I SSUE #3 August, 2019
All inquiries to John Davis Contact John Davis

The Magazine for The Discerning Mah Jongg Player

Current Subscribers: 1,500

We hope you enjoy this electronic magazine as it spotlights all that is fresh, funny, exciting, controversial, and cutting-edge
in the Mahj Nation.

Created by John Davis
Edited by Judith Euen Davis


This expanded third issue features a range of stories, resources, and accomplishments of the members of our Mah Jongg community. We now have the following regular departments: Mahj in the Media, Philanthropy, Tournaments, Humor, Education, History, Resources, Pets, and Merchandise. Everyone we invited to collaborate on articles instantly and enthusiastically responded, producing exceptional writings. We know you will enjoy their work, and we thank them for their efforts.

Letters should be exclusive to MJ DIVA Magazine. We do not publish open letters or third-party letters. We encourage a diversity of voices and views in our letters.   Letters should preferably be 150 to 175 words and should refer to either an article in our magazine or to a topic of general interest to the Mah Jongg community. Letters must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number.
Only letters submitted electronically HERE will be considered. 
I n each issue we take a look at how Mah Jongg is portrayed in books, films, television, magazines, newspapers, and the internet.  It was only a matter of time until Mah Jongg took its place in the world of fiction. In the talented hands of author Jane Flagello, an avid Mah Jongg player, Mah Jongg takes on a more sinister meaning.
Jane R. Flagello

Mahj friends — My name is Jane Flagello. Like some of you, I am a cancer survivor. When I realized I couldn’t heal on my own, I went to synagogue for Rosh Hashanah, knowing that only with God’s help would I ever feel whole again.

My world changed when a woman named Judy, sitting in front of me, turned around, offered her hand, and said hello. When I said I wasn’t a member of the congregation, she suggested I join its ORT chapter. My aunt had been involved with ORT so I was familiar with the Jewish fund-raising organization. But thinking small, still trapped in my own little world, I asked, “What’s in it for me?” First she said “We have a book club.” but then Judy uttered magical words that opened my heart. “We have a mah jongg league.” All I remember saying was, “Teach me , and I’m in.” 

A different Judi taught me how to play in two lessons. I took to mah jongg like a fish to water. That was the summer of 2003 , and I’ve never looked back. The mah jongg league of my ORT chapter introduced me to wonderful ladies. Our games were lively , and the money we lost went to a good cause. Then the tournament bug bit me. I started playing in Mah Jongg Madness tournaments in 2005 , in Skokie , and those ladies taught me plenty about mah jongg strategy and the nuances of the game. Now retired, I try to play in tournaments five to six times each year and play in local games three times a week.

Another win — ORT brought Joy into my life, not only joy for the game, but my now BFF, Joy. Remember the player who fractured her kneecap at the Vegas tournament a few years ago and played in a wheel chair, sitting on a pillow atop my crutches? That was me , and Joy was by my side, caring for me the entire time. 
As a writer of mystery / romantic suspense stories who is an admitted mah jongg addict, I decided to weave the game into my books. My first book, BAMBOOZLED , highlights the friendships mah jongg creates.
My second book, GOTCHA! , puts a mah jongg tournament in the spotlight. The lunch buffet turns deadly. Who done it? Why? 
In COMPLICITY , an antique mah jongg chest makes an appearance. 
Alas, there’s no mahj in MERCY but S iamese mah jongg is making an appearance in DECEPTION , which will be out in 2020.
I know I don’t have to tell all of you about the game. Each deal is a new adventure, a new challenge. Each year brings sixty plus new hands for us to love and hate. I’ve taught many people how to play and my recent move to Virginia Beach has brought me new players, new games, and most importantly, new friends. May lots of jokers grace your rack. Happy Mahjing!

Here’s an excerpt from GOTCHA! for your reading pleasure. 

