2021-22 Japanese Women's Figure Skating | Page 25 | Golden Skate

2021-22 Japanese Women's Figure Skating

lurkerghost1

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 6, 2021
Welp, I’m going to be the voice of dissent yet again. I thought Higuchi’s free would be no higher than 145. I said this before, but Higuchi’s always skates right through her music until her step sequence, after all the jumps are done. This is noticeable and it’s partly the reason for the sub-70 PCS. You could make a fair argument that she should have been second in the free skate, but it’s more that Kostornaia’s score was off, not Higuchi’s.

The politics of it: Higuchi is not among the top three Japanese women. Even if you take Kihira out of the picture, the top three are currently Sakamoto, Mihara, and Miyahara. She’s not going to get any freebies. I disagree with the politics of it (maybe I should start using quotation marks when I refer to this “sport”) but she’s going to have to put herself in the top three. One could make all the excuses they want about the judging, but it means jack squat if she leaves the door open.

I was actually happier about the 3Lz+3T+2T than I was about the 3A. That’s the first time she landed the second 3-3 so no pops in the free is a step in the right direction. Now she needs to land it in the SP and bring this free skate to Nationals. If she does, no amount of shenanigans would matter because she would have shut the door.
No, the skating has nothing to do with the sub-70 Political Connections Score. There is only one reason for the sub-70 Political Connections score and it is what you said in the 2nd paragraph: she's not in the top 3 in Japan. It's very important we keep the proper hierarchy at the palace of the ISU which is why our top PCS on the GP circuit is:
  1. Valieva - 74.74 - heir apparent to Queen Tutberidze
  2. Shcherbakova - 72.79 - current Crown Princess of Tutberidze but don't worry she'll be replaced soon. We can't let them wear the crown for more than two years
  3. Sakamoto - 71.83 - leader of this far-away tribe of skaters called "Asians" that we tolerate I guess. she said she got this score at her home. yeah right, we know she would never get this score in the real world aka Europe or North America. also her thighs are too thick.
  4. Tuktamysheva - 71.31 - mother of the queen. her thighs also used to be too thick but due to recent criticism we have to have an adult chaperone in our palace now so she gets to stay.
  5. Hendrickx - 70.62 - that one commoner we let into the palace so we look like we care about the commoners.
  6. Kostornaia - 70.06 - like Princess Di. The member of the family that the whole world loves, but she pushed too much against the Queen so we had to knock her down a few ranks. Doesn't work hard enough.
  7. Usacheva - 69.55 - younger sister of the heir apparent. will NEVER be the Crown Princess although she's just as good. works too hard. her fault. she scrubs the floors of the throne room but hey at least she's not in the cellar.
  8. You Young - 69.15 - ugh we had to accept this Pirate from the Asian tribe into the palace after she landed 8 triples. gross.
  9. Trusova - 69.00 - sister of the current Crown Princess. She was supposed to be the most revolutionary Crown Princess of all time and when they were 14 she had the most political connections, but she burned out. we still give her a nice ranking though because we can't let Miyahara think she belongs in the court.
  10. Miyahara - 68.91 - they say she's an artist where she comes from but we pretend not to have heard and sent her to work. we put her in the cellar to sort wine decanters and cheese.
  11. Khromykh - 68.54 - another sister of the heir apparent. she's too tall which would normally mean the death penalty but the Queen likes her so we keep her around as a jester.
  12. Higuchi - 67.71 - thighs too thick once again tsk tsk. I don't like to see young women built like her as an 80 year old judge, it's not right. so we stuck her in the cellar too.
  13. Mihara - 67.48 - who? we never heard of her
 
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Joekaz

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Welp, I’m going to be the voice of dissent yet again. I thought Higuchi’s free would be no higher than 145. I said this before, but Higuchi’s always skates right through her music until her step sequence, after all the jumps are done. This is noticeable and it’s partly the reason for the sub-70 PCS. You could make a fair argument that she should have been second in the free skate, but it’s more that Kostornaia’s score was off, not Higuchi’s.

The politics of it: Higuchi is not among the top three Japanese women. Even if you take Kihira out of the picture, the top three are currently Sakamoto, Mihara, and Miyahara. She’s not going to get any freebies. I disagree with the politics of it (maybe I should start using quotation marks when I refer to this “sport”) but she’s going to have to put herself in the top three. One could make all the excuses they want about the judging, but it means jack squat if she leaves the door open.

