Unfortunately, I don't speak Japanese. (Aye con beerely rite engrish!) I am also not a very accurate person to rely on for "Accurate Japanese Cultural Information" (tm). What I know comes from the sparse research I've done and from actually living in Japan for about seven months. I make lots of mistakes; feel free to call me on them. Also, I'll be borrowing a bit from both the Chinese and the Japanese cultures, and I do stretch a few details a bit. Again, mea culpa, gomen nasai, au choi, lo siento, pardon ....

Seriously, please, let me know (even if it is to say something like "I can't believe you didn't know this, STUPID!") about any errors you may find. Thank you!

I can't believe I am having to make a separate section for notes, especially since I really do not know what I am talking about. sigh

Part 1:

In Japan, February third (or thereabouts) is the day of Setsubon, when demons are supposed to try and enter Japanese households. To keep the little buggers out, you're supposed to throw a handful of beans from room to room, then out of the door, calling "Demons Out! Good Luck In!" the whole time. You can also eat any spare beans, but you can only eat one bean for each birthday you've celebrated. This year, I pigged out and ate more than my age in beans, so I'm sure I'm going to regret it later. Setsubon also supposedly marks the end of winter, though it doesn't really start warming until around March (in Tokyo), and May (in the more northern territories.)

GPS is short for Global Positioning System. They're pretty nifty. Hikaru should definitely invest in one.

The chapter titles in the story are stol-- err "adapted" from the poem "Tyger" by William Blake. (NOTE: All links are http: ones. FFNet does not like my html link encoding, for some reason. All links are pretty much "one click" safe ... as in I vouch for the content on the page as is. If you move further than one click, though, I don't know where you might go!)


(original version, from a university I really really like!)

Finally, I didn't have a one specific graveyard in mind when I wrote the cemetery scene, but you can find many around Tokyo which are mindblowingly old. This one is actually a compilation of a cemetery near where I live and one that's right next to Tokyo Tower, near Shiodome. If you're ever in the area, check out the giant temple and its complex. It's pretty neat. For extra fun, go on a rainy day, when no one is around. It's not scary, but it is very atmospheric.

You can also find plenty of interesting little shrines from just wandering about; sometimes they do include offerings of food or tea. The one Hikaru inadvertently destroys is modeled after a real one that I saw, though it was not in a cemetery. Or was it? I can't remember ... oh dear.
Part 2:

Sai uses the old name for Kyoto: Heiankyo. I don't know why my brain decided this is what Sai would call it, but there you go.

Also, the stuff Sai says about the Go being an ancient means of fortune telling does have some basis in fact. I think "Go, Go, Igo" from the anime series also makes this point as well. However, I'm going to distort this a little, unfortunately, and dramatize it a bit in the later chapters.

Yes, I know, Sai is very very very VERY OOC. Yes, he's going to get more OOC. No, I don't know what I am going to do about it. I try to explain why he's like this in later chapters, but I think I fail miserably. Yes, I miss the whiny Sai too, btw. He's a whole lot more fun to write than serious, kickass Sai.
Part 3:

Kitsune literally means "fox" in Japanese. However, kitsune can also mean a "fox spirit," which is a class of mischievous beings that run rampant through many an Asian cultural tale. In Japan, most kitsune are considered to be neither "good" or "evil." Many tales show them being both. Kitsune can appear in both fox form, human form, or something in-between the two. They can also have anywhere between one to nine tails; the more tails a kitsune has, the more "powerful" s/he is said to be. Kitsune can create illusions, build worlds, and generally cause a lot of trouble for normal mortal folk.

However, most kitsune are also considered to be messengers and servants of the god, Inari. Inari is the god/goddess (s/he can appear as either male or female) of rice and agriculture. Shrines to Inari often include offerings to kitsune.

Osusuki is an actual kitsune from Japanese mythos. He and his mate were the first to take shelter at a shrine to Inari. In return for the shelter he, his mate, and his five cubs became his messengers and his servants. At least, that's what this website says:

I gained some (but by no means all) of my kitsune information there. Go look, it's an interesting site. However, Osusuki's appearance and behavior in the story, unfortunately, are totally my fault. Also, I have taken many liberties in creating my own kitsune culture. Yup, I'm horrible.