At lunch Marissa positioned herself for action. When Rachel and Sara walked away from the buffet line, she purposely bumped into Sara. 
“Sorry,” said Marissa absently as she turned around. “Hey, nice to see you again.”
“You, too,” smiled Sara. 
“Having fun? How are you doing?”
“Good. And you?”
“Okay. Not as well as I’d hoped. Come join us. We’ve got room at our table.” Not waiting for a response, Marissa slipped her free hand through Sara’s arm. Rachel followed behind. Careful not to drop their lunches, the threesome wove their way through the cramped ballroom to a table along the side wall.
“Look who I found, Sophia,” Marissa said.
“How nice. Come sit. There’s plenty of room.” 

Contact the author at

The Center for Disease Control has reported the first confirmed case of American Mah Jongg Overdose, or AM-JO. A group of players contracted this mysterious disease during a marathon playing session in a remote Maine cabin. According to authorities, relatives of the all female group of Mah Jongg players became alarmed when they were unable to contact any of the women for several days. When they received no response to repeated texts, emails, and messaging, they alerted the local authorities who dispatched officers. Five women were removed from the cabin and rushed to a medical center for evaluation. Their current condition is unknown.

Franklin Auberhauser, an official at the Center for Disease Control, reported at a news conference that the women had to be forcibly removed from the Mah Jongg game table. Dehydrated and incoherent, the women were heard to repeatedly shout, “Mahj“ and “That’s It!” Thousand of quarters were scattered about the cabin, as were dirty dishes and candy wrappers. No animals were present.

John Davis, publisher of MJ DIVA magazine, and self-identified national expert of the game of American Mah Jongg, said, “It is not unusual for players to play for many consecutive hours, sometimes extending to entire 24 hour periods or longer. This is what I call HAB, or harmless addictive behavior.”

Allison Levinson, daughter of one of the players involved in the incident, tweeted that her mother had told her that the group had gleefully boasted that they would play until they had had enough -- or die in the attempt.

Officials at the American Psychiatric Association are considering whether or not to include this outbreak in their volume of crazy shit people do, more commonly referred to as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Cult expert at the University of Simi, California, Dr. Christine Bragg, says that this group may actually be a cult, especially with its rites and ceremonies, along with its veneration of the game.

A spokesperson for the CDC also informed reporters that it will attempt to identify populations or geographic areas at high risk by investigating Facebook groups for signs of similar behavior. 
For those unfamiliar with Mah Jongg tournaments, they are the public face of the game and range from a few tables in private homes to hundreds of players in public spaces such as hotels, synagogues, and cruise ships. Participants pay an entry fee which covers the cost of the food, drinks, facilities, prizes, and, often, contributions to charitable causes. Players are required to follow rules that delineate scoring and penalties, as well as how players rotate among the game tables. Tournaments may be run by businesses, ad hoc groups, or private individuals who arrange venues, organize players, publicize the events, and run the games. Most tournaments are one-day events while some are multiple days. The hallmarks of Mah Jongg tournaments are their clearly defined rules and their fair and consistent enforcement. 

Each issue of MJ DIVA will focus on the world of tournaments. We begin our series with an excellent piece by a seasoned and articulate Mah Jongg player and tournament-goer, Mr. Barney Gallassio.
A native of Old Tappan, New Jersey, Barney describes himself as a frustrated teacher, fun-loving math nerd and obsessed foodie!
Advice for New Tournament Players

Barney Gallassio

Some people tell me they would never play in a Mah Jongg tournament, and their reasons vary from lack of confidence to fear of the unknown; neither reason is good enough to deprive yourself of an experience that will unquestionably make you a better player. To dispel fear of the unknown, I have created the following tips to ease your way. Enjoy your games and have the best of luck!


 This is your first tournament, you are going to be nervous, just be ready for that and accept it. Trust me, once you make it past your first game, your nervousness will be cut in half. Everyone, everyone, everyone feels this way in their first tournament. When you make your first MJ you will feel GREAT!


