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Hiro Morita’s “Sumo Prime Time”

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On 29/07/2022 at 18:58, Tigerboy1966 said:

Chris did express his concerns and did be offering his services, then did the NSK be most frosty. I do be grateful for this, as then did I imagine what what do be happening if Chris did be becoming the voice of sumo in the language that does be called English.

LOL, I confess that I do not always proofread my own writing. But, if I'm touting my English skills (occasionally happens), it's prudent to give the writing a little more attention before distribution. Chris does seem quite the character, and clearly deeply into sumo. I'd love to meet the guy someday. I don't have a clue how good his Japanese is, but I'd have to agree with Joann and Seiyashi, if I read them correctly, that Chris may not be sufficiently in tune with the way things work in Japan to swing the deal he pitched in the street. I make the same types of errors when I am there myself, so I speak from experience. Of course, the mysterious mechanisms of Japanese thinking are part of the cultural appeal.

OK, I need to check out Hiro's new YouTube page. I don't think anyone mentioned whether he will be doing highlight programs during the upcoming bashos. I just moved from Salt Lake City to Cincinnati and was a bit disappointed to see that NHK is not available all over the US, mostly on the west coast. A shame, that. Thank goodness for Kinta's YouTube highlights! Domo ariagto gozaimasu, O-Kintamayama-sama.

And, thanks to Code_Number3 and ISJ for the heads-up!

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On 19/08/2022 at 09:51, Yamanashi said:

Note to Morita-san: every time you introduce a Sumo term, you should show the (romaji) word or phrase on the screen .  This aids the viewer who wants to look up the term online.

That said it’s really nice they are using the Japanese terms. A lot of the English translations are clumsy and overall the NHK announcers have moved away from the ‘approved’ English cognates to the Japanese terms since the last time I complained about this, which is really great.

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On 18/08/2022 at 16:31, Jakusotsu said:

Cheers. Now I can't shake the vision of Hiro excitedly presenting a proper caning... (Beingthrowntomatoesat...)

Hitting him North and South? He gets beat by the Oyakata?

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On 19/08/2022 at 09:16, Seiyashi said:

Kōtokuzan (probably recut footage from his visit to Arashio-beya from the last video) has some basic grasp of English, and explains that his shimekomi is 10m, and that he thinks it's longer than others because he has a big belly.

I've been watching sumo for about 6 years now and I had no idea that the shimekomi cost $10,000! So a rikishi changing mawashi in the middle of a tournament is a 10k investment? Do rikishi ever trade or borrow a shimekomi from each other or a retired rikishi? 

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, nelimw said:

I've been watching sumo for about 6 years now and I had no idea that the shimekomi cost $10,000! So a rikishi changing mawashi in the middle of a tournament is a 10k investment? Do rikishi ever trade or borrow a shimekomi from each other or a retired rikishi? 

AFAIK they are also often gifts from koenkai, and presented in similar ways as keshō-mawashi although usually with less fanfare (not much to see or write about, for one). I also recall that they're basically an artisanal product and made by one craftsman who can only handle so many orders (shin-jūryō and maybe for existing sekitori as a mark of promotion) at one go. Rikishi can also switch shimekomi to mark a milestone; Ama, on promotion to ōzeki, wrestled first in a silver mawashi as Harumafuji, then gave it up when he lost his opening matches, and Hakuhō wore Wajima's gold for a while when he matched the latter's tally of yūshō. Although you could certainly say that they could afford it at those ranks...

The EN Wikipedia says that Tochinoshin won his yūshō wresting in Kasugano-oyakata's old shimekomi, although personally I find the thought of wearing what is essentially someone else's underwear..... a bit off.

Edited by Seiyashi
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3 hours ago, Seiyashi said:

The EN Wikipedia says that Tochinoshin won his yūshō wresting in Kasugano-oyakata's old shimekomi, although personally I find the thought of wearing what is essentially someone else's underwear..... a bit off.

When they say "the mawashi is never laundered", do they mean ... even when gifting it?  (Signofdisapproval...)