Parts 2 and 3 are HEAVILY influenced by a scene from Akira Kurasowa's "Yume" (dreams). The manner in which the kitsune appear and the fact they wear masks are almost taken straight from this movie. Basically, a small child gets lost in a mist-enshrouded forest and accidentally stumbles upon a procession of kitsune, some of which are banging a drum. Sounds very familiar, eh? I recommend the film, but I have to warn you that it's really bizarre. An additional warning: Don't watch this half asleep, like I did. You tend to wake up at the most scariest parts. For some stills of the movie, check out:

Also, in many Noh dramas, actors playing kitsune wear elaborate masks. They can get quite creepy.

There's not enough room to put in every tidbit of information about these critters, but if you're curious, feel free to ask! :) I don't know much, but I'm willing to share. For those truly curious and wanting to purchase a breathtakingly beautiful tale revolving around kitsune, I recommend "The Dream Hunters" by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano. It is part of Gaiman's Sandman series (which I highly recommend as well), but it is a stand-alone story. WARNING: Like most of the Sandman stories, it is for more mature readers.

Finally, the kitsune aren't wearing "kimonos", per se, but for the sake of simplicity, I'm calling them kimonos. I think the kitsune are wearing slightly older style which has a bit of a Chinese influence to it, which dates before Sai's time. Osusuki has one of the large "aprons" tied around his waist to cover his nine tails. However, of note, it's usually only found in the female kimono. Despite how I might sound, I really have NO idea of ancient dress customs. I gained all of my knowledge from the site "reconstructing history" which, of course, FFNET will not allow me to link to.

Okay, off the subject of foxes and their manner of dress, when Sai mentions he has claimed Hikaru as a deishi, that basically means disciple/student. I borrowed the terms and connotation from the martial arts. The implications, however, goes far beyond just a simple "student" who follows his teacher. (But before anyone asks, no, this story is NOT going to turn into Hikaru/Sai yaoi. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but this isn't what the story's about.)

I rather like the "martial arts" definition of sensei as being "The one who comes before" or one who has "lived before."A sensei is someone who guides his or her student through the aspects of life. I think, if they had been given the time, this is the route Sai and Hikaru's bond would've developed in.

And to end on a non-foxy note: an onigiri is a typical snack/meal which basically consists of some rice shaped into a ball or a triangle. It usually has a piece of seaweed wrapped around it, so you can pick it up without getting rice grains stuck everywhere. Sometimes, an onigiri can contain some sort of stuffing, like more seaweed, fish flakes, or beef. My favorite is tuna with mayo.

Okay, hopefully you're not in information overload. Sorry about that.
Part 4 notes:

Ikazuchi is supposedly an archaic Japanese word meaning thunder. Thus, the kitsune present in the clearing are thunder kitsune.

A tanuki is a critter that looks a lot like a raccoon (though calling it a raccoon is a bit misleading. They are an entirely different species than the North American version.) Like the word "kitsune," "tanuki" means both the creature and the mischievous spirit form of the creature that can possess many magical powers. (They are also the subject of one of the Studio Ghibli films.)

Tanuki have one feature that is rather ... startling, but to find out what Hikaru was pointing at, you're going to have to do that research for yourself. Tanuki are basically harmless, and they are far less powerful than a kitsune. Unfortunately, this also means that they are sometimes bullied by the kitsune. They transform by placing a magical leaf on their heads. (The kitsune sometimes transform this way as well.)

Tengu are mountain demons. Like Sai mentions, they like to go around creating havoc and stealing children. They can be appeased by leaving offerings; woodsmen nowadays still might leave a few pieces of bread or two before they go into the forest.

Jurokumo are spider women. No, really. Unlike the Marvel version, these ladies can get really down and dirty. They like to lure men into their traps/webs and suck them dry, sometimes after err .... having their way with them first. They appear in many Asian myths; check out the ever famous Journey to the West; in it, the Monkey King and Sanzou are constantly plagued by these critters.