You should know the card very well. This is a given. If you are not very comfortable with the card’s groupings, sections, and categories, you are probably not ready for a tournament. This does not mean you must have the card memorized; it just means you need to know the hands very well.


The faces on MJ sets can vary widely in tournaments where participants bring their own sets and volunteer to be East. Tournament Directors often will ask their East players to bring easy to read tiles. If the East player thinks some of the tiles are confusing, like the One Bams or the Flowers or even some Dragons, they will start each round by showing those tiles to the players at the table.  It’s a good idea to ask to see those tiles if they are not shown to you, but again, most East players are using very basic tiles.


You should know the rules of the game. On the day of your tournament (and sometimes even beforehand via e-mail), you will be given a rule sheet. Almost everything on that sheet should already be familiar to you. The tournament director will review the rules so any questions will be answered before the start of round one. The rules sheet will also tell you how to move among tables after the completion of each round. Since this is your first tournament, get there a few minutes early and read the sheet a few times, just to be sure. If you are going to play in more tournaments (and I bet you will!), it might be a good idea to play “tournament rules” at some of your home games. It makes for great practice.


 Most tournaments require each round (four games make up one round) to be completed in no more than 50 minutes. You should check your speed in some of your current games to see if you think you can do this. IMPORTANT NOTE: You CAN do it - almost everyone can. The odds of a table not finishing its round in 50 minutes is HIGHLY unlikely. The player designated as East at your table will assist the table in moving along, ensuring the pace is appropriate. By the way, all the East players are identified before the start of the tournament. If you did not volunteer to be East, you won’t be East.


 Related to the point above: be mindful of your pace. Pausing here and there is fine, but pausing on every play you make could impact the timing of the game. During the Charleston, when passing some of your tiles, you may need to make quick decisions that might not account for all possibilities – but force yourself to sacrifice some thoroughness for pace and speed. Keeping the game moving is key. It is important to remember that neither you, nor anyone else, is going to win every game!

One of the Tournament Golden Rules: Be kind to everyone– we live in a very small Mah Jongg world!

Original version archived as Barney’s Tournament #1 Crib Sheet at https://www.facebook.com/groups/MahJonggThatsIt/
 by Barney Gallassio Old Tappan, NJ. February 2017

Philanthropy has been a hallmark of the Mah Jongg community for more than 80 years. A myriad of organizations and groups regularly hold fundraisers or directly contribute to charities across the nation and around the world. Each issue of MJ DIVA will focus attention on events and individuals whose philanthropic efforts bring communities together to support important causes.  
We begin with the story of an extraordinary nationwide campaign to raise funds to assist the Alzheimer’s Association in its vital search for effective treatments and a cure for this disease. The author of this piece, Jenelle Schatz, tells the story of how her group in Tulsa, Oklahoma, raised funds and how others can design and implement similar events.
Jenelle Schatz
The Event

Here’s what Mah Jongg for Memories is all about. Around June 21, 2019 (the longest day of the year) Mah Jongg groups across the country dedicated their regular play-days to raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. Other players held more elaborate and larger day-long events for this cause. Some had lunch and silent auctions, while others enjoyed snacks and donated their day’s winnings. All, however, combined the fun and challenge of Mah Jongg with the objective of ending Alzheimer’s, the all-consuming disease that threatens the mental ability of every Mah Jongg player.

In Tulsa, we had a large, play-day event at a country club, with lunch, a silent auction, and a raffle. Attendees made at least a $45.00 donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. Registration was at 11:00 with lunch and a short program about Alzheimer’s Disease and the Association preceding the fun part: PLAYING MAH JONGG!
We played by the NMJL rules. Players could rotate tables or stay at a table with their own group, as designated when they sent in their reservations. There were opportunities during the day to win prizes by being the first to complete certain hands, and prizes were awarded to all who completed the Special MJTI Hand for The Longest Day. The day was casual and friendly as players embraced the vital goal of the event.

