By Maria Garcia

Blick, blick, blick….Ahhhh……so close! As we stood in a circle, laughter and friendships grew… Kendama is a Japanese hand eye coordination game that can be played by all age ranges. Ken means hand and tama means ball.

While other cultures have similar versions of kendama, the Japanese kendama is more complicated. By this I mean in Mexico and other Latin countries, we have a toy that goes by Balero. Both of these would be played. The object of these games is similar and the player must put the ball on the side or inside of the handle…

On Sunday January 27, 2019 some of the students from Japanese Plus (Inu) class decided to attend the JCAW Japanese New Year Celebration in Washington, DC. Many fun activities could be found at the event and the food well… that’s another story for another time (was amazing just being honest!).

To continue, we are all gathered in a circle with the kendama toy in our hands trying to go for different tasks that can be performed. My goal was to try to get on all the levels. Each level was different, where on one side the kendama was slightly bigger, on the other side it was slightly smaller, and on the very top was this knob for the tama to land on and stay. It was fun to watch all my friends try to get to the different levels as well. But as we concentrated on our task, all that could be heard was plip-plip-ploop-plip-plip-plip-ploop… then the pace picked up and some of the plips with some of the ploops were jumping over each other.

Our attention turned to a couple of skilled people, and as we watched, the game got interesting. It was intriguing to be a beginner at something and have someone skilled to show us what can be accomplished with time and patience. Just like in class, when we were at this event the learning did not stop just because it was a new day. Rather, because it was a new day, we were exposed to a new learning environment, one in which we were vulnerable from the second we stepped in and had to get moving to understand what was truly going on. So, as the plip-plip-ploop-plip-plip-plip-ploop went on, we continued to give each other advice on how to get through each level.

I was very proud of this because it was difficult to get on the hardest level! That’s all for now. Thank you for reading and make sure to comment about what you enjoyed from my day off and in the New Year Celebration here in Washington, DC.

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