Nobu can see clearly now
Our Japanese correspondent Aiko interviewed Nobunari ODA @ Umeda.
Jan. 26, 2012 in Osaka

Nobunari ODA 織田信成 © Japan Sports
2011-2012EX"I Can See Clearly Now" @ DOI

☞ 日本語

JS: First of all, please tell us about your left knee injury, that fans have worried about so far. In last March, when you gave us interview, you had already gotten injured.

NO: About 1 week before Universiade(in late January) last season, I had felt pain in the left knee for the first time, that was getting so painful 3 days before. But I did compete(he won a gold 223.15pt), then I went back to Japan, I had enough time before Worlds(planned in late March), to have a break and medical treatment as well, so I had recovered, as I hoped I could train to be prepared on time for Worlds. Even with some pain in it, I could skate overcoming its pain. Also I had good shape at that time, to train enough without straining the knee.

NO: After Worlds(in late April), I was going to have medical treatment again, one month day-off the ice, to start skating in the beginning of June, however, also its pain started hurting me again. Even though I could do skate overcoming that, I had a goal: "to make the knee heal over", I hoped I could do that until this season kicked off. So I had break time in July, then I restarted from August, but got 2 weeks blackout days… getting through such a long and winding road, eventually my jumps had been prepared on time for (the first competition) GPS in China. During Cup of China (in early November), my knee got strained a lot…

JS: As you told your coach Lee BARKELL "it's weird," in FS Kiss&Cry.

NO: It was going bad, at a time going good, had much ups-and-downs, while I had cared for it enough, I didn't read "how's it going today?" until I got up in the morning. That concerned me, and I met the "down" at Trophee Eric Bompard(2 weeks after Cup of China). (Nobu had several mistakes on jumps, was placed in 7th.) Since I came back to Japan, I have been off the ice again, to receive its treatment, now it's going to the "up", turns quite well, as I can walk naturally. Next week, I will come out onto the ice again, if it's okay. (Now it's okay! for him to skate!)

JS: …I really understand "pain turns off after a break", as I injured my arches, when I had track&field trainings.

NO: Indeed, it's going to recover, little by little unless it is used, otherwise, once it's used, it gets damage again, to take a long time to recover again.

JS: Suddenly, such a devastating pain strikes you, like "Ouch! …can't walk anymore!!"

NO: Yes, it does!(smiles) - Nobu seems to laugh off the pain.

JS: In running, it runs to you, to knock you down!

NO: Yes, it can!(smiles)

JS: …While it could behave in such an uncontrolled way, at Cup of China, you seemed to control your skating speed saved, in practices.

NO: You push off your left foot, in order to do crossovers in a counterclockwise direction (to accelerate). That I couldn't do there, as I couldn't weight on my left foot, due to the pain. But still I could skate as I wanted, unless I weighted on it - such twisted way could cause you troubles with your skills, though.

JS: There, I felt you had been checking your left knee condition to skate.

NO: Yes, in practices I had been considering "how to skate without pain" with my own body.

JS: In my own fantasy, Figure Skaters use their bodies as if it is their moving fixture, including every single part working exquisitely. That I could never see on the ground sports.

NO: You could see that Figure Skating is graceful, yet, actually it is hard, that I realized after a break. In the past, I hadn't had such long day-off the ice, so my every single part was caught by muscle ache, the day after the first practice on the ice. As I had done skate everyday, I hadn't realized "how it strains the body".

JS: As if Figure Skaters have changed their involuntary muscles to make whole voluntary body, with their intensity.

NO: I found that. It could strain my knee. So, I have been caring for my body more than before, that is of such importance.

JS: Last interview I should have cared for the question about your "fatherhood", as Japan Skates founder Mark would be a father around that time. But I turned it to the "marriage",

NO: Yes, you did. (smiles)

JS: So, I would like to ask again, "how fatherhood has influenced you?" – I guess your son has even more energized you.

NO: So much, as I see it. In trainings, physically and mentally I've gotten hard times, I'm going to be defeated by myself, but, I'm not be defeated, as I have a family beside me - my wife, my son, who let me never get myself down. When I was almost defeated before, my fans, who have always given their support, reminded me "I never give up!". Now my soul has even more energized by the fans, and my family, who also have supported me since last season. I guess they have made me tough little by little. Being with my family is my own edge.