For a glimpse of Shindo-kun's new look, check out Sai's 1000 year Wanderer story in the Perfect Characters guide. You can find the translated version on the extras page in Toriyama's World. All Hail TW!!.

Shindo-kun looks rather like the little boy in the story (a previous life perhaps?), except with more loops in his hair. And more ribbons. Yup. His outfit is slightly more "grown up" and bulky though, thus causing him no end of trouble.

Lord Amatsu Mikaboshi is indeed the Shinto god of Evil and Hell. His other titles include August Star of the Heavens and Lord of All Sin. Writing about him makes me nervous. He doesn't have a human form, though he can appear as one, if he wishes.
Part 5 Notes:

I'm too tired right now to think rationally about these. Writing these notes take JUST as much time as composing the story. If you have questions, please ask. I always forget to explain what I have to, and put in what I don't.

Oh yeah, a note on Sai's family. Researching for this story has given me a whole new respect for History Majors.

Anyway, Fujiwara no Sai, as a member of the Fujiwara clan, may not really "exist"(and thus makes it easier to make up crap about him), but the Fujiwara clan definitely did play a great part in Japanese history. In this story, I've placed Sai in a branch that has been forced to leave the court due to some politics.

However, to find out more about the Fujiwara, there's a very simple and very fun way. Go read Catwho's story "Fujiwara" here on

Oh, and FFNET won't let me interlink into its OWN site. Anyway, it's in the same section and the story id is: 1261247

Wow. I mean, this is writing as it should be. Go and read it, thus redeeming your brain cells from the agony that is my writing.

There are some great links on the web for reading about the Heian era too. Again, FFNET won't give me a chance to link them OR put them in text form, but just type in HEIAN and you'll get some good results.
Part 6a:

This is where I show my complete and utter ignorance of Go. I just started playing the game a few weeks ago, and so far have gotten my arse kicked pretty badly. (On a 9x9 and a 13x13 no less. I have not even been able to make it all the way to a "grown up board.) It's really, really sad. Where's a Heian Go Master when you need him?

Anyway, I don't know anything about the game, but I did look up some of the terms. A wonderful place to learn Go is the Sensei's Library at:


They also have a very detailed Hikaru no Go section, including one part that tracks all the games that are shown in the manga or anime. My favorite part is this one:


Besides being very funny, you can find some really good information in regards to what Sai wears. In particular, check out what the user "moonprince" has to say. Okay, enough with the babbling, on with the business.

Nigiri is the method that two players, who are equal in talent, use to decide who gets black and goes first. Basically, one player dips his hand into a Go bowl and takes out a handful of stones. The other player can place one or two stones on the board, depending on whether they think the amount of stones in the other player's hand is odd or even. Then the stones are counted up. If s/he guesses right, s/he gets to go first. If not, then the other player gets black.

From a playing standpoint, black has a much more stronger position; all beginners start by using black (at least I have) because it gives them an advantage, ESPECIALLY if there are no komi rules. Komi rules are put in place to compensate for the black's advantage in going first. In the "old days" there were no komi rules (which is why Sai never lost when he played with black). I think the komi handicap these days is 5.4 moku or something like that.

A moku, btw, is a single "point".

Komoku is a special point/move on the board, which helps secures the corner. It's incidentally how Sai started the first game with Touya Akira.

Fuseki is the term for the opening moves of the game. Usually, between two pro players, fuseki goes rather fast.

Onegaishimasu -- for fans of the anime, you'll hear this word every time two players start a game. There are various translations, but the most common and simple one (and the one Toriayama World uses) is "please." There are other meanings as well.

Okay, I think that covers the Go terms I've used in this chapter so far.

I also realize that I've neglected to catalogue the Japanese terms I've used. GOMEN NASAI! (sorry). Actually, nobody has complained about those yet, though I know it's annoying. I really try not to slip Japanese terms into the fiction, even if it is an anime fanfic, but I know this one has a whole BUNCH of them. They're relatively simple though; like I said, I don't speak Japanese, so if I know them, probably the whole world does.

