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Just Another Day In Tokyo: The Daily Nooner (EST)!

Real Sumo Fighting: Hakuho vs. Asashoryu

I spent some time in Japan a few years back. The idea was to immerse myself in a foreign culture, and I learned a lot about both myself and the world I live in while I was there. For example, I learned that there are places in the world that are crawling with teenagers in schoolgirl outfits, and that I enjoy being in those places, watching them giggle while playing with their crazy futuristic cell phones. I played pachinko and ate sashimi, and then I watched the schoolgirls some more and momentarily considered purchasing their used panties out of a vending machine. Then I remembered that I'd already spent all my money in the pachinko parlor, playing a game that I didn't understand, so I went back to my hotel room and watched a TV show about a magical talking dog that was elected mayor of a small town. Confused, horny, and drunk as I'd ever been, I dozed off during a commercial for some sort of carbonated shrimp-flavored beverage.

Even after all that, nothing could prepare me for the sumo match I went to the next day. The ancient history of the sumo was palpable in that arena, and watching those guys grappling with one another, shooting lightning out of their hands and lasers out of their eyes and bending the spacetime continuum, well, it was almost as good as getting into a time machine and going back to feudal Japan. Sure, it was all pretty weird at first, just like I'm sure it looks weird to you now. But let me tell you something, viewer who is unfamiliar with the grand sumo tradition: This video hasn't been digitally manipulated in any way, shape or form.

This is what sumo wrestling actually looks like.

For the rest of the trip, I couldn't help but notice it everywhere I went: look up at any given moment and you're all but guaranteed to see giant robots battling above Tokyo's skyscrapers. Walk down the street in search of a vending machine full of used schoolgirl panties and BAM - a monster will fly through a brick wall and explode, and then some guy with really pointy hair will flash you a V sign and ride off into the sunset on a red jet-powered motorcycle. It's a little known fact, and it was probably my greatest revelation on my trip to Japan: There are no special effects or animation studios in Japan. All those movies and TV shows you've seen? Those were all documentaries.

Also, there is a small town in southern Japan where a magical talking dog is the mayor.

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Ross Wolinsky

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