Collecting is the acceptable face of hoarding. Most people have some small strange group of items connected by a tenuous link to each other and their owner. No part of the human experience seems immune to it. From pebbles to cars, everything small or big can form part of a collection.
The things that tend to be collected, though, are those with aesthetic appeal. Something that mahjong has in lashings. Lots of little pieces – check. Strange exotic characters – check. Unclear origin story – check.
That’s not to neglect that these items are not only attractive but also used in games with friends meaning that each tile and set picks up a unique story and memories that players often want to keep them.
I myself often feel sad that I didn’t keep the set I learned to play with in Taiwan. I left it with the group I had been playing with every week so hopefully it is still out there somewhere. I’ve never seen a set like it since with its light blue backs (which incidentally always reminds me of Jenn because it was a favorite color of hers at the time).
I suppose I couldn’t have known the true impact a simple boardgame could have on me. I mean I also didn’t keep the first pack of cards I played with and I’ve never thought about them again since. But mahjong is always different from other games. The sound, the tactile nature, the people, the aesthetics.
Perhaps it was that feeling of loss that spurred me into keeping other sets and mementos around the game. I have sets people have donated to me, sets that remind me of a certain time, sets that I just found attractive. I also have a ridiculous number of t-shirts from events and also tiny little mementos of the fun I’ve enjoyed through my mahjong “career.”
We’ve spoken to a few people prepared to showcase some of their collection over the next four weeks. If you also are a collector of mahjong, no matter what that item or items may be, please do reach out to us: firstname.lastname@example.org We’d love to include your passion in our collection of collectors.