John Gunning

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

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Ok, I'm a bit jealous of 2 of you now! (@Yamanashi & @sumojoann) Dinner with Hakuho at Miyagino-beya… what a treat!

Talking of language, that bit about Hakuho knowing 'rodeo' and 'peach' made me smile. Rodeo is Spanish, plain and simple, and peach is centuries of the British mangling the French pêche.

Edited by RabidJohn
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2 hours ago, RabidJohn said:

Ok, I'm a bit jealous of 2 of you now! (@Yamanashi & @sumojoann) Dinner with Hakuho at Miyagino-beya… what a treat!

Talking of language, that bit about Hakuho knowing 'rodeo' and 'peach' made me smile. Rodeo is Spanish, plain and simple, and peach is centuries of the British mangling the French pêche.

The reason the word "rodeo" came up was when I told him I was from America, I then said, "Texas" whereupon he said, "Rodeo".  I was surprised.  If I had been thinking faster (which I wasn't), I should have responded, "If you haven't been to a rodeo, come to Texas and we'll take you to one!  You can even stay in our guestroom!!"  But, alas, I let that opportunity pass. Darn!  Regarding "peach", at lunch, there was some beautiful sliced fruit.  Thinking it might be Japanese, I asked.  He responded with, "Peach", which surprised me that he would know the word in English.

There were some other tidbits regarding that lunch that I have never before mentioned on Sumo Forum.  I might as well take this opportunity to mention one of them.  (Hope nobody minds that I'm hijacking the thread)!  Hakuho's Japanese trainer Oba spoke excellent English and was very friendly.  We kept making each other laugh.  I told him that I had told Hakuho in Mongolian that he (Hakuho) was very handsome, but I didn't say it in English, I said it in Mongolian.  He asked me to translate it into English since he didn't understand Mongolian.  Other people in the room were eager to know, too (a low-ranking rikishi whose job it was to serve us and a young very pretty Japanese woman who was helping in the kitchen and who I think might have been the trainer's wife).  When I translated the phrase ("You are very handsome"), he translated it into Japanese (which I don't speak).  All of a sudden, EVERYBODY started laughing!  The laughing got louder and louder.  Thinking I must had said something rude or at least totally improper to a Yokozuna, I blushed and covered my face with my hands.  At this point, the laughter got even louder and sounded almost obscene!!!  I was so confused!  At the end of lunch, my friend (the one who introduced me to his friend Hakuho) & I were downstairs waiting for our taxi.  I could tell he was angry at me.  He finally snapped at me, "You shouldn't have said that to Hakuho.  He's a married man!!!!!"  I was dumbfounded!  I told him, "I just told him he was handsome!  There's nothing wrong with that.  It means someone is attractive.  It's not sexual."  I was sooooo confused because he still seemed angry and embarrassed.  I was still puzzled by all the obscene-sounding laughter.  Months later, it finally hit me!  I can't be positively sure but I think when Oba, Hakuho's Japanese trainer, translated my phrase from English to Japanese, he translated it as something obscene.  THAT would account for that type of laughter.  And it didn't help that I blushed and covered my face with my hands!  I finally emailed our mutual friend to ask again what I had supposedly said, but he claimed he had forgotten the incident!!  So it shall remain as a small mystery.  The whole experience was surreal.  There were other things that happened while I was at Miyagino Beya but I hesitate to make this post too long.  I can  post more but only if anyone is interested.

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Rodeo in Japanese is ロデオ and peach can be ピーチ so it’s possible Hakuho knows the words as katakana loan words rather than as English words per se. Actually there’s a lot of words like this in modern Japanese and sometimes saying things in a Japanese pronunciation ends up being a word Japanese people know.

On a related note, I remember hating katakana words when I lived in Japan. I went to the effort of learning words like ichigo (strawberry) and kosho (banana) only to find when I went to Mr Donuts or wherever I only needed to say ストロベリー or バナナ. Other foreigners who hadn’t studied a day of Japanese in their lives were having the same level of success communicating as me. I felt cheated. Haha.

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I have a ton of embarrassing travel stories, and stories of language screw-ups, but most of the best material is from France and has nothing to do with sumo...

I have had similar experiences to Eikokurai, as well, and when I'm struggling for a word in Japanese I commonly throw out an English word pronounced in Japanese. It works far more often than one would expect, even if one is aware that Japan has more borrowed words from English than any other language, or so I've heard.

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On 14/02/2020 at 01:56, sumojoann said:

The reason the word "rodeo" came up was when I told him I was from America, I then said, "Texas" whereupon he said, "Rodeo".  I was surprised.  If I had been thinking faster (which I wasn't), I should have responded, "If you haven't been to a rodeo, come to Texas and we'll take you to one!  You can even stay in our guestroom!!"  But, alas, I let that opportunity pass. Darn!  Regarding "peach", at lunch, there was some beautiful sliced fruit.  Thinking it might be Japanese, I asked.  He responded with, "Peach", which surprised me that he would know the word in English.

