02. Haru Basho 2010 Osaka

Osaka Basho 2010, March

Gentlemen sausages!
And we are off and running with the Haru Basho, 2010!  The first report of the basho belongs to me!  So like it!
There have been a lot of changes since the Hatsu Basho, the most significant of which is the absence of the great Asashoryu.  After that, we are one Ozeki short, and are going to see a lot less salt in the ring without Kitazakura.
I’ll start with the 3 rookies from juryo.  Wakakoyu tried a Jet Li elbow break the George W. Bushuyama before taking it from behind, okuridashi.  Mokonami put up a fight against team Korea before eating clay, uwatenage style.  And a rookie hopeful from Shimane Ken, the first since the 20’s, and resembling Hakuho in size, colors, and exciting facial expressions, Okinoumi was overly agressive with Tokitenku.  Fighting with his head down, Tokitenku helped Oki the umi find the ground, katasukashi.
the Osaka arena turned into the matrix for a second with Kokkai getting tokusegawa to do a complete rotation in the air for a hatakikomi win.
Team Aomori, fell asleep on the tachiai after two false starts, but awoke to find his hand stuck in Hokutoriki’s Mawashi. Not being able to remove it, used this fortunate position to walk his opponent out.  With his eyes closed the whole time!
Takekaze, with a nice, low tachiai, able to slap down Hakuba, all while looking like he hates his life.
Kakizoe, my personal favorite to watch for his speed and spirit, speedely spirits himself to the sand.  Iwakiyama hatakikomi
FlubbyYama handling Tochinoshin like the Georgian was a Bubonic rat, and doing the right thing in the end by walking out.  Georgian’s up 2.
A 6.6 earthquake killed the wrestlers in the next few matches… the coverage of those wrestlers, atleast…  but with a courtesy replay Toyohibiki E.Hondaing Tosayutaka out with 100 hands, The geek winning by oiling Tamawashi’s side of the ring sending him on a slip-n-slide at the Tachiai.
Goeido continues to disappoint falling sukuinage to our new Sekiwake, Toyonoshima
Baruto able to put Aran back in his place after Aran sprained Barts thumb in practice.  Aran being a bitch with an attempted henka, but Bart making the turn, putting Aran where he belongs, and then swan diving out of the ring.  Winning in spectacular fashion on his way to Ozeki promotion, 13 wins or BUST!  Some seem to think he could still get promoted as long as he makes double digits… keep your fingers crossed!
Kotomitsuki, facing demotion, looking strong with a day 1 yorikiri win over perpetually pissed off kyokutenho.
Kaio, making history again with his 100 Makuuchi appearance, surprises himself with a win over Wakanosato.  Without speed or power, Kaio exercised good ring-vision and outfoxed Waka for a tsukiotoshi win.
Kakuryu and Kotooshu both going for the same arm throw and cancelling each other out.  Kotooshu recovers and oshidashis the fish.

Harumafuji knocks out Kisenosato with two headbutts, executed like a true street fighter.  The first crack could be heard even on my tv!  The second brought the Komusubi to his knees.
The other Komusubi, The Sneak, takes his best shot at the lone Yokozuna before running for the hills.  Hakuho hops up onto the tawada to see the his first win hop down into the trench of shame and spectators. 
I never noticed it before (if it is even a regular thing), but Hakuo’s little nod when he stands up with a handfull of salt.  When I saw it on day 1, I imagined he was giving a little nod to Asa (probably watching), letting him know that he would make everyone pay for taking away his only real opponent.  It was sad to watch Hakuho shed a tear for his friend when interviewed about Asa being yorikiri-ed out of Sumo.

Next up, Keishikazawa!
The other Komusube

Fellows,  here’s your Day 2 sumo report.  I’m really hoping that poor, little, balding Sagatsukasa will be the next Mainoumi pulling off some crazy acrobatics and whipping out old forgotten kimarite (amongst other things), and although he put up a decent fight against the much bigger Bushuyama, it wasn’t enough, not even his little delayed-reaction spin at the end. Our former president moves to 2-0 and our current midget stays at 1-1.  Okinoumi might be touted for his looks, but I’d rather him be touted for his ability to beat mostly blind lower maegashiras 10 years his elder.  I want this guy to do good, he’s a bigger guy who CAN move well, but he needs to loosen up and start thinking out there, or else he’ll keep losing.  Yesterday it was a Takamisakari sukuinage. 0-2 for hearthrob and 2-0 for robocop.

Until these new guys from juryo get settled in it looks like we’re going to have to deal with stiff, ugly wins.  Tokusegawa okurinaged Jokutoriki.  Did anyone else notice this new Mongolian licks his lips an awful lot?  Hakuba(0-2) got bulldozed out by shovelface himself, Iwakiyama(2-0), almost as quickly as Kakizoke(1-1) plowed the Moriyoshi wonder, Takekaze(1-1), into the first row.  Homasho showed off his oshizumo today successfully giving the waiting Toyohibiki a lapfull of thick hairy Georgian. Oshidashi over Tochinoshin for Homey both at 1-1.

Coming back to Toyohibiki, he took a nasty Creswell-style headbutt from Tamawashi. Beaker just couldn’t take it and he collapsed then took about as quite some time to get up.  I was sure that without gripping power in his left hand Baruto was going to get some trouble from occasionally tricky Goeido, but Bart completely owned the Osaka native. 2-0 for the Georgian Giant 0-2 for the Japanese hype.  Toyonoshima, back at sekiwake again, creamed Aran today, a decent oshitaoshi for the not so little guy.     

Komosubi(should be sekiwake) Kisenosato got caught off guard by Ozeki(should be retired) Kotomitsuki, but thanks to some quick thinking and good technique Kise broke Mitsuki’s outer right hand grip and got a left hand inside and powered the old timer out of the ring as Chiyotaiki looked on while playing with his new radio on his new security detail on the hanamichi, bringing back painful memories of Hatsu.

Just back to Komosubi, Aminishiki earned his position today standing up “plateau-zeki” Kotooshu with some deep throat action then slapping him down for a clean win over a supposed Yusho contender. It reminded me of a movie where Steven Segal was bitch slapping a bunch of giant eastern Europeans.  Harumafuji vs Wakanosato was only gonna go one way in my mind, and that’s the way it went.  Harry avoided the slapdown attempt and escorted the elderly statesman outside for his afternoon walk and pants soiling.  The verdict of Kaio v. Kyokutenho was that gramps still has some juice left.  The old man, after much hacking, coughing, and complaining about these new fangled motor cars, powered the Mogol over the tawara.

Slippery little Kakuryu went into the musubi no ichiban expecting to fight cold, perfect, careful Hakuho.  But what he got was another Asashoryu tribute, a massive tachi-ai harite followed by a surprisingly violent and effective uwatenage, I would have sworn that was Asa if i were Takamisakari.  It made me realize how much I’m going to miss Asa’s dramatic personality, and even his occasional show of emotion after a win.  Speaking of Takamisakari and emotion… was that a “YATTA!” i saw? Hinkaku?

