08. May Technical Evaluation Basho 2011

May Technical Evaluation Basho 2011

Shonichi

Oh, JSA, oh JSA.  There I was back in January, wishing 2011 would be a better year in sumothan the previous year.  Oh, how you never fail to continue failing.  I’ve been with you for many years, if anything, for the love of the sport, and I’m still here today.  I’ve been with you through the good times, the bad times, the awful times, and then there’s now.  Is it fair to say things can only get better at this point?  Or, am I jumping the gun with this presumption?

The Japanese I know, I learned from sumo.  But now, I can’t use all those words I’ve learned.  This is not the Natsu (Summer) Basho, it’s the Giryo Shinsa Basho (Technical Examination Tournament).  There is no banzuke, it’s a junseki (seedings).  Oh, and there’ll be no yaocho or use of cell phones, rather, wry winks and coded signals sent across the two shitake-beya in the Kokugikan.  It’s all the same with a different name, and less faces to be seen.

Oh, and on that note, who’s gone?  Well, in Makuuchi, seven:

Tokusegawa, Hakuba, Kasugao, Koryu, Mokonami, Kotokasuga, Sokokurai

Anything strikingly similar to you about five of these seven men?  How about they are Mongols (Inner & Outer)?  They weren’t kicked out of sumo because of yaocho.  They were kicked out because there are too many unpopular Mongols in the ranks, and this is a chance to kill two sekitori-kuns with one stone: clear out the Mongol invasion in sumo, and satisfy the media and public craving on this bout-fixing problem all at the same time.

It being Mother’s Day and all, I can hear the voice of my momma shooting back; “Now Virgil, what in the world makes you say all this?”  Firstly, I’ve spent time around just about all these men.  When they get together, what language you think they’re speaking?  Keep in mind few of them can muster through an NHK interview.  Yes, they communicate in their native Mongolian with each other.  Now, say for the sake of argument they were bout-fixing, and this was revealed by cell phone conversations.  What language do you think these phone conversations were in?  Now, do you think any of the do-nothings on that ‘ad hoc committee’ can read Mongolian?

Any honest sumo purist will tell you if rikishi were removed for bout-fixing, we would not have a yokozuna or ozeki at this basho today.  The above rikishi were scapegoats, and removed due to a simple way of thinking which dominates the JSA called racism.  I know Mongolians and Japanese are the same race, but they don’t know this.  Maybe xenophobic is a more appropriate term, but I’ll stick with racism.  So, from Makuuchi, out goes the Mongols, the one South Korean with big nipples because no one really cared for him anyway, and as the JSA was thinking, just to assure everyone this is not about race, they tossed one never-has-been-nor-never-will-be Japanese rikishi in Kotokasuga.

Yes, I’m glad to see Hakuba gone, but if I can honest with myself and everyone else, Hakuba is guilty of shitty sumo; Hakuba is no more guilty of yaocho than Hakuho, and no one is more guilty of it than Kaio.  But the JSA couldn’t kick the Yokozuna out, or the beloved oldseki.  It’s about popularity at this point, and the symbols of the organization.  If one of the yokozuna/ozeki was guilty, they all were.  Where would be the faces representing sumo?  Who’s to wear the space suits and throw the beans on setsubun?  Who’s going to stand with the commish in the JSA greeting on shonichi and senshuraku?  Most importantly as the timing went, who would it be to build some cheer in the earthquake and tsunami affected areas?  They had to keep the top-dogs clean—this was a no-brainer, which is exactly the mental capacity of those who run the JSA!

Moving on to Shonichi (can I still call it that?), and the bouts of interest.

EM16 Miyabiyama vs WM16 Kaisei: the young Brazilian who had to wait an extra two months for his Makuuchi debut came through the tachiai lifting upwards on McFlubby’s elbows.  With the big guy’s arms in the air, Kaisei went head to chest and quickly pushed McFlubby off balance in a McFlurry, winning his first bout in Makuuchi.  Well done push-down win by the Brazilian.

EM15 Takamisakari vs. WM14 Tochinonada: Ringo gets a good right-hand outside grip from the tachiai, but Tochi stayed inside on Ringo and led him to the bales before tossing the former Beatle in the dead center of the ring via beltless arm-throw.

EM14 Gagamaru vs. WM13 Tokitenku.  My Buddha, Gaga got bigger!  One basho break, and the Georgian basks in the honorary spot as heaviest sekitori.  How is this going to affect his sumo?  Gaga came in like a buffalo with a hand to Tokitenku’s throat and barreled the old Mongolian out of the ring, push-out win.  Good showing from a bigger, and better Gagamaru.

I’ll give credit where credit is due, and I’d say JSA has a great stream going.  Picture quality is good, graphics match that of NHK, and commentary is alright.  All it lacked with slow-mo replays.  Watching the stream today made me wonder if the JSA is preparing for the NHK to do away with sumo broadcasts altogether.  On one hand, if you have a computer available there’s nothing wrong with watching this, but not having sumo on TV will damage its popularity probably more than anything.  I, for one, caught on to sumo simply because it was on tv.

EM6 Tamawashi vs. WM6 Tochinoshin: Mawashi spun to the left at the tachiai, but it didn’t stop our top Georgian from getting a left-hand inside belt grip, which he soon complemented with a right-hand outside, and used these for a quickly-executed over-arm throw.  Nice finish by Tochinoshin.

EM5 Aran vs. WM5 Wakanosato: Aran was low and Waka was high at tachiai, but they evened out with left-inside right-outside grips.  Aran made a lame attempt at a tsuridashi lift-out, which just wore him down and didn’t really move Waka anywhere.  Waka took advantage of the tiring younger and led him to the edge throwing a beltless arm-throw.  The loss was all Aran’s fault for wearing himself out with a hopeless tsuridashi attempt on such a heavy and sensible opponent.

EM4 Okinoumi vs. WM4 Takekaze: weird tachiai.  Takekaze came in head first and faster than Oki, but the Akitan also swerved to the left upon contact, just grazing his opponent who went to the ground.  Takekaze picks up a thrust-down win, which can be interpreted as a henka, but it certainly wasn’t a conventional one.

WM3 Aminishiki vs. WS Kisenosato: Aminishiki led the way with the tachiai, staying low and dozing towards Kisenosato.  Kissy was in backwards mode, and tried a pull-down on Sneaky’s neck which almost took Sneaky down, but Sneaky reversed things and prevailed with a hand pull-down of his own.  Bad start off for a guy trumped up to be next Ozeki and even Yokozuna.  On the other hand, nice work by Sneaky, whose older brother and stablemate Asofuji was one of those booted out of sumo for bout-fixing, yet the more popular and successful Sneaky wasn’t part of it?

WM2 Tochiozan vs. WO Harumafuji: Haruma was much better at the tachiai, but his attack didn’t have enough Ama to it.  O fought back and reversed the trend, leading forward.  At some point, Haruma’s left knee gave out and he went to the ground.  O picks up a frontal push-down win, while Harumafuji might be fighting a new injury.

EO Baruto vs. EM2 Homasho: Bart’s too high from the get-go, giving Homie an opportunity for a good grip which he uses to lead Bart to bales, but Bart is able to fight him off with a last-ditch effort beltless arm-throw.

EM1 Goeido vs. WO Kaio: Goeido, lower, faster, and just better, easy push-out win for Goeido.  It really makes you wonder…no more favors for the old man?

EO Kotooshu vs. EK Kakuryu: good tachiai by Kotooshu, but he went up a bit too high and Kakuryu managed a morozashi.  The Kak was successfully leading Kotooshu back in what looked to be an upset, but the Bulgarian pulled off an over-arm throw just as the Kak was running out of gas with his morozashi attack.

EY Hakuho vs. WK Toyonoshima: funny how we forget how far beyond everyone else the Yokozuna was, and still is.  His tachiai was lightning fast and continued on to dig into the short round one, with thrusts until he had Toyo out of the ring with a thrust-out win.  Clean, clear win for the Yokozuna.

Stand back and wipe off, because there ain’t nothin’ PC about Patton Creswell tomorrow!

Day 2

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to day two of the Natsu Technical Examinational non-Basho basho.  I must say I’m pretty impressed with the increase in quality to the NHK stream, as well as the addition of commentary.  I agree with Valentine that some replays would be nice, but ah well.  It’s too bad, for those who don’t speak Japanese, that there is no English provided whatsoever, but as that isn’t a problem for me, you guys can read all about it here.

For this basho, every day after Hakuho’s dohyo-iri, it seems a gyoji will come up on the dohyo (heh heh) and proceed to read off the torikumi for the next day.  Each bout is announced and displayed on a piece of thin paper, that is pretty much impossible to read from our vantage point.  Really, it looks like he’s displaying his kids work from art class to the crowd at the kokugikan.  Just in case there was anyone wondering what the hell that was, he’s not saying “check out this uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunicorn he did…. you’d never believe he’s only 4 years ooooooooooooooold!  How about this jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet plane!  It got 4 fucking miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissiles!”  Not sure why they’re doing this, as the bouts are already displayed on the website for tomorrow…

Since we are one of only a few places one can get daily bout highlights in English, I’ll start with the NHK English commentary catch phrase: There’s an interesting situation down in juryo.  New-comer Takayasu, half-Filipino, and hailing from Naruto beya(who only on his 3rd Basho in juryo and was the one of the first two sekitori born in the heisei era along with Masunoyama), is still doing quite well from the East Juryo 1 spot.  Not much could stop him from being the first heisei born shinnyumaku come Nagoya.  Speaking of people on the verge of rising to Makuuchi lets talk about someone on the verge of retiring with today’s first makuuchi bout.

Miyabiyama v Kimurayama.  Miyabiyama opened with a harite, and some pretty pathetic and impotent looking tsuppari ensued from both parties.  The elder slipped to the side and using barely decent foot work got the win over Kimura.  This kind of reminded me of the two “special” kids from the farm down the road fighting over a sparkler.  Miyabiyama is looking pretty crappy now-a-days and is at 1-1.  Being a former ozeki if he sinks to juryo he’ll be expected to retire.

Kaisei v Tamanoshima.  This was an interesting bout.  I had heard that Kaisei was nursing a back injury, but you would never know given his performance today.  The thrilla from Brasília (actually São Paulo) got the immediate upper hand (actually under hand position) and secured his 2nd win over a makuuchi veteran with good deashi and a yorikiri.

Gagamaru v Takamisakari.  Gaga, being the heaviest makuuchi, probably only has one strategy “move forward……… and [to a lesser extent] do my kind of sumo”.  Senor Itchy Scratchy should know this and plan by now, and accordingly.  However time after time he goes chest-to-chest with a guy who has over a 50kg advantage.  Today Robocop lucked out and he managed to pull a desperation sukuinage at the tawara, and showed Gaga the dirt, just before his own knee went down.  Long monoii confirmed the gunbai in favor of Taka.  Taka, I’m not trying to advise the use of a henka, but some quicker lateral movement might behoove you.

