Wednesday, 22 March 2017

[Review] PLAY GRIP II K


Some time ago we reviewed some Kendamas from Playkendama,
The people over at PlayKendama have kept on evolving their Kendamas.
We hereby present the Play Grip II K .
Now , as alway the Kendamas from PlayKendama conforms to a number of criteria:
Fullfilling the European standards for flammability, containment of unhealthy substances in paint and more safety precautions when manufacturing products.
These are safe Kendamas!
Not many Kendama brands do this, which is why PlayKendama sticks out and claims their unique position out there .



The Play Grip II comes neatly packaged with a spare string and a little booklet with basic tricks described.
The development that has been added to this Kendama  :
- Improved Ken Shape
- Self Developed Sticky paint
- New string design
The last is not described by PlayKendama but an observation done , comparing with the last series of Play Grip K kendamas.


Play Gip II on the right, Play K Pro to the left. Notice small desing changes of cup sizes and Bottom cup edge hight.






So how does it play then ?
Very well i'd say.
Not being a pro player, and only been doing Kendama for a year now the Play Grip II K feels solid.
The two sided painted Tama works really nice with the matte grippy paint and i also like the new string which adds stability .
The new Kenshape is a discreet change, it feels comfortable and does not occupy my mind at all.
Design is not changed in  a major way, just a few small adjustments are made to the Ken shape.
It finds it's home in hand very well.


- How long played with :
  2 weeks.

-First Impressions :
 PlayKendama delivers once again, bringing their Kendamagame even further.
 The whole package presents something new, which it also is.
 Never forgetting the basic tricks with a small leaflet is a nice way to keep attracting new players .

-Recommended for, suggestions, comments:
 This one is a daily slayer. Beatiful design with new matte paint and grip .
 Discreet alterations to the Ken shape increases playability and comfort.
 Recommended for any player, new and old ones.


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

[Interview] Thorkild May of Kromkendama

Once in a while you stumble upon  something so fascinating  that your curiosity takes overhand.
This usually involves stories of success stemming from hard work and enthusiasm.
This is such a true story.

Some time ago our beloved kids were asking to get Kendamas.
I saw Kendamas at times in the locker room of my sons icehockeyteam, a teammate of his was playing with a Kendama.
Then i saw Kendamas on the kids schoolyard, several kids playing with them.
I finally caved in and bought our children a Kendama each.
These were Krom-Kendamas.


Fast forward from Spring 2016 to late autumn 2016, more specifically a friday afternoon.
I am on a Skype Video call with Thorkild May, sitting in the Krom shop in Denmark, servicing customers while having a relaxed talk with me about what i choose to call "The Krom Saga".

We talk about how it all started, back  in 2007 when Thorkild with some friends were visiting the Roskilde Festival.
There he spotted a man playing with a Kendama, he actually had two.
Thorkild asked if he could try it out and so he did.
He ended up buying one of the mans two kendamas, and all of a sudden the Roskilde festival involved a whole lot of Kendama jamming by Thorkild and his friends.

Now Kendama became a thing for Thorkild and his friends.
A trip to Japan rendered the host of friends with some more Kendamas and Kendama.dk was born.
(Still lives on by the way, redirecting to Kromkendama.com of course)
More Kendamas was needed, to share the fun and love, so a small business was setup in 2010,mainly to serve friends and close ones with Kendamas.
In 2012 Kendama.dk hit the nationwide newspapers and Danish National TV.
The movement grew across the country.
Kendama became a bigger thing in Denmark thanks to the media coverage.



2013 a tour across USA and Japan was made, and new ties were made with the likes of KendamaUSA and, TerraKendama.
Competitions and Jams were visited by Thorkild and his friends.
A world championship title was received by Thorkild in the Catch & Flow Freestyle competition 2014.
During this tour a lot of new friendships were made and the network of Kendama enthusiasts grew bigger.

2016, late october.
Kromkendamas latest addition to their armada of high quality Kendamas, the "Slaydawg" sells out of stock in a matter of  few hours.
Actually it sold out in about one hour.
(Next batch is coming november 1st.)



