Tokyo Notebook

-・- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -・- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.

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Posted by Kinakinw | --:-- | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | スポンサー広告

23 2012

Go Akio!

Kanagawa Skate Rink

The photo shows the Kanagawa Skating Rink located on the outskirts of Yokohama. After taking the figure skating lesson in Tokyo Midtown the other day, I went there all the way to join a daily walk-up class for adult female. I took another trial class again because I'm still not certain I can regularly go to a skating school.

At that time, I saw a male single skater belonging to its club was practicing. That was Akio Sasaki who is going to be 21 years old next month. Most of you may not know his name. Well, though I have a friendly feeling for him now as we spent few hours on the same rink, he didn’t have much of a presence since last Japan Figure Skating Championships when I watched his performance for the first time.


I was impressed with his humorous SP with “Ninja” as theme.

It can be said that Sasaki’s in the third group in the world's most strong male Japanese team. The first one includes Daisuke Takahashi, Takahiko Kozuka, Nobunari Oda and 17-year-old Yuzuru Hanyu who distinguished himself. Tatsuki Machia, Takahito Mura, and Daisuke Murakami form the second one. Two skaters including him follow those powerful competitors. Above-mentioned 9 are certified male single senior skaters for JSF in this season.

Every figure skating watcher may say about his skater, “If his jumps are OK, he can get in higher position”. He delivers his program excellently, has gorgeous steps, and skates well, but he cannot perform triple jumps consistently. He seems to THINKS he’s weak in jump. When more able juniors will start to compete in senior competitions, he would move down on the list….

However, Sasaki has special charms that nobody else has. Using offbeat music, he dances and steps splendidly and conducts unique choreography amusingly - as for these points, he’s absolutely marvelous. Though in the same program, he fails to jump one after another, the audience would be fascinated in his skate that reflects his ideal skating and his cheerful and positive personality.

He has many fans. Some of them made big paper ninja stars and threw them into a rink after his performance.

According to his interview with Absolute Skating (in English), he’s from a family of commoners, not rich one. Figure skating is a money-consuming sport. His mother worked and financed it. He feels he owe her a lot. When he entered a university through the recommendation system, he hesitated in the economic burden on his parents. He’s practiced skating at his home rink nearby since he started it. He loves his hometown, family, coaches and the rink.

Some skating watchers say that Sasaki has to find a good jumping coach or move his bases overseas for raising the level of skating. That’s maybe right for dragging himself on to the higher position, but everybody has his or her own reasons. I think it's all right if he practices and tries to create his own style in his familiar environment at his own pace. To put it the other way around, because of that environment, he can make his program with a difference the fans love and performs it as he want. Anyway, the fact is he’s already risen to the sport's higher rank if not a leading Japanese skater.

I do hope he will be around as long as possible and show us his skate.

Akio Sasaki’s SP at Japan Figure Skating Championships 2011
I bet everyone would fall under the spell of his Ninja program!

Posted by Kinakinw | 21:37 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Figure Skating

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