Tochinonada v Tokitenku.  Why is it that whenever it’s my day to report Tokitenku misses wildly with his ketaguri (called a leg sweep, but actually a kick to the shin)?  I’ve seen him connect viciously with them (most memorably making Miyabiyama crumple to the ground like Briton-Meyer after a glass of Spyritus), but I never get to write about it.  Anyway, his whiffer of a ketaguri/hikiotoshi combo should have given Nonada the perfect chance to cash in on his loss of balance, but for some reason he didn’t.  Tenku managed to spin around and finish everything off with a final push.

Wakakoyu v Toyohibiki.  Waka’s tachiai looked great, lots of power, but Beeker absorbed everything, which looked better.  Beeker rotated around the younger rikishi and won by what looked like a pulldown.

Asasekiryu v Tochinowaka.  New-comer Tochinowaka managed to move Sexy back at the tachiai and keep him off the belt but a sideways jump and a hatakikomi handed Waka-texas Ranger the loss.

Tosayutaka v Kyokutenho.  There wasn’t much to this bout.  Kyokutenho had it from the get go, forcing Tosa off balance with a good grip and ending with a quick yori-kiri.

Tamawashi v Shotenro.  Not the usual spunk from Mawashi in this bout.  There was some tsuppari I’d rather forget, and Shotenro took the win on this win via…. what else? Oshidashi.

Tochinoshin v Yoshikaze.  I was assured by the commentary that this looked liked a henka from Tochinoshin, but was not.  They were sure he moved after the impact.  I actually missed it due to my smoke needing to be re-lit.  In any event, Noshin (sporting a new color mawashi) got a strong left hand grip and took out Yoshi post haste.

Wakanosato v Okinoumi.  Casanova is still a bit green to have any significant advantage over a solid cat like Wakanosato.  Wakanosato got morozashi at the tachiai and quickly turned this one into a katasukashi win.

Takekaze v Aran.  At first glance my thoughts of Aran yesterday were: “he looks fatter, and weaker than last January.”  Boy was I wrong.  Aran busted out some serious tsuppari from the tachiai, which I’m pretty sure surprised Takekaze more than anyone.  The Moriyoshi minute-man managed to separate and go tried to go back in with a new strategy, but like the battered wife that picks up the rolling pin after the initial blow, that only made the abusive hairy Russian angrier.  A few more furious slaps and it was a hatakikomi win for Aran.  I’d like to see more of this from him.

Aminishiki v Kotoshogiku.  I don’t know what the Sneak planned, but it went out the window when the Geek plowed into him.  Sir-Sneaks-a-lot looked more dazed and surprised than the spectators whose laps he landed in.  Speaking of the audience… it didn’t look bad for a Monday.  Perhaps that free ticket idea wasn’t so bad.  But seeing as how these people wouldn’t be there if it weren’t free… I don’t really think this is going to help in the long run.

Kitataiki v Kisenosato.  Right from the get-go Kise had his left hand in the armpit of Taiki.  Kise was able to keep Taiki of the belt long enough to gabburi him out of the ring, and regain some dignity from his day 1 loss.

Kotooshu v Tochiozan.  Oshu came in leaning too far forward and over top of Sideburns, who was able to use the lower position to spin the giant around and back over the tawara.  Ozan looked good today, and not just because of his facial hair.

Homasho v Harumafuji.  Harumafuji had the better position throughout this bout, and it started with a nice hidariyotsu with a right hand uwate kicker from the tachiai.  Haruma used the lower position and solid grip to slowly position the cigar store Indian just outside the dohyo in a position that would looked good from the road and might entice customers to come in and purchase various goods, not that Homey didn’t put up a good fight.

Baruto v Kakuryu.  this was a good fight.  Bartholomew got migiyotsu, but was struggling with defending against the Kak’s low position.  Bart got pushed back a bit, but regained and worked the Kak hard, back towards the bales, and was able to get what looked to me like a kind of scoop throw, but was called yorikiri.  Both these guys looked good today, even despite their lack of facial hair.

Toyonoshima v Kaio.  I was hoping for proof of Valentine’s speculation yesterday, but grandpa looked solid enough today.  Whether that had to do with shitakubeya shenanigans, or just loss of focus by Toyonoshima I don’t know.  Either way, Toyo went in with his signature shoulder blast into morozashi, but gramps wouldn’t let the youngster inside, with no plan B set aside Toyo was toast, and the senior citizen took the little whipper snapper for a nice little walk across the dohyo.

Hakuho v Goeido.  In this bout Hakuho made what could be seen as only three movements.

1. Tachiai into lefthand inside grip

2. Pulled Goeido close as to whisper something in his ear

3. Slapped viciously on Goeido’s shoulder to complete a delicious looking shitatenage.

I imagine the sweet nothing Hakuho whispered into the ears of his opponent just before the final blow was something along the lines of “you got knocked the fuck out” or “this is how your mom likes it.”

I would say “it’s way to early to tell” if we all didn’t know Hakuho was going to win… but in the interest of information dispersal:  currently at 2-0 are:

Hakuho, Baruto, Kotoshogiku, Tochiozan, Tochinoshin, Wakanosato, Asasekiryu, and Kaisei.

Tomorrow Bertrum will give it to you straight up, then he’ll report on some sumo.

Day 3

After an honest day at work, I drive home and naturally my mind dwells upon the the reporting I’m about to write up – particularly as it’s been A WHILE! Tired, at first I give off a long sigh… I sit meself down, get comfortable. Then good Old Taylor decides to pay a visit, and so I have a good chat with him. Conversation done, it’s then time for the sumo. However, a change appears inside as I watch the Juryo. I get excited again, the blood pumps, fists clench and eyes try not to blink as I am awed at some of the bouts. I realise that I have been missing the Sumo more than i thought, and glad that it’s back on the telly.

Makuuchi comes along and we are definitely in for some surprises. Granted my knowledge of the wrestlers aint as good as some of our esteemed fellows – particularly since this shake up and many new faces, but I shall give it to you as best I got… and give you some reporting!

Miyabiyama Vs. Takarafuji!
A really confusing oshidashi win in this bout. A great start to the makuuchi don’t get me wrong. A lot of powerful hits and grunts, and one of the longest bouts I’ve seen in a loooong time. And yet, at the same time, not a lot seemed to happen except what looked akin to two bulls just charging head on at each other… Win for miyabiyama

Brazilian Kaisei picked up his 3rd straight win by pushing Tochinonada out.  Congrats, buddy!

Gagamaru vs. Kimurayama: Clearly gaga is trying to use his extra pounds to try and force his opponents, but it appears to me that he hasn’t quite got used to throwing it about. Like his brain is trying to move his limbs quicker than what the weight allows. After a lunge off balance, Kimurayama takes advantage to grab the miwashi and force him out okuridashi.

Poor old Takamisakari! (vs. Toyohibiki.) In my opinion, I thought he was the better of fighters and fought on the offensive for the whole bought. Difficult to explain without replays, but, even I was a bit shocked when after throwing toyo down, thinking he’s won, realises in disdain that his foot is out. I reckon he should have had that bout though!

Kyokutenho vs Asasekiryu: Though Kyokutenho tried all the moves in the book to get out of it, the early grip on the miwashi had this bout over before it really begun. Asasekiryu just waited for kyoku to tire a bit before shifting his yorikiri in motion

Shotenro vs. Yoshikaze: Yoshi certainly had the wind in his sail today! That bout was over quicker than a blink. Reminded me of the “prod” option you get on worms world party… Not that I play that… too often…

Tochinoshin Vs. Wakanosato: Tochi is perhaps the only wrestler I have seen thusfar really looking on form. He was looking sharp, on the ball and had the game formed in his mind – clearly he had his wheatabix this morning! A well deserved win putting him at 3-0

Aran Vs. Tamawashi: Blimey! Match of the day, clearly. At  one point I even believe I saw Aran kick/knee Tama in his defiance. A very sloppy bought, though full of aggression that you might exxpect to see on celebrity death match! Unfortunate for Aran though, in lifting his leg for the kick, Tamawashi capitalises on his off-balance and pushes him out by yorikiri.  Due to some technical difficulties I got shafted on the second half, so Creswell will take over from here.

Thanks buddy, I saw that knee that Aran threw in there.  Wish he would have won that one.  The next bout was a bit shifty if you ask me.

Aminishiki v. Takekaze.  This was mostly a pushing battle, and the advantage seemed to bounce around.  Take went for the pivot and slap down at the tawara, but the bout went to Ami.  This looked to close to call for me.  I would have liked to see a monoii on that one.  But alas, Ami- sneaks away with win # 2.

I don’t know what Kisenosato was doing today, but it certainly didn’t have squat to do with sumo.  Kakuryu man-handled him out of the ring like Ralphie did to the bully in a Christmas Story for an all-too-fast yorikiri.  If Kise wants that Ozeki promotion he needs to win every single bout for the rest of the tournament, or maybe lose to an ozeki or Hakuho and snap up the yusho. (However, that would mean that Hakuho would have to lose 2 or 3 as well, which I don’t see happening…not at this juncture.)

The next bout between the Geek and Casanova was a mirror image of the previous bout, but in this one, the sekiwake was the winner.  Geeku steam rollered Mr. Handsome as if he had a ham steak taped to his chest.  Good 3-0 start for still-ozeki hopeful Kotoshogiku.  Not so good 0-3 for Okinoumi.

This next bout really pissed me off.  Tochiozan was all over Kaio.  Gramps was getting moved all over the ring trying in vain to get that kotenage he loves so much.  However right at the edge Kaio did a little pivot and it looked to me that both rikishi stepped out at the same time.  No monoii was called.  now, I have this bout recorded and will be reviewing said recording when I get home form work.  I will post a picture of the moment in question so all can see that, if yaocho isn’t allowed, the shinpan will throw Kaio a bone if they can.

Kitataiki looked decent today, but not decent enough to have beaten Kotooshu, however that’s the way it happened.  A slip to the side after the tachi-ai and a slap on the back sent the head-case-ozeki tumbling into the 2nd row.  No yusho or Oshu this time out.  Both guys at 1-2.

Harumafuji didn’t have much trouble with Toyonoshima today.  Wrapped things up and keeps his dreams alive at 2-1 with a yorikiri.  Noshima needs to start building some momentum with his 3-0 start.

Next bout just shows that Baruto still needs to work on his focus.  He had a decent grip on Goeido (Left hand out side if i remember correctly), but Goeido’s was better.  However, this should not have stopped Bart from using his bigger frame and footwork to squelch the false hope.  Didn’t happen.  Loss of focus and uwatenage from Goeido.  At 2-1 both are still “technically” in it.  Bart later commented that his heart is not really in this basho saying “This is a fake basho. Do you think I have any motivation?”  Strong words from a should-be-strong man.

This next one was over before it started.  Homasho was up and out in a fraction of a second.  If Hakuho continues like this, I just don’t see who can stop him.  None of the ozeki are looking good enough and Kise has lost focus.  The only people with a outside-chance are maybe Kakuryu, or Geeku.

leaderboard: 3-0: Hakuho, Kotoshogiku, Tochinoshin, Asasekiryu, Toyohibiki, Kaisei

Strap on a diaper and a poncho, cuz Chalmers will be slinging the shit for day 4.

