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05/24, Arts Culture Tourism from Tokyo
Ryōgoku Kokugikan Sumo Arena
Welcome to NOTEBOOK, a cultural guide to art, design and architecture, along with a resource of local news and information in English giving a realistic view of Tokyo and further afield.
05/24 – Japan's Fugaku supercomputer developed by the Riken research group and Fujitsu has been ranked the world's most powerful supercomputer for the seventh time in a row since 2020. A group including several Japanese universities has also said that it will use Fugaku to develop tools using generative artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, Japan is said to be considering an overhaul of its tax-free shopping system following the growing trend of reselling tax-free items overseas.
The lone yokozuna-level sumo wrestler ‘Terunofuji’ and the former ozeki-level ‘Asanoyama’ both lead the yesterday’s field at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament taking place at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan arena (May 14th until the 28th). With the current Netflix drama Sanctuary proving a hit, we head to Ryōgoku. But tickets have completely sold out for the the entire event. So all we can do is wait outside as a trickle of sumo wrestlers march in and then summarily saunter out.
Hugging the Sumidagawa river, Ryōgoku is a small patch of Tokyo seemingly devoted to Sumo and Edo-Period Japan, whether it be with the Edo Tokyo museum, the Great Kanto Earthquake Memorial Museum, the Tokyo Memorial Hall or the Ryōgoku Edo Noren — home to the piano that plays in today’s episode.
The sumo tournament at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan arena runs from roughly 9am until 5pm, with lower-ranks players competing early in the day and higher-ranked wrestlers taking the floor towards the end. If you’re lucky (and the weather kind) you will see wrestlers arriving or departing like clockwork. Higher-ranked players arrive with the pomp and circumstance of celebrity, by taxi or private car. Lesser-ranked players simply take the train. The next tournament takes place at the Kokugikan from August 5~28 before moving onto Fukuoka and the Fukuoka Kokusai Center from September 15 until October 30.
More details can be found below, but as already mentioned tickets have sold out.
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