The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sumo and Stuff

Marcus and I dragged our butts down to see the Sumo on Saturday. Marcus was green around the gills from the previous night, and I was really tired too, but we decided to make the most of the day. After a few transfers on the train, we arrived at the Kokugikan, the national sumo hall where wrestling is held 3 times a year (the other 3 times being a travelling sumo road show that goes to Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka).

We bought our tickets and had a bit of time to kill before the good matches started. We were both starving so I suggested that we try some "chanko", the famous hot-pot that sumo wrestlers eat in mass quantities in order to put on weight. I've had it before and it's really delicious and filling, and lots of former sumo wrestlers operate chanko restaurants around the Kokugikan, so it seemed like the thing to do.

We went to the first chanko restaurant we found. The woman who greeted us seemed a bit surprised. "You want to eat chanko?" she said with a hint of incredulity. "Uh, yes please..." I said, wondering what I was missing. We were shown to our table, and the waiter brought out menus. He pointed to the chanko section. The cheapest selection was over 4000 yen per person, or about $50 CDN a person. Ahhhhh... suddenly I understood their reluctance to seat a couple of scruffy foreigners like ourselves. We hemmed and hawed and ordered some snack food which was more reasonably priced. Fortunately, it was also sumo-sized, so what I thought would be an appetizer was actually very satisfying. Embarrassed but full, we were off to the sumo.

I enjoy sumo a great deal, but tired as I was, I had a hard time focusing as we were there for about 3 hours. Marcus dozed off a few times, but I woke him up whenever something interesting happened. The wrestler that I support lost his match to one of the crowd favorites, a Mongolian who is very small for a wrestler. (The crowd loves an underdog.) I took a lot of pictures (with my film camera) so hopefully they'll turn out.

The next day (Sunday) I had an offer to go to a picnic in the park, but it looked like it was going to rain, so I chickened out. I was right, however, and it soon turned to a thunderstorm. Glad I decided to stay home and do laundry...


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