Author Topic: In China for the World Mahjong Sport Games  (Read 1556 times)

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In China for the World Mahjong Sport Games
« on: November 29, 2015, 04:05:59 pm »


BEIJING 20 October 2015 - Mahjong News is in China, the birthplace of mahjong, enroute to Sanya City for the World Mahjong Sport Games. Blessed with a prolonged layover in Beijing, I had the opportunity to get out and explore the culture, curiosities, and cuisine of this capital city.

While still in transit to Sanya City, not much yet has happened specifically mahjong related, except for the personal preparations I've made getting ready for the tournaments. That, and the miniature mahjong set I found in one of the curio shops surrounding the Temple of Heaven.

First stop on my whirlwind tour of the hustle and bustle that is Beijing was the Temple of Heaven. It is here in this sprawling complex built in the 1400s that the Emporers of China would come once a year to pray for good harvest. The complex starts at the southern gate, where the Emporer and his entourage would change clothes into ceremonial vestments before passing through the Vault of Heaven to cross the Vermilion Steps Bridge, finally arriving at the Hall of Prayer. Here the Emporer would petition the heavens for a good harvest.

Hall of Prayer.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests has four inner, twelve middle, and twelve outer pillars, representing the four seasons, twelve months and twelve traditional Chinese hours respectively. The twelve also represents the twelve cardinal constellations of the Chinese solar system.

Inside the Hall of Prayer.

Aside from visiting the temple complex, I also had the opportunity to stroll through many of the side-streets and shops to experience the sights and sounds of the hustle and bustle that is Beijing.

Beijing shopping.This includes the scorpions on a stick, for which Beijing is known. One would think that such a delicacy is just a novelty, but it would seem they are quite popular. There wasn't just one odd-side-out vendor offering the still-live and wriggling scorpion delicacy for sale, there was vendor after vendor, each with such marvels for sale in bulk quantities. We passed many locals feasting on the writhing snacks as they strolled the many shops and venues of Beijing, which gave evidence to how popular this delicacy is. My children weren't too interested in tasting any, but maybe they will be more adventurous for such local cuisine when they are older.

Scorpions on a stick.

Surprisingly, we were as much an interest to the locals as the locals were to us. We were stopped repeatedly throughout our day by strangers asking if they could take a picture with us. Sometimes they wanted all of us in the picture, and sometimes they just wanted our children in the picture. There was even a celebrity filming at the Temple of Heaven, with a giant entourage of camera crews and producers, who even took a break from filming to call me over, and ask if I would pose in a picture with him. To me, it was curious as to why people would want complete strangers in their photos, but I can only surmise blond-haired blue-eyed people aren't so common on the streets of Beijing. All the same, it was fun how interested people were in our presence, and we were more than happy to oblige.


Tomorrow I continue to my journey, passing over the Great Wall of China and past the Forbidden City, all as part of my journey to Sanya City, and the World Mahjong Sport Games.

Sanya City, also known as the "Eastern Hawaii," will be the site of the 1st World Mahjong Sport Games being held from 24th to 28th of October. It will be during these games that the Duplicate Format for mahjong will be showcased, not just for individual competition but also team competition based on the common MCR rules as the main event. Meanwhile, there wil also be a Mahjong Carnival hosting parallel events in riichi (WRC rules) and Sichuan rules within the Sportify Mahjong Mind Sports (duplicat) format.