Sota Yamamoto | Page 53 | Golden Skate

Sota Yamamoto

surimi

Good luck in the new season, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Thank you both!
Thanks, Kirara. FS Life Sota-Taichiro online talk show tickets are sold from June 4 thru June 13. 400 tickets are sold at 2,700yen.

The topics are:
・Ice shows they have been in
・What they are challenging themselves to, and their thoughts about the next season.
・Next season's programs
etc.

Ooh, the programs! I am feeling jittery now! Well that settles it, no news on Sota's FS until the 20th. The organizers would have Sota's hide if he gave that one big mystery away before the show. I bet many will be buying a ticket just to know firsthand! :D
I actually got asked by a fellow Sota fan if I'll be watching the talkshow. Well I'd love to, but I know full well it would be pointless, with my meagre knowledge of Japanese. I stand no chance against the power of the Kansai dialect :ninja:
 

surimi

Good luck in the new season, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
So, I was hoping to come here bearing news, but I actually come empty-handed. Mysteriousness, thy name is Sota... 😜 It's incredible, but it appears that even those who watched the talkshow - that was supposed to be about new programs and maybe a new training base, among other things - do not know anything yet! Seriously guys, I wouldn't be surprised if Sota got recruited by the Japanese secret service, because his secretiveness is impressive! :drama:

So, since the fans apparently cannot share any actual content of the talkshow, even the few meager snippets I have found online, do not make much sense to me. Here they are, so judge for yourselves:
- training base status: UNKNOWN. This blogger is wondering if Sota is intending to go abroad: https://ameblo.jp/ching-shenlong/entry-12682164855.html I hope not. Not because of his eigo, which he might have improved (where there's a will, there's a way), but because it's too late in the season to settle in with a new coach and new approach, both foreign so doubly as hard. Even if he is in fact trying to re-focus on 2026 Olympics instead of the Beijing ones (which I have no idea if he is or not), the impact on his results might be big. Not to mention the enormous costs. Or the fact that going far away will not magically solve his issues, because they're in his head. If confidence is the only thing he needs to fix, then maybe, but if there are other things... Well, hopefully he's not considering going abroad. But where might he be going if he hasn't picked anything yet? :tantrum:

- free program status: ALSO UNKNOWN! :drama: A few random posts on Twitter mentioned 'La La Land' and 'Rachmaninov' with Sota's and Taichiro's hashtags. They're the boys' old programs. No idea what that means. Might be recycling, might be an old program that brings nice memories... or it might be which program of the other guy they'd like to skate to. One post even mentioned Lorelei in this connection. O_O One blog line suggests that Sota isn't decided his FS yet. I mean, again, isn't it a bit too late to fumble around for a new program? Unless he has two choreographed and cannot choose, lol. That would be ideal :biggrin:

So the wait for Sota news continues... :popcorn:

***********

ETA: apparently, Yuhana tweeted 'Kill Bill' for Taichiro, and 'Dragon' for Sota. I am fervently hoping they are her wish-list or something... If Sota is really keeping the weakest FS he's had since 2014, then all I can say is 'Facepalm'. :palmf: He's roast. His jump struggles vs. the fierce confident fighter he's supposed to be portraying, well that's not a nice mix. What do I need to sacrifice for Sota to choose something different... like the Rachmaninov someone else tweeted...
 
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KiraraChin

Medalist
Joined
May 5, 2018
So, I was hoping to come here bearing news, but I actually come empty-handed. Mysteriousness, thy name is Sota... 😜 It's incredible, but it appears that even those who watched the talkshow - that was supposed to be about new programs and maybe a new training base, among other things - do not know anything yet! Seriously guys, I wouldn't be surprised if Sota got recruited by the Japanese secret service, because his secretiveness is impressive! :drama:
I gotta say, this made me laugh 😆

Sota is really killing us with the suspense!
 

surimi

Good luck in the new season, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Yay! May he have loads of fun with his friends and fans there. And Rika Hongo, who has recently retired, has been invited too! *_*

Okay, it looks like Taichiro's new program is The Godfather, so the posts mentioning Sota's and Taichiro's programs in the same breath, are apparently *not* new program announcements because they posted different program names for Taichiro. It really seems they were just some old programs that viewers/skaters like the best or something. Whew.
I have to say, Godfather was on my wish-list for Sota (and Keiji, lol), so I wish Sota had chosen it instead of his friend. While I think Taichiro will make it a very good program with his skills and looks, I hope Sota can trump this choice. I still dread that he might pick some Elvis program, or something awfully warhorsey like Notre Dame or Carmen... I hope Sota has enough mercy on his fans not to choose either.
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
An interview with Sota is featured in Quadruple Axel (June 23, 2021) sold by Amazon Japan and Amazon USA. Both sellers offer digital download.
Translation of Excerpts from the interview:

