Morning sumo practice in the Kitanoumi-beya
I got up early one morning to go visit the morning sumo practice, keiko, at the Kitanoumi-beya in Kotu-ku, Tokyo. We were instructed not to talk, move, or show the back of our feet out of respect to the training sumo wrestlers and trainees. One hour watching these men train for the upcoming tournament in Osaka went by quickly.
Sumo has a history of over 1400 years and is a national sport of Japan. We were told that the men all live together in a large room in the back of the beya, the sumo stable, practicing hard everyday. The stable master looks after them like a father. The life of a sumo is devoted to training, and in modern Japan it is sometimes hard to find young boys who are willing to live in the way of the sumo.
If you want to experience keiko upfront, I suggest contacting Koko English-speaking Volunteer Guide Association (http://koto-guide.blogspot.jp/) for arranging the trip! A volunteer organization with amazing individuals who will bring you into the beyas.
Every year there are 6 sumo tournaments in Japan, all lasting 15 days. I am looking forward to seeing the tournament at Kokugikan in Tokyo in May! Tickets will be on sale from the middle of April and can be found here: http://sumo.or.jp/en/ticket/year_schedule