Friday 2nd March: by the Inspiration of the Spirit, Courtesy of Noda!

Noda, Kenyon and Hide play, Kiyo looks on.

The Poor Little Cypriot arrived at Kodama at a quarter to eight to be greeted by Noda brandishing a bottle of Glenfiddich. As Lententide is upon us the Poor Little Cypriot had intended to eschew all things alcoholic, or at least he had resolved not to drink any beer during the mahjong session, and indeed, by the intercession of the spirit, courtesy of Noda, he is pleased to report that his resolution did not waver; instead, the PLC endeavoured to navigate the Via Media betwixt the Charybdis of abstinence and the Scylla of inebriation, against whose rocks Noda’s barque had long since foundered. Albeit Noda’s barque was worsted by Scyilla’s bite, imbibing seemed to be a jolly good strategy for both him and the Poor Little Cypriot. After all, it was the two imbibers who finished in first and second place, with Noda just under the bar on -3 despite indulging in a fair bit of that reeling to and fro and staggering like a drunken man business to which David alludes in the 107th Psalm. Noda even treated us to a rare Chombo when he forgot to discard a tile, or picked up twice or something!

But the geezer who was sat in Wit’s End Corner this evening was none other than the big winner of the previous two sessions, “Cola King” Kenny, who would appear no longer to be acquainted with the middle path of mahjong moderation…

Unbeknown to us, the form of the evening was laid out in the first game, played out by Noda, David and Kenyon, which finished with David as the only winner, and Kenyon taking the brunt of the punishment.

Hide-san joined us in good time for the second, and in that game it looked as if the evening would turn out differently as David was stuck with his Yakitori on the table for much of the game while Noda found his form. Indeed, Noda was the only other player to spend any part of the evening in the black, finishing the second game on +43. David was running on empty until in the last hand of the game he declared Riichi, got rid of his Yakitori and with a felicitous revelation of “Hidden Treasure” underneath the Mekuri-Pai he brought in enough to recover to -28, the same score as Hide-san, with Kenyon marking up a small recovery on +14.

In the fourth game every player finished above the bar except for Noda, who by now was sozzled on the Glenfiddich and relinquished his seat on -3 points, a score which keeps him rooted to the bottom of the table for another week…

A new Member was initiated into the Cockseye Club at this point of the evening. His name is Kiyo, Hide’s younger brother. He had joined us shortly after Hide-san and watched the first three games. I don’t think he’d played the three-player game before tonight.

For much of the rest of the evening almost everything went David’s way. The infamous one-tile “Riichi” declaration, the “Noda-formerly-Jaime-wait”, always seemed to work, even if the analysis of the situation was a bit haywire. In one hand, The Poor Little Cypriot needed only a 4-Coins to finish and noticed that none had been discarded so promptly declared “Riichi” and just as promptly went out “Ippatsu, Tempai”. Kenyon had been holding one of the other three 4-Coins tiles, and Kiyo had been keeping hold of the other two! On another occasion The PLC was Tenpai but scratching his head over his Bamboo arrangement when Kenyon threw the 4-Coins (yes, that tile again). The Poor Liddle Cypriot let it pass. Hide, who was watching, looked askance as the PLC seemed to have missed his chance. But when the gods and the whiskey fuelled “inspirebriation” is with you even cock-ups (or should that be “cocks up”?) are good! The hand changed and the PLC went out on something else.

On such occasions as these it is probably truer to say that Mahjong played the player better than the player played Mahjong. But it does take a whisky priest to be moved by the inspiration of the spirit…

As the Glenfiddich fire began to settle into a warm glow it was Kiyo’s turn to show his potential. He took the seventh and final game of the evening, with David also finishing above the bar.

The atmosphere in the jansou had been pretty good with three lively tables in action from the beginning, and with one other table continuing as long as ours did. Both groups finished around 3am.

I don’t suppose Mama-san was too chuffed with Noda for bringing in his own bottle of whisky, but then it wouldn’t have made much difference to her takings had he not done so since the PLC would not have ordered any beer anyway, what with its being Lent withal!

David +55, -28, +39, +46, +108, +35, +10 = +265
Noda -12, +43, -34, –, –, –, — = -3
Hide –, -28, -6, +20, -3, +5, -3 = -15
Kiyo –, –, –. -22, -58, -40, +58 = -62
Kenyon -43, +13, +1, -44, -47, 0, -65 = -185

David Hurley