Kintamayama

Sumo articles by journalists who are Forum members/or not

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My respects to Mr Hardy as well! (Whistling...)

Thanks. Sorry it needs a bucket warning - my editor was gently pressuring me to write a career wrap type story, and that was what came out. (The online version is strangely missing the lead, so I'll get that fixed asap)

I am writing the first week of Nagoya too, so it isn't quite the end, but that is my last column, at least.

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I hope you continue visiting the forum Mr Hardy, and that you continue to follow the sport we all love. What's next for your career?

Edited by Gusoyama

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I hope you continue visiting the forum Mr Hardy, and that you continue to follow the sport we all love. What's next for your career?

I hope to stya a forum contributor - one of those grizzled old hands who complains about how it was much better in 2006.

My next career.... any ideas? My biggest problem in any interviews will be persuading people I have good judgement. I mean, who quits a secure, reasonably well-paid job and moves to the other side of the world in the middle of a recession?

Seriously - no real ideas yet - probably media, maybe sports-related. Or I may write my shocking expose of the sumo world, including the time I... no, it's still too raw.

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I hope you continue visiting the forum Mr Hardy, and that you continue to follow the sport we all love. What's next for your career?

I hope to stya a forum contributor - one of those grizzled old hands who complains about how it was much better in 2006.

My next career.... any ideas? My biggest problem in any interviews will be persuading people I have good judgement. I mean, who quits a secure, reasonably well-paid job and moves to the other side of the world in the middle of a recession?

Seriously - no real ideas yet - probably media, maybe sports-related. Or I may write my shocking expose of the sumo world, including the time I... no, it's still too raw.

It's been a great pleasure to see informed professional reporting on sumo in a mainstream English paper, James. I don't know how Chris Gould makes his basic living, but he's the only possible successor that I can see.

As to your own immediate future, your excellent sumo connections and current knowledge should not be wasted -- but remember that they can quickly atrophy. Be careful to keep in touch with all the people you know.

FWIW, Orion

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Seems like the ABC article also got Aran's name wrong, as well - "ALAN"? Guess they were using the Japanese pronunciation (Sign of approval...)

Edited by Babaryutaikai

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With my last post, I seem to have missed James' farewell article. So, on a personal note, it was a pleasure to have finally met you on person in May, James. To borrow from a not-my-favorite news channel, but apt in this case - you were always fair and balanced respect.gifand that type of reporting and commentary has, sadly, gone by the wayside in other publications. I will certainly miss your informative and well-written articles (even though you misspell your own name on occasion), and hope that you will return as a guest columnist to the Yomiuri, and/or contribute to the japan Times or the other English-language newspaper. of course, now that I know what you sound like, as well, maybe there could be a guest spot for you as one of the color commentators on NHK. In other words, move over, CN.

In ant event, I wish you success and good luck (Sign of approval...) in your future endeavors and I will look forward to reading your Nagoya coverage.

Edited by Babaryutaikai

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Seems like the ABC article also got Aran's name wrong, as well - "ALAN"? Guess they were using the Japanese pronunciation (Sign of approval...)

[nitpick] Well, his name actually is Alan, it's his shikona which is Aran... [/nitpick]

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Seems like the ABC article also got Aran's name wrong, as well - "ALAN"? Guess they were using the Japanese pronunciation (Uwatenage...)

[nitpick] Well, his name actually is Alan, it's his shikona which is Aran... [/nitpick]

You are correct, Alex, but I figured that since he used "Haramafuji" instead of "Byambadorj", he would use Aran's shikona, or his full birth name, Alan Gabaraev . Of course, if he asked a Japanese person who that was, it would likely sound like "Alan". My gentleman friend, who has been in the States for almost 28 years, still cannot differentiate between the l's and the r's, no matter how many times I correct him (gently, of course).

I did err in the source, however. It was the Straits Times, not the ABC article.

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I very much enjoyed reading James's Inside Grip columns. Shame that none of them exist on the web anymore because of the Yomiuri Online's policy of junking all their articles after about a month. The only reason I prefer the Japan Times's sumo coverage is that their articles don't expire.

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Remember the research from Freakonomics that told us the connection between Yaocho and economics?

The guy is back, taking the credit for stopping yaocho for a while..

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009...conomics-again/

Hahahahaha:

Indeed, recent research by three Swiss economists suggests that my research on sumo actually changed the sport for a few years (they got rid of the sharp non-linearity that led to cheating, and the cheating disappeared), but later the non-linearity was reintroduced and the cheating came right back.

I hope he's simply misrepresenting those Swiss economists. What "got rid" of the non-linearity was simply the combination of the weakening Futagoyama effect and the briefly much weaker sanyaku competition, leading to fewer 3-12 style records in the high maegashira ranks.

