Wednesday, January 26, 2011


While abroad, we learn quite a lot even from very young children. When foreign colleagues invite us to their houses we get to talk to their children. With grown up children it is always two way communications. I ask about their school and education, their future plans, their hobbies etc. They too have a number of questions to ask like why I do not eat beef, why I am a teetotaler, do Indian youth fall in love and so on. With smaller children who are as shy as Indian children it takes some time to befriend them by offering some sort of entertainment, with their parents as interpreters. And it is through the small Japanese children you see in the topmost picture I learnt about some games like “Amidakuji”, “Jan-Ken-Pon” and “Chopsticks”.
I have found “Amidakuji” very interesting, it is a sort of lottery purely based on luck and it is played on a piece of paper. It is impossible to manipulate the results! As you can see in Fig.1 above, a paper is folded vertically and opened up to form creases equivalent to the number of players or instead light vertical lines are drawn. At the bottom of each line a ranking, a gift, a reward or a winner/winners and losers are indicated. As a sample; in Fig.2 above, I have indicated rankings 1 to 5 in some random order.
With the rankings or gifts portion kept folded and hidden from the players / participants, each player is then asked to choose a vertical line and write his name or initials at the top of the line as show in Fig.3.
Then each player, one after another is asked to draw horizontal lines connecting any adjacent vertical lines. Each player can add any number of horizontal lines as per his choice between any two vertical lines. For clarity, I have asked the players in this sample game as shown in Fig.4 to use different colored pens to mark their horizontal lines. Usage of color pens is not required, any pen would do.
Then you may unfold the rewards section and start determining the winners as follows. Starting from the vertical line originating from the name of the player trace down the path with a pen until you reach a horizontal line, then move along the horizontal line and when you reach the end of the horizontal line move down along the vertical line there, until you reach the reward location. Follow this procedure for each participant as shown in the sample Figures 5,6,7,8 and 9, below:
Intriguing pairing! that will never go wrong! "Amidakuji" is simple, but with astonishing results. Try it, you will like and appreciate it. Thanks to the lovely children who taught me the game.

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