The rate of success cannot be unseen here.
During our interview Thorkild kindly apologizes to serve yet another customer who's buying a Krom Kendama, asking if he wants it signed by him.

Back to our interview then.
I had to ask if Thorkild would bring a Kendama to the retirement home once he had to go there ?
- Oh, no doubt!
Talking with Thorkild about the spawning Kendama clubs , what advice does he have to the emerging Ken-Clubs?
- We all know that feeling of hitting your first spike.
 - Keep competing with yourself and have fun with it.
- Embrace your own style and support each other.
 -Keep hosting Jams, invite people to them. Keep online competitions and engage in    online communities.
Wise words straight from the heart from a young man who already has gathered a lot of experience regarding Kendama- pro life and business life.
Not being a one man show, the Kromkendama team consists of more people than Thorkild naturally.


Being pioneers in Hardwood kendamas, the question of the design process arises:
So what is important for Kromkendama when designing a Kendama ?
- It's important for it to be playable,by the players for the players you know.
-  Regarding standards and regulations, they need to be flexible.
-  Just as football goals are made bigger to make the sport more challenging and-      enjoyable , so does Kendamas need to evolve in benefit for the players.
 -There is no use being stuck in some 70's regulation regarding sizes and    measurements.,the sport needs to evolve, getting stuck limits evolution.

Asking Thorkild about where Kendama will be in five years , and where will Kromkendama be ?
- Well , hopefully in a cooler office than this basement shop .
 Thorkild laughs and explains enjoying their KromKendama shop, there is charm and understandably a lot of history.
Regarding the Kendama as a sport in the future, Thorkild has visions:
- We want to help Kendamacommunities grow, keep spreading the good message of -Kendama.
-We want to keep doing charities, do team battles and keep enabling communities.
Thorkild feels there being a lack of scientific research on health benefits of playing Kendama.
I have to agree on that, there is literally none.
- There should be  programs for seniors, schools for helping people gain the benefits of playing with Kendama. Thorkild continues.

Titled World champion in 2014 in the "Catch & Flow" Freestyle competition, CEO of a top company in the Kendama-sphere ,being a role-model for Kendamaplayers all around the world and serving customers in the basement shop of Krom at Westend 20 , Copenhagen Denmark.
There is something impressive in this kind of attitude, hard not to like .

Something is cooking within this Team, bringing the Kendama sport even further ahead than it is right now.



Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A new year with new bits and pieces.

Tools of the trade, scenery from my daytime job
A new year has begun for the most of us, and the holidays are once again over and spent.
2016 brought a variety of reviews to our viewers and by the looks of it the readersbase has increased.
We went through awesome coffee mugs, illuminated toiletbowls,mediastreamers and a whole bunch of great Kendamas.
We have more incoming for you.
Without revealing too much some excellent books, more Kendamas and hopefully even more than that will be thoroughly tested and reviewed.
Keep your eyes peeled !

Saturday, 8 October 2016

[Review] The Pill by Terrakendama

KendamaUSA sent over this cool-looking item called the Pill for review.

The Pill Burnt Red


Loads of extras included. Spare string, stickers.


Classy drawstring bag for the goods!

The Pill was born out of ,as Terrakandama says on their website:
"..one hot summer day, undoubtedly inspired by our time spent playing kendama, but with a novel and simplified design."
TerraKendama has been around for quite some time now, spreading their love for Kendamas and also being the inventor of the Pill.
Edmonton based , run by Kendamaplayers: there cannot be anything besides great success!

What about the actual Pill then ?
You can easy see the resemblance of concept here.
Wooden , with a string and a universe of yet-to-be-discovered-tricks to explore.
Sounds familiar ?

We are talking tricks-ville here, as with Kendamas.
The Pill by Terrakendama comes stylishly packaged, in a box with a spare string and,stickers.
 ( If web-ordered even a classy drawstring bag for storing it in is included too.)
Looking closely at the parts that make the Pill one will notice there is quality in motion here.
The bottom part with the spike is made out of one piece , elegantly lathed and the paint on the top part is gloriously red.
Does the paint chip ?
Nope.

