28 September 2010

A Little MJ…

As in mahjong.

mahjong1(Don’t they look like rows of big, big teeth to you?)

My parents were over for a visit last week.  And so was my 83-year old aunt.  My 83-year old aunt who LOVES to play mahjong.

Chris and I bought a mahjong table and a mahjong set when my in-laws first came for a visit.  My FIL loved to play mahjong.  There was plenty of ribbing and trash-talking going on –or rather, what amounted to trash-talking from my FIL, the gentle and proper soul that he was.  It was quite cute to hear the glee in his voice and to see how carefree he would get whenever he played.

Since my in-laws’ visit a few years ago, we hadn’t really brought out the mahjong table to play. See, you need four players to play;  plus the fact that the only time we’d have to play would be after the kids had gone to bed.  So last week, during my parents’ and my aunt’s visit, I asked if they wanted to play MJ.  My aunt gave a resounding YES!  So, after the kids were in bed, we set up the table and got out the mahjong set.  My aunt, my dad, Chris, and I took up our places.  (My mom doesn’t know how to play.)

Chris and I haven’t played in a while and we didn’t remember the rules too well –and there are many different rules, depending on what “style” of mahjong one plays.  My aunt made it simple for us:  Whoever completes a hand first wins.  A hand would consist of four sets of threes –either running numbers or three-of-a-kind, --and a pair.  No complicated scoring and pre-conditions.  And so we played. 

We shuffled. It was NOT quiet.  Thankfully, the kids slept on.

We built.  We took turns getting blocks of tiles.  We arranged our tiles.

We picked new tiles and discarded ones we didn’t need.

We laid out to the side the ‘flower’ tiles drawn.  In this particular style of mahjong that we played with my aunt, the flower tiles didn’t count for anything, unlike when we played with my in-laws.

After a few rounds of drawing and discarding tiles to build our hands, somebody would gleefully announce victory and the rest of us would pay up (with chips;  We never play for money.)  And then all tiles would be shuffled once again and another round started.  We played quite a number of rounds –until we completed the entire “cycle” dictated by the four “winds” (East, South, West, North).

Who won?  My 83-year old aunt did!  And she was giddy with glee!  Like a little child.  So cute!  I think my dad was up a little, too, but Chris and I were both down in our chips from what we started off with.

Do you know how to play mahjong –the real mahjong, not the solitaire version on the computer?

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