A break for cake and drinks mid-way through the afternoon also allowed players time to check their silent auction bids. An addition to the afternoon's fun was a fascinating and well-received demonstration by a Riichi (Japanese) Mah Jongg group of their form of the game. 
The Support
The response to this Alzheimer's initiative has been simply amazing! Nationally, many influential members of the Mah Jongg community responded to the vision by forming teams and providing publicity and prizes, including the donation of a beautiful Mah Jongg Diva set by John Davis.  
Also, an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer designed and made two quilts for auction, one on the Mah Jongg That’s It! Facebook page and another at our Tulsa Mah Jongg for Memories event. Finally, many tournaments and play-days were organized by regular players like me.  

In Tulsa, local businesses also made donations of items for prizes, and the local Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association gave guidance, program support, and contacts for publicity. Finally, my Marvelous Monday Mah Jongg Group, my family, and other “squad” members stepped right up working to pull it all together.  This successful day would not have happened without ALL of them.

It’s impressive to note that, because events were going on all around the country, many other generous donors were helping in similar ways in other places. The outpouring of support is phenomenal and much appreciated! 
The Fundraising
For the National fundraiser, over $52,000 has been raised to-date, from a combination of smaller and larger events, as well as Facebook fundraisers.

In Tulsa, we raised approximately $6,500.00, with about $2,000.00 coming from the silent auction and raffle of donated items. The remainder was from donations.

The Stories

While working on Mah Jongg for Memories , I have been very touched by the many stories shared with me about family and friends who are or have suffered the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. It is a dreadful experience to see or live through. These stories paint the compelling picture of why we fight for the 5.8 million people in the US who are living with this disease, as well as millions more globally.  
One personal connection is from Ashli, who made the quilts for donation. Her Mother-in-Law is currently living with Alzheimer’s; her Grandmother died of it. She has watched two vibrant women become shells of themselves, which propelled her to become a full-time Alzheimer’s volunteer, forming her own “The Longest Day” event called Quilt to End Alzheimer’s . She also learned to play Mah Jongg after attending our 2018 Tulsa event!

My connection with this fight is also very personal. My husband Tony’s life was claimed by Younger Onset Alzheimer’s, which was diagnosed at age 58. He passed away at age 65. My handsome, outgoing, and adventurous man ultimately could barely speak, was afraid of most everything, and bore the indignation of not even being able to care for his most basic needs. I consider The Longest Day and Mah Jongg for Memories to be part of Tony’s legacy as we are turning something terrible into something good.

Some Advice
·       Start early! It takes time to get the word out, gather resources, and develop a structure.
·       Don’t be afraid to ask for donations! I’ve found that people are very generous, which is especially true of Mah Jongg players.
·       Ask the charity you are supporting to be involved. They can speak most effectively about the vision of their organization and often have resources that can help you get organized.
·       Show your appreciation to everyone who attends and helps; they are the reason for the event’s success!
·       Keep good records. You will need them next year!

Encouraging News
The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research; only the U.S. and Chinese governments invest more in this effort. The Association made its largest-ever investment in 2019 with grants of over $30 million to 121 scientific investigations. Here are a few recent developments that can be traced to donations from The Longest Day and other Alzheimer’s Association fundraisers:

·       Researchers have identified a number of metabolic pathways through which Alzheimer’s Disease develops, providing new targets for pharmacological interventions.
·       More than 20 early-stage clinical trials are underway to test whether novel interventions are safe and effective.
·       Drug “cocktails” have been particularly effective in treating other diseases, such as HIV, cancer, and tuberculosis. This hopeful strategy is now being tested in Alzheimer’s.
·       Association scientists and other researchers successfully applied for a grant from the NIH to study certain aspects of Younger Onset Alzheimer’s that are not consistent with Later Onset Disease. That study is now underway.
·       A new study is testing the degree to which two years of a combined lifestyle intervention can prevent cognitive decline and dementia in older adults at increased risk.
·       A blood test for earlier and more accurate diagnosis of the disease is also being tested with promising results.

