The Mao Asada, 15 years old
book is shorter than the other two, and it has A LOT of really cute pictures of Mao (and little Mao!)
, but there's not that much text.
Overall, what I took away from the book was the sense of love - the love among Mao's family, the love of skating, and even the love that the author has for Mao.
The book makes it clear that Mao's parents had her try all kinds of activities and let her pick which ones she wanted to keep doing. And that's how she ended up in skating - because that's what she really loved.
Here are some interesting tidbits:
A cute anecdote about Mao and the author watching a video of a ballet performance from when she was young (page 41-43):
While pouting a little [because of the previous conversation, which I'm not translating], she fast-forwarded the video, looking for her performance.
"Look, here, it's me. I'm so little, aren't I?"
The image that she was pointing to with her long finger was indeed a young Mao.
In the front row, she was too close to her sister Mai, who was in the front row on the right side, and she dancing way out of the line.
"I didn't want to be separated from Mai, and I got out of line. From when I was a baby, it was always like this. I always tagged along with everything that Mai did. Mai can go somewhere she doesn't know and be totally fine, and she always gets used to new things quickly, but..."
As if to cover up those words, Mao spoke in a loud voice:
"For me, [that would be] absolutely impossible."
Aww, I love Mai and Mao!
On pg 45, Mao's mother describes her as a baby:
"She'd nurse, sleep, wake up. While repeating that, she got big. She was an unbelievably easy-to-raise child. She'd smile happily, and she was cute like an angel. She didn't cry at night. She didn't cry much--so little that it actually made me nervous."
On pg 46-47, they describe when Mao first went to the hospital when she was 1.5 years old. She had a high fever, and they went to the doctor, but it didn't go down, so they drove to the hospital 40 minutes away. They were worried it was meningitis, but it turned out not to be, so Mao's mother was really relieved and started to cry. So then, Mao said "Why are you crying, Mama? Don't cry." And her mother was so touched.
Apparently Mao learned to talk and walk very quickly. And they left 3-year old Mai at home by herself
in the middle of the night to take Mao to the hospital!!
15-year old Mao's favorite memories were of the beach in Hawaii!
(pg 49). From when she was 3-5 years old, she spent three months each year in Hawaii for summer school since she attended American school in Japan. There are pictures of her at the beach and at the shopping mall, and I was like, OMG!!! Mao lived in my hometown for 3 months every year!! I may have seen her at the mall when she was little!! OMG, too cool!!!
I knew there was a good reason I liked her.
Apparently when they were in Hawaii, little Mao liked to dial random numbers on the phone and then hang up (that little brat!
), but then one time she accidentally called the police, so they came to her apartment and thought that little kids were being held hostage! Oh dear, her poor mother must have been SO MAD!
Well, I have always wondered about Mao's grandparents - we never hear about them, and I figured that if they were at the competitions cheering Mao on, surely the Japanese media would find them, but I haven't seen them, so... I found the answer in the book.
Apparently Mao's mother's father passed away when she was 12, and then her mother passed away when she was 21 [have to look for the page reference].
Translation from pg 55-56:
[Kyouko explained,] "It was the same for me, but my husband lost his father when he was 8 years old. We were raised by single mothers, so compared to households with both parents, it was tough. That's why we didn't want our children to have it difficult. The things we didn't get to do -- we wanted to let them do them all. We wanted to give them all kinds of chances. In this, my husband and I agreed completely."
The present-day Mao and Mai are a representation of their parents' dreams, and proof of their love.
And those daughters often respond to their parents' thoughts/feelings. The two of them never, ever forget their gratitude to their parents.
"Everyday I am thankful for my mother and father. I think that's only natural. From when I was born, they have always treasured me and adored me." [Mao said.]
When we were in Mao's room, just the two of us, from somewhere she brought out an old letter.
"This is something I wrote. Read it."
That letter was addressed to Mao's mother when she was sick and in the hospital, and on pink construction paper, childish letters were written.
"To Mama. Get well soon, ok. So Mama is sick. I am always bringing home colds, so I'm sorry.
I don't know when you will die, Mama. But, I will try my best and continue skating, so, Mama, don't try so hard. Because I will definitely become an Olympic skater.
Mama is always thinking painful thoughts, and taking Mai and me to skating, so, from now on, I will be sure to skate properly. From Mao."
The author says that Mao wrote this when she was in elementary school, and she doesn't use katakana and almost no kanji, so I'm guessing she must have been very young. Aww, too cute!
[Again, I'm in need of a "moved to tears" smiley!]
Mao really looks up to Tara Lipinski (pg 92)! Mao says "Yes. Even now, I clearly remember Tara (Lipinski) doing the loop triple-triple and winning. Because Tara was so amazing, I thought 'I want to be like her.' I looked up to her and really liked her. If Tara didn't exist, I may not have aimed for the Olympics."