|Buon Anno 2005|
|Recently, I'm surprised how fast time flows. I realized that many seasons have passed and this is my 8th year to spend the New Year in Italy. How are you doing, everyone?
Last year, 2004, I went to 11 countries, 18 places, to teach. These numbers are about the same, on average, for the last 8 years. I don't know if it's good or bad but if I stay at home quietly, I feel like doing something and I don't know why but I start to be impatient. It seems that there is some Japanese nature somewhere in me which believes that working is the main thing. From now on, I feel that I should have a more relaxed life.
Anyhow, I'm able to continue my activities because of my husband and my family who always kindly allow me to travel and people who understand me and help me with popularizing Go.
And also, people support me in various ways. For example, people who read my reports and Pandanet who supports me. And Nihon Ki-in and old acquaintances who cheer me up whenever I go back to my hometown in Nagoya. Without the understanding of those people, I can't do anything by myself. Even popularizing Go would not happen. I appreciate their support from the bottom of my heart.
Talking about the biggest news from last year, the popularity of Go had expanded more and more because the comic book, `Hikaru no Go', was published in German and French and the popularization of the internet.
The other day, I had an opportunity to see interesting information which is investigating the comparison of the active Go population (numbers of participants at the tournaments) in Europe by country from the last 2 years.
(Reference from Mr. Simon Gemel)
Referring to that, among over 40 countries where people enjoy Go in Europe, the biggest number of the active Go population was Germany, 1273 people, last year but according to the percentage of the active Go population among the population of the countries, Finland had the biggest numbers. By this, unexpectedly, the countries like Luxemburg and Slovenia and others ranked highly. In this case, Germany came 9th.
Apart from that, in Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany and France, with the influence of `Hikaru no Go', the popularity of Go had increased radically among the young generation. I'm looking forward to seeing the further spread of Go.
Last year, about 6600 people participated in the tournaments in the whole of Europe but compared to the year before, it increased over 5 %. I'm sure this means that the numbers of the active Go players are increasing this much. The Go population must have increased a lot in a year if you include many and unspecified people who enjoy playing Go by internet and people who don't participate in the tournaments but go to their local Go clubs and beginners who started playing Go with friends.
I feel that there is a European style Go in Europe. The definite characteristic is that European people enjoy Go in a wider range as they know how to enjoy themselves more than Japanese people. For instance, at the European Go Congress in summer where it is easy to participate for families who don't play Go, Go clubs in beer gardens, poker Go which is to pick cards at the same time, Phantom Go and so on and there are many ways to play Go. If you do the same in Japanese Go clubs, everyone would look on in amazement!
In that way, Japanese have a lot to learn from European Go. It would be really good if the good parts of Easten and European culture mixed, the amusement of Go would be deepen further.
If you get to know Go, they would be no war. It is because, you will realize by the battle on the Go board that the behavior of killing each other has only high risk, regardless of victory or defeat. From now on, I'd like to go to many places to tell how good Go is and help people who do activities like that.
I hope you have a happy new year, everyone! I look forward to your continued support in 2005.
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