Sota Yamamoto

surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, keep fighting! ^ ^
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^ You're right, and much of my gratitude goes to Sota himself as he must have given his permission to make the video public.

If he really is wearing the old costume, then someone must have done a superb job on it, because Sota's grown a lot, and has more muscle mass on his body than his 15-y.o. self. Many adjustments on the length and width must have been made to keep the costume flexible for his current body, I imagine?
I suppose Mrs. Orihara will be making the new sparkly costumes, since she did such a lovely job on his 2015/16 ones.
 

surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, keep fighting! ^ ^
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Shared on Shelley's blog: a video from the training camp, Sota's brief segment starts at 6.51. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gI6TcKn1jGU&feature=youtu.be We get a glimpse of his Dark Eyes program, and a few words about the upcoming season from him. :) He is seen listening to Onishi's instructions with rapt attention. I wonder if he switches to him, or stays with Hayashi.
 

surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, keep fighting! ^ ^
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What's this, apparently Sota is going to be in Japan Open Challenge? Or Carnival On Ice show that's apparently associated with it? https://twitter.com/skatingjapan/status/1301809650698874885 I'm happy to see some news about him. He's there with Wakaba, Yuhana, Ryuju (yay, he hasn't been forgotten either!), Shun Sato, Marin, Tomoe and others.
Just hoping this is not some B event for the 'lower tier' since Rika K, Kazuki, Keiji and Kagiyama are not mentioned! Hopefully not if Nats medalists are there. :)
Whatever it is, the event takes place on Oct 3 (eek, he's going to be tired from Chuubu still) in Saitama.
 

rRainbow

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Shun Sato won't be in. It's Hiroaki Sato who will be in JO and COI. Hiroaki joins as a professional skater and as he is a coach of Kinoshita Academy and Kinosita Group is a major sponsor of JO, and also Mura has scheduling conflict (Mao Asada Thanks Tour show in Hyogo), Hiroaki's appearance makes sense. Most of Kanto and Kansai skaters are to compete on the same day or preparing for the regionals, so the participants of this year's JO & COI are mostly from Nagoya. COI is an ice show at night on the same day as JO at the same arena, and JO skaters plus some guest skaters perform in COI.
 

rRainbow

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I forgot to mention that Shoma, Rika K. and Satoko are overseas and unavailable. Yuzuru may be in Japan but he has never been invited to JO, and since Yuzuru withdrew from GPS, Yuzuru's participation is out of the question anyway. It's a great opportunity for the skaters who get to skate at JO this year. Fingers crossed for everyone's safety.
 

rRainbow

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Sota's FS Dragon was still a WIP at that time (Jul. 21). From April 7 till May 25 Osaka was under the state of emergency due to the pandemic. Therefore Sota had two months to work on two new programs after the rink reopened. Until Chubu regionals (Sept. 25-27), he has two more months to complete the programs. Compared to those who keep both programs, he has more work to do, and I agree with Kirara in that without jumps the program lacks impact. But I like the music and the theme, and chreo looks cool. I would like him to feel the program and skate with his heart to portray Bruce Lee who had his fair share of ups and downs.
 

surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, keep fighting! ^ ^
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I agree with both of you. It was performed early in the season and Sota's had a long break. I hope to see very nice choreo when his programs are competition-ready. It looks like Sota tried to test/show off the new elements like the squats and kicks, and didn't focus much on performing jumps and choreo, leaving long setups and empty spaces there. That's okay, he doesn't need all that long to include elements and make his program more coherent. After all, Finlandia 'Eden' was much improved from US Classic 'Eden' which was better than Gensan Cup 'Eden'.

I hope his back is alright, as I have noticed he didn't include his beautiful donut spin. He did it in his Eyes runthrough though. His flexibility is getting better, as I hope is his jump stability. I noticed he kept his back beautifully straight, which is by now his trademark. It will all boil down to nerves so I hope he's taking care of that as well. Like you two, I think his steps are very promising.

