From fairly early on in my own life I’d always wanted to learn to play mahjong alchemy. Exotic appeal of the tiles and the teeming variety fascinated me. I understood that mahjong signified one significant strand of Japanese popular culture, so I took the opportunity to learn more about the game when I accepted employment at an English language school in Hiroshima.
I requested some of two of them and my pupils about the game, Noda san and Yoshimoto-san, offered to teach me the best way to play. “But there are just three of us.” I answered.
“We’ll coach you on Japanese three-player mahjong.” said Noda san, “It Is an excellent game.” He was correct.
Like everything imported into Japan mahjong was adapted and improved upon to satisfy Japanese culture. Actually two popular variations of mahjongg are played in Japan. The most common variant of Japanese mahjong alchemy is the Japanese elaboration of the first Chinese four-player game. Then there’s radically transformed and the much less common three-player game, which will be not unusual in Hiroshima. That’s the game which my two pupils instructed me to play.
A typical mahjong set consists of 144 tiles broken up into 36 kinds, each kind happening four times (4 x 36 = 144). The greater part belongs to one of Characters, Coins, Bamboos, and the three suits. The suits go from one to nine. The remaining tiles break up into four Winds, three Dragons and eight cosmetic bonus tiles.
Besides Seasons and the Flowers, which in many cases are lost, the four-player game uses all of these tiles. This creates a more rapid, more risky game which is ideally suited for gaming – if just gaming were legal in Japan!
Mahjong was introduced from China and rapidly became a popular pastime that was urban. But with Japan on a war footing from 1931-1945, the authorities discouraged MJ.
Since then the game continues to be in something of a fall as fewer children play with it now. The quantity of jansoh had dropped to something However, that’s still lots of parlours!
Poke at your head inside the door of an average Japanese mahjong parlour and a view of a brilliantly lit, smoke filled room crowded with guys sat in their own suits or rumpled shirt sleeves around square mahjongg tables will probably present you with itself. The parlour that is mahjong just isn’t the exclusive preserve of guys yet, and every so often two or one of the female players that are indomitable can be seen holding court at a table.
In Hiroshima, where the three-player game is a regional version that is popular, you’ll be able to play with the three-player or the four-player game. Furthermore, not only are the fees rather low, the beer is affordable also! Should you be not unlucky, mamasan will supply some of her house cooking or an assortment of delicious bites at no additional price.
It’s worth seeing with a Japanese MJ parlour only to see the tables that are mahjongg alchemy. They have been classy marvels of modern technology. Each table features two sets of tiles. When a match is completed among the players presses the central section of the table and a button opens up to reveal a cavity. The players shove against the tiles into the pit. At an identical instant four long narrow flaps slip open on four finished walls of tiles and the table appear.
The tiles shuffled and which were shoved into the table are mechanically churned and jostled into position ready for another match. In this manner players are saved the hassle of having construct walls and to shuffle the tiles. The moment one game is over the following match can commence without delay; an important factor when you’re paying for the time spent at the table.
Needless to say, MJ can be played with family or friends at home. Mahjongg sets can be bought from many factory outlets and range in cost to ¥35,000 and . up Until a number of years past kotatsu manufacturing companies catered to the MJ alchemy marketplace by finishing the underside of most of the tabletops in green baize.
Now, with green baize undersides, fewer kotatsu come with fewer people playing mahjong at home. Rubber mats made specially for MJcan be bought fairly readily. When the tiles are shuffled a rubber mat functions to keep the sound down.
The effect of mahjong on modern Japanese culture is attested to by the fact that the world’s first museum focused on the game opened to the south of Tokyo, on the northeast coast of the Boso peninsula.
But with fewer young people taking the game up, does mahjong have a future? Really, his vision for the game is filled with lofty aspiration.