On his way for the "Ultimate Yuzuru HANYU"
Our Japanese correspondent Aiko interviewed Yuzuru HANYU @ 2012 Finlandia Trophy.
thanks to: Finnish Figure Skating Association, Japan Sports for photos, Paja for illustrations and "Jeff's Lunge" note, N..fj for Yuzuru's smile
October 6, 2012 in Espoo, Finland

羽生結弦 Yuzuru HANYU  Japan Sports
2011-12FS"Romeo and Juliet" @ Worlds

☞ in Japanese

Yuzuru kicked off his 2012-13 season, winning a gold medal at Finlandia Trophy(Oct.5-7 Espoo, Finland). Just 2 weeks later, at Skate America he performed his SP more and more energetically than Finlandia Trophy, set new world record, while the next day, in FS he "wasn't able to focus on it," there wasn't his own electricity, slipped to 2nd place overall. His portrait is changing everyday, as if he is going to the next stage so faster than clocks going.

Japan Skates could interview Yuzuru at Finlandia Trophy, after FS for about 20 min. It's his last portrait in Espoo for you, capturing the striving of 17 years old, who "skated with youth," - his quote - in bronze medal winning FS at 2012 Worlds.

JS: First of all, please tell us about your injury, that fans have worried about so far.

YH: It hasn't healed properly yet, since I was hardly able to compete in WTT(April), after Worlds(March).

JS: What's your "right ankle" injury?

YH: "sprain".

JS: The ankle bone, has been injured, too?

YH: Yes, it has, since my childhood I have suffered from an avulsion fracture on it, but I have cared for it, have handled it somehow.

JS: Then, did you get injured terribly at Worlds?

YH: I guess the avulsion fracture I have had on it before Worlds, as actually I had a sprained right ankle through last season, so it could damage the bone as well. Then, the ligament got damaged seriously there, at SP Practice.

JS: Last Cup of China, I had worked on reporting from the practice sessions. In Men Saturday FS Practice, you were added into my best-ever athlete of sharpness! Even you had met your golden shape at age just 16! Yuzuru, you were exceptional there!

YH: Was I?

JS: Yes you were! but at this moment, I can see only 30% sharpness of Yuzuru…

YH: uh-huh…

JS: How do you feel about your physical condition right now?

YH: I was in pretty good shape at Cup of China 2011, indeed, but I don't care about sharpness to compare with Cup of China. You know, actually I have landed here. (@ Finlandia Trophy, Yuzuru made 4T/4S in FS, with which he was struggling in practice sessions.) So I think I don't need to get in-form at this moment, but I need to work on other things, in order to complete my program itself!

JS: This season you have moved on from Japan, to train in Canada, is the duration of your practice time moving on, too?

YH: I guess it has increased definitely. My home rink in Sendai, is the only one rink of Tohoku(the disaster area of 2011 earthquakes and tsunami), in which a lot of people, not only Figure Skaters but also Ice Hockey or Curling players are coming from several provinces. So I wasn't able to reserve private sessions enough. Now the circumstances changed, there are only Figure Skaters, that flips my practice, to have more quality sessions.

JS: Does it flip your training menu, too?

YH: It doesn't, particularly, but I have trained with Tracy Wilson, she's working on my skating skills.
Coaching change, actually it is a big change to me, but I think what can change me is my own mental strength, in order to learn from the coaches properly. I hope to move on with my own determination.

JS: @ THE ICE (ice show in July) mixed zone interview, you quoted "there is Brian(ORSER)'s ideal jumping form, I guess Javier(FERNANDEZ)'s is the closest."

YH: In the beginning with him, I was so excited and pleased, "I can watch Javier making his quads!" and also I hoped to learn from Javier, who has much consistency on it, but lately I found "Javier makes quad with his own form, as I make it with my own form."

YH: As for "my own form" - it has been updated, restored with good aspects of other skaters, or "good idea!" I have, then "try it!". So, I don't care about doing that with the same form in every competition. Therefore, I have done it with the different form in every competition,

JS: What!?

YH: (laughs) not so much differently I can do that, but actually I have focused on the different aspect.

JS: You and Javier, here you were training together, with Brian, as same as in Canada, I saw both you making a relay to connect with Brian, switching one another, it really worked!

YH: not so much. (smiles)

JS: (smiles) Yes, you worked so fluently.

YH: Since I haven't trained like this, you know, it's difficult apparently.

JS: Well, here I saw you rotating without fastening your arms, in between a quad drill.

YH: A double jump. I have imagined the arm motion of quad, to "make rotating shaft stable".