There were some other tidbits regarding that lunch that I have never before mentioned on Sumo Forum.  I might as well take this opportunity to mention one of them.  (Hope nobody minds that I'm hijacking the thread)!  Hakuho's Japanese trainer Oba spoke excellent English and was very friendly.  We kept making each other laugh.  I told him that I had told Hakuho in Mongolian that he (Hakuho) was very handsome, but I didn't say it in English, I said it in Mongolian.  He asked me to translate it into English since he didn't understand Mongolian.  Other people in the room were eager to know, too (a low-ranking rikishi whose job it was to serve us and a young very pretty Japanese woman who was helping in the kitchen and who I think might have been the trainer's wife).  When I translated the phrase ("You are very handsome"), he translated it into Japanese (which I don't speak).  All of a sudden, EVERYBODY started laughing!  The laughing got louder and louder.  Thinking I must had said something rude or at least totally improper to a Yokozuna, I blushed and covered my face with my hands.  At this point, the laughter got even louder and sounded almost obscene!!!  I was so confused!  At the end of lunch, my friend (the one who introduced me to his friend Hakuho) & I were downstairs waiting for our taxi.  I could tell he was angry at me.  He finally snapped at me, "You shouldn't have said that to Hakuho.  He's a married man!!!!!"  I was dumbfounded!  I told him, "I just told him he was handsome!  There's nothing wrong with that.  It means someone is attractive.  It's not sexual."  I was sooooo confused because he still seemed angry and embarrassed.  I was still puzzled by all the obscene-sounding laughter.  Months later, it finally hit me!  I can't be positively sure but I think when Oba, Hakuho's Japanese trainer, translated my phrase from English to Japanese, he translated it as something obscene.  THAT would account for that type of laughter.  And it didn't help that I blushed and covered my face with my hands!  I finally emailed our mutual friend to ask again what I had supposedly said, but he claimed he had forgotten the incident!!  So it shall remain as a small mystery.  The whole experience was surreal.  There were other things that happened while I was at Miyagino Beya but I hesitate to make this post too long.  I can  post more but only if anyone is interested.

More please! I love hearing personal stories as it gives a glimpse into their personalities!

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On 13/02/2020 at 14:59, RabidJohn said:

Ok, I'm a bit jealous of 2 of you now! (@Yamanashi & @sumojoann) Dinner with Hakuho at Miyagino-beya… what a treat!

Talking of language, that bit about Hakuho knowing 'rodeo' and 'peach' made me smile. Rodeo is Spanish, plain and simple, and peach is centuries of the British mangling the French pêche.

Yamanashi also? Often in life one is justifiably rewarded, but sometimes extraordinary events just land in one’s lap. It’s like getting a compliment out of the blue. Life must occasionally simply be enjoyed. 

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9 minutes ago, Kaminariyuki said:

Yamanashi also? Often in life one is justifiably rewarded, but sometimes extraordinary events just land in one’s lap. It’s like getting a compliment out of the blue. Life must occasionally simply be enjoyed. 

I never assume that I deserve compliments in the first place, so they are accepted with humility.  On the other hand, @RabidJohn said he was jealous, and I never get into an altercation with a jealous man.

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3 hours ago, Stupidface said:

More please! I love hearing personal stories as it gives a glimpse into their personalities!

Stupidface (are you sure you want to have that as your user name on Sumo Forum?  Most members choose a "Shikona", a ring name like the rikishi  (wrestlers) have.  My name is not very good, either! lol).

Anyway, I have more information about my encounter with Hakuho in my Profile.  If you click on my photo, it will take you to my page.  Click on "About Me".  There you will see my post from Dec 2014 about my experience.  You will find some additional info there.

Additional tidbits  (none are as exciting as the "obscene laughing" I previously posted about)  --- When we sat down before having lunch with Hakuho , we first had to wait while he had his hair washed and styled.  I was told later that he likes to have his hair washed 6-8 times a day!  When he came in, the first thing he did was offer me a "beeryu" (beer).  He poured one for himself.  I declined and asked for mizu (water).  Then we all clinked glasses in a toast.  The table was already laden with food.  Of course, there was a pot of very hot chanko-nabe.  I was surprised at how plain-jane it was.  It consisted mainly of beef broth and some onions and other vegetables.  Then someone came in with a  bowl of large squares of tofu which was added to the chanko-nabe.  Everyone except Hakuho made a big fuss over the tofu which surprised me.  Another surprise was that in place of napkins (serviettes to you British!), Hakuho held out a box of Kleenex (tissues that you normally blow your nose with)!  Each of us took one.  I could tell that Hakuho was very at ease being a host.  He offered me a plate of what looked like small thinly sliced sausages.  However, there was no serving utensil and I didn't know what to do.  He gestured that I should just pick them up with my fingers!  Then he had his trainer, who spoke excellent English, ask me some questions about myself.  (I posted about this already but I'll repeat it for anyone who didn't get to read the previous post).  The most embarrassing question was concerning why my husband had not come to meet him.  The truth was that my husband didn't want to!!!! He wanted to go to the Samurai Sword Museum instead.  Obviously, I couldn't tell him that!  So our mutual friend , as best as he could, tried to tactfully explain that my husband wasn't quite as big of a fan of sumo as I was.  Hakuho got very confused.  His eyebrows furrowed and he shook his head, not understanding.  It was again explained to him.  I don't think Hakuho had ever known of anyone who didn't want to meet him!!  lol  Everything apparently got lost in translation and Hakuho let it go.  Our lunch continued.  Of course, Hakuho wanted to know how I learned some Mongolian phrases so I told him I studied online for 3 months, watched Youtube videos and bought a phrase book.  (I never dreamed I would meet him but since I was in Japan to attend 8 days of the basho, I was hoping that somehow it might happen.  I decided to prepare ahead of time just in case).  Hakuho told me that he has a grandmother who is 97 years old!!  I was very impressed.  At the end of lunch, I told him in Mongolian that I had brought a gift.  He accepted it politely but it was just a humble t-shirt with his favorite word (DREAM) on it (you can see it in my profile photo).  I found out later that he has a sweet tooth so I should have brought him some American chocolate.  Afterwards, we went downstairs to wait for our taxi and Ishiura popped in.  I said, "Hi Ishiura!"  He looked stunned that I knew his name (he was still in Makushita at that time).  We didn't have time to say anything further because our taxi had arrived.  We waved goodbye to Ishiura as we left.

