Backstage with Japan Skates @ 2011 NHK Trophy
special thanks to: Paja for illustrations and Japanese text of "Akiko in the room", Japan Sports for photos.
Nov. 11-13 in Sapporo, 2011

for our readers in Japanese 日本語で御覧の皆様へ:
I'm sorry that this is written only in English except for "Akiko in the room", since I was not able to make exclusive things happen there. Yet you can enjoy exclusive photos and illustrations, from Japan Sports and Lady Paja!

+++ Tatsuki MACHIDA 町田樹選手 mixed zone interviews +++

Tatsuki MACHIDA 町田樹選手  Japan Sports
2010-2012SP"Dark Eyes" @ NHK

::: after SP :::

"Dark Eyes" choreographed by Kenji MIYAMOTO
72.76 TES38.73(6) PCS34.53(5) -1.00(fall) 5th place
{3A +2.14, 3F-3T +1.10, CCSp3 +0.50, CCoSp4 +0.43, 3Lz +0.20, FSSp(fall) 0.00, CiSt3 +0.86}

- Quick Quote

I skated in a more relaxed way than I expected. (on his fall in FSSp:) I don't know what happened - tomorrow never knows. Overall, I'm satisfied with my performance: facial expression, presentation, which I have tried to give so far. As for jumping, I haven't been in form, but I did kill them there, so good for me. Jumps has concerned me since I came here(Sapporo, this season he has trained in Lake Arrowhead, USA), but I had really hard trainings to prepare for NHK, so I believed that it would come out in the competition. I could have been upset, so tensed there, as I had been before, yet I was so calm. I loved to skate there, so happy for me. …Well, what a mistake I made on FSSp! I could have earned 5 points more! I might so hurry to start rotating, it was earlier than it should be, …that's why?

- You set a new Personal Best score of SP, despite that mistake.

I know I can do better in trainings. But it's worth a little bit, that I was able to do in such a big game with such importance. My coach always tells me "don't forget to smile, fill emotions into your performance," so he gave me compliments on today's performance.

- for FS

I have a story to tell, feelings to show, then hope to give them to crowds with my performance.

Tatsuki MACHIDA 町田樹選手  Japan Sports
2011-2012FS"Don Quixote" @ NHK

::: after FS :::

"Don Quixote" choreographed by Stephane LAMBIEL
123.19 TES54.57(8) PCS68.62(5) 6th place
overall 195.45 7th place
{4T<<(two-footed, turned out) -1.90, 3A-3T +1.71, 2Lo(turned out) -0.60, SlSt3 +0.43, FSSp3 +0.43 // 1A 0.00, 3Lz-2T +0.30, 2F -0.17, ChSt1 +0.70, FCCoSp1 0.00, 3Lz +0.60, 3S(a bit shaky) -0.20 CCoSp1 +0.43}

- Quick Quote

I skated in a relaxed way apparently… but I had a lot flaws on jumps, will restore them as soon as I come back to USA. Still I haven't been in form. Yet I should make a quality performance, as top skaters do it, even though they're not in form.

- You competed with Group 2, top skaters.

I'm so concerned in what other skaters do, that makes me tensed, it's my disadvantage, I guess. My coach said "Don't look around, do focus on your own work." So I did. - so good for me?

- What are the good aspects for you to move to USA for trainings?

I have trained with good skaters, who inspire me a lot. As if I'm in a practice session of competitions, everyday. And I have done anything by myself there, that's good for me.

- Tell us what Stephane LAMBIEL (his FS choreographer) said.

We have e-mailed each other, Stephane told me "Don't care about other skaters", too. He sent me after SP: "I felt your soul," and "was crazy and funny," - it meant about FSSp. (laughs)

- for next competitions

This NHK, I had an international competition in Japan, for the first time. It was like "All-Japan" Nationals, now I could have a good rehearsal for "All-Japan". In SP(earned his new PB score), although I hadn't been in form on jumping, I was able to concentrate to make my way, so I must be confident now, to train much harder.

(( Scroll down for Akiko,Mao,Daisuke,Taka's Quotes. ))

+++ Akiko SUZUKI 鈴木明子選手 in "the room" 「豊の部屋」 +++

Akiko was invited to "the room", to talk with Yutaka HIGUCHI(Yukina, Kento NAKAMURA/Yuki NISHINO's coach)樋口豊先生, Yukina OTA 太田由希奈さん, & NHK announcer Mr. Kariya 刈屋さん. A live talk show "the room" is the opening treat of EX in every Sunday evening on NHK Trophy.

