Sumo has always been, pardon the pun, a big thing for me. It started when my family first got cable and I found sumo on NHK, Japan’s public broadcasting channel. Something about two giant men throwing salt, stomping, and colliding to force each other out of a ring got my attention. I totally got hooked on the rituals, the visuals, and the fact that I had no idea what the announcers were talking about. While this was going on in the background my brother and I would wrestle each other inside a hula hoop. He was 4 and I was 11. I won 100% of the time.

I’d seen it live before when I lived in Osaka years ago. I’ve been itching to watch sumo again in person, and cheap tickets are only released the morning of. So last Saturday my wife and I woke up at 5:15 and biked in the dark in 4 degree weather to get to the Fukuoka Kokusai Center by 7:15. I wasn’t sure how long the line up was going to be, but getting up early totally paid off! When the ticket counter opened at 8:00, we were fourth in line. We got the tickets and wandered around the city until it was time to see some sumo action. This tournament only happens once a year, so this was super special.

So early…




I admit I staged this…



Only 10


To be continued here

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