I am delighted to announce that my new book, MAH JONGG – The Art of the Game, is  now
available for pre-order at a special price on This coffee table book is being
published by Tuttle Publishing and will be available on September 9, 2014. I wrote the book with
my dear friend and very talented writing partner Gregg Swain and we are fortunate enough to
have photographs by the incredibly gifted Michel Arnaud.
Before we introduce today’s teacher by the name of The Mahjong Lady, I want to thank my
wonderful friend K for clearing up the mystery of the Bams from yesterday. Here is
what she had to say:

Sweet set! Have a closer look, the all green painted bamboo tile has 6 pieces of bamboo, the bamboo pieces just are not separated. The bamboo tile with the red, blue and green has 9 pieces of bamboo, also no separation in the bamboo pieces. Just count the lines and you can tell the 6 bam from the 9 bam. In this case it is just a little bit harder to see, the different color in the paint sure helps.

Thanks, K!

photo 4

Today’s posting features a very talented and creative Mah Jongg teacher by the name of Ling
(Lin) Maris, aka The Mahjong Lady! She teaches American NMJL but will also teach you Wright
Patterson if you have an interest.
More about her creativity in a moment but first, a little history. Ling started out teaching the
Wright Patterson game of Mah Jongg. As she explains it,
“Any time you want to learn Wright Patterson,  I would be delighted to teach you. This is how I
originally started teaching.  It is an entirely different game of mahjong than League style.

There are no jokers, legal hands are listed in a book which generally does not change more than every 5-10 years.    It is not played with flowers in the hands, but the flowers give bonus’ and the scoring system is like the complex  Chinese scoring system.  I believe WP is the game imported to the US originally –   that first popularized mahjong in the USA – so it is probably  mahjong American style about 1914-15.

Now,  I believe it is quite popular with the various branches of armed forces because of its long length uniformity.  Wherever one is stationed, you will play mahjong the same with very few changes occurring. (No new card every year). The problem with this style-no matter how interesting,   is that few people realize it exists. No one really plays it unless you have some exposure to a base or are from the south.  I learned it from a southern  army brat because it was the game of the officers wives and she learned from her mother.

I began teaching WP, thinking it was a whole new undiscovered mahjong territory  – to discover I had more requests for League mah-jongg. Everyone wanted to play what their neighbor was playing – not this exotic “not real” mahjong. So I became a League style teacher and it blossomed.”

It seems that Ling shares my love for the Pung Chow sets and when she teaches or plays with one of these beautiful black and white sets she also plans her menu and table settings to match the set using a Black & Cream theme. As she describes it:

“Last conversation, you asked about menu and settings for blk/cream mahjong: We use the pung-chow set. Black & Cream Mahjong is when we want to stretch  the envelope a bit:  I have a basement full of interesting things so when we want to celebrate someone’s birthday, special occasion, holidays, etc.,  we raid my basement .    The color scheme is set with the cloths, napkins  and dishes.  I use the following:BLACK & CREAM THEME –  IVORY COLORED CLOTH:
Centerpiece: black lacquer, black goblets & black napkins, gold or silver chargers and matching flatware.  MENU: Soup – Clear chicken/miso or wanton soup w/bright green garnishes in black soup bowls,
Lunch: white plates w/ black rice& Chinese mushrooms, snowpeas and Chinese spareribs.Dessert: Fresh fruit in black lacquer soup dishes. Coffee in black or white mugs
W/BLACK COLORED CLOTH: (Becomes Blk,&Wht (some cream) because I have no cream dishes.
Centerpiece: White Porcelaine  Chinese Men-figures: black goblets, white napkins or beige paper naps,  Gold or Silver chargers & matching flatware. Service casserole dishes=cream or white colorMENU: Soup – Cream cauliflower soup or Greek avgolemeno (which is a pale yellow/cream-beige color) Lunch:  Assorted Chinese dim sum on square white plates.Dessert: Fresh fruit in/on  white bowls. Coffee in black or white mugs.In warmer weather the lunch becomes a cold soup and salad with the linen setting the color scheme.Try it – You’ll like it!
Lin’s is a  referral service, from one client to another- anywhere. Most of her students seem to be the NYC-Long Island area. But, she will go anywhere she is requested in the tri-state area.  As she says it, “Have mahjongg set – will travel. :)”
All you Long Island players or wannabe players, contact Lin the Mahjong Lady at  From what I can see, not only will you become experts at the
game under her tutelage, you are going to get a wonderful meal as well!

And based on the amount of snow out there at Lin’s home, I would bet that there are some marathon Mah Jongg games being played!