The Scots often wince as I explain Burns Night as the Scottish Thanksgiving with a poetry slam. Apologies. The Burns Supper that took place this last Wednesday the 25th of January is a lovely evening that celebrates the life and poetry of poet Robert Burns, famous world over for his poem and song, Auld Lang Syne. The evening gives thanks to his poetry and begins with the Selkirk Grace:
Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.
There is plenty to be grateful for as the Year of the Rabbit begins, and so I throw in the mix, my thanks to the great sumo wrestler, Akebono Tarō, born Chadwick Haheo Rowan, who, by obtaining the highest sumo title of Yokozuna on the 25th of January 1993 and becoming the first non-Japanese to obtain the title, was instrumental in popularising the sport outside Japan. Standing at 6’8” and weighing in at 455 pounds, Akebono developed the long-reach thrusting style for which he’ll long be remembered.
The son of an Irish/Native Hawaiian taxi driver and a Cuban/Native Hawaiian office worker, I love the idea that a uniquely Japanese sport like sumo can be shared world over. Entering K-1 and pro-wrestling to offset financial difficulties, Akebono has struggled in his later years. For all the joy they’ve brought us, we need to look after our athletes when they’ve passed their prime. How do we do this? Food for thought this post-Burns weekend.