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 Some interviews from 2003!

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Batsuchan
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PostSubject: Some interviews from 2003!   Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:13 pm

I suddenly thought of these interviews today, and I thought I'd translate because there's been no news recently and I hope they bring a smile to your face. Very Happy

The picture is super cute! flower

http://homepage3.nifty.com/skate/iasada.html

Interview with the sisters Mai and Mao Asada (updated March 21, 2003)

Mai Asada

---Congratulations on placing 4th at the Junior World Championships. If you reflect on the preliminary round, the short and the free and Jr. Worlds, what do you think?

Mai: It was my first big competition as a junior, so before the preliminary round, I couldn't help but think, "If I fail in the preliminary round, then what will I do?!" and I became really nervous and stiff. But, in the preliminary round, I messed up the triple axel [double axel, I think?], but I was able to skate with almost no mistakes, so I was relieved. And then, during the short program, I messed up the second triple lutz from steps, and when I finished skating, I thought "That was bad." I was able to regroup for the free program, and I thought "I'll bring out all the strength I have," and I challenged myself. I was able to land the [double] axel, and I was able to skate almost without mistakes, so I was really happy.

---How was it to skate with foreign junior skaters for the first time at a junior competition?

Mai: I thought the foreigners have more full expression and that their speed was amazing. From now on, I want to follow their example and polish these areas more.

---1st and 2nd were [Yukina] Ota and [Miki] Ando, two Japanese skaters--how did you feel to see them on the podium?

Mai: The level [of skaters] in Japan is high after all, and from now on I'll have to compete among them, so I thought, "It's tough." Next year, I want to be able to stand on the podium.

---What kind of relationship do you have with your younger sister Mao?

Mao is my biggest "rival." I'm the older sister after all, and I think "I don't want to lose!" If my younger sister is trying her best, then I get fired up and think "I'll try my best too," and I think that I was able to come this far because my sister was here. However, at the competitions, I'll definitely watch my sister's performance, and on one hand I'll think, "I want her to bring out her strength and do her best," but on the other hand, if I lose, I think, "It's really upsetting," so it's complicated. (Laughs) Sometimes we'll argue about each other’s bad points.

---What made you start skating?

Mai: I went to a skating rink with friends, and when I saw skaters doing jumps, I thought, "I want to try that," and I started learning. From 2nd grade in elementary school I'm been taking lessons. My younger sister started skating at the same time.

---Who choreographed your program for this season?

Mai: Yamada-sensei, Higuchi-sensei and David Wilson. Mostly it was Yamada-sensei and Higuchi-sensei.

---Is there something that you do every time before a competition?

Yes!? I always put on my right skate boot first. Other than that, before I skate on the ice, I run through my program; that's about it.

---Since you've been skating up until now, what was the thing that left the deepest impression?

It is Jr. Worlds after all. When I think about everything, it was a "dream-like" competition. I was able to appear in the exhibition (top 5 skaters only), which was my goal, and it was fun.

Mao Asada

---Mao-chan, your triple-triple-triple at Japan Nationals was amazing. It seems to be a world first, but was that your idea? Or was it Yamada-sensei's?

That jump combo---Sensei put it in the program for me. I had been practicing it, and Sensei saw me and told me, "Try putting it in."

---Is there some kind of trick you use to complete the third jump?

Landing the flip properly, and then landing the loop properly. If I land the second jump, the loop, properly, then I can land the third jump, the toe loop. If the first jump is bad, then there's no way I'll reach the third jump.

---At that time you were wearing Midori Ito's costume, right? How did that happen?

At my club, everyone uses Midori's costumes that she doesn't wear anymore, but when I was choosing, Sensei told me, "Try wearing this," and it was perfect, so we made that costume into my free program costume. Sensei told me, "When Midori wore this costume, she was able to land the triple axel," so I thought, "Maybe I can land it too." (Laughs)

---What kind of relationship do you have with your older sister (Mai)?

When we appear in competitions together, I feel relaxed. At Japan Nationals, it was all senior ladies, but I was there together with my older sister, so I felt strong.

---Do you think it's upsetting if you go to a competition with your sister and you lose?

Yes. That's what I think. On one hand, I do think "I want her to do her best," but when I lose, I think, "Next time I'll definitely win!" When I lose, it's upsetting, but I think it would be good if we could both bring out all our strength at the competitions.

---When you heard that your sister finished 4th at the Jr. Worlds, what did you think?

I thought, "That's amazing," and I thought I have to try hard too.

---Who are your choreography teachers?

Machiko Yamada-sensei, Mihoko Higuchi-sensei, and LeAnn Miller. Yamada-sensei and Higuchi-sensei pick the songs for me.

---What kind of choreography and songs do you like?

I like music and choreography like my current free program. Ah, but I like my short program too, I guess. I like both cute songs and mature, slow songs.

---Which is your favorite costume so far?

My free and short program costumes that I'm wearing now. If you ask why, it's because they are cute.

---Since you've been skating up until now, which competition left the deepest impression on you?

