Ice Jewels vol 12 Special Interview - Yuzuru Hanyu

Feel free to use my translation with credits

Towards a “me” who surpasses myself

The World Championship (“WC”) was cancelled, drawing the 2019-20 season to a sudden conclusion. This season, he won a title that he hasn't conquered before. The victory at 4 Continents Championship (“4CC”) established Hanyu Yuzuru’s Super Slam as he entered glorious records and memories. His reflection on this season and resolution towards the upcoming season is told as follows. 

On the victory at the 4CC

Do you think of the victory at 4CC as a special memory?

-       I really did win that competition, so I was happy. The last titles to obtain would probably be World Champion or Olympic Champion, but in this season, so far I’ve fulfilled tasks like winning competitions (which I haven’t won until then) like Skate Canada. Rather than any competition, this very one (4CC), is where I competed and won a silver medal at 16, but from then on, I couldn’t win it for a while. It’s good that I can finally win it.

We heard that after Japan National, there was a period when you couldn’t get back on your feet. How did you spend that period? Was there any specific feeling? Then, how did you recover? Please let us know some details.

-       I went through 3 consecutive competitions. (After JN), for I while I thought that Ahh, I’m quite tired out. I’ve been living placing pressure on myself and there was no time to recharge both my physical strength and emotion, so I let myself do whatever I felt like doing. I didn’t really pay attention to anything, so I don’t remember (what I did) clearly…

Just for now, “SEIMEI” and “Ballade no. 1”

Regarding your program change, especially switching back to perfected programs- "SEIMEI” and "Ballade no.1", were you hesitant or anxious? Also, what was the ground of your decision?

-       About “SEIMEI”, I gave the fact that I haven’t done the layout with Lz and Lo some fleeting thoughts, but then I thought, in some aspects, it was a completed program.
However, with that (thinking about “SEIMEI”), my loss of motivation dispersed and was replaced with the desire to perform exceptional programs. I wonder if there’s something I can do with my current feelings, something what I can express and skate now. 
Of course, I was anxious. I wasn’t sure whether the program would be appreciated, even until now. Judges are human beings, so there’s no way to know if it would be evaluated the way it was in 2015 without looking at the score in the competition. The standard at that time was different, and of course even if I perform well, I can’t surpass [2015’s “SEIMEI”]. I also felt like I would end up destroying the program.
Nevertheless, I honestly wanted to skate this program. This feeling cheered me on as I started practicing. I think it would work if I skate both “SEIMEI” and “Ballade no. 1” with a slightly more difficult layout. 

You gave us a brilliant performance of “Ballade no. 1” at 4CC. It’s been previously said that you skated in absolute harmony with the pianist or as if you became the sound of the keyboard. What was your feeling this time?

-       This time, it seemed like my body’s movement synchronized with the music playing in my head. Every single sound and melody thoroughly soaked into my body, and I let my body be in charge of the performance. Although I was nervous when doing jumps or difficult parts and there were plenty of matters to focus on, I left more than 80% of myself in the program to the music’s guidance rather than my consciousness. 

About the FP, what did you have to be cautious about when editing the music, to avoid destroying the world of “SEIMEI” now that the music needs to be 30s shorter? 

-       I found it compelling not to spoil the flow of the music or the program, so I avoided omitting any iconic part. There were parts where the tempo was quickened in the interest of time. However, even when the tempo was faster, for me, there was a certain meaning in skating [“SEIMEI”], and I had to be careful not to let the unique rhythm of my own fall apart. If the rhythm was changed too much, the true meaning of skating this program would be substantially different. 

Do you have any intention with SEIMEI’s new layout? To be specific, in the first 1 minute, you include 4 jumps. There was no run-up in between, only a mere turn from 3A to 3F. Please let us know how you came to engendering such a layout, something that can’t be done by anyone but Hanyu Yuzuru.

-       Firstly, I wanted to cherish the music cuts which make up the program as much as possible. Then, there was editing to do. I didn’t want to change the flow of the first half, so the solution was to have 3 jumps with [1.1x] bonus in the 2nd half, I must find some way to insert one more jump in the 1st half, and I came up with placing 3F there. It could be either 3Lo or 3F, but I chose 3F since it did not to disrupt the music and rhythm. I showed Shae [my idea] right after she finished shaping the whole program, but she was also pleased by it, so we went with that layout. (t/n: he showed her a new layout after she finished making the program for him lollll) 

UpdateVirginia (@quadLz) posted a video that perfectly visualizes this reply ^^ → Watch here

Is there any experience from skating “Otonal” and “Origin” that you can utilize?

-       “Otonal” is a piano piece but there’s also an orchestra. With the piano’s sound as the core, I was trying to express the completion of the music, and [skate] while gathering picking up various shades of music. When skating “Ballade no. 1”, because I have [experienced] expressing an orchestra, I’ve come to feel the purity and transparent quality of the piano’s echo, and the expansion of sound even more deeply. 
I skated “Origin” while channeling the power surging up from deep inside and I always performed it taking my own self as a (candle’s) wick. Throughout the performance, that energy became the nuclear*. In “SEIMEI”, even when receiving those energy and power, it’s important to adjust so everything is kept under control. Rather than letting the overflowing energy run loose, I want to embody floaty, airy image and philosophical insights, even with my feet on the ground. 

