Friday 3rd August: The Rise and Fall of Ray. David Back in the Black.

The gaijin party met at Kemby’s for pre-match refreshments after a day of sweltering summer heat. The two DEH football players in the party had spent the day rather differently. Jaime had spent it by going out on his bicycle in the midday sun and flogging himself all the way up to Kabe and back. David had spent it in the air-conditioned comfort of a library snoozing over his books. Back in town, the walk from the bus -stop to Kemby’s, my most taxing physical exercise of the day, left me soaked in sweat. Need a change of t-shirt? Go to 7-11 and buy one of their white numbers for about 600 yen. I especially recommend this course of action in the dog days of summer because 7-11 air-conditioners are usually set to just a few degrees above freezing so the t-shirt comes chilled and feels very pleasant against the skin on a summer’s evening, I can tell you.

Noda was waiting for us when we got to Kodama a little after 7pm. As there were five of us we agreed that the fifth player should sit out of the game, and whoever came second would sit out of the following game.

I had brought along my Edirol MP3 recorder and amused myself with a bit of impromtu commentary which I might get around to uploading sometime. What we hear is the progress of one of the early games in which Ray went Riichi on 5-Coins only for Noda to go Okake-Riichi but Ray manages to go out on “Tsumo-nashi-nashi” – a small contribution to his early evening charge which lasted two games before disaster struck.

Jaime sat out of the second game and took over the commentary which saw David go Riichi and take the hand off Kenyon. With the 2-Bamboo and 8-Bamboo showing, Kenyon threw a 5-Bamboo – the only tile David was waiting for…

That got rid of his Yakitori but did not set him up for victory as Ray was still on his charge… Ray went Riichi on 9-Coins and then went out with Tsumo to maintain his momentum, but, we wondered, would Ray be able to keep his end up or had success come too early? By the end of the second game Ray was over +100 points ahead of the pack having gone several hands as Last-Oya, one of which saw him take 32,000 points off Noda (which brought cheers of delight and relief from David who had been sitting on three of the tiles which Noda – who had gone Riichi – needed).

Then, in the third game disaster struck. The expected “Kenyon revival” appeared to have arrived but was slightly overshadowed by David’s charge. Jaime hung in to finish above the bar so the only loser of the third was Ray who gave up all of his winnings and some more.

At one stage Jaime asked Ray when he last went to confession and the response was that it was the last time that he sinned, which was a long time ago. It turned out that the last time he had sinned was before Kenyon was born!

It was now 11:20pm and David weighed up the situation, saw that it placed him nicely in the black on the evening, and also on the year, yawned and legged it for the last tram. To win at mahjong and catch the tram is a kind of double victory since the biggest expense of the night for the Poor Little Cypriot is as often as not the taxi fare home!

Jaime takes over the commentary:

“Well we played only one game after David left. It ended predictably with Noda surging ahead. I was briefly looking comfortable, an Oya Ron off Kenyon swelling my coffers by 19,000. Unfortunately, a very cunningly disguised Kokoushimusou by Ray ended with me paying him 32,000. I couldn’t be annoyed with myself because he had thrown out so many different Koku tiles that you just put it down to ‘one of those things’. I rallied a little bit and Kenyon as last Oya won a few games in a row only for Ray to win the last hand. Much to Kenyon’s disgust.”

David –, -22, +78, — = +56
Noda -23, -1, –, +37 = +13
Ray +59, +50, -122, +3 = -10
Jaime +2, –, +5, -18 = -11
Kenyon -38, -27, +39, -22 = -48

David Hurley