A note on why Sai calls Hikaru "Shindo-kun." I think it's because he was trying to warn off Hikaru (who, of course, takes the hint like a brick to water) from casually using his name. Anyway, "kun" is a diminutive, usually used for younger people (mostly males).

The fact that Sai and Hikaru use each other's first names denotes they are very very close. (Well, yeah, I know ... you have to be when you're stuck together pretty much 24/7). I try to be careful in my use of titles, but I think I screwed up. Some of them are "-sama" (Lord) and "san" (Mr/Mrs/Miss).

Ugh, I just noticed that a lot of the Japanese seems to come out of Osusuki's mouth. Three of the ones I remember off the top of my head are onigiri, gyouza, and omeboshi. Err, Osusuki likes referring to Hikaru by using names of Japanese foods. I think he does this because he knows it unnerves Hikaru, and because the first time he and Hikaru meet, Hikaru is all balled up inside himself like an onigiri or a dumpling. Let's see:

A gyouza is basically a chinese dumpling, also known as a pot sticker. An omeboshi is a small pickled plum. I think they're nasty, but it's a good description of Hikaru's brain, at times. I've explained onigiri, I think.

Part 6c:

As astute reader Wanderer noticed, I goofed up in chapter 3, when Osusuki calls Sai a "Haiku in Mortal Form". Err ... Haikus weren't used in the Heain Era. Oops. Instead, the poetry form is "Waka" ... wow, that's kinda really cool, isn't it? Thank you Wanderer!

I am going to fudge and wiggle and say that Osusuki is cheating and using new poetry forms. But in all honesty, I didn't know. Seriously, props to Wanderer. You get the research crown!

Hmm, I think the only strange term I used this time is Gama-senin. In Japanese/Chinese mythology, Gama-senin is a sage of the mountains. He is closely associated with toads and is often pictured with one of these critters on his shoulder.

In some Asian cultures, toads are said to be symbols of luck and wealth as well. However, there are also legends in some parts of Asia about toads who would come in the night to suck the blood out of people or drag them down to the bottom of rivers and swamps. Heh, Sai's fears may be somewhat justified.

They wouldn't let me put in my Gama-senin links! Darn FFNET. Why won't they let me cite my sources? Arrrgh. Oh well, imagine a little bald guy with a giant toad on his shoulder. That is Gama-senin, kay?. Wish I could link to a picture and show you but I'll just have to leave it to your power of imagination.
Chapter 7:

Okay, a very kind reader always together pointed out that komi is indeed 6.5 in Japan now, 7.5 in China, though in the HNG verse, it holds steady at 5.5. I think I will stick with HNG verse rules. always together , however, wins the royal scepter, which can be used in bonking the daylights out of your truly.

Hmm, about the shadow play scenes. I fudged a bit, since I did not have much time to coroborate my sources. However, I do know that in Sai's time, shadow plays weren't exactly all the rage in Japan. Chinese shadow plays may have existed during this period, as well in India and Thailand. Perhaps our resident needs-to-be-hit-with-a-shutup-stick kitsune gets around a bit. And as usual, the links I want to put up about the history of shadow plays are TOTALLY unacceptable to the FFNET. But I am going to try to put one up anyway.

www(dot) chinavista (dot) com (slash) experience (slash) piying (slash) piying (dot) html

Put a dot or a slash in the appropriate spots. THERE TAKE THAT YOU LINK EATING PROGRAMS!! (heh)

I own some Chinese shadow cutouts of the "Journey to the West" which are quite cool. I definitely need to learn more about the whole thing, once I have some free time.

Also, grammar note: I changed a few things in chapter 6a, chapter 3, and chapter 5, as per noted by very astute readers Kira Seldon, always together, and Tarigwaemir. However, there has been a more than just grammar changes in 6a; a small plot point has been inserted posthaste as well. Karma cookies if you can spot it. Hehehe. You are a better reader than me, if you can. It's not something terribly important, but I am embarassed that I didn't think of it before.

