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Japan Skates The world's number one resource for Japan's champion lady skaters.
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2013-05-06T18:30:07Z
WordPress http://www.japanskates.com/blog/?feed=atom
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admin <![CDATA[Nobunari ODA gave color to JapanSkates, before Worlds. @ Kansai University on March 29, 2011. (in Japanese)]]> http://www.japanskates.com/blog/?p=724
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2013-05-06T18:25:13Z

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2011-08-02T01:02:57Z

© David Carmichael

☞ English

+++ Japan’s Crisis +++

織田選手は、被災地の赤ちゃんやお母さん達に、救援物資として育児用品を送られました。

“少ない力ですが、自分が出来ること、っていうのは、必ずあると思うんです。義援金の呼びかけ、ですとか。言い訳になってしまうのですが、今は試合に向かっている状況で、自分が出来ることを、早く実行に移したい、と思っています。”

JapanSkates では、東日本大震災に関する記事を予定しており、織田選手にもお話を頂戴しております。

JS: JapanSkates の Mark も、4月にパパになります。ということで、何度も聞かれた質問かと思われますが、最後の話納めに、もう一回だけお願いします!Q. 「パパになられて、いかがでしたか?」

NO: 守るべき存在ができた、ということで、今までは自分を優先して生活してきたのですが、今は、子供を一番に優先して行動するようになりました。そういった意味では、考え方や人生観がすごく変わりました。

JS: それが、プログラムにも活きていますね?

NO: 今までは、「良い演技をして喜んでもらいたい」という気持ちだったのですが、その気持ちに加えて、いつか、物心ついた息子が演技を見られるようになった時、「息子が恥じないように」という気持ちで臨んでいます。

JS: それから、パパになられたこともそうですが、『結婚』も、大いに影響されているんじゃないかな、って。…なんのお話か分かりませんが、私はまだ、結婚というものが何たるか、分かってなくて。

NO: (苦笑)

JS: 付き合っていて、同棲もしていて、そういう話も出るんですが、その彼彼女の関係と、結婚との違いが分かってなくて。

NO: (苦笑)

JS: ただ、自分が思うに、結婚って、約束なのかな、と。「ずっと、一緒におるよ。」っていう。その約束が、女の子からすると一番うれしいし、男の子は、その約束で、力が湧くのかな、と思うのですが、織田選手は、ご結婚されていかがでしたか?

NO: 僕は、実は 結婚願望が強くて。10代の頃から、「好きなひととめぐり会って、結婚して、家族で一緒にがんばって行きたい」と思っていました。

JS: 10代から!

NO: もちろん、今まで一人でがんばってきたわけではなく、ずっと皆さんに支えられてがんばって来れたのですが、10代の頃は、練習も厳しく、個人競技ゆえに 独りで悩むことも多かったので。ずっとそばにいてくれて、励ましてくれる、そういうひとがいてくれたらな、って。結婚したら、そうなるのかな、と思っていました。昨年の4月に結婚して、同棲はしていなかったので、毎日そばにいて、「今日調子悪かったなぁ」「明日大丈夫なんちゃう?」とか、そんなたわいのない会話でも、すごく、幸せを感じます。…それが、結婚なのかな、と。

JS: 【結婚: 一緒にがんばる → 幸せ。】と。

NO: 同棲との違いは?って言われたら、分からないですけどね。(笑)

JS: (笑)

NO: 自分の中の結婚、というのは、精神的なつながりで、それが与えてくれるものは大きいです。

JS: 10代からそう思ってる兄さんもいるのかー。

NO: 僕、けっこう寂しがり屋なので。(笑) 10代だと、どうしても、親には反抗心がちょっとあったりして、素直になれへんかったし、友達でも、スケーターの友達には、スケーターの悩みを分かってもらえるのですが、毎日顔を合わせることはないですし。結婚して、自分の寂しがりな部分が癒されているなぁ、と思います。

JS: ほぅー。…『結婚』、すごい力になっていますね!

NO: そうです!スケートは同じかもしれないですけど、気持ちとしては全然違います。

JS: いえ!スケートも変わっています!昨季の、まさかの世界選手権から、今季のGPFでは、ショートで4T-3T(GOE+2.29!)を決められましたよ!結婚、すごいなぁ。

NO: そんなかんじで。(笑)

JS: 結婚、よく分かりました!また、[10代から結婚願望ある兄さんの謎]も解決ですよ。ありがとうございます!

NO: 周りの友達に結婚願望を話したら、「ちょっと変わってるなぁ」って言われてましたよ。

JS: でも、同志はいますよ。自分が目撃しています。そういう兄さんは、10代からそう思うんですね。

NO: そう思っていた時に、今の奥さんとめぐり会えて。

JS: 純愛かー。…奥様は、信成さんからの約束が、なによりうれしかったと思いますよ!

NO: あ…ありがとうございます!

JS: 昨季のフリーの”チャップリン”は、これぞ織田信成!っていう、マスターピースになったと思うのですが、その”チャップリン”からの、今季のフリー”Piano Concerto No1No2 (by Grieg)”のプログラム作りは、大変だったのではないでしょうか?

NO: 曲は、振り付けのセバスチャン・ブリテンさんに選んでもらいました。これまで、チャップリンや座頭一など、キャラクターのあるプログラムを演じてきたので、クラシック、っていうのを最初に聞いた時には、「出来るのかな?」という不安のようなものは多少ありました。でも、練習を重ねるごとに、どんどん曲が好きになってきて、曲を表現する、ということが、ちょっとずつ体で分かるようになってきたので。チャップリンとは、ある意味、真逆のプログラムになったのですが、自分としては、先生にこの曲を選んで頂いてよかったな、と思っています。

JS: 今季のショート”Storm”は、織田選手の動きと音楽のタッチがぴったりで、またもうひとつ、マスターピース来たな、と熱狂しています!また、吉田兄弟さんは国際的な人気があって、世界の皆さんに好まれる「和」プログラムだと思います。

NO: この曲は、ファンの方に、「この曲どうですか?」って教えて頂いたんです。それで、すごくかっこいいな、と思って、セバスチャンに持って行ったら、「これはイイ!」ということになり、編曲して今の形になりました。僕自身、すごく気に入っています。

JS: そう!ファンクのグルーヴもあるし、とってもお似合いです!

NO: ありがとうございます!

JS: ベテランの域に入られて、エレメンツだけではなく、プログラム全体をお客さんに見せる、ということを、より考えられているのかな、と思っているのですが、どのように取り組まれているのでしょう?

NO: 昨シーズン、プログラム全体の表現力、という面をニコライ先生(モロゾフコーチ)に指導してもらって、ちょっとずつ、表現することが分かってきました。ただ、ジャンプを飛んでスピンをして…というのではなく、それを『どう見てもらうか』ということの大切さを、先生に気付かせてもらいました。今季のプログラムも、エレメンツを、どう和風っぽく見せるのか・どうクラシックっぽく見せるのか、そう考えるだけでも、技のひとつひとつがすごく変わってきます。例えば、ショートだったら、キレよくジャンプを飛ぼう、とか、フリーは、やさしいタッチのところでは、やさしく、ふわっと飛ぼう、とか。ちいさな意識かもしれませんが、自分にとっては、大きな変化かな、と思っています。

JS: 音楽のイメージを、エレメンツでも見せる、ということですね。

JS: 昨季のお話で、遅まきになってしまい申し訳ないのですが、”チャップリン”で、「人生のはかなさ、せつなさを表現したい」とおっしゃっていて、私は、「スゴイぞ!」とずっと思ってました。喜怒哀楽の果てにお笑いこそある!とか、幸せへの階段、それがお笑い!とか、humorユーモアはhumanityヒューマニティから生えたしっぽ!みんな持ってる!とか、妄信している自分からすると、「よくぞ!言ってくれた!やってくれた!」って、やんやの拍手喝采でしたよ。

© paja

NO: (笑) チャップリンを自分なりに調べた時に、喜劇王の反面、かなしい人生でもあった、ということが分かって。こころの中にかなしみはあるけれども、人には笑いを与えたい、みたいな。チャップリンと似た境遇ではありませんが、僕も、人を笑かしたりするのが、すごく好きで。でも、だからと言って、底抜けに明るい性格ではないんです。そういう面を出して、演じられたらな、と。「人生には、はかなさ、せつなさもあるけど、たのしさがある!」っていうことを伝えられたら、と思っていました。

© paja

JS: 世界選手権に向けて、のお話ですが、例えば、2月の四大陸の時、高橋選手は、「ジャンプの安定のため、上半身強化に取り組んだ」、小塚選手は「PCS(演技構成点)を上げるために練習をして来た」と、囲みの取材でお答えになっていました。今季の男子シングルの場合、ジャンプ構成でもスピンステップでも大して差がつかないので、ジャンプのGOEとPCSが勝敗を分けるのかな、と予想しています。織田選手の場合、その両方が高い水準だと思うのですが、どのような目標を持って練習されていますか?

