View Full Version : Trip report - Go in Japan

29th September 2003, 18:20

Just returned from a trip to Japan to visit family and to play Go of course.

It was an eye opening experience!

Spent part of a day at the Nihonkiin (Japanese Go Association in Tokyo http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp/ ) where I was able to pick up a few things. I was looking for the complete games of Go Seigen in book form (hardbound, 4 volumes). It is listed on the http://www.kiseido.com web site. Since it is no longer published, I wound up finding it in a used bookstore in Kanda (Tokyo) for a fraction of the cost (and in impeccable condition too). I bought the last set they had. I have the address of the bookstore which deals mainly in Go and Shogi books should anyone be interested in stopping by there or contacting them by e-mail.

Up north in my wife's hometown, I was able to go to the Go club everyday for a few hours and play many different people as well as receiving teaching games from the Sensei there.

My 11 year old nephew who has been playing Go for only about 1 year now (Hikaru no Go influence) played with me everyday. His Go strength is amazing considering his short Go career. He reads life and death problems easily and quickly (about same level as me even though he is about 5 kyu weaker). Advantages to living in Japan.

I happened to arrange the trip so I could play in a local Go tournament. What a lot of fun!! I think my picture wound up in a local newspaper. Played in 5 enjoyable and high quality games including the only jigo (tie) of the entire tournament (no komi was used when the two players where at different rankings). I wish I would have kept records of the games.

My wife even became interested in Go. Enough so that she picked up a series of beginner Go books to learn Go from.

Returned to the U.S. really motivated to make it to 1 dan level (shodan - beginning dan) with tons of Go stuff (books, magazines, etc.) to last me a while.

Anyway, I suppose the cunundrum is that being back in America the opportunities for Go playing and improvement aren't quite what they were in Japan where every resource you can imagine is available (they even have a satellite channel that is exclusively for Go and Shogi). I suppose the main hope for Go outside of Asia in general is the internet as a resource. Plus, it seems that alot of the Japanese books and equipment can be ordered from Japan and shipped overseas now for very reasonable cost. I just wish I could hook up with the Go/Shogi Channel on the satellite ;) .

Overall, even though playing Go wasn't all that I did over there (had alot of other things I wanted to do), I returned probably 2+ kyu stronger than when I left. Should anyone go to Japan for training or work, definately take some time and stop by a Go club or salon and play a little Go. I think you'll find that you'll meet alot of new friends and it will be well worth your time.