Discovery (Post#15) : Ernie Old’s Malvern Star Bicycle
Anybody can discover and learn something inside the museum. One of the collection display that I saw is Ernie Old’s Malvern Star Bicycle. What’s the story about this bicycle? This bike has been given to Ernie by Malvern Star company and Ernie used this for long distance cycling across different capitals in Australia. And another amazing facts about it, he did those long cycling events when he is in his 70’s to 80’s of age which is really a remarkable thing to know. This photo is part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
Source: Informative facts above came from National Museum of Australia
Most Australians loves sports and one of the sports that they love is footy (football). As far as I remembered, the footy seasons starts at fall (March) and ends in winter (September) season. Footy is common buzzword in Australia. Because I came from a country where the popular sports is basketball, I am not familiar nor do I understand the rules of football.
While living in Melbourne, I learned and realized that Australians takes prides on sports. I noticed the high fever during the Annual Formula One Race because a lot of people coming to the area where I lived since Albert Park is just nearby to watch the Australian Grand Prix. Even the Cricket which is a bat-and-ball game is popular during December and for me, after watching a bit of Cricket in TV, I see the similarity of it to the Baseball. Australian showed that sports matters to them. Having a chance to travel to major cities of Australia, if not all cities but mostly the major cities has facilities to cater these different sports. Melbourne is not immune to this as the city hosting if not all but most of the sports popular in Australia. One of the walks that I had in the city was walks in Yarra River and its Sports Precinct.
I came from a bit of walk in St Kilda Road when I decided to continue my walks to Yarra River. Yarra River is the famous river in Melbourne where it starts from Yarra Ranges down to Melbourne City. In my previous post with Yarra River, I already describes some of the sceneries to be found between the sides of the river which surrounded by Docklands and CBD in one side and Southbank at the other side.
Princess Bridge, Flinder Street Station, Federation Square, some restaurant and Yarra River Cruise Station
In this walks, I started my pace near from Princes Bridge which gives me a chance to see other parts of the river. For me, river makes the city so charming because it gives the city the nature atmosphere of the place. From the bridge, Flinders Street Station still noticeable, even the Federation Square. Some restaurants are just beside the river. The river accommodates cruising but, I haven’t tried it.
Some of the buildings that I passed on
Having a chance to witness cities with clean and beautiful river in the middle of it, I more admire the city by being able to take care of its river.
Shots of Yarra River
Swan St Bridge
After walking a bit beside the river, I reached and crossed Swan St Bridge. Then, I saw Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park, Westpac Centre, Hisense Arena, Melbourne Olympic Parks, AAMI Park and Melbourne Cricket Ground. The area is what they called Sports Precinct.
Rod Laver Area
Melbourne Cricket Ground
I enjoyed the walk even though it rained a bit. This part of Yarra River and Sports Precinct is some place where I seldom to pass on while staying in the city. During the peak season of each sports, the area is fulfilled with a lot of people, I can feel it specially if I am at the city center, if I am at the tram or train. I can feel that each sports event was like a movie hits where massive people goes to. Melbourne was the first city that I experienced such wave for sports.
At first I had this impression that Sumo Wrestling or just Sumo was kind of violent sport. Yes I am aware that it is the traditional and national sport of Japan, without really knowing stuff about it, I was curious how this sport is being played. I visited sumo site prior to traveling to Japan and found that during our travel in Japan there will be Grand Sumo Tournament. I saw in one site the Sumo ticket sale will be available soon. I booked the ticket at the 1st day of ticket sale. And to be honest booking the ticket was already an experience because the box seat tickets near the center for most of the 15 days tournament were immediately sold out in a matter of hours. And because of that I immediately bought 1 box seat (4 people) to make sure we have seats in one of the days that the sumo tournament is happening while we are in Japan. I was glad that even there’s not much festivals happening during our visit (September is low peak month of visitors) at least we can watch the most ancient Japanese sport – The Sumo.
We watched sumo on our 4th day in Japan and it was Monday. I planned that day to just watch Sumo as I wanted to balance the itinerary that we have for the consideration of my aged parents. That day, I allowed all of us to regain long rest as the main event of the Sumo was scheduled at 2PM in the afternoon that day.
From hotel, we took train from Kayabacho Station and transferred to Akihabara Station and took Chuo Line going to Ryogoku Station and got off at the same station. From that station, we walked few minutes to Ryogoku Kokugikan. We found that a lot of people were at the front gate and noticed that people seems waiting for something or someone as people were lined-up to both sides like there some parade coming, until we realized that some of the Sumo Wrestlers are coming. We felt excited too when we saw them. I got excited because our activity that day is uniquely a Japan culture.
