Backstage with Japan Skates @ 2011 "Eastern Section" 東日本選手権大会
Japan Skates sent our reporter to "All-Japan" National Championships qualifier.
thanks to: Maiko from Keio University Skating Club
text by AIKO SHIMAZU 島津愛子
Nov. 3-6 in Yamanashi, 2011

☞ in Japanese


+++ Mixed Zone Interviews +++

Daisuke MURAKAMI Men 1st place 214.74 (SP1/FS1)

Quick Quote
I won at my kicking-off competition this season, O. Nepela Trophy, then GPS Skate America, I made a 4S - my own edge, in SP, but couldn't in FS, so I'm happy with two 4S this Eastern.

- For "All-Japan" National Championships
I'm going to compete with all quality skaters, have tried not to be defeated! I give it myself all.

- For fans
I have such ups-and-downs this season so far, but I will move forward, with you all, all the way.


Kento NAKAMURA Men 2nd place 195.58 (SP2/FS2)

- On his 4T, which he has tried to have in FS this season.
So much difference between without 4T and with 4T program, I felt in trainings and even more in competitions. My generation are making quads, to earn highly points with them these days, you know, so "I must try a quad," but "I must work on other than 4T, to reinforce them"… "To make its way after failing in 4T, or not," that's the question. I'm satisfied a little bit that I did the minimal possible today. Yet, a bit regret - I was tensed on it, couldn't complete even its rotation. (his 4T got tripled and downgraded.) I have landed in trainings, but haven't consistency enough. I will complete it in a month or so, until "All-Japan".

- On Patrick CHAN, who inspires him with skating skills.
The most respected thing is his posture. He controls his upperbody, no matter how complicated, intricate, difficult footworks he does. Then you see more beautiful moves. When I see myself doing step sequence on videos, I am bending sometimes. I guess how to show your upperbody makes sense for your beautiful appearance.

- For fans
video message from his interview on Japan Skates:
☞ Kento Nakamura @ Meiji Jingu Gaien on September 4, 2011
((translation))
Hi there! I'm Kento NAKAMURA on Japan Skates. Always I am supported by fans, no matter what I have done, I really appreciate that. Thank you so much. This season, it's my very first senior season. I would like to make progress from junior years, to show in such a new style, "What I am". In order to do that, I have trained every day. So, please keep in touch with me. It's my pleasure. I have planned a quad in FS this season. So, please push me up on 4T! (laughs) I'm sorry that I hadn't made my way last season… Those hard days, fans, you had encouraged me at anytime. I owe you, to make you satisfied and happy, in style, as much as possible this 1st senior season. And after the disaster, I have to give it my all to encourage people, on every competition. I wish you a good season with me!

☞ Japan's Depth #4 Kento NAKAMURA: A Coming Up Rose of Japan


Akio SASAKI Men 3rd place 173.29 (SP3/FS3)

- On his 3A, which he has tried to have in both SP and FS since last season.
Last season, 3A had been supposed to be a "challenging" element, mostly, but this season, it has been supposed to be the "edge" of programs, since it has not been an incapable jump anymore. In August, at a local competition, I made in both SP/FS. So, it could never be incapable… it could never be a prolific scorer in competitions, though. (laughs) After that competition I had competed in Finlandia Trophy, Intercollege qualifier, this Eastern, I mistook on the entry of it, at the same point. And I did land in warming-up 6 minutes. Therefore, I don't think I haven't enough strength, I think it has the only problem with the mental aspect, as I need more calmness on it.

- On his entertaining footworks
Thankfully, people give me compliments, "You're really dancing!" "Great!", but I say "…Raw." to my performance. So, I would like to pull my options out: flow when the music flows; dance when the music got danceable; move quickly when the music goes quickly, in one step sequence, in one program, as I show different tastes between SlSt and ChSt in FS, and even between the first half and the second half of the straight line. So… with various options, I have never gotten the feedback like: You're able to do only one, "jammed" step sequence. (laughs)

- For fans
I would like to say Thank You, for your support and good response in performing, which always encourages me and pushes me so high. I really appreciate that! My highlight of this season, "All-Japan" is coming up next, I have tried to set it in utmost high spirits! to work harder.


Haruka IMAI Ladies 1st place 150.28 (SP1/FS1)

- On good aspects of trainings in Detroit, USA
In June, I went there to work on choreographs with Yuka(SATO), then I was going to want to follow her for a long time. I don't know at all, but people say "Your skating skills got improved a lot!", as my SkatingSkills has earned more points. - That is the best aspect, I guess. I hadn't jumping training in August (due to a stress fracture in her right instep), so "Instead of jumps, I do work on other things to refine!", to train basic skating skills as far as possible. Riding on deep edge, I had fallen… But, I have followed Yuka, to skate better little by little. I'm going to skate like cutting, and Yuka has checked me "carve more neatly!" (smiles) Yuka shows me her beautiful skating in front of my very eyes, so I have tried to skate like her, then I have gotten its technique. That works for me a lot!
And, I have gotten spinning technique as well. One day, Alissa(CZISNY) and me were training together, the rink got blacked out. No one but Alissa remained on the ice to train spinning, so "…follow her! to train together," to do spins right beside her. Then! somehow (smiles), I got some knack of spinning, my spins got better. I'm good at a Donut-Biellmann spin(Camel), I like doing it the most, however, Biellmann position is not available to do 2 times in one program, and I must take level features as much as possible. So I can't show a Donut-Biellmann in competition, I'm sorry for that.

