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By Tom Sloper (湯姆 斯洛珀)
August 29, The Year Of The Tiger

Column #464

A small but very touching memorial service was held today in West Los Angeles. Friends and family gathered to share their memories and appreciation of Carol Kaiserman. It was Carol who taught me how to play American-style mahjong. In 1997 I was a video game producer and designer, working for Activision, with responsibility over the Shanghai line of computer games. Shanghai was originally a solitaire tile-matching game, but I'd been learning as many variants of actual four-player mahjong as I could. I'd learned Hong Kong style, Chinese Classical, and Japanese riichi/dora majan. A coworker found an article in the paper about a local lady who was teaching American-style. And thus I came to meet Carol.

The rest is "history," I suppose. I have Carol to thank for much of it. It was wonderful to meet so many others today who shared their memories of her.

Another thing that happened today was the close of the 2010 World Mahjong Championship in the Netherlands. The event began during the first week of USC's fall semester, so I couldn't go.

Thanks to the Internet, and thanks to Takunori Kajimoto's Ustream feed, though, I was able to see familiar faces playing. This morning I tuned in just in time to see and even hear some of the closing ceremonies. Imagine my surprise when I saw who took the #1 top prize: The Dragon Lady!

Her name is actually Linghua Jiao. I call her The Dragon Lady because of what happened at the Third China Majiang Championship; in a post-lunch stupor, I threw a third dragon to her two dragon exposures, giving her Big Three Dragons. Full story and pictures of this year's event at


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© 2010 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.