I left Nagasaki and made it to my apartment in Fukuoka with about 2 hours before the main sumo event started. So I dropped my bag, took a bath, (when in Rome… or Japan) and headed for the sumo location downtown.
It turns out that my man Ichinojo is out of this tournament due to injury, so I was there cheering on Enho. Sumo is the national sport of Japan. The rules are simple, if anything but the souls of the competitors feet touches the clay or they step out of the ring, they have lost the mach. There are a variety of techniques that come into play from slapping, pushing, and throwing. There are 15 days of straight sumo in a Basho (tournament) and the one with the best record wins the Yusho (championship) as the collect cash prizes for wins along the way.
After sumo, I was on the search for something delicious to eat on my way back to my apartment. Being vegetarian, this proved to be quite difficult. I ended up waking around for another hour without success before returning to my apartment briefly. I went back out more determined with some locations I found on a map… still unsuccessful. On about mile 10 for the day, I looked into a window of a place and then moved on. Another lap around the block and I had given up. Starving, thinking, ” I might die here because I cant find anything to eat without meat besides convenient store rice balls (still delicious, but not how I want to eat all of my meals in Japan).” I ended up going back to the last window I looked into and go for broke. I walked in after being greeted by Obasan and OJisan chef in the back and in broken Japanese tried to order something without meat, saying “nikuniku o tabemasen” (I don’t eat meat). They asked, “do you eat chicken, do you eat fish, do you eat pork?” The Japanese don’t quite understand vegetarian as not eating any meat. They may think that you just don’t eat certain types of meat. Finally with some help from the gentleman at another table I was able to get them to make me a vegetable omelet which was not on the menu. Normally I don’t eat any animal products other than butter and cheese, but in the case of me “starving” and not being rude I was so happy that they could accommodate my “gaijinness.”
After this whole ordeal, I looked up and saw this hat and realized that I was in the right place. I later asked where they got it, and the owner said someone gave it to him a few year back. I was happy to go in there and have good conversation with them and give them my business. After all they are my new friends and I want to keep it local.