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Being "the first caucasian in sumo" is a pretty epic life accomplishment, really. You could (and should) consider yourself a pioneer for many that followed.

I just went back through this discussion and it doesn't seem like we really covered off on why you left when you did, Cal. Was it anything in particular, or just tiring of the lifestyle and/or not seeing it as the way you wanted to live your life?

You career up until then gives the impression you were on your way to sekitori-hood; which seems to me like an interesting time to leave. No regrets?

 

 

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On 09/10/2020 at 14:34, Cal Martin said:

... I found a 2x4 and got both of them.

Put me in mind of this (which I hadn't heard for 30 years): 

I find your reminiscences fascinating, and I'd love to read more of them on this forum. I'd also buy the book if you ever decide to write it.

I won't ask any questions, though, as Sumojoann has enough for everyone!

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5 hours ago, RabidJohn said:

Put me in mind of this (which I hadn't heard for 30 years): 

I find your reminiscences fascinating, and I'd love to read more of them on this forum. I'd also buy the book if you ever decide to write it.

I won't ask any questions, though, as Sumojoann has enough for everyone!

One of the hardest things for me, was their lifestyle, and I have to thank Kaiketsu, for setting me straight on it, if you want it bad enough you just do it. I could go along with most of it, but there were times I just couldn't, and I guess the American just came out of me, however the lower ranks just loved it. Had I been a typical Japanese, I would have been kicked out way early, but Oyakata, I think lived his rebellious side through me. He knew then Sumo needed a change, all the good athletes were going to soccer, baseball, and pro wrestling. Why? Money, you get no sign up bonus when you decide you want to play in this world, in fact you give up what you may have already had. I cod not believe how young some of the new recruits were, some come from orphanages as young as 12 years old, they may spend 5-7 years in those lower ranks. Their lifestyle was a great motivator through. I have had one guy who was writing a book,( Dave Chodack), but he passed away, so I am trying to put together a lot of my thoughts, and someday maybe get it into book form. I never thought of myself as the "Pioneer" that paved the way for other foreigner's, but I guess I was, I had never even heard the word Sumo till I got off the plane for the first time in Tokyo. This forum is great, wish I had known about it sooner, and yes Sumojoann is a real enthusiast. Got to love her.

Cal

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13 hours ago, Houmanumi said:

Being "the first caucasian in sumo" is a pretty epic life accomplishment, really. You could (and should) consider yourself a pioneer for many that followed.

I just went back through this discussion and it doesn't seem like we really covered off on why you left when you did, Cal. Was it anything in particular, or just tiring of the lifestyle and/or not seeing it as the way you wanted to live your life?

You career up until then gives the impression you were on your way to sekitori-hood; which seems to me like an interesting time to leave. No regrets?

 

 

I was glad that I did open the door for other Foreigner's who followed, but as to why I left when I did, it was my going to make sekitori-hood, that had a lot to do with it. I know, the real hard part was over. It gets real complicated, and author (Dave Chodack) was writing a book, and then a screen play, and then he passed away, so i am currently trying to finish it as we speak. I am no writer, but trying, if nothing else just for my own family. Sumo was never my first priority, in fact a lot of people who know me today only know i raced cars and boats, how ever they ask, what are those plaques in that foreign language, there with all your trophies? I did receive Fighting Spirit award twice, while i was fighting over there. To answer your question about any regrets, not a one, and Oyakata was good with-it, or it never would have happened. Just a little hint, Wajima does end up taking over Hanakago stable, but only because I wasn't there.

Cal

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2 hours ago, Cal Martin said:

I was glad that I did open the door for other Foreigner's who followed, but as to why I left when I did, it was my going to make sekitori-hood, that had a lot to do with it. I know, the real hard part was over. It gets real complicated, and author (Dave Chodack) was writing a book, and then a screen play, and then he passed away, so i am currently trying to finish it as we speak. I am no writer, but trying, if nothing else just for my own family. Sumo was never my first priority, in fact a lot of people who know me today only know i raced cars and boats, how ever they ask, what are those plaques in that foreign language, there with all your trophies? I did receive Fighting Spirit award twice, while i was fighting over there. To answer your question about any regrets, not a one, and Oyakata was good with-it, or it never would have happened. Just a little hint, Wajima does end up taking over Hanakago stable, but only because I wasn't there.

Cal

This is a fascinating story.  One question I have: since you didn't make it to sekitori when you left, how did you receive two Fighting Spirit awards?  Were they given to Makushita rikishi back in the day?

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9 hours ago, Cal Martin said:

I was glad that I did open the door for other Foreigner's who followed, but as to why I left when I did, it was my going to make sekitori-hood, that had a lot to do with it. I know, the real hard part was over. It gets real complicated, and author (Dave Chodack) was writing a book, and then a screen play, and then he passed away, so i am currently trying to finish it as we speak. I am no writer, but trying, if nothing else just for my own family. Sumo was never my first priority, in fact a lot of people who know me today only know i raced cars and boats, how ever they ask, what are those plaques in that foreign language, there with all your trophies? I did receive Fighting Spirit award twice, while i was fighting over there. To answer your question about any regrets, not a one, and Oyakata was good with-it, or it never would have happened. Just a little hint, Wajima does end up taking over Hanakago stable, but only because I wasn't there.