Akiko SUZUKI 鈴木明子 Fujio KARIYA 刈屋富士雄 Yutaka HIGUCHI 樋口豊 Yukina OTA 太田由希奈  Paja
Mr. Kariya, Akiko, Yutaka, Yukina in "the room" on NHK

Kariya: Welcome to "the room". ようこそ、豊の部屋へ。

Yutaka: Congratulations♪ on your fantastic NHK Trophy. おめでとうございまーす、すばらしかった。

(Crowds applaud 会場拍手)

Akiko: Thank you, all. ありがとうございます。

Yutaka: So really nice. 本当によかったね。

Kariya: and Yukina? 太田さん(どうぞ)

Yukina: Well, when we saw "Akko"(Akiko's nickname) leaping, jumping with happiness in the end of SP, our souls almost could fly with Akko. そうですねー、(SPで)あっこちゃん(鈴木選手)が跳ね上がって飛び跳ねて喜んでいる姿を見て、ほんとにあたしたちも飛び跳ねてしまいそうな気持ちになりました。

Akiko: Thank you, but it was a bit shame, when I saw myself doing that… ありがとうございます。でも映像で見返したらちょっとはずかしかったです⋯

(Everyone there laughs 一同笑)

Yutaka: No Way, way lovely you were there. そんなことないですよねえ、そんなことない、かわいかったですよ。

Akiko: Thank you. ありがとうございます。

Kariya: No way. and that's just the way you are. Your gesture was celebrated on every TV network in sports programs, you don't have to have a shame. Yukina, the skaters, have you gestured in such a way, so often? そんなことないですよ、もうどうしようもないですもん。あの映像がニュースでもう、あっちこっちで出ましたから。もう隠しようがないですから。もう、ああいう風にジャンプするほど嬉しい気持ちになるっていうのは、ほんとうにそう、太田さんないんでしょ?

Yukina: with such a 3-3… トリプルトリプルがいい感じに⋯

Kariya: So, rarely in competitive career, I guess, 競技人生の中でそうある機会ではないんでしょうね、おそらく、

Akiko: So, well… そうですね、あの⋯

(now her SP is playing, Akiko is leaping in the end. SP映像流れる、最後に跳ねているところ映る。)

Akiko SUZUKI 鈴木明子  Paja
2011-2012SP"Hungarian Rhapsody" @ NHK

Yutaka: (laughs) はっはっはっは

Akiko: (laughs) ふふふ

Kariya: It makes us happy every time. 何度見てもみんな嬉しくなりますもんね。

Yutaka: Indeed. And you really make your way this season, you had fantastic Skate Canada, too. ねー。でも今年ほんとがんばってるもんね。スケートカナダもすばらしかったじゃないですか。

Akiko: Thank you. ありがとうございます。

Yutaka: And won this NHK. so great! Then GPF next. で、またここで優勝ですもん、もうすばらしい!ね。(次は)グランプリファイナル、ですよね。

Akiko: uh-huh… well… I wasn't so much satisfied with my FS yesterday, then I will try to complete it, in order to have a much better FS in GPF. そうですね、んー⋯ 昨日のフリーは、少し自分では納得がいかなかったので、そういう点をまた修正して、ファイナルではもっといい演技ができるようにしていきたいと思います。

(Crowds applaud 会場拍手)

Yutaka: uh-huh. Yesterday, some flaws you had on jumps… So, you're going to have both fantastic short/long programs, next. ねー、昨日の、でも⋯ でもちょっと、ね、いくつか失敗があったからね。まあ両方揃えましょう、次は。

Akiko: Yes, both of them I will make happen next. そうですね、次にとっておきます。

Yutaka: Definitely. とっておいてください。

Akiko: Yes, I will. はい。

Kariya: So, I would like to ask you… you had a very good SP (set her new PB score), and a gold medal and GPF ticket were in shipping to you, then Mao shipped a great FS score. How did you feel before you performed? まぁあのー、お伺いしたいのは、すごくいいショートプログラム(自己ベスト更新)があった後のフリーに臨む気持ち、そして優勝がもう目の前にあって、ファイナルも決まりそうなのが目の前にあって、そしてあのー、浅田真央さんがすごい得点を出して、それから滑るときのあの気持ちったら、どんな感じだったんですか?

Akiko: Well… I didn't care about GPF and NHK title so much, but I was focusing on what I had trained, "to give here, anyway!" "defeat my weak self, overcome myself in yesterday," to get started. I had made its way in the 1st half apparently, then I got so upset with one mistake in the 2nd half… that I really regret, but it's a good experience for next. そうですねあのー⋯ そこまでその、ファイナルとか優勝、というのではなく、「とにかく今まで自分が練習してきたことをここで出したい」っていう気持ちで、「自分自身に勝ちたい・昨日までの自分に勝ちたい」という気持ちで、演技をしたんですけれども、やはり、少し前半がうまく行って、後半に一つのミスから動揺してしまったので、そういった点が、んー⋯ すごく反省している点でもありますし、また今後には活きてくると思います。

Kariya: Well… In SP, on your extremely quick footworks! The quicker violin was played, the quicker you were stepping. Even you were leading the music. やー⋯ でもほんとにあの、特にショートのときのあのステップの速さ!どんどん速くなっていくあのバイオリンの音色について行くどころか、まったく遅れずに、引っぱるような形で行きましたでしょ?

