Translation of DOI 10th Anniversary Special Talk with Akko and Yuzu, taken from 2013 DOI official pamphlet:
Thanks, Kalina for the links and to the original uploader as well!
Akiko Suzuki x Yuzuru Hanyu
Dream on Ice Crosstalk
-You’re both far apart in age, but became Worlds medalists in the same season (2011-2012). To start off, please tell us what you think of each other as a skater.
Akiko: He’s been making great strides to the top following his transition to the Senior level, and has had a great momentum. He’s also an athlete who has a great ability to draw the audience in.
Yuzuru: Thank you very much. I’m very honored *laughs*
Akiko: He’s really full of youth and energy.
Yuzuru: But it’s tiring to let out too much energy. *laughs* I’m always dashing ahead with all my might, and it makes me completely drenched in sweat. *laughs* Well, I’d like to learn to be a little bit more controlled.
Akiko: But that’s the advantage of being young. You can do it now while you have the chance. The older you get, the less and less aggressive you’ll become. *laughs* You know, we’re ten years apart! Even though Yuzu has finally become a fully-fledged athlete this year, I’m still very much looking forward to his future. How is he gonna change as he accumulates more and more experience? What kind of skater is he gonna be? He still has rooms for growth and is like an unidentified egg. I want him to have a long-lasting career, so he’d better take care of his health and watch out for injuries.
Yuzuru: As for me, I still want to keep seeing more and more of Akko’s performances.
Akiko: Glad to hear that but just for the record, I’ve got one season left. *laughs*
Yuzuru: But I still want to see you in ice shows, Akko. After all, you’ve been working real hard! My impression of Akko has been consistent from the get-go. She’s damn good at dancing! From the time we were practicing together in Sendai, she’s always skated wholeheartedly while moving every part of her body. I’ve been watching her since I was small, and have always been deeply impressed.
Akiko: Well, firstly, I’m really glad of the fact that I’m aiming at the same goal as Yuzu’s this coming season, despite our age difference. One year left, but in this way, we’ll be able to have fun skating together! I think I must work real hard.
-As you practice at different locations, the only chance to meet each other during off-season is at shows like this. ‘Dream on Ice’, in particular, is the show that you’ve been taking part in every season. And exactly this year, it welcomes its tenth anniversary.
Yuzuru: I’ve been appearing in this show since its fifth anniversary.
Akiko: I started shortly before that, I think. But I wasn’t able to take part in ‘Dream on Ice’ right from the very beginning. It happened during the time I was taking a break from skating, so I was really envious of all the people who participated. It was a show I really wished to appear in, so I’m truly happy that now I’m able to take part in it. Even now, whenever my participation in the show is decided, it really takes me back to the time I couldn’t join the show. It makes me think ‘This year, I’m standing again at this place’.
Yuzuru: ‘Dream on Ice’ and ‘Medalist on Ice’ were the first shows I participated during my Novice years. So, the show’s special to me. Talking about my first appearance, I was the first on the roll! So I thought, “Okay, I’m skating first, I’ve got to get it together!” Besides, the show’s held at this time of the year, which gives me the sense that it’s the beginning of the new season.
Akiko: The beginning of the [new] season. The show really has this peculiar atmosphere surrounding it, something that gives some sort of prophetic sign for the year. That’s why I feel apprehensive about ‘Dream on Ice’, especially the first show! But I’m able to appear in this ice show precisely because I attained some results last season. So, I’m happy to be here again this year. In that case, I’m going to work hard for the remaining one year in order to be invited again next year, that’ll serve as my motivation. By the way, talking about ‘Dream on Ice’, we must not forget to pay attention to Mr. Kenji’s skills at coming up with a different choreography each year for ‘Dream on Ice’ Theme Song (composed and performed by Maxim Rodriguez, the theme song has been played during the show finale every year ever since it was first performed live in 2006). *laughs*
-We’re looking forward to ‘Dream On Ice’, but I’ve heard that ice shows are no mean feat for competitive skaters. Of course, skating in front of the audience gives you self-confidence, but there are also athletes who end up losing control of the rhythm of their regular training.
Akiko: There have been cases where I practiced too much prior to a show and found myself wobbling around during the actual performance. *laughs* But it’s owing to these ice show appearances that I’m able to appreciate that kind of sensation. Besides, participating in ice shows is stimulating. By meeting everyone, I can get myself fired up for the new season!
