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 Post subject: Company Like Shodan Imports
Post #1 Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:04 pm 
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I remember a couple years ago I used to love to drool over the gobans for sale at Shodan Imports. They were hand made by an artisan in Japan, the lines ere drawn by the traditional katana method, and they were also at a very reasonable price. I have a deal with my wife that my reward for becoming a KGS 1dan would be a nice goban and stones, so I put off buying one until they went out of business. Does anyone know of any similar import companies that are still in operation (in North America)?


Last edited by DJLLAP on Sun May 10, 2015 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #2 Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:56 am 
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The go boards sold by Shodan Imports were made in Japan so why not buy one from Japan direct? Kuroki GoIshi Ten is a reputable shop and sells through its website.

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Post #3 Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:23 am 
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Kuroki GoIshi Ten is a reputable shop and sells through its website.
A little bird just told me the Yen is at a low point vs. the US$ in some years (8?).

Happy shopping.


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 Post subject: Re: Comapny Like Shodan Imports
Post #4 Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:23 pm 
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Thanks for the responses. I checked out Kuroki GoIshi Ten, and they look like great boards, but they don't have a great selection of woods to choose from. I don't want to spend enough for a Kaya board, and I have heard lots of complaints about Shin Kaya, though I have never played on anything nicer than the cheap composite boards they use at go clubs. I have been mostly looking for katsura boards, but have found http://jzool.com/en/c/357-floor-go-board which has a lot of hiba boards.

Does anyone have experience with either jzool boards or hiba in general?

And while we are at it, has anyone ever used these onyx go stones? http://www.3jade.com/rare-biconvex-natural-onyx-go-game-stones-gemstones/

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 Post subject: Re: Comapny Like Shodan Imports
Post #5 Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:12 am 
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Jzool seems to be a company to market Japanese goods overseas. I've never dealt with them. Their prices for go equipment are rather higher than other sources.

Katsura wood is becoming scarcer in Japan and consequently prices of katsura go boards have increased in recent years. Kiseido used to sell katsura floor boards but now only lists kaya or agathis. You could try writing to Kuroki Goishi Ten (email is on their website) and ask whether they would supply a katsura board. You may have to wait for translations.

Hiba boards are similar in quality to katsura. Kuroki used to sell them, too. Ginkgo wood ia also used for go boards and is well thought of. Kuroki had one that was sold but they still show pictures on their website.

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Post #6 Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:43 pm 
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Post #7 Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:34 pm 
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I do not really appreciate hiba. I'd save some more if I were you, somewhat longer, to buy a nice shin kaya or even genuine kaya later.

In my view, onyx stones are more gems than go stones. More for showcase/display purposes. They make a nice coffee table item. If it is about the money and (the look and feel while) playing go, I recommend some other material.

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Post #8 Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:31 pm 
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For my taste the onyx stones are also a little bit too shiny/glossy, I’d be afraid they’d also be to slippery when placing them. They seem … cold.

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Post #9 Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:48 pm 
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DJLLAP wrote:
I remember a couple years ago I used to love to drool over the gobans for sale at Shodan Imports. They were hand made by an artisan in Japan, the lines ere drawn by the traditional katana method, and they were also at a very reasonable price. I have a deal with my wife that my reward for becoming a KGS 1dan would be a nice goban and stones, so I put off buying one until they went out of business. Does anyone know of any similar import companies that are still in operation (in North America)?

I can't help you with an import company like Shodan Imports, BUT if you want to find a Japanese friend to help you order from the artisan in Japan which supplied to Shodan Imports, I can tell you it's Miwa Gobaten but the website is purely in Japanese. So if you want a nice goban and stones just like you would have gotten from Shodan Imports, this is it.

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 Post subject: Re: Comapny Like Shodan Imports
Post #10 Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:30 pm 
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tchan001 wrote:
DJLLAP wrote:
I remember a couple years ago I used to love to drool over the gobans for sale at Shodan Imports. They were hand made by an artisan in Japan, the lines ere drawn by the traditional katana method, and they were also at a very reasonable price. I have a deal with my wife that my reward for becoming a KGS 1dan would be a nice goban and stones, so I put off buying one until they went out of business. Does anyone know of any similar import companies that are still in operation (in North America)?

I can't help you with an import company like Shodan Imports, BUT if you want to find a Japanese friend to help you order from the artisan in Japan which supplied to Shodan Imports, I can tell you it's Miwa Gobaten but the website is purely in Japanese. So if you want a nice goban and stones just like you would have gotten from Shodan Imports, this is it.



Awesome! Thanks Tchan. I know just enough Japanese that with the aid of the Rikaikun Chrome plugin (an awesome tool that lets you mouse over any kanji for translations and pronunciation/spelling), I have been able to navigate through the website myself. There are certainly a lot of very good deals here. I see mostly Shin Kaya and Katsura boards, but I also found one marked Shin Katsura. I have a vague memory that that might be a term used for agathis, but I haven't been able to find any confirmation of that memory online.

