Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Where to buy mahjong set in London

photo by Ross Hong Kong

It just occurred to me how many long weekends we are going to have in April and May. Forget about the draught after that till Christmas save for the summer bank holiday on 29th Aug, but this is going to be the big one. With Good Friday (22nd Apr), Easter Monday (25th Apr), Royal Wedding (29th Apr), Early May bank holiday (2nd May) and Spring Bank holiday (30th May), the workplace is expected to be kept on minimum staff as everyone jostles to clear their leave and take advantage of these breaks.

First up, Good Friday and Easter Monday, one of the most important festivals in the Christian calendar. For many of us, it would be a good chance of getting together with family and even friends. So there I was at Canary Wharf’s Waitrose looking for some inspiration when I chanced upon a Chinese mahjong set.

I recalled spending many a night in our bunk with my mates sitting around a mahjong table for hours at a time over a round of mahjong. What was meant to be a short round became several rounds and it was daybreak before we knew it. Not exactly the most productive way of spending your time but it was all in good fun.

I was a bit disappointed to find that ‘mahjong’ is a totally different different game at this part of the world. The complex and mind boggling game is reduced to a simple ‘spot-the-pair’ solitaire puzzle; the characters and symbols on the mahjong tiles are now nothing but meaningless markings that exist only to differentiate the tiles.

Anyway, at £35 a set, you would be able to order the set online at John Lewis with free delivery. The set comes with its own case, dice and 'wind indicator'. To complement that, you might just want to get the mahjong table with a small drawer on each edge to safekeep your winnings but if you, like me, can't find it in London, a simple square table will do just fine. If you aren't quite clear about the rules of mahjong, there's a very comprehensive mahjong rulebook that you can download here.

Try out something else this holiday season. Be careful though, while there are studies finding mahjong an effective means of keeping dementia at bay, the tile game can be rather addictive when you get the hang of it.

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