Name those balls.
February 24, 2007 4:35 PM   Subscribe

What do you call these Japanese percussive ball-on-a-string things?

It's probably an easy answer, I just can't seem to find it. Also, how much practice would it take to do something akin to the guys in the video?
posted by bloggboy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Doh! Asarato.

I searched for an hour and couldn't find anything. And the very second after I post the question, Google decided to show me the light.

Sorry. Anyway, if someone could tell me more about these things that would be great.
posted by bloggboy at 4:42 PM on February 24, 2007

I know those balls! My uncle used to sell these, along with loads of other drums, bells and rattles – they're traditional instruments from Ghana. They're definitely not Japanese, though it looks like they have a certain following there. He reported their name (which he probably got from market-stall retailers and other natives) as "Asratua or Aslatua," (down at the bottom of the page) or Aslato depending on which Ghanaian language you wanted it in. I guess spellings for names like that are somewhat morphable. Looks like hits on Asarato are mostly Japanese, hits on Aslatua/Asratua are mostly Ghanaian.
There's (a bit of) discussion of them on this japanese forum.
Neat anecdote here.
How did you come across the video?
posted by lostburner at 5:39 PM on February 24, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the info, lostburner! I found it using StumbleUpon.
posted by bloggboy at 6:01 PM on February 24, 2007

I came across a couple places calling them cascas as well when I searched for them using the other terms mentioned here.

They look really cool! If you could find a few decent pages, it'd make a great FPP on the blue.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 6:26 PM on February 24, 2007

They're definitely not Japanese, though it looks like they have a certain following there.

True indeed, they've really caught on here. There's something in the Japanese spirit that values this kind of precision physical dexterity, as evidenced by the somewhat similar (and apparently native to Japan) practice of pen twirling.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:37 PM on February 24, 2007

And of course, kendama! More kendama.
posted by misozaki at 3:38 AM on February 25, 2007

Hate to point this out but the answer is in the credits of that video. It doesn't exactly spell it out for you but googling the word would have led you down the right path.
posted by stomicron at 8:12 AM on February 25, 2007

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