Thank you for sticking with me this long. I didn't have much time to think up what I might need for the chapter notes ... if you notice something I have not explained, let me know, and I will add it on the next update and give you a karma cookie for it.

Chapter 8 notes

Somehow, in the process of going home over the summer and switching computers, I've lost my notes. Hehehe, now I feel like I'm back in grade school. Um ... my dog ate them? Err ... there were these ducks and they were mad and ... nevermind.

I just plain lost them. Still, I went through both parts of the chapter combing for things that should be explained. I didn't find many, probably because the chapter is confusing enough on its own without getting any factual items mixed up in it. Facts? We don't NEED no stinkin' facts. Ahem.

I did find that I've used yet another Japanese food word -- Edamame. Edamame are currently my favorite snack food here in the land of the rising sun. Edamame are soybeans which are boiled, before being given a light shaking of salt. From what I've seen, Japanese people love eating edamame as a side dish when they go out drinking, during office parties (enkais), or just when they're feeling nibbly. They're awful good for you, and nummy too, so I highly recommend you go down to your local Asian mart and pick up some, because they are easy to prepare and not fattening at all. When in their pods, they look like fuzzy beans ... yes, the fuzz is natural.

Sugawara no Akitada is indeed the name of Sai's opponent back in the Heian court. The name comes from the Hikaru no Go perfect characters guidebook. However, I didn't know this on my own ... I remember reading a post from quite some time ago on some mailing list (or was it a forum?) about this. You can also choose him is a rival in the HNG Playstation(?) game. (I'm tempted to buy the game JUST so I can beat the tar out of him). I can't remember who I read this information from, but to whomever provided it, thank you. I just wish my memory was better ... I wrote down the source, but since I've lost those notes, I apologize.

Atari is a Go term as well as the name of a gaming system that was mass-produced in the eighties. Yes, I am a child of the eighties, and yes, I remember the Atari system. Centipede rocked my world. Atari, in Go, occurs when a stone or a group of stones has/have only one liberty remaining. If they move incorrectly, the player stands to lose the stones in atari to his or her opponent. However, by itself, atari isn't particularly a dangerous state; worse comes to worse, you can always ignore it if you can afford to lose the stone(s).


The wonderful people at this site explain the concept a lot better than I can. Calling out atari, however, is considered by the pros to be highly rude.


And yes, Lord Amatsu Mikaboshi did it intentionally. I don't think he was being rude per se but I wouldn't put it past him to be smug. To be totally honest, I think he was trying to be symbolic. (Subtlety? What's that?! sigh)
Chapter 9 notes

Honinbo Shusaku AKA Kuwahara Torajiro was one of the most famous and talented Go players in the mid 19th century aka the Edo period. Though it is rumored that he was born on 5/5/1829, there is actually quite a bit of debate about that. He learned Go pretty early on in life. By the age of six, Torajiro was noticed by the local damiyo, Lord Asano, who basically took the child in and acted as his patron. Torajiro later joined the Honninbo house, whereupon he changed his name. Some of the more famous things about him is that he won all of his Castle games as well as perfected a style of opening moves which is now named after him: The Shusaku Fuseki. However, of note, Go scholars are split between those who think Shusaku was the ultimate player of the period and those who think Shuwa (or even Jowa) was the best player.

By all accounts, Honinbo Shusaku was a decent man too; as the manga states, he died taking care of his students who had become stricken from cholera. I've always felt that the show did a slight injustice to the guy in regards to attributing much of his talent to a dead ghost from the Heain era. Not that I don't love Sai to pieces (I think you can tell, eh?) and not that I don't think Sai is a kickarse player, but I think Torajiro probably has a pretty interesting back story besides being a Go puppet for a ghost. Like the relationship between Sai and Hikaru, Hotta Yumi did show that Torajiro and Sai had other interests too, including pottery and calligraphy. Also, in the context of the manga, I think the Happy-Go-Lucky Sai that appeared to Hikaru was due in part to howTorajiro changed him. Sadly enough, the Sai who appeared to Torajiro probably didn't have the same, cheerful manner that he would later have with Hikaru. At least, that's what I'm guessing. Anyway, more speculation about this in the future chapters.