NO: 僕は、四大陸には選出されず、ユニバーシアードに臨んでいたのですが、全日本が終わってからの目標は、プログラムを完成形まで持っていく、ということです。「これを見せたいんだ!」というプログラムを練習で作って、お客さんに見てもらう、というのが目標です。世界選手権が3月終盤に予定されていたので、2月3月はカナダで練習していて、プログラムが大分よくなってきたな、という自信を持って、日本に帰って来ました。「今持っている力で出せる最高のプログラムを、モスクワで!」、そう思っています。

JS: 高橋選手は、四大陸の時、「ワールドは、皆、パトリック・チャン選手に照準を合わせて戦って行くだろう」とおっしゃっていました。私は、GPFで実際にチャン選手をはじめて拝見したのですが、氷との一体感に、衝撃を受けました。氷の上に乗ることで、パトリックが完成している!かのように思われました。他のスケーターにも認められている理由がよく分かりましたよ。織田選手同様、ジャンプのGOEももらえるし…

NO: ジャンプ、キレイですよね。

JS: そう、そんなチャン選手ですが、織田選手はどう思われていますか?

NO: 僕も、机の上で点数を見て比較する時は、まずチャン選手の得点表を見て計算しています。やはり、GPFで優勝していますし(織田選手は2位)、今の一番手ですね。すべてのエレメンツが平均以上!ほとんど90点に近い、レベルの高いもので、自分も負けてられへんな、と。本当に、スケーティングが滑らかですし、その才能に怠らず、自分で一生懸命に努力をしている、というのが一番素晴らしいと思います。

JS: あれは…滑らかとしか言いようがない。

NO: あれは、練習しても無理かな、って。(笑) 才能ですね。スケーティングがキレイ!と、フィギュアファンの皆さんは、よく言われていますね。

JS: GPFの時、みんなが通った氷上の軌跡を、ずっと書いてたんですけど、パトリックのだけ、線がえらいことになってましたよ。走行距離と進行の複雑さだけでも、際立っていました。信成さんの道も、もちろん、立派でした!

NO: 僕は… (苦笑)

JS: いえいえ。軌跡には、個性が出ますね。トマシュ(ベルネル選手)なんかは、サークルみたいなのが多くて、スケーティングがおおらかに感じました。

NO: 動きやすい方向、っていうのが各選手、それぞれありますからね。

JS: 会場では、いろんな選手の個性が見られますね。

JS: …その、得点を「計算」してる姿が、見てみたいですねぇ。

NO: (笑) どの選手も皆、やってますねぇ。試合が終わったら、得点表が出るので、それを比較して。それから、自分の得点を見て、ジャッジ9人中、一人でも低い点がついていたら、「何で低かったか?」という理由を考えて、そこから対策を練って行きます。

JS: モスクワでは、皆さんが喜ばれる、そして息子さんの誇りになるような、最高のプログラムになりますよう、応援しております!

+++ Worlds in Moscow +++

He was placed in 2nd after SP, finished 6th overall, due to a costly mistake in FS - he attended his 3T x 3 times, to lose his point on 3A-3T (base value: 12.6).

SP 2nd place

81.81 TES43.37(2) PCS38.44(3)

{4T -2.43, 3A +2.00, FCSp4 +0.36, 3Lz-3T +1.00, CCoSp2 +0.86, SlSt3 -0.03, CSSp4 +0.71}

::: Quick Quote :::

I’m very pleased with my placement today. It was surprising, because I made a mistake on the quad and also wobbled on the footworks. But I had a quad in SP, because I thought it was necessary and that paid off. Last Worlds, I finished 28th in SP, so, placed in second this time is really nice and I’m happy to get a small medal of SP. I want to continue the same way.

::: More from press conference :::

I also wanted to finish this season with a very good program, that’s what I concentrated on, then I could give my very best performance out there today. Knowing Patrick(1st place after SP), I know he will perform his best tomorrow, so what I have to do is to put out my best. I don’t know if I can do this very well and also I don’t know if I can catch up to you, Patrick, but I hope I will do my best.

FS 9th overall 6th 232.50

150.69 TES72.25(12) PCS78.44(4)

{3T-3T +1.40, 3A*-3T*(invalid element), 3F +1.30, CiSt3 +0.79, FCCoSp3 +0.14 // 3A +1.71, 3Lz-2T-2Lo +0.30, 3Lo +1.10, 3S +0.80, 2A +0.57, ChSt1 +1.43, FSSp4 +0.29, CCoSp4 +0.79}

(Nobu’s PPC{4T,3A-3T,3F//3A,3Lz-2T-2Lo, 3Lo,3S-3T, 2A})

::: Quick Quote :::

I am really disappointed with my performance, because I had been training not to do these mistakes… (He had done the same mistake before.)

::: 3 days after FS, for JapanSkates :::

大きなミスがあり順位を落とす結果になってしまいましたが、腐らず頑張りたいと思います。

+++ 左膝の怪我に関して +++

織田選手は、今年2月頃から左膝に痛みを抱えていましたが、5月の検査の結果、けん断裂が判明しました。

*すてきなチャップリンを描いて下さったイラストレーターさんは、イラスト代を東日本大震災義援金として寄付されました。東北を元気に!義援金は9月30日まで受け付けられています。国際赤十字連盟や中央募金会のサイトより、オンラインで直接募金出来ます。

国際赤十字連盟 https://www.ifrc.org/en/donation-japan (英語)

中央募金会 http://www.akaihane.or.jp/er/p2.html

☞ Nobunari Oda on JapanSkates.com Aug.20, 2006

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admin <![CDATA[Nobunari ODA gave color to JapanSkates, before Worlds. @ Kansai University on March 29, 2011.]]> http://www.japanskates.com/blog/?p=686
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2012-03-13T01:10:43Z

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2011-05-21T02:22:18Z

 

© David Carmichael

 

☞ Japanese

 

+++ Japan’s Crisis +++

Nobu sent nursery items to the babies and mothers in disaster area.

“Even if it’s not efficient so much - I believe I can give something to help for them. To ask for Donation… and so on. I’m sorry that I must work on my trainings for Worlds at this moment, and I hope I can give it as soon as possible.”

- he talked more, to be posted later on JapanSkates.com as a special feature for Japan.

 

 

JS: Mark, the founder of Japan Skates, is going to be a father in April. So he would like to ask you “how fatherhood has influenced you?” *Nobu became a father of his first son Shintaro in Oct. 2010.

 

NO: Now I have a life to take care. My priority was the life of my own before, but his life is my own priority for now. I guess that has inspired me, to change my mindset.

 

JS: Has that inspired also your programs?

 

NO: I hoped I could perform well to entertain people, plus, now I wish my son would be proud of me, if he could watch my programs someday.

 

JS: Plus, I think marriage has inspired you, as well. …It sounds silly, but I don’t know how the marriage works, what the marriage is.

 

NO: Mmmmm… (smile)

 

JS: It’s a case of myself, a boyfriend “living together”, he sometimes recommends me a similar thing “marriage” like Amazon.com, but I don’t need their recommendations at all. I have “living together” already, I don’t need the same thing “marriage”.

 

NO: Mmmmm… (smile)

 

JS: Though, I guess “marriage” is enhanced with the word of honor: “never leave your side”. That promise, it’s the best honor for girls, and itself is boys’ honor as well. How does your “marriage” work, Nobu?

 

NO: I had been marriage-oriented, since my teens. wished I could meet the one, to marry, to support each other as a family.

 

JS: “since your teens”!

 

NO: Needless to say, I have been supported by lots of people to get here, but sometimes I felt isolated in my teens. You know, tough trainings concern Single teen skater. I wished for the one, who would be always beside me to encourage me. I thought I could have the one, if I would get married. Then I got married last year in April, we didn’t “live together”, so we have been together everyday. I say “was no good today…”, she says “will be good tomorrow!”, like that. It’s not important conversation, but it makes me so happy. - That is a kind of marriage? I guess.

 

JS: [Note] marriage: support each other >>> so happy

 

NO: If you ask “What’s the difference between living together and marriage?” - I have no idea. (LOL)

 

JS: (LOL)

 

NO: As for me, marriage means to connect souls. It gives me a lot.

 

JS: Wow… Some of boys have thought so since their teens.

 

NO: I miss companionship pretty much. (smile) In my teens, I couldn’t be orderly for my parents, you know, and other skater friends to share worries, I couldn’t meet them everyday. Now, my loneliness is healed by marriage, I guess.

 

JS: Well, Marriage gives you a lot, indeed!

 

NO: Indeed! you could not see that on my performance, yet, my soul is fully charged up definitely!

 

JS: YES! we can see that! you killed a state-of-the-art 4T-3T(GOE+2.29!)!! in SP at GPF in Dec. this season. What a recovery from the disastrous Worlds the end of last season! - Marriage, it works definitely!

 

NO: In that way. (smile)

 

JS: got it! I do know what the marriage is, why some teen boys want to get married, as well! Thank you!

 

NO: I was such a minority as other friends said “You are exceptional.”

 

JS: But you have company, whom I know in person. Your company have wished for the one to marry since your teens.

 

NO: On time, I could meet my fate, my wife.

 

JS: - A true romance… your wife, was so pleased with that promise of marriage, I guess.

 

NO: well, Thank you!

 

 

JS: In my view, 2009-2010LP “Charlie Chaplin”, is your masterpiece - this is it! I think it was difficult to make a new LP”Piano Concerto No1No2 (by Grieg)” this season.

