Speechless. I am hoping that next up Lady Gaga will perform a young Michelle Obama.
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.
I feel alternate disgust and pity for SMAP, Japan’s original boy band from the early 1990s. Each year, they release new CDs, sell stuff in ads, and hog a lot of TV time. But it’s increasingly clear that with each year, the band members are desperately trying to subtract a year from their appearances. It’s unsettling to see these 40 year olds posing as teenagers.
In their recent appearance on the New Years Eve Kouhaku show, they did not dance, sang very poorly, and basically showed no interest in performing. Does evil Johnny prevent them from just retiring? At least they are keeping the Photoshop jockeys in business.