Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Sumo Falls – A Video Compilation of Sumo Falls, Tumbles, & Throws

If you thought sumo a sport of slow moving fat guys in thongs engaged in an aggressive shoving match, guess again.

As any follower of Sumo knows, Sumo wrestlers are fast, strong, and agile. They also know how to take a fall real well. And they get tossed around a lot.

The following is a series of falls, tumbles, and throws from several tournaments: Sept ’06, May ’07, July ’07 in Nagoya, and Sept ’07. There’s also scenes from an outdoor exhibition in April ’07.

I went early in the day for the Nagoya Basho and caught some of the junior wrestlers so this vid has wrestlers from the very top to the very bottom of the sumo hierachry.
 

Music by Seven Cycle Theory:
http://www.myspace.com/sevencycletheory

It’s up for votes on current tv:
http://current.com/items/88824331_sumo_falls_a_compilation_of_sumo_falls_tumbles_and_throws
Sign up and vote!

January 27, 2008 Posted by | asashoryu, Blogroll, heavy metal, japan, life, metal, music, rock, seven cycle theory, Sport, sumo, tokyo, travel, TV, video, vlog, wrestling, yokozuna, youtube | Leave a comment

Rock the VOTE III: Japanese Biwa Player Playing Old Tune

The Roving Ronin Report Presents:

Japanese Biwa Player Playing An Ancient Song of Battle

It’s up for votes on Current TV:

http://www.current.tv/watch/70143572

Please register and vote!

Biwa is a Japanese lute played with a large pick. They are often used to tell old stories such as the Tale of the Heike.

The Tale of the Heike is a long tale about the rise and a fall of the Heike family in the 12th Century. Taira-no-Kiyomori led his family to the highest position in the country. Eventually, their enemies brought them down defeating them in a number of battles.

Dan-no-ura was the site of their last battle. It was a great sea battle and the Heike were completely destroyed. Many of them perished by leaping into the sea including the young emperor.

Centuries later, a blind biwa player, Hoichi, unknowingly played for these restless spirits and almost lost his life as a result. He paid the price with his ears being ripped off by one of these ghosts.

A thunderstorm struck while the biwa player played making me think that perhaps the Heike spirits were still restless.

June 29, 2007 Posted by | biwa, Blogroll, culture, current tv, entertainment, folklore, Gempei War, Ghosts, Hauntings, heike monogatari, japan, kwaidan, life, music, samurai, traditional art, travel, TV, video | 2 Comments

Rock the Vote II – Sumo Video “The Director’s Cut”

 This another video that I’ve upload to Current TV. It’s a “Director’s Cut” of my recent sumo video with a title sequence, 30 seconds of extended footage, and extra tidbits of information.

 If you feel like voting please go to:

http://www.current.tv/watch/61470061

register and vote!

Thanks!

June 23, 2007 Posted by | asashoryu, Blogroll, current tv, japan, life, media, news, Sport, sumo, tokyo, travel, TV, video, yokozuna | 2 Comments

Rock the Vote! Vote for “An Eclectic Cultural Montage”

The above video I just sent to Current TV (current tv). It’s up for votes to get picked for TV so if you feel generous, please register and vote for my pod/video at:

http://www.current.tv/watch/47178271

Current TV is a cable show that puts on viewer-created material. Check out the Wiki article for more info:

Current TV

Now the way the voting system works is that newbie voter’s score is only about 1.5 points and more active members have a whopping 10 points behind their vote. So for those who really want to help, I’d advise voting – which means Greenlighting – and commenting on other pods/videos to get your score up before voting on mine. Here’s a small eclectic selection of a few pods/vids that I like which I think deserve votes:

A surreal vid on the Old West in the Old Communist East:

Bohemian West

A very interesting vid on the incompetent sale of weapons by the US government and the apathy of media and the public:

Big Media Fails Again

An environmentally friendly car:

electric car

You may have seen him on Youtube or Myspace, anything by Mark Day deserves votes for being funny, witty, and insightful:

Secrets of the universe

markday

another chlling political vid which shows the position of the US fleet in the Persian Gulf:

toys in the gulf

A candid look at a group of soldiers in Iraq made by the soldiers themselves:

Soldiers in an Iraqi city

These are are just a few of the great videos over there so surf around and vote for the ones you like. I plan to upload remastered versions of some of the videos here for later shows so please vote for them too!