Day 4

Chalmers here with all your Day Four action.  Glad to be back after 4 months of fantasizing about large men in mawashi!  Don’t tell Mrs. Chalmers!

Kimurayama vs. Kaisei – Team Brazil opens with the scoop-scoop under the arms of Kimura to get him on his heels.  The hairy Brazilian puts the ‘ol tree-farmer on the bails and bullies his way to win number four, oshidashi, still in contention for the Yuusho!
Takamisakari vs. Bushuyama – Robocop, nearly missing the Bush at the tachiai, feels his way back on target to secure his right-hand-in, and walk George W. out, Yorikiri
Miyabiyama vs. Tochinonada – Flubby starts strong with the double-tsupari special, but can’t keep Nada in his sights.  Nada, a quick side step around to the rear, slaps the Flub to the sand, tsukiotoshi.
Gagamaru vs. Toyohibiki – Lady Gaga comes on strong getting Beaker to the bails.  But a quick turn and a kick in the head leaves our Lady rolling off the deep end with nothing but headache and sand his crack.  Beaker, tsukiotoshi win.
Tokitenku vs. Wakakoyu – Waka opens with a powerful two-handed shove to stand team Mongol up, only to pull the rug out and let the Mongol find the clay.  Waka, hatakikomi.
Tosayutaka vs. Tochinowaka – Tosa, easily pushed back by the Hyogo Giant, manages to get out of the line of fire.  Tosa uses one-foot disadvantage to get under Tochi and walk him out, yorikiri.
Asasekiryu vs. Shotenro – A lightning fast tachia and the two lock horns, with Asa getting his left hand on the belt.  With finesse resembling the other Mongol Asa, Asa gives the magic brush to the inside of the knee, pulls down on his left, and flips Shoten like a pancake.  A rare uchimuso win for Team Mongol.
Tamawashi vs. Yoshikaze – King Tama tries to bully Yoshi back from the start.  Yoshi dances around King Tama until an opening between tsuparis allows Yoshi a deep left hand. Yoshi capitalizes and attempts a uwatenage belt throw, but falls just short and must settle for a yoriatoshi win.
Kyokutenho vs. Tochinoshin – Team Mongol and and Noshin lock up, migi-yotsu, and dance around for a bit. Noshin with a quick Uwatenage fake gets Tenho stumbling.  Noshin applies the final push and walks Tenho out, yorikiri.
Okinoumi vs. Aran – Alan gets caught cheating with a sorry henka attempt, giving up his low posture and setting himself up for a belt-less arm-throw, sukuinage.
Wakanosato vs. Takekaze – Team Akita puts on an exciting show with a strong tachiai, some nice defense to set up a quick side-step.  Waka misses with his tsupari attack, stumbles over to the bails, and Team Akita runs across the ring to help his friend out, oshidashi.  Team Akita at 2-2.
Kotoshogiku vs. Kakuryu – ROBBED!  The Geek gets Bitch-Henka’d by the Fish, hitting nothing but air, then clay, and coming to rest in the arms of The Sneak, ringside.  The Fish wins it, homowaza.
Toyonoshima vs. Kisenosato – The Blink toys with the little Toyo, and shoves him back to the bails and out.  Flawless oshidashi victory for the Blink.
Baruto vs. Aminishiki – The Sneak bounces off the Estonian Wall, and quickely finds himself enjoying the expensive seats at the Kokugikan.  Bart with the win, Oshidashi.
Kitataiki vs. Kaio – Old Man Kaio, having to work for his wins now, wraps up with his smaller opponent and holds on for dear life as he soldiers on.  Old Man squeezes another win out, Yorikiri.
Kotooshu vs. Homasho – Oshu catches Cigar Shop with his face, and then repeatedly exchanges headbutts like it’s a powwow.  Oshu forgets that Red Indians are unable to feel fear or pain, and butts himself dizzy.  Cigar Shop moves in for the kill, getting under Oshu’s left arm and forcing our lazy giant out, sideways yorikiri.
Goeido vs. Harumafuji – A head-cracking tachia starts these two has-beens off to the most intense match of the day.  Eido getting the Mongol to stumble before applying the judo-chop to the back of the head.  The Mongol goes airborne, but manages to Eido’s leg and twist it out from under him.  Eido goes airborn, and the two come down on their backs.  The gumbai favors the Js today, and Eido moves one up on Team Mongol, high-flying Hatakikomi.
Hakuho vs. Tochiozan – Hak and The King go chest to chest, just before Elvis goes on the run.  Hak in hot pursuit, tries to catch him, but catches nothing but sand as Elvis had since left the building.  Hak gladly takes number four, yorikiri.
That’s it for day four.  De Gama comin at cha with day five!  Try not to get any on you!
~Chalmers.

Day 5

De Gama turns up at Bertrum’s apartment, upon which amid discussions (over whiskey) about the day 5 & 6 reporting….

Bertrum: I thought you were gunna record the live feed?
de Gama: I was but, I was coming during the feed!

Bertrum:  I can see that  … but, what about recording the live feed? ;o)

Kimurayama vs Daido:  We were a bit unsure as of whether to comment, because a pseudo Makuuchi vs a juryo is a bit iffy. However, as soon as Kimurayama bent for the tachiai, it seems that Dildo shafted him straight down to where the sun don’t shine!! Slapping the cheeks on the way down…

Takamisakari vs Miyabiyama: We all love the guy, he’s half blind and pretty much may as well be from Akita. We all know that he ganbarre’d through this one, but a slip of his “upper hand” and a surprise look as he is facing the crowd lets you know exactly how this bout ended.

Gagamaru vs. Tochinonada. De gama takes a swill, then looks to the screen: “look at those sweet cheeks, good thing he’s not up against dil-daido” – somebody’s gained some pounds since the kyujo! Dang! Gags, the laydee! Her music ain’t that great, but in her ring, she’s knows how to bounce. No contest, showin her poker face at the tachiai.

Kaisei vs. Tokitenku: The bear, hugged him and won his honey! Toki was trying to set up the Mongolian horde trying to hook his leg off-balance. But Kaisei did what most Japanese don’t do, stand his ground. He seemed to just hug him, and fall forward… landing on the guy!

Bertrum I feel sorry for the ladies he successfully woos!

Tochinowaka vs. Wakakoyu. A bunch of E-Honda slaps – Yaocho.

Toyohibiki vs. Asasekiryu:Toyo, 5-0 from this bout, playing, doing good. Looks like he’s taking a page out of Hakuho’s book.

Tosoyutaka vs. Yoshikaze: Tahciai, de Gama laughs. “We all know why the Brothers Kaze’s face is a bit flatter after he landed flat on it! Yoshikaze, very gun-ho. But very much over did it on this one! “

Aran vs Tochinoshin; two foreigners, a lot of love in the showers that couldn’t wait until after the bout.. The only thing that was missing was the futon! Win for Tochi.

Okinoumi vs. Aminishiki: An interesting bout, a lot of too and fro. Ami seemed to choose the wrong end of the stick. De Gama ”he tried to pull something off” Bertrum giggles… “unfortunately his mind wasn’t on the bout”!

Kakuryu vs. Toyonoshima: Kakuryu had a great early grab of the mawashi. Toyo pushes him a way, aiming for the shoulders.  Kaku takes an astonished look and gives the “who’s ya daddy” , as Toyo just jiggles himself to safety… and another loss!

Kotoshogiku vs. takekaze: thrust thrust and out. .. The quakes are still being felt in Akita! Boring, but well done to Koto.

Bertrum: “skip skip & hit the beat beat, just get to the next bout”.

de Gama: “ thing is, I could skip but the bout would just be over..”

de Gama skips

Bertrum “… or just about to begin”

Kisenosato vs. Harumafuji: Bertrum “ I dunt like Harumafuji” de Gama “ he’s grown on me – he doesn’t henka and he’s fast” Harumafuji does just that and grabs a sotogake. Bertrum “ no comment”.

Baruto vs. Mutton Chops: Baruto, a little high (that isn’t surprising) but overpowered mutton chops.
Hamasho vs. kaio: Clear Yaocho. Look at Hamasho, didn’t give the second tap on the taichai for the false start, and kaio dint even flinch as he had someone the size of an Ox charge at him. Granted it was a false start, but surely you would react? Kaio grabs the mawashi, and old man river (with seemingly no resistance) , walks very, very slowly towards the rope. Fuck Kaio.

Kotooshu vs. Goeido: Pathetic. What sport are they playing? Goeido retreats, pushed with momentum from the side. Kotooshu jiggled lil bit. Done.

Hakuho vs. kitataiki: No contest, classic Hakuho. How do you know that Hakuho committed yaocho? He didn’t get that 68 straight wins needed last year, at 63 straight wins, a slap to his face makes him off balance? C’mon!

Seems like the Arran cask strength is getting it’s monies worth… We’ll continue this for day five after 8 or so hours sleep, and a pot of coffee in the morrow…

de Gama, Bertrum

Day 7

I woke up on Saturday morning after having not a single drink the night before, with the intent of spending all day watching sumo.  I don’t usually drink at 9:30 in the morning nor do I smoke that early… but sumo is a damn good excuse.

Jonokuchi: (coffee, Irish, thank you.)  I hate to be the one to say this, because I know he’s just a kid, but christ that first yobidashi of the day has got to be tone deaf.  My acutely trained musician’s ears are burning.

Jonidan: (A left over Montecristo club, and another Irish coffee.)  Stand-out bout was Naruto beya’s Yamanaka with an astounding bout against Sumanoumi’s 40kg advantage and 2 more years experience, winning with a well fought kotenage.  Great job, guy.

Sandanme: I had to miss most of sandanme, because I opted to get some brick oven pizza, the rarest and most delicious of the pizzas in Japan.

Makushita: (Aomori microbrew) Ms3 Akita’s own Kaonishiki with a nice clean tsukiotoshi win over Kanbayashi.  You may know Kaonishiki as the oafish looking guy who helps Takamisakari down the hanamichi.  See you in juryo next basho homey.

Juryo: (Can of beer and some dried squid)  3 guys up from Makushita today.  One of my favorites, Tochitsubasa, failed to get a win over Tamaasuka.  I really like Tochitsubasa, but he’s tiny, and has lots of trouble with the big guys.

Main event: (same can of beer… what do you want!? It was a tall-boy and juryo is short as hell this month!)

Miyabiyama v Tamanoshima – Miyaber used some vicious thrusts to get Ball Island up then made him go down and off balance for an easy push out. 4-3 for the ex-ozeki.

Takamisakari v Kaisei – Kaisei continues his absolute domination of the lower ranks with an easy yorikiri.  Perhaps this would be more impressive if there were some more solid rikishi at the bottom of the ladder… 7-0 for team Brasil.  Team awkward is at 2-5.

Kimurayama v Tokitenku – yet again… I missed the effective ketaguri from yesterday.  All I got today was a nodwa from Kimura, a crapy migi yotsu from Tenku, and a less than exciting hikiotoshi win for Kimura. 4-3, 2-5.

