It is soooooo fine!
I mean really really fine. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it half as much as I did. My one experience with wrestling was being forced to watch WWF as it was then by some boys at primary school; it kind of biased me after that.
So I went to the sumo match with low expectations; it was going to be an incite into Japanese culture and the Japanese form of Buddhism, the sort of education that would probably induce me to leave early and wander round the museum next door. In short I was going because I am in Japan and I like hanging out with the people who were going.
Now when wrestling seems mainly to be about wearing strange spandex clothes and performing impossible moves (sorry to wrestling fans maybe its how the boys explained it to me!), to be honest no ones persuaded me otherwise about WWE as yet, I’m simply not interested.
When no one really cares what the guys are wearing, to the extent that both are practically naked except for a loincloth deal and its all about the perfect moment then I get the tension that builds up in the crowd. Sumo got to me.
Two huge men (height and width) are waiting to come together and engage physically. You can see the muscles tautening under the skin, you can feel the physicality of them pushing against each other. Its all about timing and its all about strength.
A sumo match starts when the wrestlers together deem it should (their breathing should be synchronised) and they place all four hands on the floor. Sometimes they stand in the ring and its not quite right so they walk out again and throw salt to purify the ring. They wrestle in a ritual circle and enter from the east and west. And the sheer concentration of muscle on muscle is amazing; matches are usually over in a few minutes; every wrestler fights once a day during the basho (competition) and there are about thirty fights each day; if you don’t count the fights between amateurs who want to become professional which start the day off, if you do thats about six hours of sumo each day!
There is a referee who dresses like a wizard in the centre of the ring and four judges who sit equidistantly around the ring. The referee makes the decisions but if there is confusion the judges confer. I only saw that once during one of the amateur matches.
It was amazing. I really enjoyed myself. I enjoyed the trains less on the way home as they had cancelled the express without telling anyone. Thanks to Nesuphyn for picking me up at an ungodly hour from the station!