Here is part 1 of the interview Hanyu has with Arakawa Shizuka in July of 2013.
It is a long interview (26 mins) but here is the first 7mins 30secs. More to follow later……
Narrator: It is half a year until the Sochi Olympics, and just at the start of the Olympic season, Arakawa Shizuka’s Figure Skating TV show “Friends Plus” is back on the air. Today’s Guest….She has known him since he was this small (pic of Yuzuru as a very young boy) the guest that is coming in today is from her hometown and is one of her junior skaters.
AS: I always had the image of him as a kindergartener, and somehow without really noticing he is now taller than me. Now as a skater and as a person he has really risen and is continuing to grow….It’s kind of a strange feeling….To have known him as a person and as an athlete from about the age of 5 and to have watched his progress, it is actually something a bit unusual. Because we are in the same group I have been able to observe him for so long. It really is a valuable thing for me.
N: From Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture, Hanyu Yuzuru is 18 years old. He is the youngest of the all of the Japanese men’s figure skaters to have made it on to the World’s podium. He converted the traumatic experience of the natural disaster (the 2011 earthquake) into strength and this ever improving youngster even moved his base to Canada to so that he could keep aiming high. As one of the top skaters in Japan he is going to lead the new generation……… “YUZURU HANYU!!!!!”
Just before he begins his challenge in his first Olympic year he has a face to face meeting with the previous Olympic Gold Medalist.
Y: I have a lot of things to ask you.
AS: Really? You have lots of questions?
N: He wants to know about how Arakawa Shizuka got ready for her road to the Olympics.
AS: In my mind I knew I really wanted to win.
N: During this off-season we can enjoy this valuable chat between the two of them. There is only half a year until the Sochi Olympics and this is the only place you will see Yuzuru Hanyu like this. This program is presented to you by Awakawa Shizuka’s figure skating program “Friends Plus 2013
Y: Hello. Excuse me. I feel like I’m entering “Shi-chan’s” room.
AS: Of course you do!
N: The age difference between them is 13 years but these two were brought up in the same local area they have lots of shared memories and they have seen each other grow and change over the years.
AS: (Laughing off camera) You saw that didn’t you? I think of all of the guests I have talked to you are the quickest to have sat down.
AS: Usually the guests stand around and talk a bit more than this.
Y: Well, I’m a bit nervous.
AS: That must be a lie! Are you really nervous?
AS: You don’t get nervous.
Y: Yes, I do.
AS: I have always thought that you have a furry coat around your heart. More than just hair, it’s like a really thick fluffy coating.
Y: But, I’m actually a nervous type of person.
AS: You do get nervous but you are able to have a good relationship with your nerves.
Y: I guess so. I have had lots of experiences where I have been able to overcome my nervousness.
AS: Yes, it is impossible not to feel nervous so having the ability to get over your feelings of nerves is a really great thing.
Y: Thanks for saying so.
AS: Well, I have known you since you were just this tall…
AS: Its strange.
Y: Yes, a bit weird.
AS: I didn’t know you were as strong as you are.
Y: Even from years ago I hated to lose. This is my own way of thinking about it but I always had the image that if I got nervous I was losing against myself and I never wanted to lose to that version of me. So, even when I did feel nervous I would always try to get over those nerves so that I could give a good performance. It was a mental wall that I always tried to climb over.
AS: You like to have people watching you, don’t you?
Y: Yes. Even when I was very small I only really loved the competitions like the local public competitions.
AS: I feel nostalgic about the competitions you are talking about….
AS: The competitions that decide the number of Olympic athletes are something that I didn’t try to focus on but I found once the competition actually started that was somehow always in the back of my mind. You have had your first experience of that now.
AS: How was it for you? Were you nervous?
Y: Yes. I was really nervous.
AS: How was your experience at this year’s World Championships?
Y: At this year’s Worlds I personally took on too much of a burden. I felt that as I had won the Japanese Nationals I felt a lot of pressure from myself to be on the top of the podium at Worlds, too. I felt a lot of responsibility.
AS: As careers grow and develop the end result rather than the taking part becomes ever more important when that starts to happen, if you have developed strength from participating in big events then you are able to shine and have confidence. Which of the two (participating or the final results) is easier for you to handle?
Y: I don’t think I have had enough experience in big events to have learned enough, when I was in the Novice category I did have some experience of that though and because of that experience I am able to pick up on the things I still need to work on. I try to focus on the areas that need to be brushed up. Before a competition begins I often think that I need to beat this athlete or that athlete but when the competition actually starts I usually think I just need to win over myself and that tends to draw all of my focus and I just do my best for that.
AS: As an outside observer only, it always looks like you are always competing with yourself but I have never really had the chance to ask you about how you really feel.
Y: I have participated in quite a few competitions when I was injured, and this caused the people around me some trouble. This was quite a regular pattern. Even from when I was a junior, before the World Championships I would get a sore back, or sprain my ankle or things like that but I wouldn’t really tell the people around me how I was feeling. But sometime even when I didn’t say anything I wouldn’t be able to stand it any longer, especially if the injury was going on for a long time. But basically, somebody would notice that something was wrong with me…
AS: Was it your coach who noticed?
Y: It was usually my parent(s) that noticed first, people in my family.
AS: Well I guess the people you are living with would notice.
Y: Then the coach would notice and ask me why I didn’t say anything and I would be scolded and because of my poor behaviour I would always thing I need to do better.
AS: Are the injuries caused by over training?
Y: Over training is probably the main reason. Before a competition, I would watch the video footage of the previous competition for image training but if I had lost in the previous competition I would feel that I have to do better and try harder in the next competition. Even if I won the competition, I would always feel that there was something that needed to be worked on and it would spur me on to try my best on a daily basis. So pretty much I would over train before every competition.
^Thanks channah for this translation!
This statement by Shizuka to Yuzuru: "I have always thought that you have a furry coat around your heart. More than just hair, it’s like a really thick fluffy coating" I think signifies something quite different from the hairy heart of JK Rowling's story "The Warlock's Hairy Heart."