Mahjong and Life

For many years now, I have enjoyed the mahjong life.  It is fitting to say, as I have been able to explore some facets of life just by playing this game.  This exploration is not just limited to the game, because my mahjong life includes everyone.  I have met many faces and many names throughout the years.  For me to be able to extend myself through this activity, it has been a privilege.

My game has not ended.  My walk here continues, looking forward to more games, more faces, and more stories.  Where will all this lead?  The tiles may very well decide that.  This is how the game is played.

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During WRC freeplay prior to the tournament.
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Summer of Mahjong 2018

Two terms tossed out this year: Mahjong Burnout.  My inability to keep up with this blog is a sign of that, where here I am noting about summer mahjong activity just as November rolls along.  Yet, I hold plenty of written blog entries to be typed.

The crazy thing about the 2018-19 calendar year: our mahjong activity went up.

  • To supplement Northwestern, some of us doubled up mahjong sessions by attending their Wednesday games.  Here we supported a cluster of new players enthusiastic to the game.  As classes ended for the previous school year including the summer, the students went on home.
  • A good chunk of the club participated in the USA IORMC Qualifiers.  We were aiming to make the USA team.  Sadly, none of us made the top 4, but we tried our best.  Our best effort placed 5th while I finished 6th.
  • Three special sessions were called up.  All of them fell on selected Sundays; and they were enjoyable.
    • Rooftop mahjong.  We were invited to a downtown residence to play.  The building was a beautiful location to play: compete with square tables and chairs.
    • Mahjong at Tim’s.  Per request, a session was hosted at Tim’s, where he treated us to his home made curry; and we were accompanied by his roommate’s cats.
    • Vancouver guest.  A player from the University of British Columbia Mahjong club graduated and moved to Chicago.  His sessions of mahjong were limited; and we got to meet and play for a session.
  • We have called up our first stand alone tournament.  Primarily, our intent is to give Hiro our own tournament outing before he leaves for Japan – indefinitely.  We have done plenty of brainstorming and in the process of acquiring a venue within Rosemont.
  • Tenhou Tuesday kicked in and initated by Tina (from Houston).  As the weeks went along, more and more people joined in from all over; and it became a regular part of the mahjong routine.  It is nice to see more club members joining these sessions of online mahjong and discord voice chat.
  • Last and suddenly not least, we enjoyed the picnic.  The temperature was hot but bearable thanks to the wooded environment of Busse Woods.

Needless to say, that was just the summer of mahjong.  It will be interesting to note more mahjong happenings throughout the year.

Mahjong Special Sessions

While we have our regular sessions of mahjong on a weekly basis, we also have the ability to call up “special sessions”.  These are extra play sessions, that can be called up by special request with ample time beforehand.  The time difference between a requestion and the sessions may vary on the circumstance.

Mahjong at Northwestern University

Just this year, a new club at Northwestern University started up.  This is mainly due to both Han Lee and Mitchell Smith.

Han linked up C.A,M. to Northwestern and introduced us to the group there.  Seemingly out of nowhere, Han joined us and played with us regularly.  Then he noted an opportunity about mahjong at Northwestern.  Naturally, we jumped on that opportunity to connect with people here.

Now on a weekly basis, we’ve increased our mahjong activity to twice a week.  They have selected Wednesdays, as their regular mahjong day.  That is nothing new to us, as we used to operate on Wednesdays.  To give them extra sessions with C.A.M., I regularly drive them to/from Schaumburg to play games with us on Saturdays.  In short, our two clubs are supplementing each other.

This is especially convenient going into the summer months as both groups are experiencing a slow down.  Class is not in session; and thus a number of Northwestern students are away for the summer.  As for C.A.M., attendance has been limited to one table this past month.

In any case, it has been a pleasure meeting and playing with enthusiastic players from this university.  We’ll be continuing the mutual support going forward.

Mahjong for May 26

ACEN Weekend this year is behind us; and I am very grateful for being a part of this club. As club Captain, it has been my duty to generally steer this club in a certain direction, per the club’s needs. So, far, we’re doing alright together.

If you haven’t noticed, LAPOM had me in their Mahjong Friends interview this week. While I’ve yet to listen to myself talk, I can sum up my comments in just one sentence: This club makes me happy.

Nevertheless, our ACEN experience was not perfect this year; but at the end of the day, we got things done. Those in attendance came away from the mahjong room satisfied.

With that said, thanks to everyone who made our ACEN mahjong possible this year. This is extended to everyone who brought their materials, put in the work, and participated in the mahjong room (whether it be the tournament or freeplay). You all deserve a good pat on the back. 😺

Moving forward, if you notice, the general event page for the upcoming Mahjong Picnic is up. We are slating ourselves for June 30. Hopefully, the weather cooperates; and the ice cream trucks won’t be as noisy. We’ll be looking forward for some more good times and memories here.

Next week is Japan Fest. We’ll be looking to set up mahjong there as well as come into contact with Japan Fest staff. Sadly, they never replied to the e-mail. So, we shall see what we can do here moving forward in reaching out to the general area Japanese community.

Then this week, the Japanese Culture Club at Northwestern is apparently hosting a Japanese Festival of its own, called the Bunkasai Festival. I was asked to be in attendance to support mahjong here. So, I will be late coming up to Schaumburg. But at least, I get to take three players from Northwestern with me. They’re the same guys pictured yesterday.

For later in the fall, the North American Open is for October 11-12. While I have yet to book plane tickets, I know at least two of us are looking to go. If anyone else wishes to join, let me know. In the meantime, I will create an event page for this too in order to plan the trip.

Finally, our calendar year is from June 1st to May 31st. So, our calendar year is ending. Essentially, ACEN is like our “Christmas” but without the presents. Just mahjong festivity. With that said, here’s to another year of mahjong together.

Once again — this club as well as the area clubs — we are all one big group effort.

Anime Central Mahjong Weekend (2018)

It is ACEN weekend again and our activity is as follows:

  • Thursday
    • Badge pick up. Mahjong up at the Red Bar (Hyatt)
  • Friday
    • Mahjong Events Guide panel (11:30 AM – Panel room 3)
    • Team tournament draft (2:00 PM – Vienna or Florence room)
  • Saturday
    • Game Introduction panel (11:15 AM – Panel room 13)
    • Individual tournament (4:00 PM – Vienna or Florence room)
  • Sunday
    • Freeplay

All ACEN – Freeplay.

Using our collective approach again, everyone brings in their tiles and what not.  Some of us bring in our preparation work: for both the panels and the tournament.  Naturally, going into ACEN, we hope things work out; and so far, our ACEN experience have been great with each passing year.  Once again, only the panels are within ACEN’s schedule while the mahjong activity itself is not.  Despite this, we were able to adapt to the conditions and operate normally.  As a club, as a group of mahjong players, and myself as club Captain, we thank everyone for being a part of this.

Our enjoyment was proof positive, as members of Chicago Area Mahjong and Northwestern University Mahjong held a joint session last night.  The initiator of the Northwester University club, Han Lee, is scheduled to graduate and then proceed onward to Japan on an extended basis.  This session was a good send off for him.  He is especially thanked for connecting Chicago Area Mahjong with Northwestern University.  Moving forward, we will continue to support mahjong activity here, as they operate under new leadership with Mitchell Smith.