Author Archives: Mah Jongg and Me

About Mah Jongg and Me

Mah Jongg is not just a game. It has become a part of my life that allows me to entertain my Mah Jongg-playing friends, cook great meals to serve to them and test my mental skills during our game play (which, hopefully, is often).


There have been many articles written (and some of them re-posted on this blog) about the benefits of playing Mah Jongg and specifically about increasing brain power and staving off dementia. And now Bill Cunningham, in his weekly Evening Hours pictorial column in The New York Times, “documents” this very same thing. Mrs. Koo plays Mah Jongg three times a week (and wins!). My money is on a bet that the celebration of her 110 birthday has a lot to do with her Mah Jongg passion!!!

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Quite a while ago I posted a shout-out for help with finding a Mah Jongg teacher for Susan T. Our dear, dear friend, the wonderful Phyllis C, responded immediately. Yesterday I received the following wonderful message along with these fabulous photos from Susan. Her message really touched my heart and I am so thrilled about having a very small part in what appears to be a really special and lasting friendship. And also that Susan is now yet another Mah Jongg addict!

Hi Ann, 
You told me you wanted to see a picture when Phyllis and I finally hooked up and we have some beauties here for you. I am having so much fun! I love mahjong and I love Phyllis! She is the nicest woman I’ve met in a long time, and an excellent teacher to boot.
Thank you so much for using your network to help me find a teacher. I really feel that because of your kindness I have found both a friend and an activity that I will cherish for a long time.
With gratitude,
The first photo is the license plate on the front of Phyllis’s  car.


The second photo is a picture of Phyllis and me,


and the third photo is a picture of Phyllis.


I want to add that I have never met Phyllis but through her wonderful emails I feel as if we have known each other forever – I must tell you that I feel the same way about her that Susan does – I adore this woman! By hook or by crook I will get to Florida this winter to give her a big hug! And this is the message I received yesterday from Phyllis (have I mentioned that I adore her?!!):

Ann, hopefully you have received pictures taken at my class this morning.  Sue T found me on your web-site and wanted to take pictures of her and me along with my front plate on my car. I am also wearing the “Ann Israel eyeglass holder” I purchased from Sandra Davis. Sue lives in my development in another sub-division 5 minutes away.   Hugs always, Phyllis


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My Wednesday morning class is coming along just fine and Judy was a star today with the same 2015 hand of NJNN EW SSSS 2015 that Peggy won with on Monday. I am so impressed to see newbies putting together this fun hand – good job, Judy!




My current class of Mah Jongg students is doing so very well and I am so proud of them. Here are some of their winning hands from their Monday afternoon class:

A nice Consecutive Run of 11 222 33J3 J44 55 plus a reminder from “teach” to put the Jokers in the middle of the exposure.

IMG_1024A nicely done 13579 hand of 11 3JJ 5555 777 99.IMG_1025However, it is important to remember that they are still learning the game…especially when this student declared a LIKE NUMBERS Mah Jongg with this hand of FF 66J6 (Dots) J8J8 (Bams) 999J (Bams). Okay, I understand why she thought she was doing the right thing – each exposure is definitely made up of like numbers…IMG_1026Another nice CONSECUTIVE RUN hand of 55 666 7777 8J8 99.
IMG_1028And last, a spectacular 2015 hand of FF 2015 1JJ1 5555 – congratulations to Peggy – I am SO proud of you – your hard work is definitely paying off!IMG_1027


A few days ago I was scrolling around on the Internet and came across this article from 2014 in an online newsletter ( that was about Mah Jongg “expanding to every corner of the world.” It sounded interesting to me so I started reading and guess what…I am quoted in several places throughout the article…who knew? Totally exciting! I must say that I got a kick out of the statement that Mah Jongg was invented in China “roughly two millennia ago.” Um…instead, how about that the game was invented in China maybe a little over two hundred years ago!!! 

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