Go-dads & Shopping in the San Francisco Bay Area
Had an online exchange with NightGhost (BC) who is father to a couple of young players on IGS. As seems to be the usual story, both of our households were infected by the Go bug thanks to Hikaru no Go.
When you think about it, if anime and manga can breed enthusiasm for merchandise and card-based games of chance, why shouldn't these have been used even earlier for a mentally-challenging strategic game like Go? Perhaps that's what the Nihon-Kiin (English site here) had in mind when they supported the development of HikaGo and provided the consultation services of Yukari-sensei (4p).
It's better to see our children, and ourselves for that matter, engaging in a game that relies wholly on cerebral acuity and determination. I hope HikaGo's popularity expands here in the US. If you're looking to buy manga compilations, Overstock.com usually has them at discounted prices and a maximum shipping cost of $2.80 for two or more items.
Chiyo-chan and I got back from Chinatown and Kinokuniya Bookstore in San Francisco. For those that might be shopping for gear, Go sets can be had in Chinatown for $18 (large magnetic) to $30 (folding wood with plastic stones). IMHO, you would be better-off spending more for either the Korean-made magnetic set from Yutopian ($32.50 shipped) or the Wood Expressions set ($28 excluding shipping).
I had info in an earlier post on how I created a cheap goban for 9x9 and 13x13 games.
Another alternative would be to browse the two Chinese bookstores near 99 Ranch in Milpitas. I had seen a full-sized goban made from plywood sold there for $8 (with the owner offering me a 25% discount on that). What looked like a set of unpolished Yunzi stones were being sold for $45. Ask for wei-chi equipment as some do not recognize the Japanese name of Go.