Hit In The Head By The Kendama Craze

Kaimana’s first Kendama | Tannya Joaquin photo

Kaimana’s first Kendama | Tannya Joaquin photo

Forget texting and walking. I now see tweens and teens “kendama-ing” on the move. Yes, someone actually coined that expression. They’re everywhere and everyone seems to be playing with this throwback toy.

These days, you can’t go anywhere without coming across kids fiddling with their kendamas as they stroll on the streets. They’re so popular, it was a no-brainer to buy one for my son.

I say no-brainer because I really didn’t analyze whether it was age appropriate before I handed over my debit card to the cashier. I really didn’t give that much thought at all until later, when I looked at the box and noticed an age disclaimer.

Hmm. Wait. Age 7 and up. And, what’s that a picture of? A kendama ball bonking a child on the head.

Uh oh, I suddenly think. Maybe I’m the one with no brains to buy this for my 5-year-old son.

It’s the subject of an internal debate on my drive home. Should I give it to him? Am I asking for trouble giving him a wooden toy? Is it too advanced – translation: frustrating – for a boy his age?

Then I remembered what the Pearlridge Razor Store manager told me about how best to learn the ropes. Iakona Medeiros said, “The easiest thing is find kids age range 6 to 10 and they will teach you everything you need to know.”

OK, my son is 5-and-a-half. Close enough, I rationalize.

Besides, before I can second-guess my decision, my son spots the kendama in my purse and squeals with excitement.

“Mommy, what’s this? Is that mine?”

Too late now. The cat – or in this case, kendama – is out of the bag.

Turns out my fears were unfounded. He caught on quickly. No helmet required.

Although I constantly have to remind him not to swing it around near his little sister!

Luckily, he loves it, and it provided a lesson in persistence. He didn’t give in to frustration trying to figure it out. He stuck with it, and it didn’t take that long.

My son mastered the basic move of landing the ball in the mallet very quickly (unlike his mommy). Now, he’s so comfortable with his kendama, he’s graduated to tricks.

He’s caught on to the craze so well, he knows the next move: Ask Mommy for another kendama.