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 Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds

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Batsuchan
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PostSubject: Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds   Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:12 pm

I'm going to translate part of Hirono Aoshima's comments on the ladies competition. This article has angered some of the Japanese skating fans because it is critical of Mao’s expression, but I completely agree with her comments.

Now, you all know that I think Mao’s expression is perfectly fine. However, I do think it can be improved. And as snowdrops24 has pointed out in the thread on Kozuka Tsuguhiko’s comments, if Mao wants to win under the current judging system, then she needs to make some changes.

And even though this article is critical, I feel like it comes from a place of love. I think that Hirono Aoshima, like us, truly loves Mao, and that is why she is offering this criticism. Because she too wants to see just how great Mao can become. I love you

*********
http://sportsnavi.yahoo.co.jp/winter/skate/figure/text/201003280003-spnavi.html
[Starting from the 3rd paragraph from the bottom]

Mao Asada has everything a figure skater needs to have. However, this season, she put the triple axels at the center of her program, and after a superhuman level of work, she succeeded in doing three triple axels at the Olympics. If Yu-Na Kim had not been there, she surely would have beaten everyone else with her triple axels and become the champion.

However, there is something that is lacking in Mao Asada's skating. Her jumps and the other elements and "techniques" are close to perfect, but in the important area of “expressing oneself on the ice/expressing something on the ice,” she is still lacking. Or rather, it's not that she's lacking, because she has the ability to do that, it's just that she hasn't realized that it's necessary.

Mao Asada is a wonderful skater. But she's not yet a “perfected skater.” She has all the qualities she needs, and when she awakens to that “consciousness” towards skating she needs, when her true charm/personality flowers, then I wonder just how amazing a program she will show us. Just thinking about it makes me excited.

[continuing on the next page]

This season, she did three triple axels successfully at the Olympics, but she wasn’t able to win. At the World Championships, she did win, but she finished 2nd in the free program. The reason that she could not achieve a complete victory is because “Your true power is not this” “We don’t want you to focus only on the triple axel”—it seemed like that’s the message that the skate gods were sending to Mao.

Her technique is close to perfect; in her skating, there is speed, and she follows the music well. But she is lacking that thought that the other top ladies skaters have—that thought that “I want to give a wonderful performance, I want to show that I am wonderful.” It’s an extremely natural thought for those who perform in front of other people. What Mao Asada needs is to embrace that feeling naturally—I think it’s really that simple.

Of course, her win this time was amazing. Watching her land all her jumps perfectly under those difficult conditions, I thought of Evgeni Plushenko’s comeback at last year’s Cup of Russia. From a sports perspective, it was overwhelming; her mistake-free elements did not disrupt the flow of the program, and her skating seemed to create a world in itself—it’s that kind of program. The strength to bring out one’s body and soul under than unimaginable fatigue—to be able to bring that out in the final competition was certainly a kind of achievement, I thought. Going forward, we will probably see a new start for Mao.

That’s why, from now on, I think it would be good if Mao could think even a little bit about the people who are watching, if she could realize just a little bit what is lacking. If she is able to do only that, I think next season she will become a complete skater.

“The short and free program--I want to do them perfectly. I practiced for the Olympics and Worlds with that as my goal.”

Even at the World Championships, she said that so many times I can’t count. Next season, I think Asada should consider goals other than “no mistakes” and “perfect.” When she realizes that is important for a figure skater, and becomes able to speak of that as a goal—then everything will begin for her.

**********

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PostSubject: Re: Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds   Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:22 pm

(Since I didn't want to make the post too long...here are my comments...)

Once again, I think Hirono Aoshima hits the nail on the head. She has expressed the thoughts that I have long held.

Quote :
Or rather, it's not that she's lacking, because she has the ability to do that, it's just that she hasn't realized that it's necessary.

Now, I don’t quite agree that Mao doesn’t think expression is necessary. Mao is very aware that expression is necessary, and she seems to think she herself is lacking in expression.

I think that is the problem. I think Mao doesn't understand that she can be wonderfully expressive JUST BY BEING HERSELF. I truly think that Mao doesn't understand just how beautiful and moving or charming she can be.

However, it is quite true that Mao approaches her exhibition and competitive programs very differently. In the exhibitions, Mao is highly aware that she is performing for an audience, and she really performs for the audience. And of course, everyone—even the Mao critics—love her exhibitions. Swoon

If she could just treat her competition programs more like exhibitions and really skate for the audience and judges in the competition like she does in the EX, I think it would really boost her scores.

