John Gunning

Kakuryu speaking English (oh and special Tokyo 2020 sumo announcement)

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The Sumo Association announced that it will hold a special Grand Sumo event at the Kokugikan on August 12th & 13th, in conjunction with the Tokyo Games organizers.
There will be no regional tour this summer.

Thats been decided for some time but the info was only allowed to be released today. 
 

 

 

Edited by John Gunning
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18 minutes ago, Yokozuna Hattorizakura said:

It's always pretty surreal hearing the wrestlers speak english. His voice is deeper than I thought.

Are any of the sekitori fluent in english?

I've never actually heard him speak but Ishiura spent a couple years as an exchange student in Australia before entering sumo, so I imagine he can speak English somewhat.

As far as retired sekitori, in addition to the Hawaiians, Osunaarashi speaks fluent English. Maybe some of the Eastern Europeans like Baruto and Kotooshu as well? 

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4 hours ago, Yokozuna Hattorizakura said:

It's always pretty surreal hearing the wrestlers speak english. His voice is deeper than I thought.

Are any of the sekitori fluent in english?

Ishiura afaik.

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6 hours ago, Kaninoyama said:

I've never actually heard him speak but Ishiura spent a couple years as an exchange student in Australia before entering sumo, so I imagine he can speak English somewhat.

As far as retired sekitori, in addition to the Hawaiians, Osunaarashi speaks fluent English. Maybe some of the Eastern Europeans like Baruto and Kotooshu as well? 

Get out of town! He only spoke to me in Japanese, and my Japanese is pretty weak still, despite all the practice I've been getting. If I see him again, I'll ask him about Australia.

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1 hour ago, Kaminariyuki said:

Get out of town! He only spoke to me in Japanese, and my Japanese is pretty weak still, despite all the practice I've been getting. If I see him again, I'll ask him about Australia.

Oh, I assumed he was the one who spoke to you precisely because he speaks English, haha. 

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Oh man, Ishiura henka'd Kaminariyuki's conversation. 

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Kakuryu obviously understood what he was reading so I think he probably has a decent grasp of the language. He also appeared to have a distinct North American accent. I believe he has family in the United States which might explain that.

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13 hours ago, Gaijingai said:

'"We will try our best to introduce sumo to the global audience and show 'omotenashi', hospitality to them," said Kakuryu.'

I know Omote went 1-6 at Sd42, but projecting him to be banzuke-gai or kyujo in August is a little bit of a stretch this far out.

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51 minutes ago, Tigerboy1966 said:

He also appeared to have a distinct North American accent. 

(Blinking...)

Yanny or Laurel

To me that was a cartoon Soviet villian accent

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I met him in Tokyo in January and got his autograph. Deep voice when speaking for sure.

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14 hours ago, John Gunning said:

(Blinking...)

Yanny or Laurel

To me that was a cartoon Soviet villian accent

I went and listened to it again. I think you're both right; I hear elements of both of these accents. It was short, but I'd still say that Kakuryu did well. It's a bit stressful to speak in a foreign language from the podium. I've done it enough times myself to know...

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Here is a Youtube video of the press conference.  Kakuryu read his announcement and stumbled a little bit, but as was already said, it is stressful to stand up at a podium and speak in a foreign language.  I do not think he really speaks English.  I think he learned the phrases and just read them from his notes.

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He must have some basic literacy in the language to have been able to read it, unless he used katakana. But then his reading doesn't sound particularly katakana influenced. His syllable stress is fairly good (e.g. on the words "introduce", "audience" and  "hospitality") but his sentence stress is off (see how he pauses between "show" and "omotenashi"). Solid effort though. Reminds me of when I gave my wedding speech in Chinese.

Edited by Eikokurai

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This great old video from 2013 has, among other things, Kakuryu singing beautifully.  It starts at 3:00.  He has such a deep romantic voice!

 

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I suspect that Kakuryu learned the English phrases phonetically from a teacher or someone who spoke English.  Back in Sept 2014, I was able to meet Hakuho during the Aki Basho.  A mutual friend had told me several months earlier that he would try to arrange an introduction but it wasn't a sure thing.  I spent 3 months studying Mongolian using www. funkymongolian .com, Youtube videos and a phrase book.  funkymongolian .com uses native speakers and teaches you phonetically.  I practiced several phrases over & over & over trying to nail the accent.  I was able to meet Hakuho and even have lunch with him!  I trotted out every Mongolian phrase that I had learned --- "Hello, how are you?  My name is Joann.  I am from America.  I admire you very much.  You are very handsome!"  He acted very embarrassed at the last sentence but he stared at me intently.  I repeated, "I admire you very much".  I was confident that he understood me and I felt like I had the accent down perfectly.  All of a sudden, he began speaking to me in rapid-fire Mongolian!!!!  It was then that I realized that he thought I spoke Mongolian!  I know I had a "deer-in-headlights" look on my face.  Our mutual friend interrupted and said, "She's from America.  She's American".  Hakuho looked slightly annoyed as if I had fooled him! 