Being a Kendama-novice there was a slight concern if i would be able to land any tricks at all with this adorable piece of joy.

Now , i have not played a Pill before so the review itself would be a challenge.
This is what i discovered exploring the wonders of the Pill:

The Pill is a good complement to playing Kendama.
There are similarities in focus, balance, perseverance and fun, loads of fun!
Surprisingly and quite fast i got the hang of one of the basic tricks and my concerns were replaced by inspiration and joy.
If you ever played Kendama, and managed to get over even the first hurdle of landing a trick , you know the feeling of reward and mastery.
The same goes with the Pill.
It is awesome indeed.
As a companion to a Kendama, the Pill takes it's place and holds it with honour.


Theres an excellent video from Kendama USA where Alex Smith shows some tricks with the Jumbo-sized Pill.




I too age with class you see.

Only resting for pictures to be taken.

The Pill from TerraKendama is here to stay, no doubt.
Available in different variations, sizes and different types of wood there is surely one for every taste to grab.
And some of them are soo beautiful!
Make sure to have a check over at TerraKendama for your flavour of the Pill!
There is a host of  Pill-related videos and maintenance section on TerraKendamas website, so make sure you check that out as well.

Mimicking the simplicity of Kendama, the Pill stands strong in it's own field but on the same court as with Kendama.
If you are into Kendama, you will dig this baby too!


A hard spiked combo in salute to KendamaUSA for having us test this piece of classiness from TerraKendama







Wednesday, 14 September 2016

[Review] Speldama, by Spelexperten and Krom Kendama

Speldama was born out of a collaboration between Krom Kendama Team and the local Kendama dealer named "Spelexperten" in Gävle, Sweden.

Background to the story of this Kendama goes back to 2010.
That was founding year of the "Spelexperten" shop.
Firstly specialised in boardgames and puzzles.

It all took off with Kendamas in 2014, when Kendamas were taken into stock but no big boom happened quite at that time.

2015 a young gentleman named Oliver came in and told the owners of Spelexperten to start selling Kendamas now!
So they did, and what a good call it was!
Booming happened.

After a while the idea was born to make their own "Speldama".
They discussed the idea with the Krom Kendama Team and even got some design help from Thorkild May , world champion in Kendama to add playability and balance into the "Speldama".
Lo and behold, the Speldama was born!

The Speldama comes packaged in a classy looking canvas bag with a carabiner attached for easy clip-on .

Beauty in rest.


There is  also some beatiful stickers, a spare string and the Speldama of course.
The Speldama itself is crafted out of maple wood and it feels really light and smooth in hand.
The tama is a grippy,smooth and silky one, with a artistic motive painted on top .
Cups and edges of the cups are engraved adding a classy touch .
Note the dual colours, enabling you to get a good eye of the position mid-air .
Having an orange string also adds a nice "zing" to the desing .

A slingful package!

So how does this pretty thing fly then ?
Lets get to it!

- How long played with :
  2-3 Weeks.

- First impressions, out of the bag:

Providing a canvas bag is a stroke of genius really.
No plastic or cardboard boxes to get rid of.(enviromentally friendly too)
Just slip the Kendama back into the bag and latch it on your backpack, belt, bike or whatever and bring it along with you anywhere you go.
Stickers and spare string is always , always a welcome addition. We love it !
Maple wood for the Ken and Sarado is a good choice,
We feel the durability and lightness in hand. 
String and Tama feels solid as well.
I was not able to chip any of the silky paint off the Tama even though being a clumsy 1- year user on Kendamas.
Thats a plus in my book!

- Recommended for, suggestions, comments:
  
Speldama can easily claim a spot as your daily slinger, grinder or whatever.
The grip is strong in this one!
Cups well crafted and balanced all around.
Designwise it also gets there, visually original even without playing with it.
This is an impressive first collaboration by Spelexperten and KromKendama.
Let us hope they do more of these collaborations in the future!
  
