Seoul Yo-Yo Club

Shine-san is my contact in the Korean yo-yo community; the proprieter of the Korean yo-yo shop Yo ‘n’ Joy, he wholesales Korean-made yo-yos to REWIND, acting as a middleman for us with Shinwoo. His Japanese is better than his English, so our communication is mostly in Japanese. He also organizes the Seoul Yo-Yo Club, which meets at Isu station once a month. The timing worked out so that I was able to join one day. He brought with him a couple of Korean yo-yos I ordered (Christmas gifts for Drew), and refused to accept any money for them. “My treat, a thanks for all your business” he smiled reassuringly

The meet was mostly elementary to middle school-age, with just a handful of older players. Shine-san busied himself with the “yo-yo classroom” portion of the meeting for the newcomers, and I was left to fumble with my yo-yo. The kids were a little unsure of how to regard this alien in their midst, but they soon settled into their practice, with a few eying me curiously. One young guy named Hyun Seok served as a translator for the other players. I met the 1A and 4A national champions, both on the older side of the crowd, but amiable and eager to communicate. I still consider myself a novice, so it was fun to learn some tricks from the pros. They were all interested in my Sleipnir, as most of them either had Korean or US-made yo-yos. To mix things up, I pulled out my juggling balls and showed them a few patterns.

After practice, everyone headed to a local restaurant for dinner, but I had a prior engagement to get to; the Reel Rock Film Tour was in town and I had some climbing videos to watch. Hyun Seok followed me on the train to talk to me some more, and we exchanged information to stay in touch. It did feel a little strange to be standing on a crowded train, exchanging numbers with a 12 year old. Since I was staying on a bit longer, I was able to go to another yo-yo club meeting, this time as a face known to the crowd. The young players were still a bit shy, but by the end of the meeting, I was playing catch with an off string yo-yo with Jeong Ji Hwan, the 4A national champ. It was a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to seeing them when I go to Singapore in March for the Asia Pacific Yo-Yo Contest.