Today I have a special treat. An interview with one of the most recognizable Western players in Japan, Benjamin Boas!
1. How did you start playing Riichi?
Discovered the game in Tibet in 2004, learned Japanese rules in Osaka shortly after.
2. What do you like the most about it?
Excellent mix of offense and defense.
3. How often do you play?
Now, about once a month. 10 years ago, at least once a day.
4. Online or live Mahjong – which one do you prefer and why?
Live. More fun with real humans and additional elements to consider.
5. How do you practice/learn strategy & theory?
Back in 2005 I bought every Japanese quiz book there was.
6. Favorite Yakuman?
四暗刻 (Suu Ankou)
7. Any tournament achievements?
Inaugural GPC champion, 2nd place in First European Riichi Championship.
8. Biggest Mahjong related dream?
Get more and more people to play!
9. Quick tip for Mahjong beginners?
Watch videos of Japanese pros playing. You should be able to find them on Youtube.
That’s all. Regarding Benjamin’s last answer, here are some cool channels with Japanese Pro games:
Krabman’s note: If you’re planning to learn anything from those players, you should focus while watching (just as if you were playing yourself) and try to anticipate players’ discards and figure out their logic. You’ll get it wrong a lot of times so I’d also recommend consulting their discards with Osamuko crew. In general, Pro players are stronger than like 90% of Western (tongue-in-cheek calculation) players so their decisions may sometimes appear odd and not that easy to reason out. Or perhaps it’s just me ;p
May Yakuman be with you!