Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho’s banzuke.
SFM Interview –
the mental rewording of some old interview favorites to make them sound ‘different’ to his non-native ears.
MB: Baruto-zeki, tell me, in your early teens you are reported to have played basketball. Did any other sports interest you in those days?
B: No, only basketball. In high school I started sumo though – (that) was good.
MB: (sweating now in case this next one was obvious): Why did you start sumo? You had, after all, made a bit of a name for yourself in Estonian judo by winning a national championship around that time.
B: I don't know. (Appearing contemplative) I wanted something more.
MB: What was your first contact with amateur sumo?
B: Judo coach. In Estonia, in high school, it was same coach.
MB: The Japanese media have you down as a former nightclub bouncer and that in at least one
harrowing day at work you had your life threatened. Is this true or have the facts been exaggerated?
In Sumo Fan Magazine's first ever sekitori interview,
Editor-in-Chief, Mark Buckton (MB) was able to secure a
slot in the busy schedule of the much sought after Estonian
up and comer and, for now, Mihogaseki Beya man – Baruto (B).
Following an hour or so watching asageiko at the stable in eastern Tokyo's Chitose district on Monday June 12th, as I paid my respects to Mihogaseki Oyakata for allowing the interview to go ahead, Baruto wandered over with a big grin on his face. He extended his hand and introduced himself, and got a bit of a surprise as he, himself, was greeted in some rather rudimentary Estonian!
The following is a literal, but observation-added account of the ensuing English-* language hour long interview-cum-chat we shared – starting in the keikoba:
Baruto: Hey, you are here to do an interview? Nice to meet you! Would you like a picture? (Baruto steps back a little, crosses his arms and puts on a expression slightly less friendly than he was wearing a moment
Mark Buckton: Thank you. (I was slightly taken aback, but took the photo on the next page). Can I ask you some questions now or, (indicating the sweat built up during training) would you like to take a shower first?
B: Ah, OK, yes. OK to go upstairs (for the interview)?
MB: No problem if it won't disturb the other rikishi.
After a brief recess during which Baruto took his shower, his tsukebito led me to the heya's very sparsely decorated second floor – a 40-tatami room used for sleeping and general hanging out – where we resumed our conversation with the maegashira first joking, and then mimicking, the repetitive questions asked by the Japanese language media on favorite food and the like. As I then hurriedly scribbled out several of my ‘standard’ prepared questions, I started