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 "Asada Mao -- Sixteen"

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Join date : 2007-11-18

PostSubject: "Asada Mao -- Sixteen"   Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:42 pm

"Asada Mao -- Sixteen" was written by Mao's family friend who had known her since she was little. As such, it contains private conversations and exchanges of thoughts that are not usually possible between a subject and a writer. As time permits, i'd like to translate some excerpts from the book.

Mao's daily life

Mao normally gets up at 8am. She typically has a small pancake, orange juice, seasonal fruits, and yogurt for breakfast. Right after breakfast, she goes to the gym to warm up for about 30 minutes. She then goes to the rink to take two 45-minute sessions. After the sessions, she takes a short break, followed by two more 45-minute sessions. She goes home around 2pm to have lunch. Typically, it's simple Japanese dishes such as steamed rice, miso soup, an omlet, and pickled vegetables. Mao then spends some time studying -- either assignments from her school in Japan or English lessons. At 5:30pm, she takes two more sessions at the rink, then goes to the gym to cool down.

She gets home between 8 and 9pm. Dinner is a very lively event at the Asada's. "After dinner, I normally study for another hour, take a bath, do some stretching exercises, and go to sleep aroudn midnight. But, sometimes, we forget about time and talk for up to 3 hours!" Mao says. "What do you talk about?" "Nothing special. Mom talks about how things were when we were little. And Mai and I go, 'that's right -- I remember that.' We sometimes talk about Aero -- how she must be doing. It makes me miss her even more if we talk about her, but I can't help talking about her. About Dad? Nooo, we don't talk about him that much." Mao bursts out laughing.

The daily routine is repeated Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, Mao takes fewer sessions, and she only takes morning sessions on Sundays. However, this does not mean that she works any less on the weekend. When she is not taking skating sessions, she does weight training at the gym with a trainer.
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PostSubject: Re: "Asada Mao -- Sixteen"   Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:43 pm

About the 2006-2007 LP

Mao and her Mom wanted her 2006-2007 programs to be very different from each other. If the SP was slow music, then the LP should be fast. This was meant to maximize Mao's learning opportunities. They also wanted the programs to be more mature than Mao's previous ones.

Based on these requests, Lori Nichol selected 7-8 hours' worth of music. There were so many different pieces that Mao didn't even know which ones she liked in the end. However, she managed to pick several candidates and Lori decided on Czardas.

Lori's choreography didn't include the bracket entry into 3 axel. It was added later by Arutunian and Mao 'based on their discussion.' Up until then, Mao's 3 axel had been perfect. Arutunian felt that Mao should aim for a higher level of difficulty. Why not make the entry more difficult like she does for other jumps? Arutunian told Mao that he believed she could do it. Mao: "I can't remember when I started practicing it. It was some time after summer. We completed the program much later than usual. Perhaps at the end of August? I can't really remember -- I always forget about things like dates and how I did in competitions..."

Day after day, Mao started practicing a bracket entry into 2 axel. "It probably took me about two weeks to master the [bracket entry into] 2 axel. Actually, it didn't take two weeks. Then, I started practicing the [bracket entry into] 3 axel." Mao does not remember how long it took for her to master it. However, she remembers that Arutunian one day came to her and nonchalantly said, "you'll do it very soon." Mao had her first successful try soon after that.
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PostSubject: Re: "Asada Mao -- Sixteen"   Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:44 pm

The Tall Bridge

***In what follows, 'I' refers to the author.***

When Mao and I discussed 2006 Skate America, I told her, "It's normal to have anxious moments. Particularly because you tend to become very sensitive during the teenage years."

Mao and I share an omlet stuffed with rice followed by some fruits. During dinner, Mao stares at TV without watching it. It's a nondescript variety show.

Mao begins, "I really thought about it long and hard." She points the remote at TV and lowers the volume all the way down. "Because I didn't do well twice in a row starting with Campbell, I really tried to figure it out." "Figure what out?" "First of all, why I didn't do well. And then, I thought I couldn't repeat the same mistake twice. After that, I just trained and trained. I really gave it my all."

What she has said so far was not so different from what she normally says. She always gives her all when she trains -- this didn't start with Campbell. However, I am surprised by what follows.

Mao continues using her own unique diction. It's a long story. "I know why I can't jump. But, I still can't do it even though I know the reason." Mao says the reason is because "[it feels as though] her legs are in the air and she can't feel any strengh in them." It's not as though she's injured or tired, but her legs become "stiff and immobilized." "Why?" I ask. Without emotions, Mao describes the situation as if she is narrating an indisputable fact. "I think I get nervous. When I'm in a competition, I see a bridge in my mind. It's a very tall and narrow bridge. It's as if I was crossing the bridge. And i go 'wooooow.'"

I: "Can you paraphrase that 'wooooow'?"
M: "Hmmm, it's like my skin is crawling."
I: "You mean you get goose bumps?"
M: "Not really. It's as though soda is spilled on my skin."
I: "So, that's the sensation you get when you are crossing the bridge? How high is the bridge?"
M: "About as high as this hotel room. Perhaps even higher."
The hotel room is on the 7th floor.

Mao is not certain about the width of the bridge -- it's wider than a pencil, but narrower than a log. It's wide enough for the blade. However, Mao is not wearing skates when she stands in front of the bridge. The bridge is slick and translucent. Mao does not get the sensation of falling from it. Rather, she floats in the air. Her body becomes stiff and she can't move. She's in the air, but the body feels heavy.

M: "I like rollercoasters, but this bridge is difficult to deal with. I guess I'm not focusing well because I don't see the bridge when I'm not nervous." Mao fought with the bridge during her two competitions in the U.S.
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PostSubject: Re: "Asada Mao -- Sixteen"   Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:26 pm

Caliblue, thank you very much!
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