Tokyo: Day Three

September 2005


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I wonder if school girls in Japan will ever get a uniform that involves pants?




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One of Tokyo's many pedestrian bridges - wonderful views in a less-traveled part of the city.




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Wire sculpture - near one of the prized Citi-Bank ATM locations!




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The smoking areas in Shibuya were packed. It's just a "suggestion" but smokers who walk on crowded streets get nasty looks from passers by. It is hard to imagine a Japan where bars and restaurants forbid smoking. But after living in California, I must admit the idea is appealing.




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Instead of cosplay this year, we decided to go see Sumo. It was pretty amazing.


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 While waiting for tickets, a young child tried to squash ants with a stone. You could see him struggling to time his boulders, learning about variable rates right there on the pavement.




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The sumo hall - filled with the images of heroes.




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Ritual dance to ward of evil spirits and thank the gods. Then the ring is swept.






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I had never realized how much of these matches are about posturing and intimidation. They cannot start wrestling until all four of their fists are on the ground. So they continually hunch over and stare into each other's eyes, trying to psych each other out. Once you understand the "all four" rule, and the overall strategy for setting up a fight, the pace is much easier to get into.


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This match was quite dramatic. At one point, the weaker wrestler was flipped around over his opponent's back, and managed to stay upright within the ring's rice-bag boundary. Not for long.




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A non-native competitor was leading the tournament with 6 straight wins. In this match, each face-off was extremely tense and aggressive. The leader always positioned himself in a strike-ready pose, with his weight forward, fists down. He stood far back from the line, ready to charge.

After a short tustle, he won the match by lifting and tossing his opponent from the ring. The announcers were thrilled. "Get on the phone with grandma - it's pancake time!"




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Notice the lack of advertising within the hall. Signs are carried around the ring between matches!





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A quick stop in Akihabara during the return - so beautiful at night!