First return insei post

One week has now passed since my return to Japan. So far, among other things, I have:

  • gotten settled down in my own small apartment,
  • met up with Leon Stauder, currently a D class insei from Germany,
  • met up with familiar English class teachers,
  • bumped (not physically) into Chō U at the Nihon Ki-in lobby and gotten a nod, and
  • finished my first insei weekend with a 4-2 score.

To my luck, I arrived in Tokyo just in time for the flower-viewing period, of which I can share the below photo.


I was not particularly satisfied with the 4-2 score, as somewhat better results are required if I were to directly get to B class. Still, for a first return weekend after just having arrived in Japan, I wouldn’t call it bad either. The insei games this time around were played on the sixth floor of the Nihon Ki-in, in the tatami rooms with legged go boards, which was a nice bonus.

Experience-wise, there is a huge difference between having another foreign insei present and not having. Last time around I thought it was better if I was the only foreigner present, because that way I would be forced to communicate with the Japanese insei more, but somehow the insei children were more talkative to our direction now that there were two of us. At the same time, though I have not really spent much effort on improving my Japanese, I find myself better able to understand and communicate in Japanese than before.

I had planned to start cooking more by myself this time around in Japan, but have so far found it extremely hard to do so. Expenditure-wise there is not a big gap in Japan between buying prepared food and buying food ingredients and preparing the food by oneself, which as a Finn I find inexplicable. Further, two years ago one euro amounted to about 100 yen, whereas nowadays one euro is more like 140 yen—as a result, I have so far felt really nonchalant about spending money.

Regarding my living conditions, while I welcome the privacy of my own apartment (as opposed to sharing an apartment two years ago), the solution does have some downsides, too. In the past week I have been busy at getting my apartment in a reasonable living condition—for some reason the last tenant did not seem inclined to clean things up before leaving. Additionally, the apartment building is probably some 50 years old, which among other things means that most of its drainpipes and water taps have gotten quite rusty. On the plus side, again, the apartment includes a tatami mat floor!

Rusty water tap! What do?
Introducing a magical weapon from the Tokyu Hands department store
Not-so-rusty water tap

The readers are no doubt interested in seeing the usual results sheets from the last week, so here goes. In addition to my C class results, I’m also providing Leon’s results from D class.

As can hopefully be decrypted, I’m number 12 in the class.


As can also hopefully be decrypted, Leon is number 14 in this class.

Finally, since the Nihon Ki-in English class was held already once after my return, I already have some professional commentary on my games to share. As the last thing in this post, I introduce to you the two game commentaries below.

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12 thoughts on “First return insei post”

  1. quite interesting that 4/2 is still the best win/loss ratio in C class (: isn’t it a ladder so that same number of the best ones go up regardless of results?

    1. Then white goes back to escape with e5. Then later, thanks to the D-d2 exchange, white can use aji at b2 and e3 to easily make sabaki on the lower side.

  2. Thanks for sharing Antti, your blog is always very interesting to read!
    I’m going to Tokyo in July and was wondering if you could recommend some interesting Go themed places to visit?

    Is the Ichigaya Office with the Hall of Fame & shop worth visiting?

    Best of luck!!

    1. The Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya is definitely the #1 go-related place to visit in Tokyo. Apart from it, in fact, I cannot think of much else; there are go salons all around, of course, but none of them struck me as “must-go”.

  3. How much stronger do you think you are now than when you left Japan? Any idea how B-class stacks against C-class in terms of strength? Best of luck and look forward to eventually seeing you get promoted there

  4. Thanks for the great post Antti! It’s cool getting to see the insei results sheets that everyone is so familiar with after watching Hikaru no Go. And by the way, that magical weapon you used to clean the rust certainly did the trick! Pretty awesome.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your experience!

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