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madorosumaru

Yusho and Sansho Interviews

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Here are the interviews of the yusho and sansho winners from Natsu Basho. Since these awards are so often garnered by gaijin rikishi recently, I have included a grade for their Japanese language ability, based on an evaluation using the Stanford FLOSEM (Foreign language Oral Skills Evaluation matrix) You can listen to the interviews by going to the Kyokai site.

YUSHO - Hakuho

"This is Hakuho, who just won my first yusho. Thanks to all of you, I was able to achieve yusho this basho. I would appreciate your support again next basho."

Stanford FLOSEM:

Comprehension: 4; Fluency: 3; Vocabulary: 3; Pronunciation: 4; Grammar: 3.

Comment: Overall good understanding of language. Tends to falter and hesitate at times. Slurs some sentence endings. Limited vocabulary for a learner with over five years' exposure to language. [GRADE: A-; Class Level - Intermediate]

Shukun-Sho & Gino-Sho - Miyabiyama

"This is Miyabiyama, who received Shukun-Sho and Gino-sho. I was able to engage in very good sumo this basho. I am going to do my very best again next basho so please cheer for me."

Stanford FLOSEM:

Comprehension: 6; Fluency: 6; Vocabulary: 4; Pronunciation: 6; Grammar: 5.

Comment: Comprehension and fluency native-like. Very little or no regional accent despite provincial origin. Vocabulary is limited for a university graduate but commensurate with sumotori standard. Excessive use of pachinko terminology. Grammar belies learner's "jock" background. [Grade: A-; Class Level - Advanced (Native Speaker)]

Kanto-Sho - Asasekiryu

"This is Asasekiryu, who received the Kanto-Sho. I will do my best to achieve an even better record next basho. I would appreciate all of you cheering for me again."

Stanford FLOSEM:

Comprehension: 5; Fluency: 4; Vocabulary: 4; Pronunciation: 3; Grammar: 4.

Comment: Generally fluent with some lapses. Has definite problem with accent, and intonation pattern is often inappropriate, if not bizarre. Better command expected for learner with his experience. Vocabulary and grammar are satisfactory for rikishi environment. [Grade: B+; Level - Intermediate II]

Kanto-Sho - Baruto

"This is Baruto, who got the Kanto-Sho. I would like to do kachi-koshi again next basho. I will gambarize. Please cheer for me."

Stanford FLOSEM:

Comprehension: 3; Fluency: 3; Vocabulary: 2; Pronunciation: 3; Grammar: 2.

Comment: Has excellent grasp of language for a two-year student. Vocabulary is limited but pronunciation is remarkably intelligible, especially when compared to European colleagues with more years of study. Learner uses simple sentence structure to minimize grammatical errors. [Grade: A-; Class Level - Beginner II]

Edited by madorosumaru

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Kanto-Sho - Baruto

"This is Baruto, who got the Kanto-Sho. I would like to do kachi-koshi again next basho. I will gambarize. Please cheer for me."

English translation under the Baruto's sansho interview in Kyokai's web page (http://sumo.goo.ne.jp/eng/hon_basho/topics/interview/yusho_sansho/index.html):

"I'm Ama and I took the Technique Prize for the second time. Next tournament I am once again going to work very hard to do the type of good sumo that you all enjoy. I look forward to your continued support."

(I am not worthy...)

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English translation under the Baruto's sansho interview in Kyokai's web page (http://sumo.goo.ne.jp/eng/hon_basho/topics/interview/yusho_sansho/index.html):

"I'm Ama and I took the Technique Prize for the second time. Next tournament I am once again going to work very hard to do the type of good sumo that you all enjoy. I look forward to your continued support."

(I am not worthy...)

The Kyokai guys were sloppy. They used the translation from last basho's awards. (I am not worthy...)

Or maybe some joker gave Baruto a script and he didn't know what he was reading. (I am not worthy...)

