Join the KUSA crew and friends on a kendama-filled journey though Japan. Many bangers where laced and good times were had. Enjoy.
Join the KUSA crew and friends on a kendama-filled journey though Japan. Many bangers where laced and good times were had. Enjoy.
Tosta to represent Kendama USA at World Cup.
By John Hull – Citizen Sports Editor
Published: Friday, July 8, 2016 10:47 AM PDT
Elk Grove Citizen – News
Logan Tosta is a normal 12-year-old boy that lives in Elk Grove. He plays soccer, will be trying out for a part in a musical in a community theatre company. He plays basketball.
But, the soon-to-be seventh grader at Joseph Kerr Middle School is also one of the best Kendama players in the country.
In fact, Kendama USA has asked Tosta to be a part of our country’s representation at the Kendama World Cup, July 23 and 24 in Hatsukaichi, Japan.
In recent years, Kendama has become a craze, mainly amonst young people, but several older folks have played with the strangely-shaped wooden dowel with a round ball attached via a short rope. In fact, a couple of Tosta’s Kendama USA teammates are in their 30’s.
Kendama has been around for centuries. It’s origination is in Japan. Kendama is a toy, generally made from wood, with a main body, “ken”, a spike on the top, “kensaki”, a large cup on one side of the ken, “osara”, a smaller cup on the opposite side, “kozara” and it has a short string, “ito”, with a small ball, “tama,” attached. When playing with a Kendama the object is to do a series of tricks such as swinging the ball in the air and having it land on the spike or one of the cups.
Logan’s father, Seth, says his son has been a Kendama player since he was in third grade and now it is not unusual for him to be practicing all his tricks six to eight hours a day.
“It’s one of those things where his friends stopped playing Kendama, but he kept playing and kept playing and he’s got pretty good,” Seth said. “He’s put in hours and hours into it and always is playing (a Kendama).”
Kendama USA, the biggest manufacturer of Kendamas in this country., discovered Logan and is now sponsoring him in competitions on what is known as the “TRIBE” team.
“There’s some really stellar players on this TRIBE team including last year’s World Cup champion,” Seth said.
This year will be the third year for the Kendama World Cup, considered to be the Super Bowl of all Kendama competitions. Tosta and his teammates will compete individually against others from literally all over the world. The top prize will be $5,000.
“This is the pinnacle of their sport,” Seth said. “It’s put on by GLOKEN, a company that makes Kendamas.”
A typical Kendama competition is a two-round affair. In the first round, each competitor will have two three-minute periods to perform a set of tricks. In the first period, a competitor selects five tricks to do. There’s a break in time and then in the second three-minute period, the competitor selects another five tricks to perform.
GLOKEN establishes a list of 100 tricks from which the competitors may choose. Every trick has a point value attached, anywhere from one to ten points.
“In each period you want to accumulate as many points as you can to advance to the finals,” Seth explained. “If you have enough points to finish in the top 24 then you move onto the finals.”
Last year the finalists scored 70 or more points in the opening rounds.
In the final round each competitor will get three-minutes on a stage in front of typically a large and boisterous crowd cheering him one as he does as many tricks as possible.
“The only different (in the finals) is that everything is ‘squared’ for your point totals,” Tosta said. “If you hit a ten-point trick on the finals’ stage, that’s worth 100 points.”
The points earned in the final three-minute period is added to the points in the earlier rounds for each competitor’s final score.
The competition will be live streamed on the GLOKEN website, gloken.net.
Seth admits he, too, likes to fiddle around with the Kendama.
“It would be funny to watch me as compared to Logan and his friends with the Kendama,” he laughed. “It’s comparing a world-class player to a novice.”
The past several months the entire family has been traveling across the country with Logan as he’s been entering different competitions.
“It’s really special to meet cool people that are into a niche thing,” Seth said. “He’s just 12-years old and most of the people competing are in their 20’s and they treat him like one of their own. They support him and look out for him. It’s something we thought would be a flash-in-the-pan for him, but he’s been so dedicated and consistent with it, not because he had to, but because he’s passionate about it.”
