Last week’s post was about Tanuki (たぬき / 狸), so this week I need to start with き (ki). A big thank you to japanaustralia for always playing along and for this week suggesting kimono (着物), Kiso Valley (木曾谷 / Kiso-dani), and Kimutaku (a member of the band SMAP). However, as it’s summertime, I decided to write about…
Kingyo-sukui (きんぎょすくい / 金魚すくい)
(Image source: Japan Style)
Kingyo-sukui is a traditional Japanese children’s game from the Edo period which is often found at local summer festivals. In the game, each player has to try to scoop out as many goldfish from the pool as they can, using a paper scooper called a “poi” (ポイ). The poi is very thin and, when it tears so much that it can’t be used, the game is over and the player gets to take home the fish they have won in a plastic bag. To play the game you usually have to pay ￥100 or so, and often the stall-holder will give you a goldfish even if you don’t do very well.
Some “Tips for Enjoying Goldfish Scooping” can be found here, including such advice as “Whenever you put the poi into the water, make sure you put it in at an angle in order to reduce water resistance.” and “Scoop a goldfish from its head.“
In 1995 the National Goldfish Scooping Championship (全国金魚すくい選手権大会) began, managed by managed by the National Goldfish Scooping Association and Yamatokōriyama City in Nara Prefecture. Yamatokōriyama is famous for producing goldfish, and you can read more about that here.
Along with watermelon, Japanese fans, yukata (summer cotton kimono), kakigori (shaved ice) and fireworks, kingyo-sukui is one of the things most Japanese people would associate with summer. Local festivals in Japan are really worth checking out if you have the opportunity, as you usually have the chance to sample the local culture and traditions, and see “real” Japan.
I remember seeing this game a number of times at small local festivals in Japan but, amazingly, I never took a photo of the game being played. So, I’ve had to search around on the Internet, and borrow a couple of images (which I hate doing). All sources are referenced below the images.
Kingyo-sukui (きんぎょすくい) ends with い (i), so next week I will be looking for a noun beginning with “i”. If you have any suggestions, please leave them below and I’ll give you a mention next week! And, don’t forget, no words ending in ん! (^_^)v