I just couldn't resist!

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I just couldn't resist!

Postby or2az » Sun May 25, 2014 1:59 am

Went to a garage sale today and much to my disbelief, there was a mahjong set there.
Now even though I knew I might never get to use it, I just had to buy it.
It had 144 tiles, so i'm guessing Chinese or Hong Kong. The tiles were also thicker than I thought they would be.
The dragons had the letters C, F, and P on them. (red, green, and white, respectively)
I can't read the label on the case so any help is appreciated.
Oh, I bought it for $20.
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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby Referee » Sun May 25, 2014 3:30 am

75%... something. Do you have a clearer image of the writing?

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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby or2az » Sun May 25, 2014 4:22 am

this should work
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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby Ignatius » Sun May 25, 2014 8:19 am

I know that in japanese is:

7分半牙黄

分: Minute.

半: Half.

牙: Fang.

黄: Yellow.

Something like yellow fangs in 7 minutes and a half. Which sounds to me weird.

Looks like in chinese is more or less the same. Sometimes japanese and chinese writings have the same meaning. But it´s uncommon to see that all those ideograms are the same in both languages. Japanese kanji are traditional, current chinese, hanzi, are simplified versions. So most of times, the idiograms tend to differ.

As a side note I´d like to say that this mahjong set is a chinese one. Mahjong sets in China are thicker and the white dragon has a blue squared box shape in it´s center. Also it should have not only 4 flowers tiles, but 4 seasons tiles too, as seen in your photograph.

P.S.: It´s a very cool mahjong set indeed.
Life is as beautiful as you want it to be, but it´s only one. That´s why you must not get tired of it. Don´t care if you don´t say something that seems "important" because your mere existence is important for someone.

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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby Barticle » Sun May 25, 2014 11:20 am

What a great find and a wonderful bargain. :)

The C/F/P labels on the dragons are very common on export sets - Chung and Fa are the Chinese readings of the kanji markings (Chung very similar to the Chun in Japanese mahjong) and Po means "pure" or "white" I think. On one of my sets the C is painted red, the F is green and the P is left unpainted - at first glance the white dragons appear completely blank.

Remember how we were discussing the 分 kanji a few weeks ago? One of its many uses is as a traditional measure of length - seven 分 is about one inch so maybe it's just the width...? Otherwise perhaps the set was originally on sale in Chinatown somewhere with 75% off?! I dunno, I'm just guessing. If Gemma's around she might be able to advise.

Most Japanese sets have 144 tiles too btw, mainly because that number fits so neatly into the box! In modern sets the four flowers are usually replaced by four red fives.

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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby Ignatius » Sun May 25, 2014 11:50 am

Barticle wrote:What a great find and a wonderful bargain. :)

The C/F/P labels on the dragons are very common on export sets - Chung and Fa are the Chinese readings of the kanji markings (Chung very similar to the Chun in Japanese mahjong) and Po means "pure" or "white" I think. On one of my sets the C is painted red, the F is green and the P is left unpainted - at first glance the white dragons appear completely blank.

Remember how we were discussing the 分 kanji a few weeks ago? One of its many uses is as a traditional measure of length - seven 分 is about one inch so maybe it's just the width...? Otherwise perhaps the set was originally on sale in Chinatown somewhere with 75% off?! I dunno, I'm just guessing. If Gemma's around she might be able to advise.

Most Japanese sets have 144 tiles too btw, mainly because that number fits so neatly into the box! In modern sets the four flowers are usually replaced by four red fives.


Maybe is the width, yes. I don´t think it´s a discount as that photo, the third, looked like a name for the tile set, but who knows... I´m not sure of what I´m saying, so...

In japanese mahjong what is replaced aren´t the seasons tiles? The season tiles are what japanese mahjong hasn´t, or am I wrong?

I thought japanese mahjong has all suits tiles, honors, the red fives and the flowers used in some variants as, as I´ve heard, some three people mahjong (sanma).
Life is as beautiful as you want it to be, but it´s only one. That´s why you must not get tired of it. Don´t care if you don´t say something that seems "important" because your mere existence is important for someone.

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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby Barticle » Sun May 25, 2014 1:09 pm

In Japan those eight extra tiles - four flowers and four seasons - are known collectively as 花牌. (for the benefit of other readers: "flower tiles")

However my Japanese "Sango" set has four seasons and four red fives. Browsing a few sets on Amazon Japan, this seems to be common practice.

So modern Japanese sets have four "flowers" but they're actually seasons. :)

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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby Barticle » Sun May 25, 2014 1:18 pm

I learnt something new today - the four flowers (the actual flowers: plum, chrysanthemum, orchid and bamboo) - are known as Shikunshi in Japanese or "four wise men". :)

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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby Ignatius » Sun May 25, 2014 3:44 pm

I didn´t know that...

Both posts have interesting info about the game.

I went to see my mahjong set, and the flowers depicted were actual flowers, or so I think, but each flower tile had written a season on it´s side. In kanji, of course. Something I did not noticed before...

As far as I know (I´ve researched a bit), each flower of mahjong is related to one of the four season. In it´s origins it was like that. In fact the relation is:

梅: Ume, Plum. --> 春: Haru, Spring.

蘭: Ran, Orchid. --> 夏: Natsu, Summer.