Akiko: I really love to do it, the step sequence, as well as I had much trainings to do it, then it came out this NHK, so good for me. そうですねあの、ステップはほんとに自分でも好きな要素で。ほんとにたくさん練習して来たので、それが試合で出せてすごくよかったな、と思います。

Kariya: This violin music… by Edwin Marton? このバイオリン⋯ あの、(エドウィン・)マートンですよね?

Akiko: Yes. はい。

Kariya: At Turin Olympics(he had sat there as one of two announcers representing Japan), in EX, he played violin extremely quick, while Plushenko carved the music with his footworks… あのー、トリノオリンピックのあのエキシビションで、ものすごいスピードで演奏して、それに合わせてプルシェンコがステップを踏んだと⋯

Akiko: I remember. はい。

Kariya: As far as I know, no one but Plushenko matches his speed. Yet, a lady, Akiko you did match it, outrageously! - that touched me, even moved me. プルシェンコしかあのスピードについて行くっていう記憶は⋯ まあ僕も勉強不足かもしれないんですけど、見たことなかったんですよ。それが、鈴木さんがほんとに見事にね、ステップを踏んだんでもう、感心しました。感心っていうかもう、感動しました。

Yutaka: …This season, you have so much flowed after landing of jumps. You have kept the landing position for a moment. Is it featured? 今年はこう⋯ 降りてジャンプの流れがとってもよくなりましたよね、動かないで、じーっとホールドするっていう感じ。気をつけてるのかな?

Akiko: Yes, this season, I have tried not only to land, そうですね、今シーズン、ジャンプをただ降りるだけでは

Akiko&Yutaka in unison: but also, (ハモる)なくてー、

Akiko: well… そのー⋯

Yutaka: with a beautiful extension. きれいな流れで。

Akiko: Yes, I have tried to earn GOE+ with it. そう、そこでGOEでもプラスしてもらえるように意識しています。

Yutaka: I felt that… you've done with all your heart. so wonderful improving. すごく⋯ たぶん意識してるんだろうなーって感じがすごく伝わってきました。すばらしいと思う。よくなったと思いますよ。

Akiko: Thank you. ありがとうございます。

Kariya: And Yukina's heart is going out to Akiko's SP… もう太田さんが(SPに)見入っちゃってますけれども⋯

Yukina: I love that move, you're running like this. 私今の部分が好きなんです、こう走るところ。

Akiko: "running"? (smiles and nods)「走る」、ふふふ (笑ってうなずく)

Akiko SUZUKI  Paja
2011-2012SP"Hungarian Rhapsody" @ NHK

Yutaka: So lovely. かわいいですよねぇ。

Yukina: Akiko, have you ever stumbled in footworks, even in trainings? 明子さんはあのー⋯ 練習でも、ステップの最中につまづいたりとか、そういうことはないんですか?

Akiko: I have fallen or stumbled a lot! as I glide on too much deep edge. あーもう、何度もこけてますし、エッジに乗ろうとして乗りすぎてディープエッジになりすぎてこけたりとかつまづいたりとか、いっぱいします。

Yukina: uh-huh? …You wear your brand-new boots EDEA? あーそうなんですね。⋯この EDEA の靴が最新版といいますか。

Akiko: uh-huh. そうですね。

Yukina: How does it work? これの影響とかは、なにかあるんですか?

(Yutaka&Kariya are looking down into her boots. 足元をのぞき込む樋口先生・刈谷さん。)

Akiko: Well, that's just the way I was, to change my boots brand… そうですね、靴のメーカーを変えようと思ったのも、まぁ直感で、なんかなんとなく履いてみようかな、という感じで⋯

Yukina: stones on them. ストーンがついてるんです。

Akiko: uh-huh. そうですね。

Yutaka: and edges are shining, here. エッジも輝いてるんですよ、ここ。

Kariya: (points at her right outside edge) Yes, they are! あ、ここ!(右靴アウトエッジ側指す)ほんとだ。

Akiko: also, heels are different colored from normal one… かかとの色も、普通の靴とちょっと違うんですけれども⋯

Akiko: and "how it works": It fits my ankles so well, works fantastically for me on such as jumping. Jumps are going to be stable little by little - that's a good choice, I guess. 靴を変えたことによって、私の場合は、ジャンプだったり足首の動きがすごくうまく使えるようになって、ジャンプも少しずつ安定してきたので、いい判断だったかなと思います。

