Pro Interview: Saki Kurosawa (part 2)

Active ImageWe continue our interview with popular pro and this year’s Pro Queen title winner, Saki Kurosawa.

RM: This year you won the Pro Queen title, tell us about that experience.
SK: I was so happy. It wasn’t my first time at a final table because this past January I made it to the finals for Women’s League. Last year in the Pro Queen tournament I made it to the final 16 and I vowed this year to do better. When I made it to the final 8 this year I was determined to go all the way.

RM: What was this final session like?
SK: I didn’t want to have any regrets or play in a way that I would go back later and say, “If only I had…” or “I wish I hadn’t”. I played very straightforward to win.

(Saki is now cooking Yakisoba)

RM: How were your opponents? Do you think your experience at the Women’s League final table helped you?
SK: They were very strong. There are a lot of things that go into Mahjong and there are times when you are lucky and when you’re not. At the end I was really far ahead and as long as I didn’t throw a baiman hand to one player I was in a winning position. I did learn from Women’s League where to push hard and where to back off so it definitely helped me.

RM: During one of the games at the Pro Queen finals there were a lot of Limit Hands. You were sitting out that game (5 players advance at Pro Queen). What did you think of that as the one sitting out?
SK: I wasn’t watching and I didn’t really think about. Afterwards I guess I was happy that I wasn’t in there, but I was really just surprised.

RM: Do you still live with your family?
SK: Yes, my brother and sister do too. We’re all really close and every night is like a party.

Active ImageRM: On your blog you often write about your dog, Pico, tell us about her.
SK: Yes, I have a miniature dachshund. My family went to get her together and my mom fell in love with a poodle but my dad and I only had eyes for Pico and we ended up winning out. She is our family’s dog but she doesn’t come greet my brother at the door when he comes home.

RM: Do you still go play at Mahjong parlors with Rinka Tamura (JPML)?
SK: Lately we play sets a lot more than free but we still play together.

RM: What rules do you like to play with in your spare time?
SK: When I play with people from JPML we use A-rules. When we’re in a hurry we play East-only games. I don’t really know how to play three-player so it’s always 4 players. I happen to win a lot at MFC 3-player games for some reason though.

RM: How often do you play Mahjong Fight Club each month?
SK: Hardly at all. Usually only between 12 and 20 games.

RM: What is your favorite thing about being a professional Mahjong player?
SK: Guest work. I don’t necessarily like to travel a lot, but I love to play Mahjong so if I can do that then I’m happy. I do guest work about 10 times per month.

RM: You’re so busy, but you look really happy with all of your work. Do you like your job?
SK: I do, but it’s a sales job so when I can get a lot of business it’s good but when I can’t it can be very stressful. I actually would like to quit but it’s tough to make it with only Mahjong.

We’re sure that Saki would have enough guest jobs to do just fine.

You can play against Saki on JPML’s Ron2, Konami’s Mahjong Fight Club and see her on Mondo 21. She is also featured in our “Featured Four” column so follow her progress in JPML’s League.

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