Tochinonada v Toyohibiki – Beeker came in like it was free hooker day in kabukicho and Nada played the bouncer and treated Beeker like a foreigner at establishments that offer such services.  DENIED! Tsukiotoshi. 3-4, 5-2 respectively.

Gagamaru v Tochinowaka – My fair lady brought some good momentum, but Waka’s lateral movement was too much for the Queen of kilos to keep up with.  Ever seen a little kid run down the driveway and try to turn faster than their legs can manuever?  Kind of like that.  Only this kid was 200kilos and still wearing a diaper.  Uwatenage. 3-4, 2-5

Wakakoyu v Shotenro – I was expecting a henka from Tenro here, apparently so was Koyu.  Easy oshidashi win. 3-4, 1-6

Asasekiryu v Tochinoshin – This was probably the best bout of the day… despite Asa squirting out the worst henka I’ve seen this tournament.  Noshin saw the henka coming and the two separated, then locked up; Noshin with a left hand in and Asa with the right hand out.  Asa went for 2 kakenages, but Noshin has those elephant legs, so it was a no go.  Shin went for a tsuri to unbalance Asa, then tried for an uwatenage that failed.  Shin was able to back the mongol to the edge and pull and uwatenage, with Asa using a desperation utchari at the bales.  Gunbai = Noshin.  Monoii.  Confirmed. 4-3, 6-1.

Tamawashi v Tosayutaka – Low, well placed tsuppari from the fat eagle was too much for Tosa.  4-3, 5-2.

Kyokutenho v Wakanosato – Tenho must have gotten distracted wondering where his other sock went, because Waka grabbed a quick morozashi, and that was all she wrote. 3-4, 4-3.

WHIKSY BREAK!!!!!!

Second half: (Jameson 12 year, and some Danish pipe tobacco)

Aran v Yoshikaze – We have been seeing a lot of tsuppari from Aran this basho with mixed results.  Day 7′s was a bit sloppy, but seemed to do the job.  It looked like Aran pulled Yoshi down, but there was a monoii.  Apparently Aran grabbed Yoshi’s chonmage and yanked on it.  That’s his 3rd hansoku loss. 3-4, 5-2.

Takekaze v Tochiozan – I was sure Ozan had this one in the bag.  But Take was lower, and Elvis never even entered the building. 4-3, 2-5.

Homasho v Toyonoshima – This is exactly how Toyo likes to win.  He led with the shoulder, and got morozashi.  The rest looked like my neighbor’s English bulldog leg-humping a Native American stereotype.

Goeido v Kisenosato – 2 Japanese “hopes” head to head.  Pretty bland tsuppari and they both seemed to go out at the same time.  Gunbai went for the Kid.  I would say he did a good job, but days like this should be his worst.  Same goes for you Goeido… now think about what you’ve done (or lack thereof), both of you.  4-3, 3-4.

Kotoshogiku v Kaio – the Geek also loves that morozashi, but Kaio knows how to work with an armlock.  So when Geeku got in there and then his left arm “mysteriously” slipped out, Kaio spun a bit and pulled down.  Pat on the ass as a thank you. 5-2 a piece.

Kotooshu v Aminishiki – Oshu has looked absolute trash for an Ozeki this basho, and Sneaky is his nemesis (apart from short guys, and anyone who meets him the day after a loss), but then again what Easter European thug’s nemesis doesn’t look like Steven Segal?  Henka by the sneak, Oshu was caught off guard, but was able to get back in the game, grab the belt, spin the Sneak around, and push him out with a yorikiri just before Oshu went out himself.  There probably should have been a monoii, but Oshu’s shisho said he’d take him out if he lost 6 this soon in the basho.  Don’t know… seemed weird.  2-5 each.

Okinoumi v Harumafuji –   The (now) overpriced horse started with a nodowa against Casanova and turned it into a left hand inside.  Okinoumi charged forward and did this weird superman-like forward charge thing that resulted in a yoritaoshi… soooo… that was a surprise. 4-3 each.

Baruto v Kitataiki – Taiki came out of the gates with a limp-dick tachiai that had a fishy left side shift to it.  It was all to easy for Master Blaster to grab the right hand inside and get the tsuridashi.  HE HAS THE MIND OF A CHILD!!!… and 6-1.  Taiki with 1-6.

Hakuho v Kakuryu – I was thinking that Kakuryu had an outside chance if he got in fast enough and kept Kublai away from the belt.  The Kak got too excited and went off prematurely.  This resulted in a hard, long, cold, stare down from the yokozuna at go round #2.  3rd time is a charm as they say, and that’s how easy it was.  Right hand inside for Hak, some gabburi, and that was all.  7-0, 4-3.

Leader board:

7-0: Hakuho, Kaisei

6-1: Baruto, Tochinoshin

5-2:(for sake of being thorough) Kaio, Geek, Yoshi, Tosayutaka, Beeker.

Valentine will teach you the ways of the force tomorrow for nakabi.

~Creswell

Nakabi

Seven days behind us and seven more ahead.  Here we are on hump-day in the not-so Natsu Basho.  Thus far, Hakuho hasn’t missed a step, having an order of one rikishi for supper each evening at 5:55pm, most of the Ozeki are fumbling around, Kaio’s bouts are sketchy as hell, and the “next Japanese hope” has fallen flat.  The winds of change blow just the same.  If anyone has lost out in this yaocho scandal, it is the Yokozuna, who was screwed out of a Haru Basho championship for the record books, and the hardware/prize cash for the cancelled Haru and Natsu Bashos.

Shall we check in on things from the depths of Juryo, which has practically turned into a round-robin with the lack of rikishi in the division.

EJ12 Sagatsukasa (5-2) vs. Em1 Aoiyama (3-1): First time against each other, and Aoiyama’s first time to fight in a Juryo bout.  The Bulgarian bio-mass starts off on half-pint Sagatsukasa.  In a quick tachiai, Sagatsukasa easily worked under Aoiyama’s reach.  Aoiyama tried to respond with a pull-down, but Sagatsukasa was already up too close in the giant’s chest, pressing him upright and easily out of the ring.  Nice win by Sagatsukasa who advanced to 6-2.  Aoiyama remains one win shy of guaranteed sekitori promotion.

EJ1 Takayasu (4-3) vs. WJ6 Kokkai (1-6): A first time meeting here between the up-and-comer and the down-and-outer, but they do have one thing in common: both men are very hairy.  Kokkai came in at the tachiai low, head-first.  Takayasu thought to work to the side after contact and reach for a right-hand outside, but ‘twas too little too late, as Kokkai has already driven Takayasu to the bales, and the ailing Georgian shows he still had one more bullet in the rusty barrel.  Kokkai still suffering at 2-6 in mid-Juryo and obviously in a lot of pain, while Takayasu is 4-4 and needs to double those wins for a guaranteed trip to Makuuchi.

EM14 Gagamaru (3-4) vs. WM16 Kaisei (7-0): the Georgian and the Brazilian met once in Makushita two years ago, with Gaga winning. This time they came in rather even at the tachiai, both somewhat too high with a thrusting attack.  Ricardo was able to gain ground on the 200kg giant Georgian and once too close for thrusts, he moved to morozashi and pressed Gaga Georgia backwards to the bales.  While Gaga held on, Kaisei changed plans from a force-out, to a beltless arm-throw.  Ricardo advances to 8-0 while Gaga is struggling at 3-5.

EM15 Takamisakari (2-5) vs. WM13 Tokitenku (2-5): Toki holds a slight edge in the head-to-head 10 to 8.  In this battle, Toki led from tachiai pressing Ringo right to the edge, but the blind one did what he does best, and like picking up a crate of delicious Aomori apples, he lifted up Tokidoki and did a nice 180˚, forcing the Mongol out of the ring.  Ringo sits at 3-5 while Tokidoki is looking bad at 2-6.

EM9 Tosayutaka (5-2) vs. WM6 Tochinoshin (6-1): Tochinoshin has won all three head-to-head match-ups in the past.  Today Noshin worked forward quickly with morozashi, tried for various belt grips, but no luck so kept in morozashi.  The two lock up in the center and shift around trying for grips with even morozashi.  Noshin drove Tosa to the edge with a lift up once he had gotten a migiyotsu, then reversing direction he dropped the gorilla with an over-arm throw.  Tochinoshin betters his record to 7-1 while the gorilla hangs on the mediocrity tree with a 5-3.

EM5 Aran (3-4) vs. EM8 Kyokutenho (3-4): Aran leads the head-to-head 4 to 2, but he’s coming off a violation loss yesterday due to yanking on Yoshikaze’s top not.  Today, Kyoku immediately worked into migiyotsu and Aran reciprocated.  Both men gained tight grips, trying to lift his opponent, and in the end Kyoku prevailed in the strong-man battle.  The ole’ Mongol keeps things even at 4-4 while Aran has plenty of game to think about at 3-5.

ES Kotoshogiku (5-2) vs. EM1 Goeido (4-3) H2H 4-8: Goei came in lower at the tachiai and reached for a better grip, but once the Geek started pressing forward Goei was only squirming around, trying to break the Geek’s momentum.  Poor showing by Goeido, but is it really?  It seems I’m saying “poor showing” after every Goeido bout.  Expectations must be too high.  The Geek moves on to a nice 6-2 while Goeido falls to the floor with a pair of fours.

EM2 Homasho (1-6) vs. WS Kisenosato (3-4): Chief Cigar Store has a 4-3 edge head-to-head against Kissy in the past, which is respectable.  From the tachiai, the two bonk heads and Kissy gets a good thrust game going, backing Cigar Store to the bales, but Homasho somehow found a way to slip to the side and Kissy tumbled down.  They call it a pull-down win, and Chief improves to 2-6 while Kissy’s on the floor with a pair of fours.

EO Baruto (6-1) vs. WM4 Takekaze (4-3): what’s funny about this pair-up, other than the differences in size?  Takekaze leads the head-to-head 3 to 2.  From the tachiai, Take make contact, but then kind of skirted to the left.  Now, if I use the term “skirted” in anyone’s sumo, you know he’s bound for a humiliating loss.  Bart gave a simple shove and little Akita was in the third row, on the floor with a pair of fours.  Bart keeps things interesting at 7-1.

WM3 Aminishiki (2-5) vs. WO Kaio (5-2): Kaio leads head-to-head 16-8.  At the tachiai, Ami led into Kaio’s chest looking down, without a grip.  Then all the sudden, Kaio wasn’t in front of him anymore.  Why didn’t Ami look up?  Why didn’t he go for a grip?  Why didn’t he keep his balance, rather than just lean his head on Kaio’s chest?  These are questions we are not supposed to ask at the old man ‘advances’ to 6-2 while Amisneaky should take tips from big brother Asofuji on how to fall for an opponent and not make it so obvious.  This is bullshit.

