[sumo] Maeuri today

Doreen Simmons jz8d-smmn at asahi-net.or.jp
Sat Dec 6 08:51:48 EST 2008

Greetings, all. Seems quiet these days. The juniors got back on Sunday 
last aand have resumed t raining; the seniors and attendants are still 
on jungyo in Kyushu and Okinawa. I was in the southernmost group of 
Okinawa islands just a couple of weeks back, and wherever you turned 
there was a big poster of Asashoryu and details of the Ishigakijima 
sumo special.

Here in Ryogoku, I got my 15-day pack of unreserved seats today; the 
ticket sales seemed to go faster than expected. Since I am not in the 
market for fancy sajiki or better, there is no point in heroics. I 
cycle around somewhere between eight or nine, get a seiriken, check the 
board which tell you the hour at which your number will come up, and 
went on with the rest of my life.

A seiriken, for those of you who do not live here, is a numbered ticket 
that reserves you a place in line so you don't have to actually wait in 
line all that time. This time  I got chair seat (upstairs) seiriken 
#476 (downstairs seiriken are a different colour and have a separate 
numbering system). According to the signboard, the 400 numbers would 
come up between one and two p.m.

So, having accomplished a whole lot of chores, I cycled back at 1:20 -- 
to find a different board, with handwritten numbers, saying that the 
400s had been reached about an hour earlier and we were now well into 
the 500s. No problem; I went inside the Entrance Hall, told the guard 
on duty that I had a 'young number' and was put sixth in line; because 
it was fairly cold outside they were letting people out into the open 
in fours. With not more than ten minutes of actual waiting, I got to 
the window and duly acquired my bargain pack.

The Ryogoku people have not been idle; tours of the neighborhood were 
going gangbusters. Next week is the festival of the 47 Faithful 
Retainers. If you really want to know, Google Chushingura and you'll 
soon find the story, though it nearly always places the end of the 
story in the graveyard of the Sengakuji shrine in Shinagawa; it hardly 
ever mentions that the really exciting events ended in Ryogoku. This 
year some local history group has set up little notice boards all 
around the place, each telling the story of that particular place, plus 
copy of old picture. And guided tours start at fixed times from near 
the station. Today as I was cycling back from the Kokugikan I  passed 
three such groups. It is a nice way for people with seiriken to while 
away the two or three hours of waiting for their number to come up.

It's been a busy but productive day - this evening, secure in the 
knowledge that my tickets for January were in the bag,  I sang and did 
minor percussion in a big charity concert that had over 400 people 
trying to fit into the Benedictine church in Meguro, that is supposed 
to seat 350.

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

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