I don't understand the music cuts for the new Dragon, though. It has a beautiful opening, just like Dragon 1 (when he was 12). It makes you start watching with trepidation, and expect an energetic program with interesting and memorable music. But after the opening theme, the music suddenly turns into a subdued theme without any noticeable leitmotif. He'll have to rely only on his charisma and hitting his elements in this part, because without it, this music will feel sleep-inducing. After this passage, the music picks up: it's easy to see it's the main musical theme of the program. However, I don't understand why it has to be on re-wind for so long. I get a skater needs to recover during a slow part after initial hard elements, but TBH, I expected Yuko Hongo to produce something more interesting/varied afterwards. Dragon 1 kept my rapt attention throughout with its dynamic -while not jarring- music cuts, but I don't know what to think of this one. Yet. I am hoping for Sota to surprise me. But even more than that, I wish they'd at least kept the music in the second part non-repetitive, like they did with Dragon 1.
 

rRainbow

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The movie “Dragon: Bruce Lee Story” is not a typical Kung Hu movie focusing on martial art fighting. Rather, it’s about the legend’s life which is a battle against American prejudice against Asians in sixties until his sudden death at age 32, as well as a love story with a white American wife. It is about an amazing human being with a loving heart, with inner turmoil and struggles. His enormous fame in western world came one month after his death in 1973 when “Enter the Dragon” was released. Therefore, if you expect battle themed dynamic music like Nobunaga, you will be disappointed. I had expected a more powerful music piece until I found out what the movie was about. I guess Sota chose to skate to this music to tell a story of a courageous man facing unimaginable obstacles in life but never gave up. He cannot rely on a music piece with a powerful buildup, and with all the jumps added in the completed version, I’m afraid it’s not going to be an easy program. I am crossing my fingers that he will maintain his stamina and keep it together.
 

surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, keep fighting! ^ ^
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A new upcoming talkshow with Sota and Yuhana! On October 11: https://twitter.com/JPlanningIntl/status/1304963006367821825
I'm internally screaming I won't be able to watch, and even if I could, I would not understand. I love these two, and hoped they'd have a talkshow together. And Yuhana won't tolerate Sota being taciturn :biggrin: So envious of the Japanese fans...
 

rRainbow

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surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, keep fighting! ^ ^
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So the coaching situation plot thickens. ^ ^ We keep hearing Sota trains in Rinkai Osaka, some other place Osaka (I think the Kinoshita center?), *and* Nishinomiya. No word on Hayashi and if he's back to coaching. What we get instead is a photo of Sota with a beaming Onishi. But if he's switched to Onishi, going to Nishinomiya doesn't make sense anymore. Hmm... This will be a long two days till Chuubu starts.
Agh, the brown hair strikes again... more like mahogany in this case. I am not convinced this recent color is a result of a black dye washing away. -_- I hope he gets tired of it before competitions start.
Good luck to Sota in Chuubu!
Brief Sota interview (after the traning camp? or recent?) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18m1LdCw3zQ
From some TV Asahi program (Sota is the opening one, next are Yuhana and Shoma): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw209hW6jeU&t=166s
 

rRainbow

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No more waiting. It's official. Onishi sensei is Sota's coach, according to this bio list of Chubu regional participants.
Sota's talent is "sleeping" and hobbies are "singing and video games," per this bio.
 

rRainbow

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Agh, the brown hair strikes again... more like mahogany in this case. I am not convinced this recent color is a result of a black dye washing away. -_- I hope he gets tired of it before competitions start.
Sota dyed his hair back to natural black right before the talkshow with Taichiro on July 17. So it is likely that Sota and Onishi sensei were sanding in front of TV camera before July 17, and since that time he has been keeping his black hair, as we've never seen brown hair Sota again afterwards. Senior training camp was on July 20 and black hair Sota was seen with Onishi. Onsen club talkshow was on Aug. 10 and on Aug. 16 Sota skated to "Dark Eyes" at Rinspo and his hair stayed black. I suppose he tried but got tired of brown hair already.
 

KiraraChin

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Wishing Sota good luck at Chubu regionals, and all the best on his journey with Onishi-sensei!
 

surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, keep fighting! ^ ^
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Sota is in the lead after SP. He got 80.77, which is a very good score considering the long break, some uncertainties in jump landings and UR on his 4S. I think the judges could have been more generous with PCS, these ones appear stingy (as seen in Ryuju's scores despite a clean and beautiful 3A). Sota's content: 4T3T, 4S, 3A. Spins and StSeq all level 4. :giggle: Well done, Sota!
Score sheet: https://www.jsfresults.com/National/2020-2021/fs_j/block4/data0103.pdf
Tatsuya leads junior men with 63.46.
 
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