I brought the printed order ticket at Ryogoku. Before passing the entrance, we saw the booth beside it which designated for tickets bought online. And then, I requested for help from assistant which just standing by at the booth. With the printed document I have in my hand, we were able to retrieved the tickets after verifying the credit card I used to order the ticket online. Before entering the gate, there’s a big announcement that the ticket was sold out for that day. It was a good relief that I bought ticket online. It secured us that day for guaranteed seat to be able to watch Sumo comfortably.
When we entered The Kokugikan Sumo Stadium, we felt good, we saw the human board of famous Rikishi (wrestler) at the entrance and even though we don’t know them, we stand beside them and took our photos. When we were inside the stadium before entering the sumo arenas, people are going back and forth and most of them are buying food in the surrounding stores inside the stadium. We did the same thing, we bought lunch boxes for all of us. When were done buying and looking around, we went to the door nearest to our seat.
Sumo arena are divided into two, the lower ground is called box seats while the balcony or upper level are called arena seats. The ticket that we bought were in the box seats and the unique experience we had in box seats was were going to seat in the floor with cushion and we will sit in Lotus position where we cross our legs.
At the center of the stadium we found the Dohyo, a stage with circular ring on it and with suspended roof similar to the Shinto shrine with four giant tassels hanging to each corner that signifies the seasons of the year (information from Sumo official website).
Rikishi’s (Wrestlers) Bouts (preparation time during warm-up period)
Rikishi In Action
We waited for almost an hour before the tournament started. And then the sumo arena were filled with people. When we enter the stadium and went to our assigned box seats, there were some Rikishi that are fighting in the Dohyo. I got a paper for the Torikumi or Sumo Bouts for 2nd Day. From the paper that I got there were two bouts, one is Juryo and one is Makuuchi. Based on my understanding in Banzuke (Banzuke-hyo – offical document of rankings of professional sumo wrestlers) Sumo rankings, the upper division of Rikishi is called Maku-uchi which includes the five positions of Rikishi order from highest to lowest rank: Yokuzana, Ozeki, Sekiwake, Komusubi, and Maegashira. The lower division includes Juryo, Makushita, Sandame, Jonidan, and Jonokuchi. As per Sumo official site, below Makushita ranks does not get to wrestle on each day of tournament. The tournament for day actually started in the morning and low ranking Rikishi bouts happen on that time. The main event of bout starts in the afternoon which includes Juryo and Makuuchi bout.
Juryo Dohyo-iri Ceremony
Juryo Dohyo-iri Ceremony
Past 2PM that day, the main event started when Juryo Grade did their entrance both from East and West teams (please take note that Rikishi from different team does not fight for team, the fight does not have any relations which ever team the Rikishi belong) did their colorful dohyo-iri or “entering the ring” ceremony. I saw all Rikishi in queue wearing their kesho-mawashi (ceremonial aprons) and climbed to the dohyo. Each Rikishi, when they were all in the Dohyo did their short ritual ancient in sumo tradition wherein they raise their hands. That ritual is very unique which I really enjoyed watching.
After the Juryo Dohyo-iri ceremony, it followed by Juryo Bouts. We witness their bouts and my family enjoys the ancient sports of Japan.
Juryo Grade In Action
I also observed that the Dohyo was frequently swept after the bouts and after Rikishi’s entrance ceremony, it was mentioned that Dohyo was made of special kind of clay and covers some think layer of sands, this is the reason why few people assigned to swept it.
Gyoji (Referee) at the center
My curiosities were not only focus to the Rikishi who fough inside Dohyo. Other people were also noticeable such as the judges of sumo which called as Shimpan and the referee whose inside the sumo stables are called Gyoji. As I watch the fight of Rikishi, I learned that sumo is a sport where the wrestler aims their opponent to be out of the ring or their opponent parts of the body touch the ground aside their feet to be able to win the game.
After the Juryo Bouts, it followed the Makuuchi Dohyo-iri Ceremony. The whole stadium was jam pack of people which signifies that people are more curious of the Makuuchi’s fight as I understand that being included in Makuuchi ranking is really important in this sports.
Makuuchi Dohyo-iri Ceremony
Makuuchi Dohyo-iri Ceremony
Yokuzana Dohyo-iri Ceremony
During the tournament, we were able to watch as well a Yokuzana which is the highest rank of grand sumo wrestlers and represent all sumo’s participants entered the Dohyo and did his Dohyo-iri ceremony with greatest dignity.
After the entrance of Yokuzana in Dohyo, it followed by Makuuchi Bouts. And we felt the heat of Makuuchi fight as people reacted more in every action seen inside the ring.
