Nihon Ki-in awards ceremony and Mimura-sensei’s present

As I tweeted earlier, last Tuesday I went to see Nihon Ki-in’s annual awards ceremony. The Japanese year starts on April 1, and so the ceremony is fittingly held towards the very end of the year. The ceremony consisted of speeches by important people, giving the Ōkura Kishichiro prize to a few more aged people, giving prizes for professionals due to highest winning ratio/longest winning streak/most games played/etc., and of course announcing the new professional one dan players (who amounted to six people). Here are the new professionals in a photo:

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March league final results

Last weekend marked the end of the March insei league, and my second-to-last insei month. My return date is approaching at a frightening pace, especially looking at how fun Japan has lately been for me. The other day, I got to see a strict Takemiya-sensei at the English go class, and the commentary that he gave on my games turned out very valuable indeed. One of the more hilarious comments I got from him was to the extent of “What’s this, you’re playing like a go bot — first you do something really silly, and then you play this strongly!”

The next weekend will be a break from insei training — Japan’s school year starts from April 1, so I imagine around this time of the year the children (and probably most other people as well) have a small break from everything. The same applies to the Ichikawa go dojo, which is having a break from today until next Monday. It’s definitely spring here now; the temperature will be about 15° C on average during the day, and in about one week it’ll be time for the cherry to blossom. Right now it looks approximately like this outside:

The stairs that go down here lead to the metro station of Roppongi Itchōme; it's a five-minute walk to here from the apartment I'm staying at, and an eight-minute ride from here to Ichigaya, where the Nihon Ki-in is.

Last weekend’s result was four wins and two losses for me, summing up to 14 wins and 10 losses for the whole of March. That got me the fifth place in the C league. And actually, since three people get promoted and two insei from B class quit, right now there is a “possibility” that I will get to play in B class next month. Nothing is sure yet, as the insei instructors are likely currently figuring out what to do. If I do get to play in B class next month, it’ll be like getting in from the back door, but I’ll take any opportunity I can to get to play in the A-B class room.

Edit 29 March 13:39: I checked today at the Ki-in, and it turns out I’m not getting to B class — instead of promoting 5 C class insei, they only demoted one B class insei. Too bad, but cannot be helped!

The results table of the last two weeks looked like this:

Tsumego of the week

I felt like putting some tsumego up after I stated I won’t be scribing the 80-tsumego test. Here are my two favorite problems from the last collection I worked through, 求真詰碁2. Finding the answers needs some out-of-the-box thinking! Target audience is dan-level players.

[sgfPrepared id=”0″]

 

Vernal Equinox Day and Tengen go salon tournament

Yesterday was the Vernal Equinox Day, meaning the day in spring when the day and night are equally long. That’d mean now we are on the better side again, with the day lasting longer than the night! The Vernal Equinox Day is a national holiday in Japan, meaning that people (generally) have a free day from work, and as such most shops are closed as well. While outside, I spotted an incredible number of families taking a walk together with their children — something that you totally don’t see on a normal working day.

Photo down the street right next to where I'm staying. It's not quite summer yet, but the temperature is already in the range of 10°-15° C during the day!

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Kisei day trip to Kofu

It’s been four months since my last larger excursion here in Japan. Last time was Innoshima, an island southwest from Osaka; this time Kofu, a smaller city not far away from mount Fuji. I conducted this trip with Tom (from the Nihon Ki-in), who worked out the details of the day trip. We left slightly after noon, went first to the Shinjuku train station, and took a train from there directly to Kofu, which took about 80 minutes. From the Kofu train station we took a taxi to the ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) that was used as the venue for the last Kisei game.

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Weekly updates

Well, I’m still busy as usual — it might be for the better, however! My friend Tom from the Nihon Ki-in thought up an idea to go see the Kisei final being played. I was instantly excited by the idea, and so in a few hours today, we’ll ride the train to Kofu, quite near to mount Fuji. Expect some photos from there in the near future! Other than that, I’ve been the target of NHK recently;  you can see here what last Sunday was like for me. That wasn’t even everything, as the NHK reporters also came to Mimura-sensei’s dojo on Monday to do some more coverage. The result, supposed to last for about 10 minutes after heavy editing, will be shown on April 15 in the Japanese television.

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Visitors, March league begins, English class, NHK interview and team tournament approaching, commented insei game

Yes, the topic does imply that I should write more often. The good news is, I should soon start having more time for it again!

Since the last time I wrote, quite a bit has happened again. My parents came to visit me last Friday, and left back for Finland this morning. Thus, I’ve had a short break from really intensive training, and have taken the time to look around Tokyo again. I’m getting the feeling that having had a short break should be a good thing. I’m not sure how we did it, but in just four days, we visited more or less all the relatively important tourist sites in Tokyo. By our standards, at least. That’s about 80 000 steps walked, too!

Last weekend was the beginning of the March league — I’m still in the middle of C class. I opened badly with one win and two losses on Saturday, but miraculously got three wins on Sunday. Two of those three won games were initially very difficult, but somehow I was able to turn them around. In the third game, my opponent more or less came and killed himself in my moyo — the game was over in about 100 moves.

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Student go oza, snow and earthquakes

Long time no write! Life in Japan is hectic as usual: in addition to my normal weekly activities, I’ll be doing some interviews in the near future, and I’ve got some visitors (including my parents) to entertain as well. The interviews will be for Igo Mirai, a Nihon Ki-in go magazine, and for NHK. On next week’s Sunday, some reporters will come to the apartment to take a few pictures of me!

It’s certainly been interesting here in Japan lately: in the last few days, there’s been several noticeable earthquakes, albeit they’ve only been worth 2-3 richters in Tokyo. It was rather interesting to wake up this morning due to the building moving. Apparently there’d been a 5-richter quake somewhere along the east coast of Japan.

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