Yutaka: So nice. You know, boots could concern you, as each skater likes each boot… よかったですよね、合ってねー。合わない人もいるし、まあ自分の好みっていうか、ねえ。

Akiko: uh-huh. Fortunately, I haven't been concerned with them so much. I hadn't any trouble with the old one, but I would like to flip my mindset, to change the things from last season. That works for me. そうですね、私は幸いにも、靴で悩んだことがあまりないので。前の靴が悪かったからではなく、「ちょっと変えてみようかな」という。気分も昨シーズンからちょっと一新していろいろ変えてみたら、すごく合っていたという感じです。

Yukina: As that worked in Olympics. オリンピックのときもそうでしたよね。

Akiko: Definitely. そうですそうです。

Kariya: By the way, your coach Hiroshi(NAGAKUBO) got excited after SP, in the rink where he competed at Sapporo Olympics(1972)… でもあのー、長久保コーチも大喜びでしたしね、ショートの後は。そして長久保コーチが札幌オリンピックで滑ったアリーナ⋯

Akiko: uh-huh. はい。

Kariya: where Yutaka competed, too, (laughs) 樋口さんも滑ったアリーナ、ははは

(In the beginning of "the room", playing Yutaka's skating there, everyone there laughed, because he was so young. 樋口先生の若かりし現役時代の様子が番組冒頭で流れていた。)

Yutaka: "Do not disturb." (smiles) …Hiroshi, here he competed as Pairs? I guess… 言わないで下さい(笑) 長久保先生がここでペアをなすってたんですよね⋯ですよね?

Akiko: I'm so happy with my gold at his promised place, extremely happy with his extreme smile, as well. 先生のこの思い出の地で私も優勝することが出来てすごく嬉しいですし、先生のすごい笑顔、私はそれがすごく嬉しかったです。

Kariya: You participated in NHK Trophy as a flower girl before, …oh, NHK杯はあの、フラワーガールもやりましたし、あ⋯

(now playing Akiko&Hiroshi's hugging 長久保コーチと抱き合う映像出る)

Akiko SUZUKI 鈴木明子 Hiroshi NAGAKUBO 長久保裕  Paja
Akiko, Hiroshi NAGAKUBO @ 2011 NHK Trophy

Kariya: …then, pause it? ⋯止まったままですかこれは?

Akiko: (laughs) ふふふ⋯はははは

(Crowds laugh 会場笑)

Kariya: A long pause, as much as possible, for this happy, extreme smile of Hiroshi. …And also, In NHK Trophy you made your senior GPS debut, won a silver, that celebrated your recovery from the disease, from struggled seasons. 動かない。動かないんだそうです、はい。でも本当にうれしそうな笑顔ですね。で、病気でですね、ずーっとこう離れて、そこから復活して来て、シニアグランプリデビューも、このNHK杯で、2位でしたもんね。

Akiko: uh-huh. はい。

Kariya: And you won this NHK. そこで今回の優勝と。

Akiko: uh-huh. When I was in the rink of NHK as a flower girl, I wished I could skate at NHK, and it happened to me, with a silver medal, so I wished I could have a gold there. NHK means a stairway to the top for me, as this year's step is so memorable. そうですね。フラワーガールをしたときに、「いつかここで滑りたい」って思っていて、で、グランプリシリーズに出られて、そのNHK杯で2番になって、「じゃあ、次は優勝したい」っていう気持ちがあって。こう⋯ 一つ一つ自分がステップアップして行けている大会なので、また今回も、思い出の試合になりました。

(Crowds applaud 会場拍手)

Kariya: After Olympics, you seemed not to make your way, as you revealed "I had almost hated skating," last season. But, you absolutely love it again, this season? オリンピックが終わって、去年はなんかこううまく行かなくて、スケートが嫌いになりかけて、でも、今シーズンはもう完全に好きになっちゃいましたでしょ、また。

Akiko: uh-huh. I really love to do it, in trainings, and really happy with competing, to have a dedicated mindset every day. そうですね、今は本当に練習からすごく楽しいですし、向上心を持って毎日取り組んでいけることが、すごく幸せだなー、と感じます。

Yutaka: I have a question about a waltz FS "Die Fledermaus", which tastes exceptional-Akiko. Did you pick it up by yourself? ひとつ質問があるんですけど、今年はフリーがこうもりでワルツじゃないですか。あの、いつもとちょっと違った感じなんですけど⋯ えー、自分自身で選んだんですか?

