One thing that took me awhile to figure out at my Monday school was club days. Unlike in junior high or high school, elementary schools don’t have clubs after the day is over. If they do, it’s very sporadic. Luckily for me, club day takes place every other Monday at my Monday school. At first I went outside to check out the sports club, assuming that’s all they had. That was fun for a bit but then I quickly grew bored of it.
It wasn’t until one day that my vice principal told me that there were other clubs besides sports ones. He suggested I should try visiting the Tea Ceremony club which sounded interesting. However, on the way there, I saw an elderly man who I had never seen before. Before I knew it, he started talking to me. I really didn’t feel like continuing the conversation due to wanting to go to the Tea Ceremony but he wouldn’t let up. Eventually I gave up and talked to him some more. After awhile he realized he was late to his own club.
Me: “Wait, you run a club?”
Old Guy: “Yes I do.”
M: “I was on my way to one, actually.”
OG: “Oh sorry. You should stop by at my club sometime.”
M: “Which one is that?”
OG: “The Go Club. Do you know how to play Go?”
M: “A little bit…”
OG: “Then you must come to the club! Come, come, let’s go!”
I was basically dragged into the library, where the Shogi and Go club take place. Shogi is Japanese chess basically while Go is a more advanced version of Othello. You can read more about it here. I only knew how to play Go because of watching/reading the series Hikaru no Go. Nevertheless, I gave it a shot. The Go club itself is pretty small, containing only 4 members. 3 of the members are from my 5th grade classes. Two kids were from the angelic 5-1; I dubbed them Go Girl and Shorty. The last person was Fishman. It was around the first time I came to the club that I gave Fishman his nickname. He would usually sit right next to me and ask me questions like “How do you say penis?” “What does shut up mean?” or “What big is your dick?”. I would eventually answer, “Shut up, Fishman,” and he proudly accepted the name. He also likes to call me Diego-chan a lot, which really irritates me.
Anyways, my first match was with the 6th grade girl. She was pretty good at the game and whooped my ass. While I was initially bored at first, I really got into the match halfway through. We were unable to finish the game before club time was over but it was clear she had won. The club leader suggested I should borrow some go problem books from the library. Before I could say “Well, I can’t really read much Japanese,” he dumped three books on me:
When I came back to the office, my vice principal asked how the Tea Ceremony club was. I had completely forgotten about it. The next time Club Day came around, I ended up going to the Go Club again. This time I faced Shorty. Shorty beat me really fast, which irritated me. “There, there, Diego-chan, we all can’t be good at Go!” Fishman said to me. I hit him upside the head.
It was around the second loss that I started looking up basic Go strategies. I ended up downloading a Go app and played practice matches on my phone every once in awhile. I even started to read Hikaru no Go again. My moment of triumph came on the final day of the 2nd semester, right before I was going to go to the U.S. for Christmas. Once again I went to the Go Club. My opponent was Fishman. Fishman tried to provoke me but I ignored everything. I beat him by a landslide, which made me happy. However, I could tell Fishman wasn’t exactly the greatest player. Since I had finished the game so fast, I was able to play Shorty again. This time, I whooped Shorty, which surprised him. Finally, it was Go Girl’s turn. By the moves I was seeing her make, I could tell Go Girl was a pretty good player. Unfortunately, time ran out before we could really get in the game. I had won two games in a row, which was awesome. However, the Go Club teacher was not present that day so I couldn’t brag to him. I eventually found out that the Go Club teacher was actually a 9-dan professional Go player. 9-dan is a really high pro level…I was surprised that such a pro was teaching at this school in his spare time.
I guess you can say I’m a member of the Go Club now. Since then, I played Shorty once more but we ended up at a tie. Maybe one day I’ll be able to face off against the 6th grader but for now, I’m taking a little break from the Go Club. Next week I plan to finally visit the Tea Ceremony clubs as well as the other “indoor clubs” before the 3rd semester ends. It’s days like the Go Club that make up for some of the terrible classes in my Monday school. Instead of sitting bored at my desk, I spend the last hour and a half or so of the day doing various activities with the kids. I wish my other schools had clubs.