Saturday, July 30, 2005

Kinokuniya in San Francisco & Go stones

We had lunch in Emeryville and went to Japantown and the SF Ferry Building to walk-off the meal.

The best retail outlet for Go books in San Francisco is Kinokuniya Bookstore. Most of the English books that they carry are from Kiseido and they have one shelf full of them. I bought a copy of Bozulich's exercise book on life-and-death which was priced at $9 instead of the regular $15.

The second shelf is all Go books.

Kinokuniya also carries about two-and-a-half shelves of Go books in Japanese. There was a nice pair of kids books which I captured in the second photo.

More Go books are available in Japanese.

Kids can find full-colored Go books. Some with small
magnetic gobans included.

I had ordered some stone samples from The Go Gamestore in Canada and they arrived this afternoon in the mail. The Go Gamestore is better know for offering Yunzi stones through the net and they recently began offering marble stones. A set of bi-convex marble stones costs $79 versus $51 for Yunzi. I wanted to see the difference first-hand.

For me, the marble stones felt better.

As you can see from the photo, the Yunzi stones have a non-glossy surface and tend to absorb, rather than reflect, light. As some other folks had described, they are somewhat translucent when held up to the light - with the black stone having a jade-colored cast.

The marble stones have a smooth semi-gloss surface and are slightly larger than the Yunzi stones. I liked the feel of marble better; especially against my nails when holding the stones properly. The white marble reflects more light and looks brighter.

Both stones weigh in at about 0.3 grams each. The marble stones have a faintly lower tone when smacked against wood. If you're in the market for a set, my recommendation would be to pay the premium and buy the marble stones.


At 12:48 PM, October 04, 2005, Anonymous Anton said...

FYI, reflecting more light is not a desirable quality for Go stones. Same thing goes for the board.

That's why Go stones are traditionally left unpolished and the wooden boards unfinished - meaning no laquer or varnish, and just a light coat of wax to protect the wood and help diminish any possible glare from shiny wood.

This all makes sense. Players don't want to be distracted by light glaring off the Go stones or the board. Bowls, on the other hand, can be as bright and shiny as the owner likes.

Anton, AGA Chapter Rep
Syracuse Go Club - Syracuse, NY

At 1:25 PM, October 04, 2005, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Very true. I may have used the term reflects in too ambiguous an optical context (as opposed to absorbing light). What I meant is that their imperviousness to light makes them appear more white than the Yunzi stones - which are more translucent.

Although the marble stones have a semi-gloss surface (which will probably be gone after constant handling), they are not shiny under normal lighting and do not create a glare effect which would tire the eye.

I've since formed a more favorable opinion about Yunzi stones after finding that a mild treatment with oil and water reduces the almost raspy feel of their surface. In addition, The Go Gamestore sells marble stones only in 22.5mm to 23mm widths which make them unsuitable for Japanese-sized gobans. You would need to buy the larger Chinese gobans to use the marble stones.


Post a Comment

<< Home