On the left is the score card that Naoko-san and I used. On the right is the one that Erik and Joey used.
We used them to keep track of the WOD (workout of the day) – as many rounds as possible in 23 minutes of 200m runs + 10 lunges + 5 burpees, in teams of two. One person would do a round, and the other would start theirs as soon as the first person finished. Repeat.
Using the five strokes of 正 (the character for “correct”) is how Japanese people will usually make tally marks. I think the Chinese and Koreans use it, too.
This post isn’t just about cultural quirks, though. There’s a little puzzle to test your observational skills 😉
Do you notice something strange with the image?
Okay, here’s the answer – the first scorecard has the marks on the right top corner, instead of the more customary left top corner.
Can you reverse-engineer that?
What happened was that I went first and started the scorecard in the American/European way. And then Naoko-san turned the card upright to mark the second stroke of a 正.
Once the first 正 was completed, there was no place to go but down, which is how we ended up with a row of 正s in the right top corner of the scoresheet.
A proper Japanese person that wasn’t a mixed-up returnee like myself would have started the card like this.
And there you have it, a geeky little observation from a Saturday morning workout. This article was kickstarted by the “huh?” moment that I had when I first saw the second stroke, and then continued on the train ride back home. Maybe too many Encyclopedia Brown and Agatha Christie books when I was a kid…!
Last but not least, here’s a video of what we were doing at the Chikara CrossFit box.