Sota Yamamoto

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Thank you so much! It makes me glad to hear Machida praise Sota like this, because I considered Machida's take on 'Dark Eyes' a great rendition. As for Machida's classification, I think Sota already had 'grandeur and lightness' aplenty, and is learning to hit his choreo moves. As for 'bad boy charm', I don't know if he'll ever have it though - he's too serene and shy for that :biggrin: But he tries to twitch flash a smile or two, and I appreciate that.
It's great that we'll be able to see Sota and his buddies, and the rest (well, most) of Team Japan in a week already! I hope Sota doesn't forget to rest among his preparations.
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
As for 'bad boy charm', I don't know if he'll ever have it though - he's too serene and shy for that :biggrin: But he tries to twitch flash a smile or two, and I appreciate that.
Hehe, Sota was told, perhaps by Kenji sensei, to show his seductive smile at the beginning of Dark Eyes, but all I can say is that he was working on it. To tell you the truth, I was pulling my hair out trying to come up with a good translation of "危険な男の香り" which is literally translated into "scent of a dangerous guy." Here, as far as I know "dangerous man" in English refers to an evil, abusive man who can hurt women. Obviously that's not what Machida san meant by 危険な男, and I ended up choosing "bad boy charm" instead. Can anybody come up with a better expression?
 

KiraraChin

Medalist
Joined
May 5, 2018
I understood what you wanted to say, rRainbow! I think it's nice that Sota is trying to show different sides of himself - like an actor playing different characters. Some will be more natural to him than others, but it's nice that he's trying to show variety of interpretation 😊
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Thx for the explanation, Rainbow! I certainly can't come up with an equivalent, though I get what is meant.

Anyhow, Sota greeted us in a NHK promo video yesterday :biggrin: : https://twitter.com/NHKTrophyFigure/status/1330752942467670018
I think he just says there are 4 days till NHK, that he'll be happy if people cheer for him, and something about his confidence... I have to smile at the confident tone he chose (like a military commander or something, hehe!). It's obvious he is looking forward to competing again, and to showing off his programs before the audience. I hope he stays safe and I'll be happy if he can skate clean... I'd welcome it if he sacrificed one quad in the free to have enough energy till the second half.

ETA, it looks like copyright watchdogs have been at it again on Youtube. I wanted to put links to Sota's programs for this year in the OP, and although I was able to locate Chuubu and JO Dragon, his Dark Eyes from Carnival On Ice are gone, its uploader banned. Sigh...
 
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surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
FS Life online talkshow's twitter apparently says that due to a big demand, tickets to the past Sota/Taichiro and Kazuki/Koshiro talkshows will be sold again :coffee: https://twitter.com/fskating_Life/status/1331177817833230337 The Japanese fans can't get enough of the onsen club, lol!

Also, Sota will participate in the Nagoya Festival again. I think it takes place in early January. He's there along with Shoma, Kazuki, Keiji, Shun and Yuma. Rika K, Kaori, Mako and Rin are confirmed for the ladies so far.
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Sota greeted us in a NHK promo video yesterday :biggrin: : https://twitter.com/NHKTrophyFigure/status/1330752942467670018
I think he just says there are 4 days till NHK, that he'll be happy if people cheer for him, and something about his confidence...
Yes, overall, you're right. Sota said, "I am Sota Yamamoto. This year marks the third consecutive year of my participation in the NHK Trophy. I’ll do my very best to deliver good performances. Please cheer for me. Four days until NHK Trophy."

Some fans wondered if he was wearing a shirt inside out, but someone pointed out that the shirt has the chest pocket with a Vivienne Westwood logo, so it is a designer shirt, perhaps given by his fan.
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
I really want Sota to drop that third quad... no point giving judges more ammunition to punish him for landings and falls when he's exhausted. Actually I want Kazuki to use the same strategy, too. They're both bundles of nerves at home events, because they know they won't be propped up by judges who favour the juniors. Skating clean is vital for both boys, but maybe even more so for Sota whose performance level still doesn't match Kazuki's (not that the latter's PCS reflects that... nor does Sota's PCS reflect his great SS...)
May Onishi choose a good strategy for Sota! I'll be so nervous for him.

@ Rainbow, thank you for the translation! I keep hearing 僕 and 自身 in the second sentence, which is why I thought he was saying something about his confidence.
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Good lord, I have just read on PH that the judges (or tech panel, I forgot which) for Men is the same as last Nationals. I recall they were nasty to Sota and Kazuki, and made sure to give them foul scores in the SP... I think I need a smiley which looks like Munch's 'Scream'. :confused:
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Just finished watching 'Dragon' which was conveniently aired on our TV tonight, as if they knew Sota would be competing :) I caught interesting music motifs there that Sota could have picked for his LP. An interesting film, though I am dubious things were really that dramatically gory in reality. Anyhow, I hope Sota conquers his inner demons tomorrow and the day after, and skates to a better placement than both previous times. Good luck, Sota, and don't get hurt or anything!
 

