Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mah Jongg

Mah Jong every which way
family style
My daughter's stylish set

Porch style

Outdoor style

We've been playing all summer. I love the game, and my daughter is completely hooked.
You usually play with 4 people, but you can play with 3 or even 2. (Or 5 if you switch like in bridge). There are several ways to play it. The Chinese play it very much like gin rummy. The English have a whiole book of 'special hands', and my aunt, who taught us, learned the English way while she was living in China, lol.
The real difference is in the various 'hands'. They all have cool names, like 'Gerties Garters', and 'Heavenly Twins', or 'The Ruby hand', or 'Dragon's Breath'. There are three suits, (bams, cracks, and dots) and three dragons (red, white, and green) and the four winds (north, south, east, and west.)
The set-up is easy, once you get the hang of it. And playing is fun and for all ages.
We wanted to get a set, but they are hard to find. So this summer, I promised my daughter we'd take a trip to Chinatown in NYC and see if we could find one. We went down the last day of our visit, and stopped to see Sam, who offered to take us to Chinatown for lunch and help hunt down a set - so off we went. We had lunch in a Fabulous restaurant, I will definitely recommend it to anyone who loves Chinese food - it's called Shanghai Cuisine, and it's located at 89-91 Bayard street downtown Manhatten. (corner of Mulberry and Bayard). Everything we had was delicious - I can't say enough good things about that place.
Anyhow, after lunch we headed east, and hit a small street with some tiny shops, and Sam spotted a mahjongg set in the window! We went in, and the shop owner took down a box, opened it, and took out a huge wooden box with a dragon on it. She opened it, and my daughter gasped in delight. A lovely mah jongg set. My daughter asked the price, and her face crumpled It was expensive. I was just starting to tell the lady that we couldn't afford it, when Sam said, "Wrap it up! It's for her birthday!" My daughter was jumping with joy, and all I could think of was 'we are going to have to carry this 30 pound mah jongg set with us on the plane'. Actually, I was thrilled, and am planning on sending a care package to Sam, with some chocolate and some 'get skinny' tea - LOL!
My son managed to cram the box into our luggage, so all we had to do was wheel it around the airport. And now, every night, we play a few hands of mah jongg.
Last night I won with a hand called 5 odd honors.
Thank you Sam!!!!!


Rosie said...

I have to say you sure have made me curious and intrigued now. That looks like a wonderful set and a great story to go with it. Your daughter will remember it forever.

Seeley deBorn said...

I've played the solitaire version on the computer. So has The Boy. Last week, (he's 4 years old) he sat for 45 minutes at one game. He made it down to 6 tiles before he couldn't make any more pairs.

I'd love to learn to play the group version!

Wynn Bexton said...

I've never played it, but I recall some years ago when I ex used to do a lot of painting in Chinatown, we were invited to a Chinese New Years party. There were various tables set up with Mah Jong and I was intrigued -- not only by the steady click-click-click of the tiles but the way the game was played, (not that I ever learned). They were gambling and there was a lot of money being exchanged along with the straight glasses of expensive whiskey! I used to wonder, when I wandered thru Chinatown, what that 'click-click- sound was. And then I knew!

Bonita said...

I have a lovely Mah Jonng set, but I do not know how to play it. I had only played the game on the computer. Your daughter must be so glad that you found such a wonderful set. What memories she will have of this vacation every time you pull it out to play.

December/Stacia said...

I've always wanted to learn how to play this of these days! What a fun vacation.

My brother and I used to play Blitz with my Grandma for hours (Blitz is a card game, basically blackjack but the goal is 31 not 21).

Sam said...

Hi guys!
It's easy top play the basic Mah Jongg - just play it like gin rummy - to win you need four 'three of a kind' plus a pair, or a set of seven pairs, or a sequence from one to nine with a pair and three of a kind - etc. etc.
There are lots of different hands, but those are the most basic, and the ones the kids remember best. The tricky part is the set-up - but if you just want to play you deal 13 tiles, and win with the 14th - like rummy. You pick and discard tiles. You can only pick up a discarded tile to win.
There are a lot of different ways to play the game, but they're all fun! So crack open the case, Bonita, and give it a try!

Erin the Innocent said...

I've only ever played the game online. Your description of your daughters set sounds beautiful though :)

Sam Feneque said...

Hi Jen,

It's me Sam! Your mom sent me a link to your blog and I just read the story.

I have a HUGE smile on my face. I had forgotten about the diet tea - that was HILARIOUS!!!! I forgot to tell your mom that story.

I am so glad to make Julia, or any member of your family happy. Your mom is like a mom to me so all you guys are family to me.

It was awesome to see you, Alex and Julia. You have the most wonderful kids I've ever met.

I hope to see you guys again -- soon and hopefully play Mah Jong.

I use to play Mah Jong a lot, on the computer. Never played with a real set.

On a more serious note, I want to speak to you about my website exchanging links with your website.

I miss you guys already.

Love you guys very much,


Kate R said...

OH damn, you're on our side of the ocean! That's so cool.

I didn't know this book was out until I read Mrs. G.

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