Japanese schools are renowned for their rigid rules, and often criticised for stifling creativity. But the boredom has driven one pupil to develope a stunning skill. Ryuki Omura, 16, has spun and flicked his way to the first ever national prize in pen spinning.
The high-school boy performed his 30-second routine before 400 judges and journalists at the inaugural championships in Tokyo, where he fired off a medley of tricks, shifting his pen from fingers, to palm, to the back of the hand.
"The most important thing is to make the combination of tricks as smooth as possible," said Mitsuhiro Nakamata, of the Pen Spinning Association. "Pens are always around, so you can enjoy pen spinning anytime, anywhere."
Omura beat a total of 276 entrants, from junior high pupils to university students, who were whittled down to 16 finalists.
Now Japanese innovation has been applied to the hobby, with one toymaker designing a spinning pen with adjustable weights.