Trip Start May 08, 2006
Trip End May 21, 2006

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Flag of Japan  ,
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

The number one thing on our Japan list was going to a Sumo Match, as you don't get much more Japanese then that. Luckily for us the Tokyo Tournament started the day before we arrived in Japan and felt confident we could get tickets this early in the tournament.

Like most things while traveling buying tickets became on adventure in itself as we were directed to various places to buy tickets before we decided we would just go to the ticket office closer to the start and see what they had.

Therefore we true Americans we hit the Hard Rock for breakfast (never a good idea as they don't do breakfast or eggs for that matter as we still don't know what they were) and as it was 11:15 AM we thought it was close enough to noon to have some tailgate beers. We jumped on the JR (One of three subway systems in Tokyo) and headed to the Stadium. On arrival we were a little nervous as it looked like a huge line at front, but to our relief it was fans waiting for the Sumo Wrestlers to walk in. We got our seats. Let it be noted that the ringside and luxury box seats aren't actual seats but rather mats placed on the floor. So we got the upper deck, which has actual seats.

We watched the final rounds of the second level guys, who are trying to get to the top level competition. During the break we hit the food line and got two hotdogs, an order of fries, and two Cokes for the small bill of $13.00USD, which we followed up with two small draft beers for $10USD. This was actually really cheap compared to the $33.70 we spent on beers at the Hard Rock.

The real action started around 4:00PM and consisted of around 20 plus matches for the top guys. Each match basically followed the same pattern. Some dude in tights would announce/sing the names of each guy. The two wrestlers would climb up and face each other and show that they didn't have any weapons (that is also why they wear those diapers to prove that aren't hiding any weapons). They then go over and drink some water to purify themselves, take some salt and through it to purify the ring, and then line up. The line up scene is very much like a face off in Hockey as the Ref gets ready and then stands up, like he is kicking one of them out of the circle. The two wrestlers go back to the corner and repeat the process. On the third, fourth, or even fifth try the wrestlers rush at each other and the bout is on. In most cases it is over within 10 seconds with others going as long as 30 seconds. Most of the bouts are pretty routine, but once in awhile a dude will be picked up or thrown off the ring. At the end of the day it's really more about the anticipation then the actual bout.

Around 6:00 it was done and overall our Sumo day met and probably exceeded our expectations. It was the perfect combination of a sporting event and a cultural event. It had the tradition, brutality, art, and energy of a truly Japanese experience!
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scott_and_amy on

Re: Seating
We were sitting in the cheap seats for the main reason that the good seats aren't seats, but just cushions on the floor. I guess you are closer but we thought that sounded really uncomfortable. So we got the best seats we could that were still seats and had a great view of the matches. Plus for us it was more about the atmosphere than seeing the action up close.

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