While doing your internship in China, you for sure already noticed some groups of people, playing some kind of Chinese game involving with colourful pictures and Chinese characters printed stones. This game, which some foreigners only know as a single player game for the computer, is called Mahjiang and it’s quite popular everywhere in China, but by far nowhere as popular as in Chengdu.
Mahjiang is in fact that popular in Chengdu, that the Chinese people even got a proverb: “When you are flying by plane and can hear the Mahjiang stones clicking, you will know, that you are above Chengdu.” And when you are exploring the city while doing your internship in Chengdu you will notice, that there is something true about it. Everywhere in the parks and teahouses, you will see especially older people, who are sitting in groups of four, drinking tea, enjoying their lives and playing Mahjiang.
Some people even buy one of these Mahjiang tables for their home, which are shuffle and string up the Mahjiang stones in lines just by magic hand so they can invite all their friends, neighbours and acquaintances so they can turn their home into a Mahjiang gambling house. The rules of Mahjiang are a little bit like rummy. There are some different kinds of variations in different regions of China, but the overall aim of the game is, to achieve a higher score, than the other players by building complete sets of stones. To win the game it requires both some strategical thinking and a certain amount of luck.
If you are still searching for an opportunity to connect with some of the local people and to practice your Chinese, why don’t you just go to the park and join for a party? They are always happy to invite you for a game. But you better have to prepare yourself and bring some small amount of money for the pool, because they won’t to take all your during your internship earned money from, when you are not prepared and don’t be familiar with the rules. And believe me, there is never a friendly match without a pool. When the people of Chengdu take something serious at all, then it’s Mahjiang.
If you want to learn more about how to play Mahjiang in Chengdu, look up on this site http://www.jasonpym.com/blog/2013/11/23/sichuan-mahjong/