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!

Yuzuru Hanyu: My First Time in Japan: Part 1: Sendai

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.

Sendai 1

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!!! 

Yuzu Sendai

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!! 

Ice rink sendai skating

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!!



17 comments on “Yuzuru Hanyu: My First Time in Japan: Part 1: Sendai

  1. Yumiko Yoshida
    June 28, 2016

    Wow! You were in Japan? You are unbelievable and amazing person with tons of guts! Did you eat Zunda-mochi(Japanese green sweet food) like Yuzu’s pictures?
    It’s taste good! I love it.
    Can’t wait next your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      June 28, 2016

      Hi!! Yes we tried the green sweet treats. It was different, never had anything like it before. 😉 Japan was an amazing place!!


  2. Akane
    June 28, 2016

    I am so glad that you came to Japan. Already went back to Canada?
    Really looking forward to read your next post to hear the impression about Japan.
    If you ever come back here, I would really like to greet you!
    Maybe this sounds a bit creepy, but you can stay at our place and we can talk about Yuzu all night! Let me know if you need a place to crash when you come to Japan. (My husband is an American so, he will enjoy meeting you too!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      June 28, 2016

      Yes, we were in Japan for 9 days. Thanks for the offer, its very sweet of you! Hopefully I can go again someday to Japan in the future.


  3. Jackie
    June 28, 2016

    That must have been something- actually getting to be on the ice Yuzuru skated and trained. I’d never been on ice skates, but I hope one day to at least give it a try.
    I hope he’ll be able to heal from those injuries and he’ll come back better than ever. Great season and it just got away from him in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Janice McMillian
    June 29, 2016

    I am a big fan of Yuzuru Hanyu. I am a American and have loved figure skating sense the Debbie Thomas era (Yea I’m that old). Anyway Yuzu has inspired me to want to go see some live competitions. I am thinking about going to the US championships. I would love to see Yuzu skate but I don’t know what competitions he will be in next season. How do I find out? My best chance of going would be Skate America or Skate Canada.

    Thanks so much for this blog. I can’t get enough of Yuzu.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      June 29, 2016

      Hi Janice. This seasons Grand Prix assignments will be released by end of day tomorrow. We will find out which events Yuzu will attend. PS….I was in Calgary at 88 Olympics, and saw Debbie skate. 😊

      For the Grand Prix assignments, just check the ISU website after June 30. It should be posted there. Or, if you follow twitter, many people will be posting it, I’m sure!


      • Janice
        July 1, 2016

        Thank you so much for that information. I think my best bet will be Skate Canada this year. I don’t know if I can get the time off but at least I know where get the information next year. I am determine to see him skate live before the end of his career.


  5. Chihaya
    March 5, 2017

    Ah! It seemed like you really had lots of fun in Sendai!

    Speaking of Sendai, I’m close to going on a trip there myself, and I also plan on skating on the ice rink. Although I wonder how much it costs to skate there ahaha, I’m really clueless.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. yurie
    May 1, 2017

    hii! i’m planning to go to japan too this june (so excited omg) ofc i’ll go to madame Tussaud, yuzuruha shrine, and sendai, so i’ve been searching for places related to hanyu but seems that i can’t find much 😦

    do you know other hanyu-related places? and i read the old ana article about hanyu (the one on their web) does hanyu have ‘affiliation’ with ana? like, do they sale limited ana-hanyu merch on the planes or sth (i can’t find further info >x<)

    and is it true that tv asahi store at tokyo sta. sell limited hanyu merch too?? *w*

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      May 1, 2017

      Hi. ANA is Yuzus sponsor but they do not sell Yuzu merchandise. In Sendai, if you go to Ice Rink Sendai you can buy souvenirs there. Other than that, any bookstores will have plenty of Yuzu magazines.

      For more complete information I would recommend asking someone that lives in Japan.


    • Gaia
      May 6, 2017

      i’m currently in hiroshima and yuzu is literally everywhere! no worries haha i’m sure you’ll see random ads/posters of him in store front etc.

      btw is it okay to not skate in sendai ice rink? i’m afraid i won’t have time to, but i want to buy the gloves!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • sportymags
        May 6, 2017

        Yes you can just go to the rink and see it. They sell the souvenirs at the front entrance.


  7. Ranger
    October 12, 2017

    Very cool! how long is the trip to Sendai from Tokyo? Was the rink easy to find? What kind of Yuzu souvenirs did they have at the rink? I will be going to Japan soon, but I don’t know if I will have enough time to visit 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      October 12, 2017

      Hi! If i recall correctly the train from Tokyo to Sendai was about 2 hours. I had a Japanese friend who helped me get to Ice Rink Sendai so it wasn’t hard to find. At the rink, they had the gloves, and some post it note stickers, and stationary. It is more Ice Rink Sendai, not Yuzu specific souvenirs. Goodluck on your trip!


      • Ranger
        October 16, 2017

        Thank you for the information! I hope to see other Yuzaru or skating merchandise in Tokyo!


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This entry was posted on June 27, 2016 by in Figure Skating and tagged .
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