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Dr John Hawkins

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Mahjong

Posted on 2007/12/31 12:33:43 (December 2007).

[Sunday 30th December]
As one of my Christmas presents to Chie I'd got her a Mahjong set, as she'd expressed a vague interest in the game a while back. Unfortunately there were two slight stumbling blocks - (A) neither of us had any idea how to play it and (B) you need four people to play. Fortunately both of these issues were resolved when Mika-san, a friend of Chie's, invited us round to her place today to teach us the basics.

So just after lunchtime we headed off to the other side of Richmond where Mika-san and her husband Byron live (or Zone 20, as Mika-san playfully refereed to it).

It took a while to get warmed up to the point where we were actually ready to play Mahjong, and we passed the intervening time with a few beers and a bit of a play on their Wii.

I'd never played Mahjong before. I recall that Vera had a set, as apparently my Grandfather used to play, but seemingly no-one else in the family knew the rules, and my brother and I used to use the tiles for making domino rallies. So today was my first proper introduction. It turns out to be a lot like several card games (poker, or perhaps whist) - there are kind of suits on the tiles, and you have to build up a hand consisting of several sets, where each set could be a run, or three/four of a kind etc. However, there are a number of charming eccentricities about it that make it interesting in its own right - you start off by building four walls with the tiles which, according to the leaflet that came with the set, are supposed to represent the Great Wall of China. The manner of then dealing out the tiles was particularly obtuse - and given that they'd all been "shuffled" (if that is the right word for it) before building the wall seemed to suggest this was more a ritualistic thing rather than something that actually had any real basis in probability. Anyway, I rather enjoyed it all, something a bit different.

Mika-san prepared a very nice nabe for dinner, and very kindly had made the whole thing vegetarian. It was very tasty indeed.



Comment 1

I love Mahjong, unfortunately we do not have enough people to play it here is Florence, as it seems that all my friends are totally uninterested to it...Rules are also obscure but the basics are well known to me... Maybe next time we see each other we could play? :D

Posted by Lox at 2007/12/31 17:00:39.

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