Day 4

Day 4 started off early as usual- by 9:00  I was at the Kokugikan for the Dohyo- Matsuri,
or the religious ceremony performed by priests (who are actually Gyoji acting as Shinto priests)
to ward off evil spirits. I met Doreen there, and was quite surprised that there were only a
handful of people present in the audience, when at the end of the ceremony there
 was to be another quick one with the Brothers Hanada at attendance. First , the Gyoji doing his thing:

   The  Gyoji-Priest

 Around the Dohyo, were the Kyokai members a-plenty...

 As you can see, not much of an audience turn-out..

A bit later..Still no sign of the masses..

As the ceremony ended, I managed to snap one of Kokonoe Oyakata( ex- Chiyonofuji) as he passed me by.

Left to right: Kokonoe Oyakata (former Yokozuna  Chiyonofuji, judging department deputy director),
 Musashigawa Oyakata (former Yokozuna Mienoumi, judging department deputy director),
Sadogatake Oyakata (former Yokozuna Kotozakura, judging department Director), and Tokitsukaze Oyakata
(former Ozeki Yutakayama, Rijicho, or the boss man..)  Thank you, Abe-san,
for  your help in identifying the above and clarifying the priest thing..

Immediately after this ceremony, Doreen rushed me outside to see the other ceremony:
The two last Basho champions standing next to their pictures, that were soon to be hoisted
up to the Kokugikan ceiling. The two last Basho winners?? Weren't they Waka and Taka??
Isn't this one day after the whole soap opera was splashed on every newspaper in Tokyo??

You betcha!! I ran and managed to get this one which should be worth something..

 Looks pretty pensive and tense, huh?? It sure was. The photographers started shouting at
Taka to shake hands with Oniisan, as is customary, but no such luck. He just turned and rode
into the sunrise ( it was morning..). Waka, on the other hand, WALKED to the adjacent train
station to catch a taxi, with everyone following him as if he were the Pied Piper of Futagoyama.
That was quite a sight, believe me..


Then, off to Wakamatsu -Beya for the highlight of my trip: My meeting with Ichinoya!!
I arrived at Wakamatsu -beya after the end of asa-geiko. I went in and asked if
I could see Ichinoya-san, who was aware of my existence, but didn't know when I was arriving.
He came down and showed me in and gave me a big hug. He is a truly exceptional man and
during the hour I spent with him proved to be very intelligent and funny. He then invited me
to have some Chanko that he himself made which was fantastic!!

(To those of you who don't know who Ichinoya is: He is the oldest active rikishi in all of Sumo
 at 43 years of age. He is currently in Jonidan , the fifth division of six,
and is sort of a playing-manager in Wakamatsu-beya. He had a 5-2 Basho in Tokyo.)

Ichinoya-san, Alfred Hitchcock and Professor Hans Shulmeyer from the Berlin
University of Arts and Sciences holding my soon to be devoured Chanko...

I also had a long chat with Wakamatsu Oyakata, the former Asashio 2, who astounded me
 by knowing all the Mid-East problems and intricacies. Then I saw a familiar face..

It took me a minute to recognize Mr. Genki, Asanowaka-zeki, who looks MUCH
bigger in real life, and as you can see, no red cheeks on him.. We had some laughs at
my expense (as usual) and Oyakata and I chided him for being a Chunichi Dragons fan...

(That's Dragons, not Daragons..) I stayed for an hour or so and had a great time.
 Since then I have been communicating with Ichinoya-san by e-mail regularly,
and it turns out he is a computer buff and maintains Wakamatsu-beya's homepage.

Day 5

GTB Main
"The Sixties"