For other specific breakthroughs, check out media stories from this year’s Alzheimer’s Association International Convention.  https://www.alz.org/aaic/2019_media_coverage.asp

How Funds are Used
The following link to “Your Dollars at Work” provides information on the Association’s full mission work.

Mah Jongg for Memories is a fun way to bring change for a future where Alzheimer’s Disease no longer touches any of us. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to spread the word about this fabulous initiative to Mah Jongg players!  

Editor's Note: Jenelle Schatz is also featured in the Facebook group Mahjong Community https://facebook.com/groups/mahjongcommunity  

Mahjong Community was created to build a virtual mahjong neighborhood. The group posts interesting articles and human interest stories (#menthatmahj) & (#whyImahj) and through its Where is my Mahjong Community & Teacher Directory, it helps players find games and teachers where they live and travel. A common theme often expressed by Mahjong Community members is that mahjong is more than a game, it provides friendship, support and joy.

Look for more about this exciting new group in the next issue of MJ DIVA.

Each issue will feature an innovative product designed to improve players' skill.
Stacey Rea has sold close to 10,000 copies of her popular Flipbook.
The Story Behind
Let's Play Modern American Mah Jongg!
A Flipbook Reference Guide
Stacey Rea

It's an honor to be featured in your online MJ DIVA magazine. I've lived in Seattle, WA, for the past 20 years. I am originally from the San Fernando Valley in California. I am a retired school teacher and my husband, Dave, is a retired newspaper copy editor.
 As a retiree, I enjoy traveling, spending time with friends and family, and of course, playing and teaching Mah Jongg. I was able to turn my passion into a successful small business.
About six years ago I began playing the matching Mah Jongg solitaire game online. I knew that the real game had to be much more complicated. I remembered reading about the real Mah Jongg tile game in Amy Tan's book The Joy Luck Club many years earlier. This made me want to learn how to play. So I found a Meetup group called Mah Jongg Fever where I learned to play about four and a half years ago.

Several of us of us discovered this Meetup around the same time; we've been playing once or twice a week ever since, with the monthly addition of new people.

Instead of playing for money, our Meetup group donates to various charities. In fact, Mah Jongg Fever has donated a total of $6,000 over the past several years to local causes like Northwest Harvest Food Bank and Fred Hutch Cancer Research, and more global causes like Doctors Without Borders and Water is Life. 

As a beginning Mah Jongg player, I often had trouble remembering certain rules while in the heat of the game, such as: which dragon matches which suit, and the clockwise direction of pushing out the walls. I searched for a compact, easy-to-follow "cheat sheet," if you will, to which I could quickly refer during the game. I did find some excellent resources, but they were all in chapter book format. 

 Our Flipbook focuses on what newcomers need to know to sit down and start playing. The format allows them to use our guide right at the table as they become familiar with the stages and etiquette of the game. We took pains to make it clear and easy to understand.

 The hundreds of positive reviews we've received are a sign we've helped a lot of new players get started. Additionally, quite a few Mah Jongg teachers have become repeat customers, ordering multiple copies to help their students. We are excited to announce that we are approaching sales of 10,000 Flipbooks!

The Flipbook is available to order via my website: https://www.26thavenuepress.com/ and through Amazon.
Stacey may be reached at: stacey1955@gmail.com.
Editor’s Note: In the next issue, we will take a look at one Mah Jongg group that meets regularly at Seattle’s historic Panama Hotel Tea & Coffee House. The group will share with us how Mah Jongg came to make an appearance there, who plays there, and how it was decided to donate money rather than keeping the winnings.

Rose, a young mah jongg player and her pet named Nanny. Circa 1925

The story goes that Rose, anxious to play the game that was sweeping the nation, tried to trade her pet goat Nanny for a set of Mah Jongg tiles at the local department store. Nanny, on the other hand, wanted to trade Rose for a delicious-looking cardboard box she had spotted in the store. Chaos ensued. After much negotiation, a compromise was reached, the result being that Nanny would regularly provide milk, Rose would get her mah jongg set, and her pet would get the box. Thus began the tradition of pets taking their rightful role in the game of Mah Jongg.

