three guys you're looking at. ie, Kaisei is a pretty extreme mawashi guy and, kotenage excepted, Tamawashi is a pretty extreme oshi guy. The career data will tell a different story for Mitakeumi, but he started as an oshi guy and has added a lot of belt ability over his top division career. Unlike both of the other guys in this example, these days he seems to tailor his attack to the type of opponent he's facing. It's pretty clear what kind of attack both Tamawashi and Kaisei will take to Mitakeumi, but Mitakeumi may simply select the wrong approach to Kaisei and rikishi like him. I think if you look at the body of work of a rikishi against a group of rikishi with consistently similar styles it becomes easier to perhaps predict how they might perform vs a third party. In Mitakeumi's case, with the exception of Okinoumi (4-4), he has a lot of bad results across the board against extreme yotsu guys: 1-7 Kaisei, 1-5 Ryuden, 2-5 Harumafuji, 6-8 Tochinoshin you could argue is as good as it is because of the familiarity they have with each other from keiko, and if you dig into the 6-18 against Takayasu, Takayasu (similarly able to take both approaches) has a couple oshidashi wins but there are a lot of throws in there - on data alone you'd say that between the two "all rounders," Takayasu makes better choices on his approach to handling Mitakeumi. I'd argue the only really great record Mitakeumi has against someone who you'd class as "extreme yotsu" would be Kotoshogiku (11-4) who was well past his best and very injured by the time they started matching up regularly. Meanwhile he does very well against extreme thrusters and is kind of middle of the road against grappling types. I think using that is more predictive, but to @RabidJohn's point, this doesn't mean that one can simply use Mitakeumi as a benchmark for how any extreme thruster (e.g. Tamawashi) will handle an extreme mawashi (e.g. Kaisei) guy.
  15. themistyseas

    The English commentators- views

    Fully agree, this is my number one issue with fans who are critical of the English commentary. It simply isn't the same product or the same target audience, and you can't compare them. However, apart from JG I have struggled with the color commentary, I feel like many times the commentators just tell us what we already saw. Personally I've often felt that when John isn't on the crew then I'd be happier to hear the play-by-play guys alone, although I know that's an enormously difficult job. I was fortunate to have a great and lengthy conversation a couple years ago with Murray (around the same time I had a great and lengthy conversation with @Kintamayama, haha) which can be found elsewhere on the internet and he went into some detail about the experience of working with a partner or alone. I found that really interesting. Interesting stuff for those of us who like to get really into the weeds.
  16. themistyseas

    Preparations of the Y/Os - Nagoya 2021

    I think the thing many folks are forgetting about Hakuho is that - yes, he's been kyujo a ton, and hasn't completed a basho in over a year - but even in the kyujo tournaments, his win percentage is very good (26-8 over the last three years). We've seen him go 10-0 more than once and then lose a couple and withdraw while in the yusho race. So I don't know there's very much evidence from the dohyo itself that he can't beat people, it's more that it's been his medical activities and his own decisions to fix his body that have prevented him from competing. Unfortunately I think the question is "will he still be in the basho" by the time it's presumably time to face Terunofuji and Takakeisho on Day 14 and 15. Even in a situation where he decides to fight like hell through the injuries and go out in a blaze of glory it's hard to see how he would finish worse than 10 wins.
  17. themistyseas

    Asanoyama caught violating COVID restrictions

    Seems a bit of a tough spot for Takasago because what's he going to say? "I knew and actually advised him it would be good for him to spend time with some hostesses?" "I knew and I told him not to go?" In either of those cases someone will be recommended to retire whether it's him or Asanoyama. So even if he had any idea, all he can say to protect himself or Asanoyama is that he didn't know, and the absolute best case scenario is if he legitimately "had no idea what was going on in his own heya."
  18. themistyseas

    Retired after May 2021

    I understand that heya receive a stipend for their lower division rikishi as well... I'd be curious to understand if this extends to banzuke-gai rikishi. There aren't many. But certain stables do seem to recruit with volume in mind.
  19. themistyseas

    Hiro Morita Basho Review and opinions

    In the UK it is a very common term in sports commentary, and also in workplaces to describe a hardworking team member, someone who gets through a high workload without complaint. Further to this, it's often something coaches, players and even teams' PR will put out to show fans that the players are putting in the hard work on the training ground (this makes it very analogous to the Takakeisho example). So I think it's harsh as a comment on his English... if you follow the premier league or rugby, it's a term you'd hear fairly often especially from an English coach or player (ie. it's not a phrase you probably hear from Pep Guardiola), and even moreso when a team needs to fight through a tough moment or when a player has reached a wall in their development they need to go through. In the media: In a post from a team: From a rugby player (about a minute in):
  20. themistyseas

    Anomalous Yusho Portraits (trivia)

