Japanese figure skating 2017-18 season news & updates

rosewood

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Reportedly Narumi Takahashi retired. As I posted earlier on this thread, she became a member of athlete committee in JOC recently.
https://jp.reuters.com/article/idJP2018033001002467

Best of luck for Marin's journey. It was heartbreaking to see her crying in Honda siblings' documentary I mentioned earlier on this thread. (I think this interview was recorded just after she watched TE of Olys on her phone in her homerink's locker room.)
https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/979355396602085376/pu/vid/1280x720/d3XR0ZCheYSUUiLi.mp4
Marin: "I've focused on skating all the way since I was little. I've been loving skating. With the love of skating I always thought things will work out. And everything actually went well. It's the first time for me to have lots of things that are bothering me in myself. I feel I can not catch up with the reality right now. I feel like I'm just convincing myself to pursue some random goals. I've not understood what my heart really wants to tell me. It's not that I'm frustrated because I missed the Olympics, but what's tough is that I don't understand myself. (Q: What is supporting you at this tough time?) Just my family. At this point I may not be in the position where my younger sisters aim at. I can't give up here [with disappointment] since my younger sisters have lots of expectations on me. I'll do my best.
 

Sylvia

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The thing I didn't like about Hamada regarding Honda (Marin) was she threw Honda under the bus by blaming Honda's work ethics issue on several media. She emphasized the issue to several media even before the Nationals which was the final selection meeting for Olys. I saw Hamada's documentary recently. Some of her comments during it sounded like sarcastic too. I wish Hamada talked directly to Honda, not to press. It sounded like Hamada wanted to protect herself. She can do so, of course, but I didn't like that. And this is a word from someone who is not a fan of Honda. She frequently mentioned about Miyahara here and there like "Is Satoko-chan eating enough now?" when she traveled with Honda to Tronto for choreography. Seems Hamada has a special love for Miyahara among her students. It's OK. But I wish she talked with Honda about Honda herself when she was with Honda.
Thanks for taking the time to explain your point of view, @rosewood (and for posting the :( Marin Honda 2-minute clip from the documentary and translating in post #331 above). I understand where you're coming from now and I'm hoping Marin's coaching change to Arutunian will be a productive one for her. :)
BTW, during the documentary, Hamada was invited to US National camp last summer. She taught jumps to American skaters there.
Yes, this was USFS' Jump/technical elements camp for (mostly) younger skaters that was held last May in Colorado Springs, CO.

I came across Wakaba Higuchi's Worlds FS (British Eurosport) - watch while you can! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aje35anSxyQ

Here's Jack Gallagher's latest column recapping Worlds, starting with Higuchi: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports...wakaba-higuchi-seizes-defining-moment-worlds/
 
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nimi

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Best of luck for Marin's journey. It was heartbreaking to see her crying in Honda siblings' documentary I mentioned earlier on this thread. (I think this interview was recorded just after she watched TE of Olys on her phone in her homerink's locker room.)
https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/979355396602085376/pu/vid/1280x720/d3XR0ZCheYSUUiLi.mp4
Marin: "I've focused on skating all the way since I was little. I've been loving skating. With the love of skating I always thought things will work out. And everything actually went well. It's the first time for me to have lots of things that are bothering me in myself. I feel I can not catch up with the reality right now. I feel like I'm just convincing myself to pursue some random goals. I've not understood what my heart really wants to tell me. It's not that I'm frustrated because I missed the Olympics, but what's tough is that I don't understand myself. (Q: What is supporting you at this tough time?) Just my family. At this point I may not be in the position where my younger sisters aim at. I can't give up here [with disappointment] since my younger sisters have lots of expectations on me. I'll do my best.
Thanks for the translation @rosewood !

Marin is far from being the first talented and promising Jr World Champ who has transitioned into seniors with high hopes and expectations but who has had to deal with some rough competitions and disappointing results. Good for her for re-evaluating things and daring to make a big change, I really hope it'll work out for her.

Found this bit of news article translation on twitter: https://twitter.com/Iron_Klaus/status/979973800661061632

Alternative translation/summary by a GS user here: https://goldenskate.com/forum/showt...el-Arutunian&p=2056917&viewfull=1#post2056917
 
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rosewood

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Thanks for the translation @rosewood !

Marin is far from being the first talented and promising Jr World Champ who has transitioned into seniors with high hopes and expectations but who has had to deal with some rough competitions and disappointing results. Good for her for re-evaluating things and daring to make a big change, I really hope it'll work out for her.

