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Everything posted by Itachi

  1. Itachi

    Tatoos and hotsprings

    ? I'm very surprised to hear this! I made a point of visiting and soaking in every sento or onsen I could find in within a drive of where I lived (Hachinohe, Aomori) and I never encountered a problem. After the first few months I could understand what people were saying so I'm fairly confident that I wan't being slurred openly. At the one's I most frequently frequented, I even had strangers approach me to wash my back on occassion (once was at on onsen that was clearly open to yakuza since there always seemed to be one there getting his back tended to). I've been to large urban ones and tiny unmarked ones in amongst rice fields and never felt overly unwelcome. Perhaps life is just better in inaka!
  2. Kotooshu yokozuna? I don't think so. I also have given up on Kotomitsuki as Ozeki but I used to think he could. Kokkai? I don't see it now. Roho? He needs more bulk. Ama, Kisenosato - I sure like Kisnosato. Maybe he'll make it even higher! Ama may get here, I can't tell. Asasekiryu? I've kind of given up on him. Kind of because I can't recall thinking he'd make it anyway. Komusubi isn't that hard to do so he might appear there in a Tokitsuumi (he's been there once hasn't he?) kind of way but not as a frequent fixture. I agree with the other posters that we'd all better hope for a few more Japanese at the top. A glut of foreigners there won't help the sport's domestic popularity. Wakanosato and Kisenosato are the brightest hopes now. Where did you bury Chiyotaikai? I really don't think he'll drop out or retire that soon, nor do I think he'll make it to the top. Pencil him in as Ozeki or kadoban Ozeki. Unless he had a horrible accident, I can't see him losing that rank.
  3. Itachi


    Jumonji hasn't had a lot of experience at a higher rank than he is at now. It took him a long time to stick in Juryo let alone stop yo-yoing out of Makuuchi. Yes, Kyokushuzan is an elevator cowboy who I believe purposefully tanks it good so he can have a nice easy successful basho now and then from the lower half of the division. Jumonji, on the other hand, has never had an outstanding record as far as I recall and has never been all that close to sanyaku in all his time in makuuchi so I can't see calling him an elevator rikishi. He has inched his way up, 3 steps forward, 2 steps back, for a long time now and I am very pleased to see him in makuuchi at all. I never expected so much from him. How does he compare to Buyuzan? Never as much success, but seems about the same level on average this year. I hope Jumonji can avoid dropping into Juryo frequently a la Otsukasa but I certainly don't expect him to breach the sanyaku ranks.
  4. Itachi

    Oshiogawa Oyakata closing shop

    Who will be the lucky heya to acquire Wakakirin?
  5. Itachi

    Day 11 lower division results

    My first adopted rikishi, Nishikikaze ventures into unusual territory for him. He is now 5-1. The 5th win came against smallish Mongolian Sensho. It would be nice to see him finally put it all together and take another run at Juryo but he has certianly spent a lot of time in Makushita already - most of it closer to the bottom than the top.
  6. Itachi

    Standings for Pick the Yusho Winners

    Thanks! You've got a healthy lead on me but I'm hoping that Onishi and Akinosato can begin winning. How did you know to pick Roho over Kotooshu? We will see if you still have the advantage in that one on senshuraku!
  7. Itachi


    I like Kinta's idea about having Detroit play home games without a home crowd. Did you hear Barkley's comments on the matter? He said something to the effect that any player being attacked by a fan is right to beat them down. I would prefer to see more gentlemanly behaviour on the part of all involved but it is hard to feel sorry for fans who rushed onto the floor to get clocked by various Pacers. Artest is shaping up like Rodman - inadequate self control and a mean streak. Remember the groin kicking episode? If Mr. Artest continues to appear a loose cannon, people will continue to provoke him. It is probably for the best that he take a good long time out. It's a shame because his intensity on the court is really enjoyable to me. It can be a good play to ajitate opposing players. Wallace was so upset, it may have thrown him off his game the next time they played. Now they may not ever play against each other again. Pity.
  8. Itachi

