2007-03-23

Bad to the Bone.

Rather than make some lame shuttlecock joke, I decided to go in another direction. Asia is all over badminton, compared to North America where it's primarily a game you play with your kids at a picnic.


There is a manga called やまとの羽根 (Badminton Story) and another called スマッシュ(Smash) (though they may be the same mag.)


Now, the form of badminton that we're used to dates back to the Greeks 2000 years ago, but Japan has had its own version of the sport called 羽根突き (hanetsuki) with a decorative paddle called a 羽子板 (hagoita) and a shuttle called a 羽根 (hane) since the 室町 (Muromachi era) 1136 to 1573 AD. It is often played by girls in the New Year with the goal of keeping the shuttle airborne as long as possible, and the one who lets it drop gets her face marked with india ink. What I find cool is that the longer one keeps the shuttle in the air, the greater your chances of protection against mosquitoes throughout the year.

As a spectator sport, I find badminton ranks just below ping pong but above checkers. Just don't ever say that to a Japanese player or you'll get a racket in your shuttlecock (I tried to resist.)

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