Friday, January 26, 2007

Sumo Stable These Days

Sumo stable master Shikoroyama Tsuneyuki writes of his new stable building in a Nikkei article (Jan 23, 2006). He was formally known with the fighting name of "Terao", taken from the maiden name of his mother who died of cancer -- very unusual way of naming for a sumo wrestler. He was handsome and slim with long legs, and popular among female fans. He was my grandfather's favourite, so that's why I know his name despite my uninterest in sumo. In my childhood, I thought the sumo broadcast on TV was the most boring thing in the world.

3 years ago, I became independent from my brother's Izutsu-beya (stable) which was originally set up by my father. Until our stable building was ready, the wrestlers and I lived in a rented apartment, and held practice at a sumo ring made inside a warehouse. The training hall was away from the apartment, and the bathroom was too small for the customary mass-bathing. It must have been inconvenient for everybody. Now we have a 6-story building with the training hall on the first floor, dormitory for the young wrestlers and the office the second floor, training gym and laundry on the third floor, individual rooms for the high ranking Sekitori wrestlers on the fourth floor, and my home on the fifth and sixth floor. Convenience isn't always good though, and I feel lack of intensity than before. In the days when the training gym was located far from the apartment, the wrestlers had some urgency to go when they could, or else they might miss training. But now at the new building, I take a glimpse inside the gym on the third floor and find wrestlers fidgeting with their mobile phones. Call them young folks of today -- but you can't keep in shape like that, and distraction can lead to injury. If people are given fulfilling environment, maybe they just take it for granted and won't appreciate. A new independent stable like us have no inheritance of know-how seen in established stables. The wrestlers must be taught from scratch -- everything from daily greetings and respects to sumo basics, and cleaning. Sloppy sweeping is no surprise -- I was once shocked to find a young one wiping the low dining table with a cloth, using his feet! Sometimes, I feel as if they'll never learn, but we just have to keep on telling them. My stress has increased in proportion with the size of the building.

Reference: Life as a professional Sumo wrestler

Terao homepage
It says "New Wrestlers Wanted".


Monday, January 08, 2007

Please Refrain from New Year Calls

A newspaper ad:
To mobile phone users -- the dog's last, and the boar's first request.

For the first 2 hours of the new year, please refrain from making "Happy New Year" calls and mails.