The competitor from Japan:
Asako Otsuka (INDIVIDUAL Freestyle)
My name is Asako Otsuka. I have a male border collie, Pepper, and he is 8 years old.
My first encounter with “heelwork to music” was back in 1999, when I saw a movie taken by one of my friends who went to Crufts. As soon as I saw the movie, I fell in love with it!
At that time in Japan, only a few people were familiar with HTM & Freestyle and of course, there weren’t any competitions. So I started practicing with people who were also interested in HTM & Freestyle with the DVDs from overseas hoping that one day, I will be able to dance like the people I saw in the DVDs.
The very frist competition was held in Japan in 2004 with Mr. Attila Szkukalek as a judge. After that, he was invited to Japan again in 2006, and in 2008, Ms.Kath Hardman and Ms Karen Sykes were invited to Japan as judges. And rapidly “Dog Dance” gained popularity in Japan.
Nowadays, there are many freestylers here in Japan and competitions are held a few times a year.
I’m honored to be able to participate in OEC with my beloved partner Pepper. Due to his age (8 years old) and long flight, I’m afraind this will be the last time to participate in OEC with him, so I will do my best and have the best time at OEC.
I’m so very looking forward to seeing you all at OEC!!