Author interviews Vol.30 YukiHiro

InterviewsAuthor round-table

Talking to YukiHiro

Our guest this time is YukiHiro. He is 22 years old. He studies electric systems as a graduate student and he is an amateur magician. The interviewer is NyanBaz, and another staff member, Nob, also participated.

NyanBazAt first let me ask a standard question. What kind of child were you when you were small? Did you like using your brain?

YukiHiroI liked to use my head, but the way I used it was odd. In first grade math class, students connected sticks and made shapes. Many students made a figure, but I made a kanji character. The teacher was angry and told me to do that in language class. That made me aware of the differences between language and mathematics.

NyanBazWere you smart? Were you called a child prodigy?

YukiHiroI was not a child prodigy, but I was smart. When I advanced into junior high school and high school, I was not smart at all though.

NyanBazWhen did you encounter puzzles?

YukiHiroI did the puzzle section of the newspaper as a primary school child. I solved illustration puzzles. We had Slitherlink and Hashi in the newspaper, but I couldn't solve them.

NyanBazWhy did you start Nikoli puzzles?

YukiHiroI did not start puzzles with Nikoli. I had time to kill in the winter vacation of the tenth grade, and when I looked for something which seemed to be interesting on the Internet, I found cast puzzles. I was absorbed when I tried that. Nob Yoshigahara's introductory sentence appeared on the package of the cast puzzles and I liked his straightforward way of saying things, so I checked about him. I found the information that a column which he had published in a magazine had become a book. So I bought "The puzzle missionary" .

NyanBazIt is a book which Nikoli published some years ago.

YukiHiroYes. I learned that Nikoli was the name of the company and the magazine. I knew the Nikoli name from the paper, but I thought that it was the name of a person. Then I started buying Puzzle Communication Nikoli.

NyanBazThat's rare, starting from "The puzzle missionary" . You did not go looking for Nob Yoshigahara's writings, and you still came to Nikoli.

YukiHiroNot quite, his books were out of print, but I still wanted them. (laughs)

NyanBazWere Nikoli puzzles fun?

YukiHiroYes. As I grew older I was able to solve the puzzles which I could not solve in the newspaper when I was in primary school.

NyanBazWhat is the puzzle which you liked first?

YukiHiroIt was Fillomino. When I was crazy about cast puzzles, I also liked puzzles which were packed a case like pentomino. Fillomino resembles that a little. And I liked Heyawake too.

NyanBazWhen did you contribute puzzles to Puzzle Communication Nikoli for the first time?

YukiHiroI remember that I bought Vol. 110 and contributed puzzles in the summer. I don't remember when I was published the first time, but it was Numberlink. (note: It was in Vol. 113. )

NyanBazWhy did you start to make puzzles?

YukiHiroThere'll have been some reason. It's a mystery really. (laughs) When I had read Nikoli, I found that readers contributed puzzles. Likely that was why I made up my mind to try.

NyanBazWhat's the puzzle you like, now?

YukiHiroI still like Heyawake. I also really like Masyu.

NyanBazAre there puzzles you are poor at?

YukiHiroHmm. Sudoku, Hitori, and Numberlink.

NyanBazWhat? Numberlink was your debut! But you say you have become poor at it?

YukiHiroI'm afraid so. It's not hard for me to solve Numberlink. But I have not been able to make good problems.

NyanBazI think that you make beautiful Slitherlink. Tell us about that?

YukiHiroI don't particularly like Slitherlink. With Slitherlink, I first decide the number of clues to show, then I scatter them evenly across the board. When the number of clues is approximately 40% of the cell number it has a good balance.

NyanBazDoes your Slitherlink always have 40% numbered cells?

YukiHiroNot always but almost always.

NyanBazThat is really something, not deciding on where to place the numbers but fixing the total!

YukiHiroI was not sure about the number of clues at first.Then I checked the number in past problems, and the result was about 40%. So I decided on 40% too.

NyanBazYou decided on it after your checking. You're really serious.

YukiHiroWhen I begin something, I am uneasy about so many things. Perhaps it's one of my ways.

NyanBazThen when you are dating, do you also check out your partner first?

YukiHiroNo no, I don't go that far. And in the first place, I don't have anybody to go out with yet.

NyanBazAre you a herbivore man ?

YukiHiroPeople have said like that. (laughs) I don't think so myself though.

NyanBazWhen you make puzzles, what are you careful about?

YukiHiroI make puzzles after deciding how I want them to be. Then I solve them after they are made, and if I have not achieved my goal, I will redo or throw it away. That is when I have a place to start the solving from in mind. There will be people solving from where an author didn't aim at, though. I can put up with that. But I want to be able to say that if you solve it in the order I thought up then you have to do it in some specific order. I'm making puzzles so that if you solve them like I planned you will enjoy them the most.

NyanBazI heard you are also an amateur magician.

YukiHiroSure. When I entered university, I had a chance to watch magic in the magic club there, and I thought it was great. I felt that here is a world I don't know and I joined the club. That was the beginning. I have been doing mainly card magic.

NyanBazI saw you at it the other day, you're really good. Would you show me again!?

YukiHiroIf you insist... (He takes out a deck of cards, smiling) It's a trick I have under development just now. (A specific card jumps out from the deck. )

NyanBazOh! Marvelloius! The jumpinge card, that's cool! But you need agile fingerwork to do magic like that, don't you?

YukiHiroThat's what people often say, but there isn't much of that to it. The prepaid card I use when I get on the bus. I often fail to get that in the card reader. It seems I get the angle wrong when I insert it. I'm clumsy like that. But I can do card magic. (laughs)

NyanBazIs there anything in common between making puzzles and doing magic?

YukiHiroHmmm. I don't really know. For me there is already things to work with for magic tricks but I often do the arrangement by myself. I think that magic is about looking and becoming amazed. Puzzle making starts from original material. But with a puzzle you put a known method together, and use that to express yourself. They may have that in common.

NyanBazFor your self expression is it either puzzles or magic tricks?

YukiHiroBoth are some sort of self expression for me. But the things which I want to express are different. I express my ordinary self in a puzzle. Then I express a part of myself which I cannot usually express, that myself who thinks that there is actually such an aspect in the magic. It's like the front and back of a card. I haven't reached any conclusions about any relationship between puzzles and magic. I think they are alike, not really maybe but still alike. I'll keep thinking about it.

NyanBazThank you for interesting stories and magic today. Now the last question, anything that you want to tell people solving your puzzles?

YukiHiroI talked about so many things here. After all, I make puzzles for myself. So please enjoy them like they seem to fit you. Your comments have been very helpful. I am for any kind of comment. Please, comment about my puzzles and tell me what you think.

Interviewed Oct 2010 Published on Jan 24, 2012