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Friday, October 21, 2016

Japan And Pogo Stick Jumping

To be perfectly honest, I never, ever saw a Japanese person, or a gaijin (foreigner) utilize the springy power of a pogo stick in the three years I lived in Japan in 1990-1993. That was 23 years ago, but even still... when was the last time you saw a kid on a pogo stick anywhere?

As much of a weirdness magnet that I am, I have only seen one such weird kid bounce a couple of times—and he was doing it on grass, hardly the smoothest surface, because as weird as that kid was, he knew that one misstep on a pogo stick on concrete or asphalt would leave a mark as permanent as the one in my school file.

Driving my son around the other day, he asked me if I had ever heard of some guy who had used a pogo stick to climb Mount Fuji.

Of course not. Not only am I famous for presenting old news, I also have a well-honed BS button that doesn't immediately believe stuff because I am married and have a soon to be 11-year-old son.

(Also... I wasn't just a terrible liar as a kid, I was a pretty damn successful one, so you have to get up pretty early to fool me.)

But my kid wasn't lying... I figured he just misheard something from some other stupid kid friend of his.

But no, he assured me.. he had read it on-line somewhere... so Hades help me, it had to be true.

Turns out the boy was partially correct, while the Internet was fully correct.

There was a guy who used a pogo stick on Mount Fuji and set a world record.

All of which tells me that the concept of 'world record' sure ain't what it used to be.

I just wanted to know who was the heaviest man, set or twins, most number of kids born in one birth, largest number of kids, tallest man, shortest person... stuff like that.

But today's world records are being created as willing participants create ways they they will get themselves included into the 'record book'.

Back in 1986, an American named  wasted his time bouncing up and down the foothills of Mount Fuji traveling a distance of 18.55 kilometers (11.53 miles) until he either got bored and stopped or fell off like spaz because what he really wished he was doing was to have not had that soda pop an hour earlier that is not causing him to want to urinate.

Fro what I understand, Guinness - they of the world record thingamabob - they allow the pogo stick jumper to take a five-minute break each hour

At that time, he broke his own record for longest distance jumped on a pogo stick. No time was given as to how long it actually took Furman to perform his little stunt.

Here's what  Furman had to say in his own words (http://www.ashrita.com/pogo_stick_jumping/): " While speeding across Japan in a bullet train, I spotted Mount Fuji sparkling in the distance through the window and I was stunned by its majestic beauty. I knew I just had to climb it on a pogo stick! Since I was leaving the Orient in a few days, there was no time to waste. I had my pogo sticks flown over from New York, alerted the media and, with helpers and witnesses in tow, ventured into the unknown.
It was one of the highlights of my life. It was exhilarating ascending towards the snowline and breathing in the fragrant and crisp, thin mountain air. I had a powerful meditation at the turnaround point. Contrary to what I expected, going down was a lot harder, since I was already tired and had to use all my strength to avoid bounding downhill uncontrollably."

I suppose that's kindda neat, but I don't think owning that kind of title is going to help you get laid anytime soon. Am I right? Still... if you look at the photo up above.. the guy is ripped. So maybe I'm wrong.

In 1993, Ashrita Furman was at it again on Mount Fuji, this time bouncing over a distance of 25.7 kilometers (16 miles)… which took him 6 hours and 40 minutes. The 16-miles was the distance he was aiming for to garner the new distance record.

Says Furman: "My handler was a professor of biology who used to raise butterflies as a hobby. As I was racing down the mountain in the pouring icy rain, deeply concentrating on not sliding off the road and trying to finish before I cramped up, I saw the professor in the distance frantically waving his arms. “STOP, STOP!” he cried out. I thought there must have been a serious accident or something, but, both to my relief and disbelief, when I reached my friend he pointed to a big, brown, ugly moth perched on a tree. Excitedly he exclaimed, “Look, it’s the rare Lepidoptera saturniid! Isn’t it marvelous?"

What’s sad is that it also had to viewed and verified by a world record holder judge in order to be substantiated… so that’s at least three people who apparently had nothing better to do that say.

For some reason, Furman's record has been broken many times, the last (but probable not the last) time it was done by Jack Sexty (that can't be his real name) from Great Britain (U-S-A! U-S-A!) who hopped around Manchester U.K. on April 6 and 7, 2014 for 16 hours and 24 minutes, at which time he traveled 42.195 kilometers (26.22 miles).

No... I am not jealous. Maybe of his name.

And, for whatever reason, another American named Fred Grzybowski performed the most back-flips on a pogo stick in December of 2013 (the site doesn't offer an actual date, and to be honest, does it matter?) - when he performed 17 in a succession without failing or falling off.

So... 17 backflips is actually pretty cool because there's a high level of danger and pain involved in the failure to perform even one of these pogo tricks.

Anyhow... my point remains... if you look at Furman's website comments, it's pretty much all kids who are working the pogo stick.

I am jealous, however, that Furman et al actually got into the world record book.

Sexty. Hee.

Banzai,
Andrew Joseph

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