Having trouble managing life, work and sundry commitments as 2006 speeds to a close? Looking for a refreshing resolution -- something challenging or even cultural -- to ring in the new year?

It may be that to shed your woes you need to take the art of balancing things to the next level and learn to juggle. Some studies have found that juggling actually develops the brain and might even get the creative juices flowing. If nothing else, it will offer a cathartic respite from the daily grind, and an affordable bit of fun.

I caught the juggling bug a few years ago when researching a story on street performing. Since then, the stress-release brought about by testing my mettle against the unforgiving constant that is gravity has proved a means of saving that last shred of sanity that deadlines threaten to erase. A comparatively little-known traditional Japanese art is daikagura, or pre-Edo Period entertainment involving juggling. A master manipulator of this art form is Senoh Maruichi, the 13th in a long line of daikagura entertainers and leader of the eponymous Edo-Daikagura Maruichi Senoh Troupe.