Thursday, April 10, 2008


Mah Jong (real mah jong, not the memory tile game on your computer) is so relaxing, and engaging and complicated and lovely. Several years ago, my good friend Melissa had her mother teach a group of us how to play. We used to meet regularly, drink beer, garner curious onlookers and enjoy fondling chunky tiles. Half of mah jong is a fascination with the objects used to play the game: the tiles, the betting sticks, the number cards and the elaborate, miniature trunks that store it all. The game is such a complicated ceremony from beginning to end that gives your noggin a good workout. But my favorite part is when the game is over, we decide to play again into our third hour, and all our hands mix the tiles together in a click-clack din that's called "chattering of the sparrows". We're meeting tonight for the first time in far too long, and I'm super excited to get off the computer and get my mah jong risin'!

Link (image via the Mah Jong Museum)