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Oogai Hiromi Pro's Mahjong Manner Lecture No.7

December 16th 2015

No. 7

~ The following article is from “Mahjong Kai No 10” ~

There are varieties of trouble and sometime not all parlors deal with them same way.
Oogai pro sorts the type of troubles that frequently occurs.  We shall refer to Oogai pro’s judgments and remember all of them. Try to be a good player with good manners!

Handing Out Point Sticks

Yesterday, I played mahjong at a certain parlor. It had been a while since the last time I had issues with the way the game was being played. In fact, this was probably the first time that I encountered this sort of trouble as a customer at this parlor.


The problem was the way that a certain male customer in his late-twenties gave out his point sticks. It certainly did not look like his first parlor visit; in fact, he seemed like a pretty experienced player. But, when he was paying me, his toimen, he threw the point sticks onto the middle of the automatic table.


Usually, it is preferable to have the staff caution people like this, as things might get hairy if you try to settle things yourself while playing on the same table. But since this was such a trivial thing, I thought there would be no reason for a dispute to occur. I cannot remember having an argument over something like this in the past.


And so, the second time that it occurred, I told the customer “If you put the point sticks there, they might fall into the automatic table. Could you please place them a little closer to me?” Upon hearing this, the customer clucked his tongue. I had a feeling something unpleasant was about to happen.


“This is probably something that’s better said by the staff.” I thought to myself. And so, I decided that the next time I got out of my seat to head to the toilet, I would also explain the circumstances to the staff.


However, shortly after that thought I again won another hand from the same customer, and again he placed the point sticks in that same location. I mentioned again “Sorry, could you please place the sticks a little closer…” to which he replied, “Isn’t it fine to place the point sticks wherever?


I’ve asked the same thing to others many times before, but this was one of the first times in my life that someone has refused so obstinately.


And so I called over a staff member and explained the situation, to which the staff gave the customer a warning, but without saying anything he just kept the same silly grin on his face. The voices of the players that took my side were also being blatantly ignored. In some sense, I was amazed by his mentality (and stubbornness).


Slightly shocked, the staff member said: “anyways, please behave properly.” As soon as the staff member left the table, I won another haneman tsumo.


Only after the staff member prompted him did the customer finally place the point sticks closer to my side. He threw the point sticks onto the table so hard that the players at the neighboring tables looked over to see what the fuss was about.


Usually, I would be the first to say “I’m about to leave,” or “sorry, this is the last game I’m playing today.” However, for some reason, I was very tempted to continue playing.


This is not to say that I was being a man or anything. Rather, I had a boiling feeling in my stomach that I could not ignore. “I want to beat them to a pulp.” With those thoughts in mind, there was no way that I could leave my seat.


That said, just sitting in that spot was trying enough for my patience, even though I usually pride myself for my patience in mahjong. This was a little different, I suppose.


But, mahjong is really the weirdest thing. Rushing into the next hanchan with these thoughts clouding my mind turned my play from a good condition where I did not let the other players win a single hand, to one where I was consistently regretting my decisions.

Did my message go through?

And right as my conditioned worsened, my toimen’s luck suddenly improved. This time, it was me paying him with point sticks. I had gone from winning three times with over 60000 points to busting. That’s the result of ignoring the old maxim “don’t play while your tilted.”


However, a good point of mine is that as my toimen’s points increased, I simply said my usual “here you go,” as I handed over my point sticks to his side of the table.


Seeing this, the other players at the table did the same, and as my toimen stood up to go to the table, he apologized. “I’m sorry for all the trouble earlier. The fact that you dealt with it calmly is amazing.” The way in which we lose is also important.


Actually, there is more to this story. After my toimen came back from the toilet, I was finally able to win a hand. It was not a big enough hand to boast about, though.


That was the first time that, without doing anything else, my toimen said “here you go” and handed his point sticks over to my side of the table.


Afterwards, though my impression of his manners is still up in the air, I walked home cheered up by the fact that I was unexpectedly used as a role model. In truth, my toimen might have simply calmed down after he started winning again, but who knows.


Anyhow, the fact that a person who is so used to playing mahjong did not know these basic manners is baffling to me.


I believe that it is because neither any of the parlor staff nor his friends ever taught him the proper way to handle point sticks.


Guiding that person in the right direction was not a nuisance at all. Moreover, when the people you are playing with have good manners, the game becomes much more fun.


In the mahjong series “Tenpai”, written by Tomoshi Kuga, a certain phrase appears.


The people that you can talk about mahjong wholeheartedly with is unexpectedly small. So we should find more of those people; that would be much more fun, wouldn’t it?


It is fine to point out manners once in a while, even with your friends.


Anyways, that is the end of today’s story. To everyone who read this far; I hope the rest of your mahjong life is a rich and fruitful one.

Author: Oogai, Hiromi

Profile: Born in 1960 and from Tokyo. With the 101 Kyogi-Renmei. The 22nd and 30th champion. After experiencing as a family-style restaurant manager, he fell in love with the competitive mahjong style and goes into the Pro Mahjong industry.


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Translator Austin

Pacific Mahjong League


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