A highlight from the peanut gallery that is the English commentary was Hiro claiming that Osaka is “as close as you can get to Kochi prefecture” when in fact of all 4 prefectures on Shikoku it’s the farthest from Osaka, and all four are much farther then the other prefectures that border Osaka, in fact you have to drive over a body of water to get to Osaka.  What a bunch of clowns.  With all of the trash talking here you might have noticed that I left a certain organization out, but I decided instead to follow Clancy from sumo talk’s lead… check out the first letter of each paragraph.

Day Three brought Osaka and possibly the JSA back to reality, a bit. If you were watching, the majority of the upper deck and even many of the reserved seats were empty, in what is already a very small “gymnasium.” As Sumo Talk Mike has predicted, I think the JSA is going to lose quite a bit of money with the loss of Asashoryu. Especially come Fukuoka at the end of 2010. Luckily for those of us watching at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium and at home, Day Three offered up some exciting matches.
Let’s start out yesterday’s action with our three new comers to the division. I don’t think Sagatsukasa, is any Mainoumi but he is certainly a smart rikishi. His attack yesterday was intentional and concentrated. It forced Kasugao to put all of his weight on his bad knee. “Mi casa es tu casa” (2-1) wins over the Korean (1-2) with an oshidashi. 

Next up was at battle of the big boys. Bushuyama is looking to keep his Makuchi dreams alive while new comer Tokusegawa is looking to begin his own. This one ended a lot like Tokusegawa’s previous win, Kotonage. Both men move to 2-1.

Voted most likely to win a sumo association beauty pageant, Okinoumi got his first win in the Makuchi division. Tamanoshima looked to be in the offensive position throughout the match. Awkwardly upright, Okinoumi was still able to over power the older Shima out of the ring for a yorikiri win. Okinoumi will need to bring a bit more however if he wants to stick around in the top division.

Now let’s rewind back to bout three now for a second. Robocop faced off against Kokkai, in what ended up being fastest match of the day. As many of us are aware, Takamiskari is almost legally blind. It certainly looked (pun intended) that way, as the mechanical man slammed his face right into the Georgian’s initial tachi-ai slap. Upon impact, Takamisakari’s knee buckled as if this was straight out a Looney Tune’s Cartoon. Kokkai moves to 2-1 while the bloodied nose from Aomori drops to 2-1.

Next match worth mentioning was Asasekiryu vs. Yoshikaze. Is it just me, or does it seem like the Mongolians are really bringing IT this basho (save hakuba)? Asasekiryu and Kaze danced a beautiful one-legged dance round the dohyo. For the finale, the Mongolian threw Yoshi to the dirt with a perfectly executed kotenage. I thought this might be the best match of the day, but was thankfully proven wrong.

Kotoshogiku is back this basho after what can only be described as an awful showing at HatsuBasho. Toyohibiki has had Koto #3’s digits for sometime, so it was a pleasant surprise to see Geeku oshitaoshi his nemeses.

Next up was Japan’s favorite, Goeido vs. Aminishiki. I don’t see it. I mean, I realize Goeido is supposed to be one of Japan’s up and coming rikishi, but I can’t respect guys who are back pedaling all the time. It was an ugly match to begin with, both rikishi missing their thrusts, and Goeido trying to pull down Sneaky. In the end Sneaky got Goeido pinned to the straw bales and was looking to nage the Osaka native to the ground. Fortunately for Goeido, he was able to out sneak Aomori’s finest by slipping out of the throw and pushing Aminishiki out for the okuridashi win. Save the final moments of the bout, it wasn’t pretty.

Next up were two of my favorites, Baruto and Kisenosato. If yesterday’s match taught me anything it is that Baruto is currently the second fastest tachi-ai behind Hakuho. I was concerned about his thumb injury but it appears to actually be a blessing in disguise. Seeing Baruto off the mawashi and on the offensive is actually bringing his speed and intensity up another level. He’ll need it if he wants that Ozeki promotion, because the JSA doesn’t seem too eager to give it to him without a fight. The Estonian was like lighting, it was so fast that it seemed to have caught the Kid off guard. Baruto’s tsupari was spot on initially but he actually missed Kisenosato when they neared the bales. Luckily for him it didn’t matter because he was moving forward and was able to lean into Kisenosato then give him one last push for the oshitaoshi win. Baruto goes 3-0 while the Kid goes to 1-2.

Big O was able to recover from Day 2’s loss and easily break Kyokutenho’s mawashi grip. Koto #1 wins with a yorikiri.

Next up was a Mongolian battle: quick but exciting, Harumafuji vs. Kakuryu. Ryu came out with a huge tsupari attack trying to keep Ama off his mawashi. The next best bet for Yokozuna countered with his own impressive tsupari attack and got the mawashi as planned. From there it was all over for the M1 rikishi. I especially liked Harumafuji’s Asashoryu like, “Who’s your daddy” extra push to send Kakuryu straight off the dohyo.

Koto  #2 faced the Russian, in a battle of brute strengths. Lot’s of lifting going on in this bout but unfortunately, it looked like Aran didn’t really know what he was doing. Kotomitsuki certainly knew the drill however and was able to maneuver the strong man out by yorikiri. This was certainly a battle where technique proved more useful than power.

Toyonoshima vs. Father Time, in what I thought was the best and closest match in a good lot of sumo day three. Toyonoshima is bringing it this basho, and I think he’s currently Japan’s best hope… though still unlikely. Today he was in control from the word go. Once they got to the straw bales however things got interesting as Kaio tried to push the short man to the ground in desperation. Little Shima hung on to the Old-zeki’s leg however and was able to force the bigger rikishi to the ground. The match was so close that the judges decided to talk it over. I thought for sure there would have to be a rematch but in the end they gave it to Toyonoshima. I won’t complain about that as he was the aggressor throughout. Toyo moves to 3-0.

As I mentioned earlier Baruto is moving extraordinarily well right now. Unfortunately for him, Hakuho is moving even faster and stronger. The Yokozuna is miles above the competition right now. Thus far, he seems to be mixing it up a bit more in his fights too, which I am certainly happy to see. He easily beats Wakanosato (0-3) to end day three with a yorikiri win.

I leave for Osaka tomorrow, for what I hope will be a sumo filled vacation!

Keishikazawa has got your back for day four. Stay tuned.

Day 4, Osaka

Dearest gentlemen of S&S,

Yesterday, in Japan’s merchant capital of old, muscle met tender flesh in the frantic yet graceful art that is sumo.  A smattering of bouts right-piqued the crowd, whilst some were brimming with misplaced attacks and bitter disappointment. 