JS: You owe people who give you affection, while you could get devoted, for "someone". These are different ways.

NO: "You wanna see someone's smile." As I wanna make them happy, so keenly.

Nobunari ODA 織田信成 © Paja
2011-2012SP"Memphis Soul Stew"

JS: Now, wanna know about your programs this season, SP"Memphis Soul Stew" is a funk program - your own edge, as you were enjoying with its funk groove, as far as I saw you laughing from the middle of it, at Cup of China.

NO: (smiles) Sebastien(Britten) asked me to do smile to skate. In the beginning, it opens with blues music, feeling like pain and suffering, that I didn't feel like, entirely. (smiles) He claimed that a little bit, though, gave his compliment: "Such a fun moment is good." (smiles)

JS: (smiles) Way fun, into the funk, that made me laugh along with you, but, Nobu, do you lose your energy? when laughter takes strength from the human body.

NO: Yes, the humans do. (smiles)

JS: So you lost your level features on the last spin(CCoSp1), as the humans do?

NO: (laughs) In spinning, I found "it's not enough, a bit," which has usually at least one more revolution.

JS: That reminded me, in my childhood, my old mother, everyday took me to the one straight road in front of my house, a track running 200M, then she roared, "On your mark!" to get herself and me "set, go!", she was around 50 age,

NO: was so really energetic! (smiles)

JS: Indeed, was aged 50, approx. 4.9ft and 154lb - an orb! It was rolling extremely fast! sometimes it could be bounding! when it was in form.

NO: (laughs)

JS: Sprinting along with it, I couldn't stop laughing, that made me boneless, my "voluntary" running motion stopped, "How am I running now?"

NO: You don't know how, anymore. (LOL)

JS: (LOL) So, you didn't know how, either, at Cup of China?

NO: (LoL) Maybe.

NO: Last season, Sebastien and I hadn't so long time to choreograph, had collaborated like a pithy conversation, so I hoped we could get closer to understand each other more, to make programs. Then it happened this season. This SP song was brought by him, Lee(BARKELL) said "good song," as well as I "wanna skate to it!"

JS: As I "wanna see your funk program!"

JS: At Cup of China, Your FS amazed me, as your jumps haven't preparations, except for 3As or combinations. You know, actually, even eagle-3A is provided with its preparation, unlike your jumps there, which are executed unexpectedly. You had just checked only your jumping entries on run-throughs in the practice, so in FS I had to drop my jaw, "Whoa! you're goin' into a jump right here!?" throughout the program. How was this wizard program made?

NO: Always I have requested "difficult program as much as possible!", when I make a new one. You could not get to the next level, unless you have a challenging program to train harder. So I ask "let me have more difficult transitions."
And definitely I have them, intricate transitions in this program, particularly in the 2nd half, as I got struggled with it in the first run-through. But I had to "just do it!", and Sebastien
(he also choreographed FS.) encouraged me, "it's gonna be Okay, you just have done it!"

JS: That time of preparations of jumps is gonna be its transitions to dance in footworks.

NO: But, for me, "gonna be difficult." (laughs)

JS: I'm gonna be crazy with "ISU communication: Scale of Values, Levels of Difficulty and Guidelines for marking Grade of Execution"!

NO: (laughs) uh-huh.

JS: I imagine "If I took these 4 features, it could be gonna be credited GOE +2," that blissful fantasy has given to me such delight, that I'm gonna even make it a poster.

NO: (laughs) Are you?

JS: Yes, I am! I bet the more it could get posted in public, the more sports fans would come out to watch Figure Skating.

NO: Those details could appeal to them.

JS: I have to remember its details every single word, to save its PDF to my iPhone… haven't saved on the wall, though.

NO: I remember Jumps GOE 8 bullets: good height and distance; delay in rotation or varied position in the air; quality landing (=extension) or difficult(creative) exit; good flow throughout; effortless throughout; difficult(/"unexpectedly"/creative) entry; connected with steps/movements; matched to the music.

JS: With them in mind, I watched your FS jumps, "…1,2,3,4,5,6+ bullets checked, those jumps have GOE+3 in mind!"

