Hey sports fans!! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am a self admitted “rink rat” so a lot of this blog will be about figure skating and hockey, however as an ex-figure skater, ex-varsity athlete and a sports fan in general, I usually have thoughts and opinions about alot of different sports I follow, so visit often!
Have you ever done anything really crazy? When I found out earlier this year that I had tickets to Fantasy On Ice (Nagano), I immediately did a Triple Flip, and booked my flight to Japan!! My family thought I was a little bit nuts to fly halfway around the world to attend a couple of ice shows just to see Yuzu, but it was going to be my new adventure!!
We all know now that Yuzu was unable to skate at FaOI due to injury. When his withdrawal was officially announced, I think I felt like Yuzu did in the Kiss and Cry area at Worlds in Boston after placing second; sad and disappointed. We know that Yuzu tried his best to be there, but he had no control on how quickly his injuries would heal. I totally understand the realities of sports injuries having had many of them myself. Thankful that Yuzu is taking the time he needs to get healthy and back into tip top shape, I soldiered on, and decided to still make this trip a “Yuzu adventure”, sadly minus Yuzu.
I literally had no idea what to expect in Japan as I had never been there before, and do not speak the language at all. As my plans were starting to take shape, my excitement was growing. The first thing that happened upon our arrival into Narita airport was running into Meryl Davis and Charlie White. We said “Hi” to each other and well, that was about it. Japan was off to a good start!!
Day 1 – Day Trip to Sendai
After arriving in Tokyo after a 10 hour direct flight, my first full day of adventure was a day trip to Sendai!! Priority #1! When we got there, the first thing I saw in the Sendai train station was Yuzu’s welcome picture, yay!!! We toured around all of the places that were shown in Yuzu’s Sendai tourism magazine (the park with the cat on the bench, the round smiley face statue, the building where he ate the green dessert etc), and then eventually the highlight of the entire day, we got to Ice Rink Sendai!!
When I confirmed I was going to Japan, not only did I want to see Ice Rink Sendai, but I found out that I could have the opportunity to go skating there as well!!! So, again my family thought I was nuts when I packed my skates and dragged them half way around the world just to go skating in Sendai!! Here is a picture of the glass window by the entrance doors.
Walking into the arena, it had that same arena smell you get when you go to small town ice rinks. Such an old familiar feeling, I loved it! The BIG difference was the wall size image of Yuzu that greeted me when I came through the doors. Wow, that was so cool!! Picture time!!!
After studying the Yuzu memorabilia in the trophy case and taking many pictures, I made my way to the ice. It’s really funny, because I have watched the videos of Yuzu at Ice Rink Sendai so many times, it was deja vu, like I was entering a place I had already been to.
The first thing I noticed was the large poster across the ice of Yuzu in his Blue Flames costume. Definitely had to go and skate up to that and get a closer look!!
On the ice with me were two young kids; a girl with her coach learning double lutzes, and a little boy who was trying to master a double loop. He was so adorable, and it made me think of little Yuzu. Also on the ice was my Japanese friend who was brave enough to try ice skating for the first time ever. I am very proud of her, she did well and accomplished her goal!!!
Skating around on Yuzus’ home rink was a really interesting feeling; the ice felt great! What a unique experience that I will truly never forget!!! After we were done skating, we walked around a bit outside, and we found a little shop that I thought was selling skating gear. When I opened the door, it was a very small space, and the bells rang to inform the shop keeper that someone entered. Out from the back came a face I recognized!! It was the guy who was in the video talking about helping Yuzu sharpen his skates when he was a kid!! Wow! He spoke a little bit of english and I told him I was from Canada and came to see Yuzus’ ice rink and he smiled. He allowed me to take his photo so I have this wonderful memory of meeting him too! I mentioned that I knew him from the video and told him he was famous, and he seemed very pleased. What a sweet guy!
Well, my Sendai trip was a complete success and I hopped back on the Shinkansen to go back to Tokyo! I had a week to do some sight seeing in Japan before the Fantasy on Ice show so I will write another blog entry about that and my first impressions of Japan next week, once I get over my jet lag! Please stay tuned!!
Go Yuzu Go!! Doki Doki!!