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Supersized Sumo Fun

After what can only be described as an arduous days-long training regime, our ELC students were finally prepared to take on two professional sumo wrestlers in a series of matches that would test their strength, skill and fortitude.

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The Early Learning Center has a long history of embracing Japanese holidays and culture as a platform for activities that introduce children to Japanese arts and crafts, music, food, traditional clothing, children’s literature, games and toys. Although this rich study extends through the entire year, many of the cultural activities take place between January and March. The ELC previously welcomed the new year in traditional Japanese style with a day of mochitsuki in January.

On February 6, the ELC PTA treated everyone to a visit by two young sumo wrestlers. Students and teachers at the ELC welcomed Fujihisashi (富士寿) and Mitozakura (美登桜), wrestlers from Azumazeki-beya (東関部屋), a sumo training stable here in Tokyo. The students had trained tirelessly during recess, presumably to the tune Eye of the Tiger, in preparation for their bout with the super-sized sumo pros.

After learning the pre-match rituals and rules-of-the-ring with Hisako Shimizu (ELC teacher), who also acted as the gyoji (referee), our ELC student sumo went one-on-one (and sometimes ten-on-one) with the visiting professionals. Their training paid off, as our wee wrestlers managed to win every single match. Fujihisashi and Mitozakura left exhausted, but with plenty of treats and gifts of gratitude.

Sumo was followed by taiko on February 10 and cultural activities at the ELC will soon continue with kamishibai (paper drama), a type of storytelling that uses large images to convey lessons.