    Here are a couple of photos both taken by me that both prove and in somewhat more exceptional terms debunk the theory. Apologies for the crap quality from my old iPhone 7. I will point out that I understand the media/size/hosting concerns but it was a little difficult to get this worked out since the max upload size here is 0.49MB This first one was taken May 2019 and you can more or less clearly see the difference in the angles, with the four on the left "opposing" the stance of the first two from the right. On this second photo you have Hakuho's crazy run of consecutive yusho (I took this photo in September 2019) and you can see how the first two are in the normal pattern and angled "inward" and then he starts having a bit more fun with the poses.
  21. themistyseas

    Anomalous Yusho Portraits (trivia)

    Take note of where the portraits are placed when they are raised in Kokugikan - there are eight yusho portraits hanging from each of the four walls. On each wall, the four to the left and the four to the right are facing inwards. So, when you stand in Kokugikan, all of the portraits are somewhat uniformly "facing" the dohyo.
  22. themistyseas

    Ryuden Scandal

    I'm not sure I fully agree with a lot of the narrative here that the falls of Abi and now Ryuden (and presumably later Asanoyama) due to these suspensions is necessarily punishing lower division rikishi. Sure, Ryuden may go 7-0 as Abi just has, but as @Kintamayama states, you have to actually do it. And on the flip side, his demotion (as with Abi and Asanoyama, starting from makuuchi) creates an opening for one of the 70 paid ranks for a rikishi who either would have been on the promotion bubble or a fledgling sekitori who would have been fighting against demotion. After Nagoya, someone must take his spot. While that rikishi may well be the one trading places with the Abis and Ryudens of the world on the way back down as those guys eventually get re-promoted, they could equally seize the opportunity and carve out a career for themselves in the salaried ranks.
  23. One would imagine that either this or the expiration of Dekiyama's consultancy next week would allow ex-Bushuyama (either temporarily or permanently) to jump off Kasugayama which has become the hottest of the hot seats... With Kiriyama also reaching the end next week, Natsu could end up as an interesting basho for any surprise or non-surprise retirements
  24. themistyseas

    Next Most Likely Branch-out

    Hello friends - We've seen a lot of consolidation over recent months, with stables shuttering or changing hands for one reason or another. What I'd like to know is: who do we think the next most likely branch-out is? I break the likely protagonists into two categories: at a stable with a great many oyakata, or an at least somewhat popular/likely resourced young-ish retiree either not obviously likely to take over another heya in the near-ish future, or who has already expressed interest in opening his own heya. This led me to the following seven/eight most likely names: Kiyomigata (Tochiozan) Takekuma (Goeido) Onogawa (Kitataiki) Oshiogawa (Takekaze) / Nakamura (Yoshikaze) ** depending on which one doesn't take over their stable and assuming Nakamura has no extracurricular impediments Hidenoyama (Kotoshogiku) Araiso (Kisenosato) Kakuryu (needs to assume a new name first, obviously) The others I considered either not likely to branch out due to not meeting the requirements, looking like a clear eventual replacement for the existing oyakata, or simply just being on the older side (not that this is necessarily an impediment and of course examples exist but I didn't consider it likely in the case of the next branch out). Am I missing names? Who do others think might be the most likely to launch a startup stable next? Given what looks like the normal time recently before a branch out (1-3 years, maybe more), one would think Onogawa or Araiso might be the most likely candidates, although I could see Kakuryu getting something together in a hurry given his current environment, depending how the Izutsu situation eventually resolves itself.
  25. themistyseas

    Terunofuji’s Knees/Dohyo-Iri

    I think, probably, one should divorce the performance of a rikishi on the dohyo from the responsibilities that come with achieving great performances. The rank is a reflection of an incredible achievement (by anyone), but the means by which that achievement was completed are rarely similar. Each rikishi has overcome a differing set of challenges (physical, mental, the nature of their opposition) to reach that rank. In Terunofuji's case, in terms of what we've seen on the dohyo over the past year+ and also comments that have been made (even recently by Isegahama in his re-promotion interview), I think it's clear that he has reached his current level because he's been able to reconfigure his performance because of his injury, and accomplished what he has in spite of it. It appears to be often difficult for him to mount/dismount the dohyo. He is not incredibly mobile during bouts. In spite of this, he is able to use his other incredible physical gifts and abilities to overcome this deficit, and his opponents. It's not necessarily about the stamina required (re: your doubleheader comment) to perform the activity, but that the performance of an activity such as a dohyo-iri necessarily exerts strain on the specific part(s) of his body that is (are) most damaged. So I can understand the concern, and also the interest from folks here in terms of how he could perform a dohyo-iri in order to mitigate the risk of further strain/injury. Since we haven't seen many yokozuna recently, it's easy to forget that the Yokozuna dohyo-iri can be a very impactful part of the sumo experience. But yes, if he became a Yokozuna, I think he would figure it out. :)