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Thread: Thoughts on the Japanese tragedy and the World Figure Skating Championships

  1. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by mot View Post
    From Rachael Flatt interview http://worldskating.blogspot.com/





    BTW, skfan, interviewed at the award ceremony for Mizuno Sport Mentor Awards, Utako Nagamitsu, Daisuke's coach, said she's got a feeling that he will be peaking at the right time for the Worlds. Ahhhhhhhhh.... all my fingers and toes crossed!
    thank you for that interview translation. this comforts me in the days leading up to the actual championship all my fingers and toes are crossed too.

  2. #107
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    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.

  3. #108
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    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.
    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.
    As a Japanese expat myself, there are phrases in this interview that resonate with my own feeling.

  4. #109
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    ^ Thank you.

  5. #110
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    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.

  6. #111
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    Mao Hopes To Cheer For People Through Her Performance

    Mao Asada interview.
    http://www.asahi.com/sports/column/TKY201104220337.html

    (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.

  7. #112
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    Mot, thanks again for your wonderful translation on a very interesting interview! I can understand Mao's feeling that it might not be "morally right" to be skating at a time when so many of her countrymen are suffering. I wish her and the rest of the Japanese team the very best. It must be so difficult for them to concentrate.

  8. #113
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    The Cheer from The Ice Rink (update on the charity ice show in Aichi)

    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/news/110507/oth11050718450013-n1.htm
    (some pictures from the show at the end of the page)

    (translated by me)

    The charity ice show in support of those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake was held in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, and 16 skaters, including former world-champion Mao Asada, participated. Takahiko Kozuka, who won the silver in the World Championships in Moscow, was the key person in organisation of the event.

    Most participating skaters are from Aichi Prefecture, such as Kanako Murakami, but Daisuke Takahashi and Nobunari Oda also performed as 'surprise guests'. Also participated was Yuzuru Hanyu, who is from stricken Sendai city. They held an ad-hoc special 'quad contest' too.

    The skaters also helped collecting donations. The most expensive ticket cost 20,000yen, and the donations collected will be used to help the afflicted, together with all profits made from the show. Both shows with 2,300 seats were sold out. Kozuka, who first came up with the idea of the show, seemed satisfied with the outcome; 'I believe we can send a big cheer to the afflicted from the skaters and audience.' He also promised further and continuous support, including holding more ice shows and visit to the stricken areas.

    -----

    According to some reports I read on the net, the participants of 'the quad contest' for fun are as follows (although nobody landed successfully );

    Ryuju Hino (4T)
    Ryuichi Kihara (4T)
    Yuzuru Hanyu (4S)
    Takahito Mura (4Lz)
    Takahiko Koduka (4Lz)
    Daisuke Takahashi (4F)
    Nobunari Oda (4Lz)
    Ayumi Goto (4T - BTW she's a junior skater ... yes, it is SHE!)
    Shoma Uno (2A-3T? as he's only 13...)


    Akiko Suzuki, who also performed in the show, uploaded a few photos from the after party - they all danced to Daisuke's SP music (chosen to play by DJ MURA!) - it's hilarious! enjoy!

    http://ameblo.jp/suzuki-akko/entry-10885001191.html


    Mao and Takahiko also announced that they are hoping to hold an ice show in Tohoku in the summer, inviting the afflicted for free. Details are yet to be confirmed.

    Daisuke and Kanako also appeared in Prince Ice World, long-running ice show in Japan, as soon as they were back from Moscow (May 4 and 5). Some of PIW's proceeds are also donated to support the stricken areas.

    The Ice, annually held ice show in Nagoya (and in Osaka for the first time), will be also held as 'benefit show' this year. It has been reported that money raised will be used to help repair Ice Rink Sendai (Yuzuru's home rink and the only all-year-round ice rink in the area) Mao and Takahiko said they will donate their income from the shows too.
    Last edited by mot; 05-08-2011 at 06:06 PM.

  9. #114
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    Emanuel Sandhu sent a message to Japanese people via a long-term Japanese fan of his. She has given permission to post a link to the message (appear in his fan site) and copy and paste the message itself, which I am grateful for.

    link: http://emanuelsandhu.jugem.jp/?day=20110429

    To all of my Japanese skating fans
    and to all of the marvelous people of Japan,

    As the World Championships continue,
    I think of you often and pray for you often.
    There are no words that I can say that will mitigate
    the hardships that you all must have and continue
    to endure after the tragedies of the earthquake and tsunami.

    I can only hope that by watching members of your country skate,
    in fact all the skaters, that you will be able to find the inspiration
    to be stronger and fight harder just like they do everyday.

