[sumo] Two (minor) new things this basho

Doreen Simmons jz8d-smmn at asahi-net.or.jp
Sat May 16 10:19:24 EDT 2009

Hi folks!

Today I was wandering around for a lot of the time, saying hello to 
people (very important to remind them that you still exist), checking 
at the stalls if there were any new souvenirs,  and found also myself 
helping quite a lot of first-timers with various matters. Why, oh why, 
don't people with unreserved seat tickets understand that these are 
only the uppermost row on the straight sides upstairs? doesn't it tell 
them somewhere? quite a lot of them think they are allowed to sit in 
any seats they find vacant. Then, when the real customers arrive, it is 
too late to get seats on Row 13 because people like me already have put 
a newspaper or a bag on them.

New thing #1: the so-called 'pamphlet' -- actually the official 
brochure -- has gone up for the first time in years, from 450 yen to 
500. Still worth it, IMHO, with new pictures of the top two divisions, 
and the 'special' at the back is the same as the Sumo Museum display 
this time -- 100 years of Kokugikans.

New thing #2: the daily serving of chanko is still going on, at the 
advertised times, but the venue has been moved, from the Kyoshujo (Sumo 
School for new apprentices) on the  2nd floor annex at the rear of the 
Kokugikan proper, to the downstairs Hiroba (large hall) that is 
actually under the rear of the entrance hall and the front seats. 
Normally this is off-limits and used only for private receptions such 
as unofficial retirements that don't merit the haircut on the real 
dohyo; and twice a year, a big charity sale by the local pawnbrokers' 
associations. I sneaked a look (though I was not in the market for 
chanko) and the entire hall was set with little tables, restaurant 
style, and people were paying a modest 250 yen, collecting a plastic 
bowl of authentic hot chanko-nabe from the servery, and finding a 
table. Very civilized and, this time, no lining up -- or very little. I 
redirected a foreign couple with baby stroller who were about to go 
down thinking it was the sumo museum.

Hope there aren't too many typos -- it's been a long day but a good one.

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

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