A Travellerspoint blog

Fukuoka, Japan

Sumo time!

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We'd based ourselves in Hiroshima for a few days and having our rail passes meant that we could access quite a few areas from there. Luckily, it was the November Sumo Championship in Fukuoka and only a short ride from Hiroshima. We can't tell you anything else about Fukuoka and its tourist attractions, but we had a brilliant day watching the sumo.

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You can pre-book ringside tickets in advance or turn up on the morning, like we did, and pay considerably less money for a general admission ticket (which entitles you to back row seats and all day admission for a little over 2000yen).

I'm sure Jason's best bit of the day happened outside the arena... Sumos out and about. He couldn't believe the number of sumo wrestlers walking about in everyday life in their robes, wooden slippers and oiled hair. He particularly enjoyed secretly photographing them at the traffic lights, in the supermarket and general chit chatting with each other. They were absolutely massive, casting shadows over me and Jason.

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The rules...as far as we can work out...

It all starts with a song from the umpire.

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Then there's repeated squatting and throws of chalk in the air.

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Next comes the hip swing and slapping of thighs.

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The charge.

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Shoving, eye gouge, slapping, tripping up, general wrestling about to try and get your opponent on the floor or out of the ring.

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Although there's fighting all day, the top leagues don't get going until the end of the day, with full procession and traditional performances.

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The crowd got particularly excited about a fighter named Endo, cheering and shouting over and over. We had a group of school children sat in from of us and they were screaming and waving sticks in the site for Endo. Unfortunately he didn't win and Jason managed to snap the unfortunate end to his fight (bum in the air).

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Overall, not a sport I'll be trying myself but a very entertaining day!

Posted by bloorsontour 01:28 Archived in Japan

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