Timeless Thoughts: Origami
Timeless Thoughts is a monthly linkup hosted by Georgie and Tara, where bloggers write about something from their past – it could be an item, a place, an event – anything that evokes a trip down memory lane. Timeless Thoughts is held on the first Saturday of the month, and runs for two weeks.
My first encounter with Japanese culture was when I was fourteen, learning Japanese at school. For a cultural experience, we went to a centre (that was a part of another school) that was Japanese themed, where we made onigiri and knelt on the floor to eat just like traditional Japanese. I fell in love with Japanese culture from that day, right from the food, to the dress, to their way of life and all their strange technology.
It wasn’t until today that I realised I had loved origami as a kid – and that origami is another huge part of Japanese culture.
I struggled to make a paper crane but I remember receiving origami paper from a family friend, which had a really simple instruction on the back on how to make a jumping frog. Oh my god. I was beyond excited. I was given rather shiny, but thin, quality origami paper, and I was very meticulous about all my folds, making sure that I used the side of my finger or back of my nail to really set the fold. I would pick up the paper and rub the fold between my thumb and index finger, or use my (rather short at the time) nails to scrape down the fold and make sure it was folded as best it could be.
I didn’t want to waste origami paper, but I didn’t just want to make frogs, so my parents bought me an origami book that taught me how to make a blow-up ball, a star, and other things, including the classical crane. It was hard to get the hang of the crane but I was glad when I finally did it. I ended up remembering all the steps to some of the things in the book and was very proud of that.
When I got myself some really nice patterned paper, I almost didn’t want to use it because it was just too nice. Eventually I did, frightened that I would make a mistake and waste such nice paper. When I studied Japanese, my teacher had a plethora of different patterns of paper. Every day when we did our homework she would give us points, and we could trade those points for little prizes, some of which was some super-expensive patterned origami paper. Seriously, that stuff was like gold, the way a lot of us marvelled over it.
The last I remember doing any kind of origami was at one of my old workplaces a year ago (when I still worked at the same company as Nick). I was at my colleague’s desk and he had a lot of colourful square sticky notes in a pad. He was absent at the time and I was chatting to my other colleague who sat next to him. As we were chatting I just took a handful of the smallest notes, challenging myself to make some origami pieces out of the smallest pieces of paper.
I remember that he kept them at his desk for some time – at least until we had to do a desk move. I made a green frog, a pink crane and a purple blow-up ball, which were all so tiny in size. Since then, I haven’t folded any more creations. I know that they might just sit there gathering dust when they’re completed but they are just fun to fold and create.