Wednesday, September 1, 2010

So Finland Is really Expensive...

Yeah. I was warned several times about this before I went there, but seriously it was more expensive than New York. The alchohol, the milk products and the real estate costs were the only things cheaper.

My friends and I decided to open a communal kitchen of sorts to fight the strain on our wallets. Most meals consisited of cold cuts, bread, mustard and juice. It wasn't too bad, a bit repetitive though. Somehow, even though I thought I was being frugal, my wallet seemed to get very light towards the end of the week. I needed to figure out a way to make some money.

I implemented two courses of action. The first was being a recycler. It was a pretty highly paid job in finland. Of course you receive no hourly wage, just commision. The hours are great, basically whenever you want, and you are self employed, no boss barking at you to do or not to do something. For ever 2 liter plastic bottle you recieve .40 euro, for the half liter bottles you get .20 euro, and for cans you only get .15.

I made about 100 euros from this job. My other job was more interesting. With the help of chidori's donation of a sign board (, I set up a massage booth at congress to help players relieve the stress of playing 5 hour long games. I charged 5 euros for 15 minutes back rub or hand massage. I had 3 customers doing this at a booth.

I was not too succesful until I took my business to the bar that all of congress attendees went to and started offering short massages. Three minutes for 1 euro. I am not sure exactly how many customers I had at the bar. Some paid in drinks. Overall I was pretty happy with the results.

Somehow I made it out of Finland without losing all my money...I must say though Helkinki is amazing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

European Go Congress

Its a bit late, but here is my European go congress report.

European Go Congress Main Tournament/and results.
A lot of people have been asking me why I went to the EGC instead of the AGC, my main reason was because I wanted to see my friends from Korea. Also I wanted an excuse to travel in europe this summer.

I got off the airplane, and got to the bus. I had somehow not counted on needing money and had nothing in my pocket. Luckily I was able to trade a 3/4 empty bottle of Grappa for a bus ticket.

I found the congress site pretty easily, it was the source of all the elderly japanese people wandering about. Actually this was quite amusing, I imagine, for the locals. Suddenly the City of Tampere had a drastic increase of Japanese. I wonder what sort of ideas they had...

The congress was held at the Aleksantari school. I arrived and registered without a problem. I could not really find what to do so I just started talking to some german people. I was lucky to find a very interesting person. He had just biked from germany through Scandinavia and then taken a ferry to finland and biked the rest of the way to congress. He was also a 2d go player, and a geo-cacher, in fact for teh past 2 years i believe he finds at least one cache a day.

I spent the day hanging out with him, I found my first cache, and went swimming in a nice big Finnish lake. Also I was very surprised to eat one of the best donuts I have ever tasted.

Here are the "results"

  • I played as a 1 kyu in the tournament. I had an ok result of 5 wins 5 losses. But I was not satisfied since i won 4 games the first week and only one the second.

  • In the weekend tournament I did very poorly, I only won 1 game out of 5.

  • My pair go partner, Kim Chaelim, and I got to the top 8, but we lost a very close game in the quarter finals.

  • The team I played on in the football tournament got 4th place.

In general I was surprised after the first week that I was able to get 4 wins. I expected to not be able to hold my 1kyu level so well. The weekend tournament dissapointed me, but i blamed that on too much partying and poor sleeping conditions. I thought that my winning streak would start again after my win on the first day of the second week, but I ended up losing the last 4 games. To be honest, I was pretty disapointed with myself in losing the last game. I had a really good opening, yet somehow in the endgame my level suddenly dropped back down to 30kyu. I played Ko's I didn't need, missed ataris and didn't defend after blocking on the first line.

Overall I am satisfied with my 5-5 result, but I think I could have done better.

(Photo by EuroGoTv)