Friday 25th January: Introducing Nobuhiro!

A rather odd sight presented itself to the Japanese players at Kodama jansou on Friday evening – the sight of a JAPANESE fellow being taught the rules of JAPANESE mahjong by three JOHNNY FOREIGNERS.

I use the word “taught” rather loosely. Nobuhiro, for that is the name of our new Japanese friend, was served up a dog’s dinner of chopped messes as one or another of the doughty GAIJIN players would reveal some arcane principle of the game as the situation arose in his hand, to the great detriment of the said player’s performance in that particular instance of the game.

The explanations were concocted of a particularly ripe form of the gaijin version of “Japlish”, namely, “Enganese”. For the oldest gaijin member it bore an uncanny resemblance to those days of yore when he sat at the feet of the great Masters of the Game, Noda (champion, 2006 & 2007) and Satoru (retired) and puzzled at the Japlish explanations that regaled him as he struggled with such notable concepts such as “hands” needing “heads”, “five” being “four” which is actually compounded of “two and one”, of disappearing “Yaku” and “temporary winds” and Noda’s esoteric seat allocation ritual (only recently grasped by the foreign players, and yet to be unveiled on the Internet)…

Still, Nobuhiro must have enjoyed himself as a report from Jaime, whose student he is, poor fellow, informs me that he went home and spent the weekend studying the game – which probably means he spent the weekend wading through, the doubly poor fellow!

Tonight’s session saw Kenyon surge ahead to +97 during the first two games, largely at the expense of Noda. The word “lucky” that has not of late attached itself to the name of the youngest member, was given a renewed airing, particularly during the second game in which Jaime also began to suffer the slings and arrows and felt appropriately outraged about his fortune. David spent the first two games securely entrenched and sandbagged in his foxhole.

But then the seats were reallocated. Jaime moved over to David’s seat, Noda to Jaime’s, Kenyon to Noda’s and David to Kenyon’s, with Nobuhiro now in the unfortunate position of watching the two least inspired players struggle away – for the seat change changed fortunes and Jaime went on his mid-evening revival, while Noda found a secure hole to dive into, and Kenyon, winded from the heat of his charge, was unhorsed, while David was driven from his trench by the effects of the bottle, the distractions of education, and the rather accurate discharge of hostile ordnance. Jaime racked up several victories in a row as Oya, depleting David’s reserves and forcing Ryanshi on him and Noda.

In the fourth game Jaime was joined in recovery by Noda, who won back all but five points of his deficit. Strangely enough, although David’s game pretty much fell apart, it was Kenyon who suffered the biggest loss in the fourth. In David’s case, at least, it was not the tiles but the player. It was during this game that David racked up the first Chombo of the year when he found himself struggling to make a hand out of 14 or 15 tiles, and when Kenyon, who was not actually in the game at the time, rather tiresomely intervened to declare the Chombo! Then, Jaime had once again declared Riichi. The 7-Coins was dangerous, but the 8-Coins was in Jaime’s discard row, so David discarded the 8-Coins, or so he thought, and when Jaime declared, “Ron“, David trumpeted,


But the other three were all adamant that it was not – and when David actually took the trouble to look at the tile he had thrown he was dismayed to see that he had incompetently plucked the dodgy 7-Coins from the end of his hand instead of the safe 8-Coins, which had been sat next to it! The faux pas was compounded by the fact that David had been the Oya in the South round and thereby deprived himself of any chance of a recovery in that game.

Noda declared for the evening. It looked as if the rest of the party would play one more game, i.e. the “last” game, but, as if he had suddenly recollected that Kenyon usually wins the last game, Jaime called it a night too, and the evening ended with NO LAST GAME.

Jaime -3, -28, +66, +19 = +54
Kenyon +28, +69, -37, -56 = +4
Noda -19, -37, -1, +52 = -5
David -6, -4, -28, -15* = 53

* Chombo

The convenient thing about Nobuhiro on Friday was that he had a car and as he lives on the other side of Rakurakuen, he was able to drop your humble reporter off at Rakurakuen with no concurrent inconvenience accruing to himself.

David Hurley