Author interviews Vol.35 HIRO FUKUSHIMA

InterviewsAuthor round-table


Our guest this time is HIRO FUKUSHIMA. He is in his 30s. And he is a programmer who looks becoming in his suit.

NyanBazWhat kind of kid were you?

HIRO FUKUSHIMAI was just an ordianry boy. At least, I was more ordinary than the other authors interviewed in this corner. I solved puzzles every week as they appeared in the newspaper, that was at the age of primary school.

NyanBazNikoli has provided puzzles to newspapers since that time, and still does now. You solved pencil puzzles as a primary schoolchild, was that early for you?

HIRO FUKUSHIMAI don't think that I was particularly early. Our newspaper had puzzles from a long time ago. So I guess there were many children who solved the nikoli puzzles in the papers. More newspapers carry nikoli puzzles now. And there would be more children who solve those puzzles today.

NyanBazYou said you were an ordinary boy, then you would have been playing outdoors?

HIRO FUKUSHIMASure. But in my time there was the Nintendo Family-Computer craze. And just like many other boys, I just played games. Even after I entered junior high school, I was a very common student. I was a member of the basketball club.

NyanBazDid you grow tall because you played basketball?

HIRO FUKUSHIMANo, just the opposite. I became a member of the basketball club because I was tall. When I entered junior high school, I was 160cm. Then, during junior high school, I continued to grow, and I was 180cm when I entered high school. Now I'm 185. (Average height of Japanese adult males is 172cm. ) I hurt my back as a high school student and gave up basketball. That was when, I started to buy Puzzle Communication Nikoli, I had been thinking about it for a while. The first was Vol. 30, the 10th anniversary special issue. It had a detailed explanation of how to solve each puzzle, and it was just the right thing to get started.

NyanBazHow did you feel about Puzzle Communication Nikoli?

HIRO FUKUSHIMAI liked the Omopa pages. If there had been no Omopa section I wouldn't have continued to buy Puzzle Communication Nikoli.

NyanBazYou have made a lot of puzzles including a Heyawake that became a classic. Just when you started reading Nikoli, did you try to make new puzzles?

HIRO FUKUSHIMAI thought that I wanted to be making puzzles by myself soon. I began to buy Nikoli in tenth grade, and it was in eleventh or twelfth grade that I sent the Heyawake. I sent three or four new puzzles before the Heyawake.

NyanBazIs Heyawake the most successful among your creations?

HIRO FUKUSHIMAYes. I like even Pipe link (drawing lines to make a loop, it's special because it lets the loop cross itself).

NyanBazRight. Pipe link was your creation. Nob, then the chief editor pushed it. He hoped to see a popular puzzle created based on Pipe link.

HIRO FUKUSHIMAI think it has the potential to be a good puzzle, but it is too bad puzzles with loops that cross can't seem to catch on. I really regret that.

NyanBazYou are still an active contributor to Omopa.

HIRO FUKUSHIMAI often sent in puzzles with original rules before, but recently I generally take my clues from rules of other contributors and remodel them. My contributions are a vote for my favorite puzzles among what I see. I only contribute what I really think are my own good puzzles. I just do what I myself want to do! That is the policy for my puzzle making too.

NyanBazHow many and how many other puzzles except Omopa do you make?

HIRO FUKUSHIMAI make puzzles when I want to make puzzles. I make puzzles just as the feeling takes me. So, often I go too far and waste time and effort because of myself. The result is that my contribution may be fewer than one puzzle per month. My problems are rare. (laughs)

NyanBazWhat kind of puzzle do you like?

HIRO FUKUSHIMAI like Heyawake. I still make them. I like Hitori too. I come to want to make them when I solve one. When I solve a Hitori, ideas that I could put some gimmick in jumps out. I like Shakashaka too. It's a pleasure to solve Shakashaka. I aim to become a Shakashaka author.

NyanBazAre there puzzles you dislike?

HIRO FUKUSHIMAThere aren't any puzzles I really don't like. But I'm weak in Kanji character puzzles. Because I don't know Kanji characters well. (laughs) Kanji character puzzles also appear in the Omopa pages. So, I try them there. They are hard for me. I can't really write Kanji characters.

NyanBazYou said it, recently, there is less need to write Kanji characters in daily life. But, who are the authors you pay attention to?

HIRO FUKUSHIMAGuten mostly. It is fairly recently that he became a author, isn't it?

NyanBazWell, for an old-timer like you it may seem recent.

HIRO FUKUSHIMAWell. He is a polymath and there are many good problems and a lot of radical work. Still, he says that he reviews his own work many times. Something doesn't add up there. (laughs) I don't think that length of puzzle making matters when I watch him.

NyanBazNow, let's change the subject. What are your hobbies other than puzzles? I've heard that you often go out drinking beer.

HIRO FUKUSHIMAYes. I love beer. I especially like local beers. However, I don't know much about beer as a hobby. I make puzzles myself, but I don't brew beer. (laughs)

NyanBazGood point. (laughs) What are your dreams for the future?

HIRO FUKUSHIMAI recently learned how to create Android apps. I'd like to make tools to make and solve puzzles on Android. That's not a large enough dream though, is it?

NyanBazBut it's your idea. What is your ideal puzzle?

HIRO FUKUSHIMAThe puzzle is not the problem, It's the rules that matter. My ideal is a puzzle which an author can make without too many constraints. Heyawake is near to the ideal.

NyanBazI think that Slitherlink and Nurikabe fill that bill too. Finally, is there a message for your solvers?

HIRO FUKUSHIMAI want you to enjoy my work. I contribute only problems that I myself think are fun. I'll be happy if you feel the same way about that.

NyanBazThen you have to increase the volume of publication.

HIRO FUKUSHIMAThat's right. I see. I'll do my best from tomorrow and make more puzzles. (laughs)

Interviewed Mar 2012 Published on Sep 18, 2012