Monday, May 17, 2010

Friday 7th May: Nobu Pricks David's Revival With 2 x Kokushimusou

This evening at Kodama will be remembered for two things, namely:

1. That after two games Jaime found himself +75 ahead and scuttled off sheepishly muttering something about needing to get home before the puppy piddled on the carpet.

2. That Nobu clobbered David with Kokushimusou on not one but TWO occasions after Jaime's departure.

Nobu had been Tempai on Kokushimusou in the second game as well, and Noda was looking, rather obviously, for Kokushimusou in the fourth.

Nobu's first Kokushimusou victory came about when David was Oya and went Riichi. Nobu asked David to clarify whether or not he needed to go Riichi on his hand and when David had a look he was a ready Kokushi hand needing a 9-Bamboo to finish and said, "No, you don't need to go Riichi." Since three of 9-Bamboo were already out, David was not too concerned, but the very next tile he pulled from the wall and had to discard was... the last remaining 9-Bamboo. So 32,000 points were promptly transferred from David's tray to Nobu's.

Nobu's first ever Kokushimusou.

Then, in the South round of the fourth and final game, Noda declared Riichi with a hand that was showing dollar strength. David and Nobu were playing out the hand, or so it seemed. David, who was Oya, ran out of safe tiles and put out a Dora tile (North tile in 3-Player MJ) in the hope of finding a safe tile on the back. (Actually, he probably should have simply discarded the North tile but was still hoping to get a ready hand as Oya.) He drew a Red Dragon from the back of the wall, and as both Noda and he had discarded one he chucked it. There was a sudden motion and cry from Nobu, who had been very quiet up until then...


And the second Kokushimusou was revealed. So David handed over another 32,000 points to Nobu and had to give up any hopes of a revival of fortunes.

Noda took over the Oya and during a Ryanshi hand Nobu got a bit carried away and went out on a 1-Yaku open hand with South Wind his only Yaku and fell to a Chombo penalty.

In spite of all that, Nobu still came in bottom of the pile.

Jaime +40, +35, --, -- = +75
Noda -38, +11, -18, +27 = -18
David -3, -11, -14,* +9* = -19
Nobu +1, -35, +32, -36** = -31

* David gives Nobu Kokushimusou.
** Chombo



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tues 4th May: Green Day at Takanosu Golf Club

Teeing Off At Takanosu

Our party of seven split up into two groups, with four Japanese players in the leading group, and Jaime, Nobu and David bringing up the rear as Nobu was a complete beginner and David an "improving learner"...

Nobu was distinctly nervous at the prospect of teeing-off whereas David was utterly calm. For a start, nobody was following too closely behind us at as we sallied forth to the first hole. Secondly, the prospect of not being the bottom player for the first time in his golfing career was a prospect that David rather relished...

The course at Takanosu consists of a lot of longish narrowish fairways that feature...
  • a lake that wraps round much of the 18th hole and invites you to lose a ball on the approach and another if you overshoot the green...
  • an impossibly huge gully that serves as a gigantic maw for weaker players' balls...
  • a craftily placed stream just right to receive the ball of anybody (such as myself) who needs two shots to get 200 yards from the tee.
  • a gaping bunker just in front of a par three green, complete with a steep bank on the green side...
Jaime and Noda were competing for a ¥1,000 prize. What Noda didn't know was that our group was playing the Mulligan rule...

Mrs W was playing with a youngish Japanese chap who had a penetrating drive but a poor finish, by all accounts.
Mrs T was competing with David and Nobu, but took advantage of the ladies tee to keep ahead of the losers.

David's practice session the day before paid off and he managed to avoid double figures right up until the 9th hole, despite stopping for a beer at the fifth. However, after a couple of beers over lunch David's performance underwent a dramatic transformation. His driving from the tee dramatically improved as he remembered to apply the "transfer weight over right leg to your heel on the upswing" trick and managed to drive two or three balls up to 200 yards in a straight line and also delivered a straight shot with the number 6 iron off the tee on a par 3 hole, landing just short of the green.

However, when it came to driving the golf buggy, David came to grief as he grappled with three golf clubs, the steering wheel and the accelerator which he kept glued to the floor as he took the buggy over a sharp rise and down a slope where the path curved to the left. David got tangled up with his golf clubs and crashed the buggy straight into the fence. Happily, the fence was made of old railway sleepers and did not give way. A quick application of reverse gear and all was put right again, more or less.

Work with the middle irons also faded somewhat until the 18th when David managed to loft the ball onto the green, but by then he had racked up three more double-figure holes and a total score of 141 and a "handicap" of 69!
Nobu struggled with the driver and sent numerous balls out of bounds just a few metres away. On several holes in the second 9, Nobu reached "10" on the fairway, but David couldn't extend his lead because he reached "10" on the green!

