A number of questions and comments have come in to the blog lately and so I thought I would take this chance to answer a few of them as best as possible:
The first question comes from Jill who initially wrote about the enrobed set she inherited from her grandmother: Hi Ann, Hope you are doing well! Did anyone ever respond to you about my enrobed tiles? I just picked up what appears to be a vintage Japanese Mah Jongg set. It has never been used. The label on the bottom of the case says “Kimura, Japan”. It is a very compact case with velvet lined trays. There is a booklet of directions which is titled ” Chinese Game of Four Winds”. Might you be familiar with this? Thank you! Jill
One of my favorite Mah Jongg experts, Tony Watson, has taken a shot at this (before he had a chance to see any of these photos): Without a pic it’s difficult, but I’m guessing it’s a urea resin set, small tiles with thick white top backed with thin bamboo, deeply impressed designs in a tiny suitcase. The booklet is a standard title that comes with many sets. Probably from the 60s/70s. But I’m only shooting the breeze here!
And, after Tony saw the photos, he added: Yes, probably 70s, I have a slide-top set with the same birdbam, but these dragons are very unusual for the Japanese sets, they look like those in Matthew & Johni’s mystery sets. Material is as I said before, urea, and very fine impressed designs – excellent quality, which is why they look brand new. I’m intrigued by the tiles to the top of the dragons… I can’t make out what they are, but they appear to have a 1 on them???
And you have all heard me extol the virtues of the great Mah Jongg teacher, Johni Levene, who wrote: I’m with Tony here – it seems 1970’s ish. I have one and know absolutely nothing about it but they are a nice quality and it’s pretty so I kept it.
And then Johni added more comments: Oh wait, that’s totally not the set I thought it was now that I see more tiles. Still, I think it’s the same time period. I’ve not seen it in that case before though, but it’s probably one of those private label type things. Here is one I have handy with a different bird. Its a slightly different style than hers and a bit later.
Here is a close up of the bam, not the same as the mystery set.
I love the Mah Jongg community!
Read on for more questions and comments…
The next question comes from Gabriella: My name is Gabriella and I live in Montreal, Canada. I started playing Mah Jongg this past January with a wonderful group of women at our Synagogue in Hampstead (http://www.adathcongregation.org/). I absolutely LOVE this game as well as the companionship it brings me. I am going to Cape Cod in mid-August and was wondering if you can help me find out if I can buy a set there or near there. I’m guessing I might find some in Boston, but I would like to avoid going into a big city. I appreciate any advice or help you can give me.
Is there anyone out there on Cape Cod with a set to sell?
Here’s the next question which came from Josephine: Ann, I saw on your blog that you purchased a set made by Portland Billiards. I saw a set on eBay and was so intrigued, I bought it. The problem is, I can only look at it because we play with jokers. Have you ever seen any more of these sets or any orphaned tiles? Josephine
Does anyone have some orphans for this set?
And here is a question from JoAnn: I have wondered what exactly an “atomic hand” is…….as I now understand it, there is none on our 2014 card from the national MJ league?
Also, is the Marvelous MJ card acceptable to the national MJ league?
If you mean, can the Marvelous MJ card be played with the rules of the NMJL, the answer is a resounding yes! Do I think the NMJL is happy about this card? I don’t think they pay much attention to it – what do you think? BTW, after having brunch with the two marvelous Mah Jongg Doctors, I learned so much about the real way to play Atomic hands – no Flowers – and of course, no Jokers – in the hand and you must announce that you are going Atomic BEFORE the Charleston. That all makes so much more sense to me!
Lastly, I received a message from Karla (and the Chopstick Chicks!) in Woodruff, Wisconsin. She asked how to make a fund-raising Mah Jongg tournament successful and I received many good ideas. Here a couple of those suggestions …
Hi Karla, Since it seems folks will be coming of different play levels, I would suggest that you make an experienced person EAST at each table. It helps a great deal with the rules and the scoring. Most tournaments have the EAST position remain at the table and the other 3 positions rotate to other tables. (North goes up one table, South goes down one and West goes up two…tables are numbered and each players has a number and position on their name tag) It is also a good idea to have printed rules for everyone to review so that all players are on the same page as far as the table rules and how scores are kept. I’ve played in lots of different tournaments, so if you have any other specific questions, I’d be happy to help. Good Luck and Have Fun! If I were closer, I’d register! Susan, New York
Hi Karla – I’m not sure if you are asking how to get more participants or what makes it a great tournament. When I participate in local tournaments, emails go out to the local temples and anyone on the Mah mailing lists. At the tournaments, check in is done smoothly, everyone has name tags with the appropriate info on them and table rotations noted, door prizes are awarded frequently throughout the day, and the food and munchies are great. Another idea if there is a separate room before or during the day or at lunch, have the DVD playing The Tiles That Bind. It’s very entertaining and probably most people haven’t seen it. Good luck with your wonderful fund raiser. Donna, Calif.
To Gabriela: I recently bought on line a glitter pink mahj set from :
http://www.wherethewindsblow.com. A fun website to explore. The salespeople were kind, patient, and helpful, as I created my own set and had many decisions to make. They replied to each of my questions within 24 hrs. I even talked to them on the phone once. The quality of the set is great. Good luck, and enjoy the “hunt” for your new set.
Diane – thank you for your comment – this is a great suggestion and I know Gabriella will be grateful for this. http://www.wherethewindsblow.com is a great site and I can’t believe I didn’t think of this! Again, thank you!
To Diane G and Ann: Thank you for the suggestion. I will certainly look at this Web site.
Let me know if you buy a great set! Ann
Can you recommend a book that would explain the correct way to play for money.
The best book to learn EVERYTHING about the game – including betting – is The Red Dragon and the West Wind by the amazing Tom Sloper. Do you play American Mah Jongg? If so, the value of each hand is written on the NMJL card. But Sloper’s book is a must-own by every Mah Jongg player!
Thank you so much for the quick reply. Ordered book from Amazon this morning.