Friday, November 23 was a national holiday in Japan, so a few friends and I went to SUMO!!!!! My friend Shintaro somehow got four free tickets, so he invited me and two Baiko teachers to come along. We took the long-range bus to Fukuoka, had an awesome buffet (with a chocolate fountain!) for lunch, then headed over to the arena. Outside before the tournament started we watched the wrestlers enter the building. Men and women would pat the wrestler's backs and say good luck as they passed by. I had never seen a sumo wrestler up close and let me tell you, they are MASSIVE. I couldn't help but stare at their thighs and jiggling bellies as we walked past them stretching in the hallway leading to our seats.
We were at the arena watching sumo for about four hours and I never got tired of it. It was so much fun! Even though the action of an actual bout only lasted a couple of seconds-- half a minute at most-- the formalities leading up to the bout were fascinating. The wrestlers would enter the ring, face each other, do some coordinated stretches, step out of the ring, drink some holy water, pick up a handful of salt, throw the salt as they entered the ring a second time, face each other and squat and bow, stand up, leave the ring again, stretch a bit, enter the ring throwing salt again, face each other and squat, leave the ring, wipe their faces and bodies and slap themselves in the face and chest, then enter the ring and, finally, go at it. Apparently all the posturing holds meaning taken from ancient shinto rituals. I didn't get a chance to learn much about it.
After the tournament was over Shintaro took us to a more traditional-style Japanese restaurant where we had octopus covered in wasabi, rice with tiny dried krill or shrimp or something in it, and raw horse tongue sashimi. Yes, I ate raw horse tongue. The flavor wasn't bad, but the texture was really hard to swallow-- literally. I think I chewed my piece of horse tongue for about two minutes before I could finally swallow. There were some tendons I had to gnash through to make small enough pieces in my mouth. It was not the most pleasant experience, but an experience worth having, I'd say.


written by Ruthie @ 12:45 AM  
2 thoughts:
  • At 12/05/2007 2:09 AM, Blogger クリス先生 said…

    I enjoyed the description of eating horse tongue. If our friends only knew some of the things we were eating over here...

  • At 12/06/2007 4:07 AM, Blogger homsar said…

    No kidding! And Japanese think its funny to torture us by making us eat this stuff they won't even eat!!

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Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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