Nobu's final score was 163.

Golfer's Progress: Feeble and Ready-To-Halt bring up the rear.

Jaime came in in the low 90's, pipping Noda to the top spot.

It's well worth playing golf at Takanosu if only because the bath feels like heaven afterwards.

In the evening all but Jaime gathered at a Spanish restaurant in town called Barca to celebrate the day.



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Monday 4th May: Golf Practice Or How To Drive A Ball 100 Yards With Any Club...

Ah yes, golf.

Having avoided this subject for virtually a year, I found myself having to dust off Mr David Leadbetter's book "The Golf Swing" and haul my neglected clubs out of the attic in preparation for a round of golf at Takanosu Golf Club somewhere in the Japanese countryside north west of Hiroshima.

It all came about because I happen to "teach" Mrs W, the owner of the club, English. Or, more accurately, we play mahjong along with Mrs T at Mrs T's house while chatting in English - at least in a form of English that includes all the usual Japanese terminology for playing mahjong.

Mrs W is a keen golfer who has become hooked on mahjong. She and Mrs T sometimes join our games of 3-player mahjong on Friday evenings. Both Noda and Jaime are keen mahjong players who happen to be hooked on golf so it did not take long for everyone to agree that it would be a spiffing idea if we made up a party and played golf at Takanosu during Golden Week.

By coincidence, the best day for everybody was May 4th, aptly designated "Midori no hi" or "Green Day".

Now, as I say, I had not so much as touched a golf club for virtually a year. Not since I scored something like 158 on the easy 9 hole course on the Ota river in the northern outskirts of Hiroshima.

So, on Monday 3rd May I hauled David Leadbetter's book and four clubs up to the driving range at Mitaki to do a bit of practice... The four clubs were my driver, and the 6, 7 and 9 irons. Anything below 6 is a complete waste of time and effort as far as I'm concerned.

Just as I feared, I was stuck between a highly competent chap who was blasting his balls all the way up the driving range with his great swinging driver. He was behind me so he could see exactly what I was up to. In front of me was a young lady with a personal "trainer" many years her senior. He sat on a chair and observed in that expressionless way so beloved of the natives of these parts.

I delayed the moment of truth for as long as possible with the rituals of (1) getting clubs out of bag, (2) getting a drink from the drinks machine (3) getting a basket of 50 balls from the ball dispenser and (4) reading David Leadbetter with a great show of concentration...

Actually, reading DL's book did me a lot of good. I picked up a detail I'd missed before - that I ought to shift my weight on my right leg from the ball to the heel on the upswing...

Armed - or footed - with this new nugget of technical know-how, I picked up the most promising of my range of clubs, the trusty no. 9, the easiest iron in the bag and got stuck in.

After a few toppings and slicings I got back into the rhythm and managed to loft a few balls somewhere between 50-90 yards more or less straight ahead.

The next 50 balls were dedicated to the no. 7 iron. The next 50 balls to the no. 6. Both irons, when they made decent contact with the ball sent it around 100 yards up the driving range. Whenever I got tired and started topping the ball, I reduced the swing to a half swing and built up from there. I also found it convenient to blast a series of balls at top speed.

The final 50 balls were dedicated to my driver. By now the bloke behind me and the girl and her chum had disappeared. There was no one around to notice the ball that my driver sent rolling off the tee to end up four feed behind me. As for all the sliced shots, or the ones that set off in a straight line until they reached the 30 yard mark and then scooted off to the right in a sort of delayed slice, I don't suppose many people noticed.

Just as with the 6 and 7 irons, my driver, when it behaved itself, sent the ball approximately 100 yards up the driving range...

I now had a blister on my left index finger and a red weal on the palm of my hand. 200 balls satisfactorily blasted (or topped or sliced) off the tee. Time to go home and sleep off golf practice in preparation for Green Day at Takanosu...

David Hurley

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, May 10, 2010

Friday 30th April: Chombo Wakes Up Noda...

Ray and Jaime were taking on Noda tonight. It seems that all was going along fairly quietly until Noda discovered that he had accumulated too many tiles on his first Oya-ship of the third game and had therefore committed a Chombo.

That had the effect of waking him up. He went on to win that game, with Ray replying in the fourth leaving everything to play for in the fifth and final game.

However, Noda dominated the game to finish on +72, and +107 for the evening with the Anglo-Irish sharing the losses more or less evenly between them.

Noda +26, 0, +24,* -15, +72 = +107
Jaime -15, +17, -6, -26, -22 = -52
Ray -11, -17, -18, +41, -50 = -55

* Chombo 


Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button