Cal

Thanks Cal. It's a fascinating story for both a book and a film. I hope you get it finished. 

Have you contacted other writers/publishers?

 

Also for what it's worth, if you were to try a crowdfunding campaign I know I'd pitch in. 

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3 hours ago, Houmanumi said:

Also for what it's worth, if you were to try a crowdfunding campaign I know I'd pitch in. 

I’d pitch in as well! The sumo world certainly could use more books in English documenting some of the history of the sport. 

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2 hours ago, Asojima said:

 

3.  Araiwa, in his 8th active basho, had risen to mid-makushita, and had a respectable 5-2 record.  Hatsu 1970 was his last active basho, and he retired 8 months later because he ??did not want to become a sekitori??.

Hatsu 1970 seemed to be decent basho for all concerned.  Why did Araiwa's career come to a crashing end?  There seems to be a few missing details here.

 

I think Cal (Araiwa) is trying to save the good stuff for the book he's trying to finish!!

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22 minutes ago, sumojoann said:

I think Cal (Araiwa) is trying to save the good stuff for the book he's trying to finish!!

I deleted the post.  I  misread some of the dates.

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21 hours ago, Yamanashi said:

This is a fascinating story.  One question I have: since you didn't make it to sekitori when you left, how did you receive two Fighting Spirit awards?  Were they given to Makushita rikishi back in the day?

Actually I think each division could receive one, mine were in two different divisions.

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12 hours ago, sumojoann said:

I think Cal (Araiwa) is trying to save the good stuff for the book he's trying to finish!!

Hey Sumojoann, do you ever get to the hillcountry? I have a place in Buchanan Dam, it's right by Lake Buchanan, I used to go to Houston area a lot for work, but with all this stuff going on, I haven't been back t9 Texas since March.

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11 minutes ago, Cal Martin said:

Actually I think each division could receive one, mine were in two different divisions.

Were these your yusho and doten-yusho certificates?

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2 minutes ago, Asojima said:

Were these your yusho and doten-yusho certificates?

Hey just noticed you are from San Diego area, my daughter lives in Santee, I'm guessing that the answer to your question is yes, not sure what a doten-yusho is?

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2 hours ago, Cal Martin said:

Hey Sumojoann, do you ever get to the hillcountry? I have a place in Buchanan Dam, it's right by Lake Buchanan, I used to go to Houston area a lot for work, but with all this stuff going on, I haven't been back t9 Texas since March.

I haven't been to the hill country in quite a long time.  It's really beautiful up there.  Are you still living in California?  If so, whereabouts?

I wanted to ask if you found it difficult to adjust to being back in the US after retiring from sumo?  Even though you were a rikishi for "only" 3 years, that must have made a HUGE impact on you, especially being only 19 years old.

Edited by sumojoann

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21 hours ago, sumojoann said:

I haven't been to the hill country in quite a long time.  It's really beautiful up there.  Are you still living in California?  If so, whereabouts?

I wanted to ask if you found it difficult to adjust to being back in the US after retiring from sumo?  Even though you were a rikishi for "only" 3 years, that must have made a HUGE impact on you, especially being only 19 years old.

It did make a huge impact on my work ethics, it did in everything I took on, I was the opposite from Jessi(Takamiyama), he took to all their customs and had always planned on staying in Japan, I had a lot of things I could see in the future, and they were important to me, if I stayed, that would have interrupted them immensely. Are you anywhere near Lake Conroe? I really like that place, but they didn't have any boat racing like at Lake Marble Falls, i did that for about 15 years.

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5 hours ago, Cal Martin said:

It did make a huge impact on my work ethics, it did in everything I took on, I was the opposite from Jessi(Takamiyama), he took to all their customs and had always planned on staying in Japan, I had a lot of things I could see in the future, and they were important to me, if I stayed, that would have interrupted them immensely. Are you anywhere near Lake Conroe? I really like that place, but they didn't have any boat racing like at Lake Marble Falls, i did that for about 15 years.

I didn't know anything about Jesse (Takamiyama) so I looked him up.  He stayed in sumo up until just a few months before his 40th birthday, and only left due to an elbow injury.  Then he became an Oyakata and opened his own heya, where he remained until he had to retire at age 65.  He married a Japanese woman through an arranged marriage but they looked happy.  That must have been interesting having him as a stablemate.  Did you keep in touch after you left Japan?

Regarding Lake Conroe, no, I live about 60-70 miles south of there --- in Clear Lake, down by NASA.  It's about 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.  As far as I know, there is no boat racing in Clear Lake, just families with regular boats with outboard motors, and also some jet-skiers.  (I'll send you a private message since this is Off-Topic)

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Jessie and I were not in the same stable, we did some U.S. Base functions together, but yes he did live his dream, and he was totally fine with all the Japanese customs, and like I said I wasn't.

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