“At the beginning, there were three play-by-play men who had experience of broadcasting games like baseball, but their knowledge of basic sumo was newly acquired and pretty limited,” she said in an interview last year with The Daily Express, a British newspaper. “They wanted the color provided by commentators like me who were hired because we were already knowledgeable about some aspect of sumo.”
Ms. Simmons received the Order of the Rising Sun, one of the Japanese government’s highest honors, last year.
“I have simply never thought of myself in those terms,” she told The Nottingham Post, adding, “I get the feeling that, since most of the Japanese people don’t know anybody who got one of these decorations, they are a way of spreading happiness.”
Doreen Sylvia Clarke was born in Nottingham, England, on May 29, 1932. Her father, George, was a civil servant, and her mother, Elsie (Noble) Clarke, was a store manager who promoted its stationery by running workshops for women on how to make crepe paper flowers. As a child, Doreen, loved singing in her school choir and going to the local library to pick out books suited for each member of her family. “I’d get books on stars, planets, myths, legends, pyramids and dinosaurs,” she said in her TEDx talk.
Her favorite sport while growing up was cricket. She attended local matches, her homemade scorecard in hand. She said that she amassed her knowledge of sumo wrestling with the same devotion she had brought to learning about cricket.
After graduating from Girton College at Cambridge, Ms. Simmons trained as a teacher of Latin and Greek at Hughes Hall, a college at Cambridge, and subsequently left England to teach in Singapore.
Once in Japan, while learning about sumo wrestling, she held other jobs, including one editing translations of Japanese government news releases for the Foreign Press Center and another with the House of Councillors and the House of Representatives, the Japanese legislature. She also did some acting and voice-over work and played the bodhran, an Irish drum, in pubs around Tokyo.