Tokyo Sumo Stable: Up Close and Personal

When they're not competing, sumo wrestlers train year round in designated sumo stables. These stables, which are mostly based in Tokyo's Ryogoku neighborhood, are where the city's wrestlers live, eat, sleep and practice on a near daily basis. I have wanted to visit one of these for many years. In early October, on my way to Indonesia and Laos for mission work, I finally had the chance. Seated on a raised floor with another 15 to 20 people, I watched silently for an hour and a half while the wrestlers pounded, grunted and chanted mere feet away (and sometimes less) – close enough to see and smell their sweat. I had been to a stadium tournament before (which only happen six times a year), but this was amazing – to experience it up close and personal!