 

NO: A choreographer Sebastien Britten picked this music for me. I have played characters in my programs: Chaplin and Zatoichi, so, when he told me that I would perform classical music, “Could I?” worried a little bit. But, the more I have performed it, the more I like this music, the more this music has fit me. I’m going to have the sense of its musical note little by little. This program is the opposite of “Charlie Chaplin”, in my view. I appreciate that Sebastien chose it for me.

 

 

JS: 2010-2011 SP “Storm (by Yoshida Brothers)”, is another masterpiece of Nobu! for me. Your moves feels like its musical note. And Yoshida Brothers, they have so many international fans, that its Japanese taste could be welcomed internationally.

 

NO: This song is a recommendation from my fan. “sounds cool,” I listened to it, brought it to Sebastien. He said “it sounds good!”, too, then it got arranged as 2:50. For me, I feel like it!

 

JS: Yes! you feel like it! Both you and the music have a funk groove.

 

NO: Thank you!

 

 

JS: I see, you have been trying to show not only your elements, but also your program, since you turned a veteran. How have you worked on?

 

NO: I have found the sense of performing little by little, which Nikolai(Morozov) had taught me last season. Jumping, spinning, it means not only an element to show my skills. “How it be displayed” has been important for me. As for this season, how to display them in a Japanese theme / in a Classical music theme, has influenced my technics. Jumping like carving in SP, jumping like waving in smooth note of FS for example. - It may be minor stuff, but could be a major change for me.

 

JS: It works. You express the feeling of music, even with your elements, as musical instruments.

 

 

JS: It’s too late but I would like to talk about “Charlie Chaplin”, desperately! I have so much admired Nobu, you noted “wish I could portray froth on the daydream, flash of the lifetime,” on your “Charlie Chaplin”.

 

© paja

 

As if I could meet company, for I have firmly maintained: The glad,angry,sad,fun all roads could lead to Comedy!; Stairway to happiness, that is comedy!; the humor, leading from our humanity, we all have such an invisible tail! - My standing ovation for you, Nobu!

 

NO: (LOL) I learned about Chaplin, found he had both sides, the comic king / a man who needs comic relief. I imagine he wanted to make people laugh, through his sorrow. Unlike him, I haven’t sorrowed, but, like him, I love to make people laugh so much. However, I am not cheerful so much. - I wished I could show both sides of my own. “Life may be turned down, but you find it in your heart - to have fun!”, I had maintained on “Charlie Chaplin”.

 

© paja

 

 

JS: For Worlds, Daisuke(Takahashi) “have worked on upper body strength for jumps consistency,” Taka(Kozuka) “have trained in order to credit PCS(Program Component Score),” they said at 4CC mixzone interviews in Feb. As for Men, jumps base values + spins/footworks scores are apparently even, so, jumps GOE(Grade Of Execution)s + PCS winner would win at Worlds, my prediction. You have both, higher jumps GOEs and PCS. Nobu, what have you aimed, for Worlds?

 

NO: I wasn’t called up for 4CC, then I participated the Winter Universiade in early Feb. After Japan Nats, I have aimed to complete my programs. My goal is: to finalize “what to show” in training, to show it at Worlds. I had trained in Canada in Feb-Mar to Worlds, which was scheduled in late March, and came back here with confidence that my programs went their ways. I hope I will show the best programs what I could give, in Moscow!

 

 

JS: Daisuke, also predicted “the guys would try to meet a target - Patrick Chan at Worlds.” there. I have watched Patrick on the ice for the first time at GPF, was shocked. Patrick fit the ice, where he had magnetism. As if Patrick is finalized as the Figure Skater. I got totally understood why he has been acclaimed by other skaters. In addition, GOEs are credited for his jumps as same as you, Nobu…

 

NO: Yes, his jumps are clear.

 

JS: So, what do you think of him?

 

NO: When I compare the scores at my desk, I take a look at Patrick’s at first, as Daisuke mentions. He won GPF(Nobu was placed 2nd), he is the leader at this moment. Every single element is above average, almost 90 out of 100. Much advanced elements he has. I must lead the charge, too. Much smooth skating also he has, none the less, he has dedicated himself to polish his gift - that is the highest honor.

 

JS: “smooth” - the only adjective I can say…

 

NO: You never skate like him, even if you have trained a lot. (smile) He is gifted. As most Figure Skating fans cherish the beauty of his skating.

 

JS: In GPF, I had traced skater’s footprints, then I found Patrick’s was drawn like a mad scrawl. His long and intricate line, itself was something else. Your line was awesome, of course!

 

NO: Hardly… (smile)

 

JS: Yes, it’s awesome. Lines could characterize skaters? Tomas(Verner) had plenty of circles, his skating looked like brushwork on the ice.

 

NO: Skaters have their own moves to feel natural.

 

JS: We’ll see color on the ice, in venues.

 

 

JS: …wanna see you’re calculating to compare the scores!

 

NO: (LOL) Every skater does calculate! after every competition, to check judges scores. Then, if even one of 9 judges credits low points to the element, you must think “Why?” and refine it.

 

 

JS: In Moscow, wanna see your best programs to entertain people, to be your son’s pride!

 

 

+++ Worlds in Moscow +++

He was placed 2nd after SP, finished 6th overall, due to a costly mistake in FS - he attended his 3T x 3 times, to lose his point on 3A-3T (base value: 12.6).

 

SP 2nd place

81.81 TES43.37(2) PCS38.44(3)

{4T -2.43, 3A +2.00, FCSp4 +0.36, 3Lz-3T +1.00, CCoSp2 +0.86, SlSt3 -0.03, CSSp4 +0.71}

 

::: Quick Quote :::

I’m very pleased with my placement today. It was surprising, because I made a mistake on the quad and also wobbled on the footworks. But I had a quad in SP, because I thought it was necessary and that paid off. Last Worlds, I finished 28th in SP, so, placed in second this time is really nice and I’m happy to get a small medal of SP. I want to continue the same way.

 

::: More from press conference :::

I also wanted to finish this season with a very good program, that’s what I concentrated on, then I could give my very best performance out there today. Knowing Patrick(1st place after SP), I know he will perform his best tomorrow, so what I have to do is to put out my best. I don’t know if I can do this very well and also I don’t know if I can catch up to you, Patrick, but I hope I will do my best.

 

FS 9th overall 6th 232.50

150.69 TES72.25(12) PCS78.44(4)

{3T-3T +1.40, 3A*-3T*(invalid element), 3F +1.30, CiSt3 +0.79, FCCoSp3 +0.14 // 3A +1.71, 3Lz-2T-2Lo +0.30, 3Lo +1.10, 3S +0.80, 2A +0.57, ChSt1 +1.43, FSSp4 +0.29, CCoSp4 +0.79}

(Nobu’s PPC{4T,3A-3T,3F//3A,3Lz-2T-2Lo, 3Lo,3S-3T, 2A})

 

::: Quick Quote :::

I am really disappointed with my performance, because I had been training not to do these mistakes… (He had done the same mistake before.)

 

::: 3 days after FS, for JapanSkates :::

I made a big mistake, to pay penalty with losing places. However, still I’m looking ahead to continue giving my all.

 

 

+++ on his left knee injury +++

Nobu has been injured his left knee, since February. His torn medial collateral ligament was found by exam on May 12th, he needs 4-6 weeks rest to recovery.

 

 

*Chaplin’s illustrator donated the fee of her sincere works to: Red Cross “Donate online to Japan” https://www.ifrc.org/en/donation-japan

 

 

☞ Nobunari Oda on JapanSkates.com Aug.20, 2006

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admin <![CDATA[Japan Skates’ interview with Fumie Suguri – Tom Graham Arena, Richmond Hill, Ontario, April 29, 2010]]> http://www.japanskates.com/blog/?p=636
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2013-05-06T18:25:50Z

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2010-06-02T00:47:21Z
It’s hard to believe, but less than two years ago, no one here at Japan Skates had ever met Fumie or had ever seen her skate live. Of course, we were very familiar with her skating, having watched her for many years and seeing her win World medals and delivering exceptional Olympic performances. When we heard that Fumie was training with Nikolai Morozov at Ice House in New Jersey, we asked for an interview and Gregg travelled from Boston to hold what turned out to be our best-received interview to date. We then caught up with Fumie again at the 2008 Skate Canada International in Ottawa.

When a journalist friend of mine mentioned that Fumie was in the Toronto area working on choreography with Lori Nichol, I jumped at the chance to request an interview. I knew that it would be very interesting for our readers to learn what was behind Fumie’s decision to keep skating competitively with the 2014 Sochi Olympics in distant view, as well as her change of agents and her deal with a new sponsor.

Fumie has not yet selected a coach for the new season, and as such feels that she should not publicly announce her new programs. As soon as this information is made public, we’ll update the site and this interview page. We hope you enjoy this extensive conversation with one of Japanese skating’s greatest stars and spokeswomen.

JS: Japan Skates

FS: Fumie Suguri

JS: Thank you, Fumie, for doing the interview.

FS: Oh, you’re welcome, my pleasure!

JS: Tell me a little bit about why you’re here and who you’re training with, and how long you’ve been here.

FS: I started choreography with Lori Nichol. I hadn’t worked with her for three seasons, but last year I asked her to re-choreograph my programs because I felt a little uncomfortable with some parts of them. She didn’t do the whole program, but she helped, and I decided I’d go back to her. In my mind, she’s the best for me. I worked with her for a long time.

JS: Which program did she help you with last year?

