My story

I was born in Tokyo in August 1990. When I was 4 years old, my parents decided to live in a more natural environment, and moved to the town of Shinanomachi in Nagano. From that time I started walking in the nearby mountains with my parents, and played in the snow in winter.

At my elementary school, Fujisato Elementary School, we played on hybrid cross country skis in sports classes most days of the week. In my 5th year at elementary school I joined the local Shinanomachi XC Junior Ski Club, with training and coaching on weekend mornings in winter. In my 6th and last year, to help me train, the principal would plough a course in the rice paddies behind the school using a snowmobile. The extra practice paid off and I was 9th at the Nagano Prefectural Championships in my year, and was part of an awards ceremony for the first time. The spark to do more skiing started to burn.

I see three major turning points in my skiing life. For my first year of junior high school, I went to a school in Nagano city. I trained by myself on the weekdays, and joined the Shinanomachi Junior High School ski team on the weekends. In the prefectural championships I was 44th, and not very happy.

The first turning point was talking my parents into letting me transfer to Shinanomachi Junior High School for my final 2 years because I wanted to focus more on skiing. Under the guidance of an enthusiastic young coach, in my final year at junior high I won the National Junior High School Championships and Junior Olympic championship.

I chose to go Iiyama Kita High School for its ski team, even though it was 27km from home. In the snow-free season I used to bike to school, which provided a base for training. As the XC team was small and didn’t have a coach, I created the menu for the team. I guess I have been a self-starter ever since. The second turning point came in my second year when I was selected for the Japan Junior National team to go the World Junior Championships in Italy, and placed 29th. I was the highest placed Japanese skier, and was surprised by the speed and quality of the top world skiers of my age. In my last year of high school I placed 9th at the World Junior Championships, and in my first year at University I placed 5th.

I joined Waseda University as part of the ski team. Again there was no coach, and I created the team’s training menu and applied myself with long-distance advice from the Japan Junior National team coach. My third turning point was participating in a World Cup race for the first time in my second year at university. I finished near the back of the field in 83rd. It was a great shock to experience the speed of the world’s top skiers up close. It inspired me to actively work towards the goal of competing at their level one day. I hung my race bib on my dorm wall, and looked at it every day to inspire my training. The following year I was 43rd in a World Cup race, and in my last year at University went to my first World Championships, where I was 44th in an individual race, and 8th in the relay.

After graduating from Waseda University in March 2013, I was fortunate enough to be accepted by the Dala Sports Academy in Falun, Sweden to train with their squad of talented Cross-Country racers, including Swedish Olympic athletes, Team 2015 up-and-comers, and marathon racers. Here I found both the coaching and training partners to help work towards my goals. I moved to Falun in May and was based there through to late October, and aim to spend future summers training with the Academy.

In the the 2014 racing season, I was again made the Japan National Team, achieved my first World Cup Top 30 result in Kuusamo, Finland, and competed at the Universiade in Trentino, Italy, where I had the honour of captaining the Japan team and ‘nearly’ honor of three 4th place results. In January I was selected to race the Cross-Country relay for Japan at the Olympics in Sochi, as well as further World Cup races in Europe.

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