If you're interested in mahjong tables, I've previously written an article describing the different types of mahjong table.
So, I made the decision to buy an apartment in Osaka, with more space to install a fully automatic mahjong table.
Have you heard of the Aotomo brand before? Let me tell you about what a delight this table has been for me!
This is the model I got.
Where do Aotomo Mahjong Tables come from?
First of all, where did this brand come from?
AOTOMO (or generally, Aotomo) is a brand of Automatic Mahjong Tables manufactured by Hangzhou Zhaofeng Entertainment Products.
HZEP Factory is the first factory to manufacture Automatic Mahjong Table in mainland China so their experience speaks for itself.
Wait, are you suggesting to use a Chinese table for Japanese mahjong?
Why, yes, Aotomo tables are not just "Chinese Mahjong Tables", and their choice of a Japanese name is not a coincidence: they are very well suited for Japanese Mahjong as well.
- You can order Japanese tiles with your table
- You can choose between different sizes of Japanese standard sizes for your table
- You can program the table to build different types of wall according to the Japanese (or international) ruleset you want **including 3-player-mahjong**!!
- You have a renchan counter for Japanese mahjong, as well as point sticks and a point stick drawer
- They are relatively silent (includes a silent mode for shuffling!), so I can play in the night even in Japan where there are strict expectations around noise at night
Just look at it:
Besides, even the tables being sold in Japan are partially or fully manufactured in China anyway. This one seems to be very longlasting.
How's the Shipping and Handling for Aotomo Tables?
In one word, I have to say: flawless
My biggest concerns with importing a mahjong table are:
- damage to the table
- delivery time and tracking
Let's look at these individually.
Weight and size of the parcel
With a total weight of the pallet 68kg, of which top table is 47kg, I was expecting to pay a lot for shipping, but it was very reasonable considering the below details.
Option Riichi mahjong size tiles: 28x21x16.2mm or 33x24x17.5mm
Size table 80x80x76cm, weight: 75Kg
Customs fees for the Mahjong Table
For customs, the delivery company used by HZEP factory was amazing - they handled all the documentation and sent it to me separately. I ended up paying only 70 dollars in customs for an item this size. Previously, buying large items with famous couriers, I've payed way more.
Parcel protection for the table
In terms of damage, I was expecting some minor bumps or hits because of international shipping and the shear size and weight of the table.
Nonsense, the packaging was so sturdy, my table was extremely well protected. I think it could even survive a fall from the plane. Look at it:
The delivery people unloaded from the truck and into my apartment entrance.
Delivery time from China
I live in Japan. Being pretty close to China, I can't really speak for other countries, but it was way faster than I expected. Other international and smaller parcels were taking around 1 month to reach me (possibly because of logistics around COVID19).
However, the delivery time from the Hang Zhou factory for the table was only 2 weeks. I also had access to tracking all the way. No concerns!
Ensambling the Aotomo Mahjong Table
Although I have worked with mahjong tables for the good latter half of my life, I had never put together an automatic mahjong table before from scratch.
I mentally prepared myself for a long evening of dealing with the arduous task.
Once again, I was pleasantly surprised that this table was so easy to ensamble.
Many times, I doubted myself, thinking "is it really so simple?" and spent too much time double-guessing myself. Yes, it is very simple.
Aotomo Table Parts
First thing after receiving the parcel, I took a good luck at the different parts included.
The moving bits, a wrench and manual.
The base, super important and sturdy.
Drawers for points.
Point sticks, Japanese style magnetic tiles. (Manual for size reference)
A good luck at all the little moving parts.
These are literally all the moving bits. Everything else is already pre-ensambled for you.
So, how did I ensamble it?
Putting together the Aotomo Table
I won't go into much detail, because it is a really intuitive process. Putting the table together took me less than 20 minutes after figuring out how does each piece fit together.
First, the base
When assembling furniture, I like to start with the base. Same deal here.
You have to attach these weels to the base.
If you've ever ensambled a gaming or office chair, this should be familiar. Just push them until they fit, really.
Next, you have to secure the table holding piece (that big metal piece) to the base. This is what will hold the table in place.
There is a wrench and big bolts included for this
After you've secured this piece to the base, you should be left looking at something like this.
That's it for the most important part of the preparation, really.
Mounting the Table
This is the only difficult part because you will need some physical strength to pick up the electronic piece of the table and place it on top of the base, making sure the pins at the bottom of the shuffler match the little hedges on the base.
Then, you want to set up the rotators around the pins, and that little handle on the hole right beside it. It should look like this:
These gold pieces are there to make sure you can fold the table sideways while you're not using it, and those handles are there to secure it in place.
It is genius. This is what the table looks like when you fold it sideways (it saves a lot of space).
Set up the Frame
Now your table, while technically playable, looks a little bit unfinished without the frame around it.
Those big black pieces, you have to piece them together like legos around the table and secure them in place with the remaining bolts. However, don't forget one very important detail:
Aotomo tables include a USB port for charging your devices while playing. Before assembling these side pieces, remember to plug the USB powering cable in!
After you set up the drawers, you just have to piece together the frame and snatch it in place on the table.
It might feel real hard and you might have to push a bit to get them to snap together. I was worried I'd break them, but a little force was necessary.
After putting all that together, the table is ready.
Turn it on
Plug in the power cable to the table.
And the other end, to the power. First, make sure your local power output matches the one on the table (or get a power converter). For reference, my Aotomo had two straight pins and an earth pin.
Before throwing the tiles in, make sure take out the tiles you won't use. Like red dora and flowers.
Then, look in the manual the correct setting for the number of tiles you are using.
I set up mine to 09 which is Japanese mahjong with 136 tiles and 4 walls.
After that, reset the table, and open up the main hole. Notice that the first time you open it, you need to push both Open buttons at the same time.
Then pour your first set of tiles in.
Then, after it's done shuffling, open again and throw the second set in.
After that, you're all good!
How long does it take it to shuffle?
Mere seconds! I measured an average time of 40 seconds for Japanese mahjong; that's faster than most tables. No worries at all. You even have a counter to check out how many of the tiles have been shuffled!
And there you go!
Best way to get an Aotomo Automatic Mahjong Table?
You can either order directly from the website, Alibaba, one of the many shops online, or consult directly to Frank Du on Facebook so he can help you find just the right model and shipping for you! (Please mention this blog if you do so!)
Stay tuned for videos and blog posts of me playing with others on this table!
Until the next one!