INAZAWA Japan (Reuters) – Sumo wrestler Osunaarashi was a large, muscular Egyptian teenager with a passion for body building when a friend recommended he try the ancient Japanese sport of sumo. But it was a hard sell.
“This sport is about two elephants pushing each other,” he recalls thinking. “I’m a body builder, man. It’s so ugly for me, I will never do it.”
NEW YORK/TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – Beer, long the preferred beverage at baseball games, is seeing some competition from wine as North American stadiums go up market and increase their beverage offerings.
Wine has been seen as the beverage of choice by the upper classes, while beer and hotdogs have been staple fare at baseball games across the United States.
Mongolian sumo wrestler Harumafuji, the latest loin-clothed giant from his country to make his mark on Japan’s ancient sport, has a unique way of preparing for his bouts – listening to soothing Buddhist sutra music.The method helped the 25-year-old ‘ozeki’ win his first major tournament last month and he is already being tipped to join compatriots Asashoryu and Hakuho at the elite rank of ‘yokozuna’ following his surprise Emperor’s Cup triumph.“It’s good for concentrating,” he told Reuters. “The sutra is a prayer for good health. I listen to it praying not to get injured in bouts.”Harumafuji’s success is all the more surprising when you consider his interests as a young boy growing up in Ulan Bator were “drawing and street fights” while the wrestler admits he found it hard to leave his mother’s apron strings and move to Japan as a 16-year-old sumo apprentice.“I was a bit spoiled and always chasing after my mother,” he said, adding that he had found the rigorous sumo training hard to stomach – literally.Weighing only 70 kg (154 lb) upon arrival in Japan – mosquito-sized in sumo terms – Harumafuji, who had wanted to go to art school, had trouble eating the mountains of food needed in order to bulk up.“I had to keep eating to get big,” said Mongolia’s brightest new star, who now weighs in at 126 kg (278 lb. “I threw up a lot. Then I had to go back and eat more.”Harumafuji can look forward to a bellyful of success.Photo credits: REUTERS/Ami Miyazaki and REUTERS/Kyodo News