Tag Archives: games

Kendama– Buttons paused!

A strange thing has occured in our little ski town since the holiday season.  The local sporting goods store carried and featured
this Japanese wooden toy called Kendama and now…kids everywhere can be seen flicking
their wrists and sending this little red wooden ball into the air, hoping to
have the trajectory meet with the toy’s wooden spike or either of its wooden
cups.  As if it’s 1920 and they’re shooting
marbles or playing with a yo-yo, or a top.

So many kids are obsessed with Kendama in our town, the Middle School
banned it as if it were a cell phone or ipad.
It’s positively life-renewing in our tiny-screened button-pushing world
that a wooden toy which likely had its origin in the 18th century,
is so shiny to our  21st century
kids that its ban-worthy.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

To play with a kendama, one holds
the toy, pulls the ball upward so that it may be caught in one of the cups or
land the hole on the spike. More advanced tricks are sequential balances,
juggles, and catches. There are endless possibilities of tricks with a kendama.
[2] There are eleven prescribed moves on
the kendama trick list for achieving a kyu ranking and several more for
a dan ranking. A 1-kyu rating, for example, is attained by simply
catching the ball in the largest cup. A book published by the Japan Kendama
Association lists 101 different tricks for the toy and there are supposedly
tens of thousands of trick variations.[3] Different stances and grips are
required to perform different tricks.

While most people play with
kendamas for personal satisfaction, competitions do take place, especially in
Japan. Participation in such competitions entails performing lists of tricks in
sequence or completing particular tricks repeatedly for as long as possible.
Additionally, tricks may be performed head to head with a rival to determine a
winner. The competitor who is first to fail a trick loses.

In the trick moshikame (もしかめ?), the ball is juggled between the big cup
and the smallest cup at the bottom repeatedly. A Japanese children’s song of
the same name is often sung to help with timing.

I don’t know the song, but if I
could write one myself I would say:

Oh happy little sound clip clop
clip clop

In my living room, please don’t
stop

Yes I’ll watch yes I’ll watch

My sweet pre-teen

Anything to see your face free
from the screen

Kendama I love you

I worship at your altar

May you take on all things button

And make them falter.

Something like that.

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Summer Rules

I did it. I made a NO TV rule today. One week into summer and I was actively watching my children’s brains melt as they stared at what my grandmother referred to as “the idiot box.” I’m not proud of it. But maybe like you, I have work to do. I can’t be on full mom mode, or chauffeur mode, or camp councelor mode. I can’t be at the beck and call of the whim’s of teenaged texted plans: Can you take me to the beach, no to the bowling alley, no to the tennis courts, no to the mall? And I feel guilty and even a little scared of the next two months because my work place during the day, is suddenly a house full of kids with needs. Who can get pretty ornery when they’re not met. Even though I know that they’re great kids. Everyone says so. I’ve actually caught myself saying, “Would you speak to your teacher that way,” like a broken record. But it’s not their fault that they live here and that they need to eat and that it’s rained all week and that they don’t yet drive. So yes…I’ve been letting them watch a LOT of TV. Hours of Disney dizziness and tacky reality shows that make me shudder with shame. I’m what’s wrong with the world. So today, when in between conference calls I heard screaming and a loud thwack and crying and I ran into the living room watching remote controls flying through the air, I laid down the law. With fear and trepidation, I said it: “NO MORE TV!” And “NO, I can’t drive you anywhere. I have to work. This is what I do all day while you’re at school. And you’re going to have to figure out something to do…” (and then I chose my fate)… “TOGETHER!” And I confiscated the remote controls and stomped back to my office, shaking a little. These kids are old enough to really know how to push my buttons– that’s what their generation knows how to do best, after all. Rapid fire communication through little spring-loaded launch pads, and with the total system overload of what just a week ago was a well-oiled schedule from work to motherhood…I am a faulty launch pad and they know it. So I took in a deep breath and waited.

And lo…what I heard was silence. And then discussion. And then more silence. And then laughing. For an entire hour. And finally, I crept into the living room to see what could possibly be going on– had they deliberately disobeyed me and turned on the TV? Has my sovereign reign as their mother weakened in the knees? Did I need to adjust my crown and raise my sceptor and banish them to their bedrooms with books for eternity? I readied myself:

Here is what befell my eyes…

There is hope in Park Place.

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