Yuki Satoshi, who played top board for the Japanese men’s team at the 2014 SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing, came to that event as an established title winner. Last spring, for the fifth time, he won the NHK Cup (Japan’s national TV tournament) and the year before that he won the Judan title (one of Japan’s seven major go titles) and the Daiwa Cup (an online tournament). In Beijing he posted an excellent 4-1 won-lost record, losing only to China’s top-rated Shi Yue, and it was his hair’s-breadth victory over Chinese Taipei’s Chen Shih-Iuan in the final round that gave the Japanese team a bronze medal. But Yuki is more than a go player; he is also a railroad buff. His career description on the Kansai Kiin’s website mentions that if he had not taken up go as a profession, he would probably have become a railroad man.
Ranka: What impressions have the World Mind Games left you with?
Yuki: Competing with all these younger teammates was a stimulating experience. As for winning a bronze medal, well, we accomplished our minimum goal, and it felt good to get up on the dais at the awards ceremony, like the Olympic athletes you see on television.
Ranka: Turning now to railroads, can you tell us something about them?
Yuki: Sure. When I was younger and had the stamina and the spare time, I used to ride trains all over Japan–once even took a sleeping car up to Hokkaido. I don’t have that much time now, but I still like to take railroad trips when the opportunity arises.
Ranka: What types of trips?
Yuki: I like to ride the local lines, especially in Kyushu and Hokkaido.
Ranka: Would that include the steam locomotive that still runs in Kyushu?
Yuki: Between Kumamoto and Hitoyoshi, yes, I’ve ridden that train.
Ranka: What do you think of Japan’s bullet trains?
Yuki: They’re just a means of getting from A to B, not as much fun as the local lines. They’re so fast that you can’t take in the scenery.
Ranka: Have you ridden the railroads in other countries?
Yuki: Not very much, but one trip each in China, Korea, and Taiwan.
Ranka: How do they compare with the Japanese railroads?
Yuki: I haven’t ridden them enough to say, but if I get the time, I’d like to do some more train travel in those countries and find out more about their railroads.
Ranka: Thank you, and we hope you get the chance.