Can you make pearls out of mud? January 21, 2006Posted by Matsu in Humor, Japan, Random.
Today I discovered something new. There is a way to take a plain old pile of mud and through a process that even a child could follow, turn it into a shiny sphere. Yes, it’s pretty strange, but true.
As often happens when I read blogs, I followed a few links and ended up down an Internet side road that I didn’t know existed (one down, 23 billion to go). The blog by Jason Kottke mentioned a some strange phenomenon in Japan where kids were making shiny mud balls. I followed the link to a more official looking news story and discovered that back in May 1999 a psychology professor who studies early development took the process he learned from a preschool teacher and taught it to other kids to see how they would react. His primary focus was on how children play and learn through play. The Japanese word for this bronze sphere is Dorodango.
If you haven’t already made your own Dorodango and didn’t know that you could polish dried mud it until it shined, then you should give this a try.
Here are the basic steps:
1. Pack some mud into your hand, and squeeze out the water while forming a sphere.
2. Add some dry dirt to the outside and continue to gently shape the mud into a sphere.
3. When the mass dries, pack it solid with your hands, and rub the surface until a smooth film begins to appear.
4. Rub your hands against the ground, patting and rubbing the fine, powdery dirt onto the sphere. Continue this for two hours.
5. Seal the ball in a plastic bag for three or four hours. Upon removing the sphere, repeat step 4, and then once again seal the sphere in a plastic bag.
6. Remove the ball from the bag, and if it is no longer wet, polish it with a cloth until it shines.
If after reading these 6 simple instructions you are still wondering if this is real and whether or not it will produce a shiny brown sphere, then check out this great Dorodango web site. It provides great detail with photos of every step of the process. There are also photos of white and red mud balls. They are strangely beautiful.
While this is one of the oddest phenomenas I’ve read about recently, it is also something that you can participate in, which makes it a little less weird.
If any of you try to make one of these pearls from the earth, please let me know how it turns out. Did it work? If not, what was the result?
Today it is supposed to rain. I suppose I could give it a try as well.