Mahjongg's a new game I learnt whilst in Taiwan. When I say Mahjongg I mean the 4-player version which is also a kind of Chinese rite of passage, not the solitaire kind. I'd hinted to my mum in the past that I wanted to learn how to play but had assumed that this had fallen on deaf ears. I was wrong. A trip last month to my aunt's place was, unbeknownst to me, all about an opportunity to teach David this essential life skill.

It was a pretty surreal experience. As soon as I'd got in my aunt's door, out came the mahjongg table and the chairs, the tiles were whipped out and I found myself sat down with granny on my left, my mum opposite and my aunt to my right, all three of them fully absorbed in counting their money and no doubt psyching themselves up.

After a while I overcame the intensely combative atmosphere and with a healthy dollop of beginner's luck actually won a few rounds. I kept winning money off granny which was the best if not most wicked part. Money talks especially when you don't share a common language. It should be noted that unfortunately the money was fake. Anyway, it's a good game and was a lot of fun to play. Here's a site where you can play online, along with classic games like Stratego.

Mahjongg, Taiwan