The Mao cheer thread #3 - "For the love of skating"

kittyjake5

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My goodness Mao’s skating is at another level now! The way she expresses herself through her skating and then projects that to the audience is breathtaking.
 

rosewood

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Here is a newspaper article based on an interview with Mao about Tokyo 2020 Olys and Paras.(*note: This article was written/re-constructed by the interviewer Mako Hara based on an interview with Mao. It's not written by Mao herself.)
_

(my rough translation)
The whole nation was excited. Why? I was 7 of the age at the time. When I asked mom, I was told that Nagano Olys were ongoing. I watched the Olys everyday on TV. I adored Tara Lipinski who won the gold in ladies' figure skating.

Since then the biggest event is always Olys to me. Athletes are people who want to win the best results on the best stage. They live stoic lives and devote all of themselves for reaching it. If they think "I don't care even if I cannot win." or "I placed 2nd. Forget about it.", the game is over. Me too always wanted to win everything and it encouraged me to work hard.

Such people are coming together to Tokyo. I wonder if it's due to the power coming from the devoted athletes, but a special atmosphere overwhelms the venues. And those venues themselves look sparkling with the special decorations for Olys as well.

That being said, the winner is only one. It's even cruelly easy to find who is the winner in sports. It makes sports exciting but at the same time it can also give shocks to competitors. Me too was shocked at the moment of failing in winning the gold. I felt sorry [for people] as well. On the podium I heard the voices saying "Congratulations!""Thank you!" from the audience. It made my heart filled with happiness finding "Even the silver medal can be appreciated."

However, it was after my retirement that I could truly think winning is not everything from bottom of my heart. Being on the audience side, I got more chances to know the process of other athletes' endeavor. I became to feel, winning or not, we can learn a lot from athletes making their biggest endeavor.

When I was competing, I had a lot on my mind about reaching my goals. Looking back, I was not fully aware of my influence on people at the time. Today I'm traveling across the country, for 'Mao Asada's Thanks Tour', to deliver my gratitude to people who supported me. Usually the majority of ice shows' audience is women in their 20s-40s. In contrast, MTT has men and women, young and old, and even men coming alone in the stands. I can see their faces since the tour is visiting mostly small rinks. I can see some people are in tears even during the opening of the show. I can hear others shouting "Thank you for encouraging me!" as well. Those scenes surprise me to find how much they have supported me with their heart and soul.

Athletes must be supported greatly by the home crowd at the Olys. Audience will encourage the athletes to show their best performances. I wish athletes will not take the applause as pressures on their shoulders. I wish they accept the applause as it is and change it into power for increasing their self-confidence.

Actually I could not agree with inviting Tokyo Olys and Paras at first. Japan had natural disasters like every year in those days. I thought what we should focus on was re-constructions of the affected areas. As I've visited the affected areas and seen the improvements in the re-constructions, I came to think that the time is coming for sports to deliver their energy to people, though.

I started working as an interviewer with Paralympians. I started the job because it had been weighing on my mind that I was told "People's eyes are on Olympians. I envy you guys." by a Paralymipian at a debreaf meeting with medal winners after Vancouver Olys/Paras.

I'll be happy if lots of people get interested in Para athletes. Sometimes athletes can put their thoughts together by talking with an interviewer. I wish my interview will help them to put their thoughts together and make their will for pursuing the goals stronger. Para athletes' back grounds or approaches to sports have vast varieties. I found lots of things by working as an interviewer with them. If anyone of the Para athletes I met through this job makes an Paralympics team, I guess I'll cry.
 
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cohkaix

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Mao is now appearing on one of Arashi's TV programs (Arashi ni shiyagare). (Arashi is one of the most popular J pop idols in Japan.) And it's just announced Mao works as one of the MCs together with Arashi for 24h TV (a 24 hours long annual charity TV show) of this year! It's kinda big news in Japanese show biz.
The broadcasting of 24H TV charity show has just finished. One of the highlights towards the end was Mao dancing to tap dance with a group of deaf (or near deaf?) students. They've been practicing hard in the past couple of weeks. And the performance was turned out to be great... tap dance suites Mao well!

https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1165578472581779456/pu/vid/800x448/m0qiItOj211TUjKR.mp4?tag=10
 

rosewood

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The broadcasting of 24H TV charity show has just finished. One of the highlights towards the end was Mao dancing to tap dance with a group of deaf (or near deaf?) students. They've been practicing hard in the past couple of weeks. And the performance was turned out to be great... tap dance suites Mao well!

https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1165578472581779456/pu/vid/800x448/m0qiItOj211TUjKR.mp4?tag=10
Here is a DM video of the performance and the preparations. (Seems every YT video was banned within a couple of hours.)

