Riichi in America: The Outsider’s Perspective

North American Open! You did it, guys!

Congratulations and gratitude are due to both the organizers who gave up many hours to making it happen, but also to those who traveled to New York to make it the biggest gathering of North American riichi players ever.

It’s especially impressive when you consider the relative inexperience at organizing such events among the organizing team. EMA benefits from many small events being held every month across the continent and by several groups. Arranging tournaments for us is like a community muscle memory. We all just know how to do it. America doesn’t have the benefit of that muscle memory yet, so bringing this through to the finish line is an impressive achievement.

The NAO didn’t run entirely to plan and parts of it are far from smooth. What I am going to advise now to everyone who went is to try and organize your own. Fix the mistakes you’ve seen through implementation of solutions in your own local clubs. Then share them with the community so all can benefit.

The more smaller, local events you manage to organize between now and the next NAO, the better the second NAO will be. I can promise you that. It’s like anything, if you want to be good at it – practice makes perfect!

So what do you do if you’re a small group and unsure how to get started? Well, there are people out there who want to actively help you! I do know the people in the fuzzy NARMA, and they are genuinely supportive of conveying help in arranging tournaments. I recommend discord as the best way of contacting their hive mind.

I personally love a good format discussion so reach out to me if that’s your issue! Plus the WRC site is always there to help you with any rules issues, and if you are missing a resource, we might even be able to source it for you.

And what about NARMA as an org? I hope for a NARMA future very similar to that of EMA: an event calendar, a ranking systems, and most importantly, a real sense of community.

Just think, if you can get 72 players to an event, what can you do in three years time? 140 players? Maybe even 200? It’s exciting times we live in! Keep building a fun place to be and people will keep being attracted to our wonderful and frustrating game.