A small addition - great news or at least a step forward for those skaters based in Tohoku region.
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/wi...OHT1T00339.htm (in Japanese)
Above is an article about the charity show organised by Aichi-based skaters, I reported upthread. But there is an addition at the end saying - The Japan Skating Federation is planning to set up a trust fund for repairing the ice rinks in Tohoku region, which have been damaged by the earthquake.
Yuko Kavaguti interview http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/a...ow/435582.html
MT: What was your initial reaction when you heard that the championship had to be postponed?
YK: It was shock. But at that time, I was more shocked about the earthquake and what happened in Japan. After that I’m like, I felt like, why am I skating?
People in Japan — it could be my parents. I’m like, for what am I doing this sport right now?
I can’t be in that place, to just be sad. Of course, I am skating for myself, but now I want to skate for them, too. “For them,” I mean people in Japan. To make them happy for just a little moment.
MT: So it felt strange to be skating while these tragic events were going on in Japan?
YK: Yeah. People are suffering, and I can’t do anything for them. Like I shouldn’t be having fun because they are suffering. Maybe [I feel this way] because it’s my country, Japan. I feel it because my parents are also suffering. I feel something as a Japanese person.
MT: Are all of your relatives OK?
YK: Yeah. They are fine.MT: And even the emotions that come out of that tragedy, they won’t affect your preparation or your performance?
YK: If that question was [asked] three weeks ago, maybe. But not now. I had some emotions, shock.
Now people in Japan are trying to continue life. All that we can do as sportsmen – we can give them the power to continue life. So I should not think about, “How sad, how tragic, how, how, how.” Not positive emotions. We have to give them positive emotions. To give them, I have to be positive.
We want to make people happy, that’s all.
MT: You have decided to compete for Russia. Has this country in some sense become your home?
YK: People around me – everyone is so nice, so warm. They treat me nicely, like family. But still my country is Japan. I felt so much after the earthquake because it was happening in my country.
I am still Japanese. But I like Russia, too. This is my second country.As a Japanese expat myself, there are phrases in this interview that resonate with my own feeling.MT: What would you say to your Japanese countrymen about the championship? A general message, if anything, that you would want to get across?
YK: I want to say to them, just keep going. Continue to live. I know it’s going to be very hard. It’s not going to be like, tomorrow, everything is fine. It takes a long, long time till everything recovers. But just don’t give up.
I would be very happen if our performance gives them some [reason] to have positive emotions, to live.
Thanks so much, Mot.
Kavaguti does such a lovely job of articulating why things like sport (and arts such as music, also) are important at a time like this. They give us power to go on, they take us out of the struggle for a moment, and they give us hope that sometime in the future life will flourish again.
Mao Asada interview.
(translated by me)
Watching the scene of the unprecedented disasters on TV, she lost for words.
‘I was at home in Aichi when the earthquake struck. I felt the shake and then I saw the scenes of disasters, one after another, shown on TV. To be honest, I am not sure whether it is morally right to go the World Championships.’
She talks of her mixed feelings; but the decision was made by the JSF and she has to go. As long as she is going…
‘All I can do now is to remember what I have done this season and give all I have got at the competition. There are my fans, who are directly affected by the disasters. I know the Worlds means little to those who are in the middle of difficulties, but I hope watching me doing my best at the competition somehow gives courage to them.’
She says she tries to ignore the fact that she is a reigning World Champion. She has struggled with adjusting her jump techniques, especially in the first half the season. What does one-month delay means for her?
‘After the Four Continents, I worked very hard as the final push towards the Worlds scheduled in March in Tokyo. So when Tokyo Worlds was cancelled, Sato-sensei told me to have some rest first. I was mentally and physically in the last stage of preparation, and I needed time to refresh, otherwise I could not have kept myself in a good condition. I took a week off shortly after the earthquake. Then the decision to move the Worlds to Moscow came and I was ready to start again for the competition in a month time.’
She spent many hours on ice with Takahiko Kozuka, who is also coached by Nobuo Sato. She practiced, witnessing the speed and strong jumps of a male skater first-hand.
‘I spend 4 hours a day on ice. I do one run-through each for the short and long programmes everyday. After the time off, I practiced at a constant pace. I realised one issue needed to be addresses at the FCC; Sato-sensei tells me to bring more sense of speed and energy to the programmes.’
Moscow is like her second base. Tatiana Tarasova will be there to greet her.
‘I have only good image of Russia. Tatiana-sensei, who choreographed my short programme of the season, is there, and I might ask for a minor adjustment for my costume. I felt a little down when I heard Tokyo Worlds was cancelled, but I practiced well and enough after the week off. I am ready for the competition.’
Mao’s mother, Kyoko’s comment; One Step Towards a Grown-up
This has been a season for Mao to step closer to be a mature skater, after experiencing the Olympics last year.
She has been with many coaches and learned many things from them. They all treated Mao nicely and still give her advice now and then.
Before the season started, Mao wished to reconstruct her jumping techniques, and asked for some lessons from Hiroshi Nagakubo, who taught her once when she was a child. I always support her, respecting what she wants do.
We asked Nobuo Sato to be her coach in September. Thinking about her future, we thought there was no one but Mr. Sato in Japan, whom we could turn to. Mao wanted him to be her coach too.
We are of course aware that it could take 3-4 years for us to understand each other well, no matter how great a coach is. Mao is working towards Sochi in 2014, under the tutorage of successful and illustrious Mr Sato.