Nagoya Nears
Eric Blair
As Nagoya nears, EB gets a head start on the pack by focussing on points of interest, past and present surrounding sumo's hottest basho

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
The 42nd yokozuna Kagamisato falls under the JK microscope

Heya Peek
Barbara Ann Klein
Kokonoe-beya and the Chiyo Boys

SFM Interview
Mark Buckton
SFM's Ed-in-Chief interviews Estonian up and comer Baruto

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein
SFM's Editor looks at all the twists and turns involved in the tsunauchi-shiki and adds a photo bonanza to boot

Photo Bonanza
See the Natsu
Basho and Kokonoe-beya photo bonanzas

Natsu Basho Summary
Lon Howard
Lon gives us his Natsu Basho summary, along with the henka sightings results

Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
Mikko Mattila lets you know what is going on down below the curtain

Nagoya Ones to Watch
Mark Buckton
MB's mixed bag of things to look out for in Nagoya

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Our man Mikko takes us on a tour of several defensive oriented kimarite

Amateur Angles
Howard Gilbert
The first of our regular column pieces on the amateur sumo scene from a man who knows more than most

Sumo Game
Bruce Rae
For a look at his very own: PTYW (Pick The Yusho Winners)

Sumo in Print
Barbara Ann Klein
SFM's Editor reviews the newly published biography of Akebono, Gaijin Yokozuna – but sees it as more than just a biography

Kokugi Connections
Todd Lambert
Check out Todd's bimonthly focus on 3 of the WWW's best sumo sites around

Fan Debate
Facilitator – Lon Howard
Sumo author Mina Hall and long long time fan Jim Bitgood discuss how to make sumo more entertaining – if such a concept is even necessary

SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
Sit back and enjoy the offerings of sumo's premier artists

Let’s Hear From You
What was it that
made you a sumo fan? James Vath in rural Japan lets us in on his gateway to the sport

Readers’ Letters
See what our readers had to say since we last went out

Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho’s banzuke.

  Nagoya nears – and is
taken down a notch or two

by Eric Blair
now have noticed, the Nagoya Basho hits me as the low point of the sumo year. It could be the heat and the knowledge that the cooler autumnal breezes are still three months off. It could be my Great Britain DNA that struggles with ignoring pores I never knew I had in their own annual battle for air, as they respond by spewing out what must amount annually to a couple of gallons of something the Japanese bottle and sell as a soft drink (Ed. note – Pocari Sweat, Japanese “soft drink”)! It could be the lack of ‘zing’ the city has to offer or, it could be a combination of the three.

Situated on the main Japanese island of Honshu between the globally-recognized cities of Tokyo and Osaka, for most non-Japanese, Nagoya is nowadays but a stop to be ignored on the Tokaido shinkansen line – one I usually sleep through.

Indeed, so lacking in reasons to visit is Japan's fourth or fifth largest city (sources disagree), that the two and a bit million inhabitants – efforts combined – merit just “little to offer the traveler” with “no compelling reasons to linger more than a couple of hours”, in a recent

Back in February, issue #5 of Sumo Fan Magazine saw the Kiwi pair of Howard Gilbert and Dean Gutberlet lock horns in a debate over taking sumo on the road.

The following issue, #6, saw Paul Sharp take on “Kaiopectate” as they discussed the possibility of reducing the number of honbasho.

Both debates would be well worth another read prior to reading further on this column because after reaching the end, you'll not be left in any doubt as to my own stance on Nagoya as a venue for summertime sumo.

Move it or lose it, say I! Move it or lose it! Nagoya, I mean.

With both debates marvelously facilitated by SFM's Lon Howard, as is the intent of the debates Lon hosts, no winner is announced or even presumed, no victor sticks his two fingers up at an opponent, and so is achieved – we hope – the goal of
enabling both participants and all and any readers to merely expand their understanding of sumo. SFM's debate is simply a forum for all to express their opinions on a given subject that interests them.

That said, overlapping both of the concepts covered in the debates in less serious prose, and as someone for whom the Japanese mid-summer heat and humidity is an annual battle of survival, I can only sympathize with the 700 or so rikishi as they carry around, on average, 60 kilos more than myself each and every day. As these men I so admire attempt to secure kachikoshi in the belly of the Japanese summertime beast – Nagoya, what are they going through? Kansai and the regions around are known for the stifling summers they produce, far from ideal hangouts if you are lugging around an above-average amount of bulk for weeks on end.

For some reason, as you may by
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