Y'know, I bet Hotta Yumi could do justice to a Torajiro sidestory. :) I just hope she writes MORE of something soon.

To be honest, writing about Torajiro makes me as nervous as writing about Amatsu Mikaboshi -- perhaps more so. No disrespect is intended toward the "real life" Honinbo Shusaku, of course, who probably was more interesting than my made up bit about him.

For the information on Honinbo Shusaku, please remove the (parenthesis) and go to:


Basically, a lot of my Shusaku information is paraphrased from these two places.

Of interest, a Go saint is actually called kisei ... I was torn between using this term and using the Go saint one ... still am not sure. What do you think?

Otherwise, this chapter was pretty devoid of any useful information.

The one go term I did use is tenuki. Tenuki is a play whereupon a player chooses not to answer his or her opponent's move locally, but moves elsewhere, perhaps hoping to draw the game to another area of play. It's something you can use when your stones are in atari. However, Sai's comment is not as much about a move on the board, I don't think.

Again, the people at the Sensei's Library explain it a lot better than I do.


This site is a lifesaver. I cannot recommend it highly enough. The chapter notes in the next chapter are due almost solely to them ... and boy, are there a lot of notes for the next chapter. We're talking about a page and a half of notes. Yes, run while you can.
Chapter 10 notes: (VERY LONG! AND LONGWINDED!)

Okay, at this point, everyone is probably wondering what the !!!! actually happened in the game between Hikaru and Lord Amatsu Mikaboshi. Well, it's rather hard to explain, but I'll give it a try. It's actually kinda stupid.

Basically, Hikaru wins both the technical game and the spiritual battle. I'm going to leave off explaining the spiritual battle -- it's weird enough as is, and I'm not sure it'll help if I tried.

And technically, Hikaru should've lost the game, given the handicap. In my version, though, Hikaru pretty much wins by the skin of his teeth. He used a "coming from behind" move and revived the previously dead pieces around the tengen. It's a signature move of Hikaru's ... he's employed it in games other than this one. The reason that the handicap didn't equal an automatic loss for Hikky is that the mistake LMA made before was a pretty bad one, worse than the one HIkaru made when Sai played Kaga. Hey, at least Hikaru's mistakes worked for him this time, huh?

The moves that appear during the sword battle are actual moves from a real, rather famous Go game. The sequence shown is one-sided -- basically, I've only written down white's moves. Also, they are from the latter half of the game, at the point just before yose. For those curious, I can tell you which game it's based on but I have to say that the actual game itself doesn't really fit the criteria that I've written into the plot. I couldn't find a game where someone had given eight stones to their opponent, then challenged them to a field of battle with swords, and then come from behind to win by reviving the dead stones around the tengen. sigh In other words, I fudged.

But yeah, the moves are from a real game and they are plotted along an X/Y diagram. However, where traditionally you'd have (0,0) as the intersection between the X/Y coordinates, it's been replaced with (1,1).

Therefore, move 1-1 would be the lower left hand corner of the goban, move 1-19 would be the upper left hand corner, move 19-1 would be the lower right hand corner, and 19-19 is the upper right hand corner. I don't think this is the traditional way to plot a go game; in Japan, moves are plotted along a numerical/kanji diagram. That is, the digit is written down as a western numeral, the second is given in kanji form. If you've ever seen the manga in its original form, Sai calls out the moves to Hikaru as (17 "no" "kanji".) I've also seen a couple of televised games here, and the X line of the graph is written in western numerals, while the y line is represented by kanji. However, kanji isn't quite an option here on ffnet! And it's REALLY weird to read.

In western countries, I've seen alphabetical/numerical charting process ... that is, A-19 would be the upper left hand corner of the goban. Also, sometimes the kifu writers forgo numbers entirely, and go entirely with the alphabet. Thus a-a would be lower right hand corner of your goban.