FS: Both the short and the long.

JS: How long are you in town for the choreography?

FS: I came here in the middle of April and I worked with Lori for five days. She then left for a while; that’s why I stayed a little longer than planned.

JS: Are you going to be here much longer?

FS: No, I’m pretty much done; I’m leaving for Japan on Saturday.

JS: You’ve obviously chosen your programs…. Can you tell me what they are, or is that not public information yet?

FS: It’s a really difficult decision, because of my coaching situation… To be safe, let’s hold off for now. When I’ve definitely figured out my coaching situation, I will know if I can publish my programs or not.

JS: What type of music do you prefer to skate to?

FS: I always pick up classical things, I guess. I like hip-hop as well, but for skating music I always have to think about good instrumentals, good orchestral music. That’s very important. This year, we couldn’t find good music ideas for the short program. We were struggling with the music person for, like, three hours without finding anything we liked.

JS: Did you choose your latest music with Lori?

FS: With Lori, yeah. The long program was my choice and she was very happy about that the first time I brought it in. I think that not working with her for two or three years helped us both a lot. I can see that she has different, fresh ideas. The break made us both fresh.

JS: You mentioned your coaching situation. I know you’ve had some not-so-positive experiences with coaches the last few seasons. Who will you be working with this year?

FS: Actually, I don’t know yet! (laughs) After Nationals, I had to figure out how I could continue to skate with my financial situation. I talked to many people and actually switched agents. And thank God I found a new sponsor, so that I could continue. I had already told Lori I wanted to work with her, because once the season ended she would be all booked - so I scheduled with her and that was a done deal. So right now, I have to think about my coach! It’s very difficult, because even during choreography I need some support technically from time to time; maybe I need some more speed here or some more rest there - just the small things. But I don’t have a coach right now, so I don’t know who I should ask for that!

JS: When Gregg interviewed you (July 2008) and when we last talked to you (October 2008) you were working with Nikolai. You then worked with Alexei Mishin. You mentioned then that really went to Nikolai for jumping. What do you think your biggest technical focus will be this year?

FS: It’s a very long story… After Nationals, I met with many people. During the Olympics I did some commentating, which for me was very unusual since I’ve always been competing, not watching from the outside! It was a very good experience for me to see the Olympics from the outside. All this time, I was thinking about why I wanted to continue skating as a competitor and not to turn professional. The main problem is that professional skating is not very popular in Japan. People are going to watch the competitions. It’s partly our fault that we have not offered them good shows. Since people are more interested in competitions, I thought that I needed to approach skating from the competitive side. My main goal is to improve the artistic side of my skating, and I also wanted to have better energy for the artistic elements in competition. You know, competition is becoming all about jumping right now; but when I think deeply, the thing I really love is the artistry. That’s why I asked Lori, because she brings those things. I think I have to improve that for the Japanese skating public as well.

JS: Who arranges a trip like this? Is it the Japan Skating Federation?

FS: Oh no, I do it myself! I made all the contacts, since basically it was my choice to come here and improve my artistic skating.

JS: You had a decision to make two years ago; that was to continue to the Vancouver Olympics. Are you satisfied with your success these last two years?

FS: Yeah! First of all, many people were thinking that it was a wrong decision that I continue skating after the Torino Olympics because I had kind of peaked there. But thank God that I worked with Nikolai, which was good for me and helped me understand other things. He taught me many sides of figure skating, and that was worth continuing for. Unfortunately, I could not go to the last Olympics, but I was able to think back about myself, and I really could see what I wanted to do in the future. So it was a good turning point that I could think about my future at this point. So I’m not really disappointed… I wasn’t satisfied with my result at last year’s Nationals, but it was the point I had to go through. (Listen to Fumie)

JS: There’s a lot of talk on the internet about why you’re continuing to skate. Do you have any idea much longer you’ll continue?

FS: As long as I can! When I met with my new agent, she mentioned that I’m the first one to have continued this long. So she said “Why don’t you just continue?” and not to give up. I had never thought of it that way. I thought back and said “Oh, that’s right!” At least I’m healthy and don’t have any injuries. I think that I can do it!

JS: Do you expect you’ll get Grand Prix assignments?

FS: I don’t know. I asked my Federation… I think I can get at least one, maybe two. I’m not sure.

JS: Some people say “Fumie’s contributed so much to skating”. I think your first NHK was 1996. Some people say that maybe younger skaters should get that Grand Prix spot that you might get. What do you think of that? Is that fair to say, or do you have more to contribute?

FS: I don’t know… You know, it’s happening everywhere. Everyone is stuck at the senior level. In Japan, figure skating is so big right now and so strong that it’s happening there. And in the U.S. it’s the same, you know. For example, Agnes Zawadski, the girl Lori was working with today, already looks like a senior, but she is sticking with junior. There are so many senior girls, so it’s the same situation everywhere. Also, the thing I’m trying to do is not just skating and watching my results…I want to do something for the younger skaters as well. In Japan, it’s becoming such a popular sport, but many skaters are struggling with finances. So I’d like to help that as well if I can. If I want to fix that, I have to be in a certain position to do things. It’s easier to do that if you’re competing, at least in Japan. The professional world is not a big market in Japan right now, so I have to do something while I’m still competing. I’m not sure if I’m explaining this well, but it’s like if I’m going to make some changes and have some influence, it has to be from the competitive side.

JS: Is the Japan Skating Federation supportive of your decision to keep skating?

FS: Yes, they are. I think I have to offer them a lot, you know… When I was young, they helped me so much, so now it’s my turn to give back to them. So that’s what I’m thinking for the next few years.

JS: “Give back” as in coaching at some point?

FS: Anything… I have to talk with my agent about what I can do for them. Basically, I think the biggest thing is finding financial support for the younger kids. Because only at the top - Mao, Miki, probably Akiko and myself - it’s just OK and we can do it, but for many kids in Japan it’s not a good situation. They might want to go abroad to train, but if they don’t have money they can’t come. Or perhaps they don’t have contacts among foreign people. I want to help that as well, if my federation allows me to do so.

JS: What is your agent’s name?

FS: It’s “Sunny Side Up”! They have a big soccer player, Hide Nakata, who has retired from the national team. The company started with him, so every Japanese person knows them as his agent. It’s a very simple name, “Sunny Side Up”… like eggs! (laughing)

JS: I read that you’re going to be an agent, or would like to be an agent? Is that true?

FS: I wasn’t trying to be an agent. But I wanted to do something, such as shows or seminars for kids. That’s why I decided to change agents. When I was younger, I asked others to help me. Now, I have to create things. It’s like a business partnership.

JS: You mentioned earlier about your sponsor. You were looking for a sponsor, and I think the name is “Yoshindo”. They’re a pharmaceuticals company. Can you tell me about how you met them?

FS: In the middle of March, I announced that I was going to continue figure skating, but that I had financial issues. In the press conference I asked if someone could PLEASE come forward and be my sponsor, just like that. And afterwards they just came to me and said that they could support me.

JS: Obviously you’re happy to have found them. Sponsorship has been a problem for a number of skaters; Were you at all upset about not having a sponsor, or being unsure, or were you confident you’d always find one?

FS: I was very surprised when three or four companies offered to sponsor me, not only Yoshindo. I was surprised, as I hadn’t gone to the Olympics. Maybe it was good timing, you know? Right after the Olympics, companies may have realized that figure skating is a big sport. But I want this to happen to the younger skaters as well. That’s what I’m expecting…if I have some connections with people, I can maybe introduce them…”How about this skater?”, “This skater is talented”, that kind of thing.

JS: I read, and this was in translation, that Yoshindo expects you to continue to the next Olympics in Sochi?

FS: Yeah, yeah! And thank God for that! I love this sport so much, and I’m having so much fun working on my artistic side. Competition always brings out a kind of feeling you just can’t get in everyday life, so I love it so much as well.

JS: So you can’t commit to four years, but you’d like to try?

FS: Yeah, for sure!

JS: I heard that Evgeni is going to try to be there too since it’s in Russia…

FS: He wants to? Oh, that’s nice to hear. He’s a bit younger, but we’re pretty close in age! I’ll have company! (laughs)

JS: Can you describe a typical day in your life when you’re training?

FS: This time of year, I’m doing choreography, new programs, and some shows. In the summertime I have to push myself hard to prepare for the upcoming season, so it’s more skating. But in spring it’s more like… recently I went to take a dance class - different types of things. Normally in August, we do some small competitions, and then fix the programs a little for the coming season. But this year, I’ll have to be ready a little bit earlier because I have to do Sectionals! (giggles)

JS: You have to do Sectionals?

FS: Yeah! (laughs) Because I finished so low at the Nationals. The rule is that only the top three can skip. I have to start with the Tokyo Block group! The very beginning level!

JS: Do you do weights or Pilates?

FS: I do Gyrotonic, similar to Pilates, and ballet. Ballet lessons are the most necessary thing for me.

JS: How many hours a day would you skate?

FS: Three, four hours a day, six days as week. Ballet at least one and a half hours.

JS: We have a fan question here.

FS: Good!

JS: A fan of yours from Japan wrote that she loved your Spartacus program. She wonders if you’ll ever skate it again, and also if you’re planning triple-double-double combinations.