I loved how expressive Mao's sign language was when she introduced herself and the tap dance project.

Through this TV program it was nice to me to know 'Ontenna' which is a machine to show sounds as lights and vibrations. They said it was just the time Onntena was given/delivered to schools for deaf across the country. It made the students' dance changed drastically.

It was also nice to see Mao's hard working and smiles were infectious in the process of training tap dance together with the children. 😊

During the preparations there was a scene that Mao told the children "Please have something in your heart when you perform in front of people. Anything is OK, such as gratitude if you want to tell thanks to someone. It's important to try to express the something when you are performing." I liked it.

ETA:
It was mentioned Mao is thinking about introducing Onntena to Thanks Tour to help deaf people to enjoy the show more than before. I know MTT already has audio guidance so that people with visually impairment can enjoy the show. It'll be great that more figure skating shows will be more accessible for them.
 
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Triple loop

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Thanks for the post, Rosewood. I am so impressed by Mao’s actions. She is very caring and thoughtful. That would be wonderful if she could add Onntena for her tour. We need that here in the United States. Mao is also terrific with her tap dancing and ability to do sign language. The children looked so happy throughout the whole process. They worked very hard and it’s great that they could look up to a marvelous role model in Mao. 😀
 
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rosewood

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Mao did another photo shoot for a fashion magazine Spring. This time it's sorta artistic work by an artist Asami Kiyohara who does painting, stitch work etc on photos.

Here is the work on the photographer's IG.

Mao posted the work on her own IG too.

ETA:
Theme of the work is a phoenix.
 
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rosewood

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It's a belated update but there were a few touching scenes between Mao and her former coach Machiko Yamada during the 24 hours TV broadcast in August.

Mao wanted to apologize about how she parted with Yamada. Unfortunately the beginning part of Mao's confess/apology was skipped by the twitter user below but I saw the same scene during 24 hours TV and as far as I remember Mao said that at the time the circumstances of their home rink became worse (*Probably it means the rink became too crowded with the people who wanted to skate around the GPF gold medalist Mao in the rink during public time. Mao used the public time to train aside from the group/private training time.), Yamada became sick (*she hit her head on the ice and suffered from concussion), and Mao didn't receive good results (*failed in winning her 2nd JW) at the time. Mao heard through her mom that her mom and Yamada had discussions and Yamada encouraged Mao to leave her. Here is a photo of Mao with Mihoko Higuchi in a Kiss and Cry since Yamada was not able to accompany Mao due to her illness.

Here is a short vid on twitter:
(my rough translation)
Mao: Even though I was just a child at the time, I've been always struggled with the thought in my mind that I parted with you without telling you my feelings in person. You did so much for me but I left you easily. I've felt sorry for you for thirteen years. This is what I wanted to tell you today.
Yamada: Thank you very much. You don't need to worry about it at all. It ended up with your great success. My health was poor at the time and I had a fear that I was not able to accompany you abroad any more. So I encouraged to train abroad wishing you to be a bigger skater. Now you've come so far from there up to where you are now with a great success. I'm happy with it.
__
Awwwww (((Mao)))
 

rosewood

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Here are a couple of videos of other episodes with Yamada from the 24 hours TV (*charity show) broadcast:

(my rough translation)
Mao: Machiko-sensei (*sensei=teacher), when I was a child, I stole your candies in a can, one candy everyday, two candies sometimes. I'm very much sorry.
Machiko Yamada: That's OK. I felt it was cute. Just a kid. Never mind. That said, you together with Kanako [Murakami] or other kids played a lot when I was not in the rink before training. I want you to apologize for that.
Everyone: :rofl:
Mao: 😅
Arashi: You need to apologize for that!
Mao: :lol: I played so so much on the ice. I'm very much sorry for not practicing a lot.
Everyone: :rofl:
Yamada: You've grown to be a great skater. So I can't help but leaving the past in the past. :D

____

Yamada: Mao is the one who lives her life by doing her best all the way. As for her life after retiring from competitions, she does the things such as she works in a charity TV show today and she skates in her own show which she built up from nothing. Her show is a verrry Mao show. My former students are living their various lives after retirement. They are walking on their own path which they chose. I'm happy Mao is walking on a path which suits her very much. I'm so much proud of her.
Arashi: So you are watching over her.
Yamada: Yes. I'm happy and grateful for her.

