[sumo] This week's news (and not)

Doreen Simmons jz8d-smmn at asahi-net.or.jp
Fri Oct 13 22:38:58 EDT 2006


Finally half an hour to sit at the computer while the washing machine chugs 
away.

On Monday 9th, a public holiday, I treated myself to a visit to 
Dewanoumi-beya.  The juniors were having  regular session, with a 
shaggy-haired stranger working out hard. He was Ikehara of Tagonoura-beya. 
(Looks like a man to watch.)  I didn't bother to keep the win-loss record, 
as this kind of training isn't about scoring -- it's about working on 
improving weak points, and helping others to do the same.  Futen'o was 
there, and spent a full hour going methodically through his exercises -- 
but didn't step into the ring for any practice bouts at all. Dewaotori 
wasn't there. But huge Towanoumi, with the usual enormous strapping on his 
knee, did a long series of bouts with several others -- valuable experience 
for them,  intelligent maintenance for him. The master's  place was empty, 
and Kinkaiyama put a cushion there for me  (after checking first with the 
Ogi brothers, who outrank him as oyakata).  Later, former sekiwake 
Fukunohana, who had a long second career as oyakata Sekinoto, walked in and 
sat beside me; he retired at 65 not long ago, but apparently keeps coming 
in to keep a friendly eye on things. I got to know him and the master in 
their active days. It then occurred to me with a bit of a jolt that I had 
known the other three oyakata since they were 16-year-old entrants!

On Wednesday 11th, the Irish Ambassador and Mrs. Scannell gave a warm 
welcome to Colin Carroll, the first Irishman to come to Japan to take part 
in the upcoming World Championships in Sakai, Osaka. I had expected to see 
John Gunning there, but they told me he was working late and would meet up 
with Colin the next day. This may or may not have been posted on Sumo 
Forum-- one list is all I can handle, and this is it.

Thursday 12th was a sad anniversary; Gerry Toff died on this date in 1995. 
Gerry was one of the earliest NHK commentators, with an academic knowledge 
of sumo as well as a keen eye for a good photograph. He was highly 
respected by the sumo people and members of the Japanese press, enough to 
have been invited to write newspaper articles in Japanese. He was a 
Londoner, and a Sephardic Jew -- one of the UK's hidden resources. The Jews 
from Spain came in much earlier than the refugees from northern Europe, 
many of them well-respected financiers.

Today, Saturday 14th -- nothing much; I noticed a pile of yukata on the 
doorstep of Dewanoumi-beya.  This is a sign that men have come for degeiko 
(visiting another heya to train). I couldn't go in as it's not polite to 
visit the same heya twice in one week!  Later, as I was taking out the 
garbage, I noticed four foreigners --two men, one woman, one boy -- being 
turned away from Dewanoumi. I tried to divine the reason; one was carrying 
a map -- always a bad sign; and -- bingo! it was already a quarter-past 
nine!  They were speaking quietly but it sounded like French. Later I 
checked to see who had been doing degeiko, and it was just three men from 
nearby Kasugano, including tall Georgian Tochinoshin.

Now, back to the knotty problem of North Korea ....

Doreen Simmons
<jz8d-smmn at asahi-net.or.jp>


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