Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mom, You're Like Sumoooo Embarassing

Our one day in Tokyo and we were slightly stymied by Mom’s bathroom problems. I have a whole collection of photos I took, bored, waiting for her outside of public restrooms (they are so clean in Tokyo!). She would be mortified if she knew I was writing this. Good thing I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know that such a thing as “blogs” exist in this world. She is, however, with it enough to have downloaded her own tunes onto an MP3 player for the long flight. I reserved comment when she showed me how she printed out the lyrics to Abba’s “Mamma Mia” although when she started singing along softly to John Denver I gently reminded her that maybe the others in the darkened plane weren’t necessarily fans.

Anyway, because we got off to a slightly later start in the day, due to Mom’s aforementioned affliction (poor Mom, total trooper), we didn’t get same-day tickets to the last day of the January sumo tournament like I was hoping. I still suggested that as part of our day of wandering we make our way over to Ryogoku just to see if we’d glimpse any sumo wrestlers outside. The presence of one paparazzo guy with a long lens gave me the nerve to snap away like crazy, politesse thrown to the wind. There’s something about these sumo dudes shuffling by, with their perfectly flipped ponytails and all that fabric, that kind of makes you feel celeb-crazed. It’s like big sunglasses, a fancy handbag and no underwear in our world.

After the gawking session, we got on the train and a sumo wrestler got on next to me. He still had massive beads of sweat on his forehead. He was listening to music in his little earbuds and had a cute, plastic umbrella tucked into his obi. I stared at his hair. It was done with twist-ties.

But it was disembarking from our flight to Seoul where mom really got to shine. There was a Korean sumo wrestler on the flight. Mom said she’d read about him on the internet and insisted on stopping him to take a photo of him with me. It’s like he was Santa. I said, “No Mom, that’s embarrassing,” and it at that precise moment (stretching into the many moments thereafter that she kept him in conversation on the never-ending movator) that I stopped wondering how long it would take for me to revert into my petulant, adolescent self on this trip.

It was about at the moment where she said in Korean “She is a really big sumo fan,” that my inner will to fight being infantilized just kind of died. I just looked at him and smiled.

Later, I saw him shuffle by as Mom and I were having our first argument of this trip, just having collected our luggage. We were so mad that Mom didn’t even care that we were visibly arguing which would normally never fly (there’s something about being away from home that makes you feel anonymous and invisible like, I’m not from here). Sumo must have thought we were totally kuckoo and I saw him in my perpipheral vision, taking his own long moment to stare.


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