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  12 hours ago, Seiyashi said:

The EN Wikipedia says that Tochinoshin won his yūshō wresting in Kasugano-oyakata's old shimekomi, although personally I find the thought of wearing what is essentially someone else's underwear..... a bit off.

9 hours ago, Yamanashi said:

When they say "the mawashi is never laundered", do they mean ... even when gifting it?  (Signofdisapproval...)

Just throw a bit of salt on it, it'll purify :-|

 

More seriously, it'd really suck to have a shimekomi gifted to you and immediately declared cursed because you lost a few bouts.

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2 hours ago, Yarimotsu said:

More seriously, it'd really suck to have a shimekomi gifted to you and immediately declared cursed because you lost a few bouts.

Did Harumafuji ever wear a silver shimekomi again?

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Posted (edited)

The channel seems to have taken on the mantle of Sumopedia from the NHK (which makes sense if it was the same guys who ran Sumopedia to begin with), with Ōyama oyakata (ex-Daihi/Ōnobori) explaining the pre-bout rituals. 

Highlights:

  • Ōyama explaining the purpose of the chirichozu (the hand clap + arm spread combination at the tokudawara): removing dust from a rikishi's hands and showing ritually that no weapons were being carried.
  • Ōyama's face on seeing Hiro's shiko must be seen to be believed. He looks almost ready to correct Hiro.
  • And in fact Hiro does get a lesson! He sounds like he needs a chiropractor after that.
  • A good reminder of/introduction to the religio-cultural background to sumo.
Edited by Seiyashi
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As this is stuff I learned from Lyall Watson on C4's show in the late 80s, I'm getting more entertainment than education from Hiro's show, atm.

That said, I learned '39' as 'thank you' is not restricted to texting; Oyama-san distinctly said 'San kyu' right at the start.

Back to entertainment, though. Oyama trying to manipulate a 40+ journalist like he would a 15yr-old deshi was ever so funny. Hiro is a good sport.

And maybe just once he ought to go full Police Squad with holding the pose at the end and roll the credits over it.

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Oh the look on Oyama-san's face when Hiro does his smiling, clumsy shiko to cam.

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Posted (edited)

The latest Sumo Prime Time episode deals with the banzuke.

  • Hiro begins the piece to camera in the Kokugikan, amongst toriteki rikishi picking up the actual physical copies that their heya will mail out later on.
  • After some stock footage of Hōshōryū and Mitakeumi doing the customary pointing, it switches to interviews with some of the aforementioned toriteki (this is a massive plus - it's rare to see toriteki given any spotlight at all).
    • One says he feels the pressure to perform for September (I read this as him seeing the banzuke as the start of the basho "season" proper).
    • Another says he feels happier when his name is written larger (i.e. being promoted up the divisions).
  • That's followed by an overview of the six divisions and how the banzuke generally works based on KKs/MKs. Some justified simplifications here: he says all rikishi start at the bottom (obviously glossing over TD), and he says that Terunofuji is the one and only yokozuna - technically true, but may give the wrong impression that yokozuna is successive.
  • An interview with Ichinojō, echoing the sentiment expressed by the toriteki earlier: he says he was happy when he was promoted to jūryō because his name was so easy to find. He then gets in on the Sumo Prime Time action.
  • An explanation of sekitori vs toriteki privileges follows. Kinbōzan, one of two new jūryō promotees, is given a little focus.
  • Very unusually (IMO), Hiro then talks about the jonokuchi portion of the banzuke, even if only for a bit. He also introduces a new term: "mushimegane", or magnifying glass, as those rikishi have their names written so small you need one to read their names.
  • He also mentions that supporting members of the NSK, such as gyōji, are also listed on the banzuke. The video closes with PR for the Aki basho.

Hiro's content continues to impress. Not just because of presentation (which you would sort of expect two ex-NHK employees to have down pat), but because I think they're doing a fantastic job of giving a much more balanced and well-rounded introduction to sumo in English than anything I've seen so far. It says something about how toriteki are usually treated that having a couple of interviews with them and focusing in any way on the jonokuchi division is revolutionary, but it is what it is.