In each issue, we will feature pets and their minions. We begin with two incredible felines named Perry and Monty.
Dear Mahj Friends,
We cannot tell you how delighted we, Perry and Monty, are to launch the Mahj Pets feature in MJ DIVA Magazine. After a brief but intense struggle for the keyboard, Monty has agreed that I, Perry, shall be in control, with just the slightest of assists from Judith Euen Davis.
Let us enumerate for you some of the feline-centric aspects of the game that we particularly value:

Any game with so many small pieces, comfortable accessories, and tasty noshes must have been created with us in mind, especially when there is also a style of the game named for our sister Siamese. 
Surely you agree: If the earth were flat, cats would have pushed everything off it by now. The same applies to the mah jongg table! Along with the dice, those beckoning bits of Bakelite tiles beg to be pawed askew in the wall and knocked on the floor. 

Once the racks have been cleared of tiles, they are perfect to use as head rests for our mid-game naps. Mahj table covers, enhanced with luxuriant striped fur, make the surfaces especially appealing.

The snack portion of the game is vitally important to our enjoyment and can lead to some serious consequences if not handled properly. Even though Smart Food Popcorn and cubes of cheese are particularly irresistible, we do not turn up our whiskers at other offerings. Denied a chocolate chip cookie, Monty, in revenge, peed on the entire plate of them in full view of the ladies! (Monty's note: Nunh-uh!)
We also relish the possibility of extra people being around with at least one available hand for petting during play. We insist on being part of the game. We often help our dear minion Kay by sitting on a few jokers under the guise of extreme friendliness.  
Sometimes, players who are allergic to cats join the group, so that we are cruelly sequestered. We express our deep displeasure at being shut out of the room with screams of disapproval and pitiful meows. After all, how could anyone play successfully without our guidance, particularly in the singles and paws section?
Since someone might want to abscond with our Red Coin Serenity Mah Jongg Set or any of the others our dear minion Kay keeps purchasing, we serve as a feline security force. Nothing escapes our notice or our claws.
No doubt the next step in our playing is to attend a tournament so we can test our skills against other feline and canine competitors. We saw a poster once of dogs playing mah jongg, so we know we can make it happen. It is our time.
These are the things we value, dear mahj friends. Please know that as MahjCats we recognize and endorse that Mahj is here to stay but only under our house rules and protection.
Editor’s Note: Monty and Perry reside with Kay Warhrsager in New York, New York.
Mahj on My Mind Merchandise
Every Mahj Jongg player will find something to love in the 40 collections of over 500 items ranging from tote bags, jewelry, and luggage tags, to phone cases, shirts, earrings, and note cards. Perfect as gifts, tournament prizes, or home decor.
Mah Jongg players often discuss the history of the game and its valued Asian origins. Popular knowledge, hearsay, and myths about the history of the game are all frequent topics in game table conversations. 

MJ DIVA’s recurring HISTORY feature is designed to add to our readers’ knowledge about the origins of the game and its influences on our culture.

This issue spotlights a lengthy project that is nearing completion. Our contributor, an expert on women’s history, talks about the journey she made to produce a book that is the first major analysis of the widespread cultural influence of the game.

Annelise Heinz
Dr. Annelise Heinz is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Oregon, where she teaches courses on women's history, gender and sexuality, ethnicity and immigration, and consumerism.
Her current book project,  Mahjong: A Chinese Game and the Making of Modern American Culture   explores the American history of the Chinese parlor game mahjong in the first half of the twentieth century. Mapping the history of mahjong in widely varied settings – Shanghai salons, Angel Island Immigration Station, American Chinatowns, Catskill resorts, and postwar suburbia – the project places the game at the heart of modern American redefinitions of race, gender, and consumer culture. She is hoping the book’s publication will be next year.
Mahjong: A Chinese Game and the Making of Modern American Culture
Annelise Heinz

Hello, fellow mahjong fans! With thanks to John for the invitation, I’d like to introduce myself and my book project to all of you. I’m a historian at the University of Oregon writing the first scholarly history of mahjong in twentieth-century American culture.

