Saint Patrick and Sumo

Trip Start Sep 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

St Patrick`s day here in Osaka is like any other day in the year. Apparently there was a parade in Tokyo, but not in Osaka. Anyway, we donned our Irish rugby jersey and Cork jersey and we went out on parade of our own around Osaka. Nobody took any notice of us really though!!
We went for a walk around the immaculate city of Osaka and we were impressed at every corner. The multistorey carpark system for businesses and private houses was very impressive. Everything is so efficient here is brilliant. When you use the toilet and flush it the water that is fillinig the cistern is used to wash your hands, genius!

We continued walking around and then these 2 women came up to us and offered us tickets for something. So we followed them along and we ended up at a baseball stadium where there was a massive market on. Admission was about 7 euros so we were happy with our free passes.
After leaving the market we went back to our hostel and then went out to find an Irish pub, Murphys in Osaka. We had a good night there in the 6th floor of a shopping center, we even had a green beer!!!

Next morning we headed for the sumo championships at the prefectural gymnasium. Sumo is a professional sport here and the championship is played out over different cities in japan. The championship was in Osaka for 2 weeks and is on everyday, basically it is worked on a league system and each competitor has one contest per day. There are no weight divisions in sumo, so sometimes there are some complete mismatches in size. The heaviest guy we saw fighting was 184kg, he was some size of a fella!!

The fights have a time limit of 4 mins on them. The whole occassion is filled with ceremony. First the fighters are called by the announcer. Then they do about 3 mins of rituals and posturing (expelling evil spirits and scattering salt etc) and then the ref brings them together and the fight commences. Most fights are over in less than 10 seconds. And then thats it for the day for them and the next pair are brought in. It was a brilliant days entertainment. We got there early and saw the junior matches and then stayed all day, as the day passed the crowd got bigger, drunker and louder while the wrestlers just got bigger. The top fighters the yokozunas are held in very high regard and they had all the trappings of a champion.

Afer the sumo we stopped off on the way home for some street food, a sort of pancake with an egg and some cabbage as well as thick soya sauce on it, yum yum. We are getting very comfortable with the chopsticks at this stage and really loving the new foods that we are trying.

That night we got the train to Kyoto, it was simple really when you consider that we cannot read any signs in Japanese and so we depend on the ones written in English, which to be fair there are a lot more of than we thought there would be.
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