Last year's Japan Nationals. Because I was really happy that I got to compete, and I did the free program almost without mistakes. When it was decided that I could compete, I thought, "They let me compete after all, so I can't do anything embarrassing," so I was really happy that I was able to skate that way.

---Were you nervous before Japan Nationals?

I was not that nervous, but I had been thinking, "I want to complete all my jumps." That's why when I was able to skate like that, I was really happy and was smiling naturally.

---What kind of tricks do you want to try after this?

A quad. Now I am practicing the salchow. It's starting to be pretty good. I'm also practicing the loop and the flip.

---From now on, how do you want to skate?

I want to improve my jumps even more, I want to be able to do difficult steps, and I want to improve my power of expression, and I want to bring out everything I can do in the competitions.

---What's your dream for the future?

To appear in the Olympics and then become a pro skater and travel around the world.

---Please try your best to fulfill your dreams. Thank you.

[Profile bits omitted.]

[Author's comment]
They were two very sweet and charming sisters. Mai-chan is very older-sister-like, and in her serious skating, she practiced her jumps silently. The black practice wear brings out the long-legged Mai's style, and she skates like in a refreshing way like the "wind." Mao-chan--every time skated past me, she'd make her eyes big and round and grin broadly, and she was extremely cute. But then, in the next moment, bam! she'd cleanly land a triple-triple, a difficult combination of two triple jumps. I was completely charmed by her. I thought, she's a child who really has the power to draw people in. They are a very impressive pair, but we can also say that they came this far and could try their best precisely because they were together. They are sisters who are both close "rivals" and "comrades." Their bonds are strong. From now on too, I hope that they push each other and grow up just as they are now.


*************
Too cute! Many Hearts I can just see little 12-year old Mao making a goofy smiley face at the author and then doing a triple-triple, like, "see what I can do!!" ROTFLMAO

I'll try to translate some of the interview with Machiko Yamada when I get a chance!
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PostSubject: Re: Some interviews from 2003!   Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:11 am

Quote :
--What kind of tricks do you want to try after this?

A quad. Now I am practicing the salchow. It's starting to be pretty good. I'm also practicing the loop and the flip.

WOW! WOW! 4F !? That's just ... unbelievable !!
And that's why I love that girl so much. She never gives up, she's always trying her best and she always challengs herself ! Wub

Thank you soo much, Batsuchan ! Daisies for you
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PostSubject: Re: Some interviews from 2003!   Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:11 am

Thanks Batsuchan!
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PostSubject: Re: Some interviews from 2003!   Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:14 pm

Thanks Batsuchan! Many Hearts I loved reading this-- it really cheered me up today! sunny
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PostSubject: Re: Some interviews from 2003!   Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:46 am

Wow, whatever made you think of an interview from 6 years ago (and actually find the page?!) ?! lol
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Batsuchan
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PostSubject: Re: Some interviews from 2003!   Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:48 pm

Star85 wrote:
Wow, whatever made you think of an interview from 6 years ago (and actually find the page?!) ?! lol

Oh, there was a VERY good reason for it! flower See my latest post in the Skate America thread!
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PostSubject: Re: Some interviews from 2003!   Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:27 am

Thank you, Batsuchan! cheers

_________________
Good luck, Mao!
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PostSubject: Re: Some interviews from 2003!   Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:16 pm

Here’s a translation of the second question in the interview with Machiko Yamada.

http://homepage3.nifty.com/skate/imachikoyamada.html

Hopefully I’ll have a chance to translate more of the interview later!

I think perhaps many things have changed since this interview (this is even before Mao competed on the Junior circuit), but it is interesting to read!

*********

---You said that Mao Asada’s talent is greater than Midori Ito’s. In which ways do you think she surpasses Midori Ito, and what do you think are Mao-chan’s weaknesses?

Yamada: Midori-chan really had an outstanding “jumping ability.” Maybe it was because she was a “genius,” but her personality was fierce, and when she wanted to do something, she’d do it, but when she didn’t want to, she wouldn’t, and for us coaches, she was a very difficult type to handle. (Laughs). Her expression might not have been great, but her jumping ability was amazing, and with the height on her “triple axel,” the “existence” of “Asians” or “Japanese people” or “Midori Ito” became prominent [ie, as skaters].

In the case of Mao-chan, she doesn’t necessarily have the genius-like amazing jump ability like Midori Ito. If I say that, then perhaps even Yoshie Onda had more jumping ability. But to be a figure skater does not mean that you have to have the height of Midori Ito’s jumps; for example, there are people who skate beautifully even though their jumps are not high, and there are people who can do difficult jumps. If I think that way, then I think Mao-chan has an above-average jumping ability.

Moreover, she’s a graceful skater from whose body that “elegance” that Midori Ito didn’t have gushes out. Midori-chan and Yoshie-chan were both not really good at “dancing," and I think they proceeded through their amateur days thinking, “I can win just by landing my jumps.” But I disagree. (Laughs). But I think Mao-chan likes to dance. When we say, “we want you to express it this way,” she easily and obediently adopts those [our suggestions].

