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12/09/09 @ 06:09:01 pm, Categories: Life of Baka, 531 words, 1239 views  

So, with the help of my re-discovered Ultimate Power Source, Ritalin, an old obsession has become something real.

For years I’ve wanted to learn how to play Mahjong. Even before anime like Akagi aired. I couldn’t wrap my head around it though, it took too long to figure out, so all I ended up doing was trying to make a hand that looked like it matched enough to be worth something. (I am not kidding.) This usually ended in disaster. This interest in Mahjong would keep resurfacing…with Fullani…with Akagi…with Saki… But I could never figure it out. Last week, I sat down, and dove head-long into learning how to play, and the information actually STUCK this time.

I know the difference between Itsuu, Honitsuu, and Chinitsuu. I can gauge the likelihood that a tile will come up. I can remember all the Japanese names for the tiles. (Which are based on the Chinese names, and thus don’t use Japanese numbering) I can count the fu and han of my hand with little help from reference materials. And, although almost entirely unnecessary, I know how to set up and play with real tiles.

I felt it most fitting (Not to mention most satisfying for my tactile fixation) to celebrate this small victory by purchasing a set of tiles. First of all, it was difficult finding a set of Japanese-style tiles, with red dora tiles, blank Haku tiles, and no arabic numerals in the corners. There’s this one site, where the guy charges twice what a given set of tiles costs AND charges you ridiculous EMS shipping charges from Japan. (I mean, wtf? I would expect to pay twice as much…if it were ALREADY IN THE COUNTRY.) And eBay which had a couple sets that looked promising. And finally, the last option was buying a set from Rakuten…which would let me get exactly what I wanted, at a fair price…though it was still out of my current price range.

Then I spotted a particular gem on eBay. (Well, okay. This was the second ‘gem’. The first one was a new-looking Japanese bone and bamboo set, with 1 part bamboo and three parts bone, i.e. the high quality kind as opposed to the other way around. But despite its low starting price, it quickly became out of my pricerange.) I e-mailed back and forth with the guy, and it turned out that he had sold the set I wanted (I wanted a set with yellow backs.) but still had another set. So I eventually got that worked out, and several days later it arrived…

What does it say about the influence of anime on me that when I got the package the first thing I did was stack some tiles and see if I could flip over the dora indicator with one finger like they do in Akagi? Well, it turns out you can, but it takes practice to do it consistently.

Anyway, a beautiful set of high quality tiles. They just look damn good. Oh, and the company that made them, they’ve been pretty big in the gaming industry since the 1880s, perhaps you’ve heard of them.


nani sore?
A peek inside the mad, mad, mind of Baka-chan. Animator, artist, hater of stupid people, and evil genius. Look upon the undoing of all order in the universe, and tremble.
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