Japan's First Foreign Mahjong Pro is a Hot Blonde

Topic started by gia on May 31, 2009. Last post by Sigue 5 years, 10 months ago.
Post by gia (3,032 posts) See mini bio Level 13
I was just flipping around various bookmarks and I found this article on Japan Today: Jenn Barr, a Seattle-born blonde, has managed to infiltrate the male-dominated and generally isolated and hidden world of Mahjong in Japan.

Not only that, Barr feels that it's a complete waste for Mahjong to be hidden away in seedy, unrecognizable Mahjong parlors, arguing that “it's the best game out there and I want the world to know it.”

Barr flies all over the world as a sort of ambassador for the game, which she learned as a student at Sophia University, a Jesuit university based in the center of Tokyo. A couple of years later she passed Japa'ns Professional Mahjong League exam and, along with another American named Garthe Nelson (who reportedly makes his living teaching English to Jpop stars), became the first westerner to pass.

Now, I've only had minimal exposure to Mahjong myself, but I really enjoyed it and have kind of been keeping my eye out at Goodwill and other shops for an inexpensive set to play with. But if you haven't had any chance to learn about the game beyond, say, watching moe Mahjong anime Saki on Crunchyroll, you should check out Barr's website, ReachMahjong.com.

So: how cool is that?
Post by Koiyuki (31 posts) See mini bio Level 2
I imagine those translations are the source of a lot of those early J-pop leaks onto the torrent sites
Post by Agent_Lost (1,124 posts) See mini bio Level 10
The only reason I'm not watch Saki is because I have no idea what going on. The only thing that I know, is that a games is break down into 4 match.
Post by N15PCA (611 posts) See mini bio Level 13
Every time I think of Mahjong I think of this part from Blue Seed.

Post by kiroshimatsu (94 posts) See mini bio Level 1
As our culture influences them they influence us... it's funny how that works out ^_^
Post by omo (113 posts) See mini bio Level 2
Mahjong has an international player base, much like go. Unfortunately it's also got this seedy, gambling reputation around it (like poker) unlike go; it's also much more popular in China than it ever was in Japan. I'm not sure since the 80s and early 90s had there been another move for the game to gain popularity in the US, at any rate. It would be odd to say the least that the game gains new breath of life via the "cool Japan" movement.

I think the many splintered rule sets that govern the game is a big reason why it has a tougher time to gain popularity outside of Asia despite a more engaging style of play than most other table top games.
Post by Sigue (860 posts) See mini bio Level 8
Mahjong is kind of hot now.
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