I shall initiate this dispatch with our most diminutive of rikishi… the Saga of tsukasa continues, with a healthy dose of speed and a distinct desire to know, in the biblical sense, juryo returnee Tochinonada from behind.  The spritely M15 okuridashi-ed the washed up J2.  3-1 for the tiny one.  Henka-hime Kasugao was dealt a definitive yorikiri by the agitated frog-faced Tokitenku, just before the heir to Takasago-beya, Asasekiryu, stepped up to the shikiri-sen against neophyte Tokusegawa.  It appeared, early on in the match, that Mongol the lesser would fall victim to a kotenage, but the young man broke the lock, only to fall victim to Mongol the greater’s uwatenage.  Then the pulchritudinous-to-some M12 Okinoumi braved the arrows and spears of Kokkai’s tsuppari, swatting them away as if they were but flies.  After securing a strong right hand outside grip, the man-about-town from Shimane prefecture, with great assertion and no lack of vigor or strength, uwatenage-ed the fuck out of Kokkai.

After an unpropitious and ensanguined knock out by Kokkai yesterday, the ever-paroxysmal Takamisakari sauntered back to the dohyou to regain some dignity, that which was accomplished.  Although he was brought to the brink by Tamanoshima, the restive rikishi proved yet again that few can match his ability to turn the tide at the tawara.  The battle of fools 0-3 between Yoshikaze and Hokutoriki went to the elder in a less than entertaining show of who can be more inconsistent, 0-4 and 1-3 respectively.  The man from Moriyoshi, Takekaze, was too low on the approach with M10 Shimotori, a textbook hatakikomi brought Akita to 1-3 and Shimotori to 2-2  

The sparkplug of Makuuchi, Kakizoe, blasted forth at the tachi-ai into georgian Tochinoshin(it is quite jovial fancy to think that his shikona means “the heart of the horse chestnut”).  The excitable rikishi knew well to neutralize the preponderant man’s left hand and kept low to avoid the desperation slapdown, securing a much needed win.  Both men 2-2.  Kotoshogiku seems to be Sadogatake-beya’s golden boy of late.  A comely tachi-ai and yorikiri of Homasho with out a need to resort to his usual dry-humpery. 4-0 for the Geek.

Penultimate rank seeking Baruto’s thumb injury started to manifest, along with some visible pressure induced ill-humors and malspirits.  The Estonian appeared uncharacteristically pensive and grim as he awaited his engagement with komosubi Aminishiki.  Bartholomew managed to recover from a rattletrap tachi-ai and withstood 3 close-call uwatenage attempts.  The leviathan then employed a shitatenage when the theif-in-the-night Aomorian went in for a leg trip. Baruto keeps at the head of the pack at 4-0 while Aminishiki sinks to 1-3.  In our bout of the day Kisenosato engendered the contest with an advantage, securing a right hand on the mawashi and locking up Toyonoshima’s left arm.  The sekiwake broke free, but Kise moved to the edge, filling Toyonoshima’s prescription for 100cc’s of Burt Reynolds and finishing him off with a David Carradine.  Kakuryu predictably oshidashi-ed Kaio.  The ozeki emeritus has a plethora of experience but usually can’t hang with that fast and technical shit. 

Now lets breach the topic of the other two Sadogatake-beya makuuchi-men.  “Ozekis” Kotooshu and Kotomitsuki both received some  harsh scolding from Tomozuna-oyakata via their own stable master for being quite lackadaisical when placing their fists at the shikiri-sen in an attempt to throw their opponents rhythm off, and yesterdays matches were no exception.  It seems quite comical that even when employing this “trick” that they can’t fucking pull off a clean goddamn win.  Mistuki got ousted by the vastly over-rated Goeido (much to the delight of the crowd, but my personal chagrin), and although Kotooshu did win the bout against veteran Wakanosato, the first 3/4 of the bout was dominated by the antediluvian M1.  Kotooshu just has too many “nemesis”, Aminishiki, Hakuho, every short rikishi in sumo, anyone who faces him the day after a loss, the list goes on.  Those maroons need to get their shit together, and that right soon.     

I’m not sure what to think of the bout between Aran and Harumafuji, it was either some badly choreographed yaocho or Aran is a retard… or both.  It looked ok up until Aran got backed to the edge, then he just stood on the tawara looking like he was gonna absorb a full blast from the ozeki.  Like a deer in the headlights, the Russian got blasted back into the second row then ran off into the woods confused.  Hakuho beat Kyokutenho…duh.

leader board looks like this
Hakuho, Harumafuji, Baruto, Kotoshogiku(i guess) – 4,0
Kotooshu, Toyonoshima – 3-1

realistic leader board looks like this
Hakuho – fuck all y’all

looks like you guys are in for 3 days of Britton-Meyer… may God help you all until Matagidan rescues you for 中日, possibly LIVE FROM OSAKA!

Well, as this my first time commenting on Sumo since Asa got the boot,
let me just say that there is an upside and a downside.  The upside is
this: without the promise of at least one interesting bout near the
end of the day, I was forced to pay closer attention to each of the
rikishi, juicing what interestingness I could from each.  The downside
is: all the rest of the rikishi combined are not as interesting as Asa
was.  But, there is always hope, wherever there is a hole, there are
always men hoping to fill it.  So who will it be?  Who will fill Asa’s

The day started off slowly with several bouts that I didn’t find
particularly interesting, punctuated by Takamisakari losing and then
moping his way down the hanamichi.

The first moment of interest came for me when Okinoumi went up against
Sagatsukasa.  These two newbies to the big leagues put on a good bout.
 Okinoumi is bigger than Sagatsukasa, but the smaller man displayed
the better sumo.  Nothing seemed left to chance in this bout and
Sagatsukasa got a very nice, clean win.

Takekaze tried to run away from Hokutoriki, but got shoved out after
several steps along the rope.

Yoshikaze got bitch slapped by Kakizoe after a very energetic bout
that involved the two men running back and forth across the sumo ring
as though they were trying to answer the question: “What would happen
if you played Red Rover with only two players?”

The Osakans yelled out Goeido’s name in a chant that did not lead to
him winning.  No, instead the local man got pushed out of the ring and
ended up on his rear looking discomforted and holding his knee.
Homasho carried the day.

Baruto is certainly looking more and more like an Ozeki,
unfortunately, based on the bout he had today, the Ozeki he is looking
like is Kotooshu.  Baruto ended up off balance and out of place.  He
slipped past Wakanosato at the tachiai and seemed genuinely horrified
to find his opponent behind him.  Luckily, Wakanosato seems to have no
interest in winning currently and dutifully waited while Baruto took
the time to do a slow motion, “NOOOOO!” turn and then send his
opponent to the ground like a silly old bastard.  Baruto turned his
eyes upward at the end of the bout, scanning not for god, but more
likely for the Ozeki promotion committee.  His look said it all…
“Well, shit, I hope they didn’t see that bout!”

Kaio showed some life today.  I wasn’t liking this guy at all last
year, but last basho he seemed to have rediscovered his pride.  He
didn’t use the crab move once and he looked around the ring last basho
like a man saying goodbye.  This basho he looks almost like a man
saying hello.  He skipped lightly away from Amanishiki and then kept
running to the other side of the ring as Amanshiki’s body turned
sideways in the air and collapsed to the floor.  It was actually
pretty cool.