菊: Kiku, Chrysanthemum. --> 秋: Aki, Autumn/Fall.

竹: Take, Bamboo. --> 冬: Fuyu, Winter.

Ah, some years ago I´ve read that the dragons tiles also had a meaning, each one represents a virtue. Red Dragon: Benevolence. Green: Sincerity. White: Filial piety.

Each wind has relations with four winds deities from Taoism. I know the japanese names of those gods.

East is the god Seiryuu, the blue water dragon, related to spring season. South is Suzaku the red fire bird (it´s not a fenix, it´s like a pheasant), related to summer. West is Byakko the white tiger of winds and lightning, related to autumn/fall. And north is for the black tortoise of the earth, Genbu, which is related to winter.

The chinese names are Qing Long, Zhu Que, Bai Hu, and Xuan Wu respectively. Don´t know a thing about chinese pronunciations or tones though.

Also those directions gods have something to do with feng sui....

Other asian countries has those gods too.
Last edited by Ignatius on Sun May 25, 2014 5:08 pm, edited 7 times in total.
Life is as beautiful as you want it to be, but it´s only one. That´s why you must not get tired of it. Don´t care if you don´t say something that seems "important" because your mere existence is important for someone.

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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby or2az » Sun May 25, 2014 4:46 pm

I found the symbol below (chinese) along with its definition. It looks like the next to last symbol on the label.
Can it read 75% ivory or something like that?

牙 yá tooth / ivory / CL:顆 / |颗 / [ke1] Xiàngyá "ivory" in Chinese

Also found a picture of a hong kong set on tom slopers site (FAQ 7a) that looks very similar but has lots of poker chips.
How would they be used in the japanese game (scoring sticks??)
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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby Ignatius » Sun May 25, 2014 4:50 pm

or2az wrote:I found the symbol below (chinese) along with its definition. It looks like the next to last symbol on the label.
Can it read 75% ivory or something like that?

牙 yá tooth / ivory / CL:顆 / |颗 / [ke1] Xiàngyá "ivory" in Chinese

Also found a picture of a hong kong set on tom slopers site (FAQ 7a) that looks very similar but has lots of poker chips.
How would they be used in the japenese game (scoring sticks??)


This has sense, I think you hit the mark.
Life is as beautiful as you want it to be, but it´s only one. That´s why you must not get tired of it. Don´t care if you don´t say something that seems "important" because your mere existence is important for someone.

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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby Barticle » Sun May 25, 2014 5:42 pm

Ignatius wrote:As far as I know (I´ve researched a bit), each flower of mahjong is related to one of the four season.

Yes, it's true to say that all eight are flowers/plants and all eight are seasons! However we need some standard way to label and differentiate the two groups.

Ah, some years ago I´ve read that the dragons tiles also had a meaning, each one represents a virtue. Red Dragon: Benevolence. Green: Sincerity. White: Filial piety.

Apparently these are the three virtues of Confucius. The kanji on the red dragon denotes the centre so it can represent China (the Middle Kingdom) or the centre from which the four directions/winds originate. The white dragon can be purity and the green dragon can symbolise growth or prosperity. Alternatively the three can represent animal, plant and spiritual life, or heaven, earth and mankind (in the "centre" between them).

East is the god Seiryuu, the blue water dragon, related to spring season. South is Suzaku the red fire bird (it´s not a fenix, it´s like a pheasant), related to summer. West is Byakko the white tiger of winds and lightning, related to autumn/fall. And north is for the black tortoise of the earth, Genbu, which is related to winter.

These guys are very familiar from the Mahjong Fight Club games. :)

or2az wrote:[...] lots of poker chips. How would they be used in the japenese game (scoring sticks??)

You'd assign different values to different colours and use them just like scoring sticks in mahjong or chips in poker. US tile-sets sometimes include coloured chips with central holes (like old Chinese coins) so you can stack them securely on short vertical rods at the end of your tile rack.

If there are no counters in your set you might like to buy some - you can purchase separate packs of sticks, in traditional white or various colours.

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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby or2az » Sun May 25, 2014 5:59 pm

just happened to bump into 2 chinese kids this morning at a bookstore and asked for some help. They thought the 7 and a half was the thickness and the last 2 symbols read yellow ivory. Ignatius mentioned the yellow, and half, Barticle mentioned the width, Referee the 75, and me the ivory. What teamwork!
What's the chinese word for millimeters?

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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby Ignatius » Sun May 25, 2014 7:10 pm

or2az wrote:just happened to bump into 2 chinese kids this morning at a bookstore and asked for some help. They thought the 7 and a half was the thickness and the last 2 symbols read yellow ivory. Ignatius mentioned the yellow, and half, Barticle mentioned the width, Referee the 75, and me the ivory. What teamwork!
What's the chinese word for millimeters?

Yup, good teamwork there!
I´ve searched on chinese dictionaries, says that milimeter is 毫米 [háo mǐ]. I hope it´s helpful.
Life is as beautiful as you want it to be, but it´s only one. That´s why you must not get tired of it. Don´t care if you don´t say something that seems "important" because your mere existence is important for someone.

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Re: I just couldn't resist!

Postby Barticle » Sun May 25, 2014 11:03 pm

Heh! Well done, everyone. :)

If these two have a friend with them next time perhaps they'd fancy a game?!


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