[sumo] A beautifull day in Kirishima land
thierry.perran at club-internet.fr
thierry.perran at club-internet.fr
Thu Sep 11 12:38:07 EDT 2008
This list is all about sharing information dealing with our common passion,
which is sumo, so here is an experience I want to share with you.
I am in Japan right now, and I took advantage of one week JR Rail Pass to
visit Kyushu, the third biggest island of Japan. I had a pretty tight schedule to
visit as many towns, temples, volcanos, onsens (hot springs) as possible in a
week. Everything was going as scheduled (Nagasakim Kumamoto, etc...), but
the volcano activity of Mount Aso prevented me to do a nice hiking day in the
middle of Kyushu, because of toxic gas release.
So, I got to Kagoshima one day ahead of schedule, after spending two days
visiting Kagoshima and Sakurajima, I still was not sure what I was going to do
on my 6th day in Kyushu, wednesday the 10th of September. There are a lot
of thing to do in the Kagoshima prefecture, and I decided to try one of the
weirdest thing: Go to the Kirishima park and try to find the house of one of
my favorite rikishi, the powerful former ozeki Kirishima !!
Yes, I know this is a little bit crazy, but I am always crazier in hollidays
anyway! As Moti used to said, the life of a sumomaniac is never done...
So, ozeki Kirishima was born and raised in a small village named Makizono,
but this village does not exist anymore! It actually merger with other small
villages in Kirishima park to form Kirishima City (Kirishima-shi). This means
that Kirishima City is really huge in terms of surface (at least 3 trains stations
from different lines), this was not going to help me eventually.
After discussing with some JR men in Kagoshima, I decided to follow their
piece of advice (bad idea actually), I went to the Kirishima Onsen station, a
rather big station in japanese country-side standard. Three taxis were there
and I checked the first one, explaining with my rusty japanese what I wanted
to do. To help the discussion, I had on my smartphone the Kirishima page of
the great sumo database website (Thanks Alexander!).
The first taxi driver knew nothing on sumo and thus knew nothing on
Kirishima's house. However, he did not want to lose his face like that and he
checked on the second driver, who did not know either. They finally checked
the third taxi driver and we finally had a lovable taxi drivers meeting on
Kirishima's house. I just love it!! It is always fun to be a black guy in deep
Japan. The people are so kind.
I started to feel embarassed for my taxi drivers, but I truly did not know how
to help. But this was my lucky day after all, and a bus from a big local hotel
came by the station. I ran to me and explained to him the situation. The bus
driver was an old local guy, who knew ozeki Kirishima's family, taught one
taxi driver how to get there. The bus driver also told me that I stopped at a
wrong station and Kirishima's house was too far away to make it by walking.
So, I am finally in a cab going to the former Makizono village and Kirishima's
house. The old bus driver was right, and we reached the house with a large
marble plate telling a makuuchi rikishi was raised there. I took pictures of the
house and the plates, and I was about to get back to train station.
Then, a woman came to me and asked me what I was doing. I explained to
her I was a fan of ozeki Kirishima, I live in Paris, etc... Then, she cut me and
said I should meet Kirishima's father because he was actually in the house.
Naturally, I said I did want to disturb anybody and I knew I should have done
that. But the lady was not in a negociating mood and was already knocking at
the door. Ozeki Kirishima's father came out and invited me in his house to
drink tea. I said one more time that I was sorry for this strange situation. I
explained that his son's moving autobiography ("Fumarete mugi wa tsuyoku
naru", meaining the wheat you step on become stronger) was translated in
french (Great thanks again to Liliane Fujimori for her masterpiece work on
Memoire d'un lutteur de sumo) and then there are a lot of fans of his son in
France. Even people who knew nothing on sumo was touched by the book.
Kirishima's father allowed to visit his house, that features pitures of ozeki
kirishima all over the place. I saw a miniature of his Mainichi yusho portrait,
tegata of former Izutsu beya sekitori, jungyo pictures, etc... While I was in
awe looking at all the walls, I did not notice Kirishima's was not there. He
finally came back with personal photo albums!!!! I was totally surprised. My
taxi driver, who suspended his fee during the stay, was also surprised, but he
came to the table to see the photographs. I saw a lot of pictures that I have
never seen before, from his boyhood in Makizono to his ozekihood in Tokyo.
Unbelievable !! Before I left house, he took off one picture on his albums and
gave it to me! He also gave the banzuke-hyo with Michinoku beya stamp on it,
I finally left his house after we took a picture together before the marble
As U2 said, this was just a beautifull day... that I ended up dig in hot sand in
Ibusuki. That was nice too!!
See you on sunday in the kokugikan for those who will be there,
Thierry back in Paris next week
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