Makuuchi Bout In Action
Before the tournament of the day ended, there was a bow dance which done by Makushita Rikishi, which shows the expression of satisfaction on behalf of the victorious Rikishi of the day.
Bow Dance – A Makushita Rikishi performs Yumitori-Shiki
I observed the whole tournament while enjoying the Rikishi wrestled with their opponents. By watching the sumo, I learned that the sumo sport is not really violent sport, it’s very traditional and cultural sports which strictly following the sumo ancient rules. All my bad impressions regarding this sport was gone, it was replaced with utmost respect with this ancient sport and to all Rikishi.
I can truly say that we had a such great time discovering and watching sumo tournament.
To welcome year 2015, though today is 3rd day of January, I felt like sharing how I celebrated the switching of year 2014 and 2015. Commonly I celebrated new year at home because the eve of the new year is the season where most of my family are complete or almost complete. I also experienced celebrating New Year’s eve in Singapore to witness fireworks during holiday vacation and when I worked in that country before. This time, I bought tickets for myself and my family to attend charity concert at Philippine Arena to celebrate New Year’s eve and to watched 30-minutes fireworks.
My country has now the biggest indoor arena in the world and it is named as Philippine Arena which located at Ciudad de Victoria in Bocaue, Bulacan Province. Before the night of the concert celebration, since I was there earlier time, I had a chance to walk around the vicinity area where the biggest covered dome is located to check and see its surrounding. I walked around the arena, walked quite far to see how it look like and I felt that anywhere I go, I always had a great view of the dome. It’s really beautiful even I was standing at different corner to see different angle of the arena I am still pretty amazed how it was planned and designed.
Philippine Sports Stadium
During my walk I also found another existing structure in the area named as Philippine Stadium and the ongoing construction of Philippine Sports Complex.
Tent City At the Back of Philippine Arena for the visitors that will celebrate the new year
Though I am not an architect I can see how it was carefully thought and planned. The arena is owned by one of the Christian religious organization (Iglesia Ni Cristo / Church Of Christ) in my country and not owned by the government, it is open to public and huge events. One of big events that already happened in the arena was the concert that I attended and current season of basketball game in my country (Philippine Basketball Association – PBA games).
The following local artists performed in the concert were Bamboo, KZ Tandingan, Morisette, Enrique Gil, Sam Concepcion, Brisom and Tempura Kidz (from Japan). Chris Brown was the main artist but for some reason, he canceled his performance few hours before the event.
2015 New Year’s Eve Fireworks and Confetti
After the concert, we witnessed the new year’s countdown and the fireworks display both sides of the arena to welcome 2015.
I have great hopes and dreams for my country even though my country are battling with many challenges, problems and issues in different aspects, I always look on the good sides of my country because in this way I can help my country and my fellow Filipinos to uplift and to promote how beautiful my country is even in a small ways.
Chromatic Outlook (Post#9) : Tampines West Community Club
I remembered that during my almost a year work in Singapore, one of the activities that I replaced for traveling in a city-island country was Badminton. I saw that Community Club is one way of the government to make people active since no mountains to trek in Singapore. And climbing a mountain was just one of the things that I really missed in my own country. Photo above was Tampines West Community Club which captured last March 2010.
It’s holiday in Melbourne and most people from the city enjoyed the day by coming to Flemington racecourse to watch horse racing which has become a tradition in Melbourne. People who are in the city, will definitely not miss to realize what day it was because of the people passing in their formal and fashionable attire, complementing with beautiful hats specially for women. It was the first time that I witness the Melbourne Cup holiday in Melbourne, I saw people wearing clothes that you will feel like you were back to the past, people are wearing classic fashion style dresses. While waiting at Flinders Street station, I enjoyed the scenery.
At Flinders Street (train station)
Since I am not going to Flemington racecourse, my friends planned to go Melton Waves and I agreed to go there with them, the season is summer, going to swimming pool is not unusual. So from the hotel where I am staying, I took tram along St Kilda Road until I reached Flinders Street train station. From Flinders Street station, I took Craigieburn line and got off at Pascoe Vale station. From Pascoe Vale station, my friends picked me up and we went straight to Melton.
At Melton Waves
We arrived at Melton Waves after more than half an hour of driving. The surrounding area is nice, they have outdoor pool, indoor pool other sports facilities such as gyms and fitness center. The interesting features that Melton Waves has and they proud of having are: Wave Pool, Heated Pool, Toddler Pool, Hydrotherapy Pool and Spa, all these facilities, when I was there, I tried them and enjoyed them (of course not the Toddler Pool). We enjoyed the pool from early lunch until mid in the afternoon. This how I spent my Melbourne Cup Holiday.