FS: Yes! I’m doing the triple-double-double; I’ll try to do it next season - it’s my challenge. My goal in life is the triple-triple! So I have to do this. And Spartacus… I don’t know… I don’t think so. This year, Lori created different programs for my short and long, so I’m not going to do it in the immediate future. I like the style of that program, though.

JS: That question came from your fan, Yuko Fujii.

FS: I wanted you to write down that really want to thank my fans, because they support me so much. I have a lot of positive and very strong fans from when I was very young. I really thank them; even though I’m not doing well this year they still support me a lot. And I could not skate… my heart would not go into the competition without their support. I really want you to write that down. I was so upset at myself that I did not have time to write a message or something like that because I’ve been so busy these last three months. And I did not have a place that I could put my message; that was my problem because my agent changed. They’re preparing a new website, I guess. (Listen to Fumie)

JS: This is another fan question from Janet Neil of London, Ont. What is the highlight of your last four years, since Torino?

FS: Hmmm…. What was it… I don’t know…

JS: The silver medal in Calgary, perhaps?

FS: That was kind of difficult at the time… I wasn’t very… even though I finished with the silver medal, it was hard for me deep inside after the Torino Olympics. I was struggling with why I couldn’t stand on the podium after skating so well. The entire time, my biggest thought was “Why?”. I struggled with that for a year or two. Also, I was having problems with my jumping technique, so nothing was working well. But after I went to Nikolai, things starting coming back a little bit. Finishing second at Nationals and standing on the podium, which was a very good result - I felt very happy at that moment. But the happiest moments for me are when my audience thinks I had good program or performance. That, for me, is the best, not just winning. If someone says it was a good performance or “I LOVE your program”… it makes me so happy to hear that.

JS: Are you fully healthy this season?

FS: Yes, yeah!

JS: I heard from a Japanese journalist friend that you had had some injuries in the middle of last season because of boot problems. Can you tell us about that?

FS: Yes, exactly! Actually, I switched my boots, and the boots had a little problem and I injured my left ankle which really caused me to struggle, even through Nationals.

JS: But you’re physically healthy now?

FS: Yeah, finally it’s getting better. I continued to skate with it, but I think my ankle is good, finally. It took a long time because the previous season I broke a rib, and everything was affected by that. My balance wasn’t right. But right now I’m very healthy. And I practice here much more than I do in Japan, so it’s very good. Lori was just asking me not to get injured again! (laughs).

JS: Two years ago, Gregg asked you if you had a favourite skater and you said that really liked certain things skaters did, and not a skater specifically. What about now? Are there any new, young skaters that you really enjoy watching?

FS: I can’t say this or that one; that’s very difficult. Basically, I like more mature, professional skaters, because they put more heart into it when they perform. That’s what I really like to watch. For example, during the Olympics, I was very happy with how Daisuke skated… with his heart. Even though he fell on the quad, which hurt him technically, he had a huge smile while he was doing his footwork. What should be there is a performance. So I love those who are delivering a performance. As for the little ones, if they’re trying to do that, I love that as well.

JS: You joked with Gregg that you know the coaches better than the skaters these days. Who would you say some of your best friends in skating are?

FS: Almost everybody right now. It’s very strange, very strange! It’s true, you know, because I’m still competing and they’re standing on the side boards. It’s so fun to see them there… I think “Oh I know him, he did some crazy things when he was skating”, that kind of thing. Among the Japanese, almost all of the younger skaters are best friends. Oh… who? Actually, Nikolai and I competed at the same competition together, the 1997 Worlds in Lausanne. That was my first trip to Worlds. I didn’t know it at the time!

JS: Do most of your friends tend to be in skating?

FS: I have many friends who are coaches. Because of my age, if I go to competitions, the coaches are often girls from my age group, so it’s difficult for them to be friends with me! Most of the time I talk with the coaches.

JS: Some fun questions to finish up with. You are very fashionable… who is your favourite designer?

FS: I like Dolce & Gabbana. Who else? What I like are things that are very different, not normal.

JS: Awesome! How about your favourite colour?

FS: It really depends on the time, but probably blue or purple. People usually think purple is my colour. I was wearing a lot of purple so my fans associate purple with me!

JS: How about your favourite food?

FS: Food? Japanese…Italian…sweets! I miss Japanese food right now because I haven’t eaten it for half a month!

JS: What was your favourite subject in school?

FS: I would say… philosophy. The way of thinking. I took social science, so it basically covered philosophy and economics, all sorts of thing. But the thing I liked the most was philosophy.

JS: Maybe someone has already asked you this, but what is your favourite jump?

FS: My jump? Flip.

JS: How about your least favourite?

FS: Loop, Salchow… actually the Salchow! It’s very difficult for me. I dunno… actually I know why, but… I’m not a very big fan of that jump!

JS: What was the first triple jump you learned? I’ve heard the famous story about Michelle Kwan showing you the triple Lutz.

FS: Yeah! Lutz, flip and toe…

JS: How old were you when you landed your very first triple jump?

FS: I was, like, fifteen…

JS: Fifteen, really?

FS: Yeah, it was kind of late! I started skating early, but my parents weren’t satisfied with me just doing figure skating. They put me into a strict private school, so I was very busy with that as well. So figure skating was like a hobby for me. Then one time I went to the Junior Nationals and I skated SOOOO bad. I was so upset with myself and thought “What was this performance in front of the audience? This is not good”. Also, figure skating requires money, and my family was supporting it so I felt I had to take it very seriously. So I did both from then on, studying and skating so hard. I was fourteen, fifteen… kind of late. (Listen to Fumie)

JS: Last question! You don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to… A young man wrote into Japan Skates and asked if there was a “Mr. Fumie”. Do you have a boyfriend?

FS: Oh! (laughs) Right now, not really… I wanted to, actually, and you know all of my friends are getting married or having children, so I’m hoping, too. But it’s very hard for me because I love my sport so much. Basically, no one goes over that! (Listen to Fumie)

JS: How’s your sister, Chika?

FS: Good! She just had her exams for massage therapy, doing acupuncture and so on. She passed her tests in March and she’s starting to work. She’s teaching as well. And from May 1st she’s going to do a show in Japan. She’s doing some ring or trapeze piece.

JS: Those always scare me!

FS: Yeah, me too. Since she’s not technically high yet, she sometimes wobbles!

JS: Thank you so much!

FS: You’re welcome!

Japan Skates would like to thank Fumie for taking the time to meet me and my photographer Gigi and for giving such thoughtful and detailed answers. We hope to see her again before long, and we wish her the best of success next season!

]]>

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4

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admin <![CDATA[Japan Skates’ interview with Yuki Nishino – All Japan Championships, Osaka, December 26, 2009]]> http://www.japanskates.com/blog/?p=571
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2013-05-06T18:26:09Z

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2010-05-11T01:48:13Z
You may recall Japan Skates’ extensive interview with Yuki Nishino last August. Yuki was a top junior skater about to enter a transitional year into senior. She had been training in Toronto and was competing at (and went on to win) the Figure Skating Boutique Summer Skate in Thornhill, Ontario, near Toronto.

Japan Skates attended the All-Japan Championships in Osaka in December, and we were able to arrange a brief interview with Yuki immediately following her short program. Yuki skated strongly, finishing 14th in the short program. She would go on to finish 16th overall in the always-competitive Nationals.

This brief interview served as an opportunity for us to catch up with Yuki and see if some of her hopes for this season had been realized.

JS: Yuki, thanks for doing the interview. We had to leave the rink to get backstage… what was your score in the short program?

YN: It was 53.26 (she finished in 14th place in the SP).

JS: That’s strong! You were struggling with your combination in practice, but it was very good in the performance.

YN: In practice, I could not do my combination at all, but I was very happy when I did it at the competition. Listen to Yuki

JS: Do you feel good about your short program?

YN: Yes… (she nodded).

JS: You did, OK! What happened with the Axel?

YN: Hmmm… I was a bit unfocused… I could not concentrate in the program. It hasn’t been so good in competition. I was anxious… I felt anxious before the competition. Listen to Yuki

JS: This season, you finished second at the JGP Belarus, sixth at JGP Turkey and then fourth at the Ondrej Nepala Memorial at the senior level. Are you happy with your results this season?

YN: Hmmm… I was totally satisfied with the result of the Junior Grand Prix… not so satisfied with the results of the other two.

JS: Are you going to come back to Toronto this year? Are you going to continue training in both places?

YN: I haven’t committed yet.

JS: Is this the end of your season? Are you going to compete any more?

YN: I don’t know yet… a lot will depend on the results of this competition.

JS: You told me in August that your goal for this season was to rediscover your joy in skating. Have you done that in the last few months?

YN: Compared to last year, I’ve enjoyed it much more.

JS: You told me that, when you compete against Mao and other skaters, you feel that they skate in a “different world”. Do you still feel that way after this season in senior?

YN: The way to concentrate, to make themselves focus, of Mao and the others - I think that is amazing. They know the points to concentrate, even in practice, and really focus in the competition. I would like to do it that way.

JS: Are you going to be more relaxed and less anxious for your long program tomorrow?

YN: Today I made some mistakes, but tomorrow in my free program, I would like to succeed in all the elements. I was looking forward to this competition so much… so I would like to enjoy it a lot.

JS: Last question! The last time I met you, you had just finished writing your high school exams. How did those go?

