Friday 7th April: Hana Yori Jansou

Tonight was an ideal evening for a cherry blossom viewing party – not the “freeze your bollocks off” weather so typical of early April hanami parties… A small group of ex-Lang students had arranged a party and four regulars from the Cockseye Mahjong Club joined them for a couple of hours – until the food ran out, the wind got up and the temperature fell. The three foreign players had agreed to head off and try out a mahjong parlour in Dobashi a.s.a.p. and it turned out that Noda was also keen on that idea and wrapped up the party very deftly with a “Gya, arigatou gozaimashita,” which always does the trick… It was helpful to our cause that one of the ladies present had brought along her young son who got restless once the sushi had gone down the hatch.

As we strolled through Peace Park towards Dobashi Noda told us that he used to work of Hiroshima Gas and that he used to be the geezer responsible for turning the iron wheel that opens the gas valve and causes the “eternal flame” to flare up on the A-Bomb memorial at 8:15 am on the 6th August each year.

On the other side of the green iron bridge he pointed out a school where all the kids and teachers were wiped out on the day of the A-bomb. They had been outside doing there morning exercises – all except one malingerer of a teacher who was (perhaps having a surreptitious cigarette) in the bogs at the time…

The manager of the mahjong parlour was standing in the doorway when we arrived and seemed reluctant to move aside to let us in since I don’t suppose it had ever occurred to him that Johnny Foreigner might want to play mahjong in his gaff… However, once he saw Noda and realized what it was that we wanted to do, he stepped aside.

We found ourselves in a small brightly lit room with just three mahjong tables in the main room, only two of which were set up for play. There was also an alcove with a tv and a rather inviting looking sofa…

Master prepared the third table over by the door for us and young master set about bringing us over some beers (another Lenten dispensation was being observed).

We quickly made an impression on the place when David went out within five minutes of play and then Kenyon even more swiftly claimed “Kokushimusou” off Jaime in the second hand. He then proceeded to get to Tenpai on Kokushimusou in the very next hand (as Oya) but was pipped to the post… David, who was temporarily out of the game, had cast an idle glance over Kenyon’s first three discards and observed that it looked as if he was going for Kokushimusou again, never for a moment imagining that he would do so so soon after having just gone out on the hand!

The first game finished symetrically, with Kenyon and Jaime on +&-63 and Noda and David on +&-7 respectively.

Jaime’s fortunes continued their Q2 decline in the second game while Kenyon’s Q2 recovery proceeded apace. Noda continued to climb up at the top, and David managed to scramble up to zero in that game.

In the third game, however, David also managed to rack up his third Chombo of the year by going Pon and then drawing a tile from the wall and discarding… Still, as a consolation, he was able to retain the Oya and went on to be the only winner of that game – a win that kept him in the black for the evening.

Jaime recovered in the fourth game – just as happened in a recent game – the player who got hit by Kokushimusou went on to go out with the same hand, however, it was not enough to stop a second major loss on his part.

Noda won the second game and the result left him top for the evening and now on the equal highest accumulated score so far this year, of +295, which equals Jaime’s record in the days of his glory…

Jaime and David exchanged places on the Grand Accumulated Results Chart while Kenyon has cut the distance that separates him – still at the bottom – from the second bottom player (Ray) to double figures…

It was a fine evening; play continued beyond 2:30 am and we all enjoyed the atmosphere of the little place and agreed that we’d like to play there again from time to time…

The reckoning for the evening:

Noda +7, +42, -10, -11, +42 = +70
Kenyon +63, +6, -7, -1, -8 = +53
David -7, 0, +51, -15, -8 = +21
Jaime -63, -48, -34, +27, -26 = -144

David Hurley