Found this bit of news article translation on twitter: https://twitter.com/Iron_Klaus/status/979973800661061632

Alternative translation/summary by a GS user here: https://goldenskate.com/forum/showt...el-Arutunian&p=2056917&viewfull=1#post2056917
Thanks! The translation/summary on GS is more accurate than the one on twitter. Marin meant that under Rafa she has lots of things that she's not able to do at this point. She's doing her best to get over them one by one in daily training.
__

Here is a nice article of Wakaba Higuchi by Hiro Yoshida. What a roller coaster season it was for her!
WAKABA HIGUCHI: ANOTHER JOURNEY BEGINS
“I want to become an athlete that can handle whatever is thrown at me.”
Go Wakata! Beijin Olys will come very soon.
 

Sylvia

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I found a copy of the Marin Honda (and siblings) documentary with lots of on-/off-ice footage of them in their younger years here (you can fast forward through the commercials): http://www.pandora.tv/view/rakuroom/55953800#37400926_new
Best of luck for Marin's journey. It was heartbreaking to see her crying in Honda siblings' documentary I mentioned earlier on this thread. (I think this interview was recorded just after she watched TE of Olys on her phone in her homerink's locker room.)
https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/979355396602085376/pu/vid/1280x720/d3XR0ZCheYSUUiLi.mp4
Marin: "I've focused on skating all the way since I was little. I've been loving skating. With the love of skating I always thought things will work out. And everything actually went well. It's the first time for me to have lots of things that are bothering me in myself. I feel I can not catch up with the reality right now. I feel like I'm just convincing myself to pursue some random goals. I've not understood what my heart really wants to tell me. It's not that I'm frustrated because I missed the Olympics, but what's tough is that I don't understand myself. (Q: What is supporting you at this tough time?) Just my family. At this point I may not be in the position where my younger sisters aim at. I can't give up here [with disappointment] since my younger sisters have lots of expectations on me. I'll do my best.
The documentary begins and ends with footage from Challenge Cup in The Hague in late February 2018 (Marin won the bronze medal, coming back from 11th in the SP to place 2nd in the FS) and also includes footage from Kinki Regionals in October 2017 (ETA: Taichi was 3rd in Sr. Men, Miyu was 4th in Jr. Ladies and Sara won Novice B Ladies; side note Kaori Sakamoto is seen warming up outside and she won Sr. Ladies, while Kazuki Tomono won Sr. Men and is seen on the podium with Taichi), as well as from Nationals in December 2017.

@rosewood, why was Sara crying while being interviewed (around 24-minute mark) after she won the Novice B title in October 2017? Yamato Tamura coached her at that competition.
 
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rosewood

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I found a copy of the Marin Honda (and siblings) documentary with lots of on-/off-ice footage of them in their younger years here (you can fast forward through the commercials): http://www.pandora.tv/view/rakuroom/55953800#37400926_new
The documentary begins and ends with footage from Challenge Cup in The Hague in late February 2018 (Marin won the bronze medal, coming back from 11th in the SP to place 2nd in the FS) and also includes footage from Kinki Regionals in October 2017 (ETA: Taichi was 3rd in Sr. Men, Miyu was 4th in Jr. Ladies and Sara won Novice B Ladies; side note Kaori Sakamoto is seen warming up outside and she won Sr. Ladies, while Kazuki Tomono won Sr. Men and is seen on the podium with Taichi), as well as from Nationals in December 2017.

@rosewood, why was Sara crying while being interviewed (around 24-minute mark) after she won the Novice B title in October 2017? Yamato Tamura coached her at that competition.
According to the narration of the video Sara looks Marin at Sara's age as her rival. Her goal was to beat Marin's scores in novice B Nationals. She even has Marin's protocol as a novice B national champ in her phone and she often watched it. Sara planned to do 5 triples. She got two UR calls and then she made a big mistake on a 3F into 2F(<<!). It caused her to fail in beating Marin's score. So she cried even though she won the national title.
Sara's protocol is here (76.47=37.14+39.33).
https://www.jsfresults.com/National/2017-2018/fs_j/nationalnovice/data0405.pdf
 
