2018 West Japan Recap

Last weekend, the first regional in the Japan League circuit was held in Osaka - West Japan! This was a pretty solid opening to the year, along with VA States happening in the US as well (recap coming later this week), so let's get into some of the best freestyles.

Ryota Ogi took the W in the 1A division with an elegant showing of his staple classics and some new ideas of his. Although his routine was not very clean, it was still enjoyable and I am really anticipating what he has in store for JN. Also, it's interesting that Sia is becoming popular for freestyle music..

Runner up in the 1A division was Daiki Tanaka. Daiki is one of the top players in Japan right now with his unique style that focuses heavily on performance, space use, and high energy. Similar to Ryota, his freestyle was not very clean (he actually had a switch that cost him 1st place), but him having the potential to win a regional with a messy routine makes his campaign for Japan Nationals in May pretty strong.

Another freestyle worth mentioning is Tsukasa Namba's routine, which had my favorite tricks of the whole event. Tsukasa's freestyle construction is lacking, but his trick rareness is extremely high, and that in itself is enough to have enjoyment value for me. 

2A winner was the machine, Takuma Yamamoto. Many players underrate him in comparison to other greats such as Shu Takada and Shinji Saito, but all of Takuma's routines are packed with insanely dense wraps and loops done at perhaps one of the highest speeds ever. Takuma destroyed the competition here, earning a perfect 60 in tech (all judges scoring him in first), compared to the next lowest score of 40, belonging to none other than..

Arata Imai! Arata has placed 3rd at Japan Nationals in 2016 and 2017 and is known for his extremely rare style in 2A (and 1A, which we will see from him at Central Japan this coming weekend). It's sad to me that both Arata and Takuma competed at the same regional, as they're 2 of the greatest players in Japan and only one can win. 

3A was won by one of the greatest players in the division of all time, Taiichiro Higashi. Taiichiro's freestyle showed a lot of interesting 3A ideas, and I am looking forward to see how he will stack up against other favorites in the division at Japan Nationals.

The winner of 4A was none other than the human highlight reel, Takumi Hakamata. Takumi showcased a lot of tricks from 2017 with an increase of cleanliness, as well as some new ideas that he's made since his last time competing at JOYC in November. Takumi is a favorite to win Japan Nationals this year for many, and if he's cleaner than this, I would say that he has a really good chance at doing so.

The winner of 5A was Ryotaro Morimoto with a pretty solid routine. 5A in Japan is starting to become smaller and smaller, and Ryotaro is starting to move up the ranks in the division. 

So, that's all for West Japan! Solid showing in all 5 divisions, which is rare for yo-yo contests these days. Next up is Central Japan coming this weekend, with some favorites in the 1A division including 5th in Japan Yuiga Suzuki, 5th in the World Yuuki Nishisako, and innovator Arata Imai. Who will win??

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44FESTA Volume 28 Recap

Hey everyone! Colin here with the FIRST RECAP OF 2018! This time, I'll be summarizing the recently held 44FESTA - #28. This event was actually larger than normal FESTA events, as it was a new year's party. Players not only from Japan were in attendance, people from Korea and the United States even attended as well! As usual, the talent shown from this contest is nothing shy of amazing.

Should be no surprise to anyone that the machine Hajime Miura of sOMEThING by YoYoAddict was crowned champion. Hajime's freestyle was not his cleanest, however his trick quality is evolving even further, and he keeps progressing to be the best 3A player in the world by a longshot in my eyes. Come on, did you see that combo at 1:30? 

The position of runner up was awarded to Yamato Fujiwara of C3. You may remember Yamato from our last recap of 44FESTA in which he won, so seeing him on the podium again shouldn't surprise anyone. Seeing Yamato's improvement in cleanliness, technicality, and dance moves is always impressive to me, and I can tell that he will definitely be a threat for the Japanese 2A scene in 2018.

3rd place at the event was awarded to Kim Mir, from Korea! At such a young age, this kid is seriously amazing. Watching him blaze through his tricks with perfection was wild to me, and I think it's safe to say that Kim Mir will be the next big thing if he keeps at it.

This was probably my favorite freestyle from the event, Justin Weber's 4th place routine using the gigantic Turning Point Chameleon (check it out here if you've never heard of this yoyo). Seeing Justin use the Chameleon for what it was initially made for is probably one of the best things I've ever seen in yo-yoing, and I absolutely love the nod to Takeshi Matsuura's JOYC intro in the beginning. 

5th place was awarded to the ever-so-stylish 1A of Daiju Okamura of One Drop. I've been a huge fan of Daiju for years, and it is awesome to see such a contrasting style in comparison to the 1A meta on stage. 

Thank you for reading the recap of 44FESTA volume 28! Be sure to watch these freestyles and maybe even some more that interest you! Check out all of the freestyles here, and results here.

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Top 5 #trickcircle Stars of 2017 featuring Polo Garbkamol!

Hey everyone, Colin from Scales here with a new post regarding an interview that Patrick and Mark recorded with Polo on their favorite #trickcircle players. Unfortunately, due to some audio issues the episode was unable to be published, however instead we've chosen to release it in text form. Enjoy and let us know who your top 5 are!