See the original story here:
“This year’s trip to Japan was one for the books. Every time we trek on a new adventure, more and more memories are made. We made our way abroad with two new additions, Tribe Team members Wyatt Bray and Bryan Scagline. It was both their first time out of the country and a great time to experience Japan. I was in the same position exactly 1 year ago and for all the trips I’ve been on, this has been one of the most memorable and fun for me.
The 2015 Kendama World Cup started off with a bang. Zack Yourd, Bryan Scagline, Dave Mateo, Turner Thorne, Jason Morrison, and I all met up at the San Francisco International Airport to hop on a plane to Japan. It was 13 hours of pure fun, rowdiness on the plane, and teaching passengers and flight attendants how to play Kendama. We managed to film an entire edit that features the new Mugen Musou… #TEAMFUEGZ! Coming shortly.
Yes, finally touched down in Japan. Let the adventures begin.
10 long, sleepless, adventure filled days were about to go down. The best and most talented Kendama players all under one roof, competing against each other for the top prize. Luckily, the entire World Cup (2 days) was on a live stream so those who weren’t there were able to catch the live footage and see the craziness go down. For me, the last 10 days blurred together because there was so much going on all at once. So many exciting things happened every day and the level of skill in Kendama has risen to new heights. I’m happy and proud to congratulate my own teammate Wyatt Bray for taking it home for Kendama USA! GO WYATT! WE LOVE YOU!
To check out Wyatt’s winning run click HERE
Let’s just give a quick recap of events. Plane rides, no sleep, Japanese beer tasting, long nights, down pours, early mornings, scaling roof tops, amazing sushi, walking, LOTS OF WALKING, onsens, vending machines, 7/11, alpaca, Japanese style housing, hostels, dama village, polaroid sessions Osaka, Hiroshima, Kendama Street, okonomiyaki, subways, laughing, friends, family, team, Kendama. I hope everyone reading this gets to experience Japan and the Kendama World Cup at least once. For those who did go this year, I hope you read this and smile and think back to all the great memories.
A big thank you to Tamotsu Kubota, Yuka Hyuga, Hajime Ishibashi, Kota Kagoshima, the rest of the Gloken Crew, Kendama USA, and of course, Jeremy Stephenson. Cheers to the future of Kendama! See you all next year.” -Tj Kolesnik
check out more from the trip:
Huge congratulations and respect go out to Wyatt Bray for winning the 2015 Kendama World Cup championship!
Props to Keith Matsumura as well who also made it into the finals and finished in 22nd place.
Big thanks to the entire Kendama USA crew and to GLOKEN for making this event possible. The turnout this year was unbelievable with players attending from all over the globe. We appreciate all the players and companies who made the journey and took part in such an amazing contest.
More posts and updates coming soon.
Japan this year was a unique experience. We were deeper into the country than we had ever been before. The entire team was together for the very first time. With obligations like the Kendama World Cup, it wasn’t easy to find time to just play and lace some tricks. We worked in some stompage for the sake of having memories of this classic era of the team. We are stoked to see it evolve.
Kendama USA teams up with GLOKEN to bring you Musous on a plane 2. Check out the team’s in flight entertainment as they make their way to Japan for the Kendama World Cup.
Believe it or not, this summer was the first time the entire Kendama USA team was together as one, in the same place. It’s alot to get nine people’s schedules to line up but the magic happened for the sake of our summer Japan trip for the Kendama World Cup.
After days and days of grinding, competition, performances, travel, and little sleep… we finally had a free day in Tamotsu’s parents home prefecture of Nara. This river spot is supposedly a go-to from his childhood. Within minutes of arriving some of the players scoped a potential jump spot across the way. Sessions ensued. Enjoy this laid-back edit.
The Kendama USA team attends the Gloken-hosted Kendama World Cup in Hatsukaichi, Japan. Practice and sessions ensue, Jake MC’s along with Nobuaki, and Keith and Zack make the finals.
