Mahjong...Not the Tile Matching One

How can you become incredibly passionate about something, even if you've never actually done it? I've recently fallen in love with the game of Mahjong, and I've never even played it before. Except that stupid Mahjong solitaire computer game (matching tiles), but that's different and doesn't count. The Mahjong I like is sort of a combination of Rummy and Poker. I really want to learn how to play. There are a dozen or so major versions of Mahjong, usually based in different countries. Naturally, I'm interested in learning the Japanese version, commonly called Riichi Mahjong (it sounds like "reach"). It's a 4 player game, where everyone's trying to complete a hand similar to Rummy, but with cool tiles instead of playing cards. My girlfriend's getting me a Mahjong set for Christmas, and more importantly, I hope to find a Japanese Mahjong 'tutor' to teach me. I feel like I know how to play the main game, but I don't really know much about the rather complex scoring and hand system. So that's my immediate goal: find a Japanese person willing to teach a foreigner with limited Japanese language ability how to play Mahjong. Quite a daunting task. I hope I actually see this desire through to the end.

Oh, and the best site I've found about Riichi so far is the recently redesigned Reach Mahjong. It's updated by the only 2 American professional Riichi players, and one British girl who they are teaching to play. Great site, although they're still working on bringing the new site up to date. Can't wait to start playing. I just need 3 friends who know how...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I personally use HongKong Mahjong, which is available for PC but runs just dandy on Linux under Wine. It is fully translated into English and worked really well for learning the basics. Now if I can just find a Mahjong game for the DS in the states! Oh well, at least the DS is region free, so assuming I can learn enough Kanji to play, I could always import. Any suggestions if I go that route? Just looking for a good basic game, no need for scantilly clad anime. I heard rumors the Japanese version of "Clubhouse Games" has it - I'm just glad they left Shogi and Hannafuda in!