NO: (smiles) …need more working for that. I have studied features on "spins and steps", too, but it's so hard to make bullets checked. (smiles) More and harder working I need! In this break time, I have been thinking, "What practices am I going to work from now?" - I hope my every element can be personalized to appeal to people.

JS: FS"Les Parapluies de Cherbourg", there is "froth on the daydream" and "flash of the lifetime", that you color "fun" tone. I guess that's your own edge, too. Could you describe its story?

NO: "Les Parapluies de Cherbourg" is a movie that captures "love in wartime", a bitter romance, as I see it. As Sebastien explained at first, its music, the melody is matching with Ice Dancing or Ladies, rather than Men Single, that I do like. Then I told "I love this melody," Sebastien brought its jazz arrangement. He asked "you don't have to compose the same story as the movie," to have my own story, like "a flower shop guy meets a girl to be each other's destiny." …Could I tell that? (smiles)

JS: You did star in "Les Parapluies de Cherbourg" of your own, as Jeremy(ABBOTT) gave you a clap, after its premiere run-through in FS practice at Cup of China. He was watching you dancing in the last ChSt, from straight line to whirling tracing towards finish. Then he showed such a compliment.

NO: (smiles, so pleased.)

Nobunari ODA 織田信成 © Paja
2011-2012FS"Les Parapluies de Cherbourg"

JS: On All-Japan(around Christmas), did you intend to compete, until just before the competition?

NO: I hadn't skated after Trophee Eric Bompard, but I had it in mind, "to skate there if I get ready." Unfortunately, "…I haven't," then I announced withdrawal, right before All-Japan.

JS: …You know, you expect "it(pain) should be better, tomorrow!"

NO: Yes! You know, if you haven't skated, you haven't pain so much. But once you take on the ice, you have to take its pain to move. You feel "I can!" off the ice, yet "I can't," on the ice. - That concerned me so much. It should not depend on my own decision, so I and my doctors discussed whether I would compete or not, then we decided to withdraw, "to make the knee heal, to work for competing in Sochi Olympics".

JS: Yuzuru(HANYU), at its first press conference on Thu. 22, he left a comment in the end: "I'm disappointed with Nobu's withdrawal." I guess he spoke his mind, as he wasn't questioned about Nobu. "I wanted to compete with Big3(=Daisuke TAKAHASHI;Nobu;Takahiko KOZUKA)," that was on his mind, utmost at that time.

NO: …that's such a compliment. However, he is not a "Big3" relative or he should not be compared to other skaters, to know his goodness. Such a high-spirited, dedicated skater he is. Also, he is quite strict with himself, but so sweet to people.

JS: Indeed!

NO: …So, I must lead the charge, too! (smiles)

JS: How about your relationship with your coach Lee BARKELL?

NO: We're e-mailing each other, so frequently!

JS: "You've Got Mail"!

NO: He has been worrying about me, to e-mail me. (smiles) As if he is my father, actually he is my "father on the ice". As he has given me affection since junior years, also, he helped me to win a Jr.Worlds(2005) gold, he took me into such a big moment. …He has looked after my skating, sympathetically and strictly, like a "father on the ice", you know.

JS: In our 2006 interview, you noted "The Japanese Federation wanted me to be like Jeff(BUTTLE)," so you came to Canada, to learn from Lee - that is the first season of Nobu&Lee.

NO: Its pilot episode - After 2004 Jr.Worlds, I went to "Mariposa" school of skating in Barrie near Toronto, where Takeshi(HONDA) had trained, to stay for 2 months alone. It was the first encounter of the "true skating", was shocked, for a little junior skater. (smiles)

JS: "true skating"!

NO: Jeff had striven by himself off-season, so I found "I must work harder on other trainings, too!" And I could have been gonna die, if Takeshi wasn't there. (smiles) He had taken care of me so much there, I have really appreciated him so much to the present.

JS: As time goes by, Nobu has made your way.

NO: My high-school years, All-Japan had been broadcast on midnight. Takeshi, Yamato(TAMURA), and other skaters had made their way, to let us make our way.

NO: Jeff keeps going to make his way, as I watch him skating better and better, year by year, when I train with him… that's not such a compliment for him, from me. (smiles) There, every skater follows him with their eyes, then everyone claps!, in his finale of the session. He has been getting matured with shine! Also, in front of my very eyes, his skating is shining me, to let me make my way.