    Skating is not only a sport but an art and art is the freedom of
    self-expression. You too must make the journey
    to meet yourselves within and learn things about
    yourselves and others that lie in dark places.
    Bring what you find into the light because
    you will discover its beauty.

    Share that beauty and find the courage to smile.
    Be strong and find your calm.

    I miss and love you all, my friends.

    Emanuel

  10. #115
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    Prince Ice Wrold in Hachinohe - the first ice show in Tohoku since the earthquake

    The first ice show was held in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, in Tohoku region since the earthquake. Hachinohe suffered some considerable damages on the coastal areas due to the tsunami. The guest cast included Shizuka Arakawa, Yuzuru Hanyu (both from Sendai), Yamato Tamura (from Hachinohe), Akiko Suzuki and Daisuke Takahashi.

    The show organisers made available some free tickets for local population, and the show featured a special piece performed by the local kid skaters, most of them were affected by the disasters.

    The news clip below follows the story of one of the kid skaters, 12-year old Mahiro from Sendai, who practised in the same rink as Yuzuru's. She could not skate at all for 3 weeks after the earthquake and before joining the PIW's practice she did not put her skates on for 1 week. She struggled with some jumps which were easy for her before.

    The clip include parts of performances by Shizuka, Daisuke and Yuzuru, as well as the kid skaters. It also shows the scenes from the special meeting the kids had with Shizuka and Daisuke.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAt0Vs2iCoU

    Bonus photo - Akiko & Yuzuru during the practice - from Akiko's blog. Why did Yuzuru have a hard hat on? LOL.

  11. #116
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    thank you for sharing

  12. #117
    Custom Title demarinis5's Avatar
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    That was a wonderful video. The young girl that the video focused on was just adorable. I am sure we will be seeing her on the Jr. Circuit in a few years. Shizuka looked amazing as usual. I loved Dai's modified do rag hat that he was wearing when he arrived at the arena, he is such a Superstar.

    Thanks for the link, I enjoyed it very much.

  13. #118
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    Shizuka looks great! She could still be competitive today!

  14. #119
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    Not really a big update, but here is an article about Yuzuru Hanyu and his home rink in Sendai. It is really sad to learn that there is no plan yet to repair and reopen the rink, which will affect not only Yuzuru but many other skaters who are based there.

    The JSF have stated that they were setting up a special trust fund to support the rinks and skaters in the afflicted areas, and many figure skating fans in Japan are wondering what they can do to support them directly too. Hope there is one collective channel to make that happen soon.

    http://sportsnavi.yahoo.co.jp/winter...do_sp-spo.html

    (translated by me)

    No Plans for Reopening of the Rink; ‘Sending A Message of Courage’ Yuzuru Hanyu


    Many sports facilities have been damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Ice Rink Sendai in Izumi, Sendai City, is one of them. The building that houses an ice rink, which was once home to Shizuka Arakawa, the gold medallist at Torino Olympics, Takeshi Honda, and Yuzuru Hanyu, a rising star of men’s figure skating, was structurally damaged and no plan for reopening is yet to be drawn.

    Yuzuru was practicing there on March 11. He said that the sound of the wall slipping was still in his ears and he had dreamt of the scene of horror many times since. His own house was also damaged and he was evacuated to the primary school’s sports hall, where he spent four days.

    He wondered whether he was allowed to continue skating after the disasters had struck. But he was encouraged by Tohoku High School’s baseball team participating and playing with all their hearts in the national tournament, and thought he too wanted to send a message of courage to the afflicted through his performance. His temporary base is in the rink in Yokohama, and he travels around Japan appearing in ice shows. He carries on practicing in a very limited time before and after the shows.

    Nanami Abe, Yuzuru’s coach, takes her students to the ice rink in Jo-etsu City, Nigata. It takes 6 hours each way in the minibus driven by her husband. She has less than 30 students now. ‘I am most worried about the parents, once supportive, losing interests in figure skating’, she says. Yuzuru sounded a little disappointed when he said he was the last man remaining in the group.

    This is the critical time to prepare for the next season and Yuzuru is fighting back his worries. Reconstruction of Sendai has begun, but the lights remained switched off at his home rink when he last visited to have a look. ‘Nothing has changed there since the day of the earthquake.’ He often thinks about the former teammates, and wishes one day they can all skate together in the rink in Sendai.

    -----

    This is basically the same article, but the page includes the latest picture of Yuzuru in his temporary home rink on May 20th.
    Last edited by mot; 05-23-2011 at 02:24 PM.

  15. #120
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    ^I read somewhere that after the quake his family had to stay in a shelter for a few days and then he moved from one rink to another. He felt depression and practically locked himself up in a hotel room. He is a teen, it's a fragile age. I was glad to hear when he decided to take part in some shows. Hope he will get good training conditions for the next season.

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