Thanks!

The theme music is Jack’s Surf Shop by the exotic ones

June 14, 2007 Posted by | beefeater, culture, current tv, dance, devils, England, festival, geisha, japan, Kendo, Kyoto, life, martial arts, matsuri, media, montage, morioka, music, nebuta, ninja, politics, samurai, sansa odori, sumo, taiko, travel, TV, video, voting | 2 Comments

Yokozuna Asashoryu Loses Chance to Win His 21st Tournament

This match on Day 13 of the May 2007 Tournament sank Asashoryu’s chances of winning his 21st Tournament while giving Hakuho the chance to win not only the tournament but promotion to Yokozuna as well. 

June 1, 2007 Posted by | asashoryu, Blogroll, japan, life, Sport, sumo, tokyo, TV, video, yokozuna | Leave a comment

Mongols Invade Japan – Sumo-style

Mongols Invade Japan Through Sumo
A New Champion is Chosen


From Reuters: Hakuho: the new Yokozuna – sumo champion

What in Xanadu Kublai Khan of Stately Palace Dome fame decreed and failed to do twice over seven centuries ago, two Mongolian sumo wrestlers have accomplished. They have conquered Japan, not in the way their brethren would have done long ago with sword and spear but through their wrestling skills, they have conquered the world of sumo and dominated the headlines in Japan.
Two Sumo wrestlers square off in Tokyo

After his second tournament win in a row, Mongolian-born Hakuho (real name Munkhbat Davaajargal) has been promoted to the highest rank a sumo wrestler can achieve – Yokozuna. For over three years only one wrestler has held onto that title alone – Asashoryu (Dolgorsuren Dagvadorj) also from Mongolia.


Bulgarian Sumo wrestler Kotooshu

In 2003 Asashoryu was promoted to Yokozuna. Since that time he so dominated the tournaments that no other wrestler was able to win two tournaments back to back during the same six tournament season in order to be qualified for promotion. There are six tournaments held every two months throughout the year. Since 2003, Asashoryu has won 18 of them, twenty all together in his impressive career. Asashoyru’s chances of winning his 21st tournament were dashed on Day 13 of the 15-day tournament when he lost his match.


Yokozuna Asashoryu holds tight

Sumo is a rigid hierarchical sport that wrestlers have to climb upwards for attention and salary. Along the way, a wrestler can be demoted if he doesn’t keep his average up. Once attaining the position of Yokozuna, however, there are no demotions. Unlike other contact sports with only one defending champion, sumo can have several Yokozuna competing in a tournament at the same time. There has been as many as four at one time and subsequently there have been tournaments when there were none.


Yokozuna Asashoryu hits the ground losing his chance to win another tournament

With Hakuho’s promotion, there are now two active Yokozuna which the sumo world hasn’t seen in over three years.

Sumo was once primarily a Japanese-only sport and the idea of a foreign Yokozuna was simply out of the question even when foreign wrestler began competing. Now there are more than 60 foreign wrestlers in the world of sumo. Another strong contender for the title of Yokozuna is Bulgarian wrestler Kotooshu (Mahlyanov Kaloyan Stefanov).


Fans throw cushions whenever a Yokozuna is defeated by a non-Yokozuna

Currently there are six other Mongolians in sumo’s top division – Kublai Khan’s vision finally coming to a realization, in sumo at least.


A Yokozuna in the making?

June 1, 2007 Posted by | asashoryu, Blogroll, japan, life, Sport, sumo, TV, yokozuna | 8 Comments

What Really Happened With The Enron Scandal

THE TRUTH BEHIND THE ENRON SCANDAL

The Shocking Truth Behind The Scandal At Enron And The Possible Cause of Kenneth Lay’s Retirement and Early Death.

