[ENG TRANSLATION] Japanese Nationals First Practice Sponichi Interview

Photo by Sponichi

Original article published 24 December 2020

Translation & proofreading: @axelsandwich & @shinjistarxx

フィギュアスケートの全日本選手権は25日、長野市ビッグハットで開幕する。24日は会場で公式練習が行われ、男子で14年ソチ、18年平昌と五輪連覇の羽生結弦(ANA)が調整した。新型コロナウイルスの影響でグランプリ(GP)シリーズを欠場した羽生にとって、今大会は今季初戦となる。練習後、オンラインで取材に応じた。

The Japanese National Championships will start from 25 December at Nagano’s Big Hat. Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Gold Medallist Yuzuru Hanyu (ANA) attended the public practice at the venue on the 24th. For Hanyu, who had withdrawn from the Grand Prix series due to the effects of COVID-19, this competition will be his first this season. After the practice, he was interviewed online. 

 ――公式練習を終えての感触、全日本出場に至った経緯は

 「久しぶりに複数の人数でリンクに乗って練習したので、まだ感覚をつかめてないところもありましたけれども、ある意味、それもまた新鮮で。ホントに僕にとっては、久しぶりのことだったので、ホントに楽しい感覚もありました」

Q: How was your feeling after the public practice, and the thoughts behind deciding to compete at the Japanese National Championships?

A: It’s been awhile since I’ve practised on a rink with so many people so there were certain senses/feelings [of being on the ice with them] that I didn’t quite grasp but in a sense, it was a fresh feeling and for me, truly something that I haven’t had in awhile so it was fun as well.

 ―GPは欠場した。全日本出場への経緯は

 「まあ、別に考えは変化していないです。はっきり言ってしまえば、やはり自分として、自分個人の考えとしては、やっぱり、なるべく、その、感染につながるような行動はしたくない、と。で、現状、今この全日本につれて、どんどん、まあ、第3波、いわゆる第3波と言われる波が来ている状態の中で、僕が出ていいものかということは、かなり葛藤がありました。ただ、どうしても、ま、世界選手権に向けて、四大陸がなくなってしまったので、まずは世界選手権の選考会として、この試合を必須として出なくてはいけないので、まあ、そうですね、僕自身の希望を何とかつなぐために、出させたいただいたっていうような感じです」

Q: You withdrew from the Grand Prix series. What was the thought process behind deciding to compete at the Japanese National Championships?

A: Well, my thinking hasn’t really changed. If I were to speak frankly, if it were based on my own personal considerations, where possible, I did not want to participate in activities that could be connected to spreading the virus [COVID-19]. And right now, throughout all of Japan, well, within what they are calling the third wave of the virus that is coming at us quickly, I was conflicted about whether it was okay for me to compete. However, when considering the World Championships – since the Four Continents has been cancelled – it was absolutely necessary to compete here firstly to qualify for the World Championships, so I feel the decision to compete is for the sake of tying it with my own hopes. 

 ――コロナ禍の練習状況、日々の過ごし方は

 「まあ、毎日1人で、コーチなしで練習をして。ただ、あの、そうですね、ケアとかも難しかったですし。まあ、なるべく家族以外とは、ほぼ接触はしていないですし。ほんとに外に出て行くということがまったくなかったんですけれども。でも、それでも、僕にとってはスケートに集中できる環境でしたし、あの、いい練習はできたんじゃないかなと思っています」

Q: How were your training conditions during the pandemic, and how did you pass the days?

A: Well, everyday I’m alone and practicing without a coach. Also, yes, stuff like aftercare* was difficult too. As much as possible, I’m not in contact with anyone aside from my family. I really did not go out at all. But even so, for me, it was an environment where I could focus on my skating, and I think maybe I was able to get in some good practice.

*T/N: Likely he means aftercare like massages and treatment after exercising etc.

 ――1人での練習の難しさは

 「やはり、悩み始めるとどうしても自分の負のスパイラルに入りやすいなとは思っていたんですけれども。でも、その中でうまくコントロールする術だったりとか、まあ、1人だからこそ、深く分析したりとか。また、自分が外的要因じゃなくて、自分の原因の中で、どういう風に調子が悪くなっていくのかとか、どのように調子が良くなっていくのかとか、そういうことを経験する、いい機会になりました」

Q: What are the difficulties of practicing alone?

A: It seems if I start worrying about something, I find it easy to enter into a spiral of negative (thoughts). But, since I was alone, I was able to deeply analyze things such as techniques on how to control it when I fall into it. Also, it was a good opportunity to experience how my condition gets worse, or my condition improves, not subject to external factors but originating from myself.

 ――今季のプログラムの見どころ、ジャンプ構成は

 「フリーに関しては4回転ははループとサルコー、で、後半に4回転トーループを2本い入れるつもりです。で、ショートは前半に4回転サルコーと4回転トーループ、3回転トーループのコンビネーション、,後半にカウンターからトリプルアクセルをやる予定です」

Q: What are the highlights of your programs this season, and the jump layouts? 

A: With regards to the free program, the quads are loop and Salchow, and in the later half I plan to put two quad toeloops. In the short program, in the first half it’s the 4S and 4T-3T combination. In the second half I plan to do a back counter 3A.

 ―表現したいこと

 「きょうやったフリーに関しては、とにかく、あの、もちろん、題材となるストーリーはあるんですけど、もちろん伝えたいストーリーとかあるんですけど、そういうのに縛られずに、ホントに、見て頂いた方の感触というか、何かその方々の中にある背景に訴えかけられるものがあればなと思っています。ショートに関しては、きょうまだやっていないですけど、あの、そうですね、それこそ何か、わき上がるような感情があればうれしいです」

Q: What would you like to express [in your programs]?

A: In terms of the FS I skated today, of course there is a theme to the story and a story I want to convey, but I truly would like for it to speak to the feelings of the people watching it, or something within themselves, without it being restricted [by my own interpretation]. In regards to the SP, I haven’t skated it yet today but…um, let’s see. If it can make people feel like raising their arms in the air, I would be happy. 

Published by

axelwithwings

We are the Axel with Wings translation team, made up of fans of Yuzuru Hanyu. We hope to share videos of him and Japanese figure skating content with more people around the world. We aim to do our best to accurately capture the spirit of what's said. Hope you enjoy our videos and other contents.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s