Saturday, July 31, 2010

Welcome Back, Mao

She's free again... I guess (no surprise) Tarasova had a death grip on everything, including Mao's costumes, because this is a simple elegance that has not been seen in 2 seasons. I didn't mind the Masquerade FS dress that much, but last season's ever-revolving series of increasingly ugly costumes was horrifying. Chopin is like Mao's personal composer. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Seen at Sazan

On Saturday I went out to eat with my parents, and although the food was good a fellow diner was far more memorable:

She was well into her 70s, I think, and very wrinkly. The first time I noticed her was when she uttered this extremely girly, high-pitched scream--her enormous canister of hand wipes had fallen off the top ledge of the sushi counter. The sushi chef pointed out that the top ledge was angled, and with a wrinkly hand decked out with five or six beaded bracelets (all in pearly pinks and whites--they reminded me of my three-year-old cousin's) she placed the hand wipes next to her pink canvas purse.

Throughout the rest of the meal I tried to catch glimpses of the rest of her appearance, occasionally breaking the rules for looking at other people as directed by, you know, decorum. It was well worth it, though (besides, she didn't notice), because I then gleaned that she had a short, straight bob that was styled with "pigtails." By "pigtails" I mean that she took two bundles of hair on either side of her head, each about two centimeters in diameter, and tied them right above her ears. The rest of her hair therefore remained in regular bob form. For the entirety of her meal she wore a straw hat, with its brim lifted at the front and fastened with a bunch of large pink flowers.

Her top was made out of some sort of soft tulle in either an off-white or a very pale pink, and decorated with ribbons in a pale pink. For some reason I think this top was sleeveless, which is problematic in and of itself, but if I remember correctly she also wore a cardigan in an equally nondescript color. Her tiered skirt came down to her ankles and was a pale pink, and to top (bottom?) it all off she wore bright pink flip-flops.

Crazy, right? If only I'd been able to take a picture...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pulling a Michelle

So... here I am. Long time no see, blog.

According to Yahoo! JAPAN, Yu-Na Kim just announced today that she will be skipping the 2010-2011 Grand Prix season and just focus on preparing for Worlds instead. Now, while she has certainly earned the right to do whatever she wants with her career (although everyone has that right, to be honest, putting aside questions of commitment and sportsmanship), whether she will actually show up to Worlds is another matter. She may be no Serena Williams (well as far as anyone can tell), but it seems like much of her time will now focus on ice shows and promotional/endorsement activities which could easily distract her from her preparations. Not that it really matters, anyway--the judges are happy to give her whatever score it takes to make sure she ends up on top, if not somewhere very close by.

For me it is also interesting to note how the figure skating system works in Korea. Yu-Na has not had to compete at Nationals for several seasons now, and through this announcement (correctly) assumes that she has a spot guaranteed at Worlds. Even Michelle Kwan didn't have that. Mao Asada doesn't have that. Yes, the depth of the fields in the US and Japan are different, but this does raise the question of whether that extra competition hurts or helps those top skaters who go to Worlds. For many skaters Nationals is the most intense and high-stakes competition, even more so than Worlds, and how this mental and emotional test affects their energy and concentration going into Worlds is intriguing. That Yu-Na would win Nationals by some score in the 300s is a given, but obligations are obligations as far as skating competitively goes. She trains in Canada and gets to enjoy uninterrupted training, while other skaters training abroad must return to their home country for Nationals. I mean, this system of giving Yu-Na a pass works for Korea and the ISU really has no reason to get involved, but it is a very strategic move that should leave other federations wondering.