It seems the whole thing was a cover-up to avoid the embarrasment of saying what really happened to the investment money and employee pension fund that was presumed to have been stolen by crooked Enron execs.

Even the California Energy Crisis which Enron was blamed for profitting off of by manufacturing black-outs was a result of the subject of this documentary.

The Truth may shock you and scare you! Your financial savings are never completely safe from these masked rogue traders of death and dismemberment!

April 18, 2007 Posted by | 1980s, Blogroll, california energy crisis, enron, enron scandal, humor, japan, karate, kenneth lay, Lee Van Cleef, life, martial arts, Master Ninja, MST3K, Mystery Science Theater 3000, ninja, sho kosugi, TV, video | 2 Comments

Madonna Wraps Up Controversial Confessions Tour in Tokyo

Madonna Ends Tour in Tokyo without Fuss
The controversial crucifixion scene

Madonna wrapped up her controversial yet highly successful Confessions Tour on Thursday September 21 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo. Madonna’s Confession tour has been dogged by outrage and protest from religious groups throughout the world for her crucifixion performance.

Many have felt the act blasphemous and disrespectful to Christianity. Madonna countered this by saying the performance was designed to highlight the suffering of AIDS orphans in Africa.

The tour started on May 21 in Los Angeles and went through several major U.S. cities gaining notoriety as it went before leaping over to Europe and into another hotbed of controversy. Even the Pope got involved. From Russia, her tour flew to Japan where she performed without much fuss two nights each in Osaka and Tokyo. Originally she had planned to finish the tour in Australia but was unable to do so for logistical reasons.

By the time, the Confessions tour ended, Madonna had performed 60 shows in front of over a million people on three continents. The Confessions Tour grossed $193.7 million, the highest ever for a female artist.


The huge Tokyo Dome — taken from the nosebleed section

What shocked and angered religious groups was not the belly dancing, the male-slave horseback riding, nor the hedonistic glam rock-n-roll roller-skating. It was the crucifixion scene that sent them into catatonic fits of religious fervor. During one of her sets, Madonna was slowly raised up on a mirrored cross while wearing a crown of thorns. She sang “Live to Tell” while images were shown of the African AIDS crisis and its orphans.

Religious groups comprising Jews, Christians, and Muslims voiced outrage at what they saw as sacrilegious.

Madonna recently issued a public defense of her crucifixion scene:

“I am very grateful that my show was so well received all over the world. But there seems to be many misinterpretations about my appearance on the cross and I wanted to explain it myself once and for all.“There is a segment in my show where three of my dancers ‘confess’ or share harrowing experiences from their childhood that they ultimately overcame. My ‘confession’ follows and takes place on a Crucifix that I ultimately come down from. This is not a mocking of the church. It is no different than a person wearing a Cross or ‘Taking Up the Cross’ as it says in the Bible. My performance is neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous. Rather, it is my plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another and to see the world as a unified whole. I believe in my heart that if Jesus were alive today he would be doing the same thing.

“My specific intent is to bring attention to the millions of children in Africa who are dying every day, and are living without care, without medicine and without hope. I am asking people to open their hearts and minds to get involved in whatever way they can. The song ends with a quote from the Bible’s Book of Matthew:

“‘For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you took care of me and God replied, “Whatever you did for the least of my brothers… you did it to me.”‘

“Please do not pass judgment without seeing my show.”


Madonna tries to bring peace to the Middle East via modern interpretive dancing.

Madonna even invited the Pope to attend her show.


Madonna complete with riding crop and hat to go slaveback riding.

There was little fuss made in predominately non-Christian Japan. When the mirrored cross was raised there was little in the way of excessive cheers or jeers in Tokyo. For most of the Japanese audience, it was just part of the show.


Madonna with a T-shirt endorsement of Japanese sexual prowess

With the exception of the crucifixion scene, the Confessions Tour seemed far milder than earlier tours. In the early 1990s Madonna garnered notoriety with sex-laiden acts that included topless dancers, S&M outfits, simulated masturbation, and so forth. She particularly prickled Puerto Rico by rubbing their flag in her crotch.