This book is the result of a decade of work. It began as my doctoral dissertation at Stanford University, but the seed of it was planted before I started grad school. I started thinking about mahjong when my partner and I lived in Southwest China for a year. We taught English at Yunnan University in Kunming during the year leading up to the Beijing Olympics. There I saw mahjong played in many different contexts – parks, side streets, homes – and by many different people – young and old, men and women, workers and retirees. My aunt came to visit us and asked about why the game was connected to Jewish American women.

Her Jewish friends’ mothers had played in Denver during the 1960s, and her friends from the Jewish Community Center still played today. I thought the answer would be easily discoverable – surely someone else had researched this surprising connection! What I found was that many people had asked the question and theories abounded, but no one had done the historical research to find out. I was already interested in questions about gender and race, and I knew I wanted to study the movement of people, goods, and ideas between the U.S. and China, so the question intrigued me.

It wasn’t until my second research paper that I took up the topic, however, and although my wonderful advisor was supportive, she was also a little skeptical. “It’s an interesting question,” she said, “but are there enough historical sources?” I first scratched the surface of newspaper databases and – happily! – discovered hundreds of articles from the forgotten 1920s fad, when even the President and First Lady Harding played the game. (This history has since become more widely known thanks to the traveling exhibit Project Mah Jongg by the Museum of Jewish Heritage.) It was clear that the game’s history extended far beyond the initial question that inspired my search. Since then I’ve dug into archives and personal collections around the country, and have also interviewed dozens of people about their memories. One of my most memorable research adventures was going to a Hasbro factory in Massachusetts (since closed) and exploring their de facto Parker Brothers archive – a room of dusty treasures right off the factory floor.

The first half of the book focuses on the enormous Jazz Age mahjong craze, including its roots among Americans living in Shanghai in the early twentieth century. The other half is about mahjong and American ethnicity, including Chinese American communities in the 1930s and Jewish Americans after World War II. 
One of my sets, a 1920s set I found in an antique store in the historic Chinese community of Locke in the Sacramento Delta. (I think the set may have come from elsewhere to the shop, however.)
I end the book after the 1960s with an epilogue that brings the history to today’s mahjong renaissance.

The book is getting close, but academic publishing takes a long time – first because of the archival research required, then because of writing amidst teaching demands, and finally because of the rounds of valuable feedback from experts in the field. I’m currently working through revisions with my editor from Oxford University Press and hope that the book will come out in 2020.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about what I’ve found, please check out my website: https://www.amheinz.org/mahjong-project.html . There you’ll find links to a recent interview with the Oregon Humanities Center, as well as to articles. You’ll also see a contact form – I always love to hear from people who share an interest in the game, and am especially grateful for photographs or mahjong memories that date before 1970. One of the aspects of this project that I have enjoyed the most is making personal connections with people and I am very grateful for everyone who has shared a part of their lives with me.
Now in the final stages of preparation, this valuable guide to the teaching and learning of Mah Jongg will be an indispensable addition to the library of every teacher and student of the game.
From the introduction . . .

