Archive for the diary Category


Posted in diary with tags on January 21, 2012 by mikele

Our friend Baruto has won the Honbasho in Tokyo!

That makes Baruto enter the club of very few the non-japanese Sumo champions.

He became the ninth foreign-born wrestler and second from Europe after Bulgarian Kotooshu to win a championship.

“I don’t have that much to say but I am excited,” said Baruto, who made his debut at sumo’s No. 2 rank at the 2010 summer meet. “The championship had been a dream of mine until now. I have made a strong effort at this meet and there was a lot of pressure in the title race. I tried not to focus on the title and just give my all.”

Read the whole news piece on The Japan Times.



Scandal threatens Japan’s sumo wrestling

Posted in diary with tags , , , on August 25, 2010 by mikele

New backdated posts..

Posted in diary on April 26, 2010 by mikele

I added some new posts related to past events, check them out:

– visit to the wonderful Osaka aquarium (March 15, 2010)

– pictures of the trip to Nara (February 12, 2010)

Videos from the Sumo day (22/3/2010)

Posted in diary with tags , , on April 13, 2010 by mikele

#1: we got to the sumo stadium and saw some of the lower division wrestlers

#2: dohyōiri: Ring-entering ceremony, performed only by jūryō and makuuchi divisions; Baruto’s match;

#3: yumitori-shiki: The bow-twirling ceremony performed at the end of each honbasho day by a designated wrestler, the yumitori, who is usually from the makushita division.

Trip to Katsuoji temple

Posted in diary with tags , on March 22, 2010 by mikele

Today I rode my bike all the way up to the scenic Katsuoji temple. Tiring but definitely worth it!

In the mountains north of the plain of Osaka, in the city of Miho, nestles Katsuoji, nicknamed “The Victory Temple”, but “victory” seems too narrow a word to encompass the hopes of all her modern pilgrims.

Japanese military leaders have prayed there for victory, but most come, now, to pray for more personal triumphs: passing exams, finding a job, getting a driver’s license. No aim is too great or to small.

The idea of winning is not at the temple’s roots. Katsuoji’s history began with twin brothers who were Buddhist priests and chose to retire from the world and devote themselves to prayer. It was not too long before the world came after them.

Checking out the local doctor..

Posted in diary with tags , , on March 20, 2010 by mikele

As usual, if I live in some place for a longish period I end up checking out the local healthcare system, for one reason or the other. Japan makes no exception, but I have to say it’s been a quite interesting experience too…
Well I payed quite a lot for it (doctor: 6500 yes = almost 40 pounds) and on top of that the medicines (4000 yen = 30 pounds) … but in theory the health insurance will reimburse me.
Obviously no one at the local doctor ambulatory speaks english… but luckily a nice lady from my hotel helped me fill out a ‘good health’ declaration in japanese..

declaration of good health

The doctor’s office was super technological (and full of mangas too); but the piece of ‘equipment’ that most impressed me is this automatic slippers dispenser..

slippers dispenser DSCN5397

Essentially, you walk into the clinic, take off your shoes, push the button and get a fresh new pair of slippers!

The other quite unusual thing is that there is not separation between the reception / waiting area and the room where the doctor visits the patients. Pretty weird; it wasn’t difficult to see what was going on in there, or to hear some scared kid crying. Then I found out that they also have another room at the back which is used for more ‘intimate’ visits..

reception desk doctor's room

After a while they called me to the (almost public) visiting room, the doctor took a sample of my tonsils’ infection and told me to wait for 10 mins. He spoke some english so it was no prob to understand him at all.
My prize was a japanese style face mask. Now I feel much more integrated 🙂

japanese style face mask

That was it. Bad infection he said – but a week of antibiotics and some chinese medicine (at the bottom) should fix me up..

antibiotics chinese medicine

Osaka’s Aquarium

Posted in diary with tags , , on March 15, 2010 by mikele

Took a trip to the Osaka Aquarium the other day, and although it’s a bit expensive (2000 yen, almost 15 pounds) I think it’s really worth it. Basically it’s a big building that you can explore from top to bottom. Most of the tanks inside span for the entire height of the building, meaning that you can easily see the same marine life from a number of viewpoints..

KAIYUKAN Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Its theme is partly based on the new Gaia Hypothesis advocated by Dr. James Lovelock.
Focusing on the Ring of Fire (Pan Pacific Volcanic Zone) and the Ring of Life (Pan Pacific Life Zone), KAIYUKAN Aquarium respects the dignity of life and natural environment. A Japanese word KAIYUKAN literally means “Playing in the Sea Pavilion.” In this aquarium, visitors can enjoy creatures as if they are playing together in the sea.

My camera died half way through the visit .. but still I managed to take some good shots:

DSCN5361 DSCN5359
DSCN5364 DSCN5371