Monday, June 1, 2009

Sumo (conclusion)

It’s rain pretty much every other day for now and with work piling up I don’t get much of a chance to breathe but I should update the blog and finally finish up the Sumo story, shouldn’t I? Let’s see… Where was I?… Ah, yes…

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Let’s start with various gestures. As I mentioned before there is a big ceremonial component to sumo and you can clearly see that when watching the competition. Certain gestures are for expressing a message, like showing open palms indicate the willingness to engage in fair-play. Other gestures are related to showing respect to the sport and the ring. For example, the wrestlers need to “purify” themselves and the ring when enter the ring – even if they only left the ring for a second. Talking about showing respect – the wrestlers are ranked not just based on their performance but their respect and sportsmanship as well. The “wins” of course matter a lot but wrestlers who are deemed to be not “behaving well” are usually punished by the national sumo committee.

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There are no advertising billboards in the arena which is a huge contrast to pretty much any other professional sport. Given that it attracts huge crowds and is broadcasted nationally, one might find that a bit strange. Well, not to worry – there are ads but they are a bit hidden under a “traditional” cover. Before popular wrestlers’ bouts, as the wrestlers are warming up, men carrying advertising signs get in the ring. Each man carries a single banner containing a single ad and the more popular the wrestlers are, more signs there are. Each banner also signifies a set amount of reward money (about $500) to the winner so, for example, if there were 10 banners, the winner would receive an extra $5000.

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Let me finish up with this picture I snapped of the Japanese Prime Minister, Aso Taro. He was there to give the final trophy to the winner. I heard that even though prime ministers are supposed to give the final trophy they rarely show up to do so. This time, the elections being so close, this was a good photo-op for the PM and he did not miss it. Well, I am not complaining. I got the chance to see him in person and snap a photo. Not too shabby I would think – especially given that he looks almost certain to lose the upcoming elections…

4 comments:

Betty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Betty said...

I'm shocked the prime minister is sitting there in the crowds along with everyone else. No security guards maintaining a perimeter or anything? It looks like anyone can go up and touch the prime minister.

Thanks for the great informative posts!

Hideki said...

I've never seen a prime minister that close!

Ulaş said...

It was very interesting. He had security but they were there just watching mainly. So many people walked over to take pictures of him that at some point security people stopped people who wanted to walk over from the other sections though people sitting in the central section could still take pictures/talk to the prime minister during the breaks. It was pretty cool.