Last weeks in Japan, part 5: returning to Finland

This post will be the last edition of the “in Japan”-tagged blog entries. I would like to remind the readers that Go of Ten will go on even after my stay in Japan, as it also existed long before I left for Japan. In the future, you may expect me to write here tournament stories from all over Europe — and I’ll likely continue publishing game reviews and essays too. Also know that I’m tentatively planning to return to Japan next year to continue my insei studies — it would seem that I’ll be able to continue from C class right upon my arrival, which would save me one to two months’ worth of time.

My last weeks in Japan were full of seeing people that I got acquainted with and telling them goodbye. I had really grown to like studying at the Ichikawa go dojo, as I’d found it was the most effective place for me to get some studying in, and both the students and Mimura-sensei are incredibly nice as well. I gave some moomin-themed mugs for Mimura-sensei as a parting gift, and he in turn told that I’m welcome to come back to the dojo anytime I’m in Japan. As the readers may remember, I already got a great gift from Mimura-sensei. I’m soon finished studying the first book of the twelve-book collection I received — and if I’m following what the novel First kyu teaches, I’ve got to study through the books nine more times. With my current pace, that’s going to take almost twenty years!

Continue reading “Last weeks in Japan, part 5: returning to Finland”

Last weeks in Japan, part 4: tv game with Fujisawa Rina

At the time of writing this blog post, I have actually already returned to Finland, but I’ll be writing the “returning to Finland” blog post a bit later.

In Last weeks in Japan, part 3, I’d forgotten May 3, Thursday, which was a day when Kobayashi-sensei had asked me to participate in her children’s go class as a guest. It was then that the famous tv face, Anti Torumanen (indeed, almost all of the kids had seen me on television), came to play some simultaneous games with the more promising children. I played three sets of two-game simultaneous matches, handicaps included (ranging from two to five stones), and ended up winning all the games too. Apparently some of the children came for the class from somewhere pretty far away (like, a 1-2 hour trip), which was fairly surprising, considering that the class itself only lasted for about two hours.

Last Monday, on May 7, I played in a tv broadcast game against Fujisawa Rina, professional 1 dan. Before the match, which started at 6 PM, I first went to visit a zen buddhist temple in Ueno with Kobayashi-sensei. We were shown around the temple a bit, and I was taught the very basics of zazen (sitting meditation). By the end of the one-hour visit, the monk who was showing us around was asking if I wouldn’t become his disciple. As monk life in Japan nowadays can be fairly modern, and not too ascetic, I might even consider such a proposal if I ended up going to Japan again (and if I could be insei at the same time). It seemed fitting that first there’d be some meditation, and then a tv match against a pro soon after that.

Since this was already the second time I was to be featured in a tv program in Japan, I wasn’t really nervous at all. It was interesting to see some details about how those go commentary programs that you see on tv in Asia are made. The commentator for my game was Sakai Maki 8 dan, also one of the insei instructors. There were two short interviews included during the recording as well — when I could, I answered in Japanese, but at times I had to have Tom from the Nihon Ki-in to translate for me.

As for the game, I did my best to go with a flexible, but influence-oriented game plan. I had two handicap stones, but as winning or losing wasn’t of especially big importance in the match, I didn’t go out to maximize my winning chance, but instead kept on searching for the strongest move. As a result, black had the lead for a long time, but eventually pushed a bit too hard, and white turned the game around. It should be interesting for the readers to see Fujisawa’s present-day game (especially after her win against Aoki Kikuyo 8-dan recently), so the kifu is of course included below. Commentary for the game is courtesy of the English class professionals.

[sgfPrepared id=”0″]

Last weeks in Japan, part 3: short diary entries

There have been plenty of semi-productive days during the last few weeks; this blog post will describe them, but not in too much detail.

April 20, Friday: I and Ginny, from the English class, were invited to follow the Kisei tournament prize-giving ceremony that was held in a hotel at Yotsuya, not too far from the Nihon Ki-in. There were plenty of prestigious people present, and lots of good food was had as well. Chō U won the title for the third time in a row. While receiving the prize, he made a speech (most of which I didn’t understand), and in addition advertised his new iPhone application, Yonro no go, which has go problems on a 4×4 go board in a very children-friendly setting. For now at least, the program doesn’t have an English version. Continue reading “Last weeks in Japan, part 3: short diary entries”

Last weeks in Japan, part 2: final 30-minute tsumego test

This time I’m presenting (likely) the last 30-minute tsumego test I’ll do at the Mimura go dojo. I’m still going there one more time, on next week’s Wednesday, but it’s not sure if we’ll have a test then or not. This time around the tsumego were fairly easy, relatively speaking, and kyu players should have a fair chance at getting them right as well. Some five-six students (myself included) got a perfect result, and even the rest got something in the range of 15-22 correct (23 was maximum).

As usual, expect the answers to the tsumego later on in the comments section. All problems are black first, but remember to look for the best result for both sides.

[sgfPrepared id=”1″]

Last weeks in Japan, part 1: final insei games with commentaries

Expect a slightly longer series of blog posts describing my final days here in Japan. As you may remember, my flight back to Finland is on May 11, and as such I will be at least participating in some Finnish tournaments this summer, as well as in the European Go Congress. Kidō Cup I will skip, as I feel it’d be too soon after my return — while I like traveling, too much is too much.

Last weekend I scored a perfect 6-0 result, which placed me cleanly on the first place of C class with 19 wins and 5 losses. I didn’t happen to take a photo of the final results sheet, but I believe the second place was reached with 15 wins and 9 losses. In this first post of the series, I’ll present two of my games from last weekend, one against 藤原 (Fujiwara, who got promoted to B class) and one against 今野 (Konno, who also got promoted to B). Most of the comments are courtesy of the English class attending professionals, but a part of them are my own.

[sgfPrepared id=”2″]

[sgfPrepared id=”3″]