Tuesday 21st March: Spring Equinox at the Mogami’s

Tuesday was the spring national holiday here in Japan and Dr Mogami and I had arranged to take advantage of the holiday to play mahjong with his parents from 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

It took us until 9.30 pm to get through four games!

In the first couple of games Dr Mogami Sr seemed to be forever declaring “Riichi” and going out. In the South round of the first game, with me sinking towards empty-traydom, I thought my moment had come when, as Oya, I was building a Pinfu hand with a head made up of 2 West tiles. West was not an active Wind, but it was the Dora tile for that hand. In the four player game it is quite important to incorporate any Dora you get into your hand. I drew a third West so I changed my hand and was one away from Tenpai when Doctor Mogami Jr, sitting to my left, declared Riichi. I then picked up the Bamboo I needed to slot into my hand to make a 2-5-8 wait – but I had to throw out the 4-Coins and declare Riichi. I didn’t like the look of it, but as I was Oya on a potentially high scoring hand, I went for it and threw the 4-Coins…

“Ron!” went Doctor Mogami jr and that was the rather expensive end of my attempted revival.

I missed out on quite a few “Tenpai with Dora” hands during the course of the afternoon – mostly because of Doctor Mogami Jr’s knack of going Riichi either just before or just after me and stealing my thunder…

At other times, it must be admitted, I went Riichi on less probable waits and got hammered more often than I got the tile…

After two games we drew tiles and swapped seats. I drew East and opted to sit where Doc M Sr. had been as that seemed to be the lucky seat. Indeed, in the third game I came top and cut away at my losses. The sweetest hand was Haitei-Chinitsu!

In the final game I had been in positive territory for a while but Doctor M sr went out on a tile I was waiting for (5-Character) so once again some carefully nurtured bonus tiles went down the drain. I completed a hand to rob Doctor M jr of the Oya almost as soon as he inherited it.

Last Oya was Mrs Mogami who had had a string of losses and was propping up the bottom of the table. She declared a hidden Kan and then a few turns later she went out and flipped over her tiles to reveal what the docs at first thought was Sananko – but in fact was Suuanko, which sank me and catapulted Mrs M off the bottom…

That situation was confirmed when I went out on a miserable hand to polish off the game for the evening. I say “for the evening,” but Dr Mogami sr seemed willing, even eager, to play an unprecedented fifth game… I preferred, however, to cut my losses and amble off to catch a tram in good time and avoid a pricey taxi fare!

The two doctors were today’s winners. Over the afternoon I had come in 4th, 4th, 1st, 3rd, which saw me down a moderate 2,450 yen.

David Hurley