Harumafuji is looking good.  If he had gone up against Baruto today,
Baruto would have been out of the ring before he even had a chance to
turn around.  Haruma is fast and he showed it today.  He should have
been slapped down in the middle of his bout, but instead bounced back
and pushed his opponent out.  With any other rikishi, I would have
been impressed, with Haruma, I have come to expect that level of Sumo.
 While I said before that Haruma probably wouldn’t make it to
Yokozuna, I wonder, with Asa gone, maybe Haruma has a chance.  Haruma
stole the show, I momentarily forgot who he was fighting.  He was
fight Kyokutenho.

Kotooshu is looking unhappy this basho.  That said, his sumo is
decent.  He went chest to chest against Aran today and Aran’s
massively powerful legs were rendered inert by Kotooshu’s height.
After several humps, Aran when out and that was that.

Hakuho and Kisenosato displayed some fine sumo.  It was also boring
until the final second.  They had a nice tachiai and then slapped and
shoved eachother.  It was obvious that Hakuho was stronger from the
beginning and there was never any question of who would win the bout.
But as Hakuho pushed Kisenosato back against the rope, instead of
pushing him out, Hakuho pulled him down and it was passingly amusing.

Tomorrow will be brought to you by yours truly.

Hakuho took on Aran yesterday and won.  No surprise there.

Goeido is out on a knee injury so Kotooshu picked up a free win today.

Kaio continues to look great this tournament.  He pulled down his opponent today in a move that looked downright youthful.  I am loving this guy this tournament, all the more so because his revival is so unexpected.  I expected him to fade from existence in the wake of Chiyotaikai’s retirement and I am pleased that I was wrong.

Kotomitsuki gave a nice Asa style slap to his belt and grunt before he beat Wakanosato in nice bout that ended with a yorikiri.

Harumafuji kept up his spunky style of sumo, wriggling his way to win.  He did strange thing with his hand at the end of bout and it didn’t involve his penis.  Instead, placed his hand on Tamawashi’s face as though to say, I won and I am putting hand on your face instead of slapping you rudely.

Baruto is displaying a new level of sumo during this basho.  He powered his way into the possibility of an ozeki promotion this basho and now he is showing that he has the skills as well as the power.  He is a little off in his attacks because his left hand is injured preventing him from going for his favorite hold.  But the skills that he is showing off this bout is his ability to recover from the unexpected.  Hopefully, we will see his range of maneuver’s increase over the next several tournaments.  I hope he gets his ozeki promotion this basho.

Sorry for the abbreviated coverage.

My favorite bouts today started off with Kakizoe and Kitataiki.  Kakizoe needs to win his bouts quickly and today he did so nicely.  He pushed Kitataiki out of the ring and that was that.

In the next bout, Yoshikaze found himself out of the ring and out of luck.  No win for him today against Miyabiyama.

Takekaze got a good man hug headlock in with Tochinoshin before losing.

Baruto faced off against Kakuryu, who is looking more and more like Harumafuji in the ring.  Today, it was henka and Baruto went cruising past Kakuryu to what should have a loss.  Instead, Baruto continued to show the recovery skills that have been on display this tournament and wrangled his body around to face Kakuryu once again.  After that, there was no doubt that Baruto was going to win.  You could see the determination in every motion of his body.

Kotooshu put on a nice display today and eventually gave the frontal crush out to Kisenosato.  His sumo has been steadier in this basho then in recent memory, but he displays no signs of ambition to rise above his current rank.  He seems pleased with where he is.

Harumafuji followed through today with what he started yesterday.  After being tossed around the ring like a rag doll by Toyonoshima, Harumafuji grabbed the short man’s face and shoved him from the ring in a vicious reminder that what looked awesome when done by Asa looks like real asshole move when done by Harumafuji.

Kotomitsuki and Tamawashi both pulled of Asa style belt slaps before going up aganst eachother.  Kotomitsuki got and on the back of Tamawashi’s head and it was looking like Tamawashi was going to eat clay, but then he escaped from that only to find himself shoved out of the ring by Kotomitsuki.

Aran looked downright afraid of Kaio today and Kaio didn’t hesitate to throw the younger man to the ground.  Not so interesting, but not bad, not bad at all.  You could see Kaio consider his signature crab move, but he refrained and for that he retains my goodwill.

Hakuho and Kotoshogiku had a false start followed by a good bout that saw Kotoshogiku roll out of the ring while Hakuho stood above him in a nice Yokozuna pose, with a face as expressionless as a sloth on depressants.

So ended Day 7.  Day 8 will be brought to you by Mr. Matagidan, live from Osaka.

P.S.  Asa apparently has a ticket for day 9…. will he show up?

We reach the halfway mark and I have limited internet time. Apologize for the errors and grammatical mishaps. This may as well be my attempt at writing like Kerouac did once without stopping. Day eight was certainly something else, especially viewing it live. Lots of surprises await you below. I’ve done my best to write out my thoughts of each bout with the limited time I had inbetween bouts. In other news, Osaka is a great city.Everyone I have met has been really helpful and or friendly. Perhaps it is the Chicago of Japan? You be the judge, definitely worth a visit. The food and beer are great.

Kasagao V. Tamanoshima: The Korean is hurting and everyone knows it. Tamanoshima uses Kasagao’s knee injury to his advantage for the Oshidashi win.

Mokonami V. Okinoumi.: Mokonami charges in but Okinoumi held him and his throw attempts at bay with Hakuho like patiences. Mokonami was not to be denied today however, wins by a strong throw.

Takamisakari V. Tokusegawa: Robocop rode the big Mongolian into the dirt, yoritaoshi style. Takamisakari fans rejoiced. This author was filled with uncontrollable rage.

Bushuyama V. Asasekiryu: Asashoryu’s old stable mate is on a roll, sadly today he henkaed the people’s champ. Working Man Bushuyama falls to the other Asa.

Hokutoriki V. Sagasakasa: Hokutoriki looks awful the basho. Sagasakasa wins by hikitoashi, or something. Little man is looking at a prize if he keeps this up. Surprised,? I certainly am.

Kokkai V. Iwakiyama: The big boys danced a beautiful dance but Iwakiyama  was leading with a strong mawashi hold. Yorikiri.

Shimotori V. Miyabiyama: The Jaba was looking mighty hungry today. He devours the frozen chiken sticks after preheating them with a coupleof tsupari attacks. Hikitaoshi.

Kakizoe V. Tokitenku: After the injury leave Tokitenku is looking tough this basho. Today he did an Asashoryu like mawashi slap to pump himself up. After a failed leg swipe that everyone including Robuho saw coming, Tokitenku wins by Hatakikomi.

Kitataiki V. Tochiozan: If you ask me Kitataiki is the only rikishi save Kisenosato that looks fearless out there. The cocky kid from Tokyo wins  over no emotions whatsoever Tochiozan.

Tochinoshin V. Hakuba: Henkaba (yeah, you heard right, Henkaba) did his usually but the Georgian is way too strong for those kind of games. He easily lifts Henkaba out of the ring for the win.

Halfway point random thought: Osaka doesn’t seem to have white negi. I don’t know why but everyone grocery store I have been to only has the green variety only and it is used too an extreme. Random, eh? Moving on…

Yoshikaze V. Toyohibiki: Yoshikaze looked like he did in Fukuoaka today. He won by yoritaoshi and save a few fans in the cheap seats, no seemed to care.

