Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sumo and Shakespeare.

File this under randomness. We spent too much time eating ice cream, so we missed the last bus to go strawberry picking. Told ya it was gonna be random. Yeah, I've got another ramen review to write, but that can wait.

So anyways, if you plan on going strawberry picking in Japan, try and go early. Also, don't go on a 3 day weekend. The nice lady showed us that the Tokyo-ites had fully ravaged all the strawberry plants. It's too bad, I was actually curious to see this. I've seen walls of flyers at the train stations for strawberry picking. In California, you can drive to some big berry farms and pick berries. You get the whole farm experience. But in Japan, the berries are grown in greenhouses just outside the city.

So what to do?

What the hell, it's a Shakespeare park. Why there is an ode to The Bard in the middle of nowhere on the Chiba peninsula is beyond me. Regardless, this place was hilarious.

Yep, those are stocks. Cause no trip to Olde England is complete without stocks.

They actually wanted $8 to go in here. I've been to Stratford-upon-Avon and that wasn't worth $8.

A what?!?! I guess it's hard to see in this photo, but beyond lies the... Forest of Imagination. The simple concept of this place, coupled with the random signage was enough to keep me laughing.

I guess driving down Route 66 and seeing the world's largest ball of string could be on the same level. What's the most random tourist trap attraction you've been to?

OK, it's Sumo time!

I was invited to a charity Sumo event. What's a charity Sumo event? It's gonna be on NHK tomorrow at 4 I think, so tune in and find out. What? You teach/have a life/don't live in Japan? Ok, here's what it was.
  • Sumo singing and dancing. Some sort of ritual. At one point there were some drums involved. It had a... traditional feeling.
  • Sumo comedy. 2 wrestlers put on a show of how not to Sumo. Kind of a slapstick sort of thing. Lots of slapping, kicking, and spitting water on each other.
  • Sumo vs. Kids. Sumo wrestlers took on young children in a battle royal.

  • Sumos singing with j-pop girls. Yep, they came out singing duets. But, damn, these dudes can sing. There was also a segment where they showed what the wrestlers did in their free time. One dude enjoys squid fishing. This was met by screams of おいしい、おいしい!Delicious delicious. I was waiting for it, but no, the girls didn't show their Sumo skills. Factoid for ya! Girls aren't allowed in the Sumo ring.

There were some matches and interviews with important Sumo people as well, but I missed most of this. My friend is someone who knows someone, so we were whisked backstage. Fuck yeah!

Baruto is one of the few high ranked foreign fighters. He's actually a pretty funny guy. Speaks great English. For the next hour, hung out and got the who the hell is this guy look from a few people. I guess a foreigner with his camera on fully automatic can stand out. Enjoy the photos.

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