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About pricklypomegranate

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  1. pricklypomegranate

    Favorite Yokozuna? Past And Present

    I haven't reviewed most of the footage (sumo bouts or documentary) of yokozunas before Hakuho, Kakuryu, Kisenosato and Harumafuji. So while I would like to say Chiyonofuji, I don't think I know enough to make intelligent comment about it. However, of the four that I am most acquainted with, I'd say it's a tie between Kakuryu and Hakuho. A lot of people don't like and are dismissive of Kakuryu, but I find his calm and gentle disposition very refreshing from other Mongolian rikishi, who tend to be very fire-and-brimstone or the Japanese ones, which tend to be too stoic. His ability to quickly identify opportunities for winning and being able to give the correct response demonstrates how adaptable and masterful his sumo was, especially when he was healthy. With regard to Hakuho, of course I would rather he'd never gotten embroiled in post-bout behaviour scandals, but I do not think we will ever see someone with such fighting spirit again in our lives. His sheer determination to overcome injury, to see over the next mountain, to reach the highest levels of mastery is nothing short of spectacular. Unlike many of the most recent yokozuna, who see the rank as a burden, you can feel the zeal and joy Hakuho has at being a Yokozuna. If he retires in July, the foremost thing I will remember him by is how he constantly pushed the boundaries of sport - how he showed us the outer limits of what was truly possible in sumo.
  2. pricklypomegranate

    New recruits Natsu 2021

    Two new recruits from Tottori Johoku High School. Mukainakano, who looks like a blocky Musashimaru, will be going to Miyagino-beya - he's come runner-up in the Towada High School Tournament two years ago and first in the group sumo event in the National Athletic Meet, and the leaner Nobehara will be going to Futagoyama-beya. Video interviews and new article available here.
  3. pricklypomegranate

    Kitanofuji stuff

    I think it’s a Yokozuna thing. When you are on top of the spot and one of the greatest talents of your generation, you have the credentials to be a lot more critical. And regarding Mainoumi - he gave a necktie as a gift? Exciting sumo but boring gift giver, hahaha. I prefer Kitanofuji’s commentary over his, but am warming to Wakanohana.
  4. pricklypomegranate

    Preparations of the Y/O Natsu 2021

    In this article by FLASH Magazine via Yahoo! News, a few insights and words from Hakuho can be gleaned. I will skip translating the bits we know (i.e. YDC verdict, etc.) and focus on the new bits, correct me if I am wrong. Six days after the surgery, on the afternoon of March 25, Hakuho was back in the ring. [FLASH] interviewed Hakuho directly to find out what he thought of Kakuryu's retirement. Dragging his feet, Hakuho walked out of his apartment and down the few stairs to the exist as if he was mindful of each step. His attendant came with crutches, keeping close to him to support him at a moment's notice. I: "How's your injury going?" H: "I'm about to go to rehabilitation." I: "Kakuryu has retired." H: "I'm going to miss him." Hakuho answered this slowly, with downcast eyes before getting into the car driven by his chauffeur.
  5. pricklypomegranate

    Gagamaru retired

    Apologies for thread necromancy, but I did not see a "Gagamaru activities" thread. Here is an video interview he did with POPEYE Magazine, only in Japanese of course, talking about sumo, Georgia, his favourite food and his match with Hakuho.
  6. pricklypomegranate

    YDC meeting after Haru 2021

    Right guys, the verdict is in. According to Sports Hochi, the YDC has given Hakuho a second warning, but no recommendation to retire. Here's what Yano says, translated to the best of my ability. Feel free to correct me if I misinterpret it. "There were harsher opinions, but we will continue the caution resolution this time. There are three reasons for this: (1) he was absent from the January tournament due to infection with a new type of coronavirus, (2) he showed a willingness to participate in the March tournament, although it was only for two days and (3) he clearly stated that he would make his decision in the July tournament." It also states that regarding (3), Hakuho's decision to go into July with the firmest resolve has been assured by Hakkaku to Yano. Hakuho should send Hakkaku some flowers in appreciation. Phew! Master White's won the 4D chess here. I am looking forward to seeing him in July. With this COVID thing going on, I will do my best to secure tickets, best as early as possible in case he intais on Day 3, but we will see.
  7. pricklypomegranate

    Hokuseiho - Shot at a record?