But look at this beautiful Katsura board for only 39,600円 ($333) I had some trouble getting the full sized image to display, but it is attached below.
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Comapny Like Shodan Imports
Post #11 Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:25 pm 
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For comparison here's a 3.5" shin kaya floor board from gogameguru for $570 and that includes free shipping to the USA. https://shop.gogameguru.com/shin-kaya-go-board-35/. Or there's a similar agathis one for $430. I don't know what that $333 would become once you include shipping and import taxes but do bear in mind there are extra costs and hassle importing it yourself.

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Post #12 Posted: Fri May 01, 2015 6:13 am 
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Question regarding comparison with gogameguru would be whether the floor boards available are made in Japan from Japanese artisans or from Korea which is where some of the more expensive floor boards from gogameguru comes from. The poster seems to be interested in a traditional floor board "drawn by the traditional katana method" by a Japanese artisan. Perhaps it's not just a matter of price.

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 Post subject: Re: Comapny Like Shodan Imports
Post #13 Posted: Fri May 01, 2015 6:42 am 
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Bonobo wrote:
For my taste the onyx stones are also a little bit too shiny/glossy, I’d be afraid they’d also be to slippery when placing them. They seem … cold.


The "shiny/glossy" would be a matter of how finished. The desired finish (for other purposes) is shiny/glossy and that is produced by the fineness of the "grit" in the final stages (not usually considered "grit" at that fineness). It would be no problem producing onyx go stones with a more matte finish. Simply stop the process when still at an appropriate fineness of grit.

Whether matte finish stones of onyx would look nice another question.

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Post #14 Posted: Fri May 01, 2015 8:37 am 
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DJLLAP wrote:
tchan001 wrote:
DJLLAP wrote:
I remember a couple years ago I used to love to drool over the gobans for sale at Shodan Imports. They were hand made by an artisan in Japan, the lines ere drawn by the traditional katana method, and they were also at a very reasonable price. I have a deal with my wife that my reward for becoming a KGS 1dan would be a nice goban and stones, so I put off buying one until they went out of business. Does anyone know of any similar import companies that are still in operation (in North America)?

I can't help you with an import company like Shodan Imports, BUT if you want to find a Japanese friend to help you order from the artisan in Japan which supplied to Shodan Imports, I can tell you it's Miwa Gobaten but the website is purely in Japanese. So if you want a nice goban and stones just like you would have gotten from Shodan Imports, this is it.



Awesome! Thanks Tchan. I know just enough Japanese that with the aid of the Rikaikun Chrome plugin (an awesome tool that lets you mouse over any kanji for translations and pronunciation/spelling), I have been able to navigate through the website myself. There are certainly a lot of very good deals here. I see mostly Shin Kaya and Katsura boards, but I also found one marked Shin Katsura. I have a vague memory that that might be a term used for agathis, but I haven't been able to find any confirmation of that memory online.

But look at this beautiful Katsura board for only 39,600円 ($333) I had some trouble getting the full sized image to display, but it is attached below.
Image


Shin katsura IS agathis. The "shin" in shin kaya and shin katsura is the same character for "new" but in practice means imitation; imitation kaya and imitation katsura. If the original poster wants a totally hand-made go board with the grid of lines drawn with a sword-like applicator then it would be advisable to check with the vendor. Even specialty go board shops sell many boards that are machine made, machine cut and planed and with the lines printed on. For real traditional Japanese go boards the lines are done with lacquer, not paint or ink. Because of the hand labor and skill to make a hand-made board with lacquer lines the price is relatively higher than the machine-made ones. Another thing to be aware of is that many go board shops in Japan won't sell out of the country to individuals so check with Miwa Gobanten, or any other you might be interested in.


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 Post subject: Re: Comapny Like Shodan Imports
Post #15 Posted: Fri May 01, 2015 10:22 am 
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Thanks for all the input and suggestions everybody!

Uberdude wrote:
For comparison here's a 3.5" shin kaya floor board from gogameguru for $570 and that includes free shipping to the USA. https://shop.gogameguru.com/shin-kaya-go-board-35/. Or there's a similar agathis one for $430. I don't know what that $333 would become once you include shipping and import taxes but do bear in mind there are extra costs and hassle importing it yourself.


That is something I need to keep in mind. I really have no idea what importing a board will cost, and there is also the currency exchange fees on top of that. I find it hard to get excited about gogmaguru's boards through mostly because of the materials they offer. They only have boards in shin-kaya and agathis. I have heard that shin-kaya doesn't endure well and can have many issues like denting and flaking over time. And I really like the look of wood grain, so I would like to avoid agathis, which has a painted playing surface in addition to being harder than the ideal. One of the reasons I am mostly looking at katsura for a board material is that I live in a very dry area, and I read that redder woods have a higher oil content, which makes them stand up to dry air better.

tchan001 wrote:
Question regarding comparison with gogameguru would be whether the floor boards available are made in Japan from Japanese artisans or from Korea which is where some of the more expensive floor boards from gogameguru comes from. The poster seems to be interested in a traditional floor board "drawn by the traditional katana method" by a Japanese artisan. Perhaps it's not just a matter of price.


