Thursday, August 28, 2008

No Sour Grapes From Noda...

Noda, Ray and David arranged an Obon holiday season game of mahjong but neglected to inform Mama-san at Kodama, who shut up shop in order to go and pray at her ancestors' ancient monument as is the custom of the inhabitants of these islands so to do.

Noda had spent the sweltering day tending his vinyard, or at least his vine, and had brought with him a bag full of grapes, a small sample of which if offered to Ray the David as they strolled off in search of a mahjong parlour that was open for business.

We ended up in a small place that we'd never been to before in the Tatemachi area, a second floor establishment of the second order. Ray and David were apparently the first foreigners to cross the threshold of the joint and in such circumstances it is always good policy to let Noda take the lead.

Noda softened up the floor manager by offering him a large bunch of grapes.

Ray muttered something about the next joint down the street which is a larger, jollier sort of place with rather sporting bunny girls on call to serve drinks and snacks and offer other services such as sitting in on a game or two.

The only sign of female company our hosts could offer us was a dwarfish specimen of uncertain years who would emerge from one of the private rooms when it was her turn away from the table. It is presumed that she was involved in a game of 3-player mj , and from time to time she would come barrelling out of her hole faster than a cuckoo pops out of his clock, and plonk herself down in front of the television to commentate on the progress of the Japanese team in the Olympic Games.

David won the first two games in spiffing form, clobbering Ray once again with a mighty

Noda seemed to be suffering from a mixture of booze and sunstroke and had turned into jelly. He treated us to the unprecedented site of committing a
Chombo by gathering an impressive collection of 15 tiles, something which he protested that he had never achieved in his life heretofore.

That was the low point of Noda's evening, and possibly of his life. Sadly, nobody thought to photograph the epochal event.

As I say, though, it was the low point of Noda's evening.

We had changed seats after the second game, with David on +118 and Ray on -91, but Ray took over the seat that David had been winning in and immediately began to claw back his losses. By the time of Noda's
Chombo Ray had got himself back to -14 and Noda's bottom was firmly on the bottom, his feet were treading the winepress alone, and that is where we should have left it.

Sadly, we played the last game!

Oh, if only we could stop before the last game!

Noda won it, of course, and recovered all but five of his lost points and so the final scores were quite modest.

Ray strolled off to his hotel and Noda and David hopped into a taxi, and as it zoomed off Noda suddenly leapt off his seat as if he had been lolling in the electric chair at Sing-Sing and some practical joker had suddenly turned on the juice.

However, it was nothing serious: "I left the grapes at the mahjong parlour," he said.

Well, I trust they did not set the parlour manager's teeth on edge.

David +73, +45, -19, 0, -29, -31 = +39
Noda -12, -15, +2, -20, -11,** +51 = -5
Ray -61, -30, +17, +20, +40, -20 = -34

** Noda's unprecedented 15-tile Chombo!

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Noda Marches On As Foreigners Sink In The Mire

This was not a good night for foreign players! It was probably all the fault of the Poor Little Cypriot. When Noda was on his first hand as Oya the PLC moved off Tempai to try and build a pure bamboo hand, a tactic that backfired and that went against every principle of play when Noda is Oya!

While the PLC did indeed end up with 13 Bamboo tiles in his hand, he was still one off Tempai when Noda went out. Worse still, Noda went on to rack up about eight or so hyaku tembou, and by the time he relinquished the Oya the PLC was in hock to the tune of about 30,000 points. It was thoroughly deserved, and the score for the first game tells the story: Noda +116, David -116, Ray 0!

The second game saw one of the recoveries of the year, however, as the PLC found himself with a Suuanko-Tanki wait on 3-Coins, but also with the option of going out on 2 or 5-Coins. Ray threw the 3-Coins and handed the PLC a much needed 65,000 points, which could possibly be the record single hand score for the year.

Hide arrived in time for the third game, and it turned out that the foreigners' fortunes, such as they were, had peaked. Ray never got past zero, and the PLC never got that far, -14 being the best cumulative score of his evening.

Noda won the third and fourth, and called it an evening on a healthy +209, a score which ensured that he had broken through the +1000 point barrier in style.

I'm sure that Ray and the PLC would have been happy to have called it a night at this stage too, but Kayo had arrived and not yet had a game so they stayed and both continued on the downward slope as Hide won the fifth and Kayo the sixth games.

The result was that Ray took the "worst result" from Jaime by racking up a total score of -193. It was a bit harsh really, when you consider that 65 of those points came from one discard!

The Grand Accumulated Results Table is beginning to look rather embarrassing as the top four players are all Japanese and all in the black. All the foreign players are in the red, and the only Japanese player down there with them is the rookie Nobuhiro, and he is moving up the table by default as the foreigners drop below him one by one...

Not only that but Nobuhiro is an improving player who is expected to record a positive finish any time soon...

Noda +116, -3, +59, +37, --, -- = +209
Hide --, --, -10, +13, +38, +11 = +52
Kayo --, --, --, --, -9, +45 = +36
David -116, +102, -5, -14, -16, -55 = -104
Ray 0, -99, -44, -36, -13, -1 = 193

David Hurley
Japanese Games Shop

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