If you were around for the last Winter Olympics, I am sure you heard about the complete meltdown of the Japanese Snowboarding Team. The bad rap songs by Melo Imai, the team failing in the qualifying round then reportedly destroying a wall in their Olympic village dorm. Melo Imai is said to have completely broken down and is now working in the sex industry in Japan.
Another famous quotation from a member of the Japan Snowboarding Team four years ago was, “Eat my full-course.” (“Kokubo no furukosu wo meshi agare.”) Kokubo, the snowboarder who said it promptly failed in the qualifying round.
Now Kokubo is back with a vengeance. Four years older and none the maturer, Kokubo deemed the team uniforms “uncool” and let his pants creep down to expose his undies, loosened his tie, and untucked his shirt. He also was sure to take a break from his training to go to the beautician for hours of whatever it took to turn his hair into temporary dreadlocks.
When asked by reporters about his “rival”, United States snowboarder Shaun White, Kokubo seemed to suddenly fall into a bad mood and started giving one word answers and ignoring some of the questions from the media.
He later apologized (video below) with the same bad attitude, sounding like a scolded junior high school kid.
UPDATED VIDEO: The other video had been taken down so here is another one in which you can hear him saying “Shut up” (Urusee na) before apologizing, and when asked what he wants people to think of him when the see him compete, he answered “Cool” (Shibui). He’ll have his chance… I know a lot of people that are looking forward to the halfpipe just to see how he redeems himself or fails.
I know that the clothes don’t really matter too much, but he is also representing his country. Agree or not, he agreed to talk to the media and represent Japan in a positive way. (Similar to many of the rules about being available to the media found in many pro sports.) It is also a shame that he couldn’t compliment other snowboarders or just say he would do his best.
I am not sure yet how Kokubo made the team, but Japan often has very strange ways of choosing its Olympic team members, and it is not always based exclusively on ability. It would be nice to see someone on the team make it out of the qualifying round though. Japan vs USA showdowns are always fun in my household.