John Gunning

Wakaichiro has retired

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Spoke to Ichiro a few times since he arrived back in Houston.

He is doing good and has something lined up.

He'll reveal his plans and reasons for quitting on his own social media feeds when he is ready.

 

 

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I guess he saw no hope of making sekitori one day?

I hope the experience was valuable for him, that he does well in the future.

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Once a young athlete has worked out his level and recognizes that level isn’t ever going to make him a living, the temptation must be strong to walk away while he/she is young enough to start an alternative career. All athletes in all sports face the question at some point (think about post-draft NFL rejects, academy footballers not getting offered pro contracts or low-rankers on the tennis tour).  This is probably even more true in sumo, a sport with effectively no income at all below sekitori, and for a foreign rikishi who perhaps doesn’t have the same options/network as a Japanese rikishi might if he battles on into his late 20s or 30s (though I appreciate that Wakaichiro isn’t your typical foreign rikishi). I think after a couple of years giving sumo a go you can tell if you’ve got a real future in it or if you’re just going to tread water until nature tells you it’s time to get back on dry land but at a time when you’re too old to find your feet.
 

In a funny sort of way I see parallels with teaching English overseas. You go and teach at an eikaiwa in Tokyo for a year and then face the question of whether to take the job seriously, get a Masters degree and move into a management or training role, or get out while you are still young enough to start afresh back home. Get it wrong and you can end up like my old colleague - 15 years at Nova with nothing to show for it but manic depression. But I digress.

Edited by Eikokurai
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Dang sad to see this. As an African American, it was pretty cool to see a half black sumo wrestler. I showed him to my mom and she was like "Black people are sumo wrestling now?!" (Laughing...) Gonna miss em

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5 hours ago, nelimw said:

 "Black people are sumo wrestling now?!" 

...and HAVE been for quite a while...

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Too bad it didn't work out for him. Good luck in the future!

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At least the photos suggest he left on good terms. :-)

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I think Musashikuni's retirement helped make up his mind, seems like they were pretty close and could identify as fellow Americans. But I'm not surprised that he has decided to hang it up. It was worth the shot, but I believe he had been wanting to go into aeronautical studies or something related to that, so now is a good time to get back in. Good luck to him in the future!

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A question: he just turned 21 this July.  Did he declare Japanese citizenship?  Is he moving back to Texas or staying in Japan?

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On 16/02/2020 at 20:29, John Gunning said:

Spoke to Ichiro a few times since he arrived back in Houston.

He is doing good and has something lined up.

He'll reveal his plans and reasons for quitting on his own social media feeds when he is ready.

 

 

 

33 minutes ago, Yamanashi said:

A question: he just turned 21 this July.  Did he declare Japanese citizenship?  Is he moving back to Texas or staying in Japan?

Since John Gunning spoke to him "a few times since he arrived back in Houston", I would take that to mean that he has returned to stay.

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Yes the plan now is to stay in the US. He told me what he has lined up (and it’s in a totally unrelated field) but doesn’t want it made public yet as things aren’t fully confirmed.

I’d gleaned enough from him over the years to know that leaving was always an option that was close at hand. He was committed to sumo while in it but was never going to be a lifer in the lower divisions. Reminded me of Masumeidai in that sense.

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Was Wakaichiro the highest ranked American before he retired? Are there any Yanks left in professional sumo? 

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Wakaichiro was "not american" for sumo rules, but yes, he was the last American standing.  Musashikuni retired in September, and thus endeth American participation.

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There is still Colvin Ryuga Delzatto in low Jonidan/Jonokuchi, who isn't considered American either.

On 04/09/2018 at 11:11, Akinomaki said:

All 5 passed the initial check and wait for the result of the medicals. 50% foreigners this time, 2 Mongolians and a haafu (US American father): デルザト・コルヴィン龍我 Delzatto, Corvin Ryuga (19, Kanagawa, Yokusuga technical high graduate ) for Nishikido-beya, who rather thought to become a hairdresser - his mother runs a beauty parlor. He got invited to join sumo, and "I can do sumo only while young, become a hairdresser every time." No sumo experience (knowledge?) - 3rd in judo on prefecture level during middle school, but he not even knows the term Waka-Taka. "I want to know how far I can go and learn where my limit is." The rikishi he admires is Tochinoshin, who has judo background. http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2018/09/04/kiji/20180904s00005000167000c.html

20180904s00005000180000p_thum.jpgo

It had been reported that he joins the heya for Haru (after graduation), then 180cm, 120kg https://www.townnews.co.jp/0501/2018/01/01/413546.html (that local paper was not in my robot search list then)

a000730613_01-thumb-autox329-488018..jpgo

apparently he has trained enough now to give it a try

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How many heya have an opening for a foreigner?

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36 minutes ago, Gaijingai said:

How many heya have an opening for a foreigner?

I'm counting 20 heya having a "foreigner spot" open (counting Sokokurai and Hakuho as a Japanese now) among the 45 active heya. Of course I may be wrong.

3 stables managed to have multiple foreigners : Tomozuna, Kasugano and now Michinoku.

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*shush*

Don't let Florida Man hear that (Laughing...)

 

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3 hours ago, Oortael said:

I'm counting 20 heya having a "foreigner spot" open (counting Sokokurai and Hakuho as a Japanese now) among the 45 active heya. Of course I may be wrong.

3 stables managed to have multiple foreigners : Tomozuna, Kasugano and now Michinoku.

Sokokurai and Hakuho still count as foreigners in this instance.

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51 minutes ago, ryafuji said:

Sokokurai and Hakuho still count as foreigners in this instance.

True, although they are both rather close to retiring.  I don't think that was intended as the meaning, but it's true nonetheless.

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