[sumo] Dohyo matsuri this morning

JZ8D-SMMN at asahi-net.or.jp JZ8D-SMMN at asahi-net.or.jp
Sat Jan 8 04:10:59 EST 2011

Something new this time: behind the bigwigs in the very front row there was another row of chairs, with Hakuho and the ozeki sitting there.
John Gunning was busy taking photos from the rear-west hanamichi so  I didn't bother making too many notes. 

Hardly any of the 'real' NHK announcers were visible through the crowd of maybe 200 gawpers, 
most obviously first-timers in conducted tours.
The 'learn about sumo culture and history' tours have been going on for years, 
but today the Kyokai seemed to be pulling out all the stops, and more people, 
including Hakuho after the yusho photo presentation ceremony in the main doorway, 
that follows the dohyo-matsuri, were available for autographs. 
The new photos will be at the extreme right of the West side, btw. 

As I wended my way homeward an hour or so later I kept coming across more small groups walking around, 
mostly led by local retirees who had trained as guides and found this nice post-retirement job. 
The Ryogoku authorities are working very hard at raising interest in all the local features,
 not just sumo-related, and groups starting from the information office (which opened only last year, I think) 
were mingling with the groups that were going around sumo-related places after the dohyo-matsuri. 

>From time to time I heard the sound of the fure-daiko drumming of a group of yobidashi 
that was working the neighborhood, and recalled the time, many years ago, when the 
forerunner of this particular group allowed me to tag along all morning. 
They visited, by appointment, not only every stable on the route but other places 
that had booked a visit, such as restaurants and, in one case, a petrol/gas station. 
They also paid a courtesy call on the elderly widow of a former yobidashi (or was it a gyoji?) --
the only case where they left a gift instead of receiving one. 
Finally they arrived at the heya that was offering them lunch, and I parted company with them. 

Heigh-ho, sumo tomorrow! 


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