Tuesday, September 26, 2017

that traditional Korean game—the whatsits...

It's good to know enough Korean to be able to search online when you don't know what something is called. During our company retreat this past weekend, one of the games we played was a variant of a game supposedly played in Korean palaces. In this game, you are given several unfletched arrows (or just a set of skinny, 18-inch-long sticks), and your job is to "make a basket" by tossing the arrows into a two-foot-high cylinder that stands only a couple feet away from you. The game is harder than you might think because you have to factor in the arrow's rotation once it leaves your hand (the lack of fletching probably contributes to the problem). The boss tried to demonstrate, from barely two feet away, how the game was supposed to work, but he was unable to get a single arrow (ours were rubber-tipped) into the cylinder. We all had a good chuckle.

Our twist on the game was that we would pair up into teams. One person was the thrower, and the other was the shot-caller. The thrower would be blindfolded, and the un-blindfolded person would verbally guide the aim of the unseeing thrower. One team went before me; each of us had four or five tries. That team's thrower managed to bounce an arrow off the rim of the cylinder, but nothing got in. I was next, with my teammate C. She calmly directed me where to throw, but I missed the first couple. Finally, she said, "Do exactly what you did last time, but sliiiightly to the left." I took a deep breath, which caused some people to "ooh" and "aah" quietly as they realized I was using the Force... and then I gently cast my arrow forward. With a satisfying thunk, followed by loud cheering, my arrow went straight into the cylinder. I heard it, but I couldn't see it, which was too bad.

"You Zenned it!" one guy said. "Used your third eye!"

Truth is, it was a lucky shot, but I credit the lovely C with guiding my aim.

Other teams followed us, but as it turned out, I was the only one to sink an arrow.

So I got curious as to the name of the game we were playing. Today, I typed the Korean phrase "화살을 원통에 던지는 놀이" (hwasaleul weontongae deonjineun nori—"the game [where] an arrow is thrown into a cylinder"), which led to this results page, which led to the above-linked image. I now know the game is called tuho (투호) or, more fully, tuho nori (투호놀이).

Curiosity satisfied.

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