First Japanese GS Winner: Rocco Solare’s Itsuki Fujisawa Reveals Thoughts on Winning the World Championships | FRIDAY DIGITAL

First Japanese GS Winner: Rocco Solare’s Itsuki Fujisawa Reveals Thoughts on Winning the World Championships

Exclusive interview with the handsome and hobnobbing with her favorite sake

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At Tokoro Tsunenami Beach. A rare shot: “Summer in Hokkaido is so short that we rarely go in the ocean.” (Photo by Koki Nagahama)

The women’s final of the “Canadian Open,” the world tour’s top Grand Slam (GS) in curling, was held in Camrose, Canada, on August 16 (Japan time), and Rocco Solare, bronze medalists at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and silver medalists at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, beat world number one Team Einarsson ( The team beat Canada 5-3 in the final to become the first Japanese team to win the championship through both men’s and women’s competition.

After the match, on the team’s blog, <With three bad year members, 2023 is off to a great start. In September last year, just after the season started, she gave an independent interview to “FRIDAY” magazine, revealing her true self off the ice.

The break was a moment. My mom was mad at me because I had so many plans.

Looking back on the off-season with a smile is May Fujisawa, 31, of the women’s curling team Rocco Solare.

At the Beijing Olympics last February, she won the silver medal, the best result in Japan’s curling history, and dominated the top ratings for live TV broadcasts. After a fulfilling Olympic season that included her seventh victory at the Japan Championships in May, she enjoyed a round of golf in Karuizawa and a tour of temples and shrines in Kyoto. However, that was short-lived, as she volunteered to become the chairperson of the JCA (Japan Curling Association) Athletes Committee during her time off, and spent her days exchanging opinions with top athletes from all over the country. In the end, her time off was curling-centered, which is typical of her.

The JCA has various parts, such as the Strengthening Committee, the Competitions Committee, and the Marketing Committee, but the Athletes’ Committee is an important section that is related to all of them. I want to be a bridge between the JCA and the athletes by listening to their opinions.

Fujisawa says that one of the reasons he decided to apply for the position was his defeat in the final of the Beijing Olympics.

I was happy to be able to represent Japan in the Olympic finals for the first time, but I also made a mistake. We had to think about how we should have spent the day before and what kind of preparation we needed for the final. We were given the opportunity to experience these things, so we should not make it an asset or a reflection only for ourselves. When the Japanese national team is able to stand on the same stage again, we must make the most of this experience.

Immediately after he so emphatically asserted, he added, “But in reality, there are still too many things that we haven’t done yet. …… I feel the cost of having done nothing but curling. I have to do my best,” she said apologetically and bitterly, which is typical of her serious nature.

Meanwhile, this season, Loco Solare began on-ice training in August, and participated in two competitions held in her hometown, Kitami. The Advics Cup, held at her home rink in Tsunero Town, was the first time in two and a half years that she had a qualified audience in Japan. “I was happy that the audience responded to my good shots with applause,” said Fujisawa, who was empowered by the fans, and made a series of good shots to win the tournament.

At Matsuzushi, a local favorite sushi restaurant

A few days later, Fujisawa was at Matsu Jushi in Tsuneoro-cho. It is the team’s favorite restaurant and dining place for winning meals.

Basically, I leave it up to Mr. Oogi. I don’t think I order much.

The owner, Daiki Watanabe (45), has been supporting Loco Solare’s stomachs by serving not only locally produced seafood and sushi, but also motsunabe, doria, and even jiro-style ramen.

Sacchan likes sake, so I often serve him snacks that go well with it. This off-season, we opened a bottle of Yamagata’s famous sake “Jyushiyo” to celebrate his silver medal at the Beijing Olympics and his victory in the Japanese championship, and he seemed to enjoy drinking it. She is a very cheerful drinker,” said Watanabe.

Fujisawa is well known in the curling world as a heavy drinker, as he happily drank the popular Akita sake Niimasa No. 6 and the well-known Saga sake Nogomi.

Sake is a Japanese drink,” he said. I don’t have a chance to drink sake as often as I would like because of the many international competitions I have to attend.

In addition to the Niimasa he drank this day, his favorite brands are Jikon and Jyushiyo.

I would like to visit a sake brewery someday, but I have to play in the winter and spring when brewing takes place,” he says with a laugh.

After a visit to his favorite sushi restaurant, Fujisawa traveled to Canada to participate in the Grand Slam, a tournament in which only the top-ranked teams in the world are allowed to compete. He made it to the top four, showing his ability as one of the world’s top teams.

At the end of October, he also represented Japan at the Pan-Continental Championships in Calgary, where he was crowned the first champion. After that, they will aim to gain momentum by winning back-to-back championships at the Japan Championships opening on January 28, and then win their first championship at the World Championships scheduled to be held in Sweden in March.

I want to win all the Grand Slams, the Japanese Championships, the World Championships, and the Olympics, as I think everyone does as an athlete. I’m the youngest, so I’m selfish. I want to be the best at everything.

She first touched a curling stone when she was five years old. Even his father, who was the most skilled player in the family, “I really thought, ‘I can win, I don’t want to lose,’ without any evidence. I really thought, ‘I can win, I don’t want to lose.

This season, his youngest son, who is a winner, has built a successful career and is now the chairman of the Athletes’ Committee to give back to his family. When she becomes the world’s No. 1, she will bring new assets to the Japanese curling world.

Satsuki Fujisawa: Born on May 24, 1991 in Kitami, Hokkaido. She won a bronze medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2006 and a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics last February, making her one of the world’s top skippers. Hobbies are golf and vegetable gardening.

At Lake Saroma. I prefer places with good rice and sake and lots of nature to cities.
His usual drinking style is to toast with beer and then move on to sake. His favorite foods are sushi, tempura, Genghis Khan, and red bean paste. There is hardly any food he doesn’t like.
After the awards ceremony at the Beijing Olympics. Compared to Pyeongchang, where he competed for the first time, “I had more time to enjoy myself by watching other events on TV.

  • Interview and text by Soichiro Takeda Photography Koki Nagahama, Kyodo News (awards ceremony)

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