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Thread: Daisuke Takahashi

  1. #271
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    Life is short. Let's move forward!

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    RE: About Mrs. Utako Nagamitsu, a figure skating coach
    Sources: Nikkei shimbun
    Dates: May 24-26, 2010
    Writer: Masako Hara
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    Remarks:
    English words/expressions may be added/replaced in order to make more sense and/or for easier reading in English. Please allow me as usual for grammatical mistakes if any.
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    <3>
    The boy had only two triples which were toe loop and Salchow. To her surprise, however, he showed a sense of artistry that she had never seen from any boys at his age. Nagamitsu herself much enjoyed, too, for doing his choreo, so that it ended up to be one very elaborate and interesting program. To her surprise again, less than a week, he not only memorized each movements and every choreos, but also did skate it till the end with great sensitivity and intricacy. "Without doubt, this boy soon gets out of this place and will compete on the international top stage." Nagamitsu believed so watching him skate. This was how the long journey of Nagamitsu and Takahashi got started.

    "Nobody but men must dance!", is one of her strong beliefs. "Do you get to see bellet? If so, you can see male dancers do have physical strength and more stamina quite naturally, right? That means they have more room for performing and for better articulate/delicate presentation skill." Top male skaters have more or less the same technical contents including hardest jumps. It does not differ much in order to determine a winner. Then what does at the end of the day? The deciding factor should be 'the ability to perform'. That has been her strong conviction from a long time ago.
    "What's on your mind to let boy skaters dance in a showy way to attract audience attention???" Teased about her preference by her colleague male coaches, she never changed her conviciton and carried it through over the years.
    When Takahashi returned to competitive skating after injury on the knee and its surgery, his TES remained 'unstable' for a while. But what saved him at Vancouver was his ability to dance; which reflected in his very high PCS.

    In Nagamitsu's plan for the Olympics, she wanted a foreign coach who has high profile, is influetial to and favored by judges, to sit by Takahashi's side in the Kiss & Cry waiting for its score to come up at Vancouver. He stubbornly rejected her idea. When they had to part ways with Nikolai Morozov, she advised him to go to Brian Orser, YuNa Kim's coach back then. His answer, 'No'. She suggested at least Pasquale Camerlengo his choreographer to sit with her and Takahashi in the K&C in Vancouver. Again, 'No'.

    "I wanted nobody but coach Nagamitsu by my side in the K&C. I simply followed my instinct. Through all my days with her (fighting against my injury and my opponents), as my placement at the Olympics proves itself, I once again realized how great a coach she is for me."
    Looking at him now, she says with a laugh, "Dai is still a mere boy to me, I thought, but he often surprises me with his maturity these days!"

    Tuning in very well to each other, Nagamitsu and Takahashi brought the very first Olympic medal of men's figure skating to Japan.
    -----------------------------------
    (cont'd)
    Last edited by deedee1; 05-28-2012 at 08:25 AM.

  2. #272
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    What a wonderful relationship Daisuke and Mrs. Nagamitsu have! Each brings out the best in the other. He is the ideal skater to prove her ideas about dancing on the ice, while she is obviously the ideal coach to bring out his unique and extraordinary talent. And they both trust each other so much. She never gave up on him while he recovered from his injury, and he refused to stand under the international spotlight without her. In a way she is his first and finest "auntie."

    Thanks for this installment of Daisuke's life story!

  3. #273
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    Quote Originally Posted by let`s talk View Post
    A few days ago Kenji wrote in his blog that they created a new EX for Shanghai shows- Tango by Quint Elle. The link (courtesy by Dai fan forum):
    http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNDAyODg3OTg0.html
    Thanks, let's talk!
    Another links from AOI in Shanghai.

    -Roxanne:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhdfB...feature=relmfu

    -Piazzolla:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvVfw...feature=relmfu

  4. #274
    SkateFiguring took the violet pill
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    Takahashi interview Numero Tokyo, July/August issue, translated in 6 parts. Deedee can take a rest.

    It’s a long interview with some candid stories on why he declared he’d continue until Sochi without much deliberation, what drives him as a performer, and his (current lack of) love life.