EO Kotooshu (2-5) vs. WK Toyonoshima (1-6) Oshu carries a slight edge at 11-9 in this, the second David vs. Goliath bout of the Makuuchi today.  Oshu hit things off shoulder first and with his head turned to the left.  Shorty took advantage of this and thrust the giant back to the bales while Oshu attempted to square up.  Once on the bales, Oshu fought back gaining a belt-grip and swinging the squirt to the edge and shoving him out.  Poor sumo by Oshu, but he’ll take the win and improve to 2-6 while Toyonoshima is in a fix at 1-7, but on the bright side there won’t be that many spots to fall in the banzuke.

EK Kakuryu (4-3) vs. WO Harumafuji (4-3): The Ozeki carries a great advantage in the head-to-head, 13 to 3.  Haruma went in very quickly at the tachiai, but in fact he was a bit too speedy and out-of-control.  He bumped into the Kak (though it’s ordinarily the other way around), and there Haruma was, on the floor with a pair of fours.  The Kak is solid these days, and so is Kakuryu at 5-3, with a Kak-slapdown win.

EY Hakuho (7-0) vs. EM4 Okinoumi (4-3): first time between these two.  At the tachiai, Oki reached inside and Hak locked up both of Oki’s arms and in doing so, took Oki’s pimping blue mawashi and tossed the hansom devil down, in a pulling underarm throw.  And there you have it, Okinoumi was on the floor with a pair of fours.  Hakuho, 8 and O.

Protect yourselves; Sterling Brown is coming at you tomorrow with a tall tail…and he’s going to discuss some sumo as well!

Day 10

Today’s guest on the like feed was recently retired Inagawa-oyakata (former Futeno).  Only 31 years old , he’s had matchups with many of the older Makuuchi guys, but for some reason, didn’t have that much to contribute.  Whatever, the active rikishi didn’t have much to contribute today either.  I gotta tell ya folks, this was probably the least entertaining day this basho, only one or two bouts really got my blood going.  I’ll still give you the rundown, because that’s the kind of guy I am.

Takamisakari v Kokkai – Man, the Kok looked really hungry for this win.  He looked like he was going to literaly murder poor old Mr. Magoo.  At the tachiai the Kok had the upper hand and was driving Taka back, but at the tawara they both seemed to slip and they both ended up on the ground.  Gunbai went to Kokkai, but Takanohana-shinpan-cho called a do-over, because it was too close.  On go-round number two Kokkai had the right hand inside and Taka’s right arm up in the air, but Magoo thought he saw a quarter on the other side of the dohyo and turned to get it, dragging the poor Georgian down. 4-6, 3-7

Kimurayama v Toyohibiki – This one was not worth remembering.  Kimura won by a crappy oshidashi, 6-4 each.

Miyabiyama v Tochinowaka – I would give it up to Tochi for hanging in and coming back from the edge three times against Miyabiyama’s tsuppari… if this was before 2007.  Truthfully, there didn’t seem to be all that much steam in the tank and I think Tochi just had a bad day (he can add it to the 6 he’s already had.)  5-5, 3-7.

Tosayutaka v Gagamaru – Although I don’t particularly like the henka, I did like Tosa’s work here today.  He did just what he needed to, by shifting constantly.  Gaga has been looking really unstable at 200 kilos, and todays match is proof (you can add that to the other 5 he’s already had).  7-3, 4-6.

Tochinonada v Asasekiryu – Asa was all over this one with a left hand inside right from the get-go.  From there it was like watching someone trying to win an argument with an Alzheimer’s patient.   Both at 5-5.

Kyokutenho v Wakakoyu – Kyoku got a shallow belt grip out of the gates, but Koyu moved back and to the left…. back and to the left…. back and to the left, and slapped down the veteran.  4-6, 5-5.

Yoshikaze v Tokitenku – “FINALLY” i thought, “a day 10 bout that will decided a kachikoshi! And it’s Yoshikaze, so if nothing else this will be something fun to look at.”  It took 4 tries to line up correctly at the shikirisen, then the false starts began.  First, Toki ran into Yoshi and let a nasty harite fly, Yoshi was out of the ring before the gyoji called a mata.  Again, false start.  Finally they got going.  Toki slapped the over enthusiastic oguruma down by the bales. 4-6, 7-3

Kaisei v Tochinoshin – “FINALLY!” I thought. “A day 10 bout where both guys already have KK, this ought to be a good power-sumo bout!”  Henka (or variation thereof) from Noshin.  The Georgian got a left hand grip out of the deal.  They went chest to chest, sizing each other up.  Once Kaisei went for the forward motion Noshin took the oppurtinity to go for a marginally impressive lift-out win (although it was called a yorikiri.) 9-1 for both guys.

Shotenro v Wakanosato – The veteran snagged a quick left hand inside right away.  Tenro went for a sukuinage that fizzled, then tried for a shitatenage, within inches of landing the throw, Tenro’s grip broke and from there Waka was able to get behind him and thrust him home. 2-8, 5-5.

Kitataiki v Okinoumi – “Finally” I thought “two relatively younger guys trying to make it to sanyaku, AND this could decided makekoshi!”  Taiki had the better (read: lower) position and pushed oki back towards Nakamura shinpan-cho, it looked like Taiki won by a few inches with a nage, but Nakamura called a do-over.  “Great!” I thought “This time it will be even better!”  BUT, Casanova came out on top with a disappointingly fast oshidashi.  2-8, 6-4.

Tamawashi v Aminishiki – “Finally!” I thou….aw fuck it.  Push, pull, slapdown for the Sneak.  5-5, 4-6.

Kakuryu v Homasho – After a nice sounding head butt, the Kak went into Zsa Zsa mode and assaulted the poor native american until balance was lost, then the Kak sealed the deal with a slap down. 7-3, 2-8.

Goeido v Toyonoshima – Toyo’s movement has not been all that great this go ’round and today was a perfect example (in addition to the other 8 he’s had).  The little guy just couldn’t gain any ground and went makikae, makikae, makikae all the way over the tawara. 6-4, 1-9

Kotoshogiku v Tochiozan – What happened to the Ozan we saw on days one and two.  Today Ambrose Burnside got steamrollered by the Geek, who picked up his kachikoshi.  Picking up 3 or 4 more and a special prize will set him up for possible promotion after Nagoya.  8-2, 2-8.

Kotooshu v Aran – Oshu has looked absolute shit this basho, but so has Aran, so this could be anyone’s game.  Oshu tried a pushing game here, which only garnered him a mouth-full of clay.  Pulled down by the Russian.  3-7, 4-6.

Baruto v Harumafuji – Good bout from Harumafuji who took his Ama pills this morning.  Ama kept on Bart’s left side, neutralizing his left arm, and out of the reach of his right, Ama sealed the deal by using a neat little susoharai (rear foot sweep) to topple Boo Radley to the dohyo.  8-2, 6-4.

Takekaze v Kaio – Take did just what anyone needs to do to beat Kaio.  No, no, no.  He didn’t slip an envelope of unmarked 10,000 yen notes slipped under a bathroom stall….well…. maybe he did…. but it APPEARED that Take just got low enough and pushed Kaio up in a manner that compromised his back.  Done and done for little Akita. 5-5, 6-4.

Hakuho v Kisenosato – “Finally!” I though, “this will be a…….shit, Kise has looked trash this basho, this gonna be brutal.”  And it was.  Hakuho opened up with a barrage of high velocity slaps and pushes (one of which I swear was a  mage grab, but no one else seemed to notice).  Pretty swift oshi dashi with not much resistance.  And thus ends Kise’s current Ozeki run.  Better luck next time, champ.  10-0, 4-6.

I was really disappointed today, only ONE measly kachikoshi on day 10, with three makekoshis.  Let’s hope Chalmers has better luck on day 11, over to you little buddy.

~Creswell

Leaderboard: 10-0: Hakuho , 9-1: Tochinoshin,Kaisei , 8-2: Baruto, Geek

Day 12

Looks like its that time again…. Sumo….Day 12

Its only me this time since the last joint effort ended with Bertrum and I jiggling for five days straight before getting in the second part of the 5th/6th day venture.  Well I guess we’ll see how this one turns out.  But, I am happy to say that I am prepared for this day’s sumo (however short/long it may end up being) …. I got my whiskey and my smokes..

Takamisakari vs. Akiseyama: Taka up to his normal antics riling up the crowd, maybe this time he’ll pullsomething off.  He it seems the Aomorian did it.  He went in for the hug, got a better grip on that ass and finally strained himself to yorikiri Aki out the ring.  This may be one of the only times I remember reporting a win for Robocop..

Daido vs. Tochinonada: Was it just me or was it a little sloppy?  They rush at each other and Tochinonada pulls the weakest henka I’ve ever seen.  Note to self; Make sure you are fast enough before you try it buddy.  I mean granted Tochi almost gets him but after some time in the middle hugging it out.  Daido comes around for the victory.

Tosayutaka vs. Toyohibiki: I wasn’t going to comment on this one but whatever it was a bit interesting.  Toyo lunges forward locking into Tosa.  One of them thinks hes a prepubescent girl and decides to rock a cartwheel while locked onto his opponent.  The result is a suicidal hope that you don’t land first… Toyo lands first, and the schoolyard win goes to Tosa.

Gagamaru vs. Asasekiryu:  Lady Gaga looking good this bout.  Almost reminiscent of Baruto style strength.  The lady goes into the tachiai looking for the mawashi grab and once hes got it.  Gaga pulls up and thrusts those hips like a two year old male dog smelling a bitch during mating season.  I used the term right… trust me
Gaga wins..

Tokitenku vs. Shotenro; Wow. Shotenro is not doing hot.  He got completely owned…not only was he completely lift up off the ground with his legs flailing like a little girl but he gets immediately leg swiped  jiggling down to the ground.  Props to Toki.

Tamawashi vs. Miyabiyama: Miyabiyama started with E. Honda style slapped showing around around why he is one of the contenders for the booby prize. After a bit of that he takes the poor chap down.

Kyokutenho vs. Takekaze: For the Mountains of Shirakami to the massive giant that is Chokai the divine wind of Akita has never failed to disappoint me each time I report alone.  Both rushed in a tachiai and Kyoku locked the Akitian’s arms in.  Kyoku thrusted a few times and the Brothers Kaze racks loss number one.

Yoshikaze vs. Aminishiki: Oh, Yoshi…I would have hoped you could do better at M7.  This is usually where you shine, buddy.  Its not like you are doing bad but come on just try to remember what you did a few bashos back.  Maybe soak yourself in the beautiful onsens of Oita and scale some of those mountains near Miyazaki in Ume-machi. Lets just say Yoshi tried to pull the suicidal cart wheel but the Sneek had his number.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Yoshi got an injury on his back.  Like I said buddy an onsen will sort that out.  Loss number two for the Brothers Kaze.

Goeido vs. Kaisei:  Both went in for the bear hug.  Maybe because Kaisei got all that hair to grab onto Goeido take him down for his second loss.

Kakuryu vs. Tochinoshin: Henka. Fishy gets the win

Okinoumi vs. Kisenosato: They both come in for a decent tachiai.  But instead of automatically going in for the bear hug there is a bit of slapping arms away in order to attain the desired grip.  Both failing to do so they engage in the hug formation.  Kise then tries to semi cartwheel the guy and fails.  However because of the imbalance Kise then proceeds to hip thrust to victory.