    Standings for Pick the Yusho Winners

    Hey Oshiro-zeki! There are some errors in your stats. Some of us got 7 wins for Kotoshogiku and some of us got only 4! No wonder you have 39 points and I only 32. I haven't searched the entire thing for mistakes but that one jumped out at me, particularly since I got the short end of the stick. I expect that my score should be 35 and not 32 then. Not bad, but not good enough to win.
  9. Itachi

    Day 9 lower division results

    I am pleased to see my adopted rikishi Nishikikaze achieving kachikoshi so early in the tournament. (4-1 at Ms 48w) He beat Sokokurai in his first bout this tournament also. Perhaps he will tease me with another run at upper makushita. I sure hope he can improve enough to become a sekitori one day but he's been at it a bit too long for me too expect that anymore. Sasaki, my other adoptee, is not showing any hope of making it past Sandanme. I think he is 1-3 now. Perhaps I should keep my eyes open for another new hope.
  10. Itachi

    Hakuho vs KaioU

    Sorry for the double post, I thought I'd deleted my first one accidentally. I worded it differently and more briefly the second time so enjoy it again!
  11. Itachi

    Hakuho vs KaioU

    I have a different take. I think many would try a bit less hard to beat Kaio because the whole kyokai and japanese sumo fans want him to be promotable. I don't think Hakuho will go for it because I think he and Asashoryu are honest sportsmen who don't care about popular opinion since it isn't their country anyway. I remember when Wakanohana was promoted and it seemed pretty obvious that Musashimaru threw his match with him. Maru was a foreigner too but he may have been playing a bit of politics to ensure support for his own run later. Also, it could have been yaocho. We know that it happens sometimes we just don't know how often and who is involved. Nothing the newer Mongolians has done has indicated to me that they would allow politics or bribery to influence their bouts. I think they are mad with desire to be the best and Kaio will have to be at his best tonight (which may well be good enough anyway).
  12. Itachi

    Hakuho vs KaioU

    Here is a different take on this. I suppose most of the sumo community wants to see a japanese yokozuna and it would be even better if he got his tsuna in front of his home crowd. In the past, I have suspected that wins were sort of given to rikishi who were 'supposed' to be promoted. Hakuho, not being japanese, may not be willing to play this sort of game. Now that Kaio has shown that he can come close to 13 wins on his own, some rikishi might be inspired to try a bit less hard against him to help bring about the fairy-tale ending that the nation mostly wants. Kaio may well beat Hakuho in a fair and honest match and he will have to because I doubt very much that Hakuho will take any yaocho to go easy on him. Throw in the fact that Hakuho is a tough match for anyone and the outcome of the match is very much up in the air. Does anyone remember when Wakanohana was going for his yokozuna promotion and Musashimaru got "oshidashi'd" by him? It was the most pathetic thing I ever saw in sumo. Waka barely touched him and he turned around and pranced out out the dohyo like a little fairy! Obviously it was suggested to him that it would be great if Waka were promoted and so he gave it to him. The favour was returned soon enough when 'Maru was promoted except that Maru was actually capable of performing at the level of Yokozuna unlike Waka. I say it was politics or yoacho or both and I say that the new batch of Mongolians (Asashoryu and after) are honest sportsmen who won't go for it! - a bit of a rant off topic, I know, but I'm finsihed now.
  13. Itachi

    Why you "DON'T" support Asashoryu

    They may complain Ryu but they responded didn't they? I enjoyed reading about how people's attitudes changed or didn't change regarding Asashoryu. Unfortunately this thread was marred more then once by impolite posters. I nearly left without responding but I thought I'd just do a little 'IN YOUR FACE' to those who attacked your desire to have another go at the topic. In most spectator sports there are players or even teams that fans love to hate. Usually they have to be a threat to win to be hated. I agree that Asashoryu hasn't always measured up to the nobility of his rank but I love his competitve drive. The same passion that drives him to dominate the sprot is the one that leads him to seemingly immature actions on and off the dohyo. I think he will settle down with age and meanwhile, he is a fantastic wrestling villain for fans to disapprove of if they wish to boo someone. I am very glad that he kicks butt as emphatically as he does.
  14. Itachi