A big whopping high-ten to Spelexperten for having Androidistica testing this slinger !
Make sure you go and check it out in their webshop!


Tuesday, 6 September 2016

[Review] Kendama USA, TJ Kolesnik Pro Model


Kendama USA has been around for a while and their product line includes a lot of different Kendamas.
Androidistica was lucky enough to receive a "TJ Kolesnik Pro Model" for review .
Being fortunate enough to have been able to meet the man himself, this review turned out to be a work of honour.
Earlier this summer, TJ came down to Spelexperten for a visit , during his world tour and it was a day full of insane Kendama tricks, competitions, inspiration, burgers and even more Kendama!


TJ Kolesnik Pro Model by Kendama USA


So what do we get then, in a TJ Kolesnik Pro Model ?
The Kendama itself , naturally and a quick guide to begin with.
Also included are the replacement string and some sweet Kendama Usa stickers.
What strikes the eye is the four colours on the tama, and the engravings on the handle, cup and cup rims.
This is beautiful work !
The four-coloured Tama is painted with a "Updated Super Sticky Paint", making it really grippy.
Designwise this is a really classy Kendama, but looks aren't everything are they ?

Once put to work, the super sticky paint really feels grippy .
Those lighthouse tricks feel easy as a breeze to begin with .
The spike on the Ken is durable, really not dulling out even though in the hands of a novice.
They are ment to be used, and so we did ! 

Of course , this takes its toll on the paint but this is expected.
(We have been touching the subject before, about breaking in a Kendama).
Build material on the Ken and cups is Ash wood, which works really nice.
There is a light feel to this Kendama, with the added grip on the Tama.
You can feel the potential in taking your tricks even further with this one without a doubt.

- How long played with :
Approximately a month.

- First impressions, out of the box:
Class act, right out of the box.
The Kendama itself is really stunning visually and the extra goodies in the box, spare string, quick guide and stickers only adds to the swagger-feel in this package.

- Recommended for, suggestions, comments:
Anyone playing Kendama can benefit from this one.
It is naturally good for those grip-tricks such as lighthouse and others but also excellent as a daily grinder if you like.
A companion you need to be ashamed of bringing along anywhere.

We'd like to take a bow to Kendama USA for letting Androidistica review this Prod Model.
Don't touch that dial, we have more goodies to be reviewed soon!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

[Review] Play Monster Grip K

Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the  "Play Monster Grip K"
This Kendama is a biggie.
As mentioned in an earlier review, it has the exactly the same dimensions as the Play Monster K with the exception of grip on the tama .
Big sized Kendamas are refreshing to play with.
Refreshing and exhausting ,but with fun included .
Crafted out of Austrian Beech wood , the Play Monster Grip K is packaged in style as you can see in the images below.

Release the beast!

Big fun!

Big balance

Perfectly crafted

I am big , with grip!


How long played with:
2 weeks and counting.

First impressions, out of the box:
A package of fun, waiting to be played with. The included quickguide for basic tricks and spare string is always appreciated.
Including extras makes you feel covered by the manufacturer.
Smooth surface on the sarado and ken, silky smooth Tama .
What strikes here is the same that struck when we tested the Play Monster K.
A slight elasticity on the string, presumably to prevent the string from breaking due to the sheer weight of the Tama.
Not a problem at all actually, well thought of .


Recommended for, suggestions, comments:
A good choice if you want to bring your Kendama jamming to the next level.
Airplane to Lighthouse is actually doable for me with this Kendama, tricks i am struggling with on a regular sized Kendama.
 (Practice, practice practice).
Why not try those hard to land tricks with this one ?
Durability , quality and playability sums it up really.
This goes for the actual woodcrafting on the Ken and Sarado, and also on the paint of the Tama.
A reliable choice if you are in the market for a Big Sized Kendama!
Hats off for Kendama Europe, letting Androidistica test this big Piece of Fun!