KiraraChin

Medalist
Joined
May 5, 2018
Good lord, I have just read on PH that the judges (or tech panel, I forgot which) for Men is the same as last Nationals. I recall they were nasty to Sota and Kazuki, and made sure to give them foul scores in the SP... I think I need a smiley which looks like Munch's 'Scream'. :confused:
:eek2::eek2::eek2::eek2::eek2:

In other news, Sota's SP run-through today: https://twitter.com/figure365/status/1332181882864189440
3T-3T 3S 3A
I wonder if he's done triples instead of quads on purpose, in order not to exert himself.
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
A kind of a nightmare program for Sota. Mistakes on all three jumps, and TBH he felt mentally off throughout the program. He looked very stiff since before he assumed the initial pose, and unfortunately couldn't shake it off throughout the rest of the program. I'll be happy now if he manages to climb back to his 'usual' 6th place after the free.
Again, I have to question the choice of these programs of which at least the SP is not Sota's comfort zone (it's not the Oly season yet, but it's reputation-building time now). I have to wonder if Sota will stay with Onishi who doesn't seem to be doing much for his confidence, though he does get him his levels at lower level comps where Sota isn't a bundle of nerves. I suspect he'd feel more assured if he had one of the recently retired stars at the boards; too bad Machida doesn't coach, and that Oda is having difficulties.
I don't know which scares me more, the possibility that Sota is going through some health problems (I wouldn't be surprised if he admitted to one in a post-SP interview), or the one in which he has long-term mental blocks in most competitions. I sure hope he is working with a sports psychologist. He really needs to skate clean, even at the cost of lowering difficulty temporarily. Too much is at risk for him. Fingers crossed that he has a better FS tomorrow, and gets it together at Nationals.

ETA, Article with a brief comment from Sota about him not being happy with how the SP went (says it's half of what he can do?):
 
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surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Just don't overdo it with the expressions sympathy for Sota, guys... :rolleye: Frankly, kinda sad for me as a fan to see him supported only when he does well.
Anyhow. Good luck today, Sota! Fingers crossed that you can get that 6th place back. 🍀
 

KiraraChin

Medalist
Joined
May 5, 2018
Oh Sota... :cry: On the plus side, NHK is not really worth anything this season, and he has some time to regroup and rethink before Nats.
Like we said here before, I wish he would drop a quad or even two from his layout - I understand and admire his ambition but I remember last season when he dropped one of the quads in the free he started performing better... Sometimes, less is more!
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
From Nikkan Sports on NHK Trophy:
Official practice on 11/26:
Sota said, “I produced good results at JO and West Japan. I will go all out believing in myself and aiming for the top.”
During the OP he vigorously challenged quads. In run-thru he landed the opening 4S. “I get to practice with high level skaters for the first time in a long time, and I enjoyed it. Throughout this OP, I’ve checked my jumps keeping in mind to keep skating right after any mistakes,” he noted.

After SP:
From the beginning landings of 4T and 4S were rough, but the 3A in the second half was even more disappointing. He said, “I failed the opening 4T, and I barely managed to add a second jump in a combination of the next 4S, but I regret I couldn’t tighten my core on the 3A. I should have given it my best shot.”

His issue last season was popping his jumps. He was so afraid of falling on a jump that he landed the jump before fully rotating it. This season he had not popped any jumps even though he had fallen on jumps, and he felt his progress there. That’s why felt regret on this day.

After winning Chubu and West Japan, he came to this event aiming for the third win. However he lagged behind a lot taking 8th with 62.38 after SP. “After all, I was aiming to win, but ended up with such a low score. I don’t like it when I’m not overwhelmingly strong. Mediocre job is no good,” he reflected.

NOTE: Sota’s SP video on NHK channel site. (I hope it’s not geo-blocked)
Takeshi Honda commented that Sota's 4T and 4S were both underrotated as he launched his jumps too soon to get enough height. He also noted that Sota's jumps were better in practice.

After FS:
He stepped out on the opening 4S, and fell on the next 4T. He finished 8th with 127.81 in FS and overall 190.19. He calmly reflected, “In both the short and free, my skate was junior level and I feel that I sank to the bottom. If you look at the results only, I may have been doing well up to West Japan, but I haven’t stepped up in my performance and content. I gained a lot of experience from the NHK Trophy, and I have to make steady and persistent efforts.