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On that point, whoever is answering the phone at Hakkaku these days has a habit of saying "no foreigners" are allowed to watch. Sounds like one of the younger rikishi. Maybe he's just pissed off at getting beaten up every morning and sees it as his chance to wield a bit of power. I ignore him and show up anyway and never had any problem there. On the contrary it's probably one of the best places to take first-timers. A foreign guy I gave the heya number to though (and who speaks very good Japanese) was very shocked and hurt to get such gruff treatment on the phone. He's used to dealing with ordinary Japanese people I guess.

Anyway if you are going to contact Hakkaku it might be best to get someone Japanese to call or else you may have to deal with that toolbag.

in my limited experience, if you want to visit a stable, write a letter. these light weight sumotori do not open the mail, so it is more likely someone in charge will read it. i think they appreciate you taking the time to write a formal letter requesting a visit. it got me into taiho beya back in the day. it got me into musashigawa beya a few times.

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Article about Akebono:

Ferd Lewis has written some zingers, but this is just a pot-boiler. Nothing new at all. For starters, the whole top division, not just Akebono, did a dohyo-iri at the winter Olympics -- and some of them were really worried about the cold!

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MB on his favorite subject, how to watch asageiko:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ss20090820mb.html

Ouch! It's a total mishmash of old and new information. Has this man really been around for ten years or more? This may explain some of the disappointment in the two or three groups of foreigners I see being turned away nearly every morning at this time of the year. (Although to be fair there's a French tourist book-- and some of the airline magazines -- that give out-of-date information too -- not to mention the maps at Ryogoku station, presumably produced by somebody who hasn't actually experienced the reality of asageiko watching.) AFAIK there is one heya that has signed up with a tourist company (and we all know who that is, don't we?) but in general hotel arrangements for new visitors will not cut it.

In all fairness, Mark Schilling, in his excellent book, gave the same impression, but unfortunately this was just as things were being tightened up. You can't "just walk in and sit down" (quoting from memory) and even when he wrote it, it wasn't true for walk-ins.

But it's nice to know that MB is back in circulation. We haven't heard from him for some time on Sumo Forum or SML.

Orion eagerly awaiting the return of Dewanoumi from gasshuku (if you need to ask you don't need to know)

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But it's nice to know that MB is back in circulation. We haven't heard from him for some time on Sumo Forum or SML.

I believe his circulation is in excellent state these days as he does an investigative work on another uniquely Japanese institution where naked bodies congregate.....

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MB on his favorite subject, how to watch asageiko:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ss20090820mb.html

Ouch! It's a total mishmash of old and new information. Has this man really been around for ten years or more? This may explain some of the disappointment in the two or three groups of foreigners I see being turned away nearly every morning at this time of the year. (Although to be fair there's a French tourist book-- and some of the airline magazines -- that give out-of-date information too -- not to mention the maps at Ryogoku station, presumably produced by somebody who hasn't actually experienced the reality of asageiko watching.) AFAIK there is one heya that has signed up with a tourist company (and we all know who that is, don't we?) but in general hotel arrangements for new visitors will not cut it.

In all fairness, Mark Schilling, in his excellent book, gave the same impression, but unfortunately this was just as things were being tightened up. You can't "just walk in and sit down" (quoting from memory) and even when he wrote it, it wasn't true for walk-ins.

But it's nice to know that MB is back in circulation. We haven't heard from him for some time on Sumo Forum or SML.

Orion eagerly awaiting the return of Dewanoumi from gasshuku (if you need to ask you don't need to know)

I'm not exactly clear as to what you're saying. Mark says call ahead, be polite and respectful and you should be ok. Is that incorrect?

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I'm not exactly clear as to what you're saying. Mark says call ahead, be polite and respectful and you should be ok. Is that incorrect?

The "and you should be OK" part is rather iffy. I'd like to know, for instance, how many hotels in the last year or two have cold-called a heya in advance and actually got permission for foreign guests unaccompanied by a Japanese-speaking person to get into asageiko. That is precisely why tour companies are trying to make arrangements with specific heya or with insiders willing to act as paid guides.

This morning a youngish mother with a stroller and three small children was hopefully trying the solid wooden front door, and the locked side gate, of the heya opposite; she eventually realised that nobody was home. She then pulled out an area map, studied it and walked off in the direction of Kasugano. It was already turned nine so she clearly hadn't a clue. The family were speaking French, BTW. Chalk up another one to the French guidebook to Japan which suggests visitying asageiko as a free entertainment.

For sure, walk-ins are accepted hardly anywhere, so the advice to "call ahead" is good. The question is, does calling ahead actually work for the first-timers we're talking about? I believe we are at a time of change so it would be good to have specific examples.

Orion

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