    Kensho Standings (Kyushu 2004)

    Priceless. (No, no, no...) Takamisakari is finally collecting on his popularity/notoriety again. It's been a few tournaments since he's done this well. I guess the mid-ranked maegashira haven't got enough hunger for kensho to find the extra bit a strength to beat him. It's nice to see Roho get in there. He and Hakurozan were pledging some part of theri winnings to the victims or that horrible incident at the school in north ossetia last basho. Since they apparantly hail from that region I'll bet the Ossetians are continuiong to benefit from Roho's success in some way. Hakurozan seems to be on a slower track however... I feel for Chiyotaikai a bit. I would have thought that he would have more fan support in the November tournament but he has been rather lacklustre the past couple of tournaments. Also, Kaio comes from a much more highly populated prefecture, Fukuoka - also the location of the tournament. How many Oita companies even bother to buy kensho?
  15. Itachi

    Rijicho- 13 wins the minimum

    It seems that the richijo wants to promote a new japanese yokozuna. I see nothing wrong with that. Kaio has been a good ozeki and if he can keep it together for a couple of strong injury free tournaments, then why not? I think he'll be better than Wakanohana expect that he will probably miss a couple of tournaments a year due to his back problems. He'll probably have to retire in a couple of years anyway so why not put a coutryman in there to take some of the pressure off Asashoryu? Also, I agree with previous posters that it is time for a change of the guard at ozeki. Wakanosato has been so successful for so long and yet he just can't seem to string together a promotable run over three basho. I hope he finally does it this tournament or next. It seems obvious that Hakuho will earn his own ozeki promotion within a year. Chiyotaikai never has a probelm pulling up his socks when required so I'm sure he won't drop out but it doesn't look like he'll ever advance. If Kaio doesn't get yokozuna before his aging back takes over then the next yokozuna candidate will probably be Hakuho. I think Kitanoumi is right is wanting to promote a Japanese yokozuna when he has the chance even if it takes a bit of leniency. If you think the sport is losing fans now, just wait until the upper ranks are dominated by mongolians. The Japanese will appreciate these outstanding foreigners a lot more when they are liberated from the insecurity they feel when their national sport has no national champion.
  16. Itachi


    ? How did I miss that one?!? Now that I am reduced to following the tournaments by internet I don't always get around to viewing all the matches (thanks Dale for making it possible for me to do that at a reasonable hour). Even if I hadn't seen the match, surely I would've remembered reading about such a bloody battle amongst top guys. Perhaps I was just extraordinarily stressed and busy at that time. I haven't missed a tournament since Aki 1997 but sometimes I guess I only have time to skim the results and make my picks and so I miss the interesting details. Once again, if someone could pinpoint the tournament where that epic Tochiazuma/Asashoryu battle occured, I would appreciate it. Thanks to Jonosuke for posting the information I requested on the SML this morning and to Asashosakari for providing the link here.
  17. Itachi

    How you became interested in sumo..?

    Hey Ryu, What about you? With that brief poem out of the way, here's how I got into the sport. I remember seeing a segment on tv where one of the big hawaiians had made it to the top division and was getting really popular. It was amazing that he could appear so huge even amongst the giants that populate the sumo world. Even more amazing than that was the fact that the littlest guy in the sport was good enough to compete with him. I guess that was probably Konishiki and Mainoumi. Later, I had the opportunity to go to Japan for a couple of years to live. I was trying everything I could to get to a functional level of understanding Japanese both written and spoken. I enjoyed seeing the matches on tv in ramen shops and I learned to read that section of the newspaper before anything else. It also gave me a convenient topic for conversation. I arrived after the July tournament in 1997 and by the November tournament, when local boy Takanonami won the yusho 14-1 (his last yusho) I was hooked. It's not the same following the sport from Canada via the internet but it's become such a habit that I just have to know what's happening all the time. Participating in games like Benchsumo and Sekitori-Toto adds to the fun as well. I get the impression that you spent some time in Japan as well. Did you have a local guy to root for? Jason 'Itachi' Russell
  18. Itachi


