So here is part II of my Taipei posts just to get people excited about Four Continents. So Taipei. It’s a bustling city so what do you need to survive?
1. An Easycard. You put money on this card and you can use it to pay your bus and subway fares as well as purchase stuff from certain major chain stores. The Taiwan subway system is also one of the best and most efficient in the world. I wish all subway systems were like theirs. For more information on the various modes of transport available in Taipei, see this blog post.
2. A 7/11. Make sure you know where the closest one to where you’re living is. Then again, it’s not that hard to find one. There’s about 2 on every block in Taipei. 7/11s in Asia are not your slushie/junk food stores. They sell almost everything there. Full meals, alcohol, ramen+hot water for you to eat in-store, underwear, shampoo, sanitary napkins, magazines, CDs, anime figurines, crazy drinks, you name it. You can live in one of these stores.
3. Mosquito repellent – Taiwan has a warm and rainy climate and if you’re going anywhere with trees and grass and whatnot (like lovely national parks or mountains), BRING MOSQUITO REPELLENT. Or you will regret it. Trust me.
4. Tickets to the Taipei International Flora Expo – it’s supposed to be super spectacular! (Yes, I know you don’t need these to survive but I suppose if you want to be a good tourist…) More information on their website. (OMG, it’s a whale!)
5. A hat or a UV-ray blocking umbrella and a bottle of water. It’s super sunny there sometimes! Make sure to have sunscreen, a hat and to stay hydrated. The hat and umbrella can double over for protection against the rain.
Anyways, onto figure skating…
With Patrick Chan possibly not competing at Four Continents (CBC has confirmed it here), the Japanese men: Oda Nobunari, Daisuke Takahashi and Takahiko Kozuka will be strong contenders for the podium. We may even see a Japanese medals sweep, which would delight me very much. A possible spoiler for this sweet possibility comes in the form of Jeremy Abbott, and I personally wouldn’t mind if that happened. Jeremy’s LP this year is beautiful but he’s been struggling this season with consistency, therefore losing his National title to basically a nobody with very little international experience in the top echelons of figure skating. If Jeremy can get his act together, he could very well be in contention for a medal at 4CC. The colour of his medal, however, may not be dependent on him, but on the performances of his Japanese rivals. Shawn Sawyer seemed to be doing well at Canadian Nationals but I don’t know if he can muster a medal. I hope he does well nonetheless. His programs this year are a joy to watch.
As for the Japanese men… Takahiko Kozuka emerged as the surprise winner at Japanese Nationals last month. However, Takahiko’s PCS are not quite high enough at the international level in order to make him competitive against the two favourites at Worlds at the moment, P-overinflated score-Chan and his fellow teammate, Daisuke Takahashi. Although his LP is absolutely gorgeous this season, we’ll have to see how the international judges perceive him before we can decide on whether or not he has a spot on the podium at Worlds this year.
As for Daisuke, he needs to get his shit together or he’ll lose his position as one of the favourites to win Worlds in his home country. If Daisuke’s consistency is still not there, he may lose his home ice advantage at Worlds this year (which would unfortunately give the World title to a young Canadian man who doesn’t have the right attitude to be World Champion – in my opinion at least, not that it matters). Many fans attribute his sub-par performance at the GPF and Nationals to injury from colliding with Kozuka so we’ll just have to see what happens.
Nobunari Oda has become a perennial bridesmaid for World medals. Almost there but not quite. He has the talent and the jumps but he doesn’t quite connect with the audience unless he has a Charlie Chaplin routine. Oda may look young but there may not be many years left in his career. Personally, I think he should up the corniness factor and create a program for next season dedicated to/celebrating his marriage and the birth of his son or something. Play up that sympathy card and the media, judges and audience will eat it up with relish.
EDIT: Thank you to Y who pointed out that Oda is not going to 4CC. In that case, I’ll be putting Jeremy Abbott in for bronze. As for my “misqueded” (whatever that means) snark on Chan, I still stand by it.
Podium prediction for the men’s competition at 4CC:
Gold: Daisuke Takahashi (*prays hard for this*)
Silver: Takahiko Kozuka
Nobunari Oda Jeremy Abbott
Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!
~The Rinkside Cafe