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you would think if he read it and saw Ama and not his own name anywhere in the statement that he might have found something wrong with it lol

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you would think if he read it and saw Ama and not his own name anywhere in the statement that he might have found something wrong with it lol

Unlike a sentence in English which has the subject at the beginning (i.e., I am Ama/Baruto . . .), the subject of a sentence in Japanese is at the end. By the time, Bart realized it, he was already well on his way . . . or, most likely, he probably wouldn't even have noticed it in his nervousness and the exitement of the occasion. (I am not worthy...)

Another possibility is the scenario I introduced a few weeks ago, when someone suggested that Baruto "always seems like he knows how to say the right thing." My response to that was perhaps Baruto had someone pulling the strings like Billy Flynn did for Roxie Hart in that marvelous marionette scene in "Chicago." This time, the puppeteer was playing a joke on the rookie Bart. The last line would be changed to "I will do my sumo. I will always gambarize! . . . I am Ama." (I am not worthy...)

Edited by madorosumaru

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What is this Stanford FLOSEM business?

To me, this is utter nonsense.

There are so many other variables to judging language ability.

Is this how you rate someone's skill in another language? I don't think so.

Language is a fluid thing, and translation is an approximation.

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My feeling is that that the foreign wrestlers are just that, foreign wrestlers, and their Japanese doesn't doesn't need to be scrutinized all the time.

How much Japanese can you speak? Would you want to be interviewed in Japanese? Probably not, so chill out.

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I'm pretty sure Madorosumaru's Japanese is perfect, and he can be interviewed by anyone , anywhere , anytime, and still whack them one under the table.

I think any foreign rikishi who is less than perfect (reading, writing, TV interviews)in Japanese after, say, two years, should be forced to retire.

Any foreign worker in any other large Japanese conglomerate will tell you -either you conform, reform, or transform-or fill in a form!!

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I'm pretty sure Madorosumaru's Japanese is perfect, and he can be interviewed by anyone , anywhere , anytime, and still whack them one under the table.

In the immortal words of a very wise guy, "I don't know if I should be flattered, offended, or embalmed." (I am not worthy...)

In any case, my Japanese is hardly perfect, and I have been dismal in interviews, no matter what the language. In view of the recent discussion in the Forum on gaijin rikishi's proficiency in Japanese, I thought it would be interesting to "grade" them according to an evaluation system used in the schools of the great state of California.

Japanese blogs often bring up the subject and local media never ceases to comment on the foreign rikishi's command (or lack of such) of the Japanese language. The comments I made for each rikishi reflected not only the brief yusho/sansho interviews but what I have gathered over months, if not years, of reading and translating their quotes and the media assessments of them.

Hakuho's Japanese is okay although many have commented that it should be much better for someone who has been in Japan for over five years. Asasekiryu retains quite a bit of an accent despite his years in Japan and the fact that he spent two years at Meitoku Gijuku. Baruto has,a s discussed in another thread, made tremendous progress in two short years. His Japanese is remarkably free of accent. He also is intelligent enough to use a simple, basic vocabulary and keep his sentences short to avoid getting into any trouble.

Asashoryu, who came to Japan at the same time as Asasekiryu and spent one year at Meitoku, has a much better command of Japanese. Of course, he has had more occasions to make speeches and otherwise be quoted. The interesting thing is that Asasekiryu is considered by most that know them to be the more thoughtful and studious of the two.

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How much Japanese can you speak? Would you want to be interviewed in Japanese? Probably not, so chill out.

overreact much?

Edited by _the_mind_

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Before anybody gets totally bent out of shape over such trivial matter, the seriousness of "The Evaluations" can be discerned from the inclusion of Miyabiyama, born and raised in Ibaraki, Japan. Miyabi was graded as if he were matriculated in an Advanced Level [Foreign Language] class for Native Speakers, a course not uncommon in the culturally and ethnically-diverse state of California.

In his many recent interviews, Miya-babe reveals a highly developed sense of humor but, alas, he possesses a somewhat limited vocabulary and shows an unfortunte tendency to rely excessively on colloquialisms, many of which have pachinko origin. These shortcomings exist even though Miyabi is a college graduate. It appears that a "jock" is a "jock" no matter what the country or language.

Edited by madorosumaru

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I think any foreign rikishi who is less than perfect (reading, writing, TV interviews)in Japanese after, say, two years, should be forced to retire.

