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Seniors in front rows are delighted and mesmerized by sumo

You need to be brave and rich to sit in the front rows of the sumo tournament. These seniors look captivated by the bare-assed spectacle within danger of rolling zone.

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Junk shaking at fall festival

What better way to start this small fall festival photo series than some bouncing junk. Sure, there’s tons of male ass on display as the men (and some ladies) huddle together to carry the shrines. But there are also surprises up front. Now this is the kind of religion that makes me want to participate, unlike so many others I have encountered.

Sumo inside the ring: more ritual, more ass

The sumo match itself rarely lasts more than a minute, and the rules seem simple. You win by pushing the other guy out of the circle. But there’s so much ritual before the shoving and grunting even begin. I like how they all come out together in special fancy aprons and raise their arms together. I am unclear whether it’s a spiritual or sexual act, but it’s hard not to stare.

The champion Hakuho also does some extra balancing and arm-raising, while wearing a special rope decoration. I like how the sumo champion is dressed up almost like a Shinto sacred tree. Even without knowing the specifics, it’s clear that he is invoking vast forces and unseen spirits.

The opponents face off several times and then go to their corners before starting the match. I like when they toss salt up into the air, which seems to purify and make the fighting space more exalted.

And finally, I love the intensity of their faces and bodies before the match begins. These big boys sure can squat low, and it’s exciting to anticipate the fearsome power they create out of their own body weight.

Is sumo sport, ritual, or fetish?

Attending in person has changed my impression about sumo. It’s a parallel universe of enormous men who wear lovely colored kimono in public and ass-baring costumes in the ring. The sumo performers conduct strange rituals under Shinto banners that last far longer than the fights themselves, and their extended careers create fascinating rivalries. Oh, and it’s a sport that’s open to large men from many countries, including Mongolia and East Europe.

I love watching the sumo players moving through Tokyo and, of course, arriving at the sumo hall by taxi. I also like how the station near the hall memorializes decades of personalities, outfits, and flesh.