Anonymous yet personal, this Blog chronicles
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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Toys

New ideas often originate on the West Coast. California has a history of trend setting and innovation, and toys are no exception.

My generation grew up with the Hula Hoop and Frisbee - both of which were popularized by California's WHAM-O toy company in the 1950's.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hula_hoop

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frisbee

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wham-O

Also popular in my time were Skateboards, and I had an early retail version of one. I gave up my aspirations to become a professional skateboarder when I landed flat on my face and broke a tooth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skateboard




But new toys are always being invented, and the latest seems to be the Japanese contraption called the Kendama. It's not new to Japan, where it is believed to have appeared in the Edo period (1603-1868). Historians think the top is derived form the 16th century bilboquet popular in France. It then migrated to Nagasaki Japan via the Silk Road trading route.

At first, it was adopted as a drinking game played by adults, where at each mistake a player was forced to take another sip of Saké.

Since then Kendama has as evolved to be a very serious sport in Japan, and it appears to have recently caught in a big way with American teenagers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kendama

http://web-japan.org/kidsweb/virtual/kendama/kendama02.html


YouTube is filled with Kendama videos...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1dlBMS388k

Joseph's Kendama arrived this week, and he quickly became addicted to it. All of his friends have one, and it seems to be more of a draw than even XBox 360.

Will Kendama become the next hula hoop, frisbee, or skateboard? I don't know, but it seems to have the attraction, youth-appeal, and potential.

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