Ask Mama Jong!

I think I have a problem… When someone declares riichi and I’m even close to tempai (think 3-4 tiles away), I always want to discard the most dangerous tile first even though I know it’s going to end in me paying out big. Is there medication for this problem? – EMA Player

I feel you.

It’s like when you go up a big tower and look down with your feet shuffling close to the edge and just for a moment wonder if you should do it—throw yourself off. You get that attractive urge telling you to just do it, it’s just there, you could do it…and you have to really fight the compulsion…

Or maybe that’s just me?

Anyway, you do have a problem. I diagnose you with the disorder “Kiken-pai Kompulsion”. But do not cry! Much like gluten intolerance in this modern age, you are among many, many friends.

This man can definitely read your hand.
Or at least the three friends at your table egging you on to throw recklessly…

You hold the dreams of your big win (tanyao nomi) so close to your heart. You and your hand have been through so much together in these seven draws. You know the hand has flaws and could work harder, but you can get through this together. And after so many bad relationships (with mahjong hands ofc), this one has to be The One, right?

You’re going to keep the faith. You may have a perfectly safe tile but that dangerous tile would be sitting there in your hand like a ticking time bomb. You don’t want to wait for more information from the other discards or even wait for the ippatsu to go around. You need to get rid of it NOW. Like a Band-Aid, you have to just rip it off! To hell with the consequences!

Your opposite in this game are the Anzen-pai Angels. These aren’t actually categorized as humans anymore. Like Buddha they have reached a higher level of existence by watching JPML videos in Japanese they don’t understand 24 hours a day until they have somehow merged with the nagare itself. If you give them a paragraph and line number from Daina’s book, they can recite it off by heart without hesitation.

This full ASMR mahjong-immersion has sent them into a meditative state that allows them to calmly deconstruct their All-green tempai to avoid throwing 1000 points to Riichi-nomi Richard. (Rumor has it these demi-gods can actually create safe tiles with the power of their superior minds but it is a phenomenon little understood or studied.)

They can be easily identified by their calm smug smiles as you blithely throw into an opponent’s riichi. They can see EVERYTHING.

So where does that leave you as your fingers twitch over the useless dora tile in front of you? Unfortunately, Kiken-pai Kompulsion is terminal. Your only crime was loving your hand too much.

-Mama Jong

Mama Jong

Mama Jong has been playing mahjong since there were only three winds.