The latest "Mao-rashiku" (Mao-like) column in the Asahi newspaper has been posted. It features a long interview with Mao and what seems to be text from Coach Nobuo Sato. Here's my translation... ******* http://www.asahi.com/sports/column/TKY201009290221.html At 20, Ill jump more I guess I really was more carefree when I was skating back then. Because even though there was a competition, Id do things like go to the Beijing Zoo and see the pandas. ---In the beginning of September, she was invited to an ice show in Beijing. Its the city where she had her first senior international competition when she was 15. Once again, she was able to find that innocent feeling. Five years ago, just being able to skate with the skaters I watched on TV was fun. Now, my mindset is totally different. I have been able to medal at many competitions, and being at the top means youre in a position to be chased. Its the opposite from 5 years ago. But my feelings alone have stayed the samemy feeling that I love to skate, that skating is fun. That is the only thing I dont want to forget. ---Although she messed up her jumps at the beginning of last season, she won a silver medal at the Vancouver Olympics, and she won the World Championships for a second time. On the 25th, she faces her 20th birthday. Its truly a new start. Its the first season of my twenties. Its the next step after the Vancouver Olympics. During the Olympic season, I pretty much accomplished all of my goals. I was able to realize that if you work hard, the results will come. Of course, Im not completely satisfied. Because if I were completely satisfied, it would be the end. ---In June, she took a trip to Hawaii. Since she started skating seriously at age 5, it was the first vacation when she didnt take her skates. After the Vancouver Olympics finished, I decided that I absolutely wanted to go to Hawaii. I did all the planning. One day we went shopping, we went to the pool, we walked around the town feeling like wed become Hawaiians, we admired the ocean Before I started skating, my best memory is going to Hawaii with my whole family. When we went, I think I was about 3 years old. It had been a really long time, so I was really able to relax. ---Now shes back at the beginning. In order to rework her jumps once again, she received jump lessons from Hiroshi Nagakubo starting in June. He once coached 2006 Torino Olympic gold medalist Shizuka Arakawa. In the beginning, we started with the form of the jumps and the takeoff position. While gradually increasing the rotations from single to double to triple, we reworked my jumps from the foundation. The speed of my rotation was slow, my approach as slow, in general, he told me, Youre slow. I think that compared to when we started, my jumps have solidified quite a bit. Even so, if I compare them to the level I want to achieve, Id say Im at step 5 of 10. However, I started this training because I wanted to make my jumps even better, so I think that if I continue training like this, itll be okay. ---She is the only woman who has the ability to do a triple axel, but she has struggled with the lutz and the salchow, which are considered easier. For now, Ive been doing all the different types of jumps with the intention of putting them in my programs this season. Instead of just doing the axel, if I can increase my jump variety, then I can come up with jump layouts that are more advantageous for me. I have no regrets about my jump layout last season, and even if I have regrets in the future, it cant be helped. What I learned from my experiences last season is that in the end, Ill absolutely be able to do it, and itll be okay. So while focusing on next year, and the year after that, I want to take on new challenges. ---In the beginning of September, she decided on her main coach: Nobuo Sato, who is in the World [skating] hall of fame. He is known for his thorough lessons on skating basics. Nobuo-sensei was able to win 10 Japan National Championships in a row, so he is someone with a lot of experience. I want to learn a lot about his experiences up to now. Figure skating is not just about the jumps, so I want him to look at my skating and other areas. * Mao Asada has made a fresh start as she heads toward the 2014 Sochi Olympics. We will share her thoughts about challenges in a special edition. Going forward, taking breaks will also be importantCoach Nobuo Sato I accepted [the coaching offer] just before the season started, so honestly, I am giving her lessons now while Ill still trying to figure out how to instruct her. Even though I have been a coach for over 40 years, the prospect of teaching a skater who has already been World Champion twice is really somewhat frightening. For her part, she is full of the desire to learn and absorb all kinds of things. So she listens carefully to what I say. However, she has had her own way of doing things up to now, so I cant suddenly say something about her jumps or give her instructions on the small details. Theres no time before the season starts, so while I watch her practice, I give her small suggestions about things I notice. I asked Asada to be sure to take a break once a week. As a teenager, you are able to keep skating without feeling fatigued, but once you enter your 20s, rest is important. Before the competition, youll practice a lot more, so in the end, the practice amount will be the same. So I told her to please listen to my advice about her practice pace. I havent had a chance to have her practice with Takahiko (Kozuka, who I am also teaching), but I think it would be good motivation for her to practice with a male skater. * Nobuo Sato. Born in January 1942 in Osaka. Competed in two Olympics. After retiring, he led his daughter, Yuka Sato, to a gold medal at the World Championships, and he has also taught Miki Ando and Fumie Suguri. ************** I have to admit, I am tickled by the thought of Mao and Kozuka practicing together. Too cute! No matter what happens this season, I'm glad to see that Mao has faith that things will turn out ok in the end. And I'm also glad that she wants to remember her love of skating above all. Go Mao!!