If you have been reading the Barry Mittan articles on the main Golden Skate site, you may have noticed the following quote in reference to how Takeshi Honda began skating:

"Honda doesn't come from a skating family. Skating is not very popular in Japan."

I question this statement. Not because I know for sure otherwise, but from competitions I've seen skating seems to be HUGE there. I can remember one NHK where it seemed like 1000 girls ran down the aisles to throw flowers at Sasha Abt. I have also heard that Fumie is considered a huge star there.

Also, it is difficult to imagine having such a tremendous crop of young, talented skaters in a country where the sport is not popular.

Can anyone speak to this? Could he possibly be referring to when Takeshi was a child (which was not really that long ago)?