Ben's Cafe, Tokyo, Japan
THE TRAVELING BOARD: Sunday Afternoon At Ben’s Café
reported by Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

Ben’s Café brings a distinctly European style to the Tokyo go club scene. Tucked away in the Takadanobaba district, Ben’s is a longtime magnet for many expat and visiting go players – as well as local go players -- who gather on Sundays to while away the afternoon over a game and a cup of coffee or a beer. EJ photog John Pinkerton and I met up there last Sunday with Jeremy Banzhaf, our go-to Man in Tokyo, for a game over lunch. An excellent café that also offers go – rather than a club that also has food -- Ben’s menu of Western food includes a BLT with avocado so good – juicy tomatoes, tasty bacon, crisp lettuce and perfectly ripe avocado – that I suspect Jeremy was trying to distract me from the game. It very nearly worked. For those craving a cup of black tea in the land where green tea rules in all its glory, Ben’s delivers a proper pot of Earl Grey or Darjeeling. Stored along with the go boards are other games, including scrabble, backgammon, chess, and playing cards. Several other regulars dropped by while we were there, including Dave (last name), a Brit who joined us in the post-game analysis, which featured several complex life and death problems. In addition to the go boards Ben’s also offers free wireless access, poetry readings, aromatherapy, magic shows and live music. You never know who you’ll bump into at Ben’s: a large group of Japanese ladies stopped by after church for lunch as we played, and on our way out later, we visited briefly with Modern Girl & Sniper , a young Japanese electronica duo who were learning to play from Adam (last name), another Brit.
Published in the American Go E-Journal, world go news available free every week via email: sign up at
5 photos · 231 views