Heya Peek -
Text, Photos and Video by Jeff Kennel
|Hamacho station on the Shinjuku Line out in East Tokyo. First lesson about sumo practice: It starts early.
When we got to the actual street that the sumo stable (Arashio- beya) was on I thought my friend got the directions wrong. It was a very typical Tokyo street full of
know how when you meet people from say, Hawaii and you say, “Wow, that
must be great. I’d love to be able to go to the beach everyday,” and
then they tell you that they haven’t been to the beach in like 5 years?
Substitute me, Gaikokujin in Japan for the Hawaiian dude and any
contact with sumo for the beach and there you have it.
It's like living in Spain and never going to a bullfight. Or living in Brazil and never going to see a professional soccer game.
Yes, I'm ashamed. I’ve lived in Tokyo on and off now for about 5 years and I have to say that I’m pretty disgusted with myself for not taking advantage of my proximity to such an amazing sport. So when a friend of mine asked me if I’d like to join him to go to a sumo stable and see them practice I jumped at the chance. I have to admit I did have some limited exposure to sumo. I’d seen a few sumo matches on TV
Sokokurai checking his strapping
I grew up kicking E.Honda’s ass in Street Fighter on my Super Nintendo
(remember E. Honda and the Hundred Hand Slap?). Anyway, neither sumo on
TV nor on the Super Nintendo was to prepare me for the awesomeness of
seeing it live just 6 feet away.
Up at 5:30 and out the door at 6 so I could meet my friend at
typical Tokyo buildings. One beautiful thing about Tokyo is you find
the weirdest things where you least expect them. If you lived on this
street and never walked past the front of the stable you’d have no clue
it was there. But there it was inside a boring modern looking grey building.