This is a joke, right?

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How much Japanese can you speak? Would you want to be interviewed in Japanese? Probably not, so chill out.

overreact much?

Yes, I overreacted.

It's just that I've been struggling to learn Japanese for the last 5 years. It isn't an easy thing to do, even though I live in Japan and am of above average intelligence.

I found the idea that someone could take all my struggles and frustrations, as well as the successes and joys, and reduce them to these little canned critiques extremely offensive.

Just the idea, mind you, not any forum member personally.

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I found the idea that someone could take all my struggles and frustrations, as well as the successes and joys, and reduce them to these little canned critiques extremely offensive.

In that case, I suspect you're going to find a lot of things offensive on this forum (and the rest of life), given how much of what we all post here essentially amounts to "little canned critiques" of the rikishi's "struggles and frustrations", beyond just their language skills. Something like FLOSEM merely puts it into standardized form.

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I found the idea that someone could take all my struggles and frustrations, as well as the successes and joys, and reduce them to these little canned critiques extremely offensive.

In that case, I suspect you're going to find a lot of things offensive on this forum

Such as the condescending tone of your post.

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Such as the condescending tone of your post.

Sorry 'bout that, but I tend to find people engaging in selective outrage and projecting their own issues onto unrelated events a bit annoying, enough so that it's a bit difficult for me to deal with such behaviour in a non-condescending manner.

Eh, no matter now, but I'll certainly find it interesting to see if you're going to live up to your own lofty standards in the future.

Edited by Asashosakari

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Unlike a sentence in English which has the subject at the beginning (i.e., I am Ama/Baruto . . .), the subject of a sentence in Japanese is at the end.

OK, I haven't listened to these speeches so I don't know exactly what they said, and I'm not a strict grammarian, but isn't the subject of a Japanese sentence usually at the beginning? This is the case unless the 'normal' sentence structure is intentionally inverted (as younger people do in my experience).

So, Kyou wa atsui desu " (Today is hot) has the subject (kyou, today) at the beginning.

The way that the subject might be near the end is if you use adjectival clauses to describe the subject because the adjectival clause goes before the subject, thus pushing it further towards the end of the sentence comparatively.

So, something like "Yusho shita Hakuho desu" which would mean "This is Hakuho who won the tournament" has Hakuho towards the end because the adjectival clause is before the noun.

Or have I missed something?

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English translation under the Baruto's sansho interview in Kyokai's web page (http://sumo.goo.ne.jp/eng/hon_basho/topics/interview/yusho_sansho/index.html):

"I'm Ama and I took the Technique Prize for the second time. Next tournament I am once again going to work very hard to do the type of good sumo that you all enjoy. I look forward to your continued support."

:-)

The Kyokai guys were sloppy. They used the translation from last basho's awards. (On the banzuke...)

Or maybe some joker gave Baruto a script and he didn't know what he was reading. :-)

Probably not worth much but the NSK don't have much to do with the English on the English version of the homepage. NTT does it all.

Edited by Adachinoryu

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Such as the condescending tone of your post.

Sorry 'bout that, but I tend to find people engaging in selective outrage and projecting their own issues onto unrelated events a bit annoying, enough so that it's a bit difficult for me to deal with such behaviour in a non-condescending manner.

Eh, no matter now, but I'll certainly find it interesting to see if you're going to live up to your own lofty standards in the future.

i find that quite ironic as it means you do the same thing you are chastising him for. "engaging in a selective outrage and projecting their own issues onto unrealted events" not trying to be a dick here, but thats exactly what you did with this post.

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Such as the condescending tone of your post.

Sorry 'bout that, but I tend to find people engaging in selective outrage and projecting their own issues onto unrelated events a bit annoying, enough so that it's a bit difficult for me to deal with such behaviour in a non-condescending manner.

Eh, no matter now, but I'll certainly find it interesting to see if you're going to live up to your own lofty standards in the future.

i find that quite ironic as it means you do the same thing you are chastising him for. "engaging in a selective outrage and projecting their own issues onto unrealted events" not trying to be a dick here, but thats exactly what you did with this post.

