Here in Nagoya many sumo stables graciously allow visitors to the morning workout, and I made my first, fascinating visit last Sunday. Men of varying ages and weights practiced in a regimented routine not unlike a ballet class or scales for a musician.
In orchestrated order, rikishi repeatedly charged one another, pushing one another across the dohyo. Then they were thrown to the clay, rolling out of the ring. Muddy, gasping and heaving past exhaustion, they were pulled, kicked and coached to get up and do it again. It is the sumo version of interval training.
Last Sunday was a special day at Naruto Beya in Nagukute with the photo-op after the morning workout. More than 400 people queued up in the hot sun. I entered an air-conditioned room, and sitting in a row on an elevated platform were Kisenosato, Wakanosato, Takayasu and Takanoyama.
I felt like a little kid at Christmas. There before me were four fabulous men as big as trees “all for me.” We all laughed as I sat in the middle of four giants whose kind hearts were also on display.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.