Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My morning at the Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo

I found myself in Japan and when I turned on the TV, guess what I saw...  That's right!  SUMO!!!

My husband and I have been talking about going to see a sumo tournament, but our schedules haven't been able to accommodate a trip yet.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that there was a sumo tournament going on and that I'd have time to attend.  What luck!

I asked the hotel concierge to help me, and I started to do my research on the Internet.  I determined I could go early in the morning before my meetings and that something would be better than nothing.  The trains were easy to figure out, and before you knew it I was at the Ryogoku.  The main event sumo matches occur in the later afternoon (i.e. around 4PM) but the wrestling starts much earlier.

For 10,600 yen (i.e. approximately 103.60 USD) I was able to buy a lower level box seat.  The woman at the ticket booth showed me a sign that said that during periods of high demand, people would need to share the box (i.e. a box has 4 cushions where 4 people can take their shoes off and sit).

When I went into the Kokukigan, I could see that it was pretty empty.  I expected this based on what the hotel concierge told me.  I walked around the concourse, picked up some souvenirs and settled in to watch the matches. 

I saw big guys wrestle bigger guys and big guys wrestle little guys.  The matches were quick and it doesn't take long to get the point.  Only once did I see the judges gather in the middle to determine which wrestler won (i.e. since they both appeared to fall at the same time).

If you haven't been to a Grand Sumo tournament, the next one is July 13-27 in Nagoya.  It looks like there are 6 tournaments in a year...

Enjoy the pics!



I didn't get to stay too long, which is a shame since the place started to fill up with people, but there's always a "next time"...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My first trip to New Zealand ~ Sky City Casino, but no All Blacks

I took my first trip to New Zealand checked out the Skycity Casino in Auckland.  Skycity Casino is an older casino, and there are no craps tables there.  I saw roulette and baccarat tables.  The casino had a high-limit area upstairs.  If I remember correctly, the denominations were $50, $100, and maybe $200.  I remember thinking that the limits weren't that high, relative to other casinos I've seen. 

I also recall interesting rules with regard to baccarat and betting pairs.  If you bet a pair, you need to bet for banker/player/tie.  I had not seen these rules before.  Regardless, my luck wasn't that good so could be another reason why I don't remember many details.  HA!

It was my first trip to New Zealand and I stayed near the Viaduct.  Hopefully next time I'll get to see the All Blacks play.  You know how I love sports! 

I also had the chance to visit Wellington, but it was a short trip and I was in meetings while there.  I did notice "Middle of Middle Earth" sign on the Wellington Airport and some sort of creature (i.e. presumably from The Hobbit) "flying" in the terminal.