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!

Something that took me completely by surprise was that the children from the Ichikawa dojo had prepared small parting gifts for me, including goodbye letters saying that hopefully I’ll continue playing go in Finland, and that hopefully I’ll return to Japan sometime to visit them again. Even if Mimura-sensei had instructed them to do so, this is something that I cannot imagine happening in any European country, at least in Finland.

Final photo taken outside of the Ichikawa go dojo, with most of the regular students present. Aside from me, there are five insei in this photo.

On May 8, I went to attend the English class one last time. As a final gift from the professionals there, I got a really cool fan with the professionals’ signatures. Before this, I’d treasured the black Fujisawa fan I bought in China the most, but now I’ve got a new number one!

From left to right: Ōhashi Hirofumi, Kobayashi Chizu, Katsura Atsushi, Yū Hō, Mitani Tetsuya, Ichiriki Ryō, Su Yaoguo (=Sō Yōkoku)

Not all English class regulars were present on May 8, so some empty space was left on the fan. I received the fan only after I’d made the promise that I will return to Japan to get the missing signatures. Fine by me, I said!

My flight back to Finland was on May 11. I had packed two full suitcases full of my belongings, and I still couldn’t fit even nearly everything in. The flight itself went fairly easily and quickly. I left at 11 AM Japanese time, and was in Finland 3:15 PM Finnish time after a ten-hour flight. A lengthened day followed, and as I went to sleep early on my standards (about ten o’clock in the evening), I woke up at 5 AM the following morning. Now, a good one week after my returning, I can already sleep up to 7 AM — and as a matter of fact, I will probably keep this sleeping rhythm, as I find I’m much more effective in the morning rather than in the evening.

For the first few days after my return, it was difficult to grasp that I was back in my homeland; everybody spoke in a language that I could fully understand, I could read all the signs I saw, and it was really fricking cold outside. (Now, a week later, the 10°C average temperature has luckily risen to almost 15°C.) By now, I’ve gotten fairly used to my “normal” life, with some new aspects of course: my enhanced sleeping rhythm, my daily go studies (Fujisawa’s games and tsumego), and the fact that I’m finally able to eat a normal breakfast in the morning (no idea where that last came from, as I didn’t regularly eat breakfast in Japan).

As for the near future, I’ll be continuing my go self studies, and will probably do more teaching again. Starting in autumn, I’ll pick up my university studies, and try to get my bachelor’s degree finished in a year so that it’d be easier to go back to Japan to continue the insei studies. Also, tomorrow on Tuesday evening, I’ll be playing in the Finland vs. Austria match of the Pandanet Go European Team Champs — I missed out on most of this year’s Team Champs games due to scheduling difficulties, but at least I’ll be able to play this one more time after my return from Japan.

5 thoughts on “Last weeks in Japan, part 5: returning to Finland”

  1. I hope you can keep up what you learned in Japan and continue to become stronger in Go and more. I would not want to go out on a limb but I believe you’re one of the European Go idols and your study and progress is admired by many. It was a pleasure to follow the series, thank you very much for your well written, regular reports and stories from Japan as well as the pictures.

  2. So if youre going back, does that mean you aim to seriously become pro? Or just take it as a nice life experience mostly (not that there’s anything wrong with that either)? I wish you luck in your go endeavours regardless, this blog has been a very good read so far and I can only hope it will just get better!

    Out of curiosity, what subject are you studying in uni?


    1. If I went back, it would be to aim to be pro — I was told that being able to get to (and stay) in B class already means that one has a shot at becoming pro. I figure I’d need at least another year or two of insei training for that though.

      My major in university is industrial engineering and management, minor being information technology.

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