I met Doreen Simmons at 8:30 at
Ryogoku station (important note: know your way around Tokyo by train,
and especially learn by heart all the lines that lead you to Ryogoku station..).
We took a walk around the block, passing Kasugano Beya, where some
green -mawashied rikishi were standing out in the sun.
(Green Mawashi- lower than Juryo, non Sekitori; White Mawashi- an entirely different story..)
We turned left, and passed Izutsu -beya (Terao's family Heya run by brother Sakahoko).
But wait!! Who were these guys lolling in the morning sun, taping
themselves up and getting ready for asa-geiko?
Akinoshu, Elvis Presley, and Chiyotaikai
This is the time to note
something that I immediately noticed from day one:
The Rikishi are much bigger than they look or seem to look on TV.
Chiyo is big, and even Asanowaka is not small. It took me a minute to recognize
Chiyo because of his size. Only Akinoshima seemed smaller to me than I had imagined.
And on their left, another familiar face..
If this isn't the biggest smile you've ever seen, it must be Kaiho..
(these pictures were taken by Doreen)
Then, it was onward on our quest for
of my two ultimate goals: The Tango-man!!
Since he belongs to Michinoku, and there are very few challengers there,
he does a lot of de-geiko (practice at other heyas). That seemed to have helped,
seeing how he has developed recently. Doreen was hoping he would be at Dewanoumi.
We turned the corner and BOOM!! There he was, my man Hoshitango. It took me a second to
get over my excitement, and then we became real chummy. I gave him presents from Israel
(a good luck charm and a shirt), which seemed to have helped a little :-)
Elvis (again??) with Hoshitango-
Omiyage in left hand, and in full White-
Mawashi splendour (finally, and let's hope for a while yet..).
Notice the bicycles in the background. They're the Rikishis' main means
of transportation around Ryogoku. I even saw Chiyotaikai peddling away incessantly..
Then, we went to Doreen's house
right opposite the heya for some refreshments.
After that, down to Dewanoumi for Asa- Geiko. Doreen whispered some words to someone,
and I was promptly seated next to the Oyakata on a carpeted floor (whew..) and a zabuton.
Present were: Tochinonada, Kushimaumi, Mainoumi, Kinkaiyama, Tochinofuji, Tochinowaka,
Hoshitango, the other Argentinian Hoshiandesu, and Makushita East 1 and soon to be Juryo
again Tochinoiwa, who beat all of the others constantly..Even Kyujo Oginishiki was at hand..
"Hey! I thought Elvis was dead.." Oginishiki looks as if he's seen an Obake
(ghost),while Kushimaumi tries to move the building counter-clockwise..
Mainoumi mostly stood around doing nothing and sizing up the opposition.
He had three bouts only, and won them all.. I think the guy next to him is
Tanimura, who is the shortest guy in Sumo, but I'm not sure..
Kushimaumi, Hoshiandesu ( the other Argentinian, still in green, but not for long....),
and Tochinonada. Dewanoumi Oyakata right next to me..
Kinkaiyama, Hoshitango, his
tsukebito, and Tochinoiwa ( today known as Tochisakae..).
The back of the head of Dewanoumi Oyakata in the foreground.
After the keiko ended, I made my way
to the station via Izutsu-beya, hoping
to catch the inevitable Terao who was teetering on the verge of the Juryo abyss..
out he comes in gym shorts- no
mawashi for him.. He cracked some jokes at my expense,
and when I countered in Japanese he was quite surprised..We know how HIS Basho ended..
So, altogether, another good day at the office....
P.S. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Doreen
She is an extraordinary person. In person, she is even more angellic than on TV, if that is at all possible..