Friday 17th November: The Bottom Tightens!

I got a bit carried away in the TOEFL class tonight and in a fit of enthusiasm I began to hack a sentence to bits on the blackboard, separating pluperfect progressive from simple past and unravelling all the odds and sods so that the class could see why the only possible answer to the problem could be “B” and that (iii) the Declaration of Independence was the culmination of (i) the tempestuous events that had led to (ii) the war which had been going on for a couple of years. The double whammy that redounds to the students discredit is that neither grammar nor history is their strong point; they can tell neither the past progressive from the progress of the past nor a conjunction grammatical from a conjunction historical.

The result was that the class continued right up until the bell at 7:30, which is to say that we finished late – much later than usual – and so I missed my usual bus into town and in consequence was a bit late in arriving at Saezaria. When I got there I was greeted by the site of Tim and Jaime sharing a decanter of red wine. They offered me a glass but Prudence counselled that I ought to stick to the beer since I’d be drinking beer later –

wine then beer, feel queer!

However, as it turned out, beer then beer still left me in Queer-Street at the mahjong table, but I am jumping the gun.

While I was on the bus heading into town it crossed my mind that I could contact Jaime or Tim and order some dishes pending my arrival. I did not act on the thought and action would have proved superfluous for no sooner had I arrived at the table than the waiter brought over a plate of Mozarella cheese and tomatoes generously laced with finely chopped spring onion tips, as per the menu. Jaime scowled, the waiter looked perplexed, and I brightened up! Jaime’s attempt at ordering onion-free dishes had once again screwed up and rather than see good grub return to the kitchen, I took the offending dish off the waiter’s hands!

A couple of minutes later the waiter was back with another dish which I had not ordered but which, being laced with onion, I gratefully received. This one was Spaghetti Pepperoncino.

Sometime after 9pm, with Kenyon having joined us, we bade farewell to Tim and set off to search for a mahjong parlour where we had never played before. We found a couple on a street that runs parallel to the Hondori and chose to play in the more homely-looking of the two, a place called Koyo.

The Mama-san, once she had got over the surprise at seeing three gaijin in her mahjong parlour, was friendly and efficient with the service.

The first two games went to Jaime who was the only winner in both and took the occasion of Hide’s arrival to leg it with his winnings…

Actually, Hide had joined us in time for the second game, but after Jaime had left Hide promptly took over where Jaime had left off and came out the only winner on +49.

Then Kenyon staged a late rally and David didn’t so the results ended thus:

Jaime +44, +50, –, –, — = +94
Kenyon -11, -33, -3, +28, +24 = +5
Hide –, -11, +49, -21, -18 = -1
David -33, -6, -46, -7, -6 = -98

David Hurley


  1. While clearly Noda is top on total points, on points per game he could still be top. He’s averaging roughly 5.96 points per game and Hide is averaging 5.79 points per game. But considering the smaller amount of games he’s played Hide can make that up fairly easily. For example if he was +25 from 3 games that would get him to a 6 point per game average. So in that sense there is still something for Noda to fight for.

  2. Next year I’ll add a “Running Average” tracker and also record the “Highest/Lowest Score per Session”.

    I wonder if a minimum number of games should be played to distinguish between “friendly” and “competitive” players – something like 20 games.

    If games are played on 31st Dec, results before midnight only count for the 2006 session!

    Let’s have a dinner and awards ceremony in the new year to present the 2006 winner a trophy and a consolation prize for the bottom player.

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