  5. #275
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    <4>

    As a little girl Nagamitsu suffered from asthma and often had spasms of coughing. "Doing a winter sport will do good for her health.", her father thought. She started figure skating on her father's advice, because he was a fan of Junko Ueno (maiden name, now Mrs. Junko Hiramatsu) who was the top Ladies single skater of Japan at that time. There was a building full of movie theatres named 'Juraku-kan' which flourished pre- and post-World War II in Kobe, and its top floor had an ice rink. It was Spring in 1960 when her father took his little 9 y.o girl to that rink for the first time.

    Nowadays Nagoya probably is the biggest foothold of figure skating in Japan. It was, however, Kansai area during 1950's and 1960's: Osaka had rinks in Umeda and Namba, there were other ice rinks available all the year round in Kobe and Kyoto, too. You could see a profusion of top Japanese skaters there. To name a few, Nobuo Sato on his top form as a competitive skater who recently inducted into Figure Skating Hall of Fame, Kumiko Ohkawa (now Mrs. Kumiko Sato, Nobuo's wife), Junko Ueno, Kazumi Yamashita (now Mrs. Ohnishi), Haruko Ishida (a sister of famous movie actress Ayumi Ishida, now Mrs. Okamoto)...all of whom competed at several Winter Olympic Games.
    "Mr. Sato's double Axel had such a beautiful parabolic orbit! A thing of beauty even to the eyes of untrained child like myself. When I attended a competition one day, I remember I got so so nervous because I had to share a hotel room with Kumiko sensei!"
    Hisako Nanki was the very first ISU judge from the Japan Skating Federation. Utako was fascinated to get to see Mrs. Nanki wearing a fur and fluttering it as she elegantly walked around the rink. Traveling abroad was simply a dream for ordinary Japanese people back then. Upon her overseas competitions, Kimiko Ueno used to record them in 8mm films, then showed them for other skaters in her home rink. Watching them and listening to lots of interesting episodes from Kumiko, young Utako dreamed of her own overseas competitions some day...
    -----------------------
    (cont'd)

  6. #276
    On the Ice Butterscotch17's Avatar
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    Deedee1, thanks for your translations! I would know none of this without you translating.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    Thanks for the link! It's a great interview!

    He says when he's skating, he wants everyone to watch him, and you can totally tell. Off ice, he seems like a cool, normal guy, but when he skates he transforms. You can tell that he wants people to watch him, he has that presence on the ice that commands people's attention.

    Also I found it interesting that at one point his love life was more important to him than skating. I wonder who the girl was?

  7. #277
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    Takahashi interview Numero Tokyo, July/August issue, translated in 6 parts. Deedee can take a rest.
    Thanks a lot, SkateFiguring. Should be a great read!

    How did you know it was about lunch time for me?
    I will enjoy every bite of my sandwich and Daisuke~~~

    P.S. That magazine was published only yesterday. Real works by professional dudes.
    I can probably learn millions of things thru this series of translation!

  8. #278
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    Thanks, SF, for the article! Back to the office today, but I'll look forward to reading it later.

  9. #279
    SkateFiguring took the violet pill
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    In his Chinese interview, Takahashi said he has contacted Lori Nichol and is looking forward to try something new with this rare opportunity. However, nothing is finalized and the music has not been selected yet.

  10. #280
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    Given his past success with Pasquale, I would imagine Dai will keep working with him for his fs, Kenji for the ex, and possibly Nichol for the sp.

  11. #281
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    Thanks SF for linking the article. Great interview!

    Well at least we know for sure that he will be using Lori since he mentioned her in the Chinese interview.

  12. #282
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    <5>

    "I hated waking up very early in the morning! We had to spend so much time to practice Compulsory, back then..." A competiton back then was formed with Compulsory which required to draw figures on the ice (60%) and with Free skate (40%). If you were to be far behind with Compulsory, you would never end up winning overall, regardless how strong you could come back in the Free.

    Waking up early she got on a train around 5am and practiced Compulsory in the morning. After school each day, she went back to her rink and resumed evening trainings until 9pm. At age 12, she switched to Tetsutaro Tanaka, one of the top coaches. Her life was eventually filled with nothing but skating. She won the ladies title of National Junior Championship. Her best record at the Senior Nats was 6th place.
    She also felt the trend in figure skating was changing. It became the talk of the whole world if a a female skater landed a triple jump. Same in Japan; skaters with harder jumps started winning competitions. Nagamitsu as a competitive skater was well known for her superior skating skills but weaker in jumps. Then there came a big change in rules: the introduction of Short program from 1972-73 season. They started marking placements for singles through Compulsory, Short program and Free skate, so that skaters were required to put more weights on jumps. At that point Nagamitsu became the least hesitant to retire from competitive skating.