Takekaze V. Homasho: The home town hero had a great tachi-ai but when Homasho hit the bales all that forward energy slingshoted back in the other direction. Takekaze will need to win next basho or he might be in some serious trouble.

Wakanosato V. Aran: 0-7 V. 0-7, Prebout thoughts: One is going to end up with a losing record today. The question is, will it be an interesting bout? Well it certainly was long. Reminded me of an awkward high school slow dance where the partners have no idea what they are doing. Aran has been looking that way all basho. Like a fish out of water. Wakanosato lives to see another day.

Baruto V. Kyokutenho: The other Tokitenku tried a henka but Baruto is also too strong and quick for that move. Easily catches the old Mongolian and walks him right out of the Dohyo.

Toyonoshima V. Kakuryu: Great match. Both needed a win. I can imagine someone telling Toyonoshima the no man is an island quote after he said he wants to beat all of the foreign rikishi. Today however the gutsy guy told the world, “Actually I am an Island bitch. It is in my name for a reason, eh!” He Kotoshogikus Kakuryu not once, not twice but three times for good luck and gets the win. Sharp.

Kisenosato V. Kaio: I love that this Kid never folds to Kaio or other chumps he  shouldn’t lose too. Force out win for the Kid from Ibaraki.

Kotoshogiku V. Harumafuji: Ama’s nemesis certainly broke Haruma’s stride today. If you ask me the whole thing looked fishy live, but who knows. Kotoshogiku literally knocks Ama out of the Dohyo at the Tachi-ai.

Kotooshu V. Tosayutaka: Tosayu-who?! Seriously Kotooshu lost touch with the Yusho race today with a loss to the only Makuuchi rikishi I can never remember. I guess I am saying I think he’s pretty forgettable. Ozeki’s are done but can the last Old-zekis make us proud?

Kotomitsuki V. Aminishki: Sneaky caught Miss-ki’s leg, took him once round the dohyo, and then threw him out. Plus one for the Aomori Native.

Hakuho V. Tamawashi: No joke Tamawashi looks like a different person than he was three basho’s ago. He is huge now. Today he tried to use that weight to force the Yokozuna out of the ring. Hakuho proved to be too solid however. The Yokozuna waited him out, got him off balance and it was all over from there.

The day ended with the stick twirling ceremony and there were lots of mistakes made. Bryan can probably tell you more about it.

Today I said hi to Takanohana Oyakata and Kitazakura again. They were both really nice. Kitazakura is nice on a saintly type level though. I have never seen someone so happy to thank people for interrupting his work. I only wish I could have seen him fight as an active rikishi. Oh, well, so it goes.

Someone has your back tomorrow, I can write more about my experience in Osaka if people are interested but for now I am all out of time.

Rock over London,


Day 9 Action
As always, I’ve been keeping track of some of the lower ranked pee-ons this basho.  For differing reasons, here are a couple of fellas of interest:
Sasakiyama.  The 16 year old just entered sumo this basho.  He hails from Odate, Akita, and is currently 5-0 in the bottom division.
Aoiyama.  He’s a 23 year old Bulgarian.  The guy entered sumo last September, and thus far has only lost one bout since entering sumo!  Right now, he’s 5-0 in makushita.  The fella could give comrade Kotooshu a few pointers on technique, and he could also give the ladies a few pointers in breast enlargement.
And on to today’s bouts of interest…
Okinoumi vs. Kasugao.  Today’s bout between Okinoumi and Kasugao was more than just a match.  Okinoumi hails from Okinoshima, a couple of remote islands in the Sea of Japan.  I’ve been there.  They have sumo-esque bull fighting tradition, complete with a round ring and even yokozuna bulls.  They also claim Dokdo/Takeshima as their own.  Today, heart-throb Okinoumi had his chance to battle a Korean on the dohyo for the sake of Japan’s claim to Dokdo/Takeshima.  Don Juan came in with a high tachai and both men locked up in the migiyotsu belt battle.  Don Juan worked Kim to the edge and attempted an arm throw, but in typical Japanese fashion, faltered by mysteriously placed slippery salt and Kim shoved Don Juan to the ground.  And the sumo announcers in Seoul rejoice “Do you believe in miracles?!  It’s the miracle on clay!”  Both men are at 3-6.
Takamisakari vs. Hakuba.  IS THERE ANYONE WHO DIDN’T SEE A HENKA COMING FROM HAKUBA?  ANYONE OUT THERE WHO CAN’T SEE HAKUBA EMPLOYING HIS ONE & ONLY TECHNIQUE?  Oh, well I suppose if anyone can’t see the henka coming, it would have been his blind opponent, Takamisakari.  The Hack Henka-ed left (his favorite henka direction), arm-barred Ringo, and finished him off with a Kotzumatori (ankle pick).  And, the Hack gets praises for the rare technique!  The Hack is at 4-5 while Ringo still looking for his busty babe at 6-3.
Tochinoshin vs. Kotoshogiku.  The two locked up, and Geek went straight to his trademark hug-n-chug, taking the gentle Georgian out of the ring for a boring yorikiri.  At M3, Geek has a respectable 7-2 record, while No-Shine is at a mediocre 6-3, from a mediocre M6 rank.
Takekaze vs. Wakanosato.  An Akita-Aomori rank-and-filer battle, with the record books in the Akitan’s favor.  Not today though.  Slow tachai by both men, but as Butterball worked up his thrusts a bit too late the Aomorian gave Butterball a pat on the back which brought him to the floor.  At M8, Takekaze is downright doing shitty with a 2-7 record.  Wakanosato is also 2-7, but a more excusable one from M1.
Kyokutenho vs. Aminishiki.  Perhaps a Mongol strategy, but I noted that Asasekiryu must be sharing his red mawashi with Kyokutenho.  Ami-sneaky noticed it too, as he got a firm grip on the red mawashi right from the tachiai and came in close, smothering the Mongol, working him back for an easy, breezy, Japanesey yorikiri.  Kyokutenho makekoshi from M2.  Ami-sneaky is doing well at 5-4 Komusubi.
Kisenosato vs. Kakuryu.  Kak won the tachiai with bitch slaps, but when the dust settled Blinky was still standing and came in close, pressing the fish-faced Mongol out of the ring.  Kisenosato has a respectable 4-5 from Komusubi, while Kak better get into gear as he’s 2-7 from M1.
Toyohibiki vs. Kotomitsuki.  It being almost 48 hours since we’ve last seen an Ozeki win, Tyhbk came in with confidence and took control working the Oldzeki back and trying out his best lower arm throw at the edge.  Tyhbk had a beautiful nage going for him, but he unwisely chose to place his hand on the ground just as the harmless Oldzeki was towering down.  After a brief discussion by the judges, the two rikishi were granted a redo.  Already drenched in sweat and huffing, they smacked well at the tachiai, but the Oldzeki worked in and took Tyhbk out, oshidashi.  Mitsuki is 6-3 and the end of probation seems in sight.  Tyhbk is an embarrassing 1-8..
Kaio vs. Baruto.  The fact most preceding bouts were without much excitement raised the anticipation for this highlight bout.  Disappointingly, the two started off with a soft tachiai, and through thrusts, Bart worked his hands up from Kaio’s stomach to his head.  Bart got a left hand (injured thumb) outside grip on the Oldzeki’s belt and used his strength and weight advantage to work Methuselah out of the ring.  That was probably Bart’s easiest victory in the last five days.  Bart is four wins away from that magic 13 for Ozeki promotion, but he still has Hakuho, Haruma, and Kotooshu ahead of him.  Methuselah sits at 5-4, but he’ll play his cards right and get 8 before it’s all said and done.  With that victory over an Ozeki, Bart got another NHK booth visit, and what did the Estonian have to say?  “そうですね。ちょっと%&@*気持ちで...はい。まぁ、*$#@してやるだけっす。”
Tamawashi vs. Kotooshu.  King Tama came real hard, and then Tamawashi had a tough, quick tachiai against an embarrassed Kotooshu, but long-legged Oshu had more spring to his tachiai and easily worked Tama back and out.  Oshu 7-2.  King Tama 3-6.
Harumafuji vs. Tosayutaka.  Coming off his ape-shit win over Kotooshu yesterday, Tosa-looks-like-a-gorilla had nothing left for Haruma.  From the tachiai, Haruma gave a chocking nodowa shove which let the primate to the edge, and finished him off with a shove to the belly whereby he slipped on a banana peel.  Haruma is 8-1 while Tosa is monkeying around at 1-8.
Hakuho vs. Toyonoshima.  Hakuho thrusted and shoved and Toyonoshima was just glad to be out of the ring.  Toyo is a respectable 4-5 at Sekiwake.
And, the Ross Mihara quote of the day:
“Yoshikaze…quick and dirty is the way he does it.  Dirty, of course, in that his opponents’ hands get dirty, not in his sumo technique.”
Shima will have a virgin going down tomorrow…I mean he will have a version of how things go down tomorrow.  Either way, we want a report, and plenty of photos!