- On her 2011-2012FS"My Fair Lady"
In the beginning, "skate beautifully!" to the quiet music, then the music changes its note, "perform with fun!". Even I have fun in competitions, as I have fun with the song and choreography, with dancing to the music, in sync. In competitions, I was struggling with only jump elements last season. But this season, I keep turning it over my mind, "to skate to the music in sync". (On its step sequence:) Difficult, tough footworks… It's so quick overall, that I need to do correct, well-done edge works with its speed.

- On her jumping
Although I have never done run-throughs without jumping, but this Eastern… I have tried not to worsen my injury, at least. Yuka(@ Cup of China at that time), also told me "Anyway, do not overwork!", as well as Kumiko(Yuka's mother, who coaches Mao along with Nobuo), who looks after me this competition, "In practices, save your jumps for competitions," asked me. Then I had only imaged to jump in run-throughs. (On 3-3:) I have tried to have 3Lz/3F/3Lo-3T in programs. I wish I could add 3T following those triples, when I recover from my injury… Now I have much worked on solo triples, to make them beautifully.

- Her dream about the future
I dream that I could skate as a professional skater, in the ice show. My very first international competition, at JGPS I won magically. I hadn't prepared an exhibition program, so I used other music from other skaters' program, to skate in an improvisational way (laughs), to skate like feeling. I performed in the dark, had been spotlighted for the first time. The crowds, Belarusian people gave me their claps in performing. That was a really! fun time for me. Then I wished I could become a professional skater someday, "to perform in the ice show like this, again!"

- For fans
Thank you for your sincere letters… I always appreciate you all. When I get depressed, or haven't so good performances, I'm going to read them - that encourages me so much, "Move On! from now on!", that makes me uplifted. As always, thank you for your support!


Mutsumi TAKAYAMA Ladies 2nd place 124.43 (SP4/FS2)

Quick Quote
I know I have a lot to do, I have tried to finish them in a month for All-Japan.

- What are your tasks?
Jumps consistency in the program, particularly in the second half. I haven't enough strength to kill them.

- But you killed your signature 3Lz 2 times in FS here.
It's the best jump of mine, but… should be done in competitions more.

- about 2011-2012 programs
I like both openings of SP/FS, since it took a long time to make those acts. Especially, I feel like my FS"Amelie".

- For "All-Japan"
Anyway, I will have a lot run-throughs, in order to fit music, to execute elements. Last year, I couldn't qualify for FS. So I would like to challenge again. (What does All-Japan mean to you?:) The challenging place to test my abilities.


We're sorry for missing Ladies 3rd place Yuki NISHINO's quotes.


Risa SHOJI Junior Ladies 1st place 153.37 (SP1/FS1)

Quick Quote
I was pleased with winning, but more than this result, I'm satisfied with my effort this eastern. I did what to do, as tasks of this Eastern.

- What were your tasks here?
I have tried to correct jumping entries, so I focused on that, whether I made jumps or not.

- About 2011-2012 programs
SP is my first jazz number so far, it's difficult to sharpen my moves when I'm getting tired, but, I hope to make difference from last season, to show another "Risa Shoji". A lady-like, yet, unmuted, …"chic" woman I would like to play. FS"Legends of the Fall", is the beautiful music… to bring another atmosphere, as well. I would like to skate beautifully, in a heartfelt touch.

- For "All-Japan" Jr.
As I did here, will concentrate on jumping entries. Other than jumps, I hope to give it in the competition as I do in trainings, that I can't put out due to my nerves.

- For JGPF
I don't care about the placement so much. Last year, I got so nervous, that I spoiled my performances mostly, by myself. So, I will make an effort to have satisfying performances there.

- On her 2nd junior season
Last season, I didn't know about what would happen to me in my first junior season, at all, but I'm getting a little bit used to this 2nd junior season, I guess. I hope my experience of last season will work now, to make me mentally stronger than last season. Every competition, I'm in such a tensed mood, that I'm going to lose confidence, to fail in jumps which I could have done. So I have to overcome my tension, not to do that anymore.


Haruna SUZUKI Junior Ladies 2nd place 138.53 (SP2/FS2)

Quick Quote
Last Eastern, I was placed in 1st in SP, so I got upset in FS, it was a shame. This Eastern, I didn't care about the result, had tried to do focus on my own performance! Coaches(Nobuo SATO / Kumiko SATO) told "look at the faces of crowds, in order to give your performance to them, tell your feelings to them."

- On her 3Lz/3F, which she has tried to have in SP/FS this season.
I didn't expect that I would change so much from last season! I have to focus on not only 3Lz/3F but also other elements, for now! In order to make my 3Lz/3F stable, I have them in my elements, to work on them as a must-have.