I was actually happier about the 3Lz+3T+2T than I was about the 3A. That’s the first time she landed the second 3-3 so no pops in the free is a step in the right direction. Now she needs to land it in the SP and bring this free skate to Nationals. If she does, no amount of shenanigans would matter because she would have shut the door.
I disagree about her score and skating through the music. Kaori acts like she doesn't even hear the music and gets good PCS, lol. Wakaba has excellent musicality. Plus she was greatly underscored technically as well. I do agree about the politics and Wakaba leaving the door open for judges though. If she skates the SP like last week and LP like this week, her superiority will be too evident for the judges to leave her off the podium, regardless of what the others do.
 

zanadude

Medalist
Joined
Feb 20, 2016
Country
Japan
Wakaba does her best when she doesn't completely bomb in the short, but is so far out of contention that she doesn't have to skate the free with the pressure of actually being able to win, allowing her to skate her full to its full potential and snipe a medal that's not gold colored.

Her best chance to make the Olympics is to finish fifth in the short at Nationals and hope for Kihira to be 100% and set up a nice 15 point cushion.
 

Joekaz

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Wakaba does her best when she doesn't completely bomb in the short, but is so far out of contention that she doesn't have to skate the free with the pressure of actually being able to win, allowing her to skate her full to its full potential and snipe a medal that's not gold colored.

Her best chance to make the Olympics is to finish fifth in the short at Nationals and hope for Kihira to be 100% and set up a nice 15 point cushion.
I would say that the sample size is too small of that occuring with Wakaba to justify that conclusion. She has been too inconsistent in general to warrant the choker label, unlike some of her compatriots who have failed in big international championships.
 

zanadude

Medalist
Joined
Feb 20, 2016
Country
Japan
I would say that the sample size is too small of that occuring with Wakaba to justify that conclusion.
2016 France GP. Fifth after the short (13 1/2 points behind), third after the free
2018 Worlds. Eighth after the short, second after the free
2021 France GP. Sixth after the short (14+ points behind), third after the free

How much bigger does the sample size need to be? There aren't that many major competitions in a year.
 

Joekaz

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
2016 France GP. Fifth after the short (13 1/2 points behind), third after the free
2018 Worlds. Eighth after the short, second after the free
2021 France GP. Sixth after the short (14+ points behind), third after the free

How much bigger does the sample size need to be? There aren't that many major competitions in a year.
2014 Nats, 3 SP/3 Overall, 15 Nats 3/2, 16 Lombardia 1/1, 16 Nats 3/2, 17 Lombardia 1/2(143.37 LP), 17 Russia 3/3, 17 China 2/2, 19 Nats 4(only 5.88 behind leader) /2. Im afraid the facts don't support your conclusion my friend.
 

zanadude

Medalist
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Feb 20, 2016
Country
Japan
2014 Nats, 3 SP/3 Overall, 15 Nats 3/2, 16 Lombardia 1/1, 16 Nats 3/2, 17 Lombardia 1/2(143.37 LP), 17 Russia 3/3, 17 China 2/2, 19 Nats 4(only 5.88 behind leader) /2. Im afraid the facts don't support your conclusion my friend.
I said "major competition". I don't consider domestic or challenger events major competitions.

Of your other two samples, 17 Russia actually proves my point (over 10 points down going into the free). So you really only have one counterexample to my four, and even that is one where she let the #4 finisher in the short vault over her to win.
 

zanadude

Medalist
Joined
Feb 20, 2016
Country
Japan
Congratulations to Mao Shimada, the Japan Novice and Jr Nationals Ladies Double Champion!! The first to accomplish that feat since Shizuka Arakawa in 1994.

A shame they won't let her compete at Japan Nationals. Would be the only chance we have of seeing a lady land a quad there this year.
 

Joekaz

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
I said "major competition". I don't consider domestic or challenger events major competitions.