Yeah, it confused the heck out of ME! Despite the fact that I babble on, I really only have the barest grasp of what I'm doing. I used the X-Y numerical method mainly because that's how Toriyama world translated the Go moves in the manga.

No, I don't know what I'm talking about. But I do have a handy diagram of the game, with the moves marked out. I don't have anywhere to put it but I can send it to you. Though I think it's kinda rather dorky of me to have done this. Yeah, I know. Dork. dork. dork. My estimation for Hotta Sensei has really gone through the roof. It's darn HARD to write these things and make in interesting. And the way she did it without resorting to alternative universes, weird magical powers ... made it into a believable GO game ... yeah. The woman's a genius.

Ironically enough, white loses the game. But in my version, thing's go a liiiittle differently.

Go terms:

I got these from my ever favorite site, Sensei's library.

Fuseki -- opening game. It's basically follows a fixed pattern; a certain Go saint has one named after him! ;)


When Hikaru is finally able to see the game, he discovers that Sai has just moved beyond fuseki, into mid-game. Yes, the game has moved exceptionally slowly until this point. I can't quite blame Sai ... a lot is riding on his moves. However, when Hikaru enters the picture, the game is still in the earlier half of mid-game. Mid-game ends when all the killing moves stops. In the story, it's echoed by when Hikaru puts down his sword and concentrates on territory acquisition. To quote the sensei source directly:

The middle game (chuban '†"' in Japanese) typically starts when one part of the board is heavily contested by both players and a fight occurs. The fight will mostly move out into the center. Play in the middle game is dominated by attack and defence .

When the situation calms down and territory becomes again the major factor, the endgame has started. The middle game therefore typically ends when all important groups are secured against killing attacks.


Yose -- Endgame. originally it's a move made to approach a fairly stable territory of your opponent in order to try to make your territory a little bit bigger. As the site notes, since this usually happens near endgame, the word's a synonym for endgame as well.


Of interest, sensei's library also has this to say of killing attacks:

Here are two ideas that are important to distinguish for a beginner:
taking the opponent's stones; killing a group belonging to the opponent.

In the first case the stones are actually taken off the board. In the second case the group is put in a position where it has no long-term future (in particular cannot make two eyes ). It may possibly survive, in a few ways: ko , attacking the outside groups successfully, connecting unexpectedly.


Basically, yeah, Hikaru initiates a ko battle and wins back his pieces in a previously dead group. And come to think of it, with all the attacking and killing, Go is a rather violent game when taken in its natural terminology. Woot!

Seki: state where you basically are locked head to head with your opponent and neither of you can move without killing each other's stones completely.

from Sensei's Library:

Seki means mutual life. In its simple form, it is a sort of symbiosis where two live groups share liberties which neither of them can fill without dying.

Be aware that although neither side can 'win' a seki, a seki can be a possible source of ko threats .


To me, it describes Touya Akira and Shindo Hikaru's Go relationship perfectly. They need each other in order to be spurred onto greater heights in the Go world. It also becomes a metaphor for how Hikaru sees Go in general.

Can a game really end in seki?I dunno. It's possible, I think ... I know I wrote that Torajiro's game ended in seki. Some people postulate that the Hand of God is an eternal seki where a human player finally can equal a god. Or a game that can go on indefinitely without ending. In a way, playing a god who's the incarnation of the worst of the human sins is playing against the worst of who you are, as well. The best and worst of all humanity can be seen in a single person, sometimes. Maybe that's why the hardest battles we face are the internal ones. Man, I do sound cheesy. blushes

Hikaru has an edge in that he realizes that Lord Amatsu Mikaboshi isn't his real opponent. He's able to break the seki when he realizes this. However, breaking a seki in the Heart of the Game means that you have to pay a price too. Ouch. Poor Hikaru.

Finally, the Hand of God thing. Erm. No comment on whether or not Hikaru reached that state. Hehe, I guess you can decide for yourself. But I will leave you with the sensei's Library's discussion on the HoG.


