Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Outdoor Sumo at Yasukuni Shrine

In April, sumo gets back to its roots at Yasukuni Shrine with an outdoor event. In olden times, sumo was generally held outdoors at shrines and temples or before gathered assemblies of august groups such as the shogun, daimyo (feudal lord), even the Emperor.

Hono Ozumo is a special ceremonial sumo event held at a shrine such as Yasukuni Shrine. Lower rank wrestlers (maku-shita) and top rank wrestlers (maku-uchi) compete. Even the yokozuna the highest rank in sumo compete at Hono Ozumo. If there is more than one yokozuna, they will compete against each other. Sumo can have several yokozuna at the same time but it is relatively rare to have more than two. Usually to see a yokozuna match between two yokozuna is a rare treat. Only on the last day of a tournament can one see this and it’s very difficult to get tickets for that day.

This year was a chance to see such a yokozuna match, the first in four years as Yokozuna Asashoryu retired in February of 2010. Hakuho has been the only yokozuna until September of 2012 when Harumafuji was promoted. This was their first yokozuna match at Yasukuni.

For more pics – click here

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May 7, 2013 Posted by | japan, sumo, tokyo, yasukuni shrine | , , , , , | 22 Comments

Life-Size Gundam Returns to Tokyo

While at a German Oktoberfest Celebration (in May) in Odaiba, I came across my old friend Gundam whom I saw here 3 years ago. Gundam is back in Tokyo big as ever. In 2009 to mark the 30th Anniversary of the premiere of the popular anime show Gundam, a 1:1 life-size Gundam model was erected on the island of Odaiba in Tokyo. It stayed there for a couple of months before being moved to Shizouka. Now it’s back in Tokyo for however long.

Gundam is an anime show where humans pilot these large robot-like suits called Mecha. Gundam has become a cultural icon in Japan.

May 9, 2012 Posted by | Anime, blog, Gundam, japan, tokyo | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Snowy Tokyo on Leap Day

Leap Day let its presence be known in Tokyo with a sudden snow shower that blanketed the city. I went around and took some photos and videos of certain spots. In the past several years, snowfalls in Tokyo have become somewhat rarer than in the past.

 

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For more photos check here: Snowy Photos of Tokyo

March 6, 2012 Posted by | japan, snow, tokyo, travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sumo: Asashoryu vs Hakuho – Yokozuna (Sumo Champion) Match at an outdoor sumo event

This is a little blast from the past – I was going thru some of my old archive footage and came across footage of an outdoor sumo exhibit from 2009 at Yasukuni Shrine that they do every April. I’ve gone to it a few times but only once got to see the two Yokozuna at that time face off against each other.

Usually you can only see Yokozuna fight each other on the last day of the tournament, a day which it is quite difficult to get tickets for so this was quite a treat. Yokozuna is a difficult position to reach and only a few ever reach it. There has been up to four Yokozuna at one time and there has been times when there has been none.

Asashoryu was Yokozuna from 2003-2010 and Hakuho has been one since 2007 so for only a short period of time could you see two Yokozuna compete since 2003.

For more sumo, check out this link to photos of Day 13 of the January 2012 tournament:

Sumo Photos

January 22, 2012 Posted by | 2009, asashoryu, japan, japanese culture, Sport, sumo, tokyo, yasukuni shrine, yokozuna, youtube | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2012 New Years Eve Celebrations in Tokyo

Rang in another year in Tokyo. Went to Yasukuni Shrine for the turning of the new year. They beat a drum in the shrine as people make their prayers. From there I took a quick jaunt into Roppongi then onto Tokyo Decadance Bar. Afterwards a number of us went to nearby local shrine.

2012 is the Year of the Dragon and it seems to be off to an auspicious start. Got woken up out of my stupor from a sizable earthquake. Hope there won’t be any repeats like last year!

Happy New Years!

