Craftzine has an article today on dorodango, polished balls of mud made by japanese school children. They´re pretty and shiny and smooth and I like them a lot, but the freaky thing is that I spent my childhood doing the exact same thing on the beach. Actually my siblings and I all did, much to the bemusement of others who would say "WTF?", although probably with less swearing as it was the 1980´s and there were children present.
In fact, as proof, here´s a picture DrH took of some of my sandballs in Latvia.
Okay, these weren´t perfect, but I was on holiday.
but really, much of the steps involved in the mudballs we replicated in our sand balls - the finding the sand of the right wet consistency, removing most of the water by tossing it from one hand to he next while turning it to form a ball shape, polishing it with dry sand to get it smooth. Of course, being sand it wasn´t ever going to be shiny, but hey. We were Aussie kids and we came up with it on our own. That´s sufficiently freaky to wonder where the japanese influence came from. In those years I don´t remember any contact with Japan at all.