And then, Midori-chan and Yoshie-chan were both very stiff. That’s why they had many injuries, and I think they had had many areas where they were not good at bringing out a feminine beauty like in the spirals and the layback spins. However, Mao-chan has a body that can do a Biellman spin, and her body is flexible. That’s why, it’s not that she is outstanding in one of the qualities that a figure skater needs, but that she balances an above-average ability in all areas. Among my skaters, those kinds of skaters have been extremely rare.

In the world, it is said that Yamada-sensei is a “jump teacher” and Sato-sensei is a “footwork teacher,” but it’s not true that I only like teaching jumps; I also wanted to produce beautiful, expressive skaters. But I have had a hard time finding those kinds of skaters. So in that way, Mao-chan was really the first one who made me think, “it would be good if she did figure skating.”

That’s why I am really excited about her, and have been raising her very carefully. “I wonder how far she can go, that girl,” I think, and I feel a thrill in my heart. With regards to Mao, it’s a feeling that is different from my excitement for Midori Ito; it’s like “I might be able to produce a figure skater.” And her personality is completely different from Midori and Yoshie. And Yukari is very serious, but she’s a girl with a strong competitive spirit. When I think about that, Mao’s personality is very obedient, and it’s very good.

But for that reason, she’s not very strong at competitions. Before the competitions, her thinking of “I have to do my best” becomes too strong, and before she appeared at the Japan Jr. Nationals, she started crying (laughs). The anxiety of “I wonder if I can do it” and the nervousness looms large in front of her, and even though I told her, “It’ll be fine,” she started
crying. As a result, she always is unable to perform to her full ability in competitions.

That is a good point of her personality, but it’s also a problem. This is the point that I think will become most difficult for her from now on.

*************
Wow, I think that’s quite something that Mao was the first student that Yamada-sensei thought she could make into a “figure skater” in every sense of the term (not just a “jumper.”) Very Happy And the way she sounded so excited about seeing just how far Mao could go—it made me go aww!! Many Hearts She must have been so proud when Mao won Worlds (and will be SOOO proud when Mao wins the Olympics. Hell, no! )

Yes, many things have changed—Mao has performed to her full ability (or pretty close) at several big competitions since 2003.

But in many ways, I think Machiko Yamada’s words from over 6 years ago are still completely true today.

When I first read this interview a year or two back (?), I was kinda shocked that Yamada-sensei thought Mao’s jumping ability was only “above average.” After all, Mao could do the triple axel, she could do one of the hardest triple-triple combos, etc. But when I saw Worlds live this year, I really saw the difference. Mao gets decent height on her jumps, but they are no where near as huge as Yu-Na’s or Miki’s. (Except for the triple axel). I remember reading an article where one judge said that Yu-Na’s jumps are like the men’s, whereas Mao jumps like a butterfly, soft and effortless. (I’m not going to pass judgment on which is “better,” though it seems like the judges have been giving bigger GOE to bigger jumps.)

But like Machiko Yamada, I think that Mao is good at everything, and moreover, she’s a beautiful skater. (If only she would take advantage of her gracefulness and rely less on her jumps!)

And Yamada-sensei’s prediction that Mao’s mental problems would be her weakness has certainly come true. Mao has certainly struggled with doing her programs in competitions the way she can do them in practice.

But I wonder what she would say now. She said this six years ago, before Mao won the 2005 GPF in fairy-tale fashion, and before we saw Mao’s amazing comebacks in 2007 Worlds LP, 2007 GPF LP, 2008 Worlds LP, etc, etc. Perhaps that mental grit (which I admit comes-and-goes) is something Mao developed after 2003.

The latest comments from her (in her letters to the newspapers) seem optimistic though, and I looked back on that interview from Japan Nationals last year (see here: http://www.maoasadaforum.com/competitions-shows-discussion-f7/japanese-national-championships-2008-t270-30.htm) and thought, she must think Mao can do it! Thumbs up!
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PostSubject: Re: Some interviews from 2003!   Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:22 am

Thanks again for this added translations, Batsuchan! Worship

It's really wonderful reading about what Yamada-sensei thinks about Mao. It shows she really understands her and cares a lot.

This quote from her:
Quote :

But for that reason, she’s not very strong at competitions. Before the competitions, her thinking of “I have to do my best” becomes too strong, and before she appeared at the Japan Jr. Nationals, she started crying (laughs). The anxiety of “I wonder if I can do it” and the nervousness looms large in front of her, and even though I told her, “It’ll be fine,” she started crying. As a result, she always is unable to perform to her full ability in competitions.

Mao still seems to be thinking too strong about doing her best.
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PostSubject: Re: Some interviews from 2003!   Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:55 am

Batsuchan wrote:
I remember reading an article where one judge said that Yu-Na’s jumps are like the men’s, whereas Mao jumps like a butterfly, soft and effortless. (I’m not going to pass judgment on which is “better,” though it seems like the judges have been giving bigger GOE to bigger jumps.)

I remember one of the Eurosport commentators saying how Mao "danced" with her jumps in one performance of her Masquerade LP.

For me, I like how Mao's jumps don't announce themselves as jumps. They flow on from the rest of her program. They're just another element in her "dance" routine; no more and no less important than the rest of her performance.

But yes, bigger jumps do seem to = higher GOEs.
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