One of my big interests is things relating to riichi mahjong (リーチ麻雀): a variant of the Chinese tabletop game “mahjong” invented in Japan. It’s a rather complicated, but fun game where the players take turns picking and discarding tiles (which function similar to cards in a game like poker) in order to build a winning hand.
Riichi mahjong is extremely popular in Japan, and its popularity there also led to its appearance in a lot of Japanese works made for international markets: video games such as the Yakuza series and Final Fantasy XIV include mahjong minigames, and board game collections like Nintendo’s Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics feature riichi mahjong as part of its international collection of board and party games.
In addition, the game is subject of several manga and anime series, which has also spread interest in it among fans of Japanese pop-culture. Saki, Akagi and The Legend of Koizumi are the most well-known among many series based around the game.
learn the game
play the game
Back in late 2019 and early 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic has made gatherings for purpose of entertainment a risky idea, I used to play mahjong in a club called “Tesuji”. Right now the club doesn’t do game nights (probably because of the aforementioned pandemic), but their VK group is still very active, with puzzles, translations of different works and such.