Akiko: Yes, I did. はい、自分で選びました。

Yutaka: (smiles) I see. (微笑みながら) ああ、そう。

Akiko: I really like this music taste. It fits me, so comfortably… it makes me so fine, that I really love. すごく曲想も好きですし、聞いていて心地がいいというか⋯ 自分自身も晴れやかな気持ちになれるので、そういう面がすごく気に入っています。

Akiko SUZUKI  Paja
2011-2012FS"Die Fledermaus" @ NHK

Yutaka: really enjoyable exceptional-Akiko, and your performance was so nice. いつもとちょっと違う鈴木明子さんみれたっていう感じですよね。すてきな演技だったと思う、ほんとに、ね。

Akiko: Thank you. ありがとうございます。

Kariya: You said it's your old favorite song. 昔から好きだった曲だっておっしゃってましたよね。

Akiko: Yes, I loved to listen to it, but… I hadn't imagined that I would perform it, since I had performed emotional pieces, mostly. So, I was a bit concerned in how people felt about my classical, waltz program, early in the season. But it does make people enjoy, - such a good choice I made, I guess. そうですね、聞いていて好きだった曲なんですけれども、ただその⋯ 自分がまさかこういう風にやるとはあまり想っていなくて、今まではどちらかと言うと情熱的であったりとかそういう曲が多かったので、今季クラシックのこういうワルツで滑ることで、最初は、どういう反応が来るかなーと思っていたんですけれども、ほんとに、皆さんに楽しんでもらえる演技が出来るので、選んでよかったな、と思っています。

Kariya: Previous seasons you had played a role, or told a story, as people had been falling into your programs. But this season in both SP/FS, we find ourselves falling love with Akiko's skating skills, too. これまではこうヒロインを演じたりストーリーを演じたりと、見てる人もそこに引き込まれていったんですけど、今シーズンのショート見てもフリーにしても、「やっぱり鈴木明子選手はスケーティングがうまいなー」っていうのが、なんかしみじみと分かりましたね。

Yutaka: Indeed. really love it. そうですねー。ほんとそう思った。

Akiko: I had so much worked on skating skills this summer, that works for skating speed, and jumping, as well. スケーティングも、オフの時期にすごく意識して練習してきたことなので、それによってスピードも出やすくなりましたし、ジャンプにもすごくいい影響があると思います。

(now Mao is arriving in the room. Scroll down for "Mao in the room".)

+++ Reports +++

::: Ladies SP Planned Program Content :::

Girls who have 3-3 (all 3T-3T):
#1 Shoko ISHIKAWA (JPN) 3T-3T/3F
#2 Agnes ZAWADZKI (USA) 3T-3T/3Lz
#3 Mae Berenice MEITE (FRA) 3T-3T/3Lz
#8 Kiira KORPI (FIN) 3T-3T/3Lo
#9 Alena LEONOVA (RUS) 3T-3T/3F
#10 Akiko SUZUKI (JPN) 3T-3T/3Lz
#7 Mao ASADA (JPN) 3A/3F-2Lo/3Lo

::: Ladies FS Planned Program Content :::

#1 ISHIKAWA (JPN) {3T-3T, 3Lz, 3F, 2A, 3F-2T, 2Lo, 3S-2Lo-2T}
#2 PHANEUF (CAN) {3Lz, 3T-2T, 3Lo-2T-2T, 3S, 3T-2T, 3Lo, 2A}
#3 MEITE (FRA) {2A-3T, 3Lo-2T-2T, 3F, 3Lz, 2A-2T, 3Lo, 3T}
#4 KORPI (FIN) {3T-3T, 3S, 2A, 3Lo-2T-2Lo, 3S-2T, 3Lo, 2A}
#5 ZAWADZKI (USA) {2A-3T, 3F, 3Lz-2T, 3Lz, 3S, 3T, 3S-2T-2Lo}
#6 WAGNER (USA) {3F-2T, 2A-3T, 3Lz, 3Lo-2T-2T, 3S, 3Lo, 3F}
#7 GEDEVANISHIVILI (GEO) {3Lz-2T, 3F, 2A-3T, 3S, 3Lz, 3T, 2A}
#8 ASASDA (JPN) {3A, 3F-2Lo, 3Lz, 2A-3T, 3F-2Lo-2Lo, 3S, 3Lo}
#9 LEONOVA (RUS) {3T-3T, 3Lo, 3Lz, 3F-2T, 3S-2T-2T, 3F, 2A}
#10 SUZUKI (JPN) {3Lz, 2A-3T, 3Lo, 3Lo-2Lo-2Lo, 3Lz-2Lo, 3F, 3S}

::: Men SP Planned Program Content :::

quad jumpers list:
#2 Konstantine MENSHOV (RUS) 4T-3T/3Lz
#5 Brandon MROZ (USA) 4Lz-3T(!!!)/3Lz
#6 Tomas VERNER (CZE) 4T/3Lz-3T
#8 Takahiko KOZUKA (JPN) 4T-3T(!!)/3Lz
#4 Tatsuki MACHIDA (JPN) 3F-3T/3Lz
#9 Daisuke TAKAHASHI (JPN) 3F-3T/3Lz

