The festival season in Japan is getting into full swing with festivals both large and small. Yesterday, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012 saw the Futakotamagawa Shopping Street Association in cooperation with the Sumo team at Nittai University have a "Sumo and Chanko Nabe" festival. It was really fun!
The sumo guys bowing and saying "Thank you!"
Here's what Wikipedia says about Chankonabe:
Chankonabe (ちゃんこ鍋) is a Japanese stew (a type of nabemono or one-pot dish) commonly eaten in vast quantity by sumo wrestlers as part of a weight-gain diet. It contains a dashi or chicken broth soup base with sake or mirin to add flavor. The bulk of chankonabe is made up of large quantities of protein sources (usually chicken (quartered, skin left on), fish (fried and made into balls), tofu (or sometimes beef)) and vegetables (daikon, bok choy, etc.). While considered a reasonably healthy dish in its own right, chankonabe is very protein-rich and usually served in massive quantities, with beer and rice to increase the caloric intake. Leftover chankonabe broth can also later be used as broth for somen or udon noodles.
It is not made according to a fixed recipe and often contains whatever is available to the cook. It is traditionally served according to seniority, with the senior rikishi and any guests of the heya receiving first choice, with the junior wrestlers getting whatever is left. It is also a popular restaurant food, often served in restaurants operated by retired sumo wrestlers who specialize in the dish; the first of these, Kawasaki Chanko, was started in 1937 in the Ryōgoku district of Tokyo, home to many prominent sumo stables.
Chankonabe served during sumo tournaments is made exclusively with chicken, the idea being that a rikishi should always be on two legs like a chicken, not all fours
Of course, I could take any of these guys! I could take them to the train station, to the bus, to the subway... Don't think they'd all fit in my car at once, though!
They even allowed the kids to battle it out with the sumo wrestlers. That was really fun for the kids and parents alike!
That's me on the right getting a close-up of my son's first ever sumo bout.
Of course the boys put on a few exhibition matches for us and, man! When they collided, you could hear it 500 meters away! Slap!
That's Mr. Matsumoto in the blue shirt. He is the second-in-charge head cheese of the Tamagawa Shopping Street Association.
Several of the sumo wrestlers warming up.
Of course, besides Chankonabe, they had all sorts of food and goodies for visitors. They also had cotton candy, shaved ice, boiled soy beans (yum!), yakitori, yakisoba, Corned dogs, and hot dogs as well as beer and drinks!
More warming up
Of course, what festival would be complete without Kingyo-Sukui?
Wikipedia says about Kungyo-Sukui (Gold Fish Scooping):
Goldfish scooping (金魚すくい, 金魚掬い Kingyo-sukui) is a traditional Japanese game in which a player scoops goldfish with a special scooper. It is also called, "Scooping Goldfish", "Dipping for Goldfish" or "Snatching Goldfish". "Kingyo" means goldfish and "sukui" means scooping. Sometimes bouncy balls are used instead of goldfish. Japanese summer festivals or ennichi commonly have a stall for this activity. Both children and adults enjoy the game.