The Volunteer House was a cozy old farmhouse with plenty of space. There were 4 rooms with bunkbeds for volunteers, and a large empty tatami room to lay out beds for another 20 people. It took a little time to get used to the lack of wifi, but I soon came to appreciate the quiet evenings with nothing to do but read, write, and get to know the fellow volunteers. While there we had J from Panama, H from Australia, and three Malaysian girls who were drawn by the exotic temperate climate fruit.
It was these girls who taught me how to play a proper game of Mahjong. They enticed me to stay up well past my bedtime of 9pm to enjoy hours of gaming. I won’t try to explain the whole game, but of the different strategies, my favorite was stealing people’s turns. If anyone discards a tile that makes a match for you, you can pounce on it with a loud “Pong!”. Ok, it doesn’t need to be loud, but this move made me too excited to hold back. I succeeded in rattling my opponents with this move and actually won a game!