Ladies and Sausages!
Here is your day 10 report… on day 11!!!
The day started pretty slow with some long drawn out matches.
Kitataiki Kokkai: I am not a big fan of Kokkai, will start with him losing…  In a rarely seen, straight-up, fair fight, Kokkai loses to Kitataiki, oshidashi, putting Kita 1 shy of his kachikoshi.
Bushuyama Shimotori: George W bites the dust, literally, with a hatakikomi slap down by Shimo.
Iwakiyama Sagatsukasa:  An entertaining display of good looks, great hair, and A for affort as Iwakiyama slips by Saga from Shizu, Okuridashi, in a match with one sponsor… probably Rogaine.
Tamanoshima Takekaze:  Looking like a couple of Ghibly characters, these two reenact a school yard fight, with Tamanoshima the bully, and Takekaze the bitch.  Takekaze hands over his last chance to avoid demotion like it was his lunch money.  Why does he make sumo look so hard…
Miyabiyama Takamisakari: Takamisakarai looked like he was in a rush today, probably wantind to clinch what Flubby did.  Unable to get around Flubbies barrage of E.Honda slaps, Takanammomienai falls to Oshidashi, and the Flubb rises to Kachikoshi!  Better luck tomorrow.
Okinoumi Kakizoe  Okinoumi sporting the blue instead of the UPS, trynig to tsupari Sprakyzoe at the tachiai.  This was a good chance for him to try to change tactics, midround.  Which he did in a slow and steady yorikiri fashion, getting one closer to a hopeful Kachikoshi in his first time out.
Tokitenku Tochinoshin I get the feeling that Tokitenku gave this one away, as he never took the offensive the whole time.  Tochinoshin, yoritaoshi, and one away from his Kachikoshi.
Tochiozan Kotoshogiku  Elvis was able to outsmart the Geek and send him to the sand with a little shimmy and a katasukashi throw down.  Thank you very much.  both stand one away from their Kachikoshi.
Tamawashi Aran HENKAAAAAA (not going to tell you who won this one)
Kisenosato Kyokutenho  Kise showed some good adjusting to avoid a failed hatakikomi by the Red-One-piece-sportin Kyokutenho.  the Blink wins with a Yorikiri walkout.
Kakuryu Aminishiki  The sneak, drawing blood from the fish at the tachiai, pulled a well-timed turn for a Okuridashi win.  The Kak gets handed his Makekoshi…
Harumafuji Toyohibiki Like a scene out of NFL Blitz, Haru gets low for a midsection smear the queer to Toyohibiki and sends him airborne of the clay!  Not having played the game, the judges ruled a Watashikomi.  Haru spits blood like a champ.
Kaio Kotomitsuki  Kotomitsuki showing no mercy to old man Kaio as he plows grampa over onto his bad knee…s.  Looking more and more like the mummy, the outlook is grimm for our old man of the sea… if his name was spelled with a sea…
Baruto Kotooshu  Our match of the day, and as Bart put it, “Pressure is Pressure, and Sumo is Sumo”.  Whatever the hell that is supposed to mean, Bart is putting the pressure on Sumo as he continues to make his ascent to Ozekidom.  Outweighing the less than bulging Bulgarian by a whopping 33 Kg, he was able to tire Kotooshu out in an attempted lift-out by the 2 meter giant.  Bart gains his ground back and picks Kotooshu up in the same fashion to push him over the bails.  Kotooshu’s “he kicked my dog” glare not so effective these days as he is still one away from his Kachikoshi…  Bart in for the fight of his life tomorrow…
Hakuho Tosayutaka  nothing to build up here.  Hakuho handled him like it was Tosa’s first day of school.
Race for the Yusho still tight between Haruma, bart, and Hakuho!