Madonna as a re-imagined John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever

As for moi, I was way up in the stratosphere of the Tokyo Dome somewhere in the vicinity of the orbit of the planet Venus. The ticket still cost me a whopping $90! I only went because a Japanese girl wanted to go. I was more taken by the beer girls before the show. Truly working class heroes/heroines for the common man!


My heroine!

Still it was a fun concert. And whether I like her music or not is immaterial. As with any Gen Xer, Madonna is an intricate part of my pop-culture universe. Her songs ebbied and flowed in the background of my growing up experience influencing the style and thinking of my peers. We were either consciously or sub-consciously voguing, expressing ourselves, living to tell the secret to preaching papa’s, praying to Black Jesuses on our own private Isla Bonita while justifying our love to our virginal-like lucky stars. Personally, I think she was a far sight better than those god-awful hairbands of the late 80s.


One more for the liver, baby, onegaishimasu!

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than 20 years since Madonna made her debut during the baby years of MTV. Her original teenage audience are now in their late 30s to early 40s with young teenagers many of whom listen to Madonna today. One of my students told me that she saw Madonna in concert 18 years ago in Tokyo.

The amazing thing about Madonna has been her ability to re-invent herself. And she knows how to work the media to her benefit by shocking the hell out of conservative types. Despite calls for boycotting the concert, Madonna made more money than any female artist in concert ever has before. She should send donations to the religious groups who kicked up such a fuss that created all the free publicity.

September 30, 2006 Posted by | 1980s, 1990s, Blogroll, confessions, japan, madonna, media, music concert, tokyo, TV | 1 Comment

Remembering the Scandals of the 90s or why I lost respect for the Media

A look back at the newsworthy items that American media pumped out to the masses
Coming from America, a country that is at one point news-obsessed with countless news programs on TV, newspapers, and magazines available and yet at the same time often oddly unaware of what is going on in the world, I’m used to having the news media giants dictate what is newsworthy and what isn’t. Prior to the 90s, I had little reason to question the media’s competency and objectivity. The media still seemed to possess some element of aloof professionalism. Of course, I was horribly young at the time and easily influenced.It had to be the Buttifuco scandal in the early 90s that first shook my faith in the professional media. A New England tart decided her boyfriend, a man twice her age, was worth keeping to the point of shooting his wife point blank in the head. Her aim was not as true as her love apparently as the wife survived as the story hit nationwide. For some reason this was worthy of national news. But it wasn’t just one blurb on the nightly news – spoken and soon forgotten – it became an obsession of the nation fueled by numerous follow-up reports.

Amy Fisher’s Mugshot
2006 Wikipedia

Shortly after came the infamous Bobbitt case where a young wife tired of her husband’s cheating ways, decided to releive him of his pride and joy while he slept. The conscequences of her actions rode a slurpee cup to the operation room and into the living rooms of millions of Americans. What should have been tabloid fodder became food for thought for the professional media to ponder over.

John Wayne Bobbitt briefly became an Adult Film Star after his brush with a kitchen knife
2006 Wikipedia

When that began to die off yet another scandal arose – the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding Olympic figure ice skating fiasco where Ms. Harding had decided to even the odds in her favor with a crowbar to Kerrigan’s legs. This newsworthy item dragged on to its bitter end with Ms. Harding crying pitifully to the judges over a skate whose lacing had come undone.

Tonya Harding cries over loose laces as many Americans shake heads in disgust
2006 Wikipedia

Then came the be-all grandest scandal that shook the media world to its knees. Not Somalia, not the Yugoslavia War, it was the (cue trumpets and drums) the OJ Simpson scandal – undoubtably the grandest of all scandals that dragged on and on and on and on like some B-grade horror monster that refuses to die no matter what.

When OJ Simpson’s white ford bronco hit the LA streets one warm summer evening, media moguls must have shed a tear of gratitude as their fingers speed-dialed their news offices.