Yuzuru: Two seasons ago, when I lost my rink, I took part in 60 ice shows and considered them as an opportunity to train. But now I don’t think of them as such anymore as I strongly feel that I have to show what I’ve got here. Since the first time I collaborated with an artist on a show (Fantasy on Ice, Fall 2012), I’ve begun to skate while keeping in mind that shows are not all about myself, that they are not places made only for myself. That’s why doing things at our own pace or taking it easy is out of question. *laughs*
Akiko: Me too. I always keep it in my mind that our jobs at shows are to show what we’ve got. That’s why it’s very difficult to manage both shows and training. As I get older, I’m getting more and more easily exhausted. But the chances that I get to participate in shows again as a competitive skater can be counted on the fingers on one hand. That’s why I want to take part in it. The audience is also waiting for me!
-You both have created countless memorable moments at ‘Dream on Ice’, is there any performance from each other that leaves a deep impression?
Akiko: Yuzu’s 2011-12 free skate, ‘Romeo and Juliet’. You skated it at ‘Dream on Ice’, didn’t you? in the year right after the earthquake, I think. That really leaves a strong impression on me.
Yuzuru: Akko has a lot of exhibition numbers that are memorable! ‘Libertango’ (first performance at DOI 2009), for example, sent me straight into thinking ‘How can you dance to that extent?!’ It’s not that you’re synchronizing yourself to the music but you’re creating the music itself! It feels like the music’s oozing out from within Akko. I’ve always thought you’re amazing. I always get goose-bumps watching your performance.
Akiko: *chuckles* I’m looking forward to your programs this year.
Yuzuru: But I’ve always ended up crying at ‘Dream On Ice’. *laughs* There have been cases I went insane on putting in quads, but all I did was none other than mistakes. Last year, I even missed all my jumps, and I cried backstage. *laughs*
Akiko: Yes, you cried. *laughs* When I look at Yuzu’s underperforming self, it’ll make me think ‘This is not the real him at all!’ But when he’s finally able to land jumps after a series of failures, I will think ‘He can put out a good show!’
Yuzuru: ‘This isn’t my usual self’. Such thoughts may cross our mind even outside of competitions.
Akiko: Even though we have awful starting orders at competitions, the results are meant to be ours. But at shows, we’d feel sorry for the audience who has come to see us.
Yuzuru: Yes, they pay out of their own pocket to come to the show. I cry because I feel sorry for the audience. I even prostrated on the ice *laughs* I’d feel so apologetic that it makes me feel like crying.
-You both are taking shows more seriously than I thought and I believe you also feel strongly about ‘Dream On Ice’. Well, the approaching season is an important one for you, so how are you going to rise above the challenge?
Yuzuru: Firstly, this season, I’ll be facing a big goal called ‘The Olympic Games’, but I still do not know the fear that comes with it. I’m not even aware of its magnitude. That’s why I think that it’s paramount to carefully work towards each and every competition. As for training, since it’s based on a process [of development] I’ve built up so far, if I do it properly and thoroughly, I believe I’ll be able to naturally make progress. So, I’d like to treasure every minute and every second of my training.
Akiko: From now (early June) onwards, I will work hard on the choreography. I went to Detroit in May to work on the choreography for my short program while at the same time taking a breather a bit. I was constantly busy in Japan after all. But from now on, I’m getting the engine started! To continue making progress, I’d like to take things one step at a time, without over-analyzing or over-straining myself just because it’s ‘The Olympics’ or the last season [of my competitive career]. I’d like to look straight ahead and do my very best.
-Somehow, you two look dependable. I wonder if it’s because of the sense of security you have upon seeing something in common even though your career paths are completely different from each other.
Yuzuru: Akko might be dependable, but I’m not, not by a long shot!
Akiko: I do get impatient, of course. After all it can’t be helped that I get impatient. But I need to move forward together with my current self. I think it’s fine by me if people who watch my current self think that I’ve become better than the time of Vancouver Olympics.
Yuzuru: I’m looking forward to this coming year!
Akiko: Me too, I’m looking forward to it! I still have ample time to enjoy Yuzu’s future activities. Do your best, you’ve got 10 years ahead of you!
Yuzuru: No way I’m going to hold out that long! In 10 years, I’ll have participated in three Olympic Games? Impossible! Two Olympics sounds good to me. *laughs* Anyway, I’m gonna work hard this season!