This was one of those once -in-a-lifetime events where everything just happened to fall into place.  A lot of luck involved.

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14 hours ago, Kaminariyuki said:

Yamanashi also? 

I can only put that down to a senior moment... I meant you, of course.

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18 hours ago, sumojoann said:

Stupidface (are you sure you want to have that as your user name on Sumo Forum?  Most members choose a "Shikona", a ring name like the rikishi  (wrestlers) have.  My name is not very good, either! lol).

Anyway, I have more information about my encounter with Hakuho in my Profile.  If you click on my photo, it will take you to my page.  Click on "About Me".  There you will see my post from Dec 2014 about my experience.  You will find some additional info there.

Additional tidbits  (none are as exciting as the "obscene laughing" I previously posted about)  --- When we sat down before having lunch with Hakuho , we first had to wait while he had his hair washed and styled.  I was told later that he likes to have his hair washed 6-8 times a day!  When he came in, the first thing he did was offer me a "beeryu" (beer).  He poured one for himself.  I declined and asked for mizu (water).  Then we all clinked glasses in a toast.  The table was already laden with food.  Of course, there was a pot of very hot chanko-nabe.  I was surprised at how plain-jane it was.  It consisted mainly of beef broth and some onions and other vegetables.  Then someone came in with a  bowl of large squares of tofu which was added to the chanko-nabe.  Everyone except Hakuho made a big fuss over the tofu which surprised me.  Another surprise was that in place of napkins (serviettes to you British!), Hakuho held out a box of Kleenex (tissues that you normally blow your nose with)!  Each of us took one.  I could tell that Hakuho was very at ease being a host.  He offered me a plate of what looked like small thinly sliced sausages.  However, there was no serving utensil and I didn't know what to do.  He gestured that I should just pick them up with my fingers!  Then he had his trainer, who spoke excellent English, ask me some questions about myself.  (I posted about this already but I'll repeat it for anyone who didn't get to read the previous post).  The most embarrassing question was concerning why my husband had not come to meet him.  The truth was that my husband didn't want to!!!! He wanted to go to the Samurai Sword Museum instead.  Obviously, I couldn't tell him that!  So our mutual friend , as best as he could, tried to tactfully explain that my husband wasn't quite as big of a fan of sumo as I was.  Hakuho got very confused.  His eyebrows furrowed and he shook his head, not understanding.  It was again explained to him.  I don't think Hakuho had ever known of anyone who didn't want to meet him!!  lol  Everything apparently got lost in translation and Hakuho let it go.  Our lunch continued.  Of course, Hakuho wanted to know how I learned some Mongolian phrases so I told him I studied online for 3 months, watched Youtube videos and bought a phrase book.  (I never dreamed I would meet him but since I was in Japan to attend 8 days of the basho, I was hoping that somehow it might happen.  I decided to prepare ahead of time just in case).  Hakuho told me that he has a grandmother who is 97 years old!!  I was very impressed.  At the end of lunch, I told him in Mongolian that I had brought a gift.  He accepted it politely but it was just a humble t-shirt with his favorite word (DREAM) on it (you can see it in my profile photo).  I found out later that he has a sweet tooth so I should have brought him some American chocolate.  Afterwards, we went downstairs to wait for our taxi and Ishiura popped in.  I said, "Hi Ishiura!"  He looked stunned that I knew his name (he was still in Makushita at that time).  We didn't have time to say anything further because our taxi had arrived.  We waved goodbye to Ishiura as we left.

This was one of those once -in-a-lifetime events where everything just happened to fall into place.  A lot of luck involved.

Lol! The name is from my darling husband, just a pet name kind of thing - perhaps I'll think of something more sumo-y however I'm very new to the sport even though I have quickly become obsessed.

I bet that experience was so exciting! If we ever travel over I hope I'd be even half as lucky to even glimpse Hakuho from afar! Let alone dine with him! :) Luckily my husband likes sumo too so I won't be alone in my rikishi watching.

Thank you for sharing your experience - I really enjoyed reading it :)

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