Isumi had had to moved out to live on his own. His family's home was situated way out in the outer suburbs of Tokyo. It made sense because his father, three brothers and lone sister all worked at the sewing machine plant nearby.
The commute to the Go institute was close to a murdering 2 and a half hours. And while Isumi had been an insei he had just put up with the inconvenience, but once he became a working Pro, it became impossible. So with a heavy heart, he had moved out.
It was his sister who had realized his loneliness and had given him the kitten. And now, every night he got home he told the calico kitten all about his day, like he used to do at home.
Chapter 2: Practical matters
Hostilecrayon's prompt: The Hand of God is all well and good, but Isumi plays for more practical reasons.
Isumi had always been a practical boy. When he was an insei he lived at home and communed into town each Sunday. When he still hadn't attained pro status but was too old for insei class he took the opportunity of staying at the Chinese Go institute with both hands. And when he became working pro he moved into a shoebox apartment in the cheaper end of town, but still close enough to make the travel time to his clients and the Go institute doable.
Practical, yes, and self-reliant. Also without any family burdens, after all, everybody in his family was employed at the sewing machine factory, so no worries there. Yes, no worries, until that day in February that The Big One hit.
No one was hurt at the sewing machine factory and the building had survived the earthquake well enough. Not so the factory machinery. What with the continuing economic crisis in Japan of the last 20 years, the machines had not been replaced with newer ones in years and the shaking had been the last straw; the factory had had to close its doors. And the members of the Isumi family were now all out of a job. The only one employed was Isumi himself.
Reading the letter from his family had been the hardest thing he had ever done. And it made him cry the way they never once asked him to come back and help out or even for any monetary aid. No, all they wrote was how it would all be all right and that brother Jiro had found a part time job in the municipal sewage plant. And that Isumi's mother had changed her sewing hobby for a job in a low end clothing store that also offered mending services. And that they were very sure the others would find great jobs soon.
Isumi had always had a plan with his Go career. Reaching the Hand of God, yes, as a metaphor for creating a very well played game. He never had believed in fairytales; he was just a bit too practical for that. What he had envisioned was a nice and slow build-up to attain the wisdom and experience to create at well played game at such a moment he could win a title with it. He had planned to play in the Oteai until he had reached at least the 4th dan level before even thinking about entering a tournament.
But now all he could think was that a Go pro gets paid a standard fee per official game, win or lose. Losing would only mean he would not get a chance to play another game in that particular tournament for another year. Of course he fully planned to win. Or try to anyway.
So, the next Monday, with hands shaking, he turned in his filled out forms for the prelims for the Kisei, Meijin, Honinbo, NEC, Tengen, Oza, Judan, Gosei and NHK tournaments.
And when he got home he decided to name his cat Gambatte.