--The other day you were in the Stars on Ice show for the first time.
S: Yes, when I was on my way to the rink to practice, I got an offer by phone. I was so happy that I said “I will be happy to!” right away. In both Yokohama and Hachinohe shows, I got to skate alongside really amazing skaters, and like in a summer camp, I was inspired by them and had a good time. Because of this 10-day experience I got motivated to work hard and felt strongly that I still had so much room for improvement and had to practice more.
--There was a jump battle as part of the moustache dance.
S: We learned that we were supposed to try quad and 3A jumps and everybody else was a little reluctant but I was rather eager to try because I thought it would give me an opportunity to practice jumps and also a chance to show a new side of me. I said to the organizer, “I will do it in all shows!” I was so enthusiastic.
--In the past we didn’t think Yamamoto senshu was comical, so I was surprised to see you dance and looked like you were having fun.
S: Since I started skating to this season’s SP “Dark Eyes,” I’ve been wanting to show another side of me, little by little. I still feel a bit awkward but I hope I am making progress gradually. I had a good time doing the moustache dance and I hope the audience had fun watching me.
--How was the fake moustache?
S: The moustache was so big that it touched the inside of my mouth, so I trimmed it with scissors for a better fit. I didn’t feel uncomfortable with it at all, and I think I was able to take on the role of a character well.

-- to be cont'd -
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Part 2 of the translation:

--In Hachinohe you got to get a photo taken with Hanyu senshu for the first time in a long time.
S: After the last Hachinohe show was over, most of the cast members left the venue right away to catch their flight, but I happened to go home by Shinkansen and I had an hour's leeway to catch the train. While at the venue I got to talk to Hanyu senshu and got his autograph on my shite polo shirt which I wore during the final performance. Afterwards, he kindly said “Let’s take a photo!” and we had a picture taken together. I always get nervous in front of Hanyu senshu but it was nice of him to say, “That's totally fine. Let me take a photo! Let’s take a photo!” He was really so nice to me that I felt again that I wanted to become a senpai like him.
--When you were a junior skater, you posted a photo of you and Hanyu senshu on SNS with your comment “Finally my dream has come true. I will treasure it for the rest of my life.” It’s been six years since that time. Has there been a change in the way you admire him?
S: No change, or rather I’ve always been looking up to him and he has been my role model for a long time. But, I wonder why… Back then I was able to speak to him but nowadays I often take it too seriously to talk to him smoothly. My admiration for him is stronger now than when I was a junior, but it’s hard to convey my thoughts to him well. Still, the 10 days I got to spend with him was a very long time for me and it was an irreplaceable experience. Most importantly, we talked a lot about skating and I learned a lot.
--What was the most memorable talk you had with him?
S: He explained to me the differences between 4A and 3A in ways easy to understand. I cannot help feeling I’m not good at 3A and I make weird mistakes in competition. I’ve been trying to stabilize the 3A through trial and error. Hanyu senshu said, “When you jump 4A, you quickly swing your right thigh up so you really need a strong muscle on the back side of your thigh to withstand the velocity. Then you tighten your core and loosen it and these are very tough moves.” I felt I could apply the knowledge and technique (of 4A) to my 3A training. My strength to swing up my thigh is still weak and I tighten my body too soon. I was thinking that I should build more power to swing up and it might help me jump higher. Listening to Hanyu senshu gave me a hint, and I will work hard at training.

-- to be cont'd -
 

surimi

Good luck in the new season, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Thank you so much! 🌹
Sota's fanboying is so hilarious ^ ^ He's 21, but in front of Yuzuru, it feels like he's a nervous teen again :D I don't blame him! I hope he fixes his 3A with the advice he got while avoiding injury; to me, bigger height/takeoff force must result in a bigger impact on the landing foot. I hope he's careful.

