Sota Yamamoto

surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, keep fighting! ^ ^
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Afterthought, Is there any way to save a twitter video in case Fuji TV go after it?
 

rRainbow

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Summary of the report:
Right after the SP his facial expression showed his frustration. Reflecting on his SP, he said he should have done better.
He practices at Rinkai in Osaka in the first half of the week, and at Chukyo University rink in the second half. He has been training under Onishi coach since September*, and commented, “He gives me a lot of advice. The training with him is fun although he is strict.”
In the FS on the 26th he will skate to “Dragon” in which he plans to jump 3 quads (4S and 4T).

*Note: I read somewhere that Sota asked Onishi for lessons after the July senior camp, and having been impressed with Onishi, he asked Onishi to be his coach in September.

JO’s team lineups: https://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/japanopen2020/skater.html
Team Red: Tomoe, Marin, Chisato (Jr.), Lucas, & Ryuju
Team Blue: Wakaba, Yuhana, Hana (Jr.), Sota, & Hiroaki
Guest skaters (by VTR): Nathan and Mariah
 

rRainbow

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Sota's FS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVTzJvc-yfc
Summary:
Sota won Chubu with 220.12 overall and 139.35 for FS. He fell on a jump three times and commented, “Even after so many jump falls, I didn’t run out of stamina. If I can land good quality jumps, I will be able to push my skate more.” He did not pop any jumps which he used to do in the past. Onishi coach praised him that it was great that he kept it together until the end, although his legs must have been tired.

Sota said, “I am aiming higher. There is room for improvement in so many areas, and I have to do my best. I still see a gap between top skaters and me. I think I will be able to make progress more than I did last season.” His next competition is Japan Open on October 3, and by that time his new FS costume will be ready. “The design is like Nobunaga (concerto), with basic color of green,” he revealed.
 

surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, keep fighting! ^ ^
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I think Sota did very well. If he is satisfied with himself, then so am I. I suppose he's now at the stage where he was last year at Gensan Cup (or maybe earlier, due to the long time off-ice), plus he had to learn two new programs, and he's only switched coaches this month. That must be a lot to take in. I hope someone uploads a video of the FP.

I really like his costume for the SP. He's in no way giving me gypsy vibes, but he tries and it's cute ^ ^ I really look forward to the green costume. I am relieved to see his hair back to black.

ETA: Sota's free - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVTzJvc-yfc
 
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KiraraChin

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I agree, I think Sota did well! Some mistakes on quads and 3A but that's normal for the beginning of the season, especially when you go for such difficult content. I was particularly impressed with the fact that he managed to keep it together in the FS after the painful falls! Good job, Sota!

I also noted he looked quite skinny compared to last season, it was particularly noticeable in the pic he posted in his IG stories, next to Ryuju and the other guy. I hope he puts on a bit of muscle again, it'll help with his quads (especially the 4S) and also protects against injuries :pray:
 

surimi

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This must be the instastory, right? https://twitter.com/takeyo55098794/status/1310310923198816256/photo/1
He does look tiny, but you know, Kirara, he really is, in real life. He was this slender in 2018 as well. I was quite surprised as he looks tall on TV.

And as Sota is one of the main hopes of Team Blue to win in Japan Open, I might as well drop this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2i488BVSRdw&feature=youtu.be
It seems to be a promo video for the competition. Sota is apparently having fun! I wonder why Ryuju keeps looking to the left as if he is having company (or a cat climbing up the curtains, lol... something you may know from RL, Kirara, eh? ;) )
 

KiraraChin

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This must be the instastory, right? https://twitter.com/takeyo55098794/status/1310310923198816256/photo/1
He does look tiny, but you know, Kirara, he really is, in real life. He was this slender in 2018 as well. I was quite surprised as he looks tall on TV.

And as Sota is one of the main hopes of Team Blue to win in Japan Open, I might as well drop this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2i488BVSRdw&feature=youtu.be
It seems to be a promo video for the competition. Sota is apparently having fun! I wonder why Ryuju keeps looking to the left as if he is having company (or a cat climbing up the curtains, lol... something you may know from RL, Kirara, eh? ;) )
You are probably right, and I'm just being paranoid 😅 I guess as well, there might have been some loss of muscle from the stay at home period, which is understandable. But he said he didn't run out of stamina in the FS, which is great!

LOL Ryuju is me whenever I participate in a video call, always getting distracted by 'someone' 😸
 

rRainbow

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Viewers reported that after the FS at K&C Onishi sensei said to Sota "Good job. Nice try."

Some skating fans noticed that on Sept. 26, Onishi was at Chushikoku-Kyushu Regionals in Okayama earlier and soon after that at Chubu Regionals in Nagoya. They jokingly said that Onishi sensei teleported to Nagoya. Actually, it takes 3 hours from Okayama rink to Howa rink with 3 transfers riding bus, Shinkansen, and local trains and walking. Onishi has two senior ladies who competed at Chushikoku-Kyushu. It was a busy day for him.
 

surimi

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Thanks for sharing. I hope Onishi boosts Sota's confidence while not overburdening him and being strict which Sota seems to like.
About regionals, stupid question but wouldn't a journey by car be faster in the end than the multiple transfers? Cars can't compete with shinkansens of course, but the time lost waiting for the trains, walking, the bus may also stop at some other cities...

BTW, I have noticed on some blogs that Sota's 2017 programs were chosen to represent something, only I don't know what. Some sort of playlist... is that something official on TV maybe?
 

rRainbow

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By car it takes 4 to 6 hours and considering the 26th was Saturday, the roads would have been congested. By driving to Nagoya he would have missed Sota's FS. The 3-hour overall trip time by bus/train includes the waiting time between transfers. Japanese train systems are exceptionally punctual and reliable, so using the public transportation including Shinkansen is a good idea. During the1 hour 40 minutes Shinkansen trip he can rest as Shinkansen seats are comfortable and he can enjoy the fast, quiet and very smooth ride.

