Today we will have an interview with Anton Boreiko, 2-dan Ukranian player who went to Nihon Ki-in. I still remember how wonderful I felt when I was there in 2016 for the World Youth Go Championship ! I am really glad we have his story here and I wish to all of you who have not been to Nihon Ki-in, to get a chance to visit it !
Q: What was the reason to travel to Tokyo?
A: I always wanted to visit Japan, maybe for 15 years. I’m a big fan of anime, game Go and Japanese culture in general. Now I finally have a possibility to visit Japan and actually I planned this trip in April during sakura blossom. But friend (Alex), who I met during European Go Congress in Germany 2 years ago, suddenly suggested to shift the trip to earlier dates and go there for Christmas holidays. It was about 1.5 months before the trip. We decided to focus on Tokyo only this time since we had only 10 days and a lot of plans.
Q: You visited Nihon Ki-in, how did it felt?
А: It’s always exciting to visit a place about which you hear so much.
We’ve visited Nihon Ki-in on the second day of stay in Tokyo and had a meeting with Kobayashi Chizu 6p and her daughter. They lived in Europe for some time. That day there was a tournament between universities, about 30-35 participants. But since everything there was in Japanese – not much details know about it. On the second floor, they have a Go shop. You can even find a necktie with printed go boards on it ! As far as I know, there is a Go museum but was closed so maybe will have a chance to visit it next time.
Q: What are the main differences to you, between a city in Europe and Tokyo for example?
A: It’s hard to define what exactly is different, but to be the atmosphere is entirely different. And by the atmosphere, I mean overall expression from everything all together – culture, people, architecture. If try to be more specific – Tokyo feels very quite futuristic. If you are going to visit Tokyo perhaps the best way to feel it – try to use Yurikamome line !
This is a fully automated line which transport you through the most futuristic places in Tokyo. Compared to Europe, perhaps the closest to Tokyo in some aspects I’d call Vienna, but still, they are quite different.
What surprised me a lot that’s in such huge Megalopolis the air is very clean and fresh. Most likely it’s thanks to car limitations, one of the most advanced public transport system and the sea.
Q: Did you get opportunity to visit a Go Club?
A: Yeah, on one of the last days I had visited a Go salon called ‘Shusaku’ in Shinjuku. Two people recommended me to go there. It looks quite a popular amount foreign players and also one of few places where the owner knows English so you can easily communicate. People there were amiable and open to us. I really recommend this Go salon to everyone who wants to play Go in Tokyo. As of games, I had a chance to play two games with two dan players. Both games were quite close but managed to win them. Also, it might worth to mention that if you want to find a go salon in Japan – you need to use kanji 囲碁 in Google maps since it rarely uses English which makes searching a bit challenging.
Q: You stayed in Japan for the New Year and it was totally unplanned, would you like to tell us more about it?
A: The original plan was to departure at 22.20, 30th of December and meet new year at home. But when our plane already was at runway seems like some technical issues were found and after several hours of waiting for our flight was canceled. We were transferred back to the airport through passport control, given sleeping bags and waited. Narita airport is very loaded, but for some reason that day it was empty already, and everything is closed. After some time company found a free hotel and moved part of passengers to Narita city. In the morning I received a call and was told that they shifted my departure by 24h which would be 22.20 31st of December and I had to meet New Year in the plane. Since it still was 5 days till my visa expiration and I definitely hadn’t had enough of Tokyo – I decided to stay as long as my visa allowed. Fly company agreed to change the dates for free to the evening of 4th January. So, in the end, I met New Year at Meiji Shrine (biggest Shinto shrine at Tokyo). It was my first experience of fly cancellation, but I’m really glad it happens