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.

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