Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Mercedes of Mudballs

Mudballs are synonymous with childhood, or at least they used to be. Apparently, a couple years ago, Japan was swept up by a craze called hikaru dorodango, which roughly translates into mud balls that shine. I shit you not. Here’s a picture of one.

Apparently, Japanese schoolchildren across the country were spending hours trying make these things. It spread to adults, who naturally developed outlined processes, rating systems, and clubs for making mudballs. Another aspect of childhood purity destroyed.

Here’s a recipe, in case the mood strikes you:

1. Pack some mud into your hand, and squeeze out the water while forming a sphere.
2. Add some dry dirt to the outside and continue to gently shape the mud into a sphere.
3. When the mass dries, pack it solid with your hands, and rub the surface until a smooth film begins to appear.
4. Rub your hands against the ground, patting and rubbing the fine, powdery dirt onto the sphere. Continue this for two hours.
5. Seal the ball in a plastic bag for three or four hours. Upon removing the sphere, repeat step 4, and then once again seal the sphere in a plastic bag.
6. Remove the ball from the bag, and if it is no longer wet, polish it with a cloth until it shines.

It only takes seven hours, plus the polishing. To quote Mr. Incredible, “I’ve got time.”

Personally, I always thought a mudball was best if launched very soon after assembly at an unsuspecting dog walker, jogger, or the kid with the funny teeth and thick glasses. Typical American.