Baruto vs. Kaio: Kaio cowardly henka to try and win but Baruto doesn’t even get phased.  Baruto quickly grabs that mawashi. However Kaio seems to almost off-balance Baruto to the edge of the ring.  For a split second Kaio seems to have it but Baruto forces Kaio toward the center of the ring. This makes Kaio visibly tired. Now, its time to do what Baruto does best: grab that mawashi, lift up, and force the opponent out of the ring.

Kotoshogiku vs. Harumafuji: Henka. Koto falls flat on his face.

Hakuho vs. Aran: Hakuho starts off with the slaps until Aran gets a hold of the mawashi.  Aran tries a few thrusts but no go.  Hakuho keeps his cool demeanor and wait for that grip. Aran then tries something again and fail giving Hakuho the chance to flip him around near the edge of the ring. They seem to be at a stalemate…neither of them can overpower the other.  Finally Aran tries to start a cartwheel maneuver and Hakuho swings him to the ground.

Day 13

It’s always funny when Japanese people who speak no English try to translate stuff into English for you. Take yesterday afternoon as the perfect example. I was looking out the classroom window when I spotted a small animal on the far side of the baseball field, maybe about 300 meters away. My brain filed through all the animals it was used to seeing on a regular basis and returned 3 suggestions to me;a tanuki, a fox, or a squirrel. Due to the distance I was unable to identify which one it was, so I asked my teacher. He too was unable to identify the animal. About an hour later I asked the Kyoto sensei what it was, and his reply was “anaguma”. Having never heard this word before I politely replied, “huh?” He quickly translated it to English for me (kindof) “Bear, bear!” was his response. Ah! It’s a bear cub, I thought! Bears are common in these parts, so I thought wow, cool that’s the first wild bear I have ever seen. Alas, to those of you who speak more Japanese than I you will know that although the “guma” part of this word is represented by the kanji for bear, it has infinitely nothing to do with a bear.

Before the day got under way today we had 7 wrestlers fighting for their kachi-kochi or 8th win, and we had 6 guys trying to prevent make-koshi the 8th loss. And with one yokozuna who hasn’t dropped a bout surly that makes at least 16 wrestlers who were going to give it their all today!

Takarafuji vs. Tochinonada
Taka who made the trip up from Juryo today was fighting for his KK while Tochi was trying to prevent having his nads clipped for another day… At the tachi-ai Tochi cant’t get a grip, but Taka can. Taka’s right hand reaches to the back of his own mawashi, pulls out a snips and stealthily snips and pushes. A fraction of a second later no nads is down on his knees and officially has No Nads. Ouch!

Takayasu vs. Tochinowaka
A similar situation in the second fight of the day today with Juryo’s Takayasu on 7 wins fighting whack-off with 7 losses. Taka was all about commitment today and forgot to focus on his control. He overextended himself multiple times before Tochi capitalized and threw Taka to the dirt.

Takamisakari vs. Wakakoyu
During the 3rd fight we finally had 2 makuuchi wrestlers meet. Excitement again as the clown tried to put off his inevitable MK, while Wakakoyu fought for his KK. This was only going to go one way in my mind. After Taka mating call we things were under way. And Waka got a nice paw on Taka’s face and forcefully pushed the clown out. As expected!

Gagamaru vs. Shotenro
Lady Gaga needed to take down one of the few men who beat Hakuho last year to prevent his MK, and guaranteed drop from his M14 position. Show tried for the classic push then pull move, but the Lady knew it was coming and was happy to take the boy over the edge.

Kyokutenho vs. Kimurayama
Kimuramura (the horny one!) needed to get his leg over Kyoku today to guarantee his rise in the ranks. But Kyokutenho had other plans. From the tachi-ai he went straight into yotsu-zumo and Muramura found himself backed up with blue balls and more importantly, outside the ring.

Toyohibiki vs. Takekaze
Takekaze, our hometown version of Scrappy Cornelius Doo came into today with 6 wins and 6 losses, just like his opponent. The advantage however was that Scrappy had an 8 tier advantage over Lowyohibiki. The little dog went for a nastly jumping henka, making contact with Toyo’s neck. The 2 then found themselves in reversed positions, and with a miss from Toyo, Take got around the back and tenderly escorted Toyo out.

Okinoumi vs. Tamawashi
The Ball-Eagle had it all to fight for today against Okinoumi. With a lot of hands being used today the Eagle tried to get his hand on the back of Oki’s head and pull him down, but Oki reacted well and used The Eagles backward motion against him adding a few easy pushes. Not such a baller move by the Eagle who will have to perch on a lower branch next basho.

Kitataiki vs. Wakanosato
The North fella has been discovering how incredibly over ranked his was at M3 this basho. Coming in to today he only had 3 wins so the older Wakanosato may have felt pretty confident beforehand. They had a false start with Kita going early, and it looked very much like he was planning on trying a slap down. But they restarted and Waka locked up Kita and took him to the bales. Kita held on for a bit, but he never showed any real chance of recovery.

Homasho vs. Tochiozan
Why is it that any time I put Homasho on my fantasy team he SUCKS?? His inability to win in sumo almost annoys me more than his always stupid looking bow! Anyway between these two guys they managed to win a pathetic 4 out of 24 fights! Does anyone even care who won!?! Let’s just say I will NEVER pick Homasho on ANY fantasy team EVER again!

Goeido vs. Yoshikaze
This time Yoshikaze was trying to avoid MK. Before the fight I thought he hadn’t a chance against Goeido. Turns out to be an accurate assumption. Yoshikaze tried to be as slippery as a seal today, but Goeido managed to package him up nicely and set him out without even breaking a sweat.

Kakuryu vs. Kaisei
Kaisei is obviously doing great for his first time in the top division. So well in fact that he is now being fed to the big dogs. Coming in to today, from M16, he has only lost to Tochinoshin and Goeido! But on the other side of the ring stood Kakuryu who had only lost to two Ozeki and the Yokozuna! Still fancy your chances Kaisei?? He surly did fancy his chances, and put in a great performance. The fight went on for much longer than expected, and Kaisei even had the Kak heading for the bales on 2 occasions. But bith a nice flick of his hips the Kak twisted Kaisei to his knees. Great stuff from Kaisei, he is obviously still learning, but he should have a nice long career ahead of him!

Kotoshogiku vs. Kisenosato
Kisenosato, who recently lost to Homasho?!?!, came in with a pitiful 6-6 today against the much stronger Kotoshogiku. Kise tried to prevent Koto from getting his favourite grip and the almost unstoppable hug and chug. But Kise is not on form this tourney and he allowed Koto get a good right hand, and after many failed attempts at countering he was driven out for his 7th loss. He faces Kaio tomorrow.

Baruto vs. Tochinoshin
I was really looking forward to this fight! It’s nice to see 2 Europeans fighting each other, and both came in with 10 wins and only 2 losses each. Tochi took a somewhat cheap step to the left at the start, trying to get an easy grip on the Ozeki’s belt. He succeeded and then made sure kept ass as far away from Baruto as physically possible. This prevented Bart from getting a hand on Tochi’s belt. After a short stalemate Tochi went for a leg trip but sacrificed his belt in the process. I thought it was all over as Bart was left with a good inside grip but then Tochi keeping the pressure on went for another leg trip, which Bart quickly recovered from and went for a neck throw of his own. But somehow Tochi countered with a great uwatenagi and the two fell together, but Tochi did enough to have Bart heading for the ground first, and he fell pretty hard too. Great stuff from Tochi, well, after a sneaky half henka start.

Hakuho vs. Harumafuji
I always love the way these two always have a nice quick start, and today was no different. Harumafuji used his right arm to push the Hak and then slapped with his left. This separated the two for a split second, and when the reengaged Harry got a left hand grip on Hakuho’s belt, and very smartly wasted no time. He slipped around to Hakuho’s right hand side while maintain a left hand grip and keeping his right hand on the Yokozuna’s right shoulder, preventing Hakuho from squaring up. Harry then jolted the left hand grip he had, and charged straight into the Yokozuna’s side. Hakuho was in serious trouble at the point. He tried to spin around in the opposite direction, but Harumafuji was kept the pressure on, and charged forwards. Hakuho was on the bales and had nowhere to go but out! The fight lasted only 5 seconds, but the speed of these two wrestlers was amazing to watch. Harumafuji was on form today! Amazing!

This has made things very interesting. Hakuho having now lost a fight, has to refocus himself in the next 24 hours before he faces Baruto who now, in my eyes, has a much stronger chance of taking the Yokozuna. He’s surly kicking himself for losing to Tochinoshin now!

Ok so as things look now:

1 loss: Hakuho
2 losses: Tochinoshin
3 losses: Baruto, Kakuryu, Kaisei, Tosayutaka

Daly will take care of business tomorrow as the rest of us christen the Connolly residence and search for more badgers.

Day 14

With an unexpected loss to Harumafuji yesterday the Yokozuna has left the door open for Tochinoshin and slightly less so for Baruto, Kaisei, Tosayutaka, and Kakuryu. Has the Technical Examination Basho shown or proven that Yaocho is finished in Sumo? I’ll let you be the judge dear readers. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.It’s been too long since I’ve written one of these. Bear with me as I get my groove back.

Old met new today when Old man Miyabi faced off against Takayasu.

The young gun dominated this match: pushing Jaba all around the dohyo. Takayasu’s footing however slipped out of the ring. Both men move to 7-7.

Very few people know this but Daido and Gagamaru actually picked their shikona to honor the musicians that inspires them. Whether that is true or not, it does serve as an excellent introduction to this bout, no?

Dido started the bout with a false start and surprisingly didn’t seem to pay the Gentlemen Gaga any respect for his misstep. The bout began with a mediocre tachi-ai followed by a series of thrusts. Gaga missed Dido with one of those thrusts and found himself at the Edge of Glory while Dido said Thank You. Thank you too little too late however, as Gaga recovered his Poker Face and began backing Dido into surrendering: White Flag and all. Dido tried desperately to get away but with his back turned to Gaga the match ended in some Bad Romance. Gaga wins with an okuritaoshi. Were all those references worth it for lower Maegashira match? I think so.

Kimurayama and Yoshikaze went into today’s bout 7-6 a piece.

Cafe Kaze wins this one easily against the slower and less respected Kimurayama with a yorikiri.

Old timers Tokitenku and Wakanosato faced off today.

Toki had a chance at his eight today but it wasn’t meant to be. Waka dives as though he was going for a touchdown catch to win by oshidashi.

Tough men Aran and Kitataiki faced off today to decide who was the toughest Maegashira rikishi.

Ugly stuff from both rikishi. Aran looked to be trying a pull down while Kitataiki appeared to be pushing the Russian with a reckless abandon (so much for either rikishi gaining any manly points). Recklessness caused the bout to go in Aran’s favor however with a nice move at the edge of the dohyo. Aran won the battle but Kita’s expression after the bout reflected the general ugliness of it all. A Kodak moment and me without my camera, for shame.