___

How much I love Machiko as a person! Long live our quite a character godmother. 🤣🌹

BTW, tomorrow (25th Sept) is Mao's 29th birthday. Time flies!
 
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rosewood

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Seems our hard worker Mao is skating to prepare for next MTT stop (in Hyogo province from Saturday) even on her birthday! :dog: You can see her in Risa-chan's (MTT cast) IG stories (or in my avatar at this moment).

The photo reminded me of the title of her documentary "Happiness is on the ice" which was aired around the beginning of MTT 2018 tour. So true! It's so nice to see her fullfilled face. 🥰

ETA:
Happy Birthday! Mao. I hope I'll be able to see you and watch your skating again in MTT and with all the MTT members.
Nagano and Osaka venues have 5K-8K seats capacities so I hope you can get your ticket. Good luck!

BTW, I don't know whether MTT tour will continue after the added Nagano/Osaka stops. The only one province which has available rink for ice shows yet MTT has not visited is Chiba. The ice rink in Chiba is under renovation. So I wonder if Mao wants to visit Chiba after the renovation finished or MTT will finish at the point of Nagano/Osaka stops without visiting Chiba. Only Mao knows.
 
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gotoschool

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Happy 29th birthday to Mao. I am grateful for all the marvelous moments Mao creates in her performances with such depth of emotional resonance combined with athletic and artistic excellence and I am impressed with how she displayed bravery and resilience in persevering and overcoming trying times. May her collaborations in skating shows continue to bear the fruit of friendships that bud into beautiful performances and may her work with the deaf and paraolympians grant each a sense of shared spirit and community.

Thank you rosewood for providing such detailed insights into Mao's pursuits in life and for translating her comments so we can get to know what a wonderful person she is.
 
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rosewood

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Olympic Channel uploaded Mao's Sochi LP. Finally. :shuffle: 😍

ETA:
Olys Channel also tweeted her 3A clip
 
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rosewood

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Random update of her second half of last year 😅

Several TV commercials were launched where Mao looked enjoying a bit of playing a role like an actress.

Niigata brand rice (Koshihikari)

Cold medicine (Stona)

Toho Gas (one of the main 4 gas companies which is her new sponsor company)

She appeared on a comedy TV program with one of Japan's big name commedians Ken Shimura.

Boxing during an event for her sponsor company (Sumitomo Life Insurance) @Spun Silver
Somewhere she said one of her regular training these days is boxing exercise to musics in darkness at a private boxing exercise gym.

Did I post a TV commercial with her poodle Aero?

About MTT, I posted info on the MTT thread in GSD.

Photos from the best formal wear award ceremony.

Beautiful photos for this year's calendar by her sponsor company (Nepia)

Some nice commercial is coming

She wrote essays on magazines as well as did photo shoots for fashion magazines such as kimono magazines, but I forgot details.
 
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tamms

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Loving all the Mao updates! I've only been following her instagram and it's so great to see her active there as well.
 

rosewood

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This tweet has a link to Aichi show which is the final show of 2019 tour and it was held in her home town. This video has a short interview with Mao and her former coach Yamada, too. Watch it before it's gone.
The interview with Mao and Coach Yamada from Aichi show (17:10)
(my rough translation)

