DSGS - Raiders of the Lost Mugen
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ONCE UPON A TIME...
AT UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
...A YOUNG CHEECH HAPPENED UPON A KENDAMA. And lo, this was no "normal" kendama. Nay, it had a mystique about it. It seemed to be ancient, and yet exhibited little to no wear. The woodworking and craftsmanship were impeccible. Adding to the intrigue was the fact that there was no package, and no sticker.
The year was 2008 [or so]. Artisinal kendama manufacturers simply did not exist yet in America. In fact, Colin and I had only been playing about a year. Seeing a kendama at all was downright bizarre.
However, I was at a house party of two twin brothers who were excellent skiers and had been to japan. It's likely that they became aware of it through JP Auclair's affinity for kendama (RIP).
Anyway after picking it up and playing it, I could tell that this was a seriously honed kendama. The tama was pink, the wood had tiny elonged specks running vertically up the ken, and the grain across the sara-do was perfectly symmetrical. I began to have suspicions that it might be very valuable. I asked the brothers if they knew what kind of kendama it was.
"I don't know, we got it in japan, I don't really play it".
I put the kendama back on their dusty shelf, but could not get it out of my mind.
Weeks later, I found myself back at the party alongside my brother, @Grandpa Sandz. We snuck into the room. I handed him the kendama.
I had to ask him:
"dude... is this a mugen?"
he took one look at it and nodded.
"why the hell did they take the sticker off?"
We replaced the kendama and went back to the party.
Weeks went by, and I thought about the perfectly honed, sticker-stripped Mugen collecting dust in an ungrateful home of party kids. It ate at me. I couldn't let that piece of wood rot in a puddle of Pabst Blue Ribbon. I had to have it.
So I strapped up a fresh pink Ozora that I happened to have laying around. I yanked that sticker off like a week-old scab.
I even played it rough so it would have a few marks similar to the lightly used mugen.
I snuck into the room, and I DROPPED THE RINGER!
To this day, I never told either of the twins that I conned them. They didn't notice, and they didn't care.
And after years of playing with a stickerless mugen, I finally slapped on a different, rare, aftermarket mugen sticker, to complete this kendama's tumultuous journey:
After that I started volunteering with Mugen Rescue America, west coast chapter. We save mugens from stickerpeeling, underuse, and neglect.
We want to hear your best kendama story:
Posted by: Cheech_Sander