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ERC 2016
The welcoming committee at registration is ready to receive the players.

FARNHAM, United Kingdom - Handing out handsome satchels with embroidered polos and many other goodies, the welcoming committee of the UK Mahjong Association is ready to receive one hundred and twenty-eight players from twenty one countries for the fourth European Riichi Mahjong Championship, which starts tomorrow, 7th October.

Players gather to pre-register for the upcoming event.

My personal journey as one of the players to the games began from Amarillo, Texas, flying for the first time on British Airlines to the homeland of my native language, England! It was fun to see for the first time passengers facing both forwards and backwards on the plane. One of the most enjoyable things about distant travels is the small ways cultural differences manifest in unexpected ways.

Having travelled to many lands to play mahjong where I had no knowledge of the local language, at least this is one world trip where communication shouldn't be a barrier. This was true up until I exited the plane. First thing in the new surroundings, I asked a local where to find a cart. The puzzled gentleman had no idea what I was asking for until I saw a cart wheeling along, and I pointed it out. "Oh, you need a buggy!" Yes, so it would appear my pointing skills remain sharp and necessary after all. :)

Gorgeous setting for the 2016 games, the Farnham Malting, as explored by my wife and the next generation of mahjong players; my children.

Gathered and ready to head to the venue and check in, I hailed a taxi to take my entourage and all our bags with us. After the helpful man assisted in loading all of our bags, and I had my family safely snuggled in the back seat, I went to jump in the passenger side of the taxi, and encountered a steering wheel, which, of course should have been expected. That is exactly why I didn't rent a car, because surely I’d tear off on the wrong side of the road and crash all our plans. The driver got a kick out of me running over to the proper passenger side, and when he was done chuckling, we were off.

The venue is the gorgeous setting of the Farnham Maltings. The Great Hall, for the moment, will be hosting a concert, but come morning it will be bustling with tables and tiles, players and pungs. Already, I’ve begun bumping into many freindly and familiar faces from all over the world, and we are all looking forward to fair and furious competition in the am.

through Farnham to the game venue.

 

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