Nathan Chen gives advice to those who follow their dreams at the presentation of his book in Japan “Repeat ‘exploration’ to learn from failure and ‘strengthening’ to seek perfection”
Translation of an article in Japanese about Nathan Chen’s picture book.
On July 31, Nathan Chen (24), the gold medalist of the Beijing Olympics, held a talk show in Tokyo to commemorate the publication of his own picture book “Wai Skates On.” When asked about his message to those pursuing their dreams, he said:
“Having people who accompanies me on the path to my goals makes me happy and help to succeed. In the past, I used to feel down after failing in competitions. But having people who support me and allow me to do what I want is such a fortunate thing, and it changes my life. By expressing gratitude, I have learned to overcome anxiety.”
Approximately 100 fans participated, and every time Chen shared various anecdotes, there were loud applause.
The picture book tells the story of Wei, an Asian boy, who discovers figure skating and grows alongside his beloved sport. As his first competition approaches, he becomes more nervous and anxious than excited, but with advice from his mother, he learns the importance of enjoying the process rather than focusing solely on the results. The book titled “Wei Skates On,” which was released in the United States in February, has been translated into Japanese and was released on August 1st.
“I wrote this book because I wished there had been such a book when I was a boy. It’s not entirely about me, but I hope that when children read this book, they will feel inspired and do their best.”
In the book, Wei’s mother becomes a significant mentor. In reality, after winning the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, Chen himself put the gold medal around his mother’s neck and expressed his gratitude, saying, “Without my mother’s presence, I couldn’t have reached this point.” His mother and family were the biggest support for him.
“Luckily, I have two brothers and two sisters who have taught me many things. They guided me towards the importance of working hard, being humble, focusing on what I need to do, and not being distracted by other things. They led me towards thoughts of happiness. I think I’ve been blessed with a family that enjoys happy times together and encourages each other during difficult times.”
Chen often shares pictures of his siblings and family on his social media. Their support was also significant in creating this picture book.
“My sister, who majors in English literature, helped me with the book, ensuring that the message was clearly conveyed to readers from a social media perspective. Like the protagonist Wei in the book, with the support of my family, this book came to completion.”
The theme explored in the picture book is the mindset of overcoming difficulties while pursuing dreams. When asked how he has overcome challenges and continued to grow, Chen responded with advice from his coach:
“This is advice from my coach. He said, ‘To improve at something, there are two stages.’ The first stage is ‘exploration.’ It’s a time when you can try hard and learn from failures, even if you make mistakes. Then comes the second stage, ‘strengthening.’ This time, you aim for perfection even if you simplify things a bit. Once you can do that comfortably, you go back to the exploration stage, repeating this process to continue growing.”
The participants nodded repeatedly at the weighty words from the Olympic medalist. When asked about his future activities, he said:
“Now is the time to explore life. Through skating, I already feel like I’ve lived one life. But skating is always with me; it’s always a place I want to come back to. Even now, I get new program ideas, and I feel like I want to try this next, so I will continue with skating. At the same time, there are also lessons to learn outside of skating. By combining these two, I want to think about what I can achieve in the future. Finally, I want to express my gratitude to everyone in Japan for always welcoming me warmly and making me feel so much love. Thank you very much.”
The picture book “Wei Skates On” was released nationwide on August 1st. Chen is currently in Japan for the ice show “The Ice” and will perform in Morioka from August 2nd to August 4th.
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