I received a rather nice Christmas message from Canberra's Bill Egan yesterday who sent in his congrats about my upcoming move to Tokyo. I just hope that he's right: that my three years there would be interesting chess-wise. But I don't know about his suggestion of me becoming a big fish in Tokyo (as opposed to being a small fish here). After all, and I've just checked the FIDE ratings list, Japan does have a few master strength players.
Their current number one is FM Yoshiharu Habu, rated 2404, followed by two other FMs, Loren Schmidt and Akira Watanabe. Not exactly mugs.
The first thing to do, however, is to pick up some Japanese lingo skills quickly or at least find myself a translator just to get around the JCA's pretty comprehensive website. From what I can tell, the site is updated frequently and has most info one could possibly need. This page, for instance, appears to have a list of clubs, though I can't find one anywhere near central Tokyo itself.
In case you want to check out Japanese chess, then see this page from a recent tournament.
And by the way, speaking of Bill Egan, the signature down the bottom of his emails reminded me of a couple of things. First, his book on jazz singer Florence Mills. I thought that this was only recently published. But, in fact, the book came out a number of years ago now. I haven't read the book myself, so you'll have to read others' reviews here, including a brief recording by NPR. There's also a short Q&A here with the author himself.
Secondly, I'm reminded of another book that Bill is supposed to be writing! It's one about the history of the Doeberl Cup (which he "abandoned in favour of the Florence Mills book"). I just hope he'll finish the thing by the time I'm back in this country. C'mon Bill!