Yes, a pro wrestling post. In its heyday in Japan, puroresu (プロレス) was as popular as any sport. People used to crowd around their TV sets on New Year’s Eve and watch a card put on by one of the big promotions. Its top stars are cultural icons. And if anyone in the world wants to make it big in the business, they come to Japan to prove their mettle. It’s kind of a big deal here.
In my almost four years in total of living in this country, I had yet to see pro wrestling live. But last weekend I decided to see what the fuss was about and saw a show that coincided with the Hakata Dontaku Festival, one of the most attended festivals in Japan. Smart business move.
Almost a surreal atmosphere being in a crowd of people who would normally be queuing in perfect lines waiting patiently for the next train to arrive. They were cheering for their favourites and hurling verbal bombs at the bad guys. Even fans in baseball games are encouraged to cheer in turns. But this ain’t baseball. This is Japanese pro wrestling.