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What Shogi [Japanese Chess] Can Teach You About Languages, Learning and Life

So, as you probably already know, all chess originated in, like, India. The Persian variant became Western (international) chess. There’s a bunch of regional variants; there’s a Chinese variant, an Ethiopian variant, as well as a Japanese variant. And that’s what shogi (将棋 (しょうぎ)) is — Japanese chess.

Shogi is all sorts of cool. For one thing, you can capture your opponent’s pieces and turn them against him — kind of like how 30,000 of 40,000 Indian POWs in Burma during a couple of the seasons of that rather unfortunate global reality show in the 1940s volunteered to fight for Japan.

Now, I don’t actually even like board games, and I especially don’t like chess of any kind– although I do love hanging out with my friends while we play board games and I do have a soft spot for Othello/Reversi, but — chess, as a game, to be played, has always bored me.

But then there’s this guy. His name is HABU Yoshiharu. And he makes me love shogi. Not love it enough to play it (lol), but still. I’m in love. I leave the go/shogi channel on in the background all day (yes, it’s a real cable channel; yes, it runs 24/7)

So who is Yoshi Habs? Well, he’s the best living (human? organic?) player of the game, and currently perhaps the GOAT. AFAIK, shogi AI hasn’t quite yet pwned all the best humans, although it no doubt soon will. Anyway, HABU’s been playing the game a long time, since he was a kid, although he started quite late, wasn’t a prodigy at all, and actually sucked hard early on.

He’s written many articles and at dozens of books — all of which appear to only be available in Japanese (certainly not in English) — on the game and the profound life lessons it contains. There’s depth and insight in there that you can apply to specifically to learning languages and more generally to learning about life and how to be awesome(r) and stuff.

So, I’d like to make you a course about his ideas, his insights and how they can help you. Maybe I’ll need to break it down and take it one book at a time. But, yeah, that’s the plan. Stay tuned!

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  1 comment for “What Shogi [Japanese Chess] Can Teach You About Languages, Learning and Life

  1. June 26, 2017 at 03:57

    I’m excited to read it!! Thank you so much for the hard work!!

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