Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Sumo Wrestling

Today Jacob and I spent much of the day at the Sumo Wrestling tournament in Ryogoku near Tokyo's Sumida River. The tournament is 15 days long and today was around day 10. We arrived about 9.30 am and it was all over for the day by 6 pm.

The stadium which the wrestling is held is huge and could sit many thousand people.

Before I set out I thought watching Sumo would be not much different watching lawn bowls, but I was mistaken. Bouts in Sumo only last a very short period of time, most often only seconds, and they have the next contestants in the ring rather quickly. You can get through a lot in an hour.

Essentially the idea is that wrestlers have to either get their opponent out of the circle or onto the ground. Once that is achieved then it's game over. In some bouts it was an easy transaction - one wrestler simply stepped out of the way and the other wrestler falls on his face.

The sumo in some respects is a bit theatrical. There are a lot of old style traditions still observed these days. There are some weird movements and little flexing dances they do. Towards the end they were winding the crowd up a bit to get some excitement going with some weird moves. The moves didn't inspire me so much but the crowd starting really rooting for their wrestler when they did some strange poses.

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