Dear Morons,
here’s your haru basho Day 11 update.
Sagatsukasa was thrust down by Mokonami, poor little guy… he’ll need 3 more wins to kachikoshi while Mokonami needs just one.  Jokutoriki caps off this basho by losing to the master of hatakikomi-whilst-backing-away Kasugao (an open letter to Hokutoriki: seriously douchebag, did you not see the hatakikomi coming?)  Kitataiki V Tokitenku went the way of the Mongol via okurinage, both these guys are looking good this basho (I’m so used to Tokitenku looking like crap.) Tamanoshima neatly yorikiri-ed the blister on the ass of makuuchi that is Henka-ba and picking up his 5th win is Okinoumi…(he’s so hot right now) sitting at 5-6 there’s still a chance for El Toro to KK.
G.W. Bushuyama made his makekoshi official against the-guy-whose-facial-appreance-most-scares-the-shit-out-of-his-kids Iwakiyama, and new-comer Tokusegawa put a handy kotenage kabash on Kakizoe’s furious jumping around.  Oaf-ish gaijin Kokkai and Tochinoshin are both a good mawashi-battle (in Kokkai’s case a bitchslap and a cheese sandwich) away from kachikoshi but both were denied by Miyabiyama and Asa II respectively.  Tochiozan (the sumo we want, the sideburns we need) denies Takamisakari his kachi koshi by securing his own via meat-and-potatoes oshidashi.
I’d rather forget the next 3 bouts, and 6 wrestlers with the exception of Wakanosato who’s dead even with Kakuryu at 3-8 (despite being almost 10 years his elder and having 2 less technique prizes),Toyohibiki, Shimotori, and Tosayutaka also all have makekoshi or will by tomorrow.  The Geeku picked up his kachikoshi today against Aminishiki with minimal humping, both have been looking pretty good this basho and if geeku can get his yotsu-zumo tuned up we can expect to see him regularly in sanyaku.  Kisenosato (6-5) keeps the dream alive starting things off by choking the fuck out of Aran with a vicious nodowa and finishing them with an oshidashi. 1-10 for Aran 6-5 for the kid.  and Toyonoshima 5-6 quickly gained morozashi and snuffed out veteran Kyokutenho who always looks like he’s about to cry maybe its because of his dismal 1-10 record. 
Kotooshu picks up his kachikoshi (which I’m not sure he deserves) and Harumafuji needs to get hit by a truck for losing to Kotomitsuki, who conveniently picks up his kachikoshi successfully shaking off his kadoban from his embarrassing performance in January.  No one really cares about Kaio’s (6-5) win over Tamawashi, looked a bit fi$hy, so I’ll just get to yesterday’s main event…
Baruto and Hakuho. Mano e mano. Both with 10-0 records.  The beast from the East meets the Best from the West.  The Estonian sniffing at Ozeki promotion.  If Baruto can keep his… oops he had a slow tachi-ai and while attempting to get a better grip on the mongol’s mawashi was over-powered and yorikiried.  The bout of the entire tournament with the most promise was pretty disappointing.  However, Barthalomew has 4 more days to pick up 3 wins, one of which will be over Kotomitsuki…PREDICTED.  Harumafuji can still play spoiler and force a playoff featuring Baruto and Hakuho (should Bart win all his remaining bouts).  But let’s be realistic.  Hakuho day 11 yusho.

 You’ve got Matagiyama tomorrow to lull you to sleep with sweet stories of fat men in diapers

This report will be tough to make.  Yeah, I watched sumo yesterday, but I was driving at the time, and I got a call from someone wanting phone sex (Shima), and I was trying to figure out if the person in the car in front of me was a hot chick, or a herbivore male.  Of course, I couldn’t see that well because I was drunk.  But anyway, those are just half-truths and this is the S&S report.
Gagamaru vs. Bushuyama.  May I just say that Gagamaru is a kick-ass shikona?  Well, maru is “round,” in the local dialect, right?  Is anyone Jewish among us, or are we all genitals?  The reason I ask is because “gagaball” is an Israeli form of dodgeball.  So perhaps our Georgian rikishi is Jewish, and enjoys a good game of dodgeball?  Well, he seems to be dodging his way into Makuuchi pretty soon, and I like his sumo.  Today, our Jewish-Georgian paid a visit to the top division and took on former U.S. President George W. Bushuyama.  At M16 and a host of losses, Dubya is on a fast-track escalator to Juryo, and Dodgeball is hoping to replace him.  Dodgeball wins yoritaoshi, and stands at 6-6, while Dubya is a poor 3-9.
Okinoumi vs. Kitataiki.  This “Okinoumi is attractive” thing is getting way out of hand. Yesterday, Murray Johnston referred to Oki as the “pin-up boy from Shimane.”  The only people who’d have him pinned up on their walls are sumo nerds like us!  The first tachiai was a bit screw up and they did things again.  It turned into a belt grappling battle, with Don Juan steadily moving forward on Kitataiki, but the two worked off of the belts and more grappling at the shoulders.  Okinoumi worked Kitataiki to the edge, and Kita whipped out a Hail-Mary utchari attempt at the bales just as Oki was taking him down via frontal crush out.  Just as Kitataiki was going down, Oki stepped over the bales and out of the ring.  When the two return to exchange bows, Kitataiki thought he had lost and actually got up to leave.  The gyoji told him “take yo prize moneez, bitch,” and he has a little cash with a kachikoshi on top.  Okinoumi is 5-7, and probably need at least one more win to stay in the division.
Hakuba vs. Sagatsukasa…Henkaba actually had a real tachiai, and that is the highlight of the day!  I don’t care who won the bout.
Yoshikaze vs Takamisakari.  Yoshi came off with a good tachiai as always with short thrusts giving Ringo no chance to move in, but then stepped back and spun the blind man around and out of the ring.  Ringo had nothing going today, and he looked as if he had come to play pin the tail on the donkey rather than sumo.  Yoshi wins, even with Mario on his back!  Yoshi 5-7; Ringo 6-6.
Hokutoriki vs. Takekaze.  The Akitan cannot seem to move forward!  His sumo is the worst it’s been in ages, and what’s even more alarming is that he was saying the other day he’s completely healthy.  Hokutoriki, who hasn’t won a bout since day one, manhandled Butterball with a tsukidashi win.  Both men are now 2-10.  At M8, Takekaze is seriously facing demotion to Juryo unless he can finish out the basho winning.
Kisennosato vs Kotoshogiku.  Two rivals here, and perhaps two of the best Japanese rikishi (sad, isn’t it?).  Record has been 17-8 in Kotoshogiku’s favor.  Hard, very low, perfect tachai from both men lead to Geek getting a hand in on the belt, the trademark hug-n-chug, and quick movement forward taking Kise straight out of the ring.  The bout was a perfect example of how important the follow up to the tachiai really is.  Both men had a great tachiai, only the Geek followed up aggressively.  Geek is 9-3, and eyeballing a special prize, while Kise is a mediocre 6-6, but comfortable in sanyaku.  And post victory, Geek is walking down the hanamichi with a smile so wide, you could slip a banana in his mouth sideways and not touch a single tooth!
Tochiozan vs. Aminishiki.  “Oh, son” had a low tachai with a nodowa with one and another hand on the arm pit which moved Ami-sneaky’s body upward and enabled “Oh, son” to move forward and put Sneaky on the defensive.  Quick and nice oshidashi by Tochiozan…a rare showing of technique and strength by the young rikishi.  Ozan is 9-3, and also eyeballing a special prize, while Sneaky is also a mediocre 6-6, but comfortable in sanyaku.  And post victory, Ozan was his boring self down the hanamichi, but damn, nice sideburns! 
Kaio vs. Tochinoshin.  You know, Kaio is actually looking better this basho than he has for three years?  I don’t mean his record is good, I mean his wins actually seem legit, and though he can’t move all that well, he’s finding straightforward ways to take down his younger opponents.  From the tachiai, Methuselah reached low, just as Noshin did, but the result of both rikishi reaching low was that their bodies were too high as they moved in closer.  Noshin gave a few thrusts, but Kaio worked into Noshin’s arm pit and tossed his opponent down tsukiotoshi.  Despite the kind words from yours truly, Kaio still needs one more win from another Ozeki or the Yokozuna for kachikoshi, while Noshin is also 7-5.
Toyonoshima vs Kotooshu…aka David and Goliath.  Perhaps he just couldn’t help it, but Goliath was way too damn high on David, with no reach or control or balance.  David worked the giant sideways and attempted to yorikiri him out of the ring, but Goliath managed a hand on the belt near the edge and used his favorite over-arm throw.  Oshu was lucky to have gotten that belt grip at the edge and really needs to clean up his sumo against little guys.  Pretty pathetic, but gets the win and is now 9-3.  Toyo has worked really hard this basho, but only has a 5-7 to show for it.
Harumafuji vs Baruto.  With yesterday’s loss to Hakuho, Bart really, really needed this win against the #2 guy in sumo right now.  With a loss to Haruma, he’d have to win all the rest of his bouts for Ozeki promotion.  With a win, Bart has a bit more elbow room.  The is really his last formidable opponent, as Bart should not lose to his remaining opponents this basho.  In my mind, I predicted Haruma would go straight to a quick nodowa while Bart would go for a belt grip (after all, his “thumb injury” hasn’t really seemed to bother him yet).  In actuality, the tachai was the opposite.  Bart went into Haruma with a nodowa, but Haruma worked it off and went migiyotsu with the giant (way opposite of what I expected).  They merry-go-rounded for a while, with Bart trying to avoid Haruma from getting to his side, but once Bart got on the offensive and moved straight forward he easily worked Haruma out of the ring, yorikiri.  Nice work from Bart, and Ozeki promotion is only two wins away.  Today, he has Miyabiyama, tomorrow Kotoshogiku—both of whom can give Bart trouble, so let’s hope he doesn’t lose his focus just yet.  Haruma is at 9-3, and should rack up another win or two for a decent basho.
Hakuho vs. Kotomitsuiki.  Musubi-no-ichiban is a far stretch from what it used to be.  It’s almost like an afterthought now.  Traditionally, it’s supposed to be the most anticipated bout of the day.  Well, Hakuho performs well, and no one is close.  He had a quicker than average tachiai on Kotomitsuki and both grappling for their favorite grips.  Hakuho moved Mitsuki to the bales and worn out by then, Mitsuki tries a pitiful throw on the yokozuna, but Hakuho took that opportune moment to move the hapless oldzeki straight down, yoritaoshi.
   So, on the leader board we have Hakuho.  I know most of you want me to say Bart is second, with one loss, but it doesn’t matter.  Haruma is with Team Mongol, and there’s no way in hell he’s going to fall to Hakuho for Bart’s sake.  Hakuho has been flawless and there’s no reason to believe Kotooshu can beat him this go-round, either.