JS: And, Noriko(ODA, his mother and long-time coach as well), she also has followed you with her eyes, since your childhood, as you revealed you overcame your Resistance-era in your teens, last interview.

NO: (laughs) In junior high school years I could not be orderly, as you can't be responsible in those days. She told me off, "You should do like this, It should be like this." In senior high school, I found myself "wanna skate better and better!", got motivated to try anything to get improved, then she has given only tips, "You may do like this, It could work like this." She let me skate on my own initiative.

JS: Noriko looked after your skating, too,

NO: like actually my mother. We made lots quarrels, though.

JS: Noway! you never have it!

NO: I have it! as I'm so selfish soul!(laughs)

JS: Bless my soul!

NO: I can't stand if things are not going as I have in mind. (smiles) I'm sorry for that, as always.

JS: You can't seem to be such a soul!

NO: (smiles) My wife seems to be concerned, that once I "wanna do", I'm never told to do.

JS: like a "stubborn" soul.

NO: - sometimes, but just I do grizzle. (laughs) Like a baby soul! (laughs)

JS: Oh, well… like a "real" self!

NO: Distinctly! (laughs)

JS: (laughs) So, you found yourself "I am, I exist"!

JS: I guess you're working on physical therapy and conditioning at this moment.

NO: - Conditioning without the knee, working on strengthening upper body, such as abdominal, back muscles, to keep them available for the next on-ice training. As well as I'm trying to have core strength in order to "straighten my body balanced", for not straining the knee, and hope to have more "flexibility", too, for that, as you do strain your body unless your joints work flexibly.

JS: We know "balance" on the ground, as you're told to do that "Center of gravity should be on your head", "Center of yourself should be located behind your eyes", something like that. How is "balance" on the ice?

NO: It's difficult to make a quote, but I could say: You should be "totally-balanced" on the ice. That could be an ideal way. You need "well-toned upper and under body movements". Also you need "your own axis to get yourself stable, not to tilt yourself forward or backward", so you need enough strength for it.

NO: …I can't stand on my left foot.

JS: - when you stand with only one leg.

NO: My left foot is going to twist outward, unlike before, I could weight on my left arch to balance. Then, I and my fitness coach have considered "why," we find that my left hip muscles has been getting stiff,

JS: - due to the same(counterclockwise) revolutions over and over, such as jumping.

NO: uh-huh, your hip muscles work on them so hard.

JS: particularly gluteus maximus muscle?

NO: uh-huh, suchlike, the supporting parts of the leg. If the parts get stiff, you can't fasten your leg, to lose your balance, as my left foot tilts. So, I have to correct the parts to work, have done stretching the parts a lot. The more correctly the parts work, the less I strain every part of my body in moving.

JS: On the ground, you could never drive yourself as same as skating.

NO: On the ice, you get force when you push there,

JS: Yes, "a skater's strength flows from the Force!"

NO: "May the Force be with you," to control.

JS: (laughs) with your own body, which is like a precision machine!

NO: (laughs) which really is. If one of the parts gets trouble, all is gonna lose its balance, to get injured, so my knee did, as I see it. Now I "must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind" to be "totally-balanced".

JS: Injury is the path to it, leads to being "totally-balanced"?

NO: uh-huh, worth for the future that could be.

JS: How do you plan for next season programs?

NO: For now, I'm feeling like "brand-new", to change both SP/FS programs. When my body gets ready to skate well, I will enter "brand-new" programs.

JS: Now for Japan Skates Interview traditional question I'm bringing back to you, Nobu, who answered it in 2006, - such a long time gone. Q. The most bizarre gift? since you got a "thong".

NO: …In 2009 Cup of China, I got so many stuffed toys of banana.

JS: ?

NO: There was a zoo near the venue, so guys from our Skating Federation assumed "they're mistaking you a monkey." (laughs)

JS: can't believe! (laughs)

NO: Unbelievable quantity of banana! like this(to carry in his arms)! There was a monkey, too. So, "Yes, they are mistaking!" (laughs) Then I pointed out, "We're sorry, but your monkey is next door." (LOL)

JS: (LOL) They might expect your comedic response.

NO: Jeez, what a mistake of mime! I just froze there. You know, one banana is acceptable,

JS: "got a banana."

