Four years after captivating Japan with its run to Olympic bronze, the national women's curling team is one win away from a gold medal at the Beijing Winter Games.
Having scraped through to the semifinals by virtue of a tiebreaker, the Japanese quartet of skip Satsuki Fujisawa, Yumi Suzuki and the Yoshida sisters, Chinami and Yurika, on Friday played the game of their lives to topple round robin winner Switzerland 8-6 and earn a shot at Olympic glory.
The semifinal victory came just a day after a humbling 8-4 defeat to the same Swiss team that left the Japanese curlers in tears, believing they had been eliminated following five wins and four losses in the round robin phase.
But after other results -- and the tiebreaker based on draw-shot accuracy -- went its way, the Loco Solare club team from Kitami in Hokkaido did not waste its opportunity.
A sensational double-takeout by Fujisawa saw Japan score four points and take a 5-2 lead after the fifth end of the semifinal, setting it up to stun a world champion Swiss team that entered the playoffs as gold-medal favorite.
Japan will now battle for the title at the National Aquatics Centre against the Great Britain side it beat for bronze four years ago in Pyeongchang, South Korea, when British skip Eve Muirhead blew a last-shot attempt to win the game.
While the semifinal win was "still a little hard to believe," the 30-year-old Fujisawa said the team would approach the final like any other game.
"We'll be playing the final for the first time, but our objective won't change," she said.
"We still need to play our own game, with the whole team fighting as one."
Whatever the color of the medal, Japan's best-ever Olympic curling result is already guaranteed.
For the 31-year-old Muirhead, Sunday's final will be a chance for her team from Scotland to overcome the heartbreak of four years ago.
"It was hard that I missed that shot for us. It was a moment that I wanted to forget, and it's been in my head since then," the four-time Olympian said.
"In a way, this is very pleasing that I've got a chance to play for a gold medal now...against the same girls."
Muirhead has already shown she has what it takes to beat Japan in Beijing, having earned a 10-4 round robin victory on Tuesday.
The Japanese team, which also includes reserve Kotomi Ishizaki, made history by winning the country's first curling medal in Pyeongchang, but it still faced a tough road just to make it back to the Winter Games.
With clubs from around Japan battling for the right to represent the country, the Hokkaido-based outfit needed to overcome stiff domestic opposition before eventually booking its Olympic ticket at a qualifying tournament in the Netherlands last December.
Back on the big stage, the Loco Solare curlers have once again enraptured Japanese fans with their smiles, camaraderie and a gritty determination to win with their backs against the wall.
Japan's Canadian-born coach J.D. Lind said the team's mental toughness was on full display in its bounce-back win over Switzerland.
"I know that they have that in them, but to see them do it on this stage, with so much pressure and so much going on, I'm just so proud of them," Lind said. "It's amazing what they accomplished."
Their spirit and enthusiasm for the game has even made fans out of the team standing between them and the gold medal on Sunday.
"We love the Japanese girls, they're so much fun and we get on so well with them," Muirhead said. "I can't wait to play them."
"They just love curling and I think that's fantastic for the sport."