As I’m stuck in the office today with nothing to do I suppose I’ll give a senshuraku update for those who couldn’t catch the action yesterday.

Kimurayama took out Tamanoshima, and Kokkai secured his 10th win against Dubya.  Is it me or did the former leader of the free world look really over-extended this basho?  Every bout I can remember he was either pulled or slapped down.  Both Bushu and Kasugao (who was ironically hatakikomi-ed by Kakizoe) get resoundingly sent back to juryo.
The ladies (and the JSA) went wild when Okinoumi picked up his kachikoshi against Tokusegawa.  Hokutoriki hikiotoshi-ed Tochinonada who was up from Juryo for the day. 
at this point we took a break from makuuchi for a bunch of playoff games to determine the yusho for Juryo, Jonidan, and Jyonokuchi.
Jyuryo had a 3 way playoff between Koryu, Tamaasuka, and Kimurayama.  Kimurayama neatly picked up the Yusho.
Chiyonishiki (whose tsuppari reminded me alot of a younger Chiyotaikai and whose speech impediment remind me of Mr. Bean) picked up the Jonidan Yusho also a perfect 7-0
And in the Jyonokuchi division Odate’s own 18 year old Sasakiyama secured the Yusho.  When interviewed by NHK he said more than once “I couldn’t remember anything, but I’m glad I won.”
Also worth Mentioning was Bulgarian Aoiyama’s perfect Makushita Yusho.  That brings his record to an amazing 27-1.  His only loss coming in Sandanme last basho.  We’ll be seeing Oshu jr. in Makuuchi soon enough.
back to Makuuchi action:
Kitataiki continued his decent basho picking up his tenth win against sumo’s smallest, Sagatsukasa.  the little guy will be lucky if he’s in the big show next go round.  Tochiozan got a very nice yorikiri over Tokitenku to finish 11-4.  Another solid win for Homasho as he hands Takamisakari his makekoshi and picks up his 9th win. (also a solid win for Matagiyama by pointing out Homey’s resemblance to a cigar store indian.)
Hakuba vs 3-11 Tosayutaka… you tell me what happened.  Kotoshogiku picked up his tenth win against Asasekiryu.  Both rikishi finished the basho with 10-5 records.  Takekaze picked up a win against Kyokutenho to finish with a 5-10, so Akita will be near the bottom in May.  Kakuryu displayed good balance and technique.  Both the Kak and Wakanosato managed to salvage (somewhat) their be-shited bashos by bringing their scores up to 6-9.       
Aminishiki had Tochinoshin on the run, but was pulled down.  The Sneak’s face slammed into the tawara, and he had to walk back down the hanamichi bleeding profusely, but with promotion up to sekiwake in hand.  Kisenosato pulled a strong win out of the bag against Miyabiyama.  The kid also heading back up to sekiwake begs the question: with both Komosubi spots open and all but 1 rikishi in M1E-M5E with a makekoshi, who besides Kotoshogiku will get the spot?  Will they go easy on Toyonoshima? or will they choose someone from further down the ranks?
Baruto came out of the gates with some great, high tsuppari knocking Kotomitsuki off guard then immediately went for the right hand outside, end of story. An impressive 14-1, a technique prize, a 5th fighting spirit prize, 4th Jun-yusho, and an Ozeki promotion for the Estonian.  Baruto seems to have one main rival left, unfortunately that rival is Hakuho.
Kaio had his 8 so Kotooshu was allowed to win.
The final match between Harumafuji and Hakho could have resulted in a Baruto/Hakuho yusho play-off.  Decent tachiai by both rikishi, Harumafuji did his best to keep Hakuho’s left arm away from the mawashi, but you can’t fight city hall.   There was some decent de-ashi by both parties, but the Yokozuna finally got his preferred grip.  Then Hakuho employed something I think is much more devestating than his outside left hand, his tachi-ai, and his breadth technique combined.  Hakuho’s combination of stamina and inhuman patience.  He probably had about 10 chances to take out the ozeki, but they all would have been 95% safe.  Hakuho has the stamina to wait for that perfect opportunity to unleash the most furious throws (next to Asashoryu.)  Yesterday’s uwatenage of Harumafuji could only be described as delicious.    
While Baruto still has to deal with Hakuho, the mongol has proved that he is peerless right now.  Thats just the way it is, and the way it will be for a few bashos yet.   That’s all for Haru.  Stay tuned for updates and reviews on different parts of the page.  Until Natsu…

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