  19. Itachi

    Day 4 lower division results

    I believe Higonoumi enjoyed more success than Masutsuyoshi within the last decade. Hamanoshima was even more successful. Hamanoshima made it to Komusubi in Aki 1994 (perhaps a bit more than a decade ago) and Higonoumi peaked at #1 west maegashira in 1995. There does seem to be even more potential in the heya right now.
  20. Itachi


    I used to like Musashigawa when Musashimaru was beoming a yokozuna and Musoyama was scrambling for his Ozeki promotion. I can't remember how close together those events were but around then Dejima and Miyabiyama both also had their day in the sun and earned Ozeki status. Wakanoyama made a strong return from non-sekitoridom and I always got a kick out of his hairy hairy back for some reason. At that time, Futagoyama and the obnoxious Hanada brothers had been dominating the upper ranks for a while and I seem to develop a dislike to teams or players in sport who become everyone's default favorite who doesn't really follow the game. Musashigawa was in the process of displacing Futagoyama as top heya so I enjoyed watching them toss the rascals out. (Everyone's favorite baseball team in Japan seems to be the Yankees unless you mean Japan league in which case it's the Giants. When I was there, everyone liked the Bulls in basketball. When I was young, everyone's favorite hockey team was the Montreal Canadians - even people from Vancouver! I hated that fans would cheer against their home team to support a team that needed no extra support. I guess it's the bandwagon effect and many bandwagon jumpers aren't even aware of current standings and only notice the historical championships won). Now Musashigawa has enjoyed the benefits of having more top ranked rikishi than anyone else and their rikishi have been a bit disappointing. (4 okeki; Musashimaru - good yokozuna but retired; Musoyama - never all that successful as an ozeki and probably on the way out; Dejima and Miyabiyama - both poor ozeki - I thought their sumo quality went down after they earned the rank and I suspect that they felt that they had made it and didn't have to work at keeping their rank anymore. I think they are beginning to redeem themselves over the past year but for a long while they did not appear to be taking their job seriously) I expect that rikishi like Kakizoe will appear to keep a Musashigawa presence in Makuuchi for the forseeable future but it may be a long time before we see the type of sanyaku dynatsies that Futagoyama and Musashigawa enjoyed over the last ten years. Lastly, (apologies for ranting and rambling) to address complaints about the tendency to do oshi as opposed to yotsu-sumo, I agree with those who admire belt technicians over pushers and thrusters but I find it exciting to see someone try to find a way to beat a really big strong pusher and thruster with other tools. Musoyama may not be very impressive as an ozeki these days but he remains a formidable challenge to those joi rikishi that have to face him. As long as his body and spirit are intact, Musoyama will help weed out the weak rikishi that find themselves ranked too high whether he remains ozeki or not. Itachi
  21. Itachi

