Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sumo – Summer Tournament Finals

P5240169As I mentioned before I was lucky enough to be invited to the day of the tournament finals by my Japanese teacher Ms. Uchida and I thoroughly enjoyed the watching the matches, listening to the crowds reactions,… the whole experience. I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone and everyone who may be in Japan during any of the tournaments. If you are lucky you might see the emperor (he shows up for 1 of the 15 days of the tournament though no one knows beforehand which day, I am told) or the prime minister (like on Sunday ;)). I am getting ahead of myself, let me take a step back and try to cover this in a bit more chronologically proper fashion. This is likely to be a multi-part deal as well since well, I am lazy :P

P5240168 So, let’s get started. The big Sumo tournaments in Tokyo take place in Ryogoku Kokugikan (両国国技館) which is, well, in Ryogoku. Getting there is pretty easy – make your way to Ochanomizu using either Chuo Line or Yamanote Line. From there on, it is just 5 minutes on Chuo-Sobu Line (中央総武線). The station itself is pretty small but you immediately know you are in the right place since you can see the tournament hall as soon as you get off the train and it is impossible to miss the huge posters of famous Sumo wrestlers inside the station. The tournament hall is very close – about 30 seconds on foot. There are a lot of signage; not that you would need it though. On Sumo days you just need to follow the stream of people to get you there.

When you get in you show your ticket and they point you to a little “store” inside with a number matching the back of your ticket. These little “stores” are basically pickup points for food and drinks that are included with the ticket. Inside, ticket holders, save for the last minute buyers who don’t get to pick a reserved spot, each get a little square of their own, with enough size to fit four tightly packed people. In fact, all tickets correspond to one of these squares and they are sold as a set of four. Well, I will end this post with a panorama of what I saw when I walked in. I think it gives some idea as to the atmosphere inside. To be continued in the next post in a couple of days :)


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