Since I know we have a few viewers in Brazil, it brings me great joy to see Kaisei  representing so well in his Shin-Makuuchi debut. The Brazilian found himself at 10-3 today facing off against Aminishiki-da-Sneaky.

Sneaky wisely locked up the arms of Kaio’s Understudy and went for a ride around the ring. ‘Bout halfway round the Aomori veteran tossed the big fella to the ground. Brazil moves to 10-4 and out of contention for the Yusho (not that he really had much of a chance anyways). That being said, Kaisei’s future looks pretty bright in Makuuchi.

Kakuryu at 10-3 has been looking outstanding after a slow start. Today he took on Mr. Forgettable, Tosayutaka, who is having a pretty solid basho himself at 10-3 too.

Not surprisingly however Kakuryu dominated this match straight from the word go. Nice tsupari to take Tosayutaka right out of the ring. Kakuryu potentially stays in the Yusho race at 11-3

Tochinoshin (11-2) and Kotoshogiku (9-4)

Slight henka from the Georgian played to his advantage as he was able to wrap his long arms around the Geek to gain a solid grip. From there Noshin simply swung the smaller Shogiku around and out for the yorikiri win.

Sekiwake Kisenosato was fighting to stay alive for his eight while Kaio was already there to my surprise.

Kise simply did what needed to be done to win against the Old Man. He kept his footing and balance to guarantee the yorikiri without any tricky business.

Harumafuji has been looking less than stellar for a long time. Injuries, shady dealings, complacency, or whatever the cause maybe at 8-5 he needed this win just as much as Akita’s Finest, Takekaze (7-6).

Kaze nearly won this from go with a cheap pull down attempt but Ama recovered nicely and battled back to the center of the dohyo. Harumafuji was able to gain a solid grip and walk Takekaze out to the ring for what looked to be a pretty routine yorikiri win.

But wait!

It gets much better at this point! With Akita’s Finest clearly out of the ring, Ama shows his strength and decides to pick Kaze up and throw him (literally) into the crowd. Now I know behavior like that can sometimes be frowned upon, but all I have to say is that’s the Harumafuji I know and love. Hope to see more of that in July!

Hakuho faced off against Baruto today who desperately needs to bring back the tsupari sumo that got him his Ozeki rank! His lazy sumo will not cut it if he ever wants to dominate the sport. A win from Hakuho today would make the basho a whole lot less interesting but likely nonetheless.

A quick tachi-ai turned into a lifting match that favored the Yokozuna. At the center of the ring the Dai Yokozuna went for the leg trip we’ve seen Kakuryu use many times to defeat the Estonian, but to no avail today. At this point the bout seemed to be pretty even but Bart rushed himself or didn’t think his next move out and went for a headlock. This half baked plan gave Hakuho more than enough time to gain a solid grip to win by yorikiri.

With that win Hakuho controls his destiny tomorrow. Will he be victorious or will a combination of Kaio and Tochinoshin ruin his plans!? 

Basho Wrap-UP

Well sumo fans, the May 技量審査場所 or “technical examination tournament” to you and me is over.  Before we get to the actual wrap up, let’s go through some facts, like Yusho, sansho, et al.  Waddaya say I pour myself some of this delightful Aberlour A’Bunadh cask strength, start with makuuchi and work our way down.

Makuuchi Yusho went to Hakuho yet again, bringing his total to 19 and tying Asashoryu for 7 in a row.  Junyusho was shared by East Komusubi Kakuryu, and West Maegashira 6 Tochinoshin with 12 wins each.  Ginosho (Technique prize) went to both East Komusubi Kakuryu and East Maegashira 1 Goeido (11-4) . Kantosho (Fighting Spirit Prize) goes to the aforementioned Tochinoshin, and West Maegashira 16 Kaisei, who in his makuuchi debut picked up 9 consecutive wins from the first day tying former Sadanoumi’s record from Kyushu 1980 and finishing with 10-5.

Irumagawa-beya’s diminutive Sagatsukasa picked up the Juryo yusho with 13-2 from East Juryo 12.  Matsutani (West Makushita 4) was the only guy in the division to get 7-0, sealing the Makushita yusho and the road back to Juryo.

Hokutokuni beat Yakunoshima in a playoff bout (both rikishi were 7-0) to secure the Sandanme yusho.  After an 8 basho hiatus (some kind of injury I assume) Hokutoumi has gone 4 basho without a single loss, although that’s expected of a ex-sekitori down in maezumo.  Tomozuna beya’s Kainoryu was the only guy in Jonidan with 7-0 thus clenching his first ever yusho.  Finally Hisanotora picks up his 2nd Jonokuchi yusho with a perfect 7-0.

Now onto my analysis.  I’ll just stick to Juryo and Makuuchi, in an attempt to curb the length here.  Makuuchi first and those more involved fans can stick around for Juryo after that.

On to makuuchi.  We’ll go from the top down here.

Hakuho finished 13-2, but really, if this were a real basho, I don’t think he would have so easily toppled.  That being said, I think Harumafuji had a legitimate bout, but Kaio’s stunk enough for both of them.  I have no doubt that there was more than a little pressure to let the old Japanese standby win, when so many folks from disaster stricken areas were given free tickets to come see sumo.  That being said Hakuho did his job, but I look forward to seeing more intensity out of the guy in Nagoya.

Kotooshu, wow (3-8-4).  What a clod.  He looked unfocused and over stretched the entire basho.  It looked like Andre the Giant running for the free beer & pussy truck in a room with low ceilings.  He went kyujo just in time to go makekoshi by fusensho, claiming an aggravation to his old knee injury caused during his bout with Homasho.  Kadoban for him in Nagoya.  I hope he gets knocked back to sekiwake, maybe that’ll light a fire under his ass.

Kaio (9-6), I will say this, I don’t think many of his bouts were fixed.  That being said he was not doing ozeki level sumo.  There was a lot more trying not to lose than trying to win, if you take my meaning.  his win over Harumafuji was a good barometer of that.  I’d say he deserves maybe 6 or 7 out of the 9 he got.

Baruto (10-5).  Another ozeki that was unfocused for a good deal of the basho.  He should have won the bout against Tochinoshin and Kotoshogiku, and it was too close a call on more than one occasion.  That being said, he had a few bouts and got his 10, so fair enough.  I stand by my calling him Master Blaster, and will continue to do so (although I think Boo Radley fits just as well.)

Harumafuji (10-5).  Looked better than he has recently.  We didn’t see much tell of the injuries he’s had of late, and his bouts against Baruto and Hakuho were quite good.  Pretty diverse this basho with 6 different kimarite including a rather rare susoharai (rear leg sweep) over Baruto.  Not bad for Harry.  Hoping he’ll stay in the Yusho race longer next time though.

Kotoshogiku (10-5)- Good performance by the Geek, although twice he got duped by nasty henkas and pretty much took himself out and he only used 2 kimarite the whole basho.  With the exception of Tochinoshin he only lost to sanyaku, so good job, guy.  Add a little bit more consistency and you might make Ozeki by September, but more likely is November.

Kisenosato (8-7) gave a disappointing performance.  Horribly inconsistent.  The only sanyaku he won against were Toyonoshima and Kaio (I’m not counting the fusensho win over Kotooshu).  Even Makuuchi’s co-biggest Loser, Homasho (3-12), beat the Kid.  His tachi-ais didn’t seem to go anywhere, and he almost never came out of the gates with an advantage.  I’m really hoping for at least 10-5 in Nagoya, but the way he’s dealing with rank-and-filers now a days, I would be happy with KK next time.

Kakuryu (12-3JG).  Great showing from one of my favorite rikishi.  Matched Harumafuji with 6 kimarite for this basho losing only to ozeki and yokozuna and only on days 1,2, and 7.  Personally I think his bout against Kaisei was one of his better of the tournament (for Kaisei too for that matter).  He did henka twice, but given the sumo that followed, I don’t mind so much.  There is a bit of controversy going on about whether or not a 3rd sekiwake spot will be created for him, as both sekiwake got their majority of wins.  Technically 11 wins is the ”mandatory promotion” line, but we’ll see.  Here’s hoping fish face slips into Sekiwake for Nagoya.

Toyonoshima (5-10).  His movement was off pretty much all tournament, he couldn’t get his stuff they way he usually likes it.  He got into a groove around day 11, but it was just damage control.  Hopefully this little bullfrog will get his shit together and be looking decent at a lower rank next basho.

Goeido (11-4G).  Although I don’t really like the guy or the rushed and slipshod nature of his sumo, I do have to say he did well this basho.  He had the most diverse basho using 7 different kimarite, beating all ozeki, and only losing to sanyaku.  Good for him.  We’ll see how he does with 2 straight bashos of 1st week meatgrinder.

to keep things shorter, I’m just going to focus on (what I deem to be) exceptional rikishi from here on out.  The first of which is…

Okinoumi (7-8).  This was Casanova’s first basho ranked this high.  He only lost to one of the 4 Ozeki (Baruto) and beat a Komusubi (Toyonoshima).  however he put up a decent enough fight against the rest of the sanyaku.  He’ll slip down a bit, but I think he’ll bounce back and we might even see him back in Joi for September.

Tochinoshin(12-3K).  looked great this basho.  Hands down his best bout was against Baruto on day 13.  He looked really strong this whole month, bouts like the one against Asasekiryu show just how solid his lower body is.  My bet is M1 or Komusubi for next basho, but perhaps a less than stellar basho.  I want him to do well, but would be willing to bet no more than kachi koshi.

Tosayutaka (10-5).  Daly always calls this guy Mr. Forgettable.  Which, although I agree there are very few bouts of his I remember solidly, every bout of his I watch I enjoy.  The guy always gives everything, and is a strong fighter.  He didn’t lose to slouches, and he didn’t henka.  However, he is gonna be a bit over ranked next basho, so I would put him at 8-7 but 7-8 or 6-9 is more likely.

Gagamaru (8-7).  I don’t believe Gaga really earned this kachikoshi.  I don’t know if it has to do with the extra 2 kilos he gained, or maybe his keiko wasn’t what he’s used to, but he was WAY off balance this basho.  It seemed like the only time he could win was when someone went straight in.  Any lateral motion whatsoever and it seemed that the Lady was going down.

Last but certainly not least I come to…

Kaisei(10-5k).  Kaisei looked more than solid this basho.  Winning 9 in a row and looking good while doing it.  his best bout, I think was against Kaukryu on day 13.  In fact… Day 13 was a pretty good day.  Watch that day if you’re going to watch any from this basho.

In juryo we saw probably the piss-poorest basho I can remember.  10 rikishi got the boot, and of the remaining 18, 10 makekoshied.  Only Hochiyama picked up 7-8, most of the losses were more on par with 5-10, 4-11.  Those in Juryo who did win, did not do so in spectacular fashion.  Sagatsukasa 13-2, Takarafuji and Fujiazuma 9-6, Takayasu, Daido, Tamaasuka, and Yoshiazuma all with 8-7.

Yeah, we’re gonna see pretty much all of those guys up in Makuuchi next go ’round, but that is not such an encouraging thought.  Lets look at the numbers.

