My apologies for the mega delay in this post. It just became a busy holiday season. For myself in Canada, Japanese Nationals fell right in the middle of Christmas this year.
I didn’t plan to follow or watch any of the event live. But on Christmas Eve I couldn’t sleep and ended up watching Yuzu’s SP live in the middle of the night. I was surprised there was actually a live stream! I couldn’t do the same the next day and slept right through the Men’s FS, though checking the results was one of the first things I did when I woke up. With all the family and festivities I just couldn’t successfully stay up all night like I did during the GP Series. But now that it’s over and things have calmed down I’ve been able to catch up on everything that happened at Japanese Nationals this year.
I shared some of my thoughts again on The Judges Table. I thought this one was a lot of fun. It made me watch more of Japanese Nationals than I ever have in the past.
I don’t have much more to say about the event overall, so I’ll focus on Yuzu now. Congrats on your 4th National Title!
We’ve gotten so greedy with his recent stellar performances that we were again expecting perfection. However, this is probably the competition that means the least all season. A couple of mistakes here is perfectly ok.
The SP here was actually quite good. That 4S was quite beautiful! Fall onto the knee and then right into a spread eagle. That’s difficult and takes talent, +3’s! And the 4T-3T was one of the most beautiful we’ve seen him do. We all know how disappointed he was when he finished, but really this program wasn’t that bad. Everything else was gorgeous and his performance was as good as we’ve seen. He was probably the only skater who could ever be disappointed after scoring over 100 in the SP. Yes it was Nationals, but this was still one of the highest scores ever. On that note, I don’t think there was a lot of over-scoring at Japanese Nationals. I thought the scores were all quite reasonable.
Similarly, a couple mistakes in the FS is just fine. We’re forgetting that this program started spectacularly with the first 3 jumps. Gorgeous 4S and 4T to start and he fixed the 4S issue from the SP.
What I found the most worrisome was the 3A fall in the FS. When was the last time he messed up an axel?? Also, what’s with the under-rotations on those two falls? And then a few sloppy landings late in the program? These were some rather uncharacteristic mistakes and I think it was just because he was exhausted.
Yuzu’s schedule in the past month has been insane. 3 competitions in 5 weeks! He mentioned how exhausted he was and he was visibly more winded after his FS here. But I don’t think there’s any need to worry. This boy needs a break. He needs to relax for a few days before he really starts preparing for Worlds. We know he’s staying in Japan to skate in a number of shows for the next few weeks and here’s hoping he’s able to get some downtime in during that time.
Yuzu was perfect for two competitions and this event successfully showed both himself and all of us that he’s human and can make mistakes. I think this will be a good learning experience for Yuzu and will be more motivation for his competitors. This event showed everyone else that he can mess up and it is possible to beat him. Yes, Yuzu was disappointed with his skates here but I think he’s going to learn from this and come back stronger than ever in Boston.
Yuzu isn’t making the trip to 4CC this year, which I think is an excellent decision. Though I’ve read that he likely will next season being it takes place the same time as the Olympics will the following year. Yuzu has a couple months now to recharge and refocus. He’s mentioned he’s going to be working the 4L hard in this time and would like to include it in his FS if it’s ready. This one both excites and terrifies me. He could easily win Worlds if he skates like he did at GPF, but he’s never happy and is continually pushing himself. 2018 is the ultimate goal. He also said he wants to take a few steps back and work a lot more on basic skating and figures in the next few months. He doesn’t want to keep getting Level 3 on his step sequences. I love this! This has been severely lacking in recent years.
I don’t think we’ll be getting too many Hanyu updates leading up to Boston, so here’s hoping I can be there at one of those first Worlds practice to see what Yuzu has in store for us. I can’t wait!!
Thanks for reading! I’ll talk to you all soon!
– Justine Alyssa