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The other day we lined up for standing-room tickets to see the grand sumo tournament here in Osaka. It must have been 10 years since I had attended a tournament — it only comes to Osaka once a year.

Back in the days when I first became a sumo watcher, I had neither a television nor a bath in my very affordable 4 1/2-mat room tucked behind the souvenir stalls in front of Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion, at the northern head of the riverside Philosophers Walk in Kyoto. A student at the time, I was an ardent early follower of the now retired yokozuna (and fellow American) Akebono.

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