May 16, 2012
I randomly managed to stumble upon an ancient relic today: a video of Daisuke Takahashi's long program at 2003 Japanese Nationals, almost ten years ago. Which causes more cognitive dissonance:
a) Daisuke Takahashi's relatively normal, civilian-like hair in 2003
b) that hilariously awkward, un-Takahashi costume
c) the fact that Japanese Nationals were being held in some random hockey arena
For me, it is c). It's easy to forget that less than ten years ago, the Japanese National Championships resembled what I imagine the Slovenian National Figure Skating Championships are like now: an obscure, sparsely-attended sort of event held in an old hockey arena. Whereas Japanese Nationals are now an über-slick, sponsor-laden and highly elaborate circus with extensive media coverage and no shortage of spectators:
What other skating federation currently has the means to blow that much cash on such a sparkly kiss-and-cry at a National Championships every year? The rise of figure skating in Japan has been meteoric in the past decade. Though South Korea's long-term interest in figure skating post-Yu-Na Kim remains fairly nebulous, with some very talented Chinese juniors coming up the ranks, the balance of power in figure skating should shift even more towards East Asia....
Also, LOL at that twerp being a World Champion and Olympic medallist now.