After I met him, I was invited to have lunch (this was at Miyagino-beya).  It was just Hakuho, his Japanese trainer (who spoke excellent English), our mutual friend and me.  I was able to say in Mongolian, "The food is delicious!  Thank you!"  Of course, he wanted to know where I had learned Mongolian.  He knew just a few English words --- "Rodeo"  and "Peach".  I just remembered something funny that happened.  Hakuho asked his trainer to ask me if I was traveling alone.  I said "no", that I had come to Japan with my husband.  He then asked why my husband had not come to meet him.  The truth was that my husband wasn't interested!!  He wanted to go to the sword museum instead.  Obviously, I couldn't tell Hakuho that!! lol  So our mutual friend tried to very tactfully tell Hakuho that my husband wasn't quite as big of a fan of sumo as I was.  Hakuho got very confused and it had to be repeated.  Sooooo awkward!  I don't think Hakuho knew of anyone who didn't want to meet him.  Hopefully, Hakuho thought it was just something lost in translation.  So lunch continued.  When lunch ended, I said (again in Mongolian), "It was nice to meet you.  Thank you.  Goodbye!"  Of course, that was the highlight of my trip.

My purpose in mentioning my encounter with Hakuho was to illustrate that someone can learn a very limited number of phrases in a foreign language and still successfully communicate.

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Kakuryu is an intelligent man with near flawless command of Japanese, so it's not surprising that he would be able to do a respectable job of reading English even with limited exposure to the language. 

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I'm feeling left out. Has everyone on the forum had lunch with Hakuho...?;-)

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10 hours ago, sumojoann said:

 I was confident that he understood me and I felt like I had the accent down perfectly.  All of a sudden, he began speaking to me in rapid-fire Mongolian!!!!  It was then that I realized that he thought I spoke Mongolian!  I know I had a "deer-in-headlights" look on my face.  Our mutual friend interrupted and said, "She's from America.  She's American".  Hakuho looked slightly annoyed as if I had fooled him! 

I have had similar situations occur, so I learned to lead off with "I don't speak..." or "I only know a little..."  Lessons learned.

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He looked a little nervous swaying side to side, but he did a reasonably good job.

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On 05/02/2020 at 09:54, sumojoann said:

I suspect that Kakuryu learned the English phrases phonetically from a teacher or someone who spoke English.  Back in Sept 2014, I was able to meet Hakuho during the Aki Basho.  A mutual friend had told me several months earlier that he would try to arrange an introduction but it wasn't a sure thing.  I spent 3 months studying Mongolian using www. funkymongolian .com, Youtube videos and a phrase book.  funkymongolian .com uses native speakers and teaches you phonetically.  I practiced several phrases over & over & over trying to nail the accent.  I was able to meet Hakuho and even have lunch with him!  I trotted out every Mongolian phrase that I had learned --- "Hello, how are you?  My name is Joann.  I am from America.  I admire you very much.  You are very handsome!"  He acted very embarrassed at the last sentence but he stared at me intently.  I repeated, "I admire you very much".  I was confident that he understood me and I felt like I had the accent down perfectly.  All of a sudden, he began speaking to me in rapid-fire Mongolian!!!!  It was then that I realized that he thought I spoke Mongolian!  I know I had a "deer-in-headlights" look on my face.  Our mutual friend interrupted and said, "She's from America.  She's American".  Hakuho looked slightly annoyed as if I had fooled him! 

After I met him, I was invited to have lunch (this was at Miyagino-beya).  It was just Hakuho, his Japanese trainer (who spoke excellent English), our mutual friend and me.  I was able to say in Mongolian, "The food is delicious!  Thank you!"  Of course, he wanted to know where I had learned Mongolian.  He knew just a few English words --- "Rodeo"  and "Peach".  I just remembered something funny that happened.  Hakuho asked his trainer to ask me if I was traveling alone.  I said "no", that I had come to Japan with my husband.  He then asked why my husband had not come to meet him.  The truth was that my husband wasn't interested!!  He wanted to go to the sword museum instead.  Obviously, I couldn't tell Hakuho that!! lol  So our mutual friend tried to very tactfully tell Hakuho that my husband wasn't quite as big of a fan of sumo as I was.  Hakuho got very confused and it had to be repeated.  Sooooo awkward!  I don't think Hakuho knew of anyone who didn't want to meet him.  Hopefully, Hakuho thought it was just something lost in translation.  So lunch continued.  When lunch ended, I said (again in Mongolian), "It was nice to meet you.  Thank you.  Goodbye!"  Of course, that was the highlight of my trip.

My purpose in mentioning my encounter with Hakuho was to illustrate that someone can learn a very limited number of phrases in a foreign language and still successfully communicate.

Of course, I loved this anecdote!

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Regarding Kakuryu's English (and his Japanese): My experience with subbed Japanese movies/TV shows leads me to believe that English is to Japanese as French is to English (at least in America).  I don't take a second thought about using the term savoir faire or parfait or hors d'oeuvres because it doesn't register in my mind as foreign.  Japan has borrowed English words to fill in the new vocabulary of business and entertainment.  When I hear a Japanese speaker try English, it's sometime clunky; but their English is infinitely better than my Nihongo.  Now Mongolian, that's a whole 'nother matter!. All honor to you, sumojoann!

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