If you ask me, I think the series was headed into the idea that there isn't one move, or one "hand" of god, in that there is just this ONE set of stone placements that insures you the win whenever you play it. (To me, it'd rather boring if you found it ... there's no more challenge to any game. I don't think Sai really wants this kind of Hand of God ... what's the use of winning all the time?) .

Instead, the evolution of the game through the top players becomes the hand of God ... that is, in their plays, you can see the movement toward perfection. Hikaru embodies this ideal in that he connects both the path and the present and the potiential future; in him you can see the movement of the game towards something much better. The wonderful thing about the word hand/move is that it can have so many connotations to it, whether you speak either Japanese or English. And it's ironic that Hikaru might already have the Hand of God within him ... and not know it.

Yargh, I think that's it. I can't believe I was pompous enough to try to use the hand of god in a HNG fanficcie. Or that I could write a page and a half of notes on something I know so little about. Oh well. As always, if you have any questions, or comments, or just want to say YOU IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDIOT! Or argue about Hands of Gods or such, please drop me a note!

Chapter 11 and Epilogue

Thankfully, there aren't as many notes this time around as there were last time. The end of the game also means I can stop pretending to know what I'm talking about ;). Yay!

The story ends with an epilogue set the day before Obon. Obon is an important festival in Japanese calendar, taking place around either July or August, depending on how the Lunar calendar is adding up in the year. I think the set date is August 13-15, however.

It's actually a tradition with widespread Asian roots, and different variations of Obon are celebrated around Asia, especially in China. It usually takes place on the seventh month by the lunar calendar. (Thus seven is a rather unlucky number according to some Asian cultures, in opposite to the Western belief). Obon takes place over the span of several days, and unlike Setsubon, Obon is the time that Japanese people welcome ghosts into their households. It's believed that on Obon, deceased ancestors return to visit their loved ones in the places they know well. Thus, many families return home to their hometowns to celebrate this with family. Often, food is left out at the srhines to appease these beloved wanderers. And on the last day, in some towns, boats with candles are lit and sent downstream to guide the spirits back. In Kyoto, they set an entire side of a mountain on fire in the shape of the kanji for "sky" to guide the spirits. It's quite awesome, and something to see if you get the chance.

I've always wanted to write an Obon story regarding Hikaru and Sai, set after Sai's disappearance. With a festival to welcome back ghosts, I think it would be very appropriate . One of these days, I might do it. Something about the image of Hikaru, lighting a lantern to send down the river really grips my mind's eye.

To find out more about Obon, check out this site:

http (:) () www (.) japan-guide (.) com (/) e (/) e2286 (.) html

And thanks for sticking with me so long. The piece takes place on a time period from Setsubon to the Obon of the following year (thus the theme of leaving and coming back) ... roughly a year and a half of time. It's also the same amount of time it's taken me to post the story, believe it or not. So I know it's been a long ride, and I'm glad you took it with me.

I hope it was worth your time. ;) I had fun writing it, at any rate!

ps: If you've made it this far, I do have one last boobytra--- err ... well, they say that you can't have a chapter dedicated to notes alone.

Well, in case you need a story ... for anyone who was wondering what was happening to Touya Akira DURING Setsubon, while Hikaru was off on his BIG ADVENTURE ... I did write this little short piece.

It's pretty much in first draft form, and it's not been betaed, but the others said that they liked it, so if you're interested, you might want to take out the spaces and look:

www . livejournal . com /users/murinae/34576 .html


Any questions? Ugh, I feel incredibly idiotic putting up notes, because it makes it sound like I know what I am talking about. Really, I don't. Most of the research I've done is on the net, which means I question the validity of the info. Oh well. I can't get to a English library, quite unfortunately.

If you're curious, I encourage you to go and find some books about Japanese culture. But you don't have to take MY word for it! (and can anyone figure out where I got THAT quote from?)

see ya next time!

I try to give credit where it is due, but FFNET just won't let me!!! As an English major, not being able to document my sources drives me crazy. Though since I am already insane, it's not a very far trip. If you want the full links/research page (complete with all the links I have deleted, email me!)