Sunday, April 26, 2009

Eliot On Lilacs And The Burial Of The Dead & Nobu's Game Of Mahjong.

It was old T. S. Eliot who opined that April was the cruellest month. Something to do with innocent lilacs and the burial of the dead...

... which reminds me, last Friday Nobu-san appeared on the scene, lilac like, like a harbinger of spring and joined Noda and I for his first game of mahjong of this still rather chilly year.

April is indeed the cruellest month. Here we are nearly at Golden Week in Japan and tonight it was brass monkey weather, cold enough to blast a few innocent lilacs in the flower, I shouldn't wonder.

Anyway, here is the way the game went. It was a game of extremes. David won the first game in triple figures, with Nobu conceding the majority of the points and going out on a Chombo hand at one stage.

Then the flow of the game began to move Noda's way, but David finished in the black and received a further boost from Nobu's Yakitori.

David changed seat in the third game, which was a pity for him as he proceeded to give half of his winnings to Noda who was in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Still, since Nobu committed his second Chombo during this game and finished it owing David 12,000 and Noda 30,000, David didn't feel he ought to complain too much.

It was only twenty minutes to midnight so a fourth game was offered, but Nobu seemed somewhat dismayed by his blasting in the bud and elected to call it a night.

Noda -18, +40, +150 = +172
David +103, +9, -58 = +54
Nobu -85,* -49,** -92,* = -226

* Chombo
** Yakitori

So, in a single swipe, we have a new top player (if one can seriously call Noda "new" in any sense of the word) and a new bottom player, and a new top record and a new bottom record, and a new best result and a new worst result, and to cap it all, a new worst ever form record of -226/3.

Yes, April can be a cruel month for the lilacs.

David H

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

How Like Unto A Dwarf Wisteria Is My Game Of Japanese Mahjong

As my afternoon and evening classes had been cancelled I was able to pop back to the homestead where I thought I might indulge in a quiet afternoon nap and woke up about four hours later. Thus refreshed I hopped onto the tram into town and hopped off at Kamiyacho Nishi, wherefrom I wended my way towards Bizenya to set myself up for the evening with the old Yasai Ramen and Gyouza combination.

I don't know much about the people who run Bizenya, but from what I gather, they are fond of art and gardening since the place often has a mini exhibition of pictures on the side wall, and different potted plants at the entrance.

As I approached the threshold, my eye was drawn by what I took to be some cut wisteria branches in full bloom outside the door. On further inspection it turned out that I was looking at an ornamental wisteria plant, uncut, potted and very much in the land of the living. I didn't know that you could get full sized blossom off a miniature plant, but it seems that you can and that the Japanese go in for a bit of wisteria bonsai on the side.

My game this evening had something of the quality of the ornamental wisteria about it. With an unpromising start, such as might lead one to suppose the Wisteria Minima Davida was dead. But in the middle of the evening there were signs of life and something resembling a recovery came into blossom. I am not sure how high this particular wisteria can grow or whether its vines will have anything more than a vain hope to cling on to.

Meanwhile, the great Wisteria Senexa Nodaria spread and blossomed rampantly across the evening, casting a shade on the falling petals of the weeping cherry, Cerasus Infortunius Iacobus

The result means that for the first time in about six months(?) David is off the bottom. Noda, however, is back in the black so we wonder how much longer the top of table will be the preserve of foreign plant species...

Noda +33, -22, +70, +3 = +84
David -45, +84, -13, +32 = +58
Jaime +12, -62, -57, -35 = -142

During the course of the evening Jaime asked me if I had seen the youtube video of Susan Boyle, a contestant in the Britain's Got Talent show, who shocked the judges with her performance...

Of course, I had not seen it, but when I got home I checked it out... Fantastic!

Here's a link to the show.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Missing Link An Embarrassment To The Fossil Record!

Have You Seen The Missing Link?

Events took a surprising turn while I was away on my hols in February. A game was played, the only game of the month, but the scoresheet went missing.

It was a rum do, the first missing link in our evolution, and an embarrassment to the fossil record of the 3-Player Mahjong Club.

The word was that this was a game which had seen Noda lose.

Apparently, Jaime racked up the biggest loss so far this year (which is not saying much, with so few games having been played), and Kenyon emerged as the big winner.

But, if a scoresheet is not handed in to the Central Committee...

Anyway, we met up last Friday for a few beers to set ourselves up for the-only-game-in-March and Jaime offered up his mia culpa, which had something to do with rubbish and bins and vacuum cleaners and swiftly descended (or was cunningly diverted) into a debate that hinged upon the semantics of whether a thing (such as a scoresheet) could be said to have been got (or gotten) rid of if the personage last known to have had it in his possession had not intentionally, or knowingly, or in his right mind, binned it.

We moved on for a final "quick snifter before the game" in the front parlour of an izakaya right opposite the Kodama mahjong club, a small joint where the drinkers congregate around a sort of glass-topped crate on top of an ancient Japanese Paulonia tree trunk and have their beers or whatevers passed to them over the izakaya back corridor counter.

I can see that place becoming a regular Friday evening "quick snifter" haunt...

As we entered Kodama, the state of play was as it had been back at the end of January, which favoured Ray (who remained top) and Jaime (who stayed in the black). It helped Noda, was indifferent to Hide and David, and hindered Kenyon by a hundred-and-something points.

The evening turned out to favour Jaime, who turned out to be the only winner overall. David managed his best result of the year by finished second, on a modest -12, and Kenyon and Noda were also down, in double figures, but nothing major.

Then, yesterday, I received an e-mail from Jaime: The Missing Link had been discovered and the fossil record was complete!

Jaime's e-mail:
i found the missing score sheet... id never taken it out of my wallet...

...have no memory of putting it in my wallet...

And here it jolly well is!

So, at a stroke, Kenyon jumped to the top of the table, and Jaime sunk into the red.

Here is the table as it stands, this April 3rd, in the Year of Grace 2009:

Kenyon +125
Ray +83
Hide +25
Jaime -25
Noda -36
Jezz -44
David -128

David H

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