A little while ago our lead reporter caught up with the remarkable Mikuru Suzuki. As well as revealing her discomfort at having to wear shoes in her own house, against Japanese tradition, to play Phil Taylor, she enjoyed a full Q & A session ‘our man in Japan’:
Darts World: What was your childhood like, where did you grow up in Japan?
Mikuru Suzuki: I grew up in Osaka in a city called Katano. It’s a bit in the countryside with lots of nature. I think I was a quite active child.
DW: How many in your family? Brothers and sisters?
MS: We are a family of three. My husband and son. I also have an older brother who is two years older.
DW: What did you first want to be when you grew up for a job?
MS: I had no specific career in mind but I wanted a job that allows me to talk with other people.
DW: When did you first play darts, how old and where?
MS: I was 26 when I threw my first darts. My friend took me to a dart bar and we played there.
DW: What was your first big win which meant you knew you could go professional?
MS: There is a soft (electronic) darts pro tour (for which, a player has to get a pro license) in Japan. I think it was the first win of one of those tour stop in Nagoya.
DW: What did the people close to you think of you playing darts for a career?
MS: I became a professional dart player after getting married and I can continue to be so thanks to the understanding and support of my husband. I think I am lucky with the support of my close ones.
DW: What has been your favourite darts match so far?
MS: I think it was my first at Lakeside against Lisa, that January. I remember that the enjoyment of the game took over the nervousness and I manage to get the win.
DW: Do you believe that women can compete with men and beat them on a regular basis?
MS: Currently it is still hard but definitely want to get closer to that.
DW: What is your ambition in darts?
MS: To be the number one on the planet.
DW: What do you think of the standard of the Ladies game? Who are your biggest rivals?
MS: I think the standard will still rise a lot.
DW: Do you think Beau Greaves is going to be the future of the Ladies game?
MS: I think she has a huge potential still inside her.
DW: How do you think your game can improve?
MS: I think it will take time but I can improve it by trying to reach the level of the men.
DW: What’s been the most exciting thing about coming to the UK? London?
MS: Maybe the shopping part? I also love to go to the grocery stores!
DW: Are there more talented younger players coming through from Japan?
MS: I think there will be more and more indeed. The road is built, so why wouldn’t they?
OM: Do you think we will one day see a Japanese mens World Champion?
MS: I strongly believe so. The dart level in Japan, in Asia is currently going through a big growing period.
DW: What is your favourite food and drink?
MS: I like spicy food and black tea.
DW: What is your favourite food and drink in the UK?
MS: It’s not a meal food but I really like the Salt and Vinegar crisps! I like things like the HP sauce and malt vinegar that is not common in Japan.
DW: Who is your sporting idol?
MS: I think it might be Saori Yoshida who was called the strongest human on earth. I also am trying to be the best dart player.
DW: Are you proud of what Japan achieves in other sports. Like how they did in the Rugby World Cup?
MS: Yes, especially the Rugby World Cup was a fantastic event and people were quite excited!
DW: Do you have any hobbies or other interests.
I like singing Karaoke and golf. But I am not good at either.
Pix: Taylor Lanning (unless stated)