    On her last season as an eligible skater, Japan hosted the Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo in February 1972. "My grandmother had planned and saved some money to buy me a beautiful Kimono to celebrate my becoming 20 years old, but I somehow wheedled her to give me that money in cash."
    She traveled to Sapporo and attended every sessions of practice and competitions of figure skating from the Day 1. That was her very first encounter with any sort of international competitions live in her whole life. She was delighted and excited to see the world's top skaters, including Janet Lynn, of course, who became the focus of public attention, and so to speak the biggest idol of the event throughout Japan. However, the skater who caught her notice and attracted the most was Toller Cranston of Canada who only placed 9th at the Mens discipline. Why?
    "He danced!, in spite of being a male single skater..." she simply answered. The average male skaters back then were doing less choreo by occasionally lifting up and down their arms, only. Among them Cranston did dance and stood out to her. That encounter was the origin of Nagamitsu as a professional coach. Four years later (1976) Cranston won the Olympic Bronze Medal in Innsbruck, Austria. The trend of Mens figure skating proves she was right. A lot of male figure skaters, who were regarded as 'artists on ice', burst onto the scene after Cranston. Nagamitsu got foresight in every ways.
    --------------------------
    (cont'd)

  13. #283
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    That's how I felt when I saw Toller. I remember Dick Button saying in 1980 (comparing the elegant Robin Cousins to his rivals, principally Jan Hoffman of East Germany) that so many other men's arms moved "like windmills." Toller and John Curry changed what people thought that men's skating could achieve. It was as simple as that.

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    <6>

    There is always some humorous tone when she talks. The way Nagamitsu and Takahashi speak to each other often reminds me that of comedians.

    But she admits that those who once were coached by her in the past probably could not believe that.
    "I was such a messy, unreasonable coach when I was younger. My skaters used to be frozen up if they heard, say, the rustling sound of my coat..." Nagamitsu was such a young, determined coach full of passion, maybe too much passion and responsibility. If she did not like her skaters' behavior, she snapped and let them leave the ice and go home. "When I grew up as a skater, I was often told by my coach, 'cry while traning, and smile at competitions.' I simply followed that principle...but literally it was meant to be that if you train hard enough until you almost cry, it will make you smile at competitions, right? I tended to lose my temper with my skaters..." Nagamitsu recalls these days with embarrassment.

    Nagamitsu faced one big turning point in her career as a coach in the 80's: an encounter with Mari Asanuma, a female single skater who later got to compete at the Worlds in 1991. 'Mari is the girl with enormous talents. Just obvious to everyone's eye. I can't destroy her talents.' she told herself. When Mari was in a bad mood and hit the ice, Nagamitsu tried hard to tolerate Asanuma, thinking 'she must be frustrated with herslf because of mistakes...' The former self of her would have probably lost her temper with her skater's bad attitude, but she somehow swallowed her words. "It was so hard for me to controll my anger of course, but I eventually learned how to be patient." That also helped Nagamitsu to be a keen observer to her skaters, their movements and their thoughts.

    Mari was a great jumper. In order to highlight her ability and talent, Nagamitsu decided to outsource programs to a foreign choreographer, though it was unusual back then. To choose a music piece for a skater, to do its choreo, to teach every aspects of techniques in skating as needed, to take care of skater's physical and mental condition and such; these were part of the coach's job back then. But Nagamitsu had over 10 skaters, and realized she did not have enough time or eye to supervise all of them.

    Years later when Nagamitsu started to train Takahashi, she put all these experiences, her heart and soul into him.
    --------------------------------
    (cont'd)

  15. #285
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    There's an old saying that when the student is ready, the teacher comes along. Maybe in this case, it goes both ways. When the teacher was ready, the student came along. Daisuke is obviously the ideal student for Nagamitsu's aspirations and particular talents. Nice the way that worked out!

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