Avoiding the need
for long fingernails
by Eric Blair
trying not to be noticed – all the time thinking how I could portray
this as my usual early morning hangout to those I’d meet later.
RF5 – I was chatting with the lads at XXX-beya – I said “konnichiwa” as I walked in and “honto ni arigato gozaimashita” as I left.
RF6 – I heard from Blarneyama that XXX – Although the implication here involves hearing directly from Blarneyama, the reality is more along the lines of - I overheard him talking to his pal – Blarneynishiki - and saying XXX
RF7 – I had my photo taken with Blarneyama - I stood beside the rikishi in question as he was looking the other way and my friend snapped the pic. Blarney is now my friend!
RF8 – I saw Blarneyama at (location variable) - similar to / variation on RF1, only a little less RF’ish’.
RF9 – I have been watching sumo for 5 years – read 3. Figures over 10 years can be safely rounded down to the nearest ‘5’.
RF10 – I remember (historical sumo related event to be inserted here) – I have heard of it, read about it or seen the video. I wasn’t there but who needs the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? I have the T-shirt.
RF11 – I remember watching Blarneyama’s dad – Blarneysenior – on video.
RF12 – Blarneyama’s place –
We’ve all been there, be it online at one of the marvelous sumo related
forums / mailing lists or even face to face when visiting Japan
and meeting up with one of the know it all fans with more experience
and ‘connections’ in sumo than the rest of the world – combined.
You know the types – they’ve had more chats with more rikishi than you can shake a stick at and act as if they were the first gaijin to Google the guys in sumo today, yesterday or in an age before the Internet, and, sometimes, even before color TV was de-rigueur in certain parts of the world.
I’ve met a few myself over the years I have followed sumo and have suffered through hours of the “I was talking to so and so” or “I met so and so in a restaurant / shop / train station yesterday” stories. “I smelled his hair before I saw him. Did you know that isn’t really bintsuke?”
Most stories are exaggerated, some so largely figments of the teller’s imagination that I have become quite adept at feigning interest whilst digging one (purposely grown) fingernail into the center of my palm just deep enough to keep myself awake but not so deep as to draw blood.
So, to aid you all in detecting the daft story tellers following
day sumo, and attempting to explain what each of the run of the mill
statements they chuck out means, I have collated a basic list of 13
“raves of the fakes” and a handful of associated gems to keep with you
in laminated form in case a quick referral is needed any time of the
day or night.
I’ll call it the RF scale - after “raves of the fakes” and throughout will use the imaginary shikona of Blarneyama
RF1 – I met Blarneyama – I saw him from cross the street.
RF2 – I was talking to Blarneyama / I said XXX to Blarneyama. – Blarneyama was this time on the same side of the street as myself and I said something along the lines of “ah, Blarneyama-zeki, Kyushu basho – gambarimasu.” The rikishi didn’t respond – thus the use of ‘to’.
RF3 – I had a word with Blarneyama - A step up from RF2 as the rikishi grunted (or perhaps attempted to clear his throat) and I took that to be his side of the conversation.
RF4 – I was at XXX-beya – I had asked, or asked a friend to call on my behalf and ask (for me), to be allowed in. I went in, touched my forelock to the floor when I arrived and sat at the back of the