Clown prince of sumo Takamisakari retires | The Japan Times

Clown prince of sumo Takamisakari retires | The Japan Times.

At the core of Sumo is stoicism.  You never complain, criticise or boast.  Whereas WWF is all about bragging and bullshit, sumo is about subtlety wrapped in extraordinary physical and mental strength.  (If you’re not familiar with pro-wrestling, just compare the original Iron Chef with Iron Chef from any other country.)

There’s no better demonstration of this than during the NHK Interview with the winner at the end of a tournament:

NHK: Congratulations on a wonderful performance.

Winner: Thank you very much

NHK: You were very powerful, your techniques were superb and you broke every sumo record in the sumo record books since 1752.  You must be ecstatic.

Winner: I just wanted do to my own sumo.

NHK: Your mother and father, their mothers and fathers and their mothers and fathers have been watching you every day.  You must be very proud.

Winner: I wish to thank all of my fans for barracking for me.  I just wanted do to my own sumo. Thank you very much.


I loved Terao (the Tetsujin “Iron Man” of sumo) with his no-nonsense limitless range of techniques, his long career from age 16 to 39 and his huge pectorial muscles.  My other favourite was Tochiazuma, one of only 2 rikishi to win at all 6 divisions who was so close to becoming Yokozuna before suffering a minor stroke and heart attack.  His tears of joy during his NHK interview in January 2002 were a concession to the emotion of being only the 6th shin-Ozeki (newly-promoted Ozeki) to win and 30 years after his father won the same tournament.

Takamisakari is cut from very different cloth, he is.  He wears his heart on his sleeve while maintaining a certain dignity.  His emotions are raw but the joy, pain, anger, passion, frustration, elation and ecstasy are directed to himself; not against his opponents or his fans.  And his fans (well, everyone) love him so much.  Watch almost any video of him on Youtube and the crowd’s love for him is obvious.

“Clown Prince” is not the most fitting moniker.  Akebono gave him the nickname “Robocop” after his robotic moves (not like Peter Crouch), not for any lack of emotion.

This video shows the shikiri purification ceremony performed before each bout, but rarely seen unless you watch it live.  The banners that circle the dohyo are sponsors for the bout adding kensho-kin money to go to the winner; the envelopes are shown on the gyoji’s [umpire’s] gunbai “war fan” at the end.  At the last pass of the shikiri at about 2:20 in the video Takamisakari in the blue mawashi does his thing.

Takamisakari’s sponsors (the five striped banners) have two versions of a TV commercial featuring him: one where he wins the bout and one where he loses.  What other sports-person can sell just as well when they lose?

A great character the likes of which may not be seen again.


Harumafuji claims perfect record | The Japan Times

Harumafuji claims perfect record | The Japan Times.

Good to see good Sumo news.  Harumafuji gets “Zensho Yusho”, a perfect 15-0 record in the January tournament, thereby silencing the critics on the Yokozuna Deliberation council owing to his “poor” 9-6 record in November 2012.

Baruto sadly won’t be automatically returning to the Ozeki rank; his 8-7 record short of the 10-5 he needed for that.  He’ll stay at Sekiwake and will need good numbers in consecutive tournaments to earn promotion.


I’m tracking every movement with MapMyRide.  Every bike ride is recorded and shared with all humanity.  I keep the tracking of some activities such as walking the dogs for myself only.

The MapMy… apps and websites are quite good.  I’d previously used WalkWatch and found it easy to use but difficult to export the rich data it had captured.  I’m resigning myself to losing the maps of Japan I gathered last time I wandered around.

MapMyRide gets around that issue by saving to your account on-line when you finish a workout.  This is its stand-out feature since blowing away the app won’t affect the runs recorded on the website.  It will also allow you to upload from 9 popular training tracker apps and systems like Garmin, Polar and Nike+ as well as a few file formats.

The website and app are not without problems:

  1. Metric or imperial measurements are displayed at random, sometimes different units on the same page,  despite the measurement setting you choose.
  2. Date format reverts to MM-DD-YYYY (why?) instead of the preference chosen.
  3. The height that I input changes from 1.95m to 1.93 or 1.90, metric amounts that correspond to the nearest inch. (see point 1)
  4. The weight I input… It isn’t clear if it the website keeps track of weight, waist and resting heart rate.  Those are useful measures.  You record them against your profile, so they are probably point-in-time rather than tracked.
  5. If you do the same course multiple times in a workout, you only can analyse of one of the runs.

None of these are show-stoppers, but I’d like to see them fixed.

Happy riding.

UPDATE: 28/01/2013 16:54 – I just found another one: I just completed a lovely mountain bike workout in the drizzle on a new and very steep track at the highest climb I’ve attempted recently.  What is even more remarkable is that MapMyRide calendar believes that this happened on both 28 and 29/01/2013.

MapMyRide calendar can see your future.
MapMyRide calendar can see your future.