Greetings Judges! Regional Coordinators features continues! This week, we’re going a bit more east (technically, though really judging is global, as you know), for the Regional Coordinator of Japan and South Korea, Mitsunori Makino!
[Editor’s note: Translation wasn’t the best with this interview, so many of Mitsunori’s questions were sadly abridged or edited for clarity. We thank everyone for their understanding!]
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Mitsunori Makino (牧野 充典)
牧野 (Mistunori) is my family name. It means field, grassland or pastureland. I don’t know much about my ancestors but my grandfather had a rice farm. 充 (Makino) means full, charge or devote. 典 means knowledge, sutra or scripture. So, I am very wise… at least, my parents really hope I am wise.
Where are you from?
Hokkaido, Japan. Hokkaido is famous for delicious food and cozy climate. We have plentiful but indulgent snow in winter and it’s not really hot in summer. The nature of Hokkaido benefits our agriculture and our fishery, foods and water are more delicious than the rest of Japan. There is a joke: “Good ingredients make chefs truant.”
When did you become a Judge?
I started judging in the Spring of 1997 at the age of 14. I was certified in the Summer of 2001 when I was 19. In 2002 I entered the University and had to quit to live a different life. I then recertified in 2006.
What advice would you give to members of your region?
Being a Magic Judge brings extra [benefits] to an awesome game. I am the best Judge [for bringing enjoyment to players and judges.] I am glad to help you to find the way to being a Judge. To start, will you contact the Project Launcher team to find out how you can get involved in the Judge Community?
Could you recognize a few outstanding members of your region?
I will introduce the team members of Project Launcher. This is biggest challenge in years. They are called up to establish the Judge Project mood in the Japanese judge community. We aim to make the community more fun, challenging and worthy. All of the members show great dedication and each of them serve his/her strength and lead the project to be launched.
Masaru Koide, to top of it, is a newlywed. Omedetou gozaimasu!. He has a lot of energy to push through the agenda. He organized a conference and now is organizing WPN premium.
Takanori Nakamura, he has [the Comp Rules section]. It’s very good that he can output them in the form that we can understand. He is not only a rules expert but also a great teacher.
Fumiyasu Wakamatsu has saved us from the labyrinths of debate. Once the discussion gets heated up and too far from feasibility, he informs me as to what we want and what we can do.
Asuka Nagashima is the most humble judge that I know. She takes over all the paper work from me so I can concentrate on other things.
Akira Seno drives us behind the scenes. Members of his publication project (that I am part of) work hard to respond to his diligence.
What’s the coolest event you ever been to?
SaMoA Cup 3rd: Every first is unforgettable. This is the first convention for me. This is the first time I [noticed] Judges. This was a local event but it meant a lot. This game is supported and made special special by every customer. Before that, no analysis needed, the boy I was had great experience [at the convention] and knew that he [found a] great game that he could go with.
What’s the farthest you have ever traveled for a Magic event?
San Juan, Puerto Rico via Grand Prix D.C. or [otherwise] by some measures [traveling from] Sendai, Japan then next week on to Puerto Rico.
Does your family travel with you?
No. Needs I say more? She whom I leave alone doesn’t become my family. Just kidding, I would like to introduce her in future.
What has been your best experience in the Judge Program?
Every exciting event has not rewritten the epic event: Being certified for the first time.
What has been your favorite magic event that you’ve judged?
Infinity Su-shi. We had pizza and drinks and issued 30+ new membership cards. Not everyone knows magic. It is not regular but I have the chance to host a party for the non-magic-related Otaku community once a year or two years. Magic: the Gathering sessions are a popular experience for them.
What hobbies do you have outside of Magic?
Cooking. I would like you to bring me a recipe when we meet at the GP. It is fun to cook new food. It is better if it is written in a language I can’t read or it has a ingredient that I can’t get in Japan. I also like to smoke… not tobacco. I mean I cook bacon, smoked cheese and so on.
What character in Magic (real or fictional) represents you the best, and why?
My friend compared me to Vesuvan Shapeshifter. I liked that and I have answered that question like this [in the past]. But I think now, I have accumulated my own style. So I consult my fellow judges and they answered: Jodah.
How often do you Travel for Magic?
Ah, do you want to know the number of times? No. It is … … so frequent that you have to design the foundation of your life with Magic.
Tell us an embarrassing story that you’re not afraid of everyone knowing.
You will not see it ever but I can’t help expressing delight when It happens to me, that really, really delightful thing.
[Here are three]:
I ran top speed from one side to the other of the passage of a venue when I was first certified.
It was me who arranged all the table numbers in a perfect line in the very early morning to celebrate an L2 promotion.
After I checked to make sure my roommate would have the shift for the next hour, I started hopping and flopping on the bed when I made L3.
What is the proudest moment of your Judge life?
Much like this, sometimes I get the unexpected honor of being featured. I like to be interviewed. I like people to ask me for my autograph or a photo.
What is your favorite “after event” story? (PG-rated please.)
The empty hall –
It is all that’s left
of Magic dreams.
Thank you Mitsunori for an incredible interview! See you next week, Judges!