I also felt Sota let go of his usually restrained self in the moustache dance. It's good for him :]
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Part 3

--In Stars on Ice you skated to this season’s SP “Dark Eyes” and the past season’s SP “Anthem.” Why did you choose “Anthem”?
S: I have very strong feelings about “Anthem.” I was in the second year of high school when I was given this music, and I was planning to use it during the season when I came back after injury. But I re-injured myself and I was finally able to use it when I was in the third year of high school and came back to ice. It was the PyeongChang Olympics season and the best I could do was triple-triple. Now that I can do the layout higher than the one I wanted to do back then, I want to compete doing this program during the Olympic season. It’s not official yet, but that’s one of the reasons why I chose this music.
--The music brings out the beauty of Yamamoto senshu’s skating.
S: During Stars on Ice people told me that they loved “Anthem” and that my skating suited the music. But I myself wanted to do “Dark Eyes” in Hachinohe because I was able to deliver satisfactory performances with it in Yokohama, but somehow “Anthem” was the one I did more often. Since Yuka Sato-san was the one who decided on the skaters’ programs as a director and choreographer of the show, I asked her why. Then she told me she wanted me to do “Anthem” because the music built up in the last half and the last spins from the spread eagle and the flows of moves towards the end were magnificent. Her words made me happy and gave me confidence.
S: What do you feel when you skate to “Anthem”?
S: It’s like my soul comes out with the music. When I skate I feel like my heart is crying out spontaneously.

-- to be cont'd -
 
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rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Part 4

--Are you looking for a coach?
S: That’s right. I haven’t found one yet, but I am very lucky to be able to practice at Chukyo University. Part of me feels that I have to decide on the training base as soon as possible as the Olympics season is coming up. Another part of me feels that I should take time to ponder instead of rushing. So, it is not easy to take action… Then I got to perform in Stars on Ice, and while there I heard Hanyu senshu had been practicing on his own. His situation was similar to mine and I learned a lot from him. Now I want to reevaluate my skating with a positive attitude.
--Instead of thinking that it is difficult to practice without a coach, you’d rather look at the positive side.
S: I can skate when the rink is not crowded and I can do run-throughs when I am ready. Because I am alone I can take a closer look at various things and learn how to think for myself. These are the advantages of being on my own that I realized, so I am thinking positively. Hanyu senshu told me that he sorted out the instructions and advice he had been given since childhood, and he was training while searching for the best method for him in the current situation. By listening to him I felt like I might be able to do so, too. He was not particularly giving me advice as there were other skaters besides me, but since my training environment at that time had a lot in common with his, what he said made a deep impact on me.
About the training environment, in the past you said that you wanted a coach who could help you jump better under a strict discipline.
S: I’m still seeking a jump coach and strict instructions, which are still important to me. But I’m beginning to think that the most important factor of all is myself. I’ve changed my training base many times so I believe various instructions and advice from my previous coaches are still within me, and I would like to make use of them.
--When your jumps are off, how do you make adjustments?
S: On my smartphone I record videos of my jumps and watch them to compare them with the feel of good jumps when I was on. Then, I sometimes notice that the way I jumped was completely different. On the other hand, there are times that I felt like my jump was good but actually it turned out it was not high enough at all. Therefore there are things I can only find out by watching the video. Before, I relied on my coach who watched me and gave me advice, but now I am able to watch the video and learn and sort out jump techniques like, which gliding course to take for a jump setup, at what angle to take off, how to tighten my core, and how to land. It’s like producing myself and I enjoy such tasks. I want to be a coach in the future and I hope this process gives me a learning experience.

-- to be cont'd -
 

surimi

Good luck in the new season, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Thanks! I enjoy the interview a lot. I am also attached to Anthem (and Jekyll&Hyde) the most out of all of Sota's programs.

I am not happy about Sota's over-reliance on himself and training alone, though. It didn't do him any good at Kokutai, did it? And his landings at shows look a bit iffy. I think the main problem for him is confidence in important competitions, especially Nationals, and that's not something he can manage to get on his own. IMO. I hope he doesn't take coach hunting lightly. But him emphasizing he's still interested in a strict coach who can teach jumps, could mean he might still be considering Hayashi. IDK what he'd do about school then, but IMO these two were a good fit.
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Part 5

