While at a Japanese market Anna bought a kendama. When I was a kid I had one of these and was positively terrible at it. I think I could count on one hand the number of times I caught the ball. But I always remember how my dad could do it pretty consistently on each of the three cups on the stick. The one on the bottom of the handle amazed me.

I can safely say now that I don’t have enough fingers to count how many times I’ve caught it and that the pure satisfaction of those first few times was more satisfying than beating just about every video game I played last year. The physicality and immediacy was pure joy.

Then of course the internet showed me people who compete with these who have totally sick kendama skills.