Author interviews Vol.22 aiko

InterviewsAuthor round-table

Talking to aiko

The gender of aiko is a secret. Aiko is in the 40s. Aiko is married, working in a small company.

NyanBazDid you play with puzzles when you were little?

aikoI liked anything with puzzles. I played 15 puzzle, jigsaw puzzles, Rubik's Cube, books with brain teasers, and more. I experienced it all. That was from I was a fifth grader in elementary school. My grades were the best in those days. They dropped when I got into junior high school. So, the high point of my life was the time when I was a student in the fifth year of elementary school.

NyanBazYou've got to be kidding! (laughs). When did you get to know about Nikoli?

aikoThat was 10 years ago. I solved Kakuro in a Pencil Puzzle Book.

NyanBazSo Kakuro was the first for you. Did you solve all of the book?

aikoYes. I carried it through, but I had a hard time. I may have solved one more book of Kakuro puzzles. I used memos all the time with difficult problems and solved them by sheer force. Kakuro was difficult for me at that time.

NyanBazAfterwards, did you try out other puzzles?

aikoNo. I didn't know that Nikoli was publishing all kinds of puzzles. After Kakuro, I was solving Paint by Numbers from other sources. The opportunity that I came to love Nikoli puzzles was via a WEB site. I accidentally found an individual site that was setting puzzles. I met Slitherlink for the first time there. Then I got to know about Nikoli's puzzle site and played around there.

NyanBazYou knew the internet site before you found out about the publications. Most other authors are coming there from contributing to the publications. I don't know many of the opposite case. Cases like your's may happen from now on though. What was the first issue of Puzzle Communication Nikoli that you bought?

aikoThat was Vol. 109 issued in Dec, 2004. The first that I contributed puzzles to and where they appeared was Vol. 113 issued in Dec, 2005. The puzzle which I made first was Kakuro. I did send in other puzzles too.

NyanBazYou made a variety of puzzles from your early days. Why did you get into making puzzles?

aikoBecause I read puzzle author Komieda's blog. I felt friendly towards the authors there. So I tried to make puzzles. Until then, I had thought a puzzle was done with when I had solved it. But reading the blog I wanted to become friends with those puzzle authors. If I had not read the blog I may still not be making puzzles today.

NyanBazHow many puzzles are you making now? And are you making puzzles of all sorts of kinds and sizes?

aikoYes, I try to make any kind of puzzle. I want to have one of all kinds of puzzles on nikoli.com every month. Often my problems are not accepted. So I make a lot just to make sure of that. Recently, my sucess rate has gone up. I should think about decreasing my contributions. (laughs)

NyanBazDon't even think about that, please.

aikoI'm not famous as a puzzle author, I think that too many of my puzzles getting published may not be a good thing. My work is good for when there is a gap in the work of the famous authors. I'm still inexperienced. I don't have any consciousness that I am much of an author.

NyanBazI see what you mean. But remember, nikoli.com, only requests puzzles from persons of proven ability. You should have more confidence in your work. Do you contribute puzzles to Puzzle Communication Nikoli?

aikoYes. To every issue, I send in 2 problems of each of every standard puzzle. It may be around 40 in all. He who keeps shooting will hit the mark eventually. (laughs)

NyanBazWhat is it you are saying! Puzzle Communication Nikoli has so many contributions among its readers. It is among those, that your work has been published. I think you are a great gunman. But, how about favorite puzzles, or puzzles you don't get along with, are there any of those?

aikoIt depends, whether I solve on a PC or on paper. I like Nurikabe if I can solve it on a PC. I like Sudoku and Kakuro if I solve them on paper. However, I solve any kind of puzzles. Other than that, I like problems that can be solved smoothly. I'm weak with problems that take time to solve. I want to see the solution when I have been doing a puzzle for 30 minutes. (laughs) I'm less than patient. I aim at problems that are solved smoothly when I make problems. With large sized problems I try to have places where you will get stuck. But it's difficult to make a really satisfactory problem.

NyanBazYou solve puzzles and make a lot of puzzles, Do you do anything besides puzzles? What do you do on holidays?

aikoI don't do anything special. I spend my holidays like everybody else. I play with my children. I watch videos. I like comedy shows, often watch them. I'm weak for serial drama. I can't wait for the next installment. After all, I'm less than really patient. (laughs)

NyanBazAre there any puzzles that you are dying to make, some that you just have to do?

aikoI don't have anything like that. I always think that I want to make problems that a person who knows the rules can solve. My children are in elementary school. I want to make puzzles that also children can solve. The difficult problems I'll entrust to other authors.

NyanBazYou are service oriented.

aikoTrue enough. But I'm not really able to achieve even that. For me really, a puzzle is completed when I have made it, and I send it off when it is completed. Of course it appears after I send it. I don't know where it is evaluated. That's often all there is. Thank goodness for solver comments at nikoli.com. I'm very happy when I see a comment like "I solved it fast." , "It is a kindly thought out problem." , "It was easy." .

NyanBazLet's look beyond puzzles, that you want to do someday?

aikoI heard the story that the president of Nikoli, Maki Kaji is spreading puzzles in Africa. I also want to share the fun of puzzles with people in other countries. Puzzles are like a recreational thing. It would be nice if I could help people around the world through puzzles.

NyanBazAre you going to keep up making puzzles?

aikoFor now, I'd like to continue. I have the motivation. I may of course get too absorbed in puzzles. I am also anxious to avoid having a bad influence on my surroundings. (laughs)

NyanBazWhat is a puzzle to you?

aikoHmm... I havn't thought much about that. It's play, and it's a pastime. Please leave it at that. Currently, I'm simply enjoying it whether to make or to solve puzzles.

NyanBazNow the last question, anything that you want to tell people solving your puzzles?

aikoIt's pleasant to solve puzzles, and making them is also pleasant. I myself started from solving puzzles, and came to make them. I got engrossed in puzzles. If you try and make a puzzle, perhaps you will feel that interest. Making puzzles, there is a different pleasure from solving them. Please try to make puzzles too.


Interviewed Feb 2009 Published on Feb 2, 2011