The Mystery of Bilboquet

A bilboquet is a toy: a ball and stick. The ball has a hole and is attached by a cord to the stick. You toss the ball and impale it with the stick. A friend gave me a Japanese version:


It seemed impossible to reliably catch the ball on the stick but here is someone who can do it:

Even better:

How do people get so good at this? I have part of the answer: it is a lot of fun to practice. I have been tracking my progress and I have to restrain myself from doing it more often. Why is it so much fun to practice?

To be continued.

3 Replies to “The Mystery of Bilboquet”

  1. I’d explain the toy’s attraction in terms of the induction of “flow” ( as Csíkszentmihályi (sheek-sent-me-high) calls it. In his research people are happiest in such states; states where they are absorbed in activity that is hard enough that they are not bored, not so hard that they are totally overwhelmed and frustrated and helpless, where they get feedback as to how they are doing, and that preferably have some meaning for them, though the latter may not even be necessary.

    We are happiest when we are engaged and lose awareness of ourselves; of course if we are getting paid for it, that’s even better… We evolved to find the use of our abilities pleasurable… The Japanese are very good at creating entertainment..

  2. Yeah, I use to play this as a teen while living in France…I constantly practiced and got very good at it..I would challenge myself as to how many times I could get the ball in the peg…
    I am looking around the web to buy one…Got any suggestions?

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