NO: With the 2nd banana, "got two bananas." but, the 3rd banana came, "what?" the 4th and 5th came, "?? …what?" (LOL) Finally, the monkey was thrown to me!

JS: (LOL) …Unfortunately, you couldn't give your comedic response.

NO: (laughs) (seriously:) Really disappointed with that.

JS: (laughs) (seriously:) Because you were from Osaka(where people have quality humor.), you really wanted to do it, I know.

NO: (seriously:) I should have acted in its situation, to make its punchline. "I'm so sorry for the inconvenience."



JS: So, The nicest one?

NO: So nice when the bath additives come to me, everyday becomes so fun!

JS: Bathing in various tastes!

NO: Bathing in gold water before, that enriched my soul. (smiles)

JS: Then there was golden Nobu, out of the bathtub.

NO: So, fabulous! (laughs)

NO: Also, thankfully lots of gifts for my son I have received, since he was born! gifts for a family, too. We love to use them!

NO: As for handmade gifts, I got my doll with my all past costumes to play a dress-up.

JS: Wow.

NO: Such devotion it contained.

JS: Your son would play with it.

NO: Already he has played! (smiles)

Nobunari ODA 織田信成 © Japan Sports
2010-2011EX"I Could Have Danced All Night" @ MOI

JS: And it's a farewell moment. Please leave a message for us.

☞ Nobunari ODA 織田信成選手 @ Umeda on January 26, 2012

NO: Hi there, I'm Nobunari Oda. Thank you for your support last season, and I'm sorry for that this season I couldn't make my way due to injury, at Cup of China and Trophee Eric Bompard where I hadn't succeeded, then "All-Japan" Nationals I had to withdraw. You could worry about me, but, for now I'm really motivated to work hard, in order to show you good performances a lot! So please stay in touch with me! I will recover from my injury soon, to come back on the ice!

+++ Extra Time +++

Nobu gave us even more fun time, enjoy Figure Skating chat with Nobu.

JS: (talking about Russian Nationals) What a man! Evgeni Plushenko is! …He kills 4T somehow.

NO: (laughs) Moreover, his own edge is 3A! that's quite beautiful. Its curve(entry), timing is always accurate.

JS: I see!

NO: Anyone can't set that accurately, when he is not in-form, is going to fail, BUT! Plushenko! You have never watched him failing in 3A.

JS: Indeed!

NO: That is his great feature, and 4T is beyond mojo… I wonder "How can he make such jumps?"

JS: It's a wonder Nobu wonders about his jumps, as you also kill "sensational" jumps. (*British EURO SPORTS at Cup of China in FS)

NO: He is way beyond me, in a different level far from me. (smiles)

NO: At 2004 EURO championships, he defeated by Brian Joubert, as he missed his first two 3As, "rarely," was looking how he skated, then, in the very ending, finally, he made a 3A!

2004 EURO Evgeni Plushenko FS"Tribute to Nijinsky":
Sacred poetry in dancing, genuine dedication for Vaslav Nijinsky, a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer, such an artist, who would never be seen this world. Plushenko opened the program with 4T-3T-2Lo effortlessly, but the next two 3As were going off the track, the first was derailed at its takeoff (1A fall), the second got singled as well, yet he did the third 3A - where he planned 3Lz - his majesty was demonstrated as 3A-3T-2Lo, though, immediately after that, at the landing of less-preparation 3F his hands touched down. Collage of motion Nijinsky, touches were printed onto the ice, he was flashing in transitions and footworks. Following 3Lz, 3Lo, combination spin with Biellmann, he refilled his program, then made it glow - after a spiral in Biellmann position, at planned 3S, he ran a 3A off! Also, his gutsy attending replaced 3S(doubled) in the last transition for the last spin, that was a testament to the pride. Dadaism could be seen through a kaleidoscope, his changing positions of spins.

NO: In the ending part, which is the toughest part, he gave a really beautiful 3A! Was shocked to watch that! (laughs) In those days, even I hadn't experienced "Close Encounter of 3A" of mine. So I had repeated to watch that, over and over, all the while. (smiles)

JS: Did he attend it in the entry of 3A?

NO: No, he didn't, as I expected that he did a 2A. Big beyond all sense, he was fluttering to rotate 3A!

JS: !! …How does he make it? Does he have the ultimate timing?