    It is indeed surprising to me that he reached 5-2 without a viable tachiai. I suspect that his need to bend down constantly due to his height and his tendency to lift his opponent or their centre of gravity with his back is contributing to his back issues. To survive in Ms6 or Ms7, which I suspect he will be promoted to, he will need to heal his back so that he has at least a decent tachiai. If he at least replicates this score in his next promotion, he will be a sekitori in time for Hak's final outing in July (if he wins his 4D chess with the YDC). No promises that he won't be immediately booted out of Juryo ala Enho style though.
  8. pricklypomegranate

    March basho 2021

    He's always on the margin. It will be difficult, especially when he faces makuuchi opponents. I hope for the best though. He demonstrated much exciting sumo.
  9. pricklypomegranate

    March basho 2021

    Well yeah, it's just a makuuchi promotion, not yusho opportunity, and he is in a serious physical disadvantage. Kisenosato will not be pleased...
  10. pricklypomegranate

    March basho 2021

    It is unfortunate for Enho too. 1 or 2 more wins and he would have secured promotion over Chiyomaru. Unfortunately, I can only see 3 makuuchi spots opening up, Kotoshoho (who had a horrendous fall today, you could see it in his expression), the besieged Yutakayama and Kakuryu's retirement. I do not think that Midorifuji or Chiyotairyu will be demoted to Juryo. So it's Ishiura, Chiyomaru and Akua next basho. He fought well, but not consistently enough.
  11. pricklypomegranate

    March basho 2021

    Shodai's sumo was not stellar this basho, to put it diplomatically. One hopes he will do better with the kadoban fire lit under his chair next basho.
  12. pricklypomegranate

    March basho 2021

    If you love it, let it go, but if it comes back, it is yours. Today, Terunofuji not only secured his Ozeki re-promotion in great style, but also got more yusho than he has the first time around. He was born to be at least an Ozeki. It is often said that Ozekis are strong rikishi but Yokozunas are god-chosen rikishi. We will not know if Teru will be a Yokozuna until the time comes, but the man certainly has the divine wind behind him.
  13. pricklypomegranate

    March basho 2021

    Credit to @komioku on Twitter. This is the look of a man who saw his freedom coming from the horizon, but it was brutally snatched away: For context, Araiso promised he would not leave Takayasu until his yusho'ed. Well, it looks unlikely now, doesn't it?
  14. pricklypomegranate