    Featured rikishi - Chiyotenzan

    Yes, there it is. This is what lead me to dislike Chiyotenzan beyond my ordinary dislike for those who show a lot of promise making their way to the top of Makuuchi only to have all traces of that promise vanish. The reported incident may not have happened the way it was reported to be fair to 'Tenzan but if there is any truth in it, it reveals Chiyotenzan as a rather dispicable character. I can appreciate that there is a certain amount of hardship that the seniors will put the young rikishi through and that that is part of the tradition but it seems that some take unfair advantage and get some kind of perverse pleasure from bullying. I can't help but like Chiyotaikai so I transfer my revulsion at the incident to the next most senior rikishi in the heya at the time, he of questionable fighting spirit anyway, Chiyotenzan. Itachi
  22. ? Miyabiyama certainly started out with lots of fighting spirit but once he earned his Ozeki promotion that seemed to vanish. It is possible that he was truly doing the best he could given his nagging injury - that shoulder welt that refused to go away may have really started to cramp his style - but as far as I could see, he was just resting on his laurels. About a year ago he started showing signs of returning to some kind of competitive form and perhaps the situation with his father's illness helped to inspire him to make more of himself. I hope he continues as I enjoyed watching him power his way to the top in the first place but I must say I've been often disappointed in him for the most part since he made Ozeki. Rikishi I tend to root against are usually ones like Miyabiyama who appear to be solid up and coming future sanyaku only to suddenly and without obvious reason tumble pathetically down to Juryo or below and then occaisionally tease us with a brief reappearance now and then. Tochinohana is a good example of that. He really did seem competitive when he first made it to Makuuchi. Takanowaka made it back in my good books only to be slapped silly by Kotomitsuki and return to Juryo yoyo-dom. Hayateumi and Tochisakae apparantly have verifiable persistent injury excuses but I really dislike Chiyotenzan. Remember when there was a fuss about abuse of lower ranked rikishi in Kokonoe-beya? I developped a hunch that Chiyotenzan was the loser responsible and whether or not it's true, I enjoy seeing him lose. He looked pretty good a long time ago when he followed Chiyotaikai up the banzuke but where did that ability go? Itachi p.s. I fully sympathize with Takanohana dislikers. It sounded like he was both a fool and a jerk around the time of his brainwashing. He wasn't associating with his family and wasn't staying at the heya with his heya mates. I just thought 'who does this guy think he is?' If he thought he was god's gift to sumo - I suppose it's difficult to argue but I didn't like the attitude. p.p.s. I believe it's our perogative as fans to like or dislike the performers but ultimately, they are just players on a stage and there are roles to be filled by the less admirable as much as there are roles for heroes (and underdogs). I'm sure if I got to know the men I would find myself changing my mind about who to like or not.
  23. Itachi

    Rikishi and last names....

    Oops, of course the kanji I am referring to is not the -take but the KAI in Kaigatake. Take is just the usual character that appears in some place names but Kai here is not ocean but something else. It is the same as the Hashi in Hashikami-cho or Hashikami-dake both just south of Hachinohe on Aomori's pacific coast. Itachi
  24. Itachi

    Rikishi and last names....

    In Jumonji's case he returned to his surname. He used to have the shikona Kaigatake but changed to Jumonji after returning to Juryo. The kanji he used for -take was the same character used in the name of his town Hashikami-cho. It was the Hashi part. I'm not sure that these were common readings for that kanji but in Aomori there are some unusual place names. Anyone who collected the second set of baseball magazine-sha sumo cards will have an official Kaigatake card since he had earned his first promotion to Juryo just before then. (heisei 10 I believe) Itachi
  25. Itachi

    Day 15 lower division results

    For me the most anticipated bout was my adopted rikishi, Sasaki sd99 facing Russian Orora. It had been the best tournament I can remember since I adopted Sasaki-zeki (do we add the -zeki even for non-sekitori?) and Orora had, not surprisingly for a foreigner, accumulaed a similarly solid record of 5-1. Unfortunately for Sasaki and I, Orora was the better rikishi on the day and advanced to 6-1 while Sasaki had to settle for 5-2. Sasaki's previous high rank was in the 30s in sandanme I believe. I don't expect him to return to such a high rank with only 5 wins but perhaps this will be the start of a move towards makushita status. I no longer expect him to reach Juryo but he still has time on his side as he hasn't been in professional sumo for all that long. My other 'adopted' rikishi is Nishikikaze who has been in Makushita since I first became aware of him. My wife's uncle, who I work with, knows his father and so I usually receive through him a banzuke with the Oguruma-beya stamp on it. Nishiki-zeki is no longer young and probably will never earn his promotion to Juryo but he has had a couple of bouts in Juryo in the past when his rank was close enough. He was at ms 40 this time and he ended up at 3-4 which is a very typical record for him. For a while he was the top rikishi from his heya but in the last few years, Takekaze has taken over that role. Maikaze also usually has a higher rank. Also, Terukaze has finished at sd 17 with a 5-2 record so Nishikikaze may see his standing within the heya falling even further in a couple of tournaments. There are several other lower division rikishi who I track with interest but these two are the main ones and not really because they show the most promise really. I probably should write about them each tournament to spread everyone's awareness of them but I am not inspired to when neither of them finish well. Back to lurk mode. Itachi