Up close and personal: Akito Watabe (JPN)

12 May 2016 09:59
Akito Watabe celebrating in Kuopio
Akito Watabe celebrating in Kuopio -
NordicFocus

With an incredible amount of eight second places in the past winter, there really was no other choice for the second athlete in the „Up close and personal“ series. Get to know Japanese team leader Akito Watabe from another side!

6 questions outside of sports:

How do you make yourself feel at home while traveling?


I take a cup of coffee.

When was the last time you experienced a perfect day (and what happened?)?

I went backcountry skiing at Hokkaido this March. Skiing in real Japanese deep fresh powder. It's been a while in which I didn't have that.

If your life was made into a movie, who should play you?

Johnny Depp!

If you had to pick a job today, what would you like to be?


I think that would be a shoemaker.

What would be the hardest thing for you to give up?

Living a life without snow.

To which song do you dance when nobody is watching?


Can't touch this - MC Hammer (laughs)


Best buddies: brother Yoshito Watabe (JPN) & Mikko Kokslien (NOR)

Yoshito Watabe wins the ski jumping round in Sapporo

Norway's Mikko Kokslien



How did you meet (what’s your first memory of him?)?

Yoshito: I can't really remember it because maybe I was a baby back then but I can remember that definitely he was often scolded by our mother than me! (laughs)

Mikko: I cant really remember the exact memory. We sort of started to talk more and more in the World Cup from 2009/10. I remember like it was yesterday when we had a warm up together in Almaty 2012 for some reason. But we got to know each other on another level after my visit in Japan in 2014. We talked about me coming over at a party after the season 2013 and then I really came for a visit the year after..

What do you like about him?

Mikko: He is a honest person. He has great qualities as a human. He cares about his surroundings and is a man you can trust.

Yoshito: Nothing special. (laughs) If I had to pick one thing, I’d say he doesn't get angry when I am late.

What makes him into a champion?

Yoshito: I completely think it’s because he eats a lot of rice!

Mikko: From what I know about him, he is very determined in working towards his goals. It seems like he has a great balance in his life, and that comes out in his performances. He has a solid base when things get heated up. And for sure he has a great talent for what he does.

Funniest memory with him?

Yoshito: When we were children, I broke his toys. Of cause he got angry with me but then our parents got angry to him because the older brother shouldn't be angry. I don't know how was it for him, for me it was quite funny! (laughs)

Mikko: When we went on a skiing trip to Hokkaido, and stayed at a small Japanese hostel. We slept on the floor and had some great skiing trips in the mountains. The whole time I spent in Japan was great. We had a lot of fun, and I got some unforgettable memories.

One other thing I remember is the press conference in Almaty. He was VERY nervous and concerned about his English. I told him to relax, and take it easy. It worked out well! (laughs)

If you could ask him any question, what would it be?

Yoshito: How was your holiday trip to Hawaii and did you bring me any souvenirs??

Mikko: What kind of event or happening he would have want to witness, if he got the chance. An event or happening of any kind.