“There are a lot of systemic things in Canada that make it hard for people to move on,” Mr. Lind said. He said there was a lack of funding and no substantial plans to develop the next generation of curlers.
When Mr. Lind arrived in Japan in 2013, Team Fujisawa had not won a medal and lacked international experience. He says the biggest cultural difference is seeing how the team plays versus how he learns the games at home.
In Alberta, he said, curlers learn by playing games. But in Japan, they’ll hone their technical skills by sliding over the cone 100 times. “Even just to get them to play like a fun game to each other, they’re always a little bit shy,” Mr. Lind said. “They were like: ‘No, we just want to practice.'”
The team is named after the skipper, 30-year-old Satsuki Fujisawa, and consists of five women, including two sisters. Three of them are from the northern town of Tokoro, considered the birthplace of the sport in Japan.
The profession of curling hair came to Japan in 1980 after Yuji Oguri, a resident of Tokoro, attended a workshop with curlers from Alberta.
Mr. Oguri and his friends then started making ice from two-liter beer kegs and created their own flex shoes, gluing plywood and leather panels to their boots. They create their own rinks, stamping out the snow to smooth the surface, and periodically watering it to keep it frozen.
“It’s a tough job, but in a way it’s fun,” said Shinobu Fujiyoshi, 76, a retired farmer and the oldest curler in his current group. “There’s no arcade or place to go in the winter, but it’s a place where we can come together.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/17/world/asia/olympics-curling-japan-beijing.html East Asia becomes a bending power