by Anna Clausen
Several elementary and middle schools have banned the game from classrooms. They are out of stock in stores. There are even professional teams, and one such team will have its own documentary with a stop in Coeur d’Alene today.
It’s Kendama — essentially a Japanese ball-in-cup toy.
This morning’s meet and greet with the Kendama Co. Pro Team, hosted at Figpickels Toy Emporium, will be featured in their documentary, The KenCo Story. Fanatics will not only have the chance to get their toy signed but afterward will be able to head over to the Coeur d’Alene Resort to participate in workshops where they can learn from the experts.
Brett Sommer, who runs the shop with his wife Susan, expects a bigger turnout than their last Kendama event, which drew 300 kids. He believes the game is “the hugest craze since Beanie Babies.” With thousands sold already, the toy is flying off the shelves.
This extremely popular yet under-the-radar movement developed right under our noses. Though it originated in Japan in the ’70s, in America, “the Northwest is sort of the epicenter,” Sommer says. “Normally it’s LA or New York.”
The game has become somewhat of a controversy in our area. While some schools have found it distracting and have limited its use, others have found a decrease in bullying. Frequently compared to hacky sack or the yo-yo, Kendama is similarly addicting and maybe diverts kids away from trouble.
If you missed out on all of the hype and buzz, maybe it’s time to get with it and check out the game first hand today at 10 am in Figpickles Toy Emporium. Who better to learn from than the best?