I'm really excited to share our awesome experience at the Grand Sumo Tournament, but first I need to share some other fun pictures from our afternoon at Nikko Nikko Park. It's a small playground within walking distance that we visited one afternoon. You had to pay a small admission, but it was nicer than just a neighborhood park and it had more toys, etc.
This is Roddy on a little Rody
This big jungle gym had a really long roller slide that was fun, but you had to wait in line about 10 minutes since it was a busy day. Cameron and Roderick are at the top in this picture just about to slide down.
This trampoline was perfect because the black stuff in the middle was hard rubber and not stretchy like a traditional trampoline so it was easier for little kids to jump without losing their balance.
And Roderick's favorite was definitely this cable swing, he would have stayed on it all day. I mean we literally had to peel him off the rope after each of his turns because he just wanted to keep riding.
We had a fun time just playing and enjoying the afternoon together.
The Grand Sumo Tournament is held in Tokyo at Ryogoku Kokkugikan Arena for two straight weeks towards the end of September with "bouts" everyday of the week. We got tickets during the second week and really enjoyed the experience. The doors open at 8 am but the important bouts aren't until the afternoon, so we arrived around 2 pm and got pictures of some of the sumo wrestlers arriving at the arena. This area was blocked off and there were spectators standing to wait and see some of the famous sumo wrestlers.
We got inside and settled in our seats and thought it seemed pretty empty, especially since it was "sold out," but by the end of the tournament the arena was completely full.
The way the bouts progress is that there's a man that comes and sings an introduction and the two wrestlers come up onto the "stage" and greet each other. Then they start their stretches, which is lifting their legs to the side, squatting down and sometimes throwing salt into the ring to purge it of any malicious energy and thereby cleanse it. In the top division they threw salt probably 8-10 times each before the bout. There's an official in the ring with the wrestlers and once they are both ready and in position the bout starts.
The actual bouts are really short. The point is to force your opponent to touch any part of their body (other than their feet) to touch the ground or to step outside the ring. Most bouts are less than a minute. It's all the pageantry of stretching and coming into the ring (and throwing salt) that takes the time.
There are different divisions or levels of wrestlers and before they start a new division the wrestlers come into the ring in their kesho-mawashi. I thought these were pretty funny, sort of like a mullet, "Business in the front, party in the back." I'm just glad all my skirts cover my bottom because I wouldn't want to walk around in a kesho-mawashi.
We were there for about 4 hours and I was surprised at how fast the time went and Roderick even seemed to be entertained the entire time.
So if you've made it this far you are now pretty educated on sumo wrestling. If you ever have a chance to watch sumo, I would definitely recommend it, it's a fun and entertaining sport!