I follow and teach American Mah Jongg according to the National Mah Jongg League Card. I have written this book with you, the novice player, in mind, using the same method with which I have taught thousands of students over the years. The format of this book is easy to follow, with illustrations that help bring the game to life. . . . There are short quizzes at the end of each chapter and many hints and reinforcements along the way to help make each part of the game as easy as possible to learn. This book is a foundation for learning Mah Jongg and will provide you with everything you need to get started as a new player.  . . . 
EXAMPLE: These beautiful illustrations and step by step instructions will teach you the Charleston. 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: Getting to Know Your Mah Jongg Set and Tiles
CHAPTER 2: Getting Started
CHAPTER 3: Learning the Cards and Families – Part I
CHAPTER 4: Learning the Cards and Families – Part II
CHAPTER 5: Learning the Cards and Families – Part III
CHAPTER 6: Setting Up Your Tiles , Choosing Families,
and Dancing the Charleston
CHAPTER 7: The Game Begins and Ends Here
CHAPTER 8: Strategy and Playing Defensively
CHAPTER 9:  Playing for Money, Betting, and Table Rules

Pre-ordering info. www.debbiebarnettauthor.com/books    
Created by Mah Jongg maven Gladys Grad in 2015, Siamese Mah Jongg ® has gained so much popularity recently that there is now a growing demand for tournaments. For the past three years, Grad's Mah Jongg Madness Tournaments have held mini Siamese Mah Jongg ® tournaments, in Las Vegas and Scottsdale. The scoring and guidelines for these mini tournaments are available at the Siamese Mah Jongg ® Guild Facebook group. CLICK HERE
Husband and wife team Donna Eschen and Greg Villegas, featured in our first issue as movers and shakers in Santa Maria, California, continue to create elegant regular and Siamese Mah Jongg racks. You may contact them by clicking on any of the images below-
Mah Jongg Diva Tiles
Limited Edition Mah Jongg Tiles
There are only 100 sets of this limited edition. Each set comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and consists of 170 Standard American Mah Jongg tiles, including 8 flowers, 8 seasons, 8 blanks (in case a tile is lost, it can be replaced with one of these), and 2 extra jokers.
  • TEACHING THE GAME: A survey of teaching methods
  • GAME STRATEGIES : How to watch everything at once.
  • MAHJ PHILANTHROPY: Spotlighting fundraising efforts across the Mahj Nation
  • HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES:Origins and development of the game
  • COLLECTING AND COLLECTORS: Advice and perspectives of professional Mah Jongg tile collectors
  • ADVICE FOR NEWBIES: Things to keep in mind in learning the game
  • MAHJ ON THE CUTTING EDGE: Playing multiple cards and hands, new styles of MJ
  • THE OTHER MAHJ JONGG STYLES: A look at Riichi, Wright-Patterson, Hong Kong and others
  • MAHJ CRUISING: Playing Mah Jongg on the high seas
  • MAHJ ONLINE: A survey of the multiple online sites
  • MAHJ ART: The beauty of the tiles, boxes, racks, dice, and paraphernalia
  • REGIONAL TRADITIONS: Picking ahead, stacking tiles
  • BOOK BEAT: Newest publications related to Mah Jongg
  • MAHJ CUISINE: Traditional Mahj snacks, recipes, ideas for hosting your group
  • FUN WITH STATISTICS: What are the most powerful numbers or combinations?
  • ROLE OF LUCK: Are some players just lucky?
  • MAHJ TRIVIA: Did you know that?
  • THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF MAHJ VENDORS: A survey of sellers, craftspeople, and unique products
  • TEST YOUR MAHJ KNOWLEDGE: Pop quizzes on mahj facts
J. Davis Mah Jongg Collection
at Davida Aprons

Davida Aprons is pleased to announce the debut of the J.Davis Collection of textile products based on the artwork "Joker Dreams" by John Davis. This first collaboration represents the latest addition to the outstanding line of Jewish Funwear and Kitchen Kitsch products that Davida Aprons has been creating for over 38 years.
Mahj-Art Commissions

Would you like a custom designed gift for a friend or loved one who plays Mah Jongg?
Is there an anniversary or birthday milestone that calls for something special?
You should consider my Mahj-Art Archival Prints.
Each print is hand made using archival inks and high quality papers. I work closely with clients to find something unique about the recipient. My extensive Mahj-Art library is available, or you may commission an entirely new piece. Join the nationwide ranks of satisfied customers.