Sumo Tokyo September 2010

Ok so there will be a lot of improved photos on this blog now because I bought a real camera! the Canon 40D. It's big, it's heavy, and expensive. So for that reason I'm not gonna carry it around everyday so there will still be lots of crappy crappy pictures from the pocket compact camera. I bought this badboy on friday night at Map Camera in Shinjuku. The body and lens are used so i got the body for $500 and the lens for $80. So it's a little cheaper than the going rate for a used one but new it costs around $1500. It's like christmas over here right now. The lens I got is a 55mm f/1.8 prime lens. this means there is no zoom, it is fixed at 55mm. there are advantages and disadvantages to this. The lens is super light, has short depth of focus, and takes better shots in low light.

after i came home i found out my roomate has the exact same camera. he has a $600 lens, and a couple $300 lenses. he let me borrow this one for Sumo day because it has zoom, not alot but its got some.

here is an example of the short lens that i have. These are volcanic rocks taken from the summit of Mt. Fuji! the front of the rock is blurry, the middle is in focus and the back rock is blurry. so the lens allows for cool effects like this. There is another step up in lenses which is what Salih and Fu had and that takes even cool short depth of field shots. it also costs $200 more.

cafe across the street from me. this woman has basically seen everything i have done in japan. what do you call that kind of person? maybe someday i'll hang out in there with all those old birds.

this isn't really the lens here, its just an example of how a real camera takes better photos than a crappy pocket cam. with the pocket cam those japanese school girls in the back would be in focus and it wouldn't look as cool.

this is an example of how an awesome camera can still take bad photos. sure you can change the settings so its good but i haven't had enough qt with the camera yet to know how to do this. anyway this turtle guy was everywhere in china too, only there wasnt the human guy on top. what's up with that.

the Ryogoku Kokugikan where the matches are held. It's massive inside. For anyone wanting to see sumo i recommend you get your tickets in advance because once the tournament starts (lasts 16 days) you can't buy tickets online or at the conbini. If you want cheap tickets you have to go to the Ryogoku Kokugikan the day of to buy tix. They recommend you go before 8:00am because there is usually a queue. When i went there was no queue, it was 8:30am and it seemed fine. That day there were definitely tons of unsold seats and boxes. It was the last saturday of the tournament. anyway its pretty painful to wake up so early to get tickets and then come back at 3:00pm to watch the matches so pre-ordering would have been awesome.

when it was all over at night there were guys in the top of this thing drumming away.

white guy. there were tons of foreigners. Every Japanese friend i have asked said they have never been to a sumo tournament before.

the first thing i saw when i went in. BAM! this was at 3:00pm so it's still empty because the real pros don't start until 4pm. the matches start at 10:30am though. from then on the quality of the Sumo players goes up in order so by 5:00pm the arena is filled up.

a caucasian guy vs. an asian guy. I say asian because there are sumo wrestlers of many different nationalities and it's hard to tell unless you pay attention to the announcer or read the paper that's all in Japanese. I think there are english radios earpiece things you can rent but i didnt see those cuz i was in a rush to get inside. Anyway Mongolians have dominated the sumo world recently

how cool is the ring's roof and everything? Ok here is sumo history: two wrestlers try to force the other out of the ring or make them touch the ground with anything but the soles of their feet. It was originally a Shinto ritual. Being a sumo wrestler means you have to follow strict rules and live in Sumo "Stables" with other wrestlers where, food, dress, and, all aspects of daily life are dictated by strict tradition laid down by the Sumo Association. The ring is made of clay mixed with sand. there can only be 1 foreign-born wrestler per stable. There are 6 tournaments a year, 3 in tokyo, 1 in osaka, 1 in fukuoka, and one in Nagoya. Recent Sumo controversy include hazing deaths, and Yakuza ties and gambling.

I read online everywhere that you can just go down to the expensive seats at your whim. maybe things have changed because there were door guys at every entrance checking tickets. The good thing about going by yourself is that you have mobility to steal some good seats. I circled a few times and then slammed in there past the door guy who didn't even say anything. I sat in a lounge seat with a table. I was the only one in this lounge box for 4 so everyone probably knew that wasn't my seat but i guess they didn't care.

These are the box seats. they are for 4 people. see how small they are? and you have to sit there for hours and hours. they are expensive too. there were tons of open ones in the back. I would would rather buy cheaper chair seats on the upper level than have to sit on the floor for 3+ hours.

this is how far away you are in the back row on the first floor.

sumo charge

they are showing that they have no weapons. there is also a ritual of clapping and stomping on the ground to rid the ring of evil.

they also throw salt in the ring to purify it every time they step in. this could happen a lot of times because they will step in and set up then break and stand up and go to their corner again for more ass slapping, chest thumping and mental prep. eventually after staring each other down they will charge

here dude is receiving the special power water

the most expensive seats are right next to the ring and they sit on the floor. this means frail rich grandmas can be crushed by a sumo guy that is tossed from the ring onto the floor.

dude catching and serious face mash

they can be stuck in this position for a while

at 4:00pm is when the Pros enter for some kind of ceremony.

the other side. i'm guessing the guys on the left will fight the guys on the right eventually.

the come in and circle the ring.

then the current yokozuna comes in and does his thing. the Yokozuna is the number 1 ranked guy. The Yokozuna can't lose his title even if he loses, he is just expected to retire if he can't compete at the same level anymore. This is Hakuho, the 69th Yokozuna from Mongolia promoted in May of 2007

probably the former Yokozunas

I couldn't decide which composition shows the massiveness of the place so i am including all 3.

sumo spectators? maybe american?

sumo slap

i couldn't believe it. Macdonalds. The real estate in the ring is precious and the wrestlers have to deal with these ad guys circling around them. unbelievable.

finally the yokozuna comes on one more time and twirls this thing around and its immediately over. they cover the ring immediately and everyone runs for the door in classic japanese style.

sumo guys in the streets.

I'm just sayin. It's like this at every conbini but i though this rack was especially "racky".

after that i went to my friends house for a takoyaki party. this is a takoyaki grill. What a Japanese day! So in conclusion I highly recommend seeing a Sumo tournament. I would say get there at 3:00pm because if you get earlier you will probably get tired of seeing sumo for 6 hours. It would be more fun with people but then harder to steal better seats. Its seemingly simple so you can immediately get into it unlike european handball or something where there are so many rules and you don't know what's going on.


Karol said...

Aweeeeeesomeeeeee makin me wanna gooo