June 30, 2008

Sumo Weekend, Day 3

I woke up and studied the sumo moves whose names I'd written down the day before.

We went to breakfast in South Pasadena, and then wandered about in an antique store. I bought some old correspondence, a solicitation for a medical foundation, that began "The crippled children missed your letter at Christmas." Then we went shopping for vintage clothes and bought boutique sodas.

Then more sumo.

Our day 2 seats were on the other side of the dohyo. That was nice, actually. What was remarkable about day 2 was the audience response to the Mongolian wrestlers. There was an entire section in the stands that went rock-star crazy every time a Mongolian was announced. At floor level, someone had a large Mongolian flag that he was waving. My former sumo boyfriend, Asashoryu, won the Sakura cup on day 2. He and the other yokozuna are both from Mongolia.

We went to floor level for the ceremonies at the end and got very close to Kotooshu (Ms. S's sumo boyfriend). As we were filing out, we passed right by Musashimaru. I whipped out my signing uke and asked if he would mind. His buddy encouraged him to sing Kaimana Hila, and I said I'd sing it with him, but we didn't. He signed my uke, though.

We hung out and got to see the athletes up close again, took pictures of the bus (we're pretty sure Kotooshu isn't a fan of the beer hat), and tootled off to Pasadena to hang out with friends.

So ends the grand sumo girls' weekend of 2008.

June 23, 2008

Cito Gaston

I need to interrupt the retelling of the amazing girls' sumo weekend to say that mrguy has informed me that Cito Gaston is managing the Toronto Blue Jays again.

OMG!!!!!! I am so excited!!!

You probably don't understand, if you're not a Birds fan. Cito managed the Blue Jays during the happy years, the winning years. He was a player's manager who stood by his guys when they struggled. He seemed like a gentleman. When they got rid of him, I wept. When they rehired him a few laters (as batting coach, I think?) I cheered.

One of his replacements as manager included Tim Johnson, a person who tried to motivate his players with his stories of being in 'Nam. Gross enough, but then it turned out that he was stateside the whole war. Idiot.

It's never been quite the same since Cito left.

I can't believe it. Happy day :)

June 22, 2008

Sumo Weekend, Day 2

We met friends of Ms S' in Pasadena for breakfast. Then we took the beer hat on a tour of greater and lesser lady shops of Pasadena.

It was hellaciously hot, so we stopped for my first Pinkberry, which was neither pink nor berry.

Then we and Billo's Caracas Boys wended our way to the stadium.

The crowd was really mixed. There were people from all walks of life...but not many chicks on a ladies' sumo weekend, frankly. Musashimaru, a retired yokozuna from Hawaii, moved around our side of the auditorium during the exhibition.

The exhibition itself was fabulous. Because I came with no expectations, I couldn't have been disappointed. On Day 1, I concentrated on figuring out how to follow what was going on, and how to score. As I got a little better at it, I also tried to learn the names of some of the winning moves. Much easier than remembering the infield fly rule, I tell ya.

Who knew that there would be commercials? Every match is sponsored. Men with banners parade slowly around the dohyo before each match, while the announcer says things like "Sponsored by Sakura, maker of the Sumo Grip pen". For more about sumo, you should go here. I won't bore ya, but I loved it. The ceremony, the strength and power, the outfits.

After the competition concluded, we left the auditorium. Our path took us past an area with people hanging out. What did they know that we didn't? Turns out that we were outside the locker rooms. The rikishi (wrestlers) passed right by us and posed for pictures. This is Ama, an ozeki (second highest rank), from Mongolia:

Eventually they cleared the area, but when we got to street level we found more rikishi, fans, the sumo bus.

I'd say we had about as much fun as two people can have on a girls' sumo weekend.

Girls' Sumo Weekend

The sumo weekend was fabulous. Other than the funny, skunk-smelling rental car (sure there's a story about that somewhere), it went off without a hitch.

Ms Scandiwaiian was our pilot, and got us situated in Pasadena, where we ate here:

When you go to Sushi of Naples, and you will just because of the name, order the maki called "Banana Island", an unholy combination of avocado, unagi and fried bananas, wrapped in soy paper. Ms S called it breakfast sushi. It was delicious.

Is there anything better than digging through boxes of 78's after a sushi dinner? We went to a record store and did just that. I purchased a cd of 78's by Billo's Caracas Boys instead. This cd became our soundtrack for the rest of the trip.

Then off for a mai tai at Damon's, a tiki restaurant in Glendale. Ooo. The customers were rowdy and the television was loud and "What's the matter with loving balls!!" was their rally cry.

They take meticulous care of their fish tank.

Off to bed, to dream of sumo.

June 21, 2008

Flame Licking Hell

It's 9am on Saturday. Went to an estate sale and completely scored, for the princely sum of $2.20. However I'm mildly grumpy because it's going to be another hot one and I can't take the heat. At times like this I remind myself that this heat is nothing compared to the heat at Old Place.

In the Old Place I coined the term "flame licking hell" to describe the weather. These little piggies lived in a brick house that got hotter in the evenings, at the time of day when the little piggies who lived in houses made of sticks were cooling off. Many summer nights it was still over ninety degrees at midnight. The box fan did little to help. At least the wolves didn't eat us ;)

We lived three blocks from the bay at the time. You could look down our cross street and see the container ships passing by on their way from the Delta to the Golden Gate. And the town had a little beach, but few used it. Friends had cleaned up the beach, but crossing the tracks and passing the boat junkyard and burned-out bar on the pier dimmed the romance a bit.

Whatever. One summer it just got too darned hot. I bought a vintage 1960's Jantzen knit bathing suit for 69c at the thrift store. We walked to the beach and jumped in the water. It was delicious.

I started swimming there on hot days. I'd paddle out in the middle of the tiny cove and wave to the commuter trains when they'd pass by. The passengers would wave back and the engineer would toot the whistle.

I hear that the beach has been rediscovered, and that it's full of families on the weekends. As it should be.

June 6, 2008

Sumo LA

Ms Scandiwaiian and I are headed to LA today to see our sumo dudes.

I'll be the one in the beer hat.

The menfolk are happy that we ladies have each other and will leave them to non-sumo pursuits  at home.

In a bit of synchronicity, mrguy and BananaChas will be in the man room this weekend, taking a second crack at mangling bits of Japanese nursery rhymes for the benefit of the listening public.

A good time will be had by all.

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