JS: @ DOI (ice show in June) mixed zone interview, you noted "trying to have a quad in the second half."

YH: I hope to make it in tiredness. You know, Javier was going to have it, (FERNANDEZ planned his third quad 4T in the second half @ Finlandia Trophy.) So will I! …someday, I should make it happen. (smiles)

羽生結弦 Yuzuru HANYU  Paja
2012-13SP"Parisienne Walkways" @ Finlandia Trophy

JS: On SP"Parisienne Walkways", its choreographer Jeffrey BUTTLE gave his magnificent brushwork, painting your lean lines so lushly, as you have even longer arms and legs than last season.

YH: Jeffrey himself has really long arms and legs, his arms, shoulders, all the body moves are really effective. So I hope to impress his moves in performing and making its choreography, onto my own image.

JS: You enter 3Lz-3T(in the second half), flooooooowing backward, stretching your legs straight,

YH: uh-huh, (smiles)

JS: I don't know its (Moves In Field) name,

YH: "Lunge". It's an alternative Lunge. I have done it for the first time, or, as far as I know, no one has done it before,

JS: Backward one, I've never seen it before! but forward one, I've seen so often,

YH: uh-huh, usually it's done forward, and the inside ankle (of the back free leg) touches the ice.

JS: …

YH: (Yuzuru is demonstrating "Lunge" position,) usually the ankle is tilted like this (inside), but its ankle tilted to the other side (outside).

JS: I've never seen its shape, either!

YH: We've made it happen, (smiles) Jeffrey and me were trying to make a difference - something like that.

JS: I really love its connecting - 3Lz-3T, that I recommended fans as "must watch!" stunner sequence, on the SP practice report, but, were you doing in competition?

YH: Actually, I was doing it a little bit,

JS: not bending deeper and longer than practice…

YH: as my legs were suffering from tiredness, and also I "never make a mistake," since I fell on 4T.

JS: So, I recommend people again, "never miss it, the full version!" next competitions.

JS: And also I would like to recommend "へ(Japanese Character)" position, which looks like definitive "Ina Bauer" - you're Ina Bauering as much as possible,

YH: ?? (laughs)

JS: bending deep and long, and traveling sideway,

YH: got it, in the footworks?

JS: - that's it!

YH: - that's Jeffrey's favorite*, too. (smiles) It feels "modern", as well. (*Jeff did take the same position and turned in his 2003-2004SP"Take Five", and made its turned one for Brandon MROZ SP"Mack the Knife" last season.)

JS: Is that a "Ina Bauer"?

YH: No, that's also an alternative Lunge, as I see it. Usually, (Yuzuru "Lunge"s again,) the ankle is tilted inside, you know, then, on that Lunge, the heel touches the ice, and traveling sideway as you said. …There are so many MIFs that you can't name each of them. (smiles)

JS: That could be named as one of "best moments" of Finlandia Trophy 2012, as well as your musicality with spins! which you're showing "as Jeff asked me to do,"

YH: (smiles) Hardly! I haven't shown yet.

JS: Are those going to be more ornamented?

YH: Those should be. (smiles)

JS: Exquisitely! even one position has creative flair, expresses musicality in moving. It seems so Hard! to do.

YH: Indeed! …but, that could be named as one of my edge, "credited the points with spins". So I hope the feature(spins GOE+ aspects (8)element matched to the musical structure) can appeal to judges properly.

JS: And, you can appeal to women, in this rock program, as you have shown your rhapsodic-in-blue side.

YH: (laughs) "bluesy", it's my fan's quote, too. (smiles)

JS: Everyone's quote!

YH: I'm not trying to look "kind of blue", or I should not look "raw". But, I guess I haven't upgraded my extremely raw self to matured self,

JS: You are matured, a man's man!

YH: (laughs) …then I'm seeking out maturity, watched matured skaters such as Philippe CANDELORO in galas, so I hope to absorb maturity from them, trying to wear the matured atmospherics as much as possible.

JS: …You have worn it already! Last interview(about 1 year ago), the first Japan Skates Interview with Yuzuru("Remember" - Japan's disaster relief article), you were really matured at that time, but now, even you're getting to the next stage!

YH: (laughs) At that time, actually I was suffering… (Yuzuru continues with his calm smile) But I have worked so hard since the disaster, which "gave me a lot of experiences", now I can see that "such effort helps me".

JS: Then, FS("Norte Dame de Paris"),

YH: Went DEAD! (laughs) (Yuzuru looked knocked down on the ice, after Finlandia Trophy FS performance.)