Quote :
But she is lacking that thought that the other top ladies skaters have—that thought that “I want to have a wonderful skate, I want to show that I am wonderful.” It’s an extremely natural thought for those who perform in front of other people. What Mao Asada needs is to embrace that feeling naturally—I think it’s really that simple.

I’ve always been struck by this aspect of Mao’s personality. It’s like she’s so modest, so humble about her skating, that she doesn’t have the pride to say, “I’m awesome; I want to show people how awesome I am.” The only things that she’s really proud of, that she really wants people to see, are the triple axel and the step sequences.

Rafael Artunian once said that Mao’s greatest strength is her beauty, and yet I think she is totally unconscious of this. She always seems a little surprised when people comment on how graceful her skating is. I think being graceful and light is something that Mao does unconsciously; she doesn’t have to think about it, she doesn’t have to work for it, and therefore she doesn’t realize it’s impressive to the audience.

Quote :
She has all the qualities she needs, and when she awakens to that “consciousness” towards skating she needs, when her true charm/personality flowers, then I wonder just how amazing a program she will show us. Just thinking about it makes me excited.

I totally agree with this. If Mao can only think, “I’m the most beautiful skater out there; let me show you how dreamy my skating is!” then I think she could be unbelievably amazing. Many Hearts

***

I will say one last thing, though.

Mao said at the beginning of the season that the best situation for her is when she can feel that it is "just me and the music"--when she becomes totally absorbed in the music.

And as a Mao-fan, I find it extremely compelling and enjoyable to watch Mao in these moments. Sure, she may not be playing to the crowd; in fact, she might be completely oblivious to the audience.

But I see a girl, and her love for skating, and in these moments, I feel truly fortunate to be able to watch her become one with the music.

Rather than assaulting me with personality, she draws me into her inner world, and when her program is over, I feel as if I have woken from the most beautiful dream... Love Hearts

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PostSubject: Re: Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds   Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:03 pm

I never thought that Mao had a problem with expression until the last season or two. Especially the last few competitions. She never has a problem with artistry or expression in her body - no one can touch her there. No one competing right now anyway. IMO, Michelle, and Sasha used to have probably equally as awesome expression in their body, but they aren't around any more. Mao's movements are so precise, yet so fluid, free, beautiful, and expressive.

Where Mao has been lacking in her expression lately is in her face. When all of her jumps are completed, the problem goes away, and her face comes to life more, but up until that point, she looks like she's just concentraiting SO hard. I can totally understand, and cut her a break there. I mean, her programs are really difficult, and if her facial expressions are what she needs to sacrifice for now, then that's ok. Maybe she's aware of this, and it's something that she plans on working on? I don't know if she realizes it, or if it's something that she actually is sacrificing to get through the technical elements, but I hope she works on this. Maybe the new coach will be of some help here.
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PostSubject: Re: Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds   Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:07 pm

Thank you so much for the translations, Batsuchan cat As always, your translations are so wonderful.

Batsuchan wrote:
Rather than assaulting me with personality, she draws me into her inner world, and when her program is over, I feel as if I have woken from the most beautiful dream... Love Hearts

I totally agree with this lovely description of Mao's skating! Many Hearts
I have always felt Mao has an introverted style of skating. It's seems as if she is so immersed with the music and her performance that she forgets about the outside world. Razz I do agree that if Mao becomes more conscious of the audience and reach out to them more, she'll be even more amazing.
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PostSubject: Re: Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds   Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:35 pm

aoi88 wrote:
Batsuchan wrote:
Rather than assaulting me with personality, she draws me into her inner world, and when her program is over, I feel as if I have woken from the most beautiful dream... Love Hearts

I totally agree with this lovely description of Mao's skating! Many Hearts
I have always felt Mao has an introverted style of skating. It's seems as if she is so immersed with the music and her performance that she forgets about the outside world. Razz I do agree that if Mao becomes more conscious of the audience and reach out to them more, she'll be even more amazing.

Yes, 'introverted' is a good description for it, and I don't feel it's necessarily a negative thing. Some of my other favorite skaters--like Johnny--skate this way as well, like they're in their own little world, and we're just along for the ride. Some skaters 'invite you in' more, and that's fine. Maybe Mao could use a little more of that, show us a little more of her personality. I feel like Stephane, when he's at his best, does this without being ostentatious about it--he's still in his world, immersed in the music, but he expresses himself in such a way that draws the audience in more.

Batsuchan wrote:

Mao Asada is a wonderful skater. But she's not yet a “perfected skater.” She has all the qualities she needs, and when she awakens to that “consciousness” towards skating she needs, when her true charm/personality flowers, then I wonder just how amazing a program she will show us. Just thinking about it makes me excited.

