Friday 27 February 2015

Conquering the Mountain in Kathmandu: A Mahjong Sojourn

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KATHMANDU Nepal, February 21st - When I first arrived in Kathmandu, the airport arrivals curb was busy and alive! The locals, noting a foreigner had arrived in their midst, surrounded me asking me all manner of questions as to the nature of my stay. Was I there to climb Mount Everest? Was I in need of a Sherpa guide? Did I have a ride to base camp at the foot of the mountain? Looking around at my fellow passangers, and the gear they were collecting from the terminal, there among them were backpack frames, ropes, cleated boots, and all manner of climbing paraphinalia. There was no doubt Kathmandu was the launching basin for brave expeditions to climb up the face of the tallest and most formidible mountain in the world. But I was in Kathmandu to conquer a mountain of a different sort; a mountan of tiles—Mahjong.

Scott D. Miller, MD of Mahjong News travels to Nepal to talk mahjong, learn new styles, and build new bonds in the basin city of Kathmandu, nestled in the shadows of the tallest mountain in the world.

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In my opinion, playing with someone two hours doesn’t give you so much information about his/her game style. You never know what were the starting tiles, how he/she developed the hand, and so on, and you really see the entire hand only if he/she makes mahjong (and it could happen just a couple of times in two hours). The only way would be watching a player from behind, following his/her way to combine the tiles through the round. I think that much more information would be understandable just listening the comments and the tales between the rounds: by talking, and telling their hands (especially the ones they nearly finished, of course) players tell a lot on their way to play, what they think important and what not. But, I know, listening the others’ tales of game is really boring: nobody does it, everybody just talk...

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