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June 5th, 2006

pongchi

One other event from the weekend worth mentioning is having Tsukasa invite me over to a friend's apartment for dinner with a few other international students. What was originally meant to be an early evening get-together soon turned into a five hour marathon of mahjongg (麻雀) that didn't end until after midnight. There were five students from Japan and one from China, Jack, who was positively amazed to hear that I knew where Harbin - his hometown - was located. Hey, not all Americans are geographically-challenged.

Jack had never played before, explaining how the sound of mahjongg tiles scattering across a table was enough to get him in trouble at home due to how easily the game can distract a person from doing anything else for the rest of the night. We played using Taiwan rules (perhaps a little unusual, considering the background of our group) and, despite my handicap of not remembering half of the Chinese symbols for the number tiles, I did quite well. I'll probably start doing better now that I have my own set - courtesy of Ling leaving hers in my care rather than having it mailed back to her in Hong Kong.

In other news, my flatmate and I found a vacuum cleaner tucked away in the closet while we were moving. We're not sure if it came with the apartment or if Wendy dropped it off before leaving for China two weeks ago. The design looks like something straight from the 1970s, and each time we've used it the vacuum has released a smell remarkably similar to what one can find in the university's entomology museum. Sucking up dead insects is one thing but this is more like if they had been caught with smoke-netting, mounted, and stored in steel cabinets for display. I wonder what we'd find if we took the vacuum apart ...