Today was to be an important day in the Kyushu Basho and that’s exactly why I signed up to write this report. It was a moment the sumo community had been waiting for and like many I was extremely disappointed to see it all crash and burn on Day Two. It was no surprise today however to see attendance up (sold out in fact) in Fukuoka. Historic potential tends to bring out the people. Yet, instead today we(the people, the sumo community) were left with eight men going into the day seven at 5-1, leaving this reporter to think that Kyushu is all but wrapped up for Hakuho. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Hakuho won’t make another mistake.
I am currently living outside of Japan and have to rely on rerun clips to write my reports. My internet connection has been awful today and as such I will be a bit briefer on the reporting side than I would like it to be. Because of the brevity, I want to add this little piece below: I am sure that I am not alone in this opinion.
I intend to send the following to NHK about today’s English commentary, since I had to listen to it in my new predicament. As a student of the Japanese language, I prefer to listen to the Japanese commentators, even though I’ve usually enjoyed many (not all) of the English broadcasts I’ve listened to as well.
“Demon Kogure/Kaka is a successful entertainer in Japan and he occasionally joins the English broadcasts for NHK’s coverage of sumo. Although he clearly has a great understanding of sumo, the problem is that Demon Kogure/Kaka’s grasp of the spoken English language (today at least) was not proficient for the target audience. His vocabulary was simply not nuanced enough. Describing Baruto’s sumo as “carefully sumo,” does not describe Baruto’s sumo accurately. Thank you for your time and for considering my opinion.”
It would be a lot like me and Valentine being asked to sit down in the main Japanese announcer’s booth. Valentine being the proficient and humorous Hiro Morita type, and me, a Japanese language learner who would simply be insufficient in filling the air with comprehensible analysis. Valentine would have to do a lot of what Hiro Morita did today, “so what you are saying is… and oh, I see, I understand now.” People would be angry. Anyways it kind of goes along with what I mentioned in the last point-counterpoint discussion about ways to grow sumo’s popularity in the West. Put the coverage up on Youtube (or any video hosting service) and let people translate subtitles and maybe even create their own commentary.
Kisenosato vs. Kakuryu
After a lightening fast tachi-ai from both rikishi, the Kid broke through Kak’s defenses and got hold of his mawashi for a strong yorikiri win. Strong Kisenosato move to 5-2. Kakuryu to a respectable 4-3.
Baruto vs. Tochiozan
Not much to this bout. Baruto had a nice tachi-ai and got hold of Tochi’s mawashi faster than you can get meat and rice bowl from Yoshinoya! Yorikiri win for the Estonian, who moves to 6-1. I was curious to see if Tochiozan would make a run this basho but with additional losses to Homasho and Kisenosato, I’d say he does no better than 9-6 this time around. In conclusion: Strong Baruto and Big Body!
Kotooshu vs. Hakuba
It was like 20 questions before this match. Is Hakuba like Mainoumi? I don’t have enough background information. What do you guys think? I tend to think Hakuba’s game is up. Rikishi seem to have finally caught on. Today Big-O caught Henkaba to his left and got his right arm under the Mongolian’s arm. After that, the Bulgarian raised his right arm to basically knock Hakuba off balance and send him out of the ring for a yorikiri win. Hakuba just has one win while Kotoshu is recovering and moves back into the win column at 4-3.
Kaio vs. Asasekiryu
Kaio is in what will likely (please say it is so) his last Kyushu basho. At “5-1” going in today however, I just don’t know. Today he and Asa 2.0 were matched up well. With a long battle for position at the center on the dohyo. Kaio gets Asa off balance and wins by Yorikiri. Kaio, yusho candidate moves to 6-1.
Hakuho vs. Kitataiki
Hakuho manhandled Kitataiki today. The Yokozuna sending the M3 riksihi spinning out of the dohyo for a uwatedashinage. The Yokozuna looks focused as ever. Hakuho moves to 6-1 and Kitataiki goes to 3-4.
After day seven’s results there are fitting seven at 6-1: The Yokozuna, Two Ozeki, and Toyonoshima, Kyokutenho, Tokitenku, and Shotenro. Here’s to hoping the next eight days are as enjoyable and interesting as a glass of Bushmills Ten Year.
Buckle up and double down, Valentine’s turn to deal on Day Eight!