Of your other two samples, 17 Russia actually proves my point (over 10 points down going into the free). So you really only have one counterexample to my four, and even that is one where she let the #4 finisher in the short vault over her to win.
I thought the whole point of your argument was to imply that she will be better off at Nats to not do too well in the SP if she wants to podium, was it not? You made no mention in your original post of major competitions, the conversation was about how she will do at Nats. Are you not implying this is because of the pressure? If you think there is more pressure at a regular GP event than at Japanese National Championships, then I have to question your knowledge of skating my friend. Also, since the entire point is how Wakaba will do at Nationals, how can you say that her previous performances at Nationals do not matter? The fact that you are saying that she somehow choked by scoring 141.99 in the LP in China and letting Zagitova "vault."over her with 144.44, shows that you are not serious in this discussion. Anyway, I will stand by my opinion that she needs to score as high as possible in the SP if she wants to podium. I guess we disagree then, my friend.
 

Dawn825

Medalist
Joined
Jan 19, 2021
Even if you take Kihira out of the picture, the top three are currently Sakamoto, Mihara, and Miyahara.
No way Jose is Satoko in the top 3. She is not getting any special PCS internationally. Her base value is low, her jump GOEs are low, her consistency is low. The cap on her score is miles below Wakaba. Satoko is one of the loveliest to ever grace our screens but she is technically irrelevant and barely hanging on to her jumps. Wakaba is in the best physical shape of her life and looking good for a top 6 finish at the Olympics.
 

Joekaz

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Feb 13, 2018
No way Jose is Satoko in the top 3. She is not getting any special PCS internationally. Her base value is low, her jump GOEs are low, her consistency is low. The cap on her score is miles below Wakaba. Satoko is one of the loveliest to ever grace our screens but she is technically irrelevant and barely hanging on to her jumps. Wakaba is in the best physical shape of her life and looking good for a top 6 finish at the Olympics.
Wakaba has the most talent of all the Japanese skaters, but her problem is jump consistency. It will come down to her not popping or falling. JSF has clearly never favored her, so she can't open the door for them by making a major mistake. If she avoids a major error, her talent superiority should be enough to withstand JSF lowballing
 

rinkside_user

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
In my opinion, the top 3 in Japan are Kihira, Sakamoto and Higuchi - they all have proven themselves in the past with international medals, major achievements and/or technical arsenal. I know Kihira might be out of the picture (injury) but if not, that's the lineup that makes the most sense to me for Worlds/Olympics. Of course, one could argue Miyahara is a must-have on the team as Higuchi is not consistent but Miyahara won't place as well as she did in Pyeongchang (let's face it, the 3A/quad hysteria swept the tiny queen off her game) and Higuchi has a much higher scoring potential.

Mihara and Honda, while lovely, are not on the same level as the above mentioned three are (no major international achievement or technical content). Of course, there are other potential spoilers (Matsuike, Kawabe, Kawabata, Shiraiwa) but I just feel they are not there yet.
 
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YuBluByMe

May Rika spin her hair into GOLD….in 2026.
Final Flight
Joined
Mar 21, 2018
No way Jose is Satoko in the top 3. She is not getting any special PCS internationally. Her base value is low, her jump GOEs are low, her consistency is low. The cap on her score is miles below Wakaba. Satoko is one of the loveliest to ever grace our screens but she is technically irrelevant and barely hanging on to her jumps. Wakaba is in the best physical shape of her life and looking good for a top 6 finish at the Olympics.
Before the season I would have agreed with you, but not now. Higuchi is scoring better than she has in the past, but so are the others. Miyahara scored well in the GP and Higuchi (despite the 3A and medal) is not outscoring her. As it stands now, Higuchi is either #4 or #5 in Japan and I didn’t even include Rika in that. And she would be scored as such at Nationals if she doesn’t take matters in her own hands.

On paper, Higuchi should be #2 but she’s just not. At Nationals, if she performs like she has been so far and the others perform like they have, she’ll be left off the Olympic team. Fortunately, the Olympics isn’t next week, so she has time.

Bottom line: She needs to be clean in both programs. It’s easy to say that this goes for them all, but it’s going to be harder for Higuchi because of where she stands.
 

Joekaz

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Before the season I would have agreed with you, but not now. Higuchi is scoring better than she has in the past, but so are the others. Miyahara scored well in the GP and Higuchi (despite the 3A and medal) is not outscoring her. As it stands now, Higuchi is either #4 or #5 in Japan and I didn’t even include Rika in that. And she would be scored as such at Nationals if she doesn’t take matters in her own hands.

