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In Nagoya

The World Amateur Go Championship, which is held every early summer in Japan, is being held for the 26th time this year. This time, 65 countries gathered in Nagoya city which was crowded with people because of the Aichi Exposition and excited drama was played on Go boards. At the first tournament in 1979, there were 15 participating countries but the number of participating countries has increased and the level has gone up. I felt the effect that Go has definitely spread in the world.

The winner was Mr.Yu Qing Hu, the representative of China, who won all 8 games perfectly. He, a big fan of soccer, is not snobbish at all and his constant smile was wonderful. You can see the result of the tournament from the address below.
(Japanese) http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp/amakisen/worldama/26/index.htm

I had various duties during the tournament from doing commentary, interpreting, taking photos for players, to helping shopping after the games. Also, since Nagoya is my hometown, in between games, I took the players to Nihon Ki-in Chubu area.

As you all know, at Nihon Ki-in, there is Tokyo head office, which more than 250 professionals belong to, and also Nihon Ki-in is based in Nagoya and Osaka, with about 50 professionals each. Not like Tokyo, I think that in Nagoya and Osaka, there is a cozy atmosphere because of the smaller size. Naoki Hane Kisei who was the head of the tournament judge this time belongs to the Chubu area. Since he got the title, the professionals of the Chubu area have been given life and not only economics but also Go has been lively.

This time, a room, Shoun-no-ma, which is to be used only for title matches and some important games, was shown especially to the players. In the room, a rock garden is made and there is a rest room for the players. There is a camera on the ceiling and at the waiting room downstairs you can watch the games on the Go board by monitors. Those players sat on the soft zabuton (a cushion on a tatami mat) in turn to feel like top professionals. I'm sure it was their valuable experience that they will never forget.

Also, they joined the Go lecture which was held on that day. The students there were very pleased with unexpected foreigners' appearance and had fun solving some questions with them.

What I was surprised at the most was that when we dropped in at a shop in Nihon Ki-in, their eyes suddenly shined and they were busy shopping even though the Go goods are not so cheep. In an instant, goods were sold like hot cakes. No wonder, it was the chance for them to buy Go goods which are difficult to get in their country. By the way, the most popular one was portable magnetic Go set.

Now, on the day after the tournament finished, a Go event for cultural exchange in which 35 players and related people, who wish to come, and children with developmental disability and their families participated was held at Chukyo University in Nagoya city.

The developmental disability varies, but mainly included mental disorder, autism, learning disability, and so on but the similarity in them is that they have difficulties in communicating with people. The aim was to learn communication by enjoying playing Go by using the basic rule, `surround and get', but I think that simply means `people from all over the world play Go and have fun!'

At the lobby of the university, about 300 people gathered and it was filled with a mood of great excitement. After the explanation of the brief rule, red and white stones were spread out on the big 9X9 vinyl sheet, bright blue like the color of the blue sky that day, and immediately, the game was started by teams.

For most of the children and their parents, it was the first time to play Go but they easily blended into the game. The children who were nervous at the beginning gradually got used to the game and by the time they were to play the game individually, they were seen here and there walking towards the foreign players to ask for a game. To the participants, maps of the world were handed out and they got stickers of the flags of the country of the opponent and stuck them on their map. The foreign players wearing the same green happi coats were not used to sitting on the floor, folding their long legs, and with sweat running down and played against the children.

`I won against a Spanish champion!'
`Look, look, I have 5 stickers.'
`I got signatures in English.'

They seemed so satisfied with their only map in their hand. Those maps are such a wonderful treasure for the children, aren't they? It was the day that I felt how splendid Go is and the possibility of Go, once again.

This "GO Friends Report " started !


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