Japanese-Games-Shop.com News

Japanese-Games-Shop.com News keeps you updated on the latest offers and developments at Hirohurl's Japanese Goods shop, http://www.japanese-games-shop.com

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How to Read a Mahjong Tile Before it is Your Turn to Take it From the Wall!

This is an article I recently posted to Articlesbase.com about the practice of "thumb-reading" tiles in Japanese mahjong.


Modern Japanese mahjong tiles are made of a synthetic nylon material with the symbols for the suit numbers, winds and dragons stamped onto the face of the tiles. The face of every tile in a set can be distinguished not only by the design that you see, but also by the design that you can FEEL when you rub your thumb across the face of the tile!

And that is just what many of the more experienced Japanese mahjong players like to do in the course of a game - use feel the concealed face of the tile next to be taken from the wall with their thumbs! Yes, not a few seasoned hands have become competent at tile-reading by rubbing the indentations on tile-face with their thumbs.

It takes hours of practice to get to the point where you can accurately distinguish each of the 34 different tile faces of a standard Japanese mahjong set with your thumb, and there seems to be little advantage in being able to do so. It is a diverting party trick and it also adds some kudos to a player's game if the player can pluck a tile from the wall, announce what it is and discard it without so much as glancing at it. Mahjong is most exciting when played swiftly, so being able to read a tile without looking at it may be said to help the cause of speedy play, but apart from that there does not seem to be much practical profit in taking the trouble to learn the skill.

However, there is one case where a "thumb-reader" could glean some useful information about an opponent's tile. Experienced mahjong players enjoy playing a fast-paced game so if one player hesitates before discarding a tile, the player to his right is likely to have reached for "his" tile on the end of the wall before the first player has discarded. An experienced tile-reader places his thumb under the tile on the wall that he is about to take so that he can "read" it while waiting for his turn.

But then, when a discarded tile is claimed by another player as an open "Pon" the sequence of play is broken and the player who was waiting to take a tile - and who has now "read" it with his thumb - is passed over so the tile will most likely end up in another player's hand. In that case the "thumb reader" will know what the tile is and will perhaps pay attention to where it is placed in the other player's hand.

Some people might object that such a practice is a form of cheating, but others counter that it is just part parcel of the Japanese approach to the game.

Of course that is not to say that the player who took the tile from the wall cannot resort to some deceptive tactics of his own by adding the tile to a random place in his hand while appearing to concentrate on placing it carefully into position so as to mislead the "thumb-reader" as to the construction of the hand.

Whatever your attitude towards players reading tiles with their thumbs may be, that it can be done at all shows you how sensitive the human thumb - or "oya-yubi" in Japanese - can be.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/art-and-entertainment-articles/how-to-read-a-mahjong-tile-before-it-is-your-turn-to-take-it-from-the-wall-367683.html

About the Author:

This is the place where I try to persuade you, my fellow Japanese mahjong fanatic, that you ought to hot foot it over to my website, Japanese-Games-Shop.com and blow a large chunk of your hard earned wages (or ill gotten gains) on a seriously expensive, exclusive, utterly exotic, Japanese mahjong set. I recommend the Nintendo Yakuman New Ivory Japanese Mahjong Set, possibly the most expensive Japanese mahjong set this side of the Milky Way.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

**NEW** Japanese Gift Certificates!

Thanks to the versatility of Paypal, I have been able to add an exciting new feature to the front page of Japanese-Games-Shop.com - Paypal Gift Certificates!

That means it is now possible for you to solve your present-buying problems by sending your friend or relative a gift certificate which can be cashed in at my website!!

Gift certificates range from an economical $10 to a positively generous $1,000 (just in case you'd like to treat your loved one to a pair of hand made Jun Hitoe vases from the Nishimoto Gallery ).


Property For Sale in Japan!

If you think buying your own house in Japan would be expensive, think again...

You can get a detached two-storey house in a pleasant hillside location not far from Hiroshima Station for just ¥9,000,000, or $90,000. True, it is in need of renovation, but the property company whose books it is on informs me that they can completely renovate the interior for ¥5,000,000. 

For further details, drop me a line via the form on the front page of Japanese-Games-Shop.com

David Hurley

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