::: Men FS Planned Program Content :::

quad jumpers list:
#1 VERNER (CZE) has an opener 4T
#2 MAHBANOOZADEH (USA) has an opener 4T
#5 MACHIDA (JPN) {4T, 3A-3T, 3Lo, 3A, 3Lz-2T, 3F, 3Lz, 3S-2T-2Lo}
#6 MENSHOV (RUS) {4T-2T, 3Lz, 4T, 3A, 3S, 3Lo, 3T-2T-2T, 2A-2T}
#7 MROZ (USA) {4Lz(!!!), 3A-3T, 2A, 3F, 3A, 3Lz-1Lo(??)-3Lo, 2A, 3Lz-1Lo-3S}
#8 KOZUKA (JPN) {4T, 3A, 3Lz-2T, 3A-2T-2Lo, 3F, 3Lo, 3S, 3Lz}
#9 TAKAHASHI (JPN) {4F, 3S, 3A, 3A-2T, 3F-3T, 3Lo, 3Lz-2T-2Lo, 3F}

::: Ladies brief recapture :::

Shoko 10th, Mao "close" 2nd, Akiko won NHK the first time; GPS the second time; goes to GPF 3 seasons in a row.

Shoko(ISHIKAWA), was tensed in tango SP, struggled in FS, due to her nerve. But what she showed in her FS "Miss Saigon", was the "lady": confident, determined, majestic as her choreographer Shizuka(ARAKAWA) is. Without 3A, Mao(ASADA) could make her way with SP"Scheherazade" and FS"Liebestraum", in her kicked-off competition this season, unlike her previous seasons. So comfortably she played a role of a cute princess in SP, a girl in love in FS. Akiko(SUZUKI) had "satisfying SP (set her new PB score) / disappointing FS," yet she had 2 stunning colored programs. She had shown a multi-color pallet on each program since she came back on the ice around 2007-2008 season, but this season, in 2 complementary colors Akiko dyes - so metallic "Hungarian Rhapsody", pastel "Die Fledermaus". You have been familiar with these Akiko's colors, but you have never seen them as plain color before! and you've never seen 2 step sequences in Ladies program, that Akiko's phenomenal skating speed & skills can make happen.

Judges Scores:

::: Men SP brief recapture :::

Tastuki 5th, Taka 2nd, Daisuke a SP leader.

Tatsuki(MACHIDA) had been struggling even with his 3F in the morning practice, but in the competition "Dark Eyes" he was displaying all the quality jump element(3A, 3F-3T, 3Lz) and his much quick dancing, both always reminds me a nike "swish" mark! Even though he fell on the flying entry of FSSp, that could be entertaining treat for crowds. Taka(KOZUKA) secured the program with 3Lz-3T/3F instead of 4T-3T/3Lz, Dausike(TAKAHASI) set the new Personal Best score with his definitive contemporary-art program "In the Garden of Souls", in the terrific standing ovations. THEN! 4Lz was made in Sapporo!!! by Brandon(MROZ), who had done no 4Lz in the morning.

Judges Scores:

::: Men FS brief recapture :::

Group 1 opened an entertaining ice show in Sapporo, Tomas(VERNER) gave a solid 4T(GOE +1.43) and such a fun time!, as well as Samuel(CONTESTI) showed a comical "good old days" broadway performance, while 2 young Americans(Armin,Ross) sent fresh breezes to the arena - crowds expected emotions of Group 2.

Tatsuki 7th, Taka 2nd, Daisuke overdeveloped 1st
Tatsuki(MACHIDA) presented freshly brewed "Don Quixote" by Stephane LAMBIEL, with a young love, but he couldn't display jump elements in the 2nd half, as he hasn't trained enough since late September. Taka(KOZUKA) set a new-wave classical piece (the music from a Japanese Animation), which represents his taste so well, however he "matched Daisuke? hardly." Daisuke(TAKAHASHI) had some flaws in his elements, but his blues "flowed," and crowds - most of them were Daisuke's female fans - got overwhelmed. Although 3 Japanese failed in their quad, Daisuke made his 4F in warming-up 6 minutes, "for the first time! in my life!", "then, I raised my fist for the first time in 6 minutes!" smiled a Men gold medalist.

Judges Scores:


+++ Press Conference Photos +++

Alena Leonova アリョーナ・レオノワ Akiko SUZUKI 鈴木明子 Mao ASADA 浅田真央  Japan Sports
Ladies medalists @ NHK

  Japan Sports
Men gold medalist Daisuke TAKAHASHI 高橋大輔選手 @ NHK

  Japan Sports
Men silver medalist Takahiko KOZUKA 小塚崇彦選手 @ NHK

+++ Quotes by Akiko,Mao,Daisuke,Taka +++

::: Akiko winning gold Kiss & Cry interview :::

- How did you feel when you saw your overall placement (1st) ?