The playlist surimi referred to is the list compiled by Fuji TV as part of FOD, which is their subscription basis (888 yen/month) video on demand service. There are 3 playlists of figure skating programs so far. https://fod.fujitv.co.jp/s/genre/sports/ser1175/
#1 Playlist of programs that give you energy (38 min. 10 programs)
#2 Playlist of programs that make you feel peaceful (41 min. 10 programs)
#3 Playlist of programs that make you cry (38 min. 10 programs)
Sota's "In This Shirt" is on #2
Sota's 2017 programs; "Anthem" and "Jekyll & Hyde" are on #3
 
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rRainbow

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Messages to the viewers by the JO participants: Sota’s message starts at 5:22

5:22
S: It will be my first time participating in the Japan Open. I’m really looking forward to it, and I want to give it all I got.
Q: What do you want to show the viewers?
S: My new free program. Since the event will have spectators, I will do my free program before an audience, and I will do my best to deliver a good performance.
 

surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, keep fighting! ^ ^
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I didn't expect otherwise. :) I hope can 'get' at least 6 of the others, and secure prize money for himself. I don't have much hope in him defeating Fed darling Kagiyama, or even Shun and Kazuki if they go clean. But maybe 4th place is doable, if Sota hits his jumps, and Keiji and Miura don't. That would be great. Anyhow, I can't wait to see Sota compete again. May his feet stay healthy.
 

rRainbow

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For those of you who are not familiar with the following rink locations in Chubu and Western Japan, here's a map. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pc6IsGodJOVgkSb08tmBF1cZtx3lSEwh/view?usp=sharing

Chubu
Howa Sportsland (Nagoya-city, Aichi) - Sota's former home rink

Kinki (kansai)
Kinoshita Academy Kyoto Ice Arena (Uji-city, Kyoto)
Kansai University Takatsuki Ice Arena (Takatsuki-city, Osaka)
Naniwa Sports Center (Osaka-city, Osaka)
Rinkai Sports Center Ice Arena (Takaishi-city, Osaka) - Sota's home rink
Kanku Ice Arena (Izumisano-city, Osaka) - National Training Center
Hyogo Nishinomiya Ice Arena (Nishinomiya-city, Hyogo)

Chugoku
Okayama Kokusai Ice Skate Rink (Okayama-city, Okayama)
 

rRainbow

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Interview with Sota on Oct. 2, the day before JO: https://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2020/10/02/kiji/20201002s00079000354000c.html
Translation of the main pararagraph:
This is the first time Sota has come to Saitama Super Arena since the 2013 Japanese Nationals, and he said, “I was still short and the arena looked bigger to me.” Since then, he had grown taller by more than 10cm, and he was not overwhelmed by the size of the venue and he felt at ease when he practiced on that day. This is the first event of the season with spectators. “It is an honor to be able to participate in this event. I want to have a good time and liven things up,” he added.
 

surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, keep fighting! ^ ^
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Well, unfortunately JO was not a good skate for Sota. FS Protocol: https://jsfresults.com/InterNational/2020-2021/japanopen/data0105.pdf
He lost to quadless Lucas T. Honda for the first time in his career, purely due to making more mistakes while Honda made fewer. His PCS margin is not high enough. Sota's quads were not working today: fortunately he only had one splat, but very low -GOE on the other two quads, and no quad combo. His 3A combo was singled (the joy of not popping anymore was short-lived), and no lv4 for either StSeq or spins. One spin was just a 'V'. That is not good news, with less than a month till West Japan.
Sota is an amazing skater, and it pains me to see him not progressing forward as fast as is necessary. I don't mind if he falls or pops, but the judges do, and I am sure it must be just as frustrating to him. Especially since, unlike the other boys, he took an indefinite break from school to focus on skating. This is probably not the result he expected. Frankly, my distrust in Oonishi and his jump teaching abilities is back full force. Yes, he's been Sota's coach for only a month, I realize that. But Sota can hardly afford any further regression (since last competition) like this one if he wants to aim for top competitions and Nats top 6. Machida's amazing success story was a long time ago. Skating has evolved since then. I see no consistency improvement from the time Sota was in Howa and juggling both university and skating.
Sota is a fantastic spinner but has often been struggling with spins for over a year, when slow guys not even half as flexible as him are able to get lv4. I cannot fathom what is going on. Can it be exhaustion? But he's had the jumps and combos he now performs for more than a year now. Even counting in the covid break, I would expect he'd be conditioned well enough to have enough strength for steps and spins. Apparently, unlike what I've heard, Oonishi is not all that good at securing lv4 on elements for his students. All in all, I can't help but wonder what the programs would be like under Hayashi.
The new Dragon costume is interesting and cute in a way. Green looks good on Sota. I am not a fan of the sewn-on flowers though. They look a bit infantile to me, like something taken from a junior girl's dress. Also, why risk a -1 deduction should a part of one fall off. I wish they were simply printed on the costume. Here's the costume:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EjaT5a_UYAEmGR4.jpg:small

Wishing Sota better conditioning, better confidence and overall better performance at West Japan. I wish him good luck in fixing whatever issues are plaguing him, and finally get those desired top results and a spot in the daihyou (I can dream).
But I look forward to watching the JO program anyway, if someone posts it online. (the videos are on youtube, but they are geoblocked so accessible only with VPN)
 
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