- About 2011-2012 programs
In SP("Ole Guapa"), I hope to show my facial expression! in footworks. For the first time, "I wanna try a strong music!" to choose it by myself. So I give it my all! work harder! In FS("Autumn from The Four Seasons"), I hope to move like this mellow music! to show my artistry, as well. I give my all!

- About her very first JGPS
Everyone there was outstanding! was shocking, "…May I join them?" (laughs) It was my second international competition, so I didn't expect that "how great junior ladies are in the world!" …will run to them! (So, have you gotten confident, after that?:) Absolutely, I have changed! have tried to "take that level/GOE feature of that skater", I made a new one. (smiles)

- For "All-Japan" Jr.
Today, I made mistakes in FS, so I hope I will never have it in FS! At first, I have tried to defeat my weak self, and to focus on my own performance. Then I have to improve my artistry for next.


At "All-Japan" National Junior Championships (Nov. 25-27), Satoko MIYAHARA , a Western Junior Ladies gold medalist, won a gold(overall 172.17 !!), too, and Western Jr. silver Kako TOMOTAKI was placed in 2nd(153.42), Risa placed 3rd(151.69), Haruna 4th(150.92). Then JGPF(Dec. 8-11) in Canada, Risa finished in 6th place(134.35), and Golden Spin of Zagreb (Dec. 8-11) in Croatia, Haruna won a silver(148.30).

"All-Japan" Jr. Results:
http://www.skatingjapan.jp/National/2011-2012/fs_e/national_jr/index.htm


+++ Other Favorites +++

In Ladies event, current 6th of "All-Japan" Yuki NISHINO (SP3/FS3), her jumps seemed not to be well-prepared for this Eastern, but her magnificence took her to the 3rd place(overall 119.19). A Tokyo Regional Ladies leader Kanade HASEGAWA (SP2/FS4), she made her 3T-3T(GOE+0.84) in SP, but step-3Lo got downgraded and fallen, and her LSp was called level1, therefore, her TES was not enough to make her way to FS, in which she skated with good speed and groove, to sit in such close 4th place(117.66). And Nana TAKEDA , who made entries neither Regional nor Western, she announced her farewell to the competition. Nana continues to get involved with Japan's Figure Skating, as a future coach.

A Tokyo Regional Men leader Takuya KONDOH (SP4/FS8/6th), he injured his left 4th toe(fracture), about a week before "Intercollege(in Jan. 2012)" qualifier (Oct. 22-23), however, without his regular elements, but with his guts he got determined to qualify for it. Caring for his injury he had trained for this Eastern, then he "had almost no pain except for Toe Loop jumps," there, and has recovered as he "haven't pain anymore", for now. So nice to hear from a spokesman of his University skating club, she has committed "he'll be in form on All-Japan"! (Japan Skates appreciate you, Maiko, for your kind help to know about his injury.)


A month after this Eastern, at NRW Trophy(Dec. 3-4) in Germany, Yuki won a Ladies silver(159.90), as well as other Japanese won medals: Kako(TOMOTAKI) - Ladies bronze(158.97); Kent - Men bronze(196.18). Takahito MURA , a Western Men Leader was placed in Men 4th(192.81).

NRW Trophy Results:
http://www.lev-nrw.org/lev2008/docs/event/1053/index.htm


+++ Fumie SUGURI +++

Fumie appeared with her well-toned body, on her first competition this season. In SP warming-up 6 minutes, she had tested her jump elements but she couldn't handle at all, lost the right timing for them. 2010-2012SP"Adagio", she failed in all of her jump elements, also spins and footworks, to place herself in 11th. In FS 6 minutes, Fumie checked utmost 2A. Her brand-new program 2011-2012FS"Adios Nonino", that contented only double jumps, but she fell on her 2A. Other elements could not help her, either. Then she dropped down in overall 12th, to miss her consecutive "17th" All-Japan. Due to her right ankle injury, which was caused by boots problem, she seemed to be concerned with her condition, in much challenging this Eastern for Fumie. Although she was struggling with her elements, she got even more beautiful posture in skating, even though her full speed was not back to her yet. Crowds and skaters encouraged her with their applause and sincerity element by element.

Fumie describes her 2011-2012 season on her HP, that she has tried 10+ new boots this season, but all of them could not fit her; she hopes to show her best-ever skate at "All-Japan" next season, coming back to Japan to move forward with her new coach and new programs, with her own spark, for challenging next season.
☞ For fans Dec. 7, 2011 (in Japanese)


"Eastern Section" Results:
http://www.skatingjapan.jp/National/2011-2012/fs_e/east/index.htm

"Western Section" Results:
http://www.skatingjapan.jp/National/2011-2012/fs_e/west/index.htm

Interviews on Japan Skates:
☞ Risa SHOJI @ Mixed Zone, 2011 JGPF in Canada
☞ Yuki NISHINO 2009 summer
☞ Yuki NISHINO 2009 winter
☞ Takuya KONDOH this summer
☞ Nana TAKEDA 2007 Nov.
Fumie SUGURI 4 interviews, you can read them all here:
http://www.japanskates.com/interviews/InterviewHome.htm