Of the juryo rikishi that kachikoshi-ed, their combined records against makuuchi rikishi were 3-9 this basho.  Those 3 wins coming from Daido (2) and Takarafuji (1).  All of juryo posted a paltry 3-19 against makuuchi rikishi, and yes those are the same 3 wins.  Sagatsukasa picked up the yusho without facing a single Makuuchi opponent, and in fact, faced one (Aoiyama) from makushita.  That being said, the little guy did well.  I would look forward to Takarafuji, Daido, and Sagatsukasa to do well, and possibly KK next basho.

13 Makushita rikishi will be promoted to Juryo, two with Makekoshi records.  They are, in banzuke order: (n=new juryo, *=makekoshi)

Aoiyama(n), Kakizoe(*), Takanoyama(n), Kanbayashi, Arawashi(n)*, Kaonishiki(n), Matsutani, Tenkaiho(n) (former Minami), Sotairyu, Myogiryu, Chiyonokuni(n), Hitenryu(n) (former Mochimaru), and Hamanishiki.

Of these 13 the only ones I can see hangin around as sekitori are Kanbayashi, Matsutani, Myogiryu, and maybe Sotairyu.  Chiyonokuni has an outside chance.  I’d love to see Aoiyama and especially Takanoyama stay in Juryo or make it to makuuchi, but not yet I think for those two… and Hamanishiki is just too old.

In any event.  The banzuke is gonna be f-ed up this July.  There are HUGE holes that need to be filled and not enough guys to pull it off.  The JSA has cut the number of sekitori in makuuchi from 42 to 40 and in juryo from 28 to 26.  Personally I see this being just like the gambling scandal from last year, only worse.  The banzuke is going to go through a fluctuation period with guys being constantly over and under-ranked probably until Hatsu or Osaka.  Really, Tosayutaka doesn’t belong at M1 or 2.  So he’ll have a shit-show in Nagoya nd get demoted WAY far down, then have a good basho and bounce way back up.

The same is gonna go with the guys coming up from Juryo, they are going to be ranked WAY to high, have crap bashos then get sent back down, whilst the guys in juryo are gonna have great bashos with all the new Makushita meat.  Same with makushita.  With makushita joi mainstays like Takanoyama, Aoiyama, and the others up in juryo things are going to get very interesting down there.  And the cycle will continue, until the fluctuations equalize out.  I’m guessing come hatsu things will be pretty back to normal.  So, until then we can expect bashos like this one.  No ozeki promotions are in the immediate future.  However keep your eyes open for a Miyabiyama retirement soon.  He’s flirting with Juryo and if he drops down there via makekoshi he’ll have to retire.  Well, make sure to stay tuned here in the coming weeks.  We’re going to have profiles on all the new sekitori, a few whisky and cigar reviews, breaking banzuke news, as well as keiko reports leading up to Nagoya 2011.  Don’t forget to take our quizzes as well, they’re harder than you’d think.  Thanks for reading.

~Creswell

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to day two of the Natsu Technical Examinational non-Basho basho.  I must say I’m pretty impressed with the increase in quality to the NHK stream, as well as the addition of commentary.  I agree with Valentine that some replays would be nice, but ah well.  It’s too bad, for those who don’t speak Japanese, that there is no English provided whatsoever, but as that isn’t a problem for me, you guys can read all about it here.

For this basho, every day after Hakuho’s dohyo-iri, it seems a gyoji will come up on the dohyo (heh heh) and proceed to read off the torikumi for the next day.  Each bout is announced and displayed on a piece of thin paper, that is pretty much impossible to read from our vantage point.  Really, it looks like he’s displaying his kids work from art class to the crowd at the kokugikan.  Just in case there was anyone wondering what the hell that was, he’s not saying “check out this uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunicorn he did…. you’d never believe he’s only 4 years ooooooooooooooold!  How about this jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet plane!  It got 4 fucking miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissiles!”  Not sure why they’re doing this, as the bouts are already displayed on the website for tomorrow…

Since we are one of only a few places one can get daily bout highlights in English, I’ll start with the NHK English commentary catch phrase: There’s an interesting situation down in juryo.  New-comer Takayasu, half-Filipino, and hailing from Naruto beya(who only on his 3rd Basho in juryo and was the one of the first two sekitori born in the heisei era along with Masunoyama), is still doing quite well from the East Juryo 1 spot.  Not much could stop him from being the first heisei born shinnyumaku come Nagoya.  Speaking of people on the verge of rising to Makuuchi lets talk about someone on the verge of retiring with today’s first makuuchi bout.

Miyabiyama v Kimurayama.  Miyabiyama opened with a harite, and some pretty pathetic and impotent looking tsuppari ensued from both parties.  The elder slipped to the side and using barely decent foot work got the win over Kimura.  This kind of reminded me of the two “special” kids from the farm down the road fighting over a sparkler.  Miyabiyama is looking pretty crappy now-a-days and is at 1-1.  Being a former ozeki if he sinks to juryo he’ll be expected to retire.

Kaisei v Tamanoshima.  This was an interesting bout.  I had heard that Kaisei was nursing a back injury, but you would never know given his performance today.  The thrilla from Brasília (actually São Paulo) got the immediate upper hand (actually under hand position) and secured his 2nd win over a makuuchi veteran with good deashi and a yorikiri.

Gagamaru v Takamisakari.  Gaga, being the heaviest makuuchi, probably only has one strategy “move forward……… and [to a lesser extent] do my kind of sumo”.  Senor Itchy Scratchy should know this and plan by now, and accordingly.  However time after time he goes chest-to-chest with a guy who has over a 50kg advantage.  Today Robocop lucked out and he managed to pull a desperation sukuinage at the tawara, and showed Gaga the dirt, just before his own knee went down.  Long monoii confirmed the gunbai in favor of Taka.  Taka, I’m not trying to advise the use of a henka, but some quicker lateral movement might behoove you.

Tochinonada v Tokitenku.  Why is it that whenever it’s my day to report Tokitenku misses wildly with his ketaguri (called a leg sweep, but actually a kick to the shin)?  I’ve seen him connect viciously with them (most memorably making Miyabiyama crumple to the ground like Briton-Meyer after a glass of Spyritus), but I never get to write about it.  Anyway, his whiffer of a ketaguri/hikiotoshi combo should have given Nonada the perfect chance to cash in on his loss of balance, but for some reason he didn’t.  Tenku managed to spin around and finish everything off with a final push.

Wakakoyu v Toyohibiki.  Waka’s tachiai looked great, lots of power, but Beeker absorbed everything, which looked better.  Beeker rotated around the younger rikishi and won by what looked like a pulldown.

Asasekiryu v Tochinowaka.  New-comer Tochinowaka managed to move Sexy back at the tachiai and keep him off the belt but a sideways jump and a hatakikomi handed Waka-texas Ranger the loss.

Tosayutaka v Kyokutenho.  There wasn’t much to this bout.  Kyokutenho had it from the get go, forcing Tosa off balance with a good grip and ending with a quick yori-kiri.

Tamawashi v Shotenro.  Not the usual spunk from Mawashi in this bout.  There was some tsuppari I’d rather forget, and Shotenro took the win on this win via…. what else? Oshidashi.

Tochinoshin v Yoshikaze.  I was assured by the commentary that this looked liked a henka from Tochinoshin, but was not.  They were sure he moved after the impact.  I actually missed it due to my smoke needing to be re-lit.  In any event, Noshin (sporting a new color mawashi) got a strong left hand grip and took out Yoshi post haste.

Wakanosato v Okinoumi.  Casanova is still a bit green to have any significant advantage over a solid cat like Wakanosato.  Wakanosato got morozashi at the tachiai and quickly turned this one into a katasukashi win.

Takekaze v Aran.  At first glance my thoughts of Aran yesterday were: “he looks fatter, and weaker than last January.”  Boy was I wrong.  Aran busted out some serious tsuppari from the tachiai, which I’m pretty sure surprised Takekaze more than anyone.  The Moriyoshi minute-man managed to separate and go tried to go back in with a new strategy, but like the battered wife that picks up the rolling pin after the initial blow, that only made the abusive hairy Russian angrier.  A few more furious slaps and it was a hatakikomi win for Aran.  I’d like to see more of this from him.

Aminishiki v Kotoshogiku.  I don’t know what the Sneak planned, but it went out the window when the Geek plowed into him.  Sir-Sneaks-a-lot looked more dazed and surprised than the spectators whose laps he landed in.  Speaking of the audience… it didn’t look bad for a Monday.  Perhaps that free ticket idea wasn’t so bad.  But seeing as how these people wouldn’t be there if it weren’t free… I don’t really think this is going to help in the long run.

Kitataiki v Kisenosato.  Right from the get-go Kise had his left hand in the armpit of Taiki.  Kise was able to keep Taiki of the belt long enough to gabburi him out of the ring, and regain some dignity from his day 1 loss.

Kotooshu v Tochiozan.  Oshu came in leaning too far forward and over top of Sideburns, who was able to use the lower position to spin the giant around and back over the tawara.  Ozan looked good today, and not just because of his facial hair.

Homasho v Harumafuji.  Harumafuji had the better position throughout this bout, and it started with a nice hidariyotsu with a right hand uwate kicker from the tachiai.  Haruma used the lower position and solid grip to slowly position the cigar store Indian just outside the dohyo in a position that would looked good from the road and might entice customers to come in and purchase various goods, not that Homey didn’t put up a good fight.

Baruto v Kakuryu.  this was a good fight.  Bartholomew got migiyotsu, but was struggling with defending against the Kak’s low position.  Bart got pushed back a bit, but regained and worked the Kak hard, back towards the bales, and was able to get what looked to me like a kind of scoop throw, but was called yorikiri.  Both these guys looked good today, even despite their lack of facial hair.

Toyonoshima v Kaio.  I was hoping for proof of Valentine’s speculation yesterday, but grandpa looked solid enough today.  Whether that had to do with shitakubeya shenanigans, or just loss of focus by Toyonoshima I don’t know.  Either way, Toyo went in with his signature shoulder blast into morozashi, but gramps wouldn’t let the youngster inside, with no plan B set aside Toyo was toast, and the senior citizen took the little whipper snapper for a nice little walk across the dohyo.

Hakuho v Goeido.  In this bout Hakuho made what could be seen as only three movements.

1. Tachiai into lefthand inside grip

2. Pulled Goeido close as to whisper something in his ear

3. Slapped viciously on Goeido’s shoulder to complete a delicious looking shitatenage.

I imagine the sweet nothing Hakuho whispered into the ears of his opponent just before the final blow was something along the lines of “you got knocked the fuck out” or “this is how your mom likes it.”

I would say “it’s way to early to tell” if we all didn’t know Hakuho was going to win… but in the interest of information dispersal:  currently at 2-0 are:

Hakuho, Baruto, Kotoshogiku, Tochiozan, Tochinoshin, Wakanosato, Asasekiryu, and Kaisei.

Tomorrow Bertrum will give it to you straight up, then he’ll report on some sumo.

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