On Sunday afternoon, I went to my first ever sumo basho in Osaka. It was Day 1 of the spring tournament, and I stood outside the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium hoping to get close to the rikishi as they strode in. I was thrilled to be standing just a few meters from these colossal grapplers, snapping pictures of one and all, regardless of whether or not I knew their names. Of course the most exciting moment was when yokozuna and all-time tournament wins leader Hakuho came through. If I had been crazy, I could have climbed the little barrier, run up to him and touched him before being escorted away, but I wanted to watch the actual match, so I behaved. My best shot looked like this:
As I got escorted up to my seat, I looked around. WOW, so this is what it was like to watch it somewhere other than my living room! The wrestlers look so… tiny! That’s what happens when you sit in the “cheap” (¥6,000, mind you) seats! The view from my seat was fine but far.
Then I check the news and see that just a day later, my favorite Hanshin Tigers player, Matt Murton, attended Day 2. Missed him by a day! Of course, when you’re a star you get to see everything from just a little closer. While I would have been arrested for trying to touch Hakuho, Matt got to do this:
And while his seats may not have been a LOT better than mine, still his view of the dohyo (ring) was closer than mine:
Apparently Mr. Murton’s children love sumo as well, and his oldest, Micah (5) was saying “Ima sumo, ima sumo!” when his parents tried talking to him during the bouts. It was apparently Murton’s second trip to a basho, the first coming in 2010 when he went on to break Ichiro’s hitting record. Let’s hope this year brings him another 214 hits, or better yet, a Nippon Series championship for the team!