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Japan Skates » Interview with Nana Takeda, Skate Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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Interview with Nana Takeda, Skate Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

 

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.

 

We had met Nana exactly one year earlier, at the 2007 Skate Canada event in Quebec City.  Nana was new to the senior Grand Prix series at that point, and had just come off a strong sixth-place finish.  She would go on to a very successful year, winning the bronze medal at the NHK Trophy and finishing, as she had hoped she would, in the top six at the always-competitive All-Japan championship.  Knowing that we were allotted only about ten minutes to speak to her, we pared down the questions to what we thought were the most pertinent.

 

Nana had had an average competition, finishing ninth and downgrading many of her jumps, although her spins and spirals were very high quality.  As she entered the media room for the interview, we caught a glimpse of perhaps why this was the case – her right ankle was wrapped in an ice pack.  Armed with an obvious leading question, we sat down to catch up on Nana’s progress since we last saw her.  Interpreting, as she did for us a year ago, was Akiko Tamura of World of Skating.  I have put Akiko’s translations into the first person.

 

JS:       Japan Skates

NT:      Nana Takeda

 

JS:  Congratulations on your performance at Skate Canada.  The first question I have to ask is…is there a problem with your ankle?

 

NT:  I twisted my ankle, but I did it before I came here.

 

JS:  Did it affect your performance in the competition here?

 

NT:  I had to change some elements, but other than that I was fine.  It’s healed.

 

JS:  There were not many mistakes in the performances; they were very solid.  You finished with 83.79 in the free skate and in ninth place.  Where do you feel you lost a lot of points, and what do you feel you need to work on?

 

NT:  I wasn’t able to do a Lutz because of my ankle injury.  I wanted to do other jumps very clean, but some of them were downgraded, and I need to work on that.  In the other elements, other than the jumps, I got pretty much the levels I was aiming for, and except for the steps I think I got all the levels, so I was happy.

 

JS:  A year ago, you mentioned that the Grade of Execution on your spins was lower than expected.  It’s improved this year?

 

NT:  Yes, I really feel a lot of confidence now, and I was able to get Level 4 in all the spins in the short and free, and for the spiral sequence as well.

 

JS:  Yes, we noticed the high quality!  Aside from the injury preventing it, will the Lutz be ready for Cup of Russia?

 

NT:  I’m not sure if it’s going to be the Lutz or flip yet, because I don’t feel completely comfortable about the edge on the Lutz yet; but I have been practicing it, and hopefully by Cup of Russia my foot will feel better, and I will probably try the flip.

 

(Listen to Nana)

 

JS:  Last year you had a great season - sixth at Skate Canada, bronze medal at NHK, and you told me your goal was top six at the All-Japan championships, and you made it.  Are your goals higher this season?

 

NT:  I want to show the consistent performance.  I would probably like to go up to fourth at the Japan nationals in order to be selected to a big competition like the Four Continents.  That’s what I’m aiming for.

 

(Listen to Nana)

 

JS:  Your music this season is “Swan Lake” and “Artistry in Rhythm”.  Why were they chosen?

 

NT:  At the Japan nationals last season, I saw it used, and I liked it very much, and I told my coach I would like to work on that.  I worked on it with my new choreographer, Nanami Abe.

 

JS:  Are you still at Waseda University, studying sports science?

 

NT:  Yes, I am!.

 

JS:  When do you graduate?

 

NT:  Two years from now.

 

JS:  Do you have any plans for your degree afterwards?

 

NT:  I don’t really know yet!

 

JS:  That’s OK, you’re still young!  Last question…  Last year I asked you how you dealt with the pressure competing against Mao and the other top skaters.  You said that it didn’t bother you at all…  This year, I’ll ask how you deal with all of the media attention.  People are always asking for autographs…plus the photographers, journalists…  You seem to be a soft-spoken person.  How do you deal with all the attention in Japan in figure skating?

  

NT:  It doesn’t bother me at all, because I was always envious from a very young age of the attention the other skaters got at the events, so I’m kind of happy that I’m getting this kind of attention for myself!

 

JS:  Well, you certainly deserve it!

 

We’d like to thank Nana for meeting with us again despite her busy schedule, the Japan delegation chief for approving the interview, and Akiko for graciously giving of her time to interpret for us.

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