JS: (laughs)

YH: Actually I was running out, as I haven't been in pretty good condition for now, but… at first, I haven't made it - the "program", since I felt I had made only jumps. Skate America(2 weeks later) is coming, very shortly! I don't have enough time, and Brian says "Have much run-throughs!"… really concerned, I don't like it. (laughs)

JS: uh-huh? (laughs)

YH: I don't like it, but I have to do it, work harder!

JS: Yes, you're gutsy, working so hard, then crowds, here in FS they found you fully opening your soul, sacrificing yourself all, that's the point of standing ovation!

YH: (laughs) The point is, I'm not satisfied with my performance on many aspects: I was isolated from the world, David's(WILSON, its choreographer) creation for me, I was not skating to the music, not letting me fall into the story, not expressing the emotion. Technically, I think its spins and footworks are hardly enough, as well. Now I'm going to give my all, in order to express much more emotions!

JS: So, please express your views about the world of "Norte Dame de Paris", how do you interpret the music?

YH: In the beginning, the dark, massive tone you could hear, and I'm going to capture my "masculine side", as its theme. Then the tone is going to rapture, melt and flow tenderly, so am I, going to interpret softly and beautifully, but still I have the core, holding my masculinity. …in my own image.

羽生結弦 Yuzuru HANYU  Paja
2012-13FS"Norte Dame de Paris" @ Finlandia Trophy

JS: EX"Hello, I Love You", you quoted "trying to manage the sequence: pulling off and giving away the Tee, without hesitation,"

YH: (laughs)

JS: @ DOI, you said "throwing in style, like a rockstar" but @ PIW (ice show in July) in Tokyo, I watched Yuzuru "handing" your T as if it was a "Complimentary" amenity…

YH: (laughs) I don't think so! it could be "Replacement", for unsatisfying jumps. (smiles) I'm going to throw "in style", when I make a satisfying performance.

JS: So you're still going to throw in such a rockstar form.

YH: Definitely!

JS: How do you feel about your winning at Finlandia Trophy?

YH: I haven't watched other guys' performances yet, so I can't comment, but, I guess, Richard(DORNBUSCH 2nd) landed a quad(4T-2T), as well as Javier(4T-3T 3rd place), right?

JS: They landed.

YH: So it was a close competition, and it's my first competition this season, as well. I guess this winning means a good first step. However, still I have a lot of things to improve, hope to make it progress.

YH: At the next competition Skate America, I expect more than this, better performances and better skating skills to show.

JS: Yuzuru, do you have long-term and short-term plans to compete whole season? like "this competition I'm going to do in this way".

YH: like "next competition I will kill it definitely!" "Definitely I'll make it," no matter what, even if I would be exhausted, "at least this jump, this step sequence," - I have had the task, that was a 3S at All-Japan Nationals.

JS: I see, (Yuzuru singled his last jump 3S in FS there, as well as he had a mistake on it at GPF its preceding competition.)

YH: You know, it was a great pity, but it was a good experience. I hope to kill it, when I "want it definitely!" (In his quad drill, you always see Yuzuru killing the last one, even though he has been struggling.)

YH: Looking back on last season, at Cup of China "I did make only quad," since I missed a 3A in the second half of FS, after such a long time, so, the next competition Rostelecom Cup in Russia, "I must set up not only quad but also other elements," then I missed quad there, and "4T is must have!," in GPF. You know, I wanted a 3S at All-Japan, and I hoped to get completed at Worlds. This season I have had the tasks, too, and I'm going to carry out these tasks.

JS: @ THE ICE, "to reach an Ultimate Yuzuru HANYU" is your goal this season 2012-13, you noted. What kind of skater is "Ultimate Yuzuru HANYU"?

YH: - who can jump, spin, express! There is nothing like the complete skater, who can do everything on the ice!

JS: Or, there was nothing like your last Worlds FS performance, as Patrick(CHAN) mentioned "I didn't skate lights-out like Yuzuru," on its Medalist Press Conference, you know.

YH: (Yuzuru is glowing and smiling with happiness,) …well, I guess I could skate with "youth", that was a good aspect of me, but I must have other good aspects this season!

羽生結弦 Yuzuru HANYU  Japan Sports
2012-13EX"Hello, I Love You" @ PIW

(sorry for that it was no time to record his message for fans, which is our interview's tradition.)

☞ "Remember" Shizuka ARAKAWA - Nobunari ODA - Fumie SUGURI - Yuzuru HANYU - Daisuke TAKAHASHI our Japan's disaster relief article

☞ "Backstage" with Japan Skates read Yuzuru's mixed zone interviews

羽生結弦 Yuzuru HANYU  N..fj
Yuzuru HANYU @ 2012 Finlandia Trophy