Mao: There wasn't a chance to talk enough with you for a while. This is not a live TV program. So I want to talk enough with you today.
Machiko Yamada: (listening to the greeting) You are grown up.
Mao: I'm 29 yo.
Machiko: Wow? 29 yo! I'm surprised.
Mao: I'll turn 30 yo next year.
Machiko: Time to find a good partner. :saint:
Mao: I know. 😅 I've been traveling around the country with my own ice show. I'll continue it next year, too.
Machiko: You continue? That's wonderful! 👏
Mao: First of all I have something I want to tell you today. You've taught me lots of things such as basics and the pure joy of figure skating since I was very little. You also taught me the desirable mindset as a figure skater. You brought me up like a family. Thank you very much for everything you did to me.
Machiko: Thanks a lot, you grown-up lady.
Mao: hehehe Machiko-sensei told me that you wished me to be a skater who is loved by everyone and results are not everything, when I was competing. That's what I've been cherishing in my mind up to today. It was an impressive word, even though I was just a little kid when you told it to me. I believe cherishing that word in my mind led me to the place where I am now.
Machiko: Thanks. You know, every year someone wins Worlds. Worlds champion is not always the one who stays in people's heart for long.
Machiko: You always keep working hard. You give off good lights. That's why everyone keeps eyes on you and loves you. I always feel you are awesome.
Mao: Thank you for visiting Thanks Tour last year. How was Thanks Tour from your view point?
Machiko: It was very Mao. It's difficult to explain what made me feel so, but I felt MTT is the show which is packed with your wishes. It's not as a simple show as the cast just skate your former programs. MTT looked the show to me which was full of every little thing which you want your show to have. That made me feel you are a unique person who is different from other people around us. I think MTT is the show to go for any true fan of Mao.
Mao: Do you have any advice for improving MTT?
Machiko: No. I don't have anything. The point is you should do what you want to do. That's the best way. MTT should be filled with your color. I believe it will lead to a good direction. Believe in yourself and go ahead.
Machiko (to staffs): Mao's skating has not faded at all. At the end of the day she is awesome. Her determination and pride. She has her standard. If she is going to skate in public, she thinks she should have prepared to be on a certain level. MTT cannot exist without her determination and pride. It's who Mao is.
Mao: I'm thankful to see lots of people come and see my skating even after my retirement. I want to do all my best to deliver my skating of gratitude to everyone.
Machiko: For the mission you should take care of yourself. Don't get injured or sick. It's impossible for the show to start if you are absent. Since you've grown older, be careful not to injured in your feet. Please.
Mao: Yes. Health is first. My body today is so much different compared to my early 20s. I'll take care my body well. Thank you for coming today.


ETA:
Is the Aichi show video available for you guys or geoblocked?
 
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rosewood

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@rosewood Thanks for the the translations. Unfortunately the tweet is protected so can't see the link.
Thank you for telling me that the tweet is protected. I'll look for other available videos. Aside from copyrights issues I'm sad that Mao's videos are often (overly) protected after experiencing the YT battle being afraid of personal attacks. That sucks.

ETA:
Captures from the interview with Coach Machiko Yamada
Thanks to the twitter user.
 
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rosewood

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Seems Mao trains at night in the outside rink in Roppongi Tokyo where she skated with MTT cast a couple of years ago.

Although things are tough and we are in the middle of self-isolation, I'm trying to live as usual as much as possible. Stay safe and try something fun, everyone!

ETA:
This is the Tokyo Tower cerebrating 'Reiwa' era. You can see it behind her.
 
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Weve3

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Whenever I read something about Mao, I finish the article, post or whatever it is with the same impression I always have - and that is just how sunny and optimistic she is. Not just with training and skating, but life in general. Mao has such a wonderful disposition and it is so appropriate and appreciated that she is a mentor for youth in Japan and all around the world. Thanks, @rosewood for sharing the latest. 👍
 

Miki89

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I was thinking of skater's signature programs recently. Besides Nocturne, I think Ladies in Lavender is probably the next important and celebrated SP for Mao. She won her first World title with this program. I also noticed that it has become a somewhat common choice of music for skaters in recent years. I did a little research and was quite surprised to see that many skaters have used the music. (https://figure-skating.fandom.com/wiki/Ladies_in_Lavender). Only one skater, Caroline Zhang, used the music before Mao, and she used a different section of the soundtrack. Almost everyone else used Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra. I watched some of the other skaters' programs and I definitely see similarities to Mao's choreography. I think her stunning Worlds performance clearly left an impact and set a trend for choosing this piece. In fact, it has been quite popular among Japanese skaters (four skaters have chosen to skate to it since Mao), with notable performances by Shoma and Tatsuki. Of course I still think Mao's version is the best. :)
 

cohkaix

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I'm in search of a video clip:
This is very recent - actually, on the night of Jun 15th (Japan time), NHK broadcast a 50-min documentary of Mao's past performances from NHK Trophy (throughout her competitive career). I wasn't able to find a workable link from overseas... so in case anyone come across with a link to the full program, it would be great to share the link 🙏

Reportedly, the documentary includes the following performances:
2006 SP/FS
2008 FS
(2010 FS Bell)
2011 FS
2012 SP
2013 FS
(2014 Oly -Rach 2)
2015 SP
 

rosewood

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Mao appeared in a sponsor event (airweave) today and said she plans to re-start Thanks Tour in August. Wish things will go OK and people can watch MTT again. 🙏

BTW, I have some info about the video cohkaix asked about above but I can't post on FSU for some reason. PM me if interested. (I've already contacted with cohkaix).
 

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