Japan · Life in Japan

Are You Ready For Sumo?!

Are you ready to feast your eyes on almost-naked, bear-like men wrestling each other? Well I am! Well, I did actually – at the ‘2015 November Grand Sumo Tournament’ in Hakata, Fukuoka. This past weekend about 30 of us Hiroshima ALTs hopped on a bus and travelled down to Fukuoka where we spent our time watching sumo, shopping up a storm and eating the most delicious ramen I have ever had the pleasure of indulging in.

I took so many photos from the actual sumo tournament that it was quite difficult choosing the best ones which I want to share with you. So here is a ‘small’ collection from the day. Enjoy!

There are four main sumo tournaments throughout the year, this one being the last. Each tournament last 2 weeks, and this past weekend marked the middle of that time frame.

It may not seem big, but the arena was actually massive. We were in the seats right at the back, so do excuse my slightly blurry pictures of when I zoomed right up into the wrestlers’ faces.

We arrived halfway through the day when the big boys (top, leading wrestlers) were just coming out. They start with an introduction walk around the ring and then perform a traditional ‘if you’re happy and you know it raise your hands’ type of routine (see below).

Let the wrestling commence!

So the massive hulk of a man below is one of the few foreign sumo wrestlers. He is from Georgia and is quite popular with the crowd, and I have totally forgotten his name as it is in Japanese. Funnily enough you can easily recognise the non-Japanese wrestlers (even without zooming up with the camera) as they have chest (and back) hair!

Below is another foreigner, sporting his ‘you are going down!’ glare.

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The colourful flags/wall hangings represent the wrestler’s sponsors. The higher up in the rankings you are, the more sponsors you get (well, it seems that way). This was the second last match of the day and it featured the reigning champion Hakuho (facing towards the camera) who is from Mongolia. He’s awesome! 😀

Throwing salt is part of the routine before every fight. And talking about fights, here is Hakuho’s (he is the one facing away from the camera):

Unfortunately I don’t have any more pictures from Hakuho’s match as it got so exciting that I forgot about taking pictures and instead was shouting and screaming for him to win. It got so intense: he was on the edge of being pushed over the ring border (which would make him lose the match), but at the last moment he did this incredible move of throwing his opponent over his back and out of the ring, thus winning the match! 😀

So, after an exciting time at the sumo, a group of us decided to head to Canal City – a massive shopping mall with countless levels and hundreds of shops. I bought some merchandise from the Studio Ghibli store, and then sought out the famous Hakata ramen in the ‘Raumen Stadium’ – a floor dedicated to different types of ramen from all over Japan.  

Hakata Station adorned in Christmas lights.

Every 30 minutes there would be a Christmas light and water show that happened in the open area of Canal City. I decided to watch it from the 4th floor – and managed to get some amazing shots.

The escalator to ramen heaven. 😉

And finally, after dreaming of this ramen for a whole year (since last year’s sumo adventure) I finally get to have my Hakata ramen again. 🙂 Oishiiiiii!

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