Figured that might grab your attention and that was what I was  hoping for. Now you can read about what I've prepared for this whole year  in Japan. I've eaten the bizarre food, slurped the noodles, bowed until  I'm dizzy, conquered the train routes, driven the narrow roads, found my window  screens, freezed in the winter and sweated pools in the summer, bathed with the  Prime Minister's brother, married a couple, sung Carpenters and "Help"  in front of hundreds of people, danced strange dances, caught oranges for luck,  saw more shrines than I like to imagine, and now...only now...am I ready to do  the ultimate Japanese experience...SUMO.  A couple months ago I heard about a  foreigner sumo tourny, the only one of its kind in all Japan, so a friend and I  decided what better way to truly experience Japan than do that? So what if  it took 6hrs to drive there so we would have to leave at 6am on a Saturday. So  what if the the price of the tolls would be the equivalent of $200. So  what if we didn't know exactly how to get there because the map we were using  wasn't in English..we were determined. Determined to wear a  mawashi...which only could be described as something a little bigger than a  thong so it actually, supposedly covers the crack in your butt...and a little  more in the front...and wearing nothing else. Determined with only this  gear on to wrestle other sweaty, dirty, guys with only this on. Yes, you  thought it...we're nuts...completely crazy but believe it or not it was a great  experience after the initial shock I went through. So let me take you  there...to that magical town of Anamizu...where mostly quiet, sometimes  overwhelmed English teachers become mostly naked, wrestling animals.   We (two women and my friend who was to  participate too..their names are withheld to protect the "innocent")  arrived at 12:30pm...start time of the sumo lesson not haven ate anything or  slept the night before...after a 6hr drive and a couple stops for  directions...we found the place. Our first sight was a guy wearing a  mawashi...soon the only thing that we, too, would be wearing. My friend  and I looked at each other...were we really going to do this? Went over to  the main desk. We paid our 1,000yen entry fee...they gave us the program  and told us where we could get the mawashi put on. We went to the place  and it was all full so one Japanese guy called us over and said he would put it  on us there...in the open...in front of all God's creation... Well no turning  back now...strip...down to nothing...quickly hold the material to cover our  essentials and the guy spun us around to make the outfit. Again it only  covers the crack and front barely. I was told that during a match if the  mawashi falls off you lose. Talk about adding insult to injury...not only  do you lose your modesty, any sense of dignity, but you also lose the  match. I think the guy putting this thing on me kept that in mind because  he made sure this thing was on as tight as possible. Comfort and freedom  were not words that ever came to mind throughout the remainder of the day.   So now we looked the part...well about as  much as a foreigner could I suppose and of course the friends we came with had  to make a couple jokes about it. Well I just want to say to them  "Love me for my mind not my body"..."I'm a human too...I have  feelings"..."If you cut me do I not bleed?" Yes, we felt  exploited...and now I completely understood what I woman goes through when she  has a conversation with a guy and his eyes aren't quite connecting to hers...but  lower...not to mention the anxiety in trying to find a place to make sure no one  saw my butt...it was a circular arena!!! No escape...Where ever I turned there  were always people behind me...so I got over it.  Next came  the warmup and lesson. The warmup basically was a bunch of stretches and  slapping yourself on the legs and butt. The lesson was just showing us how  to push each other. I kinda already knew that much and then we were  divided into teams of five and the games began. The sumo gods were against me  the whole day. For some strange reason I was put in a group of skinny tall  guys when other teams had a diverse group from lightweights to  heavyweights. It turned out that I was the heavyweight though I was the  same size as another team's middleweight. So I had the minor task of going  against guys who were 40 or more pounds bigger than me. My first bout I  somehow won...my second I didn't...though after reviewing the video it should  have been a draw. My team lost pretty quickly and now it was time for the  individual competition. Single elimination. So now maybe I would be  able to go against someone closer to my size. Of course not. My  first bout was against the 3-time champion who is also the cousin of a Japanese  professional sumo wrestler. That bout didn't last long, but at least as I  was falling over the side of the ring I did a little flip that made me stand  back on my feet. If I don't have talent in winning at least I can have  style in losing. That guy went on to win his 4th title, but my luck just  really stuns me. Next was a little competition called the "king of  the mountain", where anyone, other than guys who did well in the  individual, could wrestle anyone else and if he wins 3 in a row he gets an  award. Well once again the gods were against me because I would win 2 in a  row, then after being worn out have to face a guy either equal or bigger  than me who was completely fresh. But at least I won some, right?  Overall, record 7-6. My overall experience was  definately a good one. No broken bones. No fallen mawashi.  Lots of video and pictures...actually is that a good thing? Talk about  incriminating evidence. Some smiles and laughs. But I'm already  training for next year, or I should say I'm going to train for next year after  the sorness, bruises, and bleeding subside. Why not? I didn't do too  bad for my first time and I learned that the 4-time champion won't be there next  year because he has to go home. So I have much better odds at winning it  all....maybe...just maybe.