How to get used to handing tiles
While watching overseas players, it is easy to notice that many players are not used to handling tiles. However, there is no inherent reason for western players to be worse at handling tiles. Everyone who plays mahjong must go through this phase.
Pay attention to the motions you make as you play mahjong--the way you build the walls, how you take your starting hand, draw tiles from the wall, discard tiles, call pon/chii, and more. If your motions are not smooth, no matter how skilled you are, you will look like a beginner.
We suggest practicing constantly so that you become able to handle tiles smoothly.
Based on what we hear from other clubs, most meetups are once a week and consist of only two or three games. This might allow for some practice, but it is not enough time to really get used to the tiles.
We recommend all clubs to lend their members 2 tiles each. (The unused flower tiles may be perfect for this.)
Try carrying around the tiles as much as possible, touching and just playing with the tiles for about a month. It sounds silly but if you continue this for a while, you will be surprised at how easy it is to handle tiles.
We saw this method being recommended by Aoi Bungo pro (NPM) during a mahjong show in Japan. She used to carry around tiles every day and play with them in her pocket.
It is up to you to choose to believe it or not, but improving how you handle tiles will be very useful for playing mahjong. Besides, wouldn’t it be cool to remove all unnecessary motions and be able to play the game beautifully and effortlessly?
It might sound like a kung-fu movie, but please try it out!
We have asked Roku san (mahjong tile tricks expert) for tips and he also suggests to simply spend time with the tiles and get used to them.
We are planning to organize a video contest for tricks with mahjong tiles soon, so please start practicing and let’s all have fun!!
Canadian representative for IORMC2017 (individual 3rd), IORMC2018 (team 2nd). You might know me as Khold online.