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Meoima

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Another point which makes her students' performance less dynamic is kinda sacrificing the height/ice-coverage of their jumps for consistency. It must be a OK strategy but it seems other students gradually losing their jumps as they grow than someone who has tiny torso like Miyahara and yet Miyahara had to experience the stress fracture due to over-training and poor nutrition. It's somewhat frustrating to see Miyahara can't win a podium if other top skaters deliver their best like at Olys or Boston Worlds even when Miyahara delivered her best two skates. Lack of dynamic skating/jumps must be one of the main reasons. Emphasizing I! am! a! strong! woman! by using her face & arms are not enough to give the crowd the same effect as someone's performance who actually has dynamic skating and jumps like Osmond or even Higuchi.
It’s the jump technique. Hamada’s students tend to pre-rotate on ice before their bodies are up on the air. Rika Kihira came from another coach, thus she has the best jump technique in Hamada’s camp. But I have noticed her jumps are getting smaller. Yes her 3A and 3A3T are still okay in practice. I am glad she has invested her time in polishing her skating skills and presentation. However I agree with you on the part about they lacking dynamic skating and jumps. Consistency isn’t enough in some case. And Hamada’s students aren’t even consistent this season (aside from Satoko, and she’s like... the only consistent Hamada student at the moment).

The thing I didn't like about Hamada regarding Honda (Marin) was she threw Honda under the bus by blaming Honda's work ethics issue on several media. She emphasized the issue to several media even before the Nationals which was the final selection meeting for Olys. I saw Hamada's documentary recently. Some of her comments during it sounded like sarcastic too. I wish Hamada talked directly to Honda, not to press. It sounded like Hamada wanted to protect herself. She can do so, of course, but I didn't like that. And this is a word from someone who is not a fan of Honda. She frequently mentioned about Miyahara here and there like "Is Satoko-chan eating enough now?" when she traveled with Honda to Tronto for choreography. Seems Hamada has a special love for Miyahara among her students. It's OK. But I wish she talked with Honda about Honda herself when she was with Honda.
The thing is, how do you know if Hamada didn’t tell Marin directly about her training attitude? If Marin were lazy, I am sure Hamada would have talked with Marin and her parents for a while. Marin trained with Hamada since young. She and her parents might have talked with Hamada for years through many communications.

I also wish the fed will not push Hamada's students over everyone else when others actually did better than Hamada's students. Polishing a skater's lines/artistry who has good basics in skating & jumps can be easier than fixing a skater's basics who has good musicality/lines, or at least opposite case is more difficult in many cases. I was disappointed when Miyahara's URs on landing were overlooked and she won over Sakamoto in SKAM, and it prevented Sakamoto from winning through to GPF. So I was happy with Higuchi's silver at Worlds as well as Mihara's gold and Sakamoto's silver at 4CC over Miyahara. They showed there are skaters who can win a podium in big events over Hamada's student. Japan have diversity. There are skaters who have potentials of aiming at being on the level where they can be in the mix for top of the top in the world during the next Olys cycle. Higuchi can be one of them. Honda, maybe, but she lost her momentum at this point. I love Coach Nakano, and her students have big potentials. She needs to work on her students' lines and artistry during this off season, though. (Coach Nakano's group got better ice time with a new built rink in their area a few years ago. Their area was affected Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquakes about a decade ago. And they are still in bad circumstances regarding available rinks, such as their one of homerinks is available only in winter etc. Anyways, Sakamoto & Mihara are the first generation after Coach Nakano got a better rink than before.) Yamada & Higuchi are growing Mako Yamashita too. I wish all of them will be given fair share of chances to be Japan's No1. And I wish Japan's No1 aims at being on the top of the top in the world again. Not a bronze (or a fluke silver)! If skaters don't have the quality to be in the mix for a gold, they even can't win a bronze when it counts the most.
I am a fan of Kaori, Mai and Wakaba. However I see no evidence that JSF favour Hamada students over other skaters. Yes they do favor Satoko and I was frustrated at Skate America/GPF situation. But the incident just says that the fed still relies on Satoko as they believe she’s the most consistent and most reliable Japanese lady at the moment. I think the fed do want to give Mai, Kaori, and Wakaba’s chances and I doubt they would place other Hamada’s students over the rest of the other ladies.
Rika of course they favor her due to her 3A and 3A3T, I doubt it has to do with being Hamada’s student.
 

Sylvia

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For Tatsuki Machida fans -- I just bumped up his fan thread and posted links to a brand new interview & translation: https://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/threads/the-tatsuki-machida-thread.92364/page-3#post-5343779

Mai Mihara "attended the entrance ceremony of Konan University (Kobe city) on the 2nd [April]. The top skater aiming for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics while being registered in the Department of Business Administration." https://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20180402-00000143-spnannex-spo

Rika Kihira tweeted this 3A (entry with multiple bracket? turns) from her Friday, March 30 practice: https://twitter.com/rika_kihira/status/980612511354437632
 

Seerek

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That's kind of long. Can you tell us what she said or where in the segment her words are? (What language are they in?)
Sorry, I thought the YouTube link was already timed to start exactly at the point Miki was scolding (in English).