OJ Simpson’s white Ford Bronco leads the LAPD on a slow chase
2006 internet

By that time I had reached a point of utter disgust and distrust of the so-called professional media. Gone seemed to be the days of the likes of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite. “This is what the public wants!” was often the defense for the coverage of these stories. Perhaps, but is it what the public needs from the professional media? Let the tabloids print the tabloids.

The Jerry Springer Show
The True Media Circus without the Pretension
The Ringmaster: Jerry Springer
Wikipedia

For the astute followers of American pop-culture, they are no doubt aware that the controversial talk show: “The Springer Show,” came about in the midst of these scandals. The Springer Show hosted by former mayor of Cinnicinata, Jerry Springer, allowed trailer trash, ghetto garbage, flashing exhibitionists and theirl like to debate their differences, ie swing fists and chairs at one another while the audience chanted “Jerry! Jerry!”

Jerry Springer gave the public what it wanted but he never made the pretense that his show was anything other than a type of public circus. In the face of critics, he has even said his show is dumb. Therein, I think, lies the difference between his show and the professional media especially in regards to their coverage of similar topics. / David M Weber

The icing on the proverbial cake had to be the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky affair that followed in the wake of the OJ trial. The theater of the absurd was in full swing as an American President was nearly impeached over a completely overblown non-issue. And the professional media was there to discuss the finer details of Presidential deposits on intern dresses.

Monica Lewinsky gets a hug from President Clinton
2006 Wikipedia

Finally at the end of a long decade of tabloid scandals which were given more media attention than was possibly needed, came the debacle of the 2000 Presidential election coverage. Here was an actual newsworthy event and they bungled it royally. Before all the votes were in, FoxNews declared current President Bush the winner. Many of the other media sources fell in line save a brave few. This premature call just caused more confusion in the months that followed as the results were being sorted out.

6 years, two wars, and thousands of dead later, one wonders how different the world might have been if the professional media had just done its job and not jumped the gun so quickly.

For these reasons whenever criticism is leveled at citizen journalism, I just roll my eyes and think just how objective and professional the professional media has been in my country over the last 15 years or so as they chased one tabloid story after another. Thanks to such indepth coverage, Americans knew more about the dresses the prosecutor wore at OJ Simpson’s murder trial than they did about Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

August 6, 2006 Posted by | 1990s, Amy Fisher, Blogroll, Bobbit, Clinton, media, Monica Lewinsky, OJ Simpson, politics, scandals, Tonya Harding, TV, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Where Have the Ninja Gone?

The Enigmatic Japanese Ninja

Cheap fuel-efficient cars, VCRs, and stereos weren’t the only Japanese exports that flooded into America during the 70s and 80s. The plucky indigenous ninja cleverly smuggled themselves over the sea to dazzle American audiences with their seemingly magical martial arts abilities. They were soon to find fertile ground in American pop-culture and almost immediately a Ninja Boom was born.

There was a time when ninja were as abundant as the stars in the skies. They were everywhere in America. They were in movies, on TV programs, in comic books, in newspaper personals, on street corners.

Masterpiece Ninja Theater: “Who’s Afraid of Hattori Hanzo?”

Just opening the pages of any comic book back then you could find throngs of ninja taking on small bands of heroes. On TV you could watch ninja fight each other, the A-team, greying old ex-pats, G.I. Joe, and so on. Less respectable movie theaters showed Ninja movies every other week. In bookstores, you had your pick of ninja books that detailed every aspect about these secret warriors from their skills, their weapons, to their breakfast cereals.

Master Ninja Lee Van Cleef with Big-Ass Funky Disco Medallion

Everybody wanted to be a ninja or at least own their weapons. Nun-chunks were once as plentiful as handguns in American households. No impressionable 13-year old boy could hold his head up high amongst his peers if he did not own at least half a dozen shurikens (“throwing stars”). That these JC Penny shurikens failed to stick in anything did not deter their popularity one bit.