YN: So so! (laughs)

JS: Thanks so much for the interview! We hope to see you again soon.

YN: Thank you!

Japan Skates would like to thank Yuki for her time. She had just come off the ice when we held this interview, and immediately afterwards she was interviewed by Japanese press in the Mix Zone. Special thanks to her agent, Japan Sports Marketing Inc., for setting up this interview at short notice (interviews are hard to get at the All-Japan!), and to Yumi Navarro for helping translate this interview via e-mail.

]]>

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admin <![CDATA[Interview with Yasuharu Nanri – Skate Canada International, Ottawa]]> http://www.japanskates.com/blog/?p=542
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2013-05-06T18:26:26Z

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2010-05-06T16:18:42Z
At the 2008 Skate Canada International, Gregg, Gigi and I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Yasuharu Nanri. Yasu was (and is) a dynamic skater who had his sights on the Vancouver Olympics.

I had first seen Yasu skate live at the 2006 Four Continents Championships in Colorado Springs. He was a two-time All-Japan bronze medallist, and had made his World Championships debut the previous April. Yasu had finished 8th at Skate Canada.

It has taken us a long time to post this interview… Indeed, it had been “forgotten” in the archives until a chance meeting with a Yasuharu fan at the All-Japan Championships in Osaka back in December! We hope that you enjoy meeting this soft-spoken skater, who is still a force in Japanese skating in 2010.

JS: Japan Skates

YN: Yasuharu Nanri

JS: Welcome, Yasuharu. Thank you for doing the interview. Congratulations on your placement in the free skate of Skate Canada. Are you happy with the results this weekend?

YN: So so.

JS: Were your scores as high as you thought they would be? Were they perhaps lower than what you thought they would be?

YN: Of course, I wanted higher points, but I made mistakes in the short program… and also in the free skate I couldn’t do the jumps - the triple Sal, and some other mistakes, so of course I think I could have earned more points, but this time…

JS: Would you say that the scores were fair?

YN: Yes.

JS: Good! I enjoyed your footwork; I thought it was very fluid. Would you agree that the step sequence is one of your strengths?

YN: The step sequence is, of course, one part of the program. When practicing with the music, I feel pleasure with my step sequence.

JS: What kind of music do you prefer to skate to?

YN: A few years ago, I liked soundtrack music for movies - not classical music but modern music. But two years ago I used “Carmen” in the free skate, and now I think that classical music is my favourite.

JS: What aspect of your skating do you want to improve most this season?

YN: I want to make sure to work on all the jumps so that I don’t make a mistake in the jumps… but I want to do more artistic skating.

JS: Is there a quad planned for the free skate sometime this year?

YN: I’m now practicing a quad, and if I can do so, I want to try the quad in the free skate this season - but I don’t know now if I can do so.

JS: What is your favourite element?

YN: The step sequence!

JS: Is there a least favourite?

YN: The triple loop.

JS: Really, I thought it was good, though! You’re 23 years old. Are you a university student, or do you have career?

YN: I’m now a regular employee of a company.

JS: In your future, do you see an involvement with skating… perhaps in coaching, judging?

YN: Nothing right now… I’m thinking only of the Vancouver Olympics! Beyond that, I’m not thinking of anything.

JS: You have been working on choreography with Pasquale Camerlengo. What has Pasquale added to your skating?

YN: With Pasquale, now I think not only of jumping, but also the presentation side of skating. I think that is a contribution from Camerlengo.

JS: Would you consider training and living abroad for an entire year, or are you satisfied with your training situation right now?

YN: I don’t know… but I have had great time training in Detroit and Toronto.

JS: What are some your hobbies and interests outside of figure skating?

YN: Listening to music and watching movies!

JS: Figure skaters are so popular in Japan. How do you deal with all the media attention in Japan? Are you comfortable with cameras surrounding you?

YN: In practice, when I see cameras coming, I feel pressure to show off and end up making mistakes… but gradually I’m able to ignore the presence of the cameras. Today, it didn’t bother me. As for interviews, I’m really not fond of them… not just in English, but in Japanese too!

JS: Do a lot of girls like you because you’re a top figure skater?

YN: (laughs) Well, I’d rather that they pay me attention than not notice me! In Japan, some girls come to me and say “Gabatte Kudasai” or such things, and it’s great!!!

JS: Who are some of your favourite skaters?

YN: I like many types of skaters; for example, Stephane Lambiel’s “Flamenco” (from the previous year). And in Japan…Daisuke Takahashi’s fast steps in his “Swan Lake” program. I want to be a “super skater” and combine the good points of all of the skaters.

JS: Were you happy for Takahiko Kozuka winning Skate America last week?

YN: Yes, I was very happy for him.

JS: Who are some of your best friends in skating?

YN: Daisuke Takahashi,

JS: Some people think you look like Daisuke! Do you think so? Same hair, maybe?

YN: No, I don’t think so! (laughing)

JS: Do you have a message for the fans from Japan, America or Canada who’ll be reading this interview?

YN: I will do my best to compete at the international level. And I would like to thank my fans for all their support! Ganbatte!

Yasuharu would go on to finish fourth at the Japan Nationals in 2008/09 and would be named to the Four Continents Team. He had hip surgery in April of 2009 following the skating season and spent a month in rehabilitation. He was named to the national team for 2009-10 and competed at Skate America.

Japan Skates would like to thank Yasuharu for his time and we wish him all the best with his future plans. Special thanks to Yumi, a Yashuharu fan who waited such a long time for this interview to be posted, and who helped immensely in its translation.

Competition photos © 2008 Japan Skates (G. Hsueh).

]]>
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admin <![CDATA[Transcript of Japan Skates’ interview with Yuka Sato, Skate Canada, Kitchener, Ontario, November 21, 2009]]> http://www.japanskates.com/blog/?p=523
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2013-05-06T18:27:25Z

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2009-12-05T22:56:29Z
One of the nice things of having access to the media room at Grand Prix events is being able to conduct impromptu interviews with various skaters and coaches. At Skate Canada, I attended the Ladies free skate press conference at which Alissa Czisny was on the panel, having won the silver medal at the event. Yuka Sato is part of Alissa’s coaching team and was on hand for the conference. I hoped that she’d have some time for us afterwards.

Japan Skates had met Yuka personally for the first time back in July of 2006 when we interviewed Yukari at Skate Detroit. Yuka was acting as Yukari’s coach and chaperone at that competition. She was very kind to assist us then, and was again gracious to give us her time at this year’s Skate Canada.

Yuka is now a full-time coach and choreographer. Her students at Skate Canada had had a very successful competition, with her main skater Jeremy Abbott winning the men’s gold medal and her part-time protégée Alissa taking the silver. Japan Skates talked to Yuka about her experiences coaching Jeremy and Alissa, and if these experiences had changed her perspective on skating.

JS: Japan Skates

YS: Yuka Sato

JS: Congratulations, Yuka, on Jeremy’s performance. You’ve been coaching him since the spring. Is he the first high-profile student that you’ve had?

YS: Yes, as a head coach, Jeremy is my first major student who is at this level.

JS: How many students currently do you have?

YS: I can’t really count, but Jeremy is my main student right now, that I’m occupied full-time with. And Alissa Czisny I help part-time on a regular basis.

JS: Do you have any sort of agreement with Jeremy or with Alissa formally as to how long you’re going to be doing this?

YS: I think it’s wait and see at this time. We’re seeing one season at a time, one day at a time.

JS: They say to teach is to learn twice. Are you learning and growing as a result of your relationship with Jeremy and other students?

YS: I think no matter how experienced you are as a coach, you would always learn by taking on new students and start and to take a step together. With any student… it could be a six year-old to a 24 year-old.

JS: You were coached by your father. Do you inherit anything from him in terms of coaching style or ways that you deal with your own students?

YS: Absolutely! What I’ve learned over the course of the years with my parents, and also I’ve worked with Peter Dunfield who is a former coach of Liz Manley, and what I have learned over the years by them is just remarkable. I’ve always thought that I had good guidance around me, but now today I really realize how wonderful they were and what they’ve taught me today I’m able to use what I know, what I’ve experienced.

JS: I’ve met your father several times. Do you emote a little more when you’re out there or are you pretty much the same way?

YS: Ah… we have a very similar style. We’re not…we’re pretty quiet… we have a pretty quiet approach, but we have to be firm in what we want. When you’re in lead and trying to guide somebody through, you have to know what you want. And I’m learning!

(Listen to Yuka)

]]>

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0

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admin <![CDATA[Skate America 2009 Practice Report 11-13-2009]]> http://www.japanskates.com/blog/?p=514
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2009-11-14T17:25:41Z

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2009-11-13T21:37:48Z
The headboards of our hotel beds fell off the wall so the hotel upgraded us to a two-room suite! We now have four beds (for my family of three), two bathrooms and two TVs. Now I know why they call it “suite”!

Gonna make this a short entry. Went to ladies practice again today at 12:45. Fumie’s practice today was the opposite of yesterday. A bit more laid back, while the other ladies kicked it up a notch. But this time Fumie went right into her jumps before her official practice session.

I will post my jump notes as I did yesterday but want to mention one thing I saw today. Fumie’s triple lutz is absolutely awesome. I saw her do one today where she lifted so high she actually had a subsecond pause before starting her spin. It reminded me of Michael Jordan where he would jump, go up, and then he went another five inches!! She looks really really really strong.

