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By Tom Sloper (トム•スローパー)

August 21, 2005 (Year of the Rooster)

Column #228

Japanese Modern (riichi/dora). Watanabe-san was again reminded of the mah-jongg gods' great love of irony when he saw Shigeru's first discard - 6M.

Watanabe could chow the 6M, but it would be a misstep. The hand looked good for all terminals, with terminal chows (junchan taiyao). He passed and picked, netting 7S. Junchan taiyao for sure. He proceeded to throw middle-three-number tiles, starting with 6P. Next pick was garbage. Then he picked another 8M, threw 4M. Shigeru threw 8S (no doubt nudged to do so by the mah-jongg gods). Watanabe picked ao, threw the extraneous 8M. His next pick was 3M, and he threw the ao back.

Shigeru (still acting on behalf of the irony-loving mah-jongg gods) threw 3M. Watanabe passed, picked a red 5M. Not wanting to hold the hot potato as it got yet hotter, he threw it immediately. (There followed the usual sound of sucked air.)

Shigeru's next throw was also ironic - 7M. Watanabe was not swayed from his course. He picked 8S - and threw it back. The next pick was garbage. Then a temptation from across the table - Etsuko threw 1M. Watanabe didn't flinch.

His next pick was junk, then he picked 9S and threw 3P.

Noriko declared riichi. Her discards:

Watanabe picked 8M. His safest discard was 9S but he decided to go for it, threw the 8M back.

Etsuko declared riichi. Her discards:

Watanabe picked 8P. His safe discards appeared to be 1M, 9S. But Watanabe was feeling a little drunk, reckless, and greedy. Threw the 8P back. His next pick was chun. It was decidedly hot; none showing. Unable to ignore this danger, he knew he'd have to discard 1M or 9S. It meant giving up the hand (unless another chun came in, then he could go for chanta - less valuable, but what can ya do). Threw 9S.

Etsuko made mangan by discard from Shigeru. As it turned out, nobody had wanted chun. The gods were happy.

* Dora tile shown, not dora indicator.


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