For those who aspired to be ninja through mail-order training books, there was always the feeling that one day, they might be called upon to use their ninja skills and weaponry to take on bullies, bank robbers, Russian spies, space aliens, or chemistry teachers. And when that day arrived, the suburban ninja disguised as a mild-mannered pimply-faced gawky teenager would save the day and win the heart of the head cheerleader.

Look at me! I’m a Ninja Bird!

As for the real Ninja, they served as the perfect martial arts foil for any aspiring hero whether they were samurai, shaolin monks, police officers, superheroes, or redneck truck drivers. Ninja were readily available for heroes to test their mettle against. It didn’t take much to find a few ninja back then as they were just about everywhere. A hero could hardly go for a leak without bumping into a pack of them along the way.

Then the butt-kicking would begin.

Despite their years of intensive training and strict discipline, ninja never won a single fight they were in even if they outnumbered their opponents 100 to 1. They appeared to be particularly vulnerable to an old-fashion left hook. The only time ninja were successful in actually killing someone with their skills or their myriad of pointy weapons was when they could manage to kill off the hero’s buddy, girlfriend, or dog. This minor victory was often short-lived and generally backfired on them as the hero would become enraged to the point of slaughtering ninja by the bushel. This would go on until the hero finally tracked down the Head Ninja and in an epic fight-to-the-death match, killed him. The few surviving ninja of the hero’s rampage would find themselves suddenly unemployed while many of them would have to apply for handicap parking decals.

Ouch! That’s got to sting a bit.

The fact that ninja were repeatedly beaten, pummeled, crippled, maimed, set on fire, and killed in their relentless encounters never bothered people. It was thought ninja would last forever. But like the mighty buffalo, even ninja had to succumb to the ravages of time and attrition to their ranks. With their secret training camps being infiltrated and blown up all the time, it was becoming harder to recruit and train new ninja.

One of their main problems was that they were victims of their own defeat. Everybody wanted to fight them. You weren’t considered a hero in those days if you couldn’t single-handily beat a dozen ninja.

Gay Ninja always had to strive harder to win acceptance from their peers

One has to admire their pluck in the face of adversity, though. A hero could slaughter 99 ninja and the 100th ninja — instead of doing the sensible thing like running away as most of us would do if we were in his slippers or just shooting the guy from a safe distance — attacks all out with his ninja skills no doubt thinking optimistically the hero must be finally worn out from killing all of the ninja’s colleagues. Sure the ninja gets brutally killed like all the rest but at least he tried and therein lies the difference between him and the rest of us. Of course, this spirit hasn’t helped the declining ninja population in the slightest.

Shameless self-promotion also played a hand in their demise. In the back of comics and magazines, you could find book ads promising to teach you the “Deadly Ninja Touch” and “12 Steps to Killing: the Ninja Way.” With their secrets up for sale by mail order and their weapons on sale at any department store, it got to the point where even housewives or girl scouts could defeat a herd of ninja by themselves. As a general rule of thumb, if you belong to a secret society of martial artists, you should never make your secret death touches available to the general public via mail order catalogs. Ninja never seemed to grasp this simple concept.

Let’s See: One “Secret Ninja Death Touch Scroll” for a Mildred Parkins of Kansas City…

Now Ninja are a vanishing breed — rarely sighted or fought. Even suburban ninja have disappeared and their shurikens put up for sale at flea markets. Grungy street thugs fill the void left by the ninja in the comics and movies but they sorely lack the style and panache their predecessors had. Gone are the nun-chunks that never hit anyone, the novelty smoke bombs, the throwing stars, the nasty foot pricks, the trendy black robes.

Me and the Ninja: ready to kick butt

Is it too late to save the majestic Ninja? Should limits be established on the number of Ninja that can be beaten up in a year’s time? Surely, if the world can come together to stop the hunting of whales, we can stop the noble Ninja from being beaten into oblivion.

Save the Ninja!

July 23, 2006 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, A-Team, american pop culture, Blogroll, chuck norris, GI Joe, japan, karate, Master Ninja, ninja, Ninja movies, pop culture, TV | 2 Comments