And, not the first time eather, popping up from nowhere with his condescending, I-know-better thingy. Annoying indeed.

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i find that quite ironic as it means you do the same thing you are chastising him for. "engaging in a selective outrage and projecting their own issues onto unrealted events" not trying to be a dick here, but thats exactly what you did with this post.

Nah, I'm not outraged (selectively or otherwise), I'm mostly commenting out of amusement. An outraged response would have sounded a lot different. I can assure you that you'd recognize it if I was outraged, as certain long-time forum members have surely witnessed me in that state and can testify that I write somewhat differently when I'm frothing at the mouth. B-)

Anyway, the main difference here is that I'm not holding him to any standard that I wouldn't want myself to be measured by. If somebody wants to criticize me for something (as you're doing here), I promise I won't be "extremely offended", no matter how much precious effort I might have invested in that which is being criticized. :-) Nothing's more useless than people trying to spare my feelings by telling me everything is fine when it isn't, but then YMMV. Maybe Shibouyama is, in fact, going to follow his self-imposed standards as well (namely that certain rikishi-related topics such as their language skills are just too delicate for flippant comments), but I suspect that would make it a bit difficult for him to discuss sumo.

So, in that spirit - thanks to you and BuBa for registering your objections. Anyway, ;-) so I'll stop hijacking mado-san's thread now.

Edited by Asashosakari

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. . . so I'll stop hijacking mado-san's thread now.

(Sigh) This is like getting my stolen Bimmer back without the hubcaps, grill, and even the engine . . .

Actually, you are not guilty of "hijacking" the thread. It was abandoned long ago for having lost its original purpose.

Edited by madorosumaru

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Unlike a sentence in English which has the subject at the beginning (i.e., I am Ama/Baruto . . .), the subject of a sentence in Japanese is at the end.

OK, I haven't listened to these speeches so I don't know exactly what they said, and I'm not a strict grammarian, but isn't the subject of a Japanese sentence usually at the beginning? This is the case unless the 'normal' sentence structure is intentionally inverted (as younger people do in my experience).

Not at the beginning, per se, but certainly before the verb. Verbs always come last in Japanese sentences.

So, Kyou wa atsui desu " (Today is hot) has the subject (kyou, today) at the beginning.

The thing to note here is that "wa" is not a subject marker (like ga), but rather a topic marker (something that doesn't quite exist in English). Technically, in the sentence "Kyou wa atsui desu", the subject is not "kyou", but rather unexpressed (akin to the dummy subject in English: "It is hot"). So in effect, the sentence is not "Today is hot" (that would be Kyou ga atsui), but rather "As for today, it is hot", or in more natural idiom, "It's hot, today", with the implication of comparison to other days.

The reason the distinction is important becomes clear when you get into more complex sentences:

"Kyou wa sumou wo mi ni itte-kita." Here the sentence has only two nouns, neither of which is the subject. Kyou is the topic, sumo is the object, and the subject is understood only through context. Understood-subjects are very often the case in Japanese. If we were explicitly state the subject of this sentence as "boku", then it would be (in the most natural idiom) "Kyou wa boku ga sumou wo mi ni itta." Here it comes after the topic, but before the object, with the verb coming last. Conceivably, you could switch the topic, subject, and object around and the sentence would still be intelligible, but it would no longer be natural.

It is not unusual for the topic and subject to be the same, e.g., "Boku wa sumou wo mi ni itta", but in this case the subject is still understood and unexpressed: "Boku wa (boku ga) sumou wo mi ni itta."

It's a tough thing to figure out, but relatively important. Even ultra-high-level bad-ass speakers of Japanese give away their non-native speaker status by mistakes in "wa" and "ga".

The way that the subject might be near the end is if you use adjectival clauses to describe the subject because the adjectival clause goes before the subject, thus pushing it further towards the end of the sentence comparatively.

So, something like "Yusho shita Hakuho desu" which would mean "This is Hakuho who won the tournament" has Hakuho towards the end because the adjectival clause is before the noun.

Or have I missed something?

Nope, that's exactly right.

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