Saturday, September 19, 2009


We started making dorodangos today. We had been meaning to try this for a few months. Somehow the summer flew by without us getting to them. Things are fairly quiet this weekend, so we dived in.

We started with the dirt-pile left in front of the deck. It's smaller, but it's still there. We picked up some dirt from the dirt pile. Sieved it into a dishpan. Added some water.
Then we packed the muck into balls that fit in our palms. And patted and juggled and rotated our balls for a while until they started to feel less wet inside. About the duration of a single Teaching Company lecture, which was nice and convenient.
As the dorodango started feeling a bit more solid we began dusting it with little bits of sifted dirt and brushing the excess off. Over and over and over again. Good company helps.

We have three of these things on the go. One is mine, one is Sophie's and one is Fiona's. Erin, off in Calgary, is missing the opportunity of rolling her eyes as we enthuse over our mud balls. Noah offers his own brand of disinterested enthusiasm. Seems like an oxymoron, but he pulls it off.
Finally our dorodangos got firm and dry enough that dirt would no longer stick to them. We set them aside in ziploc bags to rest and "sweat" a little. We want any shrinkage to occur gradually, and before we begin polishing the capsule on the outside.

The balls are curiously heavy and solid-feeling already. This is a very fun project.

We hope to do some polishing tonight and tomorrow. Stay tuned.


  1. What do you do with them after?

    We once saw a pile of "sand" balls at a resort in Indonesia. That got us making MORE with the kids. *hehe*

  2. Very cool! I'd never heard of them but we might have to try that!

  3. It brought me back my childhood memory and made me cry (good cry.) I grew up in Japan. In early 1970, there were still a lot of dirt around my house and my two sisters and I made DORODANGO (Dirt-ball)all the time. We pretended that dorodango was a rice ball when we played house. We sometimes competed that who could make the hardest dorodango.I live in California now. My daughter loves Origami just like Sophia, and my son's name is Noah. I love Momin too. My kids are using notebooks with Momin pictures on them when they go to Japanese school. We love your blog. I am sorry that my English is not good enough. I hope you understand what I am saying.

  4. Um, I was going to say exactly what Penelope said.... very cool.... I've never heard of those... and now I want to try it! Where can I learn how?

  5. That's really cool. Saving this for when my girls are old enough to care.

  6. Very cool! I know my boys would LOVE to try this!

  7. Andrea, a good starting point is Have fun!

  8. Anonymous3:07 p.m.

    So cool! Must try this this weekend.

    Do you seal the ziploc bags when they're resting or leave them open?


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