NO: I guess, saving strength, he could execute it with his timing and flow, that makes his 3A so beautiful. …His motion is ultimate, too.

JS: I think all the sport has the same fundamentals: to match motion with timing.

NO: uh-huh,

JS: So, it doesn't work with only right motion(form), nor only right timing, but it needs both!

NO: So, Plushenko always does, perfectly!

JS: Wow… but, the humans must have different conditions day by day.

NO: uh-huh, the humans must slow motions, wait for its timing, if the humans get tired… BUT! Plushenko! isn't he going to do!? (smiles)

JS: (smiles) Also, if the humans get in too much good shape,

NO: - the humans must have faster motion than usual, to miss its timing. …We must note that there is an exception, if you were "Evgeni Plushenko". (laughs)

JS: (laughs) - if you were from another star!

NO: Thus, he has topped this world, so long time. I had cast with him in galas, there, he made three 3As in one program! (smiles) Only physical strength can never make it happen.

Evgeni Plushenko エフゲニー・プルシェンコ © Japan Sports
2010 Prince Ice World

JS: Such expertise makes it happen… kinda, the art of "god"?

NO: uh-huh. It's not a "gift" from god, which could be "beyond human sense".

JS: Slavs, such as Russians athlete, they could be beyond accurate. Of course, their physical strength must work on control, though. Their accuracy is awesome!

NO: He matches himself with its timing, ultimately. I have always gotten inspired when I see his 3A, "…Oh, my."

JS: So, he does always with 4T timing, too?

NO: I have watched all the Plushenko's 4T, so far,


NO: (laughs) All is done with the same timing!

JS: Oh, my.

NO: (before takeoff) Entering from the right back outside edge to rotating, that is done with the same timing. He never waits for its timing!

JS: He matches himself,

NO: - with timing!

JS: Then, he can fix collapsed motion in the air, with his body control, as well.

NO: uh-huh. I have waited for its timing, for a few tenths of "frame(=1/30sec)", when I get tensed.

JS: uh-huh, its timing is divided by 0.01 sec, among the sports,

NO: but I wait, when I can't wait! - that no one but myself can sense!

JS: - that sense, I can sense, too!

NO: I sense "I'm waiting, I'm waiting for its timing!"

JS: Yes, you sense "it's incorrect timing," have to wait.

NO: Yes, it happens!

JS: …Such lovely dialogue happens to this interview!, which should be loved by all the sports fan!

NO: (laughs) In any mental condition, I must match myself with "my own timing".

Evgeni Plushenko エフゲニー・プルシェンコ Nobunari ODA 織田信成 © Japan Sports
2010 Prince Ice World

- Lovely dialogue with Nobu was extended below, while its recorder ran out of juice, sorry!

Nobu, who was waiting for Noriyuki KANZAKI's(2006 All-Japan Men 4th) comeback to National Winter Sports Championships(day after this interview), "He makes all triples, even 3A!" said Nobu, so cheerfully.

His dream: an English teacher, has been replaced with a Figure Skating coach, who could "collaborate" with students, suggest "How about doing like this?".

During his trainings in Canada, "A little boys and girls, make pair skating from holding hands to skate, then a boy lifts a girl so gently, in the beginning." since that appealed to Nobu, he has fallen into unison of Pairs and Ice Dancing. Forthcoming Worlds, he expects "unity" of Savchenko & Szolkowy; "great direction" of Virtue&Moir/Davis&White, "with which they show all their abilities"; Russian young Ice Dancing couple Bobrova&Soloviev, "big stride!" of Domitri(SOLOVIEV) and "superb skating" of Ekaterina(BOBROVA), who can match such a quality male skating skill.

"Figure Skating needs various trainings on skating skills/jumps/spins/footworks, endurance and instantaneous power, and even ballet. In addition, unison practices, Canadian techniques I will learn, as well as Japanese Figure Skating traditions I hope to carry on." - we can see such a coach Nobunari ODA, clearly in the future!

☞ "Remember" Shizuka ARAKAWA - Nobunari ODA - Fumie SUGURI - Yuzuru HANYU - Daisuke TAKAHASHI - our Japan's disaster relief article

☞ Nobunari ODA gave color to Japan Skates Mar. 29, 2011

☞ Nobunari Oda on Aug. 20, 2006