I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it here before, but I am learning Japanese! I’ve studied both French and Spanish in the past, and Japanese is definitely the hardest.
So far, I have learnt hiragana, some of the katakana and some basic kanji and phrases. (Although this sounds like a fair bit, it’s really not.) Why does this concern you? Well, I was thinking of some ways I could listen to more Japanese, and I thought ‘duh, anime!’ Since I’ve got this random obsession with ice skating at the moment, I thought Yuri on Ice would be perfect.
LO AND BEHOLD! Five episodes in and a.) I am obsessed with this show, and b.) I am even more obsessed with ice-skating than I was before.
*drumroll* Onto the photostory! Oh -the reason everyone’s hair is messed up is because it was really windy and cold, yuck.
“Hi, Barbie! Thanks for speaking to us today! How do you think today’s competition will go?”
“Oh, I’m feeling very positive about it! I’ve been practising really hard, and my coach has been fantastic. This is my favourite piece of choreography so far.”
Neko appears seemingly out of nowhere. She is competing today, too. She was a big star back in Tokyo.
“Barbie, I’m sorry to interrupt, but Lucas told me to say that you need to go warm-up now. We’re starting in fifteen minutes.”
The reporter turns to Neko. “Neko! We haven’t seen you competing since the 2015 Ice Star competitions. How does it feel to be back?”
Neko smiles weakly. “Well, to be perfectly honest, I’m so nervous I haven’t been able to eat all day!” She pretends to laugh, and suddenly regrets saying that on camera. “Just kidding. I’m feeling really good about it. I think it’ll be fine.” She hurries off.
Barbie is the first to enter the rink. With a background as a professional ballerina, gymnast and ice skater, she is confident she will take home the prize.
The crowd cheers as she performs her first stunt. It’s incredible!
Neko is next. Although she has done a bit of practise, she isn’t used to the stresses of a real competition.
And she hits the ground! Neko feels as though she is about to burst with shame -she hasn’t fallen in a competition since she was ten years old!
The crowd gasps.
Neko recovers and shakily finishes her routine.
Neko leaves the rink and heads home. She doesn’t want to look at the scoreboard and see her name at the bottom. “Neko, wait!” Barbie shouts, running up behind her. “You can’t leave! You’ll miss the awards ceremony!”
“Please,” Neko scoffs. “As if I’ll win anything. Not after that fall! I just want to go home.”
“But, Neko -you’ve made it to the finals!”
“What?” Neko is bewildered. “Really?”
“Yes! Come on -everyone’s waiting for you!”
Neko can’t believe she made it into the finals.
Barbie is happy, too.
The crowd dwindles away, but the contestants and their families are still milling about. “Thanks, Tori.” Neko says to her older sister. Tori was the one that encouraged her to start skating again.
“So, Neko, who is your coach here in Aquifolia?”
“Coach?” Neko is confused. “I don’t have a coach yet. I didn’t think I’d win!” Back in Japan, her coach had been Akihito Yume, a former Olympic medallist. He’d helped Neko to become the star she once was.
“You don’t have a coach?” The reporter is surprised. “Well, you’ll need one, if you want to win the finals! Give me a call and I can hook you up.”
“Oh.” Neko says, staring at the business card. She couldn’t believe the reporter’s name was Mary-Anne. Did she just hop out of The Babysitter’s Club or something? “Thanks.”
Neko explains the situation to Aimee. “So, do you think I should get a coach for the finals?”
“I don’t see why not,” Aimee replies. “You do want to win, right?”
“Yeah, I guess.” Neko says. She isn’t sure if she wants to go back to competitive figure skating. This time was supposed to be a one-off thing!