A thought I had while reading this translation (which may be slightly off topic, sorry Razz): I feel as though Yu-Na was at her peak this season (except at Worlds, obviously). She has basically been at the very top of her game, and I'm not sure how much more she can do, within her abilities, to improve herself. Please don't read that the wrong way--I'm not saying she's perfect, and despite her strengths I see a lot of things that could be better about her skating. But she played to the system, she pounded the judges and audiences with her brand of expression, and it's hard for me to see her improving that much, even if she chooses to keep competing.

Mao, on the other hand, has obviously been struggling more, but I feel as though she's still got a lot of potential left to be filled. Maybe part of that untapped potential is in her expression...and certainly there's things she can work on with her jump layout. But what's great about her is that she is constantly willing to work on what she sees as her weaknesses--to challenge herself to reach new heights. Yep!

lol...hope that all makes sense! Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds   Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:35 am

Thanks for the translation Batsuchan!

I think Mao is the type to just work, work and work- I don't think she ever ceased to want to improve.

It's interesting to see Mao being very swayed by the judges view on her.

Last year, she said that she wanted to improve on expression after all the criticism (on her LP- by our favorite commentators)- I think that was one of the main goals- at least portrayed by the media. Hence, the Bells program was created- dramatic, dark, deep expression.

After the Olympics- Mao started talking about the technical side again- how she wanted to see how to do better on the GOEs, and she said that she will be starting to tackle the different jump combinations, improve on jumps etc.

I feel so...sorry for this girl sometimes. It seems like she's climbing an uphill battle all the time- and it doesn't seem like she's being appreciated (by the outside world) no matter what she does. That's what I felt all season long, that no matter how much she tried, she could not please the judges or the commentators and she was always put down. There were at least 2 negative comments for every positive comment- at least from what I've seen. They gave nicer comments to the skater who placed last than the Olympic silver medalist.

Although this really inspires me that a person can push themselves this much, I wonder if she can take the time to appreciate the good things about her skating.

Her humbleness is a great thing, but in a sport like figure skating, where athletes "show themselves off" to the judges, confidence (sometimes over-confidence) and love of self is really important.
I love her personality, but I wonder whether people take the time to tell her that she has soo many other great things than her 3A's.

After the Olympics, it really pained me to see her cry and say that the 3As were the only good thing in her LP Sad Totally not true!

Batsuchan wrote:

Now, I don’t quite agree that Mao doesn’t think expression is necessary. Mao is very aware that expression is necessary, and she seems to think she herself is lacking in expression.

I think that is the problem. I think Mao doesn't understand that she can be wonderfully expressive JUST BY BEING HERSELF. I truly think that Mao doesn't understand just how beautiful and moving or charming she can be.


I agree with Batsuchan- she needs to realize how much expression and beauty she has innately.
I got the feeling that she was trying to change for the Olympic season- not that change isn't good, change also means improvement, but from that change, it implies that she didn't know all the great things about herself.

I also agree with others that in competitions, Mao is skating for herself- she's very in "her own zone"- and I actually like that. In EX's- she is skating to the audience with freedom and complete abandon.
Perhaps she will move in that direction, but I think that she's fine the way she is, and she should know that too.
Improvement is great, but taking the time to appreciate yourself is also really important.


Last edited by sapphiresky on Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:40 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Forgot something hehe...)
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PostSubject: Re: Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds   Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:02 am

illani wrote:

A thought I had while reading this translation (which may be slightly off topic, sorry Razz): I feel as though Yu-Na was at her peak this season (except at Worlds, obviously). She has basically been at the very top of her game, and I'm not sure how much more she can do, within her abilities, to improve herself. Please don't read that the wrong way--I'm not saying she's perfect, and despite her strengths I see a lot of things that could be better about her skating. But she played to the system, she pounded the judges and audiences with her brand of expression, and it's hard for me to see her improving that much, even if she chooses to keep competing.

Mao, on the other hand, has obviously been struggling more, but I feel as though she's still got a lot of potential left to be filled. Maybe part of that untapped potential is in her expression...and certainly there's things she can work on with her jump layout. But what's great about her is that she is constantly willing to work on what she sees as her weaknesses--to challenge herself to reach new heights. Yep!

lol...hope that all makes sense! Razz

Yes. EXACTLY.

