My dad used to live in Tokyo some 30 odd years ago, and developed an interest in photography. He and some work buddies went to the sumo tournament in Tokyo. As a child I remember looking through the slides he took on the projector. I think it's where my love for Japan began. I have roots without being roots to Japan.
My granddad on my mom's side was a WWII POW of Japan. Three weeks into joining up, getting on a boat from England, my granddad was captured by the Japanese and spent the remaining years building the railway in Burma and near Chiang Mai. I remember his stories of the Japanese soldiers: no bitterness or hatred, just as it was. He painted his way through PTSD, but that's for another blog.
My parents were married in Tokyo. I grew up with Japanese antiques and decor around our home. So when I moved to Japan, I experienced a strange form of nostalgia; strange as I had not lived in Japan before (visited yes). Things were familiar, and slightly removed.
So now fast forward 30 (and a bit) years, and it's my turn to go to the Sumo Tournament! My mom happened to be visiting, so I took her. She wasn't able to when my dad went, for being a little too far along with little, unborn me!
We were right at the top and the back of the arena, but with my 300ml zoom, I was pacified as I could see details and facial expressions pretty well.
It was exciting. And thrilling. For just a few seconds of intense concentration and skill and timing, before one was tossed out of the ring. There was a lot of build up and 'fluffing of feathers', pomp and bravado before the actual wrestle began. They size each other up with weight shifting, deep squatting and salt throwing (for purification) And then they do it twice more, before settling down, weight bared and centered.
Amazing how that much weight can be flipped so quickly
Check out the quick reflexes of the judge! He barely bends backwards to avoid a mouthful of foot. Notice there's no expression of astonishment. Must come with the training for being a sumo judge. Poker face.
The last fight was to determine champion, and it had to be contested! You can see how close it was!
The judges assembled, conferred, and decided upon a re-match. So we got one more fight!
And the champion of the day! There was another tournament the following day, which would determine the winner for the season.
Until next time, have fun traveling!