January 11, 2012 Posted by | 2011, 2012, cosplay, culture, japan, japanese culture, New Year's Eve, New Years, tokyo, tokyo decadance | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dezuiri 2012 – Yokozuna (Sumo Champion) New Year Ring-Entering Ceremony at Meiji Shrine

Every year on January 6th, to celebrate the coming year, the current sumo champion(s), Yokozuna, come to Meiji Shrine and perform a Dohyo-iri or ring-entering ceremony. For Yokozuna there are two styles – Unryu the more common is seen as a defensive stance and Shiranui is a more offensive stance. They are named after Yokozuna by those names – though there is debate that there was a mix up and that each wrestler actually performed the other’s style.

Anyway, Hakuho performs the less common Shiranui style dohyo-iri and wears a Shiranui style rope which has two loops in the bow. I read somewhere there is a superstition that Shiranui has brought bad luck to previous Yokozuna who performed that style. It remains to be seen if Hakuho will escape such a fate.

January 10, 2012 Posted by | 2012, japan, japanese culture, japanese history, Japanese martial arts, martial arts, meiji shrine, sumo, tokyo, video, yokozuna | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2012 Emperor of Japan’s New Year Address

On January 2 the Japanese Emperor makes 5 appearances with members of the Imperial Household to give a short (emphasis on short) speech welcoming the New Year.

Although the Japanese Imperial system goes back well over a millenia, the tradition of making public addresses to gathered crowds only dates back to after WWII.

I’ve been to the New Years Address about 4-5 times now. The interview footage is from the 2009 and 2010 speeches.

This year however was different than previous years and the Emperor made direct mention to the Earthquake of March 11th and the continual suffering of those directly affected by it.

January 10, 2012 Posted by | akihito, blog, Blogroll, japan, Japan Earthquake, Japan Vlogger, japanese culture, japanese emperor, japanese imperial palace, New Years, tokyo, tokyo imperial palace, video, vlog | , , , , | Leave a comment

Haunted Noodles in Tokyo!

Dare you face the dreaded Haunted Noodles of Tokyo? WARNING: Not for the faint of heart!

While walking around in Tokyo I came across a “haunted” bowl of noodles where disembodied chopsticks continuously lifted noodles up and down no doubt remembering a former life full of happiness and ramen noodles.

July 29, 2011 Posted by | comedy, Ghosts, japan, tokyo, weird, WTF | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo Decadance at Fbar Roppongi

On June 25th I went to the Tokyo Youtube Gathering at the Sports Cafe in Roppongi. Got there late but got my butt kicked by a couple of Oolong Hi’s (or was it 4 or 5?) Tokyo Decadance that eclectic hodge-podge of Japanese underground subculture happened to be going on the same night a few blocks away so I donned my samurai armor (which got me a discount at the door) and took a couple of Youtubers over there after the Youtube meet-up.

We had a good time and saw some wild stuff which some of it can’t be shown here for the obvious reasons but take out word for it – it was wild! Youtubers in attendance: http://www.youtube.com/edtomorrow
http://www.youtube.com/StreetEnglishTV

July 29, 2011 Posted by | clubbing, cosplay, cute, dance, japan, Japanese girls, party, sexy, subculture, tokyo, tokyo decadance, WTF | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ganbaremasu Japan! Support for Japan in the wake of the 3/11 Earthquake and Tsunami

This is a video I made in support of Japan after the earthquake and devastating tsunami which caused much damage and loss of life in northeastern Japan in the Tohoku region.

Over a couple of days I got Japanese and foreign-residents to show their support and togetherness in dealing with the aftermath. I included footage of various Japanese festivals to showcase Japanese spirit and strength. Many of the festival clips were taken at events in the Tohoku area. The singing is from the World Cup celebrations this past summer.

April 26, 2011 Posted by | 2011, culture, earthquake, festival, japan, Japan Earthquake, japanese culture, Japanese festival, tohoku, tokyo, video, vlog | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment