We got so lucky this morning. A consequence of our jet lag and our over-activity yesterday was that we woke up at 7am. A good thing too because today we saw Fuji-san! The mountain was huge – much bigger and more grand than anything on the landscape. Such an amazing site. The mountains that dot the horizon are big and beautiful and we simply assumed Fuji was among those. Nah. Fuji dwarfs the rest and is snow capped, almost perfectly symmetrical and absolutely enormous. Almost brought me to tears! I really had no idea that it would look like that. It’s completely shrouded in cloud cover most days this time of year and we totally lucked having such a clear view.

And then we went to Sumo. Yea, that’s right – Sumo. Guess who happened to book their maiden voyage to Tokyo during the Grand Championships of Sumo Wrestling! That would be us! We picked up two tickets to the 2nd floor balcony section. Similar to the rest of this Japanese experience, I am not entirely certain that the scale of this can be put into words. We tackled the subway system and despite a minor hiccup (a lost ticket, “Nakasa chiketta”) we made it to Ryoguku to the Sumo Arena. Wowsa. The neighborhood is dominated by the Sumo Arena and the Tokyo Edo Museum with lines of shops and restaurants catering to tourists and, of course, the Sumo wrestlers. More on that later!

We sat through 4 hours of the most intense and ceremonial fighting ever. It was frickin’ sweet. Amazing. Like a UFC title fight, the first few hours of the day were occupied with the lower ranked bouts. Then, at about 3:30pm, the place filled up. There was not an empty seat in the arena for the last 3 hours or so. And the noise – crazy. The referees sing and shout traditional phrases and the crowd cheers for their favorite fighter in chorus. And the fighters – never seen anything like them! Each bout is like a prayer. They dance and sway, start and stop and then crash into each other trying to knock the poop outta each other. The best part, however, might have been just watching Brian watch the fights. He sat, riveted, unmoving… another childhood fantasy fulfilled!

Then we kicked it up a notch. The flood of people leaving the arena after the tournament was pretty crazy. Plus, it was 6pm and smack dab in the middle of rush hour. In Tokyo… we decided to stroll through the neighborhood and scout out the perfect location for dinner. We were in a Sumo town so we wanted a Sumo meal. Oh boy, did we get one. We picked the nicest looking place and wandered in. Once again, Brian and I were the only gaijin in the place. Of course, we saw a waitress pass us w/an enormous bowl of goodies. It passed us, we pointed and asked (Nan desu ka?) and kampai! We grabbed 2 seats @ the bar. We sat in front of a huge tank filled w/fishies & squid. Before anything else happened, we watched the chef grab a squid out of the tank and less than 2 minutes later it was sliced and placed in front of the couple next to us. It was still twitching. Crazy. Bri ordered us 2 beer (Ni nama biru dozo) & thus began the meal that kicked my butt. Chanko nabe is supposed to be 3,000 calories and eaten by a sumo wrestler. Bri and I shared it and could barely finish it. It was daunting and fabulously delicious. There were chicken meatballs, fish chunks, soft tofu, fried tofu, mushrooms, cabbage, squid, clams, fried octopus balls, pork and a number of other ingredients that we could not identify. It was lovely. Mid meal, the waitstaff caught everyone’s attention to announce that one of the Sumo wrestlers was in the restaurant. The man walked through the place bowing to everyone. The other patrons were bowing and calling his name and clapped when he went downstairs to the private dining room. It was so cool!

We ate, we drank and we thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Then, we caught the subway back to Shibuya (no lost tickets this time) and crawled into bed at 9:30pm.

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