I remember when I interviewed Fumie she mentioned she went to Morozov to work on jumps. Perhaps that did not work out. But I believe she is getting the jump training now that she has been looking for. She needs to bring it to the competitons.

Ok here’s the synopsis of the practice today.

 

Today Fumie practiced her short program. As most of the athletes do, she did not do the entire program start to finsh. This is what I saw her do:

  • layback spin
  • double axel
  • popped a triple lutz, but I think it was on purpose. She’s nailed every lutz in practice so far.
  • Straight line footwork. The whole thing.
  • sit spin
  • time of program 2:52

Jump list

  • triple lutz, double toe, doube toe. As good as any skater on the planet.
  • perfect double axel
  • perfect double axel
  • blocked by
  • popped triple lutz
  • 2 footed/popped lutz
  • Triple lutz, double toe, double toe. popped second double toe.
  • spin seqence
  • another perfect triple lutz. I think she hit the ceiling this time!
  • Took a bow and left the ice. Yesterday she was the last one on the ice but not today.
]]>
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admin <![CDATA[Skate America 2009 Practice Report 11-12-2009]]> http://www.japanskates.com/blog/?p=502
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2009-11-13T20:29:49Z

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2009-11-13T20:27:44Z
Hi folks.  This is Gregg  and I, with Mark, run Japanskates.com.  This is my first attempt at a blog so bear with me!  I’m running a bit behind so I’ll get to the pleasantries later.  I’m here in Lake Placid attending Skate America 2009.  I’d like to begin with my practice report from yesterday’s practice.    I scribbled some notes on the back of the schedule.  These were my observations watching Fumie Suguri practice.

Fumie began the practice with her straight line footwork.   I think she has increased her flexibilty and her moves looked very quick and rather dramatic. She performed them twice then went into her layback spins.  Her coach Alexei Mishkin often called out instructions  to her as she skated.  Can’t say I’ve ever seen that before.  He looks tough.

Fumie skated her free skate at practice.  Again she focused on the program component elements.   I think her footwork section looked very aggressive but with lots of emotion; very “Fumie like”.  She even did a move where she goes up on her tippy toes and chops up the ice.  Excellent!

After the free skate practice it was jumping time.  I’m going to  list what I saw as I typed it in my notes:

  • Perfect triple lutz
  • Stepped out of a triple salchow
  • Blocked by Yu-Na on her second attempt at the salchow.
  • Perfect double axel
  • Perfect tripe jump combo.  I think it was triple lutz, double toe, double toe.
  • Another popped triple salchow.  (I thought those were easy jumps?)
  • Next try on triple sal perfect
  • Again a triple salchow but two footed landing.

Now at end of practice she puts on a jump show to take advantage of the remaining minutes.

  • Triple lutz at each end of rink
  • Double axel, step, double axel combo
  • Doubles a triple flip attempt.

She then took a bow, to much applause I might add, and left the rink. 

Overall this was a very aggressive practice.  I think she took the most advantage of the session compared to all the other ladies.  I am anticpating seeing her free skate in competition.

]]>
1

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admin <![CDATA[Transcript of Japan Skates’ exclusive interview with Yuki Nishino]]> http://www.japanskates.com/blog/?p=405
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2009-09-02T00:55:52Z

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2009-08-25T21:45:06Z

Visit our website  www.japanskates.com.

 

Figure Skating Boutique Summer Skate is my “home event” and I look forward to it every year.  It’s a good opportunity to meet some of Japan’s up-and-coming young skaters in a relatively relaxed environment.  Yuki Nishino, one of Japan’s top junior skaters, is living in Toronto and is training at the Granite Club, and was on the roster in the Junior Ladies event.  She and her agents agreed to an interview, and we scheduled it for Friday afternoon, right after her short program.  Her coach here in Toronto, Shin Amano, is an old friend of Japan Skates and acted as her interpreter.  I have put Shin’s translations into the first person.  Enjoy!

JS:  Japan Skates
YN:  Yuki Nishino

JS:  Good afternoon Yuki.  How do you feel about your short program today?  (Yuki had finished first in her group with a score of 44.60, landing a triple Lutz, triple flip and a single Axel).

YN:  There were good things, and then bad things.

JS:  I noticed you missed the planned combination with the triple Lutz…

YN:  I didn’t feel quite right on all three jumps…

JS:  What are you going to work on for your free skate tomorrow?

YN:  I hope I’m going to have better jumps tomorrow.  I had small mistakes today… I hope they don’t happen tomorrow.

Yuki during the short program

JS:  Why are you in Toronto?  What are you working on?

YN:  I came here in April.  It’s the second season I’ve trained here.  Last year in January I came here to see Lori Nichol for choreography, and then I came twice afterwards last season.  And then this year I came again in January to do new choreography with Lori, and then around April I decided to train here with Shin.  And most of the time I’m here right now.  I’ll be staying here the next few months.

JS:  You live in Toronto for several months at a time… do you go to school here?

YN:  I go to school in Japan…  I just went back home for two weeks in July to do examinations… just three weeks ago.

JS:  You turn sixteen soon.  What grade are you, in high school?

YN:  First year high school.

JS:  So two more years to go?

YN:  After this season, yes… we start in April in Japan.  I just started the first year of high school.

JS:  Are you going to go back to Japan to train at all?

YN:  When I go back to Tokyo, I’m going to work with Yutaka Higuchi.

Yuki and Shin during the interview

 Yuki and Shin during the interview

JS:  Are you competing in junior again this year, or do you have some senior competitions?

YN:  Right now, I’m going to go to Junior Grand Prix Belarus, which is the end of September.  And depending on the result, we’re not sure yet what we’re going to do… But I’m going to do senior sectionals in the Tokyo block, then eastern regionals, and then hopefully I’m going to do senior nationals.

JS:  How do you feel about competing in the senior division in Japan against so many great skaters?

YN:  Oh, they skate in a different world!

JS:  What are your musical choices this season?

YN:  I’m keeping the short program music from last year (Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saens). The long program is ballet music, “La Corsaire”.  Lori’s going to choreograph a show number next month, in September.

JS:  How is the music chosen?  Do you have any input into choosing the music?

YN:  I kept the short program music, so I chose the long program music for this year.  I just liked it right away, and I told Lori I wanted to use that music.

JS:  What is your favourite type of music to skate to?

YN:  Bright music… pop music, I would say.  If I make a mistake, if the music is bright I don’t feel down emotion-wise… it keeps me happy.

JS:  I was looking at your results… Your 2007-08 season was excellent.  You finished second in Japan juniors, third at the Grand Prix final and fifth at the Word Junior championships.  Last year was not quite as successful.  Did you have any injuries or problems last season?  What are you working to improve this season?

YN:  My goal for this season is to enjoy competing more.  I couldn’t have fun last season… maybe too much pressure after I’d had such a great season.  I felt that people had high expectations for me, including myself… so I couldn’t have fun.

JS:  I hope you have a great season.  Do you have any specific goals this season?  Maybe a jump combination or a spin level?

YN:  Any triple-triple combination… I’m training for those right now.

JS:  How about long-term goals?  I know you’re just a young lady entering senior this year, but do you want to compete another four or five years for Japan, to try for the Olympics in 2014?

YN:  Long term… I want to make the Olympic team, but at this moment I’m just focusing on each season, taking it year by year. 

 (Listen to Yuki)

Yuki signing autographs for young skating fans from Japan

JS:  What is your favourite and least favourite jump?

YN:  I like everything the same!

JS:  Do you have a favourite non-jump element?

YN:  I don’t have a specific favourite thing, but I have dislike… which is the spin!  (laughs)  It takes so much energy from me!

JS:  What was your first triple jump, and when?

YN:  It was when I was eleven years old; it was the triple Salchow.

JS:  You’ve had a lot of success in your career… what is your career highlight so far?

YN:  Every single competition from two seasons ago.

JS:  Is that your favourite music and programs too (Leyenda by Vanessa Mae and Selections from Sleeping Beauty by P. I. Tchaikovsky)?

YN:  Yes!

JS:  What is a typical day in your life when you’re training?

YN:  Sometimes I go to school; sometimes I go to different arenas when I’m in Tokyo, or training in a gym.  I just started doing yoga, and I’ve been doing ballet training since June.  I do yoga and ballet twice a week, and Pilates once a week.  I used to spend a lot of time in the gym, working specific types of muscles, but that was last season.

JS:  When training in Toronto, do you practice Monday to Saturday?  Do you have a day off?

YN:  I train six days a week.

JS:  Who is your hero in skating? 

YN:  Shizuka Arakawa.

JS:  Have you met her?

YN:  Yes!

JS:  Do you want to go on to university?  Do you know what you’d like to become as an adult?

YN:  I would like to go to university.  I’m still thinking!!!

JS:  That makes sense since you’re so young!  What are some of your hobbies outside of skating?

YN:  Reading, and spending time with my friends.

JS:  Some fun questions now…   What is your favourite colour?

YN:  Orange!

JS:  What is your favourite colour to skate in?

YN:  Pink, orange… something bright! (laughs)

JS:  How about your favourite food?

YN:  Chocolate and ice cream!  And meat! (laughs)

Yuki during the free skate

JS:  That’s an interesting combination!  What don’t you like?