I was disappointed with my FS, so was shocked and sorry about that.

- You don't have to be sorry! What do you think of your performance today?

I had some mistakes on jumps, since the 2nd 3Lo was singled that made me a bit upset, but I could still handle the rest of elements. Anyway, I hoped to skate along the music, showing what I can give at this moment.

- "To connect with crowds", you noted before FS.

It didn't work… Today thankfully the crowds connected with me, I felt their affection. I will give my all to unite people with this "Die Fledermaus" next time.

- What do you expect of you at GPF?

I hope to make 2 good programs, satisfied SP and FS, unlike this NHK.

::: Mao winning silver Kiss & Cry interview :::

- Message for Fans:

So many people have joined us since yesterday, that inspired me a lot, Thank you.

- Everyone! was waiting for your smile.

Well… I'm satisfied so much with this well-done, my beloved "Liebestraum". It was not my best but I gave it my all.

- What do you think of your performance today?

I guess I could be so confident, that I had done well, since I had good practices. I wasn't able to make 3A this NHK, that I regret, so I must work on it for next time. In FS, although I had planned a 3A, I couldn't rotate in warming-up 6 minutes.

- And may I announce: "Strong Mao is back!" ?

…well… (smiles) yes? (laughs) I'm not sure, but I did make my way from the first competition, unusually, (crowds LOL) I gave what I could do at this moment, so I could do much better from now. And we'll see.

- What do you expect of you in Russia?

I will complete myself, to the next stage, step by step.

::: Akiko/Mao More Quotes from press conference and mixed zone :::

after SP

Akiko: 20 years I have trained skating… finally I did it! 3-3 in the competition - that makes me leap! Much satisfied with jump elements but a bit chips I had on other elements. In the morning practice, I hit 3T-3T but fell on 3Lz, so I handled my speed for 3Lz after I landed 3T-3T. (on highly Skating Skills score:) "Speed helps all the elements," my coach(Hiroshi NAGAKUBO) always tells me. So I always let myself go fast, in training. Then I have tried utmost at the entry of 3T-3T today. (on her 3T-3T:) "You must have 3-3 in the future," also my coach has told since last season, but I wasn't able to make it last season, for I hadn't been in good form. Then he claimed "You'll never top yourself, if you haven't it." So have I tried… training, training, and training… for me, it was a much challenging element this NHK, since it was completed around Japan Open(in early Oct.). wish I could make 3F/3Lz-3T as well. (on her costume designed by Russian:) Grey and Black, so modern. Lovely motives on arms, it charms with my armworks.

Mao: I tried to have a 3A and make the rest of elements this SP, and tried to have fun with "Scheherazade", for crowds, as well. My coach(Nobuo SATO) encouraged me "Movin' on, now you're well-prepared." and I think I did. (on her singled 3A:) It was not on its right course, too much close to the fence. I'm going to have a 3A in SP this season, too. (on her costume:) So lovely. It looks like outfit for a princess. It's so easy to move, as well.

after FS

Akiko: I hoped to do my best, make a good result for those lots of Figure Skating fans in Japan. I'm sorry that I couldn't in FS. However, as a Japanese skater, I could win to listen Japanese Anthem in Japan with Japanese people, that was satisfying. (on "Die Fledermaus":) This music is on my side, so it helps me a lot, particularly on the last SlSt. A good choice. (She picked it up by herself.) But, I couldn't tone in it today. (on her consistency of the second 3T as a combination:) This season I have practiced to set up 3T following 3Lz/3F/3T, that made 2A-3T stable, as well. I'm so hard-working on 3-3, as it doubles from last season.

Mao: (on her cancelled 3A:) After SP, my coach said "you could have earned more points, if you had a 2A." Then I found that Men without a quad, they could earn even more points than quad jumpers. That's why I changed my mind. (other good things to her this NHK:) 2A-3T, skating speed. I appreciate my coach to make them happen.

in the next morning after FS

Akiko: (on her age "26":) Youth could never be back to me! (laughs) I think skating could be matured, if you have skated so long. So I wish mine, aged could appeal to crowds. Yet, I think I haven't been lady-like, as I won SP but lost FS. (laughs)

Mao: I need skating speed, but it causes problems with jumping timing. Both of them we're still working on, and both are gonna be better. (on her thinner shape:) because I have much trainings. My core strength is improving, my stamina works to the end of FS. No problem!

Mao in "the room": Mao, she has smiled and listened to what Yutaka HIGUCHI said: Your skating is growing so quietly elegant; You made 5 types triples here, in addition, you did a correct 3Lz on the outside edge in warming-up 6 minutes.

