Thursday, December 09, 2010

How do You Climb "the Ladder"?

Dear Korean,

In both Korea and Japan, there is this ladder which is like a 'game' where it can help one randomly choose something as it goes up the ladder. What is this called and how does it work?

April S.

Dear April,

The game is called "Climbing the Ladder" [사다리 타기], and it is used exactly as you described -- to help random choice. This is how it works. Suppose you want to choose what to have for lunch -- sandwich, tacos, pizza or Korean BBQ. With four choices, you draw four vertical lines, like so:

(Yes, that's the Korean's handwriting.)

Now, randomly add the "rungs" to the ladders, like so:

With the rungs, pick a ladder to climb. Climb down by making a turn at every rung -- like so:

Looks like you are having Korean BBQ for lunch. Of course you are -- why else would you read this blog? :)

Got a question or comment for the Korean? Email away at


  1. We also play it sometimes, when there are a load of teachers out together, as a kind of "lottery" for who pays what at the coffee shop or restaurant. Rather than everyone passing the bill around and trying to scrape together exact change to pay their portion, we choose our "path" and the lucky ones only have to throw in 1000 won.

  2. I never understand this, but it is everywhere. All my text books for English class and at soccer games to for randomly selected people in the crowd to win something.

  3. It's called amidakuji (畫鬼腳) in Japan!


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