Big ups to everyone that helped make the KWC possible, especially the entire gloken team and the Hatsukaitchi city officials. Special Thanks to Kazuma Iwata for the excellent trophy, and to Jeremy Stephenson for being the reason that we were all there.
Enjoy Kendama USA’s presence at the KWC 2014!
words by Keith Matsumura
The last week or so has been pretty hectic and crazy for me here in Japan. After the World Cup was over I ended up going to Sapporo, the capital of the north island, Hokkaido with Yuka from Gloken, Rodney Ansell, and Eric Martin. We taught kendama at a couple of events, one of them with at a school with Zoomadanke. Sapporo was amazing, I was so happy to get to go up north and see Hokkaido. Also, the weather was much nicer up there. It is so hot in Tokyo, which is where we went next.
After the events in Hokkaido for only one night there we took a flight right on back to Tokyo, where we met up with our friend Aki and stayed at her friend’s place. The next day we went to Su Lab in Saitama and had a kendama jam with the kendama club called Kyandamabu, Akimoto-san, Su, and some other friends. We headed out from that area after dinner to go see Harajyuku and Shibuya. We ended up missing the last train before the trains closed for the night at one in the morning, so we had to wait till five in the morning for them to start again and get back to where we were sleeping. Eric almost got ran over by a dump truck skateboarding, I fell asleep standing, and overall we had a memorable time.
The next night we went to Ome city to visit Satoru Akimoto at his house. He has an unbelievable collection of historic kendamas, and I was honored to get to play kendama in his special kendama room. We headed on that night back to Su Lab where we stayed and played kendama for most of the night. After sleeping just a little bit on the hard wood floor we got up and headed to Decade, the 430 shop near Shibuya. We got to hang out with Nobu and the Decade guys, eat at the same burger place twice, and come seconds away from missing our train to Matsumoto.
And now here we are in Matsumoto. It’s Rodney, Tamotsu, and myself in Tamotsu’s car at this very moment. Tamotsu was kind enough to lend us his portable wifi box so that I can be writing this right now! The night we arrived we went and had a chill session at Takeshi Yano’s house with Kengo from Gloken as well. Yesterday we had an amazing day hiking and filming on Utsukuchigahara, a famous mountain area near Matsumoto known for it’s beauty. And it was certainly beautiful. We went to the Onsen and got all cleaned up before going to sleep. Eric left early this morning, and the three of us here now went to the location of the Nagano Winter Olympics to film kendama, but unfortunately it was raining so hard we couldn’t film at all there, so we ate lunch and are heading back to Matsumoto right now.
Peace until next time from a very tired Keith
words by Keith Matsumura
This summer all nine members of the KendamaUSA team had the privilege to travel to Japan for the Kendama World Cup here in Hatsukaichi Japan, where I write this from now. I personally have been here only two nights, but it has already been crazy busy and exciting. I want to share with everyone my thoughts and my perspective as the trip unfolds.
A couple of days ago, or maybe three or four days, it’s hard to tell at this point, I disembarked from Wenatchee, Washington for Seattle. I spent one night in Seattle and caught a flight to Hawaii in the morning, where I was supposed to catch a connection on to Japan. My flight from Seattle got delayed on the tarmak and despite running out of the plan and through the Honolulu airport as fast as I could, I still didn’t reach the gate for my next flight in time. I was rebooked for a flight 24 hours later to continue on to Japan. I was a little bummed about missing precious Japan time with my kendama family, but the airline got me a hotel at Waikiki Mariott for the night with free dinner where I had a really nice evening by myself.
