Thursday, 28 February 2013
Tales from our trip to Tokyo, Australia, New-Zealand & Singapore
Tokyo - city of lights and color
Tokyo - <3 SUMO
If you happen to be in Tokyo during one of the three grand Sumo tournaments — 15-day events in January, May and September — you should definitely go and see sumo wrestling. It is an absolute blast! We bought tickets in the morning, spent a few hours in Akihabara - area packed only of electronic stores and game halls, before going to see the games. Akihabara is a nerds heaven and is famous for its countless electronics shops. You can also see a lot of game halls and such devoted to anime and manga which is quite interesting. While we were there it started to rain - quite heavily. And soon enough it turned to snow. It was weird how quickly it turned to snow and complete winter. We just laughed as it was so absurd. I mean, look at me in the wind and snow storm with my huge raincoat - it was hilarious!
Around 2 o'clock we headed to the sumo games and spent the rest of the day watching big men strech and stomp in the arena. Sounds boring but it definitely wasn't! It all goes down in Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo's National Sumo Hall. If you want get there, take the JR Yamanote line to Akihabara and transfer to the Sobu line for Ryogoku station; the stadium is next door or take the Toei Oedo line to Ryogoku station. Apparently if you go on a Friday or Saturday evening the place is packed so you better book tickets beforehand. We went on the first day of the tournament so the tickets were easy to come by. Ticket information found here.
The game itself is so funny. One game, or bout as they call it, usually lasts for just a few intense seconds (bodies lock, twist, ripple, drop) with a lot of posturing (stretching, stomping, salt-tossing) in between. The actual match is over in a matter of seconds and it seemed to be quite rare that they get to a point where they throw each other over the lines (but when they do, it gets a big roar from the audience ;) Normally one just rushes and attacks and the other one moves and the attacker falls on his face ;) If you're interested, you can read about the rules of sumo here.
At the start of each round the Rikishi (sumo wrestlers) come to the arena wearing ceremonial aprons and do a routine in the ring - this is worthwhile seeing as it looks funny in our eyes when big men wearing strings walk in a ring and do funny movements ;) While you're there you should eat their special chicken (can't remember what it is called though ;) and drink local beer there - we did and it was perfect :)