Interview with winner of 4th season of “Sherlock Holmes and Mahjong” mystery solving contest

The winner of the fourth Sherlock Mahjong Mysteries Contest is Nishioka Naoki from Japan, the translator of the Japanese version of “Sherlock Holmes and Mahjong” book.

When and how did you learn to play mahjong?

I started playing mahjong around the age of seven. I was influenced by my parents who like mahjong. I learned it while playing mahjong with my family. Mahjong in Japan is riichi, and I remembered it first. However, as I grew up, I wanted to try different rules and started playing MCR, Sichuan style mahjong, and Taiwanese style mahjong etc.

What is your favourite style to play?

I like MCR, especially the duplicate style. Mahjong is often referred to as a game of luck. Yes, there is one side to it, but I don't like the way it is said. That's why I really like the "duplicate style" that tries to get out of luck.

What is your preferred way to play mahjong?

I also like playing mahjong with my friends, but my favorite is the way to concentrate and compete online for my skill.

How did you discover «Sherlock Holmes and Mahjong» mysteries?

It was really a coincidence. While registering with Mahjongsoft and exploring the site, I found a book summarizing the past "Sherlock Holmes and Mahjong" and was interested in it.

What are you feeling about participation in the current contest and winning it?

This time it was often convenient for me! I learned about MCR, I met Mahjongsoft, it was held online instead of offline, etc. And I'm proud to be able to reach the goal while competing with players from all over the world. But to be honest, I often had a hard time finding a complete answer. There were times when I was interpreting simple events very difficult, and I often entered the labyrinth. I often wondered if my answer was amiable to the organizers. That's why, when it's resolved, I admire "It's a primary!" Actually, I wasn't aware of the timestamp so much. However, the pleasure of solving the mystery became addictive, and I came to think "I want to get the answer quickly!". Which is probably the decisive factor for the victory.

I know that you are the translator and editor of the Japanese version of the «Sherlock Holmes and Mahjong» book. What are your plans regarding the project?

I had some time when I started translating, but now I'm busy. And at this contest, I realized again that I am not good at English and I have to study more English. Still, I want to complete the translation as soon as possible. And I want to use it in a place such as a mahjong classroom.

I think that a new contest will take place in May 2022 or May 2023. Your wish / will for future contestants.

I was lucky to be online this time. If it's done offline next year or later, —If I have a chance—, I would like to participate in an offline contest!

To the contestants of the future, this contest will give you new insights into Mahjong! Not only players who enjoy mahjong, but also those who are new to mahjong, who are stuck in mahjong, who feel that mahjong is boring, any player will be fresh and fun! I want you to enjoy the pleasure.

Anything else to add (if any)?

I would like to thank Vitaly and others for hosting and running this contest. And thank you to all the players who solved the mystery together. Let's meet again!

Best Regards
Naoki Nishioka