The photo shows one of the few items that still remain in my possession since childhood (I sold everything else on eBay). At the moment, I have it hanging in my hall. I suppose you might call it a Japanese dart-board, although those holes weren’t caused by darts. They were the result of hundreds of shuriken throws (shuriken, for the uneducated and less geeky among us, is the proper name for a ninja throwing star).
Back in junior high, this kind of stuff was all the rage. Some of us even made our own nunchakas by sawing a broom handle in two, covering it in black tape, and joining the two halves with a chain. Ah, those were the days. I recall that the only fun I had in metalwork class was when I would sneakily cut shuriken out of sheets of copper, behind the teacher’s back. But of course, that wasn’t like having the real thing. Thankfully, there was a shop in the neighbouring town of Lurgan (where I bought the board) that sold all manner of martial arts gear, including genuine shuriken. Unfortunately, today, any that I owned are lost.
Shuriken are now illegal to sell in this country, and it’s no wonder. We brought these things to school, purely out of innocent fun, not considering that, technically speaking, we were bringing a concealed weapon. I remember practising with mine in the playground one lunch-time, throwing it at a tree that bordered with the neighbouring high school. Simultaneously, there was a guy on the other side of the fence taking motorcycle lessons. I didn’t miss my intended target, but I do remember him stopping the bike and giving me an earful. Once, I heard about another more dangerous near-miss: my friend Andrew put his hand on the door of the gym and a shuriken struck the wood right between his fingers. And hey, there were no secret ninjas in Killicomaine Junior High School; nobody’s aim was that good. The thing could easily have struck him in the hand, or the head. And that reminds me of my other friend Maurice. He was unlucky enough to end up with one protruding from his head for a time (incidentally, he lived to tell the tale).
Despite all that, my board is lonely without shuriken – which brings me to my question: does anyone know how I can get a couple of them? I have scoured eBay, and all I can find are a load of toy cosplay shuriken for anime custume parties. Help me, somebody. I don’t want to play darts. Besides, a few shuriken would be useful to have on hand if I should hear the floorboards creaking in the middle of the night.