 

Patrick: Hey guys! This is Patrick Canny for the Scales Podcast. I’m here with #trickcircle extraordinaire, Polo Garbkamol from Thailand, and Mark Mangarin from the USA. We’ll be discussing our top 5 favorite #trickcircle players of 2017.

Polo: Hi!

Mark: hahahahahahahahaha

Mark and Patrick's #5 - Yuu Fujita @yuunpr

Mark: My 5th place is Yuu Fujita from Japan. He always makes use of really crazy/weird elements. His tricks really come out of nowhere; he posts half-done tricks and they all seem to work very well as stand-alone tricks.

Patrick: Yeah, my number 5 was actually Yuu as well! 

Polo's #5 - Thawhir Iqbal @thawhir

Polo: Ah, that’s a nice one. So, my number 5 goes to Thawhir Iqbal from Singapore. He has been posting a lot of 3A bangers recently. Recently, he got featured on the Instagram main account, and has built up quite the following for himself.

Patrick and Polo's #4 - Hajime Miura @hjm_mur

Patrick: Solid start to the list, guys! Number 4 for me goes to Hajime Miura. Hajime, obviously one of the most insane players coming out of Japan, has recently started a public Instagram account, so I’m really excited to see more tricks from him in 2018. Everything he posts is absolutely crazy.

Polo: Hey, I also had Hajime for 4th! His freestyles at Festa competitions are always insane.

Mark: Oh yeah, those circular 3A Eli Hops, right?

Polo: Yeah, and his 4a stuff as well. His horizontal whips, and soloham as well.

Mark's #4 - Tony Sec @tonysec

Mark: Yeah, he has so much good stuff going on between both 3A and 4A. My number 4 goes to Tony Sec from the Czech Republic. Tony is like, one of the classic Instagram #trickcircle players. He has all of these crazy bangers that he consistently posts, and is always up-to-date on the current #trickcircle meta.

Patrick and Mark's #3 - Jason Liu Zichen @tp_jasonliu

Patrick: For sure! Rolling right along to number 3, mine goes to the 2016 Chinese Champion, Jason Liu Zichen. Jason’s always posting insane tech tricks, and is always bringing his unique style to Instagram. A lot of the time, his posts are really funny as well, which is something I can totally appreciate.

Mark: My #3 also goes to Jason also, I just realized. Jason posts like, fake #trickcircles where he’ll post half tricks or imperfected elements which goes to show just how much fun he has with yo-yoing. It’s really cool to see how skilled of a player he is while not taking the sport too seriously.

Polo's #3 and Patrick's #2 - Arata Imai @arata_imai44

Polo: My #3 is Arata Imai from Japan! He is arguably one of the best players in the game right now. He has been posting a lot of great content lately, both in 1A and 2A. He’s one of my favorite players of all time.

Mark: Yeah, Arata’s like, legend status right now.

Patrick: Oh totally, Arata might be on the most skilled players right now. For that exact reason, Arata sits at my #2 spot. He has so much raw talent and insane coordination. His tricks almost always sway from the current meta.

Mark's #2 - Polo Garbkamol @ppolor

Mark: My #2 is actually Polo from Thailand. Just absolutely controlling the #trickcircle meta, which is a big reason why we decided to ask for his opinion. It’s no surprise he’s in my top 3.

Polo's #2 - Tony Sec @tonysec

Polo: Thank you! My #2 is Tony Sec from the Czech Republic. I’d say his bangers are god-like. His transitions from one trick to another are really well done.

Mark: Yeah, Tony’s actually pretty versatile in that manner, too. He’s good at all kinds of tricks.

Patrick's #1 - Polo Garbkamol @ppolor

Patrick: Moving right along to our #1 spots, mine goes to the man himself, the undisputed king of #trickcircle, Polo! Everyone just loses their mind when they see his stuff, he manages to consistently push the boundaries of #trickcircle. Unintentionally, he has pushed #trickcircle to become arguably *the* place for people to find yo-yo-related content on Instagram.

Mark: Yeah, the whole notion of pushing #trickcircle forward is a really big deal and has shaped the landscape of the community.

Polo's #1 - Riccardo Fraolini @blablanchard

Polo: Thank you guys! My #1 spot goes to Riccardo Fraolini from Italy. Some of my favorite tricks from him are his 360 finger grind and his grinds in general. He has been posting some of his hoodie tricks recently which is probably one of the most unique things you can put into yo-yoing. I really enjoy watching his tricks!

Mark's #1 - Arata Imai @arata_imai44

Mark: Yeah, Riccardo has been pushing boundaries for such a long time; his tricks are so different from everyone else’s. My #1 is Arata Imai, who has been mentioned multiple times on everyone’s lists already, haha. He comes out with tricks that are so out-of-this-world, and brings a breath of fresh air to both 1A and 2A.

Patrick: If you took the skill of a modern yo-yoer, and isolated them from everything else going on in terms of meta elements, you’d end up with Arata’s trick archetype. The tricks he does are so a-typical and almost random if you will.

Mark: Awesome! That was our rundown of our top 5 players on #trickcircle! We all heavily recommend you check out all of these amazing players on Instagram. Going into 2018, I’m super excited to see where everyone takes the #trickcircle meta! #metamonday?

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