YN:  Paprika and some spices… and I don’t eat raw fish, like sashimi or sushi!  And mushrooms! (laughs)

JS:  What’s your favourite type of music to listen to?

YN:  Not a specific pop artist, but a lot of Japanese artists.

JS:  Your favourite and least favourite subject at school?

YN:  I dislike math, but I like biology!

JS:  Biology, but not math, eh?  Interesting!

JS:  If you could meet one famous person in the world, living or dead, who would it be?

YN:  (Thinking) You know, I’ve never thought about that!

JS:  That’s OK!  Who are some of your friends in skating?

YN:  Kanako Murakami… she was a junior Grand Prix competitor.  And Yukiko Fujisawa… she’s a good friend.  All the juniors are very good friends.

JS:  What’s the craziest gift a fan has ever given you?

YN:  It’s part of an air conditioner…  I’ve got it three or four times… I don’t know the reason why I keep getting it! (all laugh)

JS:  Wow!  Do you have a message for young readers and skating fans who’ll be reading this interview on the internet?

YN:  I’ll try to skate with even more fun and joy from now on, so please cheer for me!

 (Listen to Yuki)

After the interview, some English students from Japan met Yuki, had her sign some autographs and posed for some photos with her.  Yuki seemed very happy to meet them and had a great time.  We met Yuki’s mom at the competition and she was very friendly with us.  In addition to her mom and dad, Yuki has a younger sister back home.

I’d like to thank Yuki and Shin for their time.  Yuki is a delightful young lady and an excellent skater.  She went on to win the event easily.  We at Japan Skates hope that she will rediscover her love for competing  this year as she embarks on her senior career.

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admin <![CDATA[Skate Canada interview with Fumie Suguri, 11/2/2008, Ottawa, Ontario]]> http://www.japanskates.com/blog/?p=301
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2009-03-22T01:55:41Z

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2008-12-23T02:29:51Z
As soon as Gregg, Gigi and I arrived in Ottawa for Skate Canada, we set up shop in the well-appointed Media Room and prepared for the event.  With Gregg and Gigi tasked with getting the best photos possible during the event, it fell to me to set up the interviews with the Japanese team.  This time, Japan was represented by men’s competitor Yasuharu Nanri, whom we had not previously met, and two ladies we know quite well, Fumie and Nana.  Also present was Yuko Kawaguchi, who is the Russian national champion in pairs with her partner Alexander Smirnov.  The Japanese delegation chief graciously accepted our interview requests with Yasuharu, Fumie and Nana, while coach Tamara Moskvina approved our request for Yuko. 

Japan Skates had met Fumie back in July, when Gregg traveled to her training facility in New Jersey, Ice House, to conduct what proved to be our most popular interview to date.  Fumie candidly spoke of her change of countries and coaches, her new outlook for 2010, and what makes her the sensitive artist that she is.  Incredibly, I had never seen Fumie in person before, despite having followed her career since the 1990s.  However, I felt comfortable speaking to her since Gregg already knew her, and was standing right beside us in the media room. 

Fumie had come off a silver medal performance in Ottawa, in which she completed most of her jumps beautifully, but after which she found herself over 25 points behind the winner, Canada’s Joannie Rochette.  To begin the interview, I have used three questions asked Fumie during the medal winners’ press conference the night before. 

JS:       Japan Skates

FS:       Fumie Suguri 

Press Conference:  Fumie was asked to make a statement about the event and skating in front of the Canadian fans.  Fumie began by joking that she thought she’d have to speak from the podium rather than from the table. 

FS:  Yeah, actually I wasn’t on the podium, so I thought I would have to stand on the podium!  But it was very nice that I skated in front of a Canadian audience again, and I really thank them that they really cheered me during this competition, and that’s why I think I can skate well. 

Listen to Fumie

Press Conference:  Fumie was asked to give her feelings on skating well and winning a medal, after moving to train under Nikolai this year. 

FS:  Even though I didn’t skate well last year, I was really sure that during the practice I was… I really believed in myself, and that my decision of changing technique was right.  But it was very, very difficult because there’s no resort.  And then over this year, it’s very hard and I have to believe in myself.  But I think this is a very good way, and I have to be thankful that I got this for my confidence.  And also, I really thank my coach that he’s really accepted this job, even though I was down.  So I’m really happy about this event.

Press Conference:  Fumie was asked how motivating it was to train alongside Miki Ando and others at Ice House. 

FS:  Actually, there is more boys as well, and it’s really, really good for me to bring up the motivation.  You know, the boys are trying so many more difficult things than I do, and also physically they are stronger than the girls.  And Miki also… her jumps are very good, so I really learn from her.  So, I think our teammates are very good, and during the competition they give me text messages, and that’s nice! 

Listen to Fumie

JS:  First of all, congratulations on your silver medal here… well deserved!  It was a beautiful program. 

FS:  Thank you very much! 

JS:  How happy were you with the program?  Can you discuss the single flip as well? 

FS:  Actually, I was very happy.  It was so-so for the beginning of the season.  I was also very happy that the Canadian people were very warm during the skate.  I think they really cheered me a lot, more than I expected.  I would thank them, as that makes me skate well.  And also, during the programs, short and long, I have many mistakes, little mistakes but still I lost some points for that.  And the last flip… I knew I wanted to do so I knew I should not think that way but a little bit I tried, like, too hard and that’s why I faulted. 

JS:  Was that intended to be a combination? 

FS:  Yeah, it should have been a combination. 

JS:  I noticed that a few points were lost. 

FS:  Yeah, exactly! 

JS:  It was a great performance, but I noticed that in the end there was about 25 points difference between Joannie and you, 188 to 163.  What do you believe made the difference? 

FS:  Actually, it’s the five components thing, because I think I… After I moved to Nikolai, I had to work with him a lot of jumps first, because I didn’t have consistency.  So I worked first on the jumps; how I could get more consistency in the jumps in the competition and the program.  That was our first goal.  And then we kind of were not really working so much for the five components, especially like choreography or transitions.  So I think now it’s getting a little steady, so I have to improve to the next step.  It’s like little by little, so I think that point I lose so much from Joannie. 

Listen to Fumie

JS:  You had mentioned that you’d been training the jumps so vigorously.  You have a new coach, and you’re doing well, but he’s in Japan!  How was that, competing without your new coach? 

FS:  Ah, it was very, very tough. You know, I really trust him, so it was very difficult for me to perform here.  But actually it was very good that I have a lot chances without skating him, for example this year I did many shows, but he could not come with me, and also the first competition in Japan, which was regional, but he could not come as well.  So that experience really helped, because he was away, so I know how I become when I have to be myself. 

JS:  You think he’ll be there for Russia?! 

FS:  I hope so, yes!!!  (all laughing) 

JS:  When you spoke to Gregg, you were still in the process of deciding on music.  You were thinking about “Fanfan”, but there was no free skate mentioned.  Well, now you’re “Fanfan” for the short, and it’s “Otonal” for the free skate.  That’s a popular selection.  Why did you decide to go with that one?  What was the reasoning? 

FS:  Fanfan actually was chosen from Nikolai.  We tried many different classical music, but he wanted me to do that kind of modern type of classical music.  It’s still classic, but it’s not really, really classical music.  So you know, if I’m going to use deep, classic music, I look old, not really fresh, you know?   More than I was.  So he wanted me to look a different way, but still have my good classical style, so that’s the reason why we chose Fanfan.  And Otonal, long program… we were thinking too much!  We were trying to think maybe this, maybe this, and try back and forth, back and forth; but all of a sudden actually we don’t have time!  So “OK Fumie, let’s do this,” you know?!  (laughing).  We tried to do that.  But I think it’s starting… it feels like (it’s) working.  Sometimes, you know, it just happens! 

Listen to Fumie

JS:  You are somebody who has always been able to skate to classical music.  I think it was 1999 or 2000 when you skate to Bach…  Why do you think you can skate to classical music; why do you have such a good relationship with it? 

FS:  It started with my first choreographer, Lori Nichol.  She really taught me from the very beginning and, you know, if the performer wants to learn somehow to perform, they have to learn classical, because that’s the basics.  And she really taught me a lot how to be really a classical style.  So that stays a long time.  Now, I think I have to have those basics to transfer to the next step.  That’s what I will see for Nikolai’s teaching for next year. 

JS:  You’re very popular at the site and we have a lot of readers from Japan.  Do you have a message for Japan skating fans that are going to be reading this interview?

FS:  Yes!  Japanese fans are so close and so warm to me, it always cheers me during the competition, and even during the competition I feel really close to Japan.  They’re like family; I can’t skate without them.  So I hope I can skate… I can do something for them with skating.  I hope that I give them joy or fun, or something like that.

 JS:  Congratulations again.  I have watched your skating for years, but I’ve never met you in person until now.  So it was a pleasure to meet you in person.

FS:  Thank you very much!

We’d like to thank Fumie for meeting with us again despite her busy schedule, and the Japan delegation chief for approving the interview.  It was our second interview with Fumie in three months, and it has been such a pleasure bringing you updates on her renewed career.

As always, Fumie had prepared an innovative exhibition program for that afternoon’s gala.  Gregg had been paying attention during the rehearsal that morning, and snapped a one-of-a-kind shot of Fumie, who had surprised the audience by hopping over the side boards to begin her program.

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