    Rikishi Status - 2021 Haru Basho

    Since this is the injury thread for the basho, I thought I might post it here. Hakuho's orthopaedic surgeon has opened up about his surgery on the 19th in this article - I will translate it best I can, feel free to correct me otherwise. Yokozuna Hakuho was unfortunately forced to withdraw from the Grand Sumo Tournament in the Spring due to a knee injury. The man who was by his side for many years and who was also in charge of this surgery is Kazutaka Sugimoto, an orthopaedic surgeon and a leading expert in knee replacement surgery. Hakuho also suffered from knee problems, and it is said that 1/4 Japanese people has some kind of knee problem. In this series of articles, Dr. Sugimoto will talk about episodes with Hakuho, the yokozuna, that he can talk about only because he is the attending physician while pointing out how to live a vibrant life while dealing with knees. In this first installment, I would like to share with you a little-known episode with Yokozuna Hakuho, who recently decided to have surgery. "It's nice to meet you all. My name is Kazutaka Sugimoto, and I am the director of the Endakai Joint Centre Hospital in Tokyo. As an orthopaedic surgeon, I perform knee replacement surgeries and rehabilitation for many patients. I have supported athletes such as Yokozuna Hakuho and martial artist Keiji Mutoh. On the 19th of this month, I performed surgery on Hakuho's right knee after he decided to take a leave of absence. His right knee had a damaged area of cartilage behind the plate, which is to be smoothed out using an endoscope. In fact, Hakuho's knee joint had been filled with water for several days before the Haru tournament. After the second day of the tournament, he had finally reached his limit and when he tried to remove the water, an unbelievable amount of cartilage fragments came gushing out. In such a condition if he persevered and wrestled from the next day onward, he would not be able to wrestle at all in the future and would have to have an artificial joint in the future. Hakuho himself must have felt ashamed, but I told him exactly what I felt. In my opinion, one of the great things about Hakuho is the strength of his conviction. Having missed the first tournament due to the new coronavirus, Hakuho's commitment to the Spring tournament was extraordinary. Nevertheless, he made a quick decision on the surgery, Therein lies his vision of the yokozuna rank, of the sumo world and sumo dojo. When I met him, he was in a state of total discomfort. The tendons and ligaments in his right thumb were also torn. I advised him that he needed surgery right away. The trend has changed a little now, but at that time, there was the feeling in the sumo world that if you had an operation, you would retire. Even ordinary patients are often confused and take a long time to make a decision when it comes to surgery. But Hakuho was a rikishi who had risen to the rank of Yokozuna. He took just a minute after I explained it to him. Normally, after an operation, a rikishi is not allowed to complete in the next tournament. But Hakuho, as I mentioned before, has a strong conviction that is hard for us to imagine. He wants to become stronger after the surgery, wants to win more, so he has to have the surgery. Therein lies his unique image of yokozuna. It is not enough to have 10 wins and 5 losses. He had to win every tournament he entered, win them all. He believes that is he is not stronger than anyone else at all times, he has no right or value to be a yokozuna. That's why he makes such decisions even if he is afraid of surgery. It is true that he has been plagued by injuries in the past few years, and his sumo has become less and less satisfactory. However, watching him from the side, I can see that his predicament has made his heart even stronger. Sumo wrestlers have a strong image of being heavy drinkers, but Hakuho has almost completely stopped drinking during tournaments. I have also reviewed his diet and training methods from scratch. I have supported many athletes, and I think he has developed a true stoicism that only the very best can achieve. Even when he was hospitalised with the new coronavirus, he brought in 10 books and read through them. He became genuinely strong. He wanted to expand his range as a person. That's what Hakuho does, 24 hours a day. In addition, Hakuho takes pride in the fact that sumo is a divine event and that yokozuna are chosen by the gods. About 10 years ago, he was in a town that was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake. On the night he stepped on the ground as a yokozuna in the disaster area, for the first time since the earthquake, there were no aftershocks, and the people in the area thanked him for allowing them to finally get a good night's sleep. Now the world is being greatly affected by the new coronavirus. It may sound a bit spiritual to us, but Hakuho sincerely believed that the coronavirus would be cursed if he won this Haru tournament. He was so determined that if he gave it his all and won, he would be able to save all Japanese people from this mess. Knowing this, my own heart aches for the Yokozuna who was forced to take a leave of absence. In fact, it will probably take at least two months for him to return to the ring after rehabilitation and cartilage regeneration. At the hospital, the Yokozuna said, reflecting on his training before the tournament, "Sensei, I didn't know that there was such a thing called 'overwork'. I didn't know that until I was this age,". It was a shame that he had to miss the tournament, but I was impressed by his pure eagerness to win and his refusal to stop until his body screamed. When Hakuho left the hospital on the 20th, he told me with a face full of determination, "I will put everything I have into the next tournament.” The tournament will be a battle for his very survival. He will also be recovering from the new type of coronavirus that he contracted before the first tournament. It may be said that he is groping in the dark and in a very desperate position. However, as one of the supporters of yokozuna Hakuho, I want to support him with all my might. I would be more than happy if everyone could support Hakuho while being mindful of his struggles." I hate to sound rather cynical, but it does sound like the Hakuho is pre-emptively trying to curb the YDC's wrath by garnering as much creditable public support as possible. But I do commend his decision to shed some light on what sumo injuries are really like.
  15. pricklypomegranate

    March basho 2021

    I'm literally so happy for Terunofuji. He's suffered so much and will definitely suffer a lot more, but today he's secure a crucial win to solidify his Ozeki run. If he lasts the full 15 days, which I have full belief he will, he'll be Ozeki for sure. And what a way to secure that win too! Another person I would really like to commend is Wakatakakage. He may be a much younger than many of the joi, but he's showing absolutely fearsome, inspired sumo. To me he's definitely a sanyaku regular in the future. Hoshoryu also picking up great speed despite his small size. The current generation elicits a lot of criticism, but the newer generation is certainly adding a great dynamism to sumo. After the Yokozuna leave, there will be a 'Dark Ages' of sumo, but these new gen standouts will make it a little brighter. This is another weird one guys. Might be 12-3 or 11-4 kind of a yusho affair.