Sota's FS on NHK site:
Takeshi commented that Sota's quad axis were tilted, and noted that considering Sota's struggle with jumps in practice before FS, he thought Sota might downgrade his jump content, but Sota kept it high. The announcer added that Sota expressed his appreciation for the audience's hand claps and support which encouraged him.
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Thank you so much for sharing Sota's words! :pray:
I have to admit I am still in a state of stupor and fear. It's not that Sota bombed, I could live with that. That's life. But it's rather his demeanor, and his vagueness in the last two interviews, that fills me with unrest. It sounds like he either doesn't know, or doesn't want to tell, what the problem is.
He was full of excitement and confidence in Monday's video. What could have happened since then? Even some spectators who were there (I might be mistaken, but Shelley for one?) said he looked unwell throughout the competition, or at least that is what google translate tells me. We know he's not a stable jumper when it comes to multiple quads and 3As. He wasn't clean at regionals and sectionals either. He looked nervous there, but not downright scared and all pale as he did now. He also looked without energy and kind of defeated to me. (Frankly, the last time he looked (and spoke) like this, was at regionals and sectionals 2017) According to some, he was noticeably slow. He was not himself. Even in his comments, he sounds resigned and clueless, and that alarms me. The talk of hitting the bottom makes me nervous.
Was he just over-motivated to win in his hometown Osaka, and just broke down from the expectations he piled on himself, and the chance he sensed?
Does he have a mental issue, and would he benefit from having a distraction like school or something other than skating? If so, I hope he already does meditation or something similar, and consults with a sports psychologist.
Is he slipping into the same mindset he once had already, when jumps started failing him, which eventually led to him leaving Onishi? Could he do that for a second time? Is there maybe something in that environment (Rinkai) that is making him experience a throwback? Suddenly not even Hamada, Howa coaches and foreign coaches don't sound too bad to me, if this is so. Pity that Machida doesn't coach...
My worst nightmare is imagining that he over-trained during the past week, and started feeling discomfort in either ankle. That's something that could well make Sota beside himself with worry, and explain all his uncertainty and fearful expression. His injury will probably remain a trauma he won't ever forget, and any sign that may, or may not signal, it returning, is sure to shake him to the core. If we consider that sometimes, bolts in the spine break - and you now have an ankle on which you land directly, and there are three objects that could each potentially break... Also, remember how he seldom speaks of his health issues, and we only learned of his former three fractures afterwards?
I'll keep hoping it's not the third option, because the boy has already suffered enough and fate should just give him a break. Also, he mentioned something about Nationals, which I hope he wouldn't mention if he already knew something was amiss with his foot.
Sorry for the wall of text. I just need to vent my fears. Regardless of what may happen next, I'll never stop being a Sota fan as long as he skates or coaches. 🌻
🍀, Sota!
 

KiraraChin

Medalist
Joined
May 5, 2018
Thanks rRainbow, for your translation, and thanks surimi, for sharing your fears, they both give much food for thought.

I think even if Sota has his own issues, there is also a wider issue at play here. I mentioned this in other thread: Yumaflation is making the whole field depressed, everyone is extra stressed because they know they have to be pristine in order to have a slight chance against Yuma. I don't think it's a coincidence that Keiji has been injured, now Shun is injured, Kazuki is not injured but has been popping jumps like crazy.

For Sota it must be particularly painful because once he was the 'Yuma' in the field, once he was the wunderkind celebrated as 'the future'. So I wouldn't be surprised if he's mentally struggling because of this too. Just to be clear, I don't blame Yuma, I blame the fed that is so blatant about their favouritism that they go out of their way to lowball and undermine the other skaters.
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
I am relieved to hear it. It really looks like his ankles are alright. I wonder if that comeptition allows audience.
He is there with Ryuju and other friends he knows from Howa, like Yuhana, Rika Hongo or Rin. If nothing else, he should be in good company. No sign of Tatsuya though; I hope the boy is alright.
Sota was posting on instagram two days ago, commenting on this photo with the ladies - https://stat.ameba.jp/user_images/20201130/16/kmn-psn/0a/de/j/o0750075014859424518.jpg?caw=800 , so let's hope it's a good sign.
 

KiraraChin

Medalist
Joined
May 5, 2018
I must confess I was happy and relieved when I saw Sota's name on this entries list, too! 😊
I wonder (maybe rRainbow can confirm this) if this Aichi tournament is a requirement to participate in the National Athletics Meet (aka Kokutai) in late January? It would be cool if it is, and Sota is planning on being at Kokutai this year!
 
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