The next day I made it back to the airport and caught my flight to Osaka, where I was told that a serious typhoon might be raging when I got in. Because of my late arrival and the typhoon, no one from Global Kendamas Network was there to pick me up and take me to Hiroshima where everyone else was at that point. I didn’t know what the situation was going to be for me getting there until I made it to Japan. I had to roam around until I found some wifi to contact GLOKEN and figure out where I was supposed to be trying to get to. I ended up buying the wrong train tickets twice, and finally getting help from a train station employee to get the right ones. I caught two normal trains and had my first Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) ride by myself, which was an amazing experience. Despite not understanding one sentence anyone told me during the whole trip, and after stopping at the wrong station twice, I finally made it to Onoura near Hatsukaichi where kendama legend Zawa and Gloken picked me up and drove me to the hotel where everyone was staying. Even though I hadn’t slept in a really long time, there was much kendama jamming to be done at the hotel until 3am when I got there.
The next morning we had a great Japanese breakfast in the hotel. I love Japanese food; I think that I feel a lot better when I am in Japan because of the healthy food they eat in correct portions, and also because it’s so hot that you’re always sweating out toxins and having to replenish. We headed on to Miyajima island with a packed bus full of kendama players from literally all around the world. KendamaUSA was there from the USA and Canada, KendamaCo from the US, Sweets from the USA, Romania, France, and some other places maybe too; Terra from Canada, some players from Hawaii, Yan from Russia, Ruisch from the Netherlands, and some more too (sorry to leave anyone out but there are a lot of people here and i’m pressed for time to write this update right now! Gloken is keeping us on a tight schedule for the tour/World Cup, and by tight schedule I mean trying to heard dozens of kendama players like cats around to different locations and minimize the amount of trouble we’re causing).
On Miyajima we had the unique opportunity to sit in on a ceremony in the sacred shrine and to perform kendama on the sacred shrine there as well. It was nerve wracking because we were told that if we dropped our kendamas or hit anything on the stage we would be in big trouble. At the end of everyone going up to perform individually, Zoomadanke came up to perform. Dave Mateo and I were asked to be Zoomadanke’s helpers and side guards on the stage to catch any wayward tamas that might slip during the performance. We both got to put on Zoomadanke’s perfomance clothes and be on the stage with them while they put on an electrifying and appropriate performance for the spectators and Japanese gods of the shrine. I overhead Kodama (one half of Zoomadanke) talking to Matt Jorgenson after the event about how incredibly honored he was to have performed on that stage and how nervous he was. I began to realize that getting the chance to perform on that stage was a really, really big deal. I don’t think many people at all get to set foot in the inner shrine or on the stage, much less foreigners. Unreal that we got no.
We had another performance and jam session with a bunch of local kids from Hatsukaichi basically right after returning from Miyajima. This was due to us leaving late from Miyajima. There was a perfect area for a good skate session, and five of us including me brought skateboards. We got pretty distracted. At the park/gold course where we jammed with the kids Kazuma Iwata showed up with some gifts for us. Amazing laminated Mugen Musou tamas were given to all the foreigners that showed up for the Kendama World Cup. It was an honor to receive one, but more importantly it was great to see Kazuma again!
After the day was all said and done it had been an incredibly full. I was really tired but at dinner the energy levels took a swing up again and we ended up doing consistency games to receive Mugen Musou pendants from Kazuma, and then some of us spent quite a while trying to throw chopsticks like darts into bottles. Matt Jorgens0n and Matt Ballard take top honors in that game.
The best part of out hotel is that we have an Onsen (Japanese hot pools and bath house) connected to our building. I went and had a good solo Onsen session and was then joined by Thorkild May and Shimadera-san. I stayed with them for a while longer and went straight to sleep afterwards. Did I mention that any kind of covering is a real weird thing to do in an Onsen? Japanese bath houses are traditionally enjoying fully naked, and if you think that it would be awkward to chill in some epic hot pools naked with your homies then you’re wrong. It’s basically the best experience ever. It’s very relaxing and good for your health.
Well, sorry for the quick update with no pictures and no proofread, but I have to go eat breakfast and get ready to leave for the first round of the Kendama World Cup today! I’ll keep you all updated whenever I can on what’s going on here in Japan, and hopefully bring you some pictures too!