On this season’s achievements and next season’s goals

You adopted the strategy of changing jump layouts according to the competition. You also competed in the GPS, GPF, and JN. What did you achieve?

-       I think not getting injured is my biggest achievement.
When I forcefully try to push myself from poor to peak condition, my body can’t catch up. I went through a long time with no serenity even in my heart, but this season, I think I was able to adjust well. 

Would you let us know how your training, for injury prevention and such, is coming along?

-       I think I know the where within myself the “line” (limit) at which I should stop pushing ahead is. However, I’m aware that if I can’t overcome that boundary, I can’t improve, so I think cautiously about the days when I can push beyond the limit and days when I shouldn’t. 

The WC was cancelled, but how was the result of your training after 4CC, and how that will connect to next season?

-       I feel like I was even more attentive to practicing skating basics and jumps. I wouldn’t say everything is completed, but if I train earnestly now, I can detect what goes wrong, and that’s how the result will connect to next season in my opinion.

Did the novel coronavirus affect your training and daily life in Canada? Also, what are the precautions you’re practicing?

-       I’ve been washing my hands and gaggling my throat. Besides, whenever I come home from practice, I disinfect various things. I think there isn’t much impact on my training.

From now on, it’s off-season. Do you have any training you want to do in mind?

-       I want to spend time on practicing 4A, for it’s extremely difficult to train for a new jump mid-season. My home rink was already closed, so it’ll be tough from now on (Interviewer: By 3/16, Ontario had been locked down to reduce the spread of coronavirus). However, I can still make use of other methods like on-land training, etc. I think it’s helpful to build a good foundation.

Please let us know your vision of next season’s program, image of music and such, to an extent that you find acceptable.

-       I want to do new programs. I don’t know for sure how long it would take to incorporate 4A, but that’s also my goal to work hard for next season. I haven’t had any tangible image of the programs or music for now. However, I hope to do something that is meaningful to myself. 

We’ll ask you about the 4A. At GPF, you’ve given us a glimpse it for the first time. What do you think about the atmosphere in the arena at that time after you showcased the jump?

-       I was nervous, but because I was jumping in front of everybody, I kind of hoped I would succeed. I really enjoy the taste of climbing over the hindering wall.

How is the 4A shaping up these days?

-       I’ve begun rotating [enough rotations], and my posture was getting a bit more relaxed. I can’t practice it every day, so I’m taking it little by little. Nevertheless, I think my body could already grasp the sensation of jumping the 4A concretely.

Does the training for 4A affect other jumps?

-       It takes considerable energy to practice the 4A, so there’s a dip in the intensity and concentration on other training tasks. I’m practicing as I continue to tackle that matter. 

Finally, please let us know your resolutions for next season and send a message to fans.

-       I’m really thankful that you keep supporting me to the end in this season as well. I think everyone is all going through a hard time because of the novel coronavirus right now. Please be careful. For me, from now on I will keep on accumulating the training towards next season, including the 4A. 

Bonus: Yuzu-related parts in Satomi Ito’s special interview

Costumes made by Ito-san are very complicated and beautiful. For example, costumes using gathering technique, like “Otonal” worn by Hanyu-senshu this season, was a hand-made piece of work?

-       Yes, I draped the fabric over the standing mannequin, used pins to secure (the folds) and kept repeating that technique. It was quite laborious…(laugh) maybe I didn’t get that across very well.

No no, you did. Did you dye the costume yourself as well?

-       Yes, after I finished making the whole body, I did the dyeing with an airbrush. For instance, Hanyu-senshu’s “Origin” costume for this season. I couldn’t find any suitable pre-coloured purple fabric, so I dyed the material myself.

Assembling rhinestones and embroidery was done by hand too?

-       Yes, after dyeing the fabric, I attached rhinestones and embroidered myself.

--The end.--

*Juro’s ramble:
I find Yuzu’s use of word so poetic here so allow me to gush for a moment. The kanjis for 2 underlined words are (candle’s wick/core) and  (nuclear/core) respectively. Those 2 words can both mean “core”, and I originally translated them as one word “core”, but upon rereading and some mulling, I switched to “wick” and “nuclear”. For me, that’s a better way to put it, since in this answer, Yuzu described his energy and emotion as if they’re the fuel keeping him running in Origin, while he kinda was a “human-torch” (OW…). Also, this reminds me of his comment about embodying a “blue flame”. Ok, that’s it for my mumbo jumbo. If you read this, thank you so much lollll.)

Juro’s message: 
Hi, it’s been a while. This archive needs some serious dusting. This is a tough time for all of us. I’m wishing every moment that better days will come soon. There’s nothing I can do that is practically helpful, but I honestly hope that this interview can be something like a heartwarming piece of chocolate for everyone reading it. And for all the Fanyus who are fighting on the front line out there, I don’t know if this can reach you and I don’t know what to say, except for that I’m so grateful for you all. Please, take care and stay safe, everyone. 

Feel free to use my translation with credits