14th Jul 2009

Vino, Miho, Sumo and a broken toe

Our last few days in Japan consisted of yakitori (meat on sticks), wagyu (Kobe) beef, the Miho Museum and of course sumo! Todd and Kirsten took us to two of their favorite restaurants on our last Thursday and Friday night. The yakitori was delicious and great with a cold beer. While the Kobe beef and a bit of delicious red wine was phenomenal.

So after being well fed, the four of us woke up on Saturday morning to make a kid-less trip to the Miho Museum located outside of Kyoto. Riley was not too pleased and was trying to convince us that since she is a big girl now, she should be able to go to the museum too. Kirsten and Todd were not swayed by her superior logic. The location was stunning as the museum had been designed by the I.M. Pei and epitomized serenity. The exhibits were also some of the best I’ve ever seen.

Sunday, Tony and I went for something a little less academic and headed to Nagoya for a sumo tournament. We got a fairly early start, but had to head back to Todd and Kirsten’s after I decided, while riding a bike, to ram my foot into a cement pillar and break my toe. It was just the baby one and so, after a bit of ice, we got back on the bikes and made our way to the tournament.

Sumo wrestling is really entertaining. The tournament goes on for about 10 hours a day for two weeks. During the first half of the day, most of the matches are between low-level sumo wrestlers, which is fun because the matches are over quite quickly. There is a bit of ceremony and then no more than 20 seconds of wrestling and then the next two challengers come up. In the afternoons, things start to take a bit longer as the quality of wrestlers improves so does the ceremony preceding each fight. But all in all, the tournament was very cool. The sumo wrestlers were basically like rock stars and some of the guys in the later matches were greeted with huge cheering from the fans.

We left Japan on Tuesday morning. Riley was not too excited. I think she was more upset that Tony was leaving than that I was, but it probably didn’t help that we woke her up to say goodbye. That girl is not a morning person. We found our boat quite easily and boarded for a return trip to China, which proved to be much more choppy and seasickness inducing than the trip to Japan.

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