--Looking back on your comments this season, I see a big gap between the ones made when you were thinking positively and the ones when you were negative.
S: Let me see. I consider myself somewhat mentally stable, and my mood may swing a little bit, but not too wide. That said, I sort of believe in the power of positive language and I wanted to make myself think positively. Therefore, during the early season when many things happened, I was wishing that things would not get any worse and would get better, and my words might have reflected my hope. During the second half of the season I often became negative, so I might have emotional ups and downs.
--The emotions you experienced in the second half of the season were something new to you?
S: To be honest, I felt I was at a lower level than those skaters who jumped quads and 3A easily, and I couldn’t mentally focus on myself. The layout with quads and 3A were difficult for me and I could hardly increase the success rates of my jumps, and I couldn’t produce good results. Thinking back, because of the change in my environment and my mental ups and downs, I was not able to train jumps well enough to improve my jump success rates. I was motivated by other skaters during Stars on Ice and that was a valuable experience for me, and my regular practice is also an important time for me to face myself, so I would like to go forward by making plans little by little.
--Have you decided on your goal for next season?
S: I would like to take one step at a time towards the Olympics. The Olympics is the stage that I've been dreaming of, so (next season) I want to compete doing the programs I am satisfied with. During the last Olympic season 4 years ago this time of the year (May), I was unable to skate after injuries and I was not even sure I would be able to return to ice. When I think back on that painful time, I will be satisfied if next season my bolted right foot can withstand and help me fight and give it my 100 percent through the season.
--Hearing this has reminded me of your story that when you were going through the most distressing time, you secretly wore costumes of “Anthem” and “Jekyll & Hyde” in the middle of night.
S: Yes, in fact, these costumes have a special place in my heart. I should not forget my genuine desire to be in competition wearing the costume, and I want to deliver great performances next season, feeling happy to be in competition. I want to go the distance keeping in mind that I can now compete at a few levels higher than 4 years ago.
--About your next season’s programs, I understand you are considering “Anthem” for SP. What are your thoughts about your LP?
S: To be honest, nothing has been decided yet. I still have time and after the coaching situation is settled, I want to consult with my coach and make a decision. These days I practice my old free programs so that I can pace myself and maintain stamina.
--Do you have any idea about the type of music? Any plans?
S: I think the beautiful music that makes a strong impression would be good for the Olympic season. Like “Dragon” I want something that has grandeur, a character and story to tell, and easy to interpret.

-- too be cont'd to the last part -
 

KiraraChin

Medalist
Joined
May 5, 2018
Thanks, rRainbow, for your translation! I agree with Surimi, it's a bit worrying that Sota has been training by himself, especially as it doesn't sound like he has anyone else he can rely on. This is a different situation from Yuzuru, because he is away but he can still consult with his coaching team in Toronto if necessary. Same with Kazuki, he trains by himself on a regular basis but he still has Hiraike-sensei and Misha to support him. So idk, I will feel a bit better if/when Sota announces he found a new coach, or at least an advisor *side-eyes Ryuju*
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Last Part:

--To prepare for the next season, are you trying anything new like a different type of jump?
S: Currently the 4Flip is coming along nicely. It’s to the point where I can either land two-footed or fall after fully rotating. But it is hard to improve upon that, and I was wondering if the 4Ltz would be a better fit for me. Then, I talked to some other skaters about jumps during Stars on Ice, and I found some clues.
--Who gave you clues?
S: It was Yuma (Kagiyama) kun whom I asked about 4Ltz. His dilemma was that he was raising the success rate of 4Ltz, while he was not doing so well with 4Flip. He asked me if I had jumped the 4Flip. I said, “Up to a certain point it’s coming along fine, but beyond that, no go.” Then Yuma-kun said, “I have a better feel for the 4Ltz, because I can keep my axis straight with 4Ltz. That was really useful. I have never been able to tighten my body jumping 4Ltz, but it made me want to give it a try.
--Before I knew it you changed your boots and blades.
S: Before, I used Edea boots and Revolution blades, but this season I’ve been using Jackson boots and Pattern 8 blades.
--Have you noticed any changes in your skating and jumps because of the footwear changes?
S: Jackson boots fit my feet well, and best of all, their boots can shape to fit using the heat fit technology. My right leg is bow legged, but I can get my right boot shaped to fit my foot. Because Jackson boots are heavier, I can glide better and spin faster. On the other hand, my body feels heavier when I jump. Edea boots were lighter so I might have jumped a little higher.
--It’s hard to strike a balance.
S: Considering the weight factor, it might be a good idea to use the better fitting Jackson boots and lightweight Revolution blades. I’ve come to this idea as a result of analysis for the past two seasons, and I want to try and see how it goes.
--How are the boots heat molded for custom fit? Do they feel good when you wear them?
S: Yes, they are. The problem is that they wear out a little faster because they’are softer after heating, but when the boots fit snugly, I feel they are completely different.
--You said only your right leg is bow legged. How do you compensate for the imbalance when you glide?
S: In the past, I adjusted the blade position of the boots, but now that I’m well aware of my physical peculiarity, I control my gliding by relying on my physical intuition. Frankly, it is not easy, and I sometimes wonder “Why can’t I land a jump without holding myself straight?” but I’m trying to make adjustments and control my body. I have to live with it as it is my characteristic.
--You are no longer feeling something wrong with your right foot caused by your injuries and treatments?
S: It’s almost gone. Only on rare occasions I feel something is off, if I twist my foot as I land a jump. It’s probably my ligament that gives me discomfort instead of bone. Because bolts are implanted inside, my right foot feels differently from my left foot. To be honest, I’m a little scared. I sometimes think about many things in the middle of night, but I would like to praise my right foot that has been hanging in there. I am so grateful to all the people who were involved in my surgeries.