On paper, Higuchi should be #2 but she’s just not. At Nationals, if she performs like she has been so far and the others perform like they have, she’ll be left off the Olympic team. Fortunately, the Olympics isn’t next week, so she has time.

Bottom line: She needs to be clean in both programs. It’s easy to say that this goes for them all, but it’s going to be harder for Higuchi because of where she stands.
I would say that Higuchi needs to be basically clean, meaning no major mistakes, not perfect. A few overly strict q's and edge calls, along with their usual PCS lowballing shouldn't be enough to keep her off the podium. However, part of the reason Higuchi's scores aren't where they should be is that she has been very underscored because JSF does not support her, as they never have, even in the last Olympic year when she was their best performer during the season.
 

zanadude

Medalist
Joined
Feb 20, 2016
Country
Japan
Mihara and Honda, while lovely, are not on the same level as the above mentioned three are (no major international achievement or technical content).
:scratch2: Four Continents Champion (Mihara) and World Junior Champion (Honda) are not "major international achievements"? Unlike Wakaba, they've both actually won major international competitions.
 

readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
Country
Taiwan
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I would say that Higuchi needs to be basically clean, meaning no major mistakes, not perfect. A few overly strict q's and edge calls, along with their usual PCS lowballing shouldn't be enough to keep her off the podium. However, part of the reason Higuchi's scores aren't where they should be is that she has been very underscored because JSF does not support her, as they never have, even in the last Olympic year when she was their best performer during the season.
Love Wakaba but the technical issues she was called on are real. The issue is the skaters who place above her at IDF also had technical issues that were just ignored. I like strict judging but it should be enforced for everyone equally. Wakaba's score was fair the issue is the way other skaters are scored.

JF never gives Rika the benefit of the doubt either but she doesn't have any problems they can call. That's why her scores are so much higher than Wakaba's despite the fact they don't really support her.

So, Wakaba needs to go clean.
 

Joekaz

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
[
Love Wakaba but the technical issues she was called on are real. The issue is the skaters who place above her at IDF also had technical issues that were just ignored. I like strict judging but it should be enforced for everyone equally. Wakaba's score was fair the issue is the way other skaters are scored.

JF never gives Rika the benefit of the doubt either but she doesn't have any problems they can call. That's why her scores are so much higher than Wakaba's despite the fact they don't really support her.

So, Wakaba needs to go clean.
Wakaba has edge issues, but is more unclear than wrong edge like what was given here. The q's were borderline. Rika does not have edge issues, true, but Kaori has worse edge on her lutz. And they both(and Mihara) have just as many borderline q's on their combos as Wakaba does. But as with the Russians here, they get away with them much more often. And other than Satoko, no Japanese should be getting higher PCS than Wakaba. JSF evidently thinks Wakaba clean with a 3A is close to clean Kaori, and barely better than clean Mihara, both of which is absurd. The only Japanese that should beat clean Wakaba is clean Rika with a quad(without would come down to PCS) . The issue in the real world is will Wakaba skate back to back relatively clean programs? She hasn't in a very long time, but she needs too,as you correctly stated.
 

Joekaz

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
:scratch2: Four Continents Champion (Mihara) and World Junior Champion (Honda) are not "major international achievements"? Unlike Wakaba, they've both actually won major international competitions.
4CC is generally weaker than an average GP event and Honda has regressed badly as a senior.
 

zanadude

Medalist
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Feb 20, 2016
Country
Japan
4CC is generally weaker than an average GP event
That's not what the points awarded for winning said event imply. A 4CC title is worth more than even a Grand Prix Final title.

That said, my point was not to argue that past glory makes one relevant in the here and now (otherwise Mao Asada would be the favorit going into Nationals), but merely to say that they have both had a major international achievement.
 

Joekaz

On the Ice
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Feb 13, 2018
That's not what the points awarded for winning said event imply. A 4CC title is worth more than even a Grand Prix Final title.

That said, my point was not to argue that past glory makes one relevant in the here and now (otherwise Mao Asada would be the favorit going into Nationals), but merely to say that they have both had a major international achievement.
Ok. Good enough.
 
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