CDM/MLA 675: Tokyo: Collective Identity, Mediated Selves, and the Built Environment
January 23, 2020
Yesterday, myself and a few other members of our group went to a Sumo tournament. Sumo wrestling is the national sport of Japan and very exciting to watch!
We attended through a tour lead by two great employees from our hotel. Before we left for the stadium, we all were given a list of each match up happening that day and an explanation of the basics of the sport. We all had a fun time guessing on who we thought would win and marking down our bets to follow and the matches progressed.
When we got to the stadium, crowds of fans surrounded a street where a few wrestlers were arriving. Everyone took pictures, but talking to the large men is prohibited in order to keep their focus. The stadium had a huge case inside showing massive trophies and many food options, including a famous traditional soup sumo wrestlers eat to gain weight.
After walking around a bit, buying souveiners, and enjoying ice cream, the matches commenced. It was amazing to see the ritual before each match up. Wrestlers would throw salt for good luck, slap their bodies to get pumped, and then eventually meet up in the middle of the circle to face off. To win the match, the opponent must either touch the mat with a body part other than their feet, or be pushed out of the ring made of rope on the ground. Seeing the crowd react to each wrestlers differently was so fun. Luckily, there was another foreigner behind our group who was a sumo fanatic. He told us interesting facts about each wrestlers that made the matches so much more exciting. For example, one wrestler is nicknamed “the salt-shaker” for the very dramatic way he throws salt. We were able to watch for this and it was so entertaining to see.
The wrestlers were so powerful and matches only lasted a few seconds due to their strength and speed at winning! Wrestlers ranged from around 220-450 lbs, making the different match ups difficult to predict for our group, who doesn’t know much about the specifics of the sport. The wrestler who was around 220lbs, which is unusually small for the sport, was especially exciting to watch as he won against his much much larger opponent! Later on, the amazing target language expert traveling with us, Iwamoto Midori, translated a commercial he was in. We learned more about his struggles and extreme passion for the sport.
Overall, it was a great day at the sumo tournament that left many of us wanting sumo stadiums in the U.S!
About the Japan Study Tour
THE TRAVEL DATES
Jan. 10-25, 2020
Modern Languages Prof. Darwin Tsen
Students will get to explore and experience Tokyo, Japan, through several activities. As they are guided through the city, students will be examining the several works of art there and the multicultural and multimedia products they offer, such as literature, cinema, television, and digital design. With an emphasis on historical contexts, students will come to understand the social and cultural fundamentals that lead to modern ideas of Tokyo, the environment, and the people.