All Fools’ Mahjong: A One Game Wonder?

After idling away the morning at a ceremony to mark the beginning of the new school term David and Jaime, all dressed up in their best suits, ambled over to Mario del Sole at Shoko Centre, where they were joined by the less salubriously attired Human Computer, and a little later by Super Dad Don complete with a retinue of one baby, Eugene, and one young boy, Nathan, in attendance…

Don stayed off the sauce because he was driving, but the Lenten Fast was temporarily put into abeyance by David so that he could partake of the wine with Jaime and Kenyon.

Back at the Casa Nova, David went back onto his fasting regime – the new house is one of the few places where the Lenten Fast has been observed in its entirety.

David offered to put Tom and Jerry on for Nathan, but both he and Don knew that the real reason it was going on was so that they could enjoy it themselves. Later on it was for the adults benefit that Miyazaki’s Panda Kopanda was put on under the cover of Nate’s not having seen it before…

We were joined by Tim-and-a-bag-of-beers, and then by Mrs H & a sleeping E, and a while later, by Mrs F, who was not  disabused of the assumption that Don had been drinking – for if she had been, as David observed, perhaps rather too loudly, then Don would have had the worst of both worlds: the Mrs might well have started drinking herself and he would thereby have had to (1) abstain from drinking so that he could (2) drive his Hostages to Fortune home. As it was, I later learned, both hubby and wife tucked into the contents of the bottle.

The housewarming party appeared to be quite a success – although in some respects it was a disaster for some. The layout of the place is such that some people can sit around the dining table and chat while others occupy the nearby tatami room to play mahjong while the intervening space, given over to sofa, low table, hot carpet & t.v. could also be made use of.

Tim gamely (though reluctantly) agreed to play a game of mahjong and thereby make a ceremonious appearance on the Grand Accumulated Points Chart, so there were four players and the one player who was out of the 3-player game was able to circulate.

We now come to the disaster… Tim had agreed to play on the assumption that it would be a quick game… but you can never tell how long one game of mahjong will last… half an hour if no-one retains the Oyaship? An hour, perhaps – the usual amount of time… 90 minutes if one or two players win several hands as Oya…

Poor old Tim huffed and puffed and suffered through TWO HOURS of just ONE game

David was the starting Oya, won the first hand, and then relinquished the Oya when Kenyon completed his hand on a tile discarded by Tim. Now, Kenyon had failed to win a game of mahjong in the whole of the first quarter of this year. On the other hand, he had played all his games in the mahjong parlour and not in a less intensive home game… Nor had he played against Tim. Now Tim is reputed to play seldom but usually to end up up up to 2 to 3,000 points. But then again, Kenyon was named the Human Computer because he always seemed to win!!

Kenyon had been rather looking forward to this game, and it did not disappoint him. He now retained the Oya for over an hour as both Tim and Jaime struggled and failed dismally to construct a winning hand. It was not that Kenyon was constantly winning, but where he failed to complete a hand he was able to finish Tenpai and so rack up one 100-Tenbo after another.

While the game appeared to be extending itself into infinity in the tatami room, Nate discovered what it is to be attacked by a variety of characters such as Mr Flick, Mr Poke, Miss Pizza, Miss Snip and Mr Pneumatic-Drill up at the dining table. Tim later said that he sorely wished he had been at that table with Nate and his chums and not at the one where mahjong was being played…

In the meantime, Noda arrived with a huge screwtop bottle of cheap Trebbiano. Naturally, being Noda, a Japanese man who knows nothing about wine bottles, let alone their contents, he asked for a corkscrew.

Eventually Jaime or Tim won a hand and David returned to the mahjong table. Tim’s life was made more miserable now because he, like many a player, dislikes others watching him play and commenting on – or criticizing – his every move. This is exactly what Noda began to do and did not react to Tim’s first “Minaide kudasai”… Being Noda, however, the second telling by Tim and David resolved itself with a cheerful explication of what Tim should have said in Hiroshima-ben to get Noda off his case…

I forget now what it was, but Tim will certainly remember.

Anyway, the game eventually finished just after 8pm, and Kenyon had registered his first victory of the year – and first of the second quarter, which begins much better for him than the first quarter did:

Kenyon: +123
David: +15
Jaime: -33
Tim: -105

So Tim enters the Grand Accumulated Results Table in 5th place out of seven, which moves Eri further away from bottom place once again – from 4/6 to 4/7!

Kenyon, too, has now got closer to the 6th player. Hey, Ray, you’d better watch your back!

The Fowlers headed for home, followed by Kenyon. The rest of us adjourned to Saezaria, so David once again broke his fast and joined the others in partaking of a bottle of Chianti that Noda treated us to – Jaime and my second free bottle of the day. (See Jaime’s blog for an explanation.) That was followed by the Hurley family’s favourite wine at Saezaria – a bottle of Verdicchio, all the way from Castelli di Jesi in the Marche for just ¥1,050 – virtually giving it away!

We had quite a feast – all the Saezaria specials… the Parma ham wrapped around foccaccio, the German sausages, the Mozarella cheese and tomato… and Tim had about 300 chicken wings. There were enough bones on his plate by the time he left the table to fill a Capuchin ossuary. I shall say nothing about Jaime’s double helping of Pistachio ice-cream or the size of his eyes compared to his belly (which would be saying something indeed)…