Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Toshiya - Pretty Japanese Girls in Kimono doing Kyudo (Japanese Archery) in Kyoto

At Sanjusangendo Temple in Kyoto, row upon row of gorgeously clad Japanese girls in kimono come to shoot arrows at the Toshiya Archery Event. Many of them are celebrating their coming of age and they wear a special kimono to mark this known as a furisode which is a long-sleeved kimono. Archers both male and female, master and student shoot two arrows each at a group of four round targets.

Toshiya is an event that goes back some four hundred years though today it is significantly different. In the past, Toshiya was predominately for men to show off their prowess and skill with a bow. Today, archers shoot at targets 60 meters distant but in the past archers would shoot the entire length of the long Sanjusangendo Temple which measures about 120 meters. 

There were a variety of competitions. Archers would try to score as many target hits as they could out of 100 or 1000 shots. The true test of strength was the 24-hour competition where an archer would try to shoot continuously the entire time. In 1686 one samurai shot 13,053 arrows from 6pm to 6pm the next day and hit the target 8,133 times (62.3% accuracy). This averages out to about 6.6 seconds for every arrow. This record has never been beaten.

It is ironic that in the time of the samurai, the Toshiya event was often criticized as not being in the true spirit of archery. Too many archers were concerned with how many arrows they could get to fly the entire length of the temple or how many target hits they could get. The event as it is today is more in keeping with the old traditions of Kyudo in that form is more important that simple prowess.

Today, it's the petite kimono-clad young women not the brawny samurai of yore that are the center of attention. Numerous photographers crowd the sides clicking away madly as the young women try to ignore all the distractions around and focus on their shooting.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sumo - Love in the Ring (lol!)

Hey, now! Not in front of the Ref!

Thought I'd post this pic separately for a laugh. Two sumo wrestlers find love in the ring but really they should have waited till after the match to show their newfound appreciation for each other.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Some Photos from Day 13 of the January 2012 Sumo Tournament

DAY 13 of January 2012 Sumo Tournament

I caught the last hour or so of the January 2012 sumo basho or tournament. Almost didn't go as the weather was nasty with first rain then wet snow that didn't stick. I was glad I did though. Saw some intense matches especially the last one. Really enjoyed it! Here are some photos of the matches I saw on Day 13 mostly with winning shots.


Brazilian Kaisei beat Russian Aran with a yorikiri - frontal force out while holding onto an opponent's mawashi - loincloth


Tenkaiho wins with a yorikiri


Czech Takanoyama wins with a hikiotoshi - hand pull down


Myogiryu wins with a oshidashi - frontal push out without griping the opponent's mawashi and maintaining hand contact


Match goes to Homasho with a yorikiri


Toyohibiki wins with a yorikiri


Okinoumi wins with an oshidashi that sent Takekaze into the first row seats


Wakakoyu beats Takayasu with an oshidashi


This was a pretty fierce match and the wrestlers stopped two or three times which the crowd loved. The gyoji (referee) had to adjust Goeido's mawashi at one point. 

Toyonoshima ended up winning with an uwatedashinage - pulling overall throw that had Goeido eating salty ring dust.


Aminishiki took a tumble to Kakuryu's hatakikomi - slap down where wrestler shifts away and slaps down the other's shoulder, back or arm.


This match clinched Baruto's first tournament win with 13 wins, the highest this basho.

In this intense match Baruto actually succeeded in lifting Kotoshogiku off both of his feet before slamming him down with a shitatenage - underarm throw.


Kisensato wins with a yorikiri


Harumafuji wins with a yorikiri after almost lifting his opponent off the ground

Whoa now, fellas! Not in front of the gyoji!


This was an exciting match that looked like it could have gone either way several times as Yokozuna Hakuho and Ozeki Kotooshu battled for position. Finally Kotooshu forced Hakuho out with a yorikiri but with too much force that caused Hakuho to lose balance and fall backwards pulling Kotooshu into the front row seats with him.

How do you like those front row seats now?


About Me

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Tokyo, Japan
Vagabond traveler currently hold up in Tokyo. I've done a far bit of traveling and had a few interesting adventures along the way. This blog is a chronicle of adventures past and present and those yet to come. I’ve been to about 30 countries though some no bigger than a kitchen table. I’ve run with the bulls of Pamplona, hiked the Inca Trail, got mugged in Mexico City, floated down the Nile in an old boat, climbed the Great Pyramid of Egypt, got ripped at Oktoberfest, and rode the notorious Tokyo Yamanote Halloween Party Train.