- The end -
 

surimi

Good luck in the new season, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Sota practicing 4F and considering 4Lz doesn't make me happy. Why is he risking his health like this in the Olympic season, when the only thing he really needs is to be clean, which he couldn't do even with 4T and 4S? I wish he focused on delivering clean programs without running out of steam, and building mental resilience, instead of random attempts at jumps he may never even show in competitions. The success rate of these on elite world level is pretty low anyway, and the risks are big - unless you're Nathan or Yuzuru with nerves of steel. What good was it to Kolyada, Ignatov, Gumennik or Samarin to go for hard quads? Instead a clean Kolyada with lower difficulty did well at WC, and his teammate there was none of the three (or Aliev who I think also tries 4Lz), but a guy who went clean with 'just' 4S and 4T. Keiji does his own thing with 4S and 3A, and yet he consistently beats quadsters Shun and Kao at Nationals. Kagiyama didn't need 4Lo or 4Lz to win WC silver. Does training 4Lz help Koshiro? Seems not, he's still up and down, at Nats barely above a struggling Sota with a watered-down layout. And Boyang and Zhou, both with multiple hard quads, haven't done well at the last WC, either, and they have ups and downs.
Bottom line, I don't think it's worth it to risk his foot like that. 4/5 points for a difficult quad splat (plus fall deductions) doesn't sound too appealing to me :confused:

OTOH I am happy to see Sota analyzing skating deeply, and confirming he wants to be a coach. That career seems to be made for him.
I hope the combination of Jackson boots and Revolution blades works for him.

I'm a cheeky fan, but I don't think last season's Dragon was easy for him to skate to. It must be hard to focus on portraying a character in the subdued part if you are focusing on jumps which aren't going as well as you hoped for. The music certainly doesn't help Sota there, and that part doesn't have much 'grandeur' as he puts it, and forces not just all eyes but also all ears on Sota as the slow part doesn't really keep my attention. Anyhow, it looks like he may pick something different this time, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for a good idea. 🤞
 
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surimi

Good luck in the new season, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Sota got a spot at Skate Canada! 🤗 & 🌨️9! I didn't even hope for a GP spot anymore.
Okay, he has to give it his all now, hopefully he can be less nervous abroad than on home soil 🤞
And no more 4Lz/F nonsense please, he will actually need that right foot in a few months!
 

surimi

Good luck in the new season, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Well if he wanted to try join the fight for that TBD spot, that wouldn't be bad at all from my POV, because the NHK selection competition takes place September 11 through 12. That overlaps with Lombardia, and also traveling to Autumn Classic would be difficult because ACI starts on Sep 16. Asian challenger is mid-October so it's unlikely he'd be there, so that would take care of the three Challengers I definitely cannot attend for the sheer price of the journey, Covid rules notwithstanding. That would leave Nebelhorn, Nepela and Finlandia, the latter two of which, if PCR testing is accepted and no quarantines are required, would be ideal for me. If Sota goes to the NHK selection event and then to SC, then Nepela has the best timing for him. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

aah, I hope the SC news speeds up Sota's coach/FS selection process!
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Sota is not on the entry list of Gensan Summer Cup to be held from Aug. 9 thru 12 in Shiga, Japan. Among the 18 senior men entrants are Yuma, Kazuki, Sena, Lucas, Yuto, Taichiro, etc. I wonder where Sota is.
 
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surimi

Good luck in the new season, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Iizuka Cup is not taking place anymore?
Anyhow, this was to be expected, as Sota's new free likely isn't competition-ready. And who knows what his competition stamina is, with him coaching himself. I have faith in his coaching abilities long-term, but not right now as he's not out of the woods yet, mentally and possibly physically too. I hope he's taken his time to consider by now, and is planning a coaching move very soon.
There's always the possibility of Sota being injured, but frankly, this one is too scary to think of. There was some fandom wondering when Sota WD from Iizuka in 2016, and it turned out it was because his foot got re-fractured, so I am knocking on wood now.
 
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