From: Katie Rogers
Date: May 26, 2019 at 4:34:49 PM GMT+9
Subject: Travel report #7: SUMO
At 4:33 pm JST / 3:33 am ET POTUS, FLOTUS and pool are bound for the Ryōgoku Kokugikan Stadium in the capital, where POTUS has been given a role in of the most time-honored and hallowed of Japanese traditions: a sumo tournament. He will be the first American president to present a customized trophy to the winner.
It’s going to be a spectacle: Some 11,500 people will in the arena seated on mats. The Trumps and the Abes will be seated in a VIP mat next to the sumo ring, which officials have told us is referred to as the sacred mound.
It is customary to sit on the mats during the bashos. But POTUS will sit on a special chair to provide him with back support, according to an official who briefed the pool. He is expected to wear slippers when he walks onto the sacred mound, though shoes are generally not allowed. (FLOTUS will have to stay on the mat - women are not allowed on the mound.)
At the end of the tournament, POTUS will present the President’s Cup trophy and read from a ceremonial scroll.
**Trophy transit update: The President’s Cup trophy was transported from the hotel to the arena ahead of time. In its brief time in the Palace Hotel lobby spotlight, the cup drew a crowd of journalists and visitors, including William Hagerty, the US ambassador to Japan, before it was taken to the stadium. **
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