It is a funny dualism in my personality, but I am both driven by extreme thriftiness, and also a desire to buy things that last and I will enjoy forever when it comes to fairly major purchases. I think the balance will probably be found in the 80-20 principal - that 80% of the maximum quality is achieved by 20% of the input (money). Finding the right balance of cost and product is quite an exercise. I am fascinated by the Japanese aesthetic of refined simplicity - where a simple clay tea cup can be sold for thousands of dollars for its elegance of form and masterful glaze etc. That being so, I am very happy with my 3 dollar tea cups I got from World Market. I am not horribly bound by traditional techniques, but when they can be had without paying exorbitant prices then why not?

Bonobo wrote:
For my taste the onyx stones are also a little bit too shiny/glossy, I’d be afraid they’d also be to slippery when placing them. They seem … cold.


Onyx stones were really an idea trying to get nice, somewhat unique stones without forking over the money for slate and shell stones. Even the lowest grade slate and shell stones are quite expensive if you want them to be decent sized. What kind of stones do you think are nice enough to play with on a good goban excluding shell stones? Maybe glass?


Also, I was checking out the Kuroki GoIshi Ten website, and it seems odd to me that the cheapest kaya boards they have are the hyungakaya starting at about 50000 yen for a 10.5cm itame cut with some imperfections on the bottom. The cheapest honkaya floor board is 185000 yen for a 21cm itame cut. Is there a reason that honkaya is made into larger boards and hyugakaya into smaller boards, or is this merely indicative of what boards they have in stock at the moment? I was thinking kaya would just be more expensive than I would want to pay, but boards such as this one might change my mind (the 58000 one). http://www.kurokigoishi.co.jp/english/onlineshop/hyugakayagoban/index2.html

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 Post subject: Re: Comapny Like Shodan Imports
Post #16 Posted: Fri May 01, 2015 10:29 am 
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Honkaya is mostly from China and there is much more availability. Hyuga Kaya is a rare resource now.


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Post #17 Posted: Fri May 01, 2015 10:42 am 
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oren wrote:
Honkaya is mostly from China and there is much more availability. Hyuga Kaya is a rare resource now.


That is precisely why I am confused. It seems natural that the rarer wood would be more expensive and be used to make premium boards only, making fewer boards with thicker cuts and being able to charge a lot for them.

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Post #18 Posted: Fri May 01, 2015 10:52 am 
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DJLLAP wrote:
oren wrote:
Honkaya is mostly from China and there is much more availability. Hyuga Kaya is a rare resource now.


That is precisely why I am confused. It seems natural that the rarer wood would be more expensive and be used to make premium boards only, making fewer boards with thicker cuts and being able to charge a lot for them.


If you look at the boards, the hyuga kaya ones are all thinner and have less desirable (itame) cuts, as compared with the various masame cuts in the honkaya boards. If you look at the table boards as well, the hyuga kaya ones tend to be constructed from more pieces, which is why they are cheaper.


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Post #19 Posted: Fri May 01, 2015 10:59 am 
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DJLLAP wrote:
That is precisely why I am confused. It seems natural that the rarer wood would be more expensive and be used to make premium boards only, making fewer boards with thicker cuts and being able to charge a lot for them.


They are being used for premium boards and they put the cuts together with the availability they have. I'm confused on your confusion. :)

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Post #20 Posted: Fri May 01, 2015 11:04 am 
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DJLLAP wrote:
oren wrote:
Honkaya is mostly from China and there is much more availability. Hyuga Kaya is a rare resource now.


That is precisely why I am confused. It seems natural that the rarer wood would be more expensive and be used to make premium boards only, making fewer boards with thicker cuts and being able to charge a lot for them.


Honkaya is used for genuine kaya from anywhere except from Miyazaki prefecture (called Hyuga in the past) so there is honkaya from Japan. To connoisseurs of kaya it is felt that honkaya is generally of lower quality compared to Hyuga kaya. However there is better and worse within any category of kaya, so some honkaya from somewhere other than Hyuga might be "better" than some boards made from Hyuga kaya. Many factors go into judging quality such as absence of flaws, color, coarseness of grain, straightness of the grain, and not least the skill of the maker. Thickness of the board is related to price. A thicker board will usually be more expensive than one of the same quality but less thick. 50000 yen sounds like a price of a kaya table top board. All the factors of quality could be involved, you can't just look at the thickness of the board. A board with a knot on the playing surface would be devalued compared to one with no knots. Genuine kaya is protected in Japan so kaya trees cannot be cut. New Japanese kaya lumber can only come from trees that fall over in a storm or otherwise die. Japanese katsura is becoming depleted, too, now.


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