For those of you that don’t know about summers in Japan, they are hot, and they are humid. Just walking the 3 minutes from my apartment to the station leaves me drenched in sweat, most times the air conditioner is pointless to keep on, and taking a simple shit after a meal (one of the simpler pleasures) becomes unbearable, as the small toilet room is more like a sweatlodge.
As hot and humid as summers are, they are usually over by now. I’m not sure about where you are, but in Southern Akita all we have been hearing is about how hot and long this year’s summer has been. It was damn hot today too, but there was something different in the late afternoon air; some undeniable tinge of autumn carried on the slightly cooler evening breeze. Maybe it was Akita’s ubiquitous rice ripening. Perhaps it was the first of the summer foliage starting to turn. Or perhaps it was the grim pleasure that was mine to know that what await me at home was none other than a stiff smoky drink and 21 bouts of Japan’s version of the sweet science. So welcome back for day 3. Let’s get down to it.
Takanoyama v Kimurayama – Taka brought nothing to the dohyo today. Kimura didn’t really even need to try.
Asasekiryu v Fujiazuma – A hiccupy tachiai, which Asa got the better of with one hand inside. Things looked to be turning around for Fujiazuma, but Asa got his other hand inside and put things to an end.
Sadanofuji v Takarafuji – Sadanofuji seemed to come in with a thrusting attack, which Takarafuji quickly neutralized getting an inside grip, getting around the side and taking him out for the win.
Chiyotairyu v Asahisho – Bad footwork and too much lean on Tairyu’s part gave this one to Sho , who did a little victory pirouette reminiscent of a drunk 70 year old sailor, after slapping down the Kokonoe man.
Tenkaiho v Wakanosato – Weak tachiai from Waka led Tenkai to have him back on the bales without too much effort, and despite Wakanosato having morozashi he leaned too far forward in a desperation drive, Tenkaiho took the easy win from there.
Kitatai v Kyokutenho – Solid win from Mr. Yusho. Elbow blast into migiyotsu, solid forward drive, and not a single word of back talk from Taiki. A definitive 3rd win in a row for Kyoku.
Wakakoyu v Okinoumi – As usual Wakakoyu opened up with a tsuppari interspersed with some pulling attempts. Oki weathered the storm look for his opportunity for a belt grip. He found it in a hidari yotsu and, although it’s possible for Waka to win from the belt, today was not his day. No secret that Don Juan is better on the belt.
Daido v Yoshikaze – Yoshi came in straight, then with a few side steps and thrusts, Daido was left on the clay wondering which way to go.
Takayasu v Shotenro – Taka abandoned the tsuparri uncharacteristically early, and chose to go for a migi yotsu, which would usually not be advisable over someone who is more of a belt fighter like Tenro. However, Today was Takayasu’s day, and obviously not Tenro’s. Only three days in and Takayasu ain’t looking bad.
Tochiozan v Miyabiyama – Anyone else remember that Tochiozan was in a ketteisen for a yusho recently? Well if not, this was pretty much the same bout. Just as ugly, and just as short.
Masunoyama v Toyohibiki – Spirited bout from masunoyama, but not being allowed to get his tsuppari going led to the two locking up, and advantage was all Beeker.
Aminishiki v Tokitenku – Not sure where tenku was today, but it wasn’t in the ring. Nishiki just smacked him around like a rag doll.
Takekaze v Toyonoshima – Very rare to see Toyonoshima get battered around like this. Take was just all over him today.
Myogiryu v Aoiyama – Myogiryu was looking for a way in, but just couldn’t find the right opening. The two traded thrusts for a few seconds before Yogi got both hands together and inside and pushed hard on Aoiyama’s chest to send him back out of the ring.
Aran v Kisenosato – Aran met Kise straight on, but tried some lateral moves after initial impact, which had Kise confused and slightly off balance. However, Aran’s erratic movements were full of bad dohyo kan an he stepped out before Kise could make one of his usual mistakes. Not the most impressive win.
Harumafuji v Shohozan – Both rikishi really laid into each other with thrusting and slapping attacks. Keeping separate and looking for the right moment. After a brief lock-up Harumafuji let out an explosive forward charge to finish off the tan man in impressive style. Harry looking pretty damn good.
Tochinoshin v Kakuryu – Kakuryu got the best of the tachiai and a migi yotsu kicker. There was a bit of a struggle from Tochinoshin, but not much. After a brief tawara battle The ozeki won the day. This looked more like the 3-12 Tochinoshin than the one that beats 3 ozeki in a row.
Kotooshu v Goeido – Not exactly sure what happened here, but it looked more like bad dohyo kan on oshu’s part. After a close call hikiotoshi attempt by eido. Not a very pretty, or for that matter entertaining, bout.
Gagamaru v Baruto – Baruto got the belt grip but with Gaga being so much bigger and lower, he was caught too high. Bart was driven back to the bales, but managed to pull the throw at the last second. Looked like Bart won to me, but it was pretty close… so a torinaoshi seemed about right. Second time around Bart was on the ropes from the beginning. He attempted a sukuinage but, Gaga slipped out and got right inside and under. At that split second all could see by the look on Bart’s face that knew he lost. He looks like he favoring his healthy knee, he will have to be pretty careful here.
Kotoshogiku v Homasho – Explosive tachiai from the Geek, but he was way too far forward and slightly off balance. Homey does very well against this type of sumo, and kept the Geek out of inside grip and neutralized the gabburi with an otsuke, then moved to the left, grabbed the belt, and executed a nice uwatedashinage. Good (Homa)show.
Hakuho v Kaisei – Kaisei had a good tachiai. He met Hakuho straight on and absorbed the Yokozuna’s charge,and even got hidari yotsu, but Haks kept Kaisei off the belt on the right with an otsuke, pulled th Brazilian in and threw him down in fantastic style. Textbook stuff from Hakuho, but a good show by the youngster.
Today was more about uncharacteristic moves (some successes, some not) which I must say was interesting to watch. Connolly will be all up ons for tomorrow.