::: Daisuke/Taka More Quotes from press conference and mixed zone :::

after SP

Daisuke: I didn't expect such a high (personal best) score. I didn't show it as a hundred present, but I was able to do so well, thanks to crowds here, who gave me inspiration. Then I try to be their inspiration in a better way. (on PB:) could be earned by other than 3F-3T. Overall, all elements were neat, particularly, jumps had good grade. I'm gonna be in form to skate comfortably, unlike in Skate Canada. Skating skills I had worked on, in France, that works on every element and endurance on FS, and for judges and crowds, I guess. (on jumps:) I started to train them so late, though, I can handle them, I know the reason why I failed in them. They're gonna be better, as I made quads in practice sessions here. (on spins:) For me they're not so beautiful… (smiles) I have worked on them so hard, I need more flexibility for them. Such trainings works a little bit. (for FS:) I'm not so comfortable in it… I'm going to have a quad, hope to make all the jump element. Tomorrow, you never know, so I should be comfortable to skate with a wide margin.

Taka: I'm disappointed with jumps(cancelled 4T, shaky step-3F). And I had a lot flaws… that terrible 3F caused, which made me upset… so I won't have any mistake tomorrow, to earn more points. I hope to do what I should give. What happens in FS, you never know. (on his cancelled 4T:) After warming-up 6 minutes, I decided. It couldn't fit me there, as my coach(Nobuo SATO) told "it must not work, since you couldn't make it today." that I trusted. As for this season SP, I haven't practiced step-3F, because I have planned 4T-3T/step-3Lz. Although I believed I can do step-3F anytime, cancelation affected it, I guess. …wish I could have practiced! (smiles) (on his performance:) I felt I was falling into the music, with lots of support from crowds. Taking a look at "Performance/Execution" points, I know my performance is going to match my higher SkatingSkills. (on his new SP:) From 7 points to 9 points, judges credited it differently, that concerns me. Now I should figure out how to fix it, in order to make people satisfied. For me this program is so good, that I should fit it, to lead this music. I need to match it. A lot to do has left me in "Inner Urge".

after FS

Daisuke: Despite under-rotated jumps; Level 3 spins; slowly 2nd half, I made its way, it got improved from Skate Canada. Now I'm relieved that I can compete in GPF, to give it my all. (on his 4F< fall:) I had planned 4F/4T, but I made the very first 4F in 6 minutes, so "Why Not!" I did have 4F. It was not bad, though, I was tensed to do that. Anyway, it was judged quadruple Flip for the first time, as well. Mostly, in trainings, it gets two-footed or fallen at the landing. (on his 9.0+ components scores:) Really!? …It could happen, because Japanese competed in Japan? (laughs) Crowds really enjoyed with me, that helped me a lot. This NHK I presented programs in style, that is respectable for me. Now I must be confident with compliments to make them better and better. (on blues:) To be honest, I don't know about it so much… (smiles) I must not make it out throughout my life. (laughs) …it feels like… "nitty gritty dirty", "unhappy", "tired of life". Today, I played a role of such an ambitious, aggressive guy… yet he was a nice guy… what guy should I choose? (laughs) I think I should let me be as I am in every competition. This NHK, I was smiling, smiling naturally… "Just Okay?" (laughs) (on winning NHK Trophy 2 seasons in a row:) I was sorry for winning last season, but I'm satisfied with improving this season, so, good for me!

Taka: Last World Championships I found how fantastic it is to make a podium. I'm glad to finish in the top three. However, I'm disappointed with my performances, I was so struggling, and fighting till the end. I'm not sure about my upcoming competition, but I suppose it's "All-Japan" Nationals, I hope to get satisfied with my performances. (on his PCS:) I'm happy with INterpretation, which is higher than CHoreography, as well as I had done what I had trained in the 2nd "tough" half. Now my Performance/Execution, IN, CH are going to match SS, that means my performance could reflect emotions. (on his 4T< two-footed:) It didn't go with right timing. I was so tensed. But it's going to be better, little by little. (on his jumps:) gonna be better, for I'm going to get used to my new boots. (on his new FS:) I love this music. (He picked it by himself.) My performance reflected that this NHK. But it should be skated in a better way. (on his mention "matched Daisuke? hardly.":) My program itself and showmanship hardly matches him.

::: miscellaneous Quotes :::

David Wilson (SP choreographer) to Daisuke:
"You come to me, at last!" "…only SP?"

David Wilson (SP choreographer) to Taka:
"He can do anything! on the ice. much promising boy."

Daisuke to Taka:
"His energy lasts by the ending. Great skating skill, spins, footworks he has, as well."

Daisuke to Akiko:
"Liveliness - the more her program goes, the more we are moved. And everyone smiles in the end."

Akiko to Daisuke:
"The artist - he skates as he feels."