Edited by Seiyashi
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As someone with very limited foreign language ability, I'm always slightly in awe of those who have mastered English as a 2nd tongue, as Hiro undoubtedly has. That Japanese trait of struggling with any ending consonant other than N snuck through, though, when he said Kinbozan hails from 'Kazahkustan'. 

I'm not knocking him. It just really caught my ear. If anything it made me like him even more. Same with Ichinojo's 'Sumo Puraimu Taimu'.

Great little show.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, RabidJohn said:

As someone with very limited foreign language ability, I'm always slightly in awe of those who have mastered English as a 2nd tongue, as Hiro undoubtedly has. That Japanese trait of struggling with any ending consonant other than N snuck through, though, when he said Kinbozan hails from 'Kazahkustan'. 

I'm not knocking him. It just really caught my ear. If anything it made me like him even more. Same with Ichinojo's 'Sumo Puraimu Taimu'.

Great little show.

I seem to remember Hiro spent part of his youth in the US, specifically Texas?

This is perhaps a bit more relevant to Godango's languages thread, but I have to say it's much easier to pick up more languages when you're exposed to it as a child, especially if there's a lot of passive and continuing exposure in your environment. As someone who self-studied Japanese as a fourth language/dialect in my teens, and who had sporadic contact with it before sumo, it takes way more conscious effort to recall any aspect of it than my primary languages, and that leads to a bit of a vicious cycle where you simply read it slower and therefore absorb less of it per unit of time than your primary languages. I tend to find that my Japanese improves after I've been in Japan for a few days - and then it's time to leave again!

There is a reason that children's education in languages has been a focus of those seeking to either eradicate or restore languages.

Edited by Seiyashi
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This is just great content for English-speaking fans.

I'm eager to see what he does during the upcoming basho.

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That was a fun one. Not much new in terms of info but good to have the sekitori involved and I like the idea of a feature on the previous basho’s champion (though it probably wouldn’t have worked in Hakuho’s day …)

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31 minutes ago, Eikokurai said:

That was a fun one. Not much new in terms of info but good to have the sekitori involved and I like the idea of a feature on the previous basho’s champion (though it probably wouldn’t have worked in Hakuho’s day …)

Agreed, it was great.

I suppose there'll always been sansho winners, new promotees and upper sanyaku hopefuls even if we get in another period of dai-yokozuna dominance. This should be fun.

Edited by Godango
My initial comment came directly from typo city.

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Personally I love the BTS access they get to the heya. That's twice they get to walk into the kitchen already. I hope Tamawashi wins in Aki, because I really want to see footage of his "Tamawashi ni-nin gakari" type training.

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I loved the "big reveal" at the start. As if it could have been anyone else!

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3 hours ago, Octofuji said:

I loved the "big reveal" at the start. As if it could have been anyone else!

I thought it was Enho.

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SPT has got two new videos: one is an interview with various notable rikishi like Hōshōryū, Takayasu, and Tochinoshin prior to the start of the basho, and another is on dohyō construction.

Something interesting of note: there is at least one yobidashi expressing a sentiment (in the usual sumo/Japanese manner) that sumo fans around the world will be able to enjoy the basho, and that sentiment is also echoed by at least one other person between the two new videos (can't remember who). A sign of changing attitudes?

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Actually, a third video for the shōnichi digest just went up. It's basically a rehash of the NHK feed for the sanyaku bouts. Other than the interview with some (obviously foreign) fans, not much else of interest here, to be honest. I hope Hiro gets the ability to go behind the scenes at the hanamichi or shitaku-beya, and/or conduct interviews with rikishi at some point in time during the basho.

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I can just imagine those obviously foreign fans presenting their tickets at the K'gan box office, being asked if they could speak English, and then, if they foolishly answered in the affirmative, being made to record an ident for Hiro before being permitted to take their seats.

For me, this was his least impressive video so far.

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