Yu-na was in top condition, and she maximized her potential. As for our Mao... Well, what we're seeing is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Aside from expressions, I think she would have to be more consistent. I know she recognizes this weakness already because she admitted in an interview that she is afraid that she won't have any consistency. Well, maybe with her experience during her last season and with the help of the right coach, Mao would be able to improve greatly.
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PostSubject: Re: Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds   Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:12 pm

sapphiresky wrote:

I also agree with others that in competitions, Mao is skating for herself- she's very in "her own zone"- and I actually like that. In EX's- she is skating to the audience with freedom and complete abandon.
Perhaps she will move in that direction, but I think that she's fine the way she is, and she should know that too.
Improvement is great, but taking the time to appreciate yourself is also really important.

I agree with sapphiresky; I love Mao as she is. Love Hearts But I'm a greedy fan, and I want everyone and the judges to love her too! Very Happy

So I kinda wish someone would tell Mao that she should skate her competition programs, or approach them, the way she does her EX's (if she wants to please the judges). Because she absolutely can play to the audience, and emote with her face; it's totally within her capabilities but she doesn't seem to do that in her competition programs.

Though I think even more than that, I DO want Mao to realize that she's such a beautiful skater; I want her to take pride in the beauty of her skating the same way she takes pride in her triple axels. Personally, I'd rather hear her say, "I want to show the audience a beautiful skate," rather than "I want to skate perfectly."

Finally, I totally agree with Star85 that Mao has the most expressive body out there--all my dancer friends agree. Other skaters may move their arms very expressively, they may use their faces, but Mao uses her whole body--and that's what matters to me. I want to see the expression in your back; I want your shoulder blades to speak to me! Yep!

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PostSubject: Re: Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds   Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:43 am

Quote :
I want your shoulder blades to speak to me! Yep!

lol! That quote just made me laugh.

ITA with a lot of your guys' opinions. We all know Mao has beautiful expression already, but a lot of people seem to want a little more attitude out in the open from Mao's competitve programs, the way she has in her exhibitions. And judging by the way Mao swung her arms down at the end of her FS, as if she was motioning "take that!"- I think Mao's gonna attack her programs with more aggression. We're definitely in for even a bigger treat for the next season with a new coach, choreographer, (hopefully new costumer*), Makki and Kokoro-san!

Oh gosh, I'm getting giddy already... Swoon
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PostSubject: Re: Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds   Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:03 am

I'm quite relieved that people here seem to understand and accept what Hirono wanted to say in her article. I was surprised when I first read it, because it seemed to have said more or less what I was thinking of Mao's performances all along.

As we all know, Mao doesn't lack artistry nor expressive abilities. What she might benefit from is more hunger to 'show off'. As someone already pointed out, I think she's confident about her 3As, but not as much concerning her charms and artistry. But she should be. If only she could be a bit more confident about such elements and kind of 'explode' on the ice with them, more power will be added to her performances, I'm sure. Yuna, Miki, Dai, and even Evan has it, not to mention Plush. To me Mao and some other skaters (like Takahiko, Ashley, and maybe Joannie) are still a bit shy about showing 'themselves', probably because of their modest personalities. The good thing about them is that they are more focused on what they do themselves, rather than be caught up with how others think of them. But I do think that they should have and deserve that last bit of confidence, and even a touch of arrogance to have their performances be totally completed.

Surprisingly, Hirono's insights on Mao in this article hasn't been that well accepted in Japan. Some fans here aren't able to accept anything but praise these days, which I find a real pity. I am hoping Mao herself would have the opportunity to read her article, and maybe get enlightened a little.

But when I look back on how Miki was when she was younger, I'd say Mao will naturally evolve her will to capture her viewers more. Miki had achieved that last bit of confidence only after she joined Morozov. Until then, she was also shy in many ways, too.

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PostSubject: Re: Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds   Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:46 am

Could anybody tell me the kanji for Hirono Aoshima?

irrelavant question, sorry and thanks!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds   Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:57 am

anorithil wrote:
Could anybody tell me the kanji for Hirono Aoshima?

irrelavant question, sorry and thanks!!!

I'm posting the name as used in that article: 青嶋ひろの - Aoshima Hirono. No kanji used for Hirono there.
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PostSubject: Re: Hirono Aoshima's comments on Mao's expression after Worlds   Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:01 am

kawaiimao wrote:
anorithil wrote:
Could anybody tell me the kanji for Hirono Aoshima?

irrelavant question, sorry and thanks!!!

I'm posting the name as used in that article: 青嶋ひろの - Aoshima Hirono. No kanji used for Hirono there.

Thank you very much!!

I am chinese.. the only Japanese name with no kanji I have come across is Ito Midori Very Happy

Thanks again~
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