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!
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:
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.
I've yet to wish happy new year for my readers, so here goes: Happy new year! I'm not sure if the topic's "new year, new tricks" is actually used in English — I translated it directly from the Finnish saying. The meaning is still obvious enough, even if the saying didn't originally exist in English!
I spent a two-week break from the Christmas up to new year not really playing go. An exception, I visited the Mimura dojo on December 26 in the middle of my break to give Mimura-sensei a Christmas present, two moomin-themed mugs and some Finnish chocolate. As usual, then, I did some tsumego there and played a few games, and that time got mercilessly defeated by the fellow insei. As a Finn, I was honestly surprised that the dojo was gathering even during what would normally be Christmas holiday. And it wasn't only that; normally the dojo is open from around 4 PM to 9 PM, but since the children had a break form school, the dojo was open from all the way from 9 AM to 8 PM. I got around to thinking what would happen in western countries with a similar dojo: probably both the teacher and the students would go: "Oh, it's holiday now, I'd rather just sit back and not do anything", and then there would be nothing ventured and nothing gained. I don't have anything against relaxing a bit here and there, but I find there's something really wrong in the western countries', at least Finland's, attitude towards holidays, as if "being able not to have to do anything" was a state that people should strive for.
I'm still in a power-saving mode because I've been incredibly busy lately again, but I figured I'd quickly post two of the C class higher-end insei games I've played.
The first one here was against the second-ranked insei: this was probably the game that I lost the most badly last weekend. Comments are mostly courtesy of Kobayashi Chizu-sensei, who kindly analysed most of my last weekend's gamest when we met last Wednesday. She gave me some tasty French cheese and bread as a present, too!
Happy Finland's Independence Day! Finland is now 94 years old.
Last weekend marked my first negative result in insei training, and quite strikingly so: my result after the weekend was one win to five losses. While losing isn't especially fun in itself, I do welcome the idea of finally starting to get the tough training I came to Japan for.
There is something mysterious behind my weekend result too, however. During and between Sunday's games, I remarked that my mind felt for some reason really cloudy, and as of now, I can no longer remember what went through my head during the games themselves — even remembering the games takes quite a bit of effort now, which is not usual for me. The last game of Sunday, which was against my nemesis, Fujiwara, was pretty much completely dominated by me up to the very last dame, where I for some reason missed the simplest of atari, turning an 8-point win into an 8-point loss. Ouch! I'm not sure, but it might be that I wasn't in the best physical condition to play; whether this hunch of mine is correct or not, I'm next going to improve on my physical fitness and see if that'll make a difference.
All that's left, after that, is to cast aside winning and losing from my mind, and focus on the search of the best move.
For the more worried readers, my game is definitely not in a slump. I'm performing as normal at wbaduk 8 dan level, and also beat a professional 4 dan player at a go salon just last Friday. All this goes to say that the stronger C class insei really are something else!
My weekly go schedule has gotten ever more full. From now on, I'll be going twice or thrice a week to Mimura-sensei's go dojo in Ichikawa; normally on Monday an Wednesday, but on Fridays as well whenever I've the time. Add to that the weekly English lesson, and I'm getting instruction by professionals almost every day!
Mimura-sensei's dojo has about 10-15 pupils present most days, all of them children — some insei, some not. Along with Mimura junior, who is also in C class now, we're the two strongest pupils. Daily training consists of league games within the dojo, drilling through go problems, game analysis and teaching games with either Mimura-sensei or a strong amateur instructor. So far I've seen two different amateur instructors in the dojo, and I played and beat them both. In both of the games the instructor utterly defeated me in the fuseki, and I'd no chance but to devise a do-or-die attack; in both games, a huge group died as a result. I've played Mimura-sensei twice as well, and got all my plans refuted both times.
On today's agenda I have a visit to the Finnish embassy in Tokyo. I met the Finnish ambassador's wife two months ago when I received the sponsorship for my insei studies from the Japan-Finland Society, and got an invitation to the embassy's independence day party as a result. Needless to say, I'm already very much looking forward to the event!
Long time no write!
Well, it's actually been only a little more than one week, but what with all the activities I've had recently, it relatively feels like a longer time. As I wrote last week, I did two interviews and visited in total three different go schools in addition to that of Nihon Ki-in's. Actually, I still haven't got too much time to formulate a long blog post, so for now I'm only writing this as a status update. In less than two hours, I'm meeting with an acquaintance at the Nihon Ki-in, in order to play a few games and study together before the weekly English class. The acquaintance is not a professional, but is still close to professional level.
Some of you may have noticed that I also have a Twitter account. Since writing longer blog posts takes its own time, it might be handy if I wrote quicker status updates mostly by Twitter. I'll look into whether I can implement a feature on this page's right-side bar to show my latest few Twitter posts. Up until then, feel free to have a look at my Twitter page. I haven't written too much there so far, but that's likely change soon!
Today marks the 1-year anniversary of Gooften! Exactly one year ago, the first text was posted, and although I didn't end up changing the look of the page as I said back then, I can still say that we've come a long way. In the beginning, Go of Ten had something like 50-150 visitors per day, depending on when the last post was written. Now, on a blog post day the number is something like 500-1000, and on a non-post day it's still 250-500. The average number of visitors for this November is 474 so far. This is my 51st blog post so far, giving pretty much a pace of one blog post per week. Let's hope that the numbers keep on going up in the future!
Last weekend's insei games ended up with six wins out of seven games. On Sunday, on the first round, I ended up losing against insei number nine; I made my first big blunder in an insei game so far, and ended up losing some 50 points just for that. That was in the middle game, and by the endgame I counted I was about 10 points behind and resigned. The two other games on Sunday were pretty much easy wins. Summing up, so far my record in D class is 18 wins and 2 losses, for a winning percent of 90%. Unfortunately I didn't find a good opportunity to take a picture of the results sheet, so we'll have to do without for now.