(I had the video timed at ~32m:30s, when Miki had harsh words to say to Junior Grand Prix competitor Savika Zahira).
 

Spun Silver

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Sorry, I thought the YouTube link was already timed to start exactly at the point Miki was scolding (in English).

(I had the video timed at ~32m:30s, when Miki had harsh words to say to Junior Grand Prix competitor Savika Zahira).
Thanks. Im glad to see Miki is still a warrior.* But not every kid is cut out to be a World Champion. This one looked a bit unnerved by Miki's rigorousness!

* And as stunning as ever!
 

nimi

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Reportedly Narumi Takahashi retired. As I posted earlier on this thread, she became a member of athlete committee in JOC recently.
https://jp.reuters.com/article/idJP2018033001002467
Ryo Shibata is hoping to continue his career and is searching for a partner: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhNaEHFjuG-/?taken-by=r_s_l2018

The photo in his IG post is apparently from Narumi's retirement ceremony. Article about the ceremony here (I've no idea what's actually being said there, sorry): https://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20180405-00000171-sph-spo
 

Weve3

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^ Good list by Jack Gallagher (y) Lol @ Yuzu occupying the 1-3 spots ... can’t say I disagree.

I really feel that Japanese ladies will be a force this quad, even more so than when they had Mao, Miki, Akiko, and company competing. It feels to me that they will give Russia a run for their money. In the new quad, Japanese ladies should see quite a bit of podium time! Imo.
 

rosewood

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List of 2018-2019 Team Japan athletes is published.
https://skatingjapan.or.jp/image_data/fck/file/2018/H30FS180426.pdf

Men
Special: Yuzuru Hanyu, Shoma Uno, Keiji Tanaka, Kazuki Tomono
A: Daisuke Murakami, Mitsuki Sumoto, Ryuju Hino, Hiroaki Sato, Sena Miyake, Tatsuya Tsuboi
B: Sota Yamamoto, Jun Suzuki, Kazuki Kushida, Yuto Kishina, Shun Sato, Kazuki Hasegawa, Taichiro Yamakuma

Women
Special: Satoko Miyahara, Kaori Sakamoto, Rika Kihira, Mai Mihara, Wakaba Higuchi, Mako Yamashita
A: Rika Hongo, Marin Honda, Yuhana Yokoi, Nana Yokoi
B: Yuna Shiraiwa, Yura Matsuda, Rin Nitaya, Rinka Watanabe, Tomoe Kawabata, Riko Takino, Hanna Yoshida

Pairs
A: Miu Suzaki /Ryuichi Kihara, Riku Miura /Shoya Ichihashi

Ice Dance
Special: Kana Muramoto /Chris Reed
A: Misato Komatsubara /Timothy Koleto
B: Rikako Fukase /Aru Tateno

Synchronized
A: Jingu Ice Messengers
 

livetoskate

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Anyone know when tickets will be on sale for 2019 worlds in Saitama? Also, there's a Japanese tv special on the 28th about the top Japanese ladies skaters and what they've been up to. If anyone is able to watch it, please let us know what's said. Thanks!

The Mao Thanks Tour starts next week. Hopefully some videos will show up on YouTube.

Lastly, Takahiko Kozuka has developed new skate blades. He has posted about his company on Instagram, and Mura has been using the blades for the past 2 years.
 

rosewood

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It's announced that THE ICE is held this year too. But Mao doesn't skate anymore. She started her own 'Mao Thanks Tour' and maybe left THE ICE. The official site says "THE ICE is reborn- New legend, from here-"

Official site: http://fs-theice.com
Cast (announced so far): Nathan Chen, Dmitri Aliev, Sergei Voronov, Takahito Mura, Nobunari Oda, Kazuki Tomono, Mirai Nagasu, Satoko Miyahara, Kaori Sakamoto, Mai Mihara, Marin Honda, Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron

Seems it doesn't have a specific host (yet). Good luck to everybody on a new start line.
 

Weve3

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Since the majority have been caught up in a 24/7 news cycle opining about Russian coach/skater angst, ;) how about a little diversion courtesy of the other country which has produced exceptional skating champs!

Here's an article/interview with the charming, affable, and let's be honest, sometimes 'grumpy' :p Rafael Arutyunyan, by Jack Gallagher - Rafael Arutunian looking forward to coaching teen star Marin Honda
 

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