|Life In 19x19
|Used Go Equipment in my Etsy Shop
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|Author:||Soromon [ Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:48 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Used Go Equipment in my Etsy Shop|
TL;DR: My name's Solomon and I'm an AGA 3-dan. I'm selling Go equipment online via an Etsy Shop.
The long version, ripped from my Etsy Shop's "About" section:
In 2003 I moved to Japan to teach English. I didn't speak Japanese when I arrived, but I slowly picked it up. Outside of work, I filled my time with soccer, choir, and Go. I'd play once a week at the municipal building with some old timers, and once a week with Yokoyama Sensei (Yokoji). After two years I returned to the US, and Yokoji gave me a parting gift of a slate and shell set of stones. I still use them. He was a great friend, and I'm sure that I carry his calm play style with me in my games.
Over the course of the next 15 years, I built new friendships through the game of Go and established a club that meets regularly in Denver. At least, it did, until the Covid-19 pandemic.
2020 has been a difficult year, to be sure, and there's still heartache and hard work ahead. But it's also important to have something to look forward to.
Like so many communities, this crisis took from our little Go club the joy of meeting face-to-face. There's something special about gathering together over a table and holding the pieces in our hands. It's something I hope we can enjoy again someday.
So, during lockdown -- missing my friends, missing our games and our community -- I decided to do something.
I thought about Yokoji, and I remembered when he handed me a humble set of slate and shell. I still treasure the memory. I started making phone calls. I talked to a couple dozen people that play Go in Denver and gauged their interest in getting slate and shell. I explained that the least expensive option was Seamail shipping, which meant that the processing time would probably turn these items into Christmas presents, but no one seemed to mind.
However, apart from a few sets on ebay, there didn't seem to be much available and the shipping expenses were absurd. The unfortunate fact is that, even with Seamail and combined shipping, the average price to get something across Japan and then over the Pacific Ocean is about $4/pound. That means a 40-pound board set costs $160 to ship, which is in addition to the purchase price, taxes, fees, currency conversion, etc.
In June I had a bright idea and contacted a friend in Kyoto. "[Hey Van, would you mind if I shipped some Go stuff to you, and had you bring it back the next time you visit the US?]" When he agreed, I contacted one of the sellers and negotiated local shipping across Japan for about $20. Four sets later, I realized that I would be filling an entire suitcase. I told Van I'd pay for shipping, and I looked for a new solution. Still, that was 1 international parcel instead of 4. Not a bad start. (Thanks, Van!)
July rolled around and I began making this project a priority. I partnered up with a warehouse in Japan for international shipping, and I started scouring peer-to-peer networks for used stones. And, to be honest, I found more than I needed.
As I write this, it is July 24th. Christmas Eve is five months away. Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean are dozens of sets of Go stones, rescued from the shelves of thrift stores and antique shops and garage sales, all waiting to find a new life in the US. While I have homes for the majority of that equipment, I do have some sets left over. Take a look, and favorite my shop (or however one signs up for updates? I'm new to this Etsy thing) - I expect that the majority of the Go stones will arrive in October, and once they are restored and cleaned up I'll take some photos and make them available at reasonable prices.
Over the last several months I've seen just about everything that Japan has to offer in terms of Go Equipment. I've seen thrift shops, estate sales, antique dealers, and even peer-to-peer sellers just emptying out their storage lockers. It's been wild.
And there is some *gorgeous* stuff out there. So if you have a bigger budget, let me know how big and I'll keep my eye out or help connect you. For the most part I'm just trying to get humble sets for humble people. But if there is something specific that you're looking for, let me know by completing a Custom Order request.
I hope I can help pair you up with a set that will help bring you and your friends together for years to come.
Happy shopping, and thanks for being part of this journey with me.
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