Learn about Origami
Konnichiwa Minna! This month we continue our series on Japanese hobbies by looking more closely at the art of origami. Wonderful creatures and objects can be magicked up by just folding paper, a majestic hobby that can bring hours of joy. We also share news from the past month and look at the best anime from 2017. There is also our food section and our anime challenge of the month, so join us for a yummy bento filled with curious content. We are YOUR monthly anime and Japanese source. Itadakimasu!!
Japanese and Anime News
60-Foot Gundam Destined to Walk
Sometimes anime and manga dreams can become realities. Visionaries who created mecha anime like Mobile Suit Gundam are like the modern Jules Vernes of our era. Jules Verne wrote about sub-marines and as if he was a prophet sub-marines became a reality. Science-fiction turned to science fact. You see, in Japan there is a 60-foot Gundam robot under construction, despite the COVID-19 crisis. It is planned for the 60-foot (18.2 meter) goliath to debut at Gundam Factory Yokohama on October 1, 2020. It will become a feature of the Port of Yokohama (south of Tokyo), where it will stay for a full year. The Gundam, speculated to weight roughly 25 tons by the time oif its completion, when completed will be able to walk.
A Fish that caught Pokemon
If you think only humans can play Pokemon, you need to think deeper, as in sea-deep as Pokemon have an immense fanbase played by boys, girls, adults and those are just the humans. In Japan there is a Siamese Fighting Fish called Mutekimaru that has spend hundreds of his life to also be the best there ever was. Our aquatic pokemon fanatik is currently playing Pokemon Ruby and it already defeated two gyms.
Mutekimaru (also known as Maurice) is part of an experiment. One day his owner asked himself if fish can play Pokemon. The fish’ tank was divided into nine different section each corresponding to a controller or directional input, them a camera was set to track Mutekimaru’s movement and with a few tweaks and science our aquatic gamer is now a Poketuber
The process is slow, of course, the fish move where it pleases but somehow by its movements, it was able to save Professor Birch by choosing a Torchic to vanquish the Poochyena attacking the professor. He even gave it a nickname: “Nohohohoho.” An interesting observation popped up. Our fishy gamer is a pacifist, quite uncommon for a Siamese Fighting Fish as it sometimes run away from random battles! Could it be a problem with the setup’s interface or is there a heart pacifist in our warrior fish?
Mutekimaru has caught quite a number of Pokemon to aid him in his quest, three Zigzagoons (one of whom is named “A!!”), a Taillow, a Whismur, and a Nincada. Oh and to impress you more, Nohohohoho the Torchic evolved into an Combusken. Our fish hero also plans to take on Super Smash Bros. Quite an impressive fish, don’t you agree?
Hope Lights The Way
We’re living in scary times with the COVID-19 pandemic and it is good to find and share hope. Japan’s National Tourism Organization is trying to remind us that even if it id impossible to go to Japan at the moment Japan will wait patiently until you can visit its beautiful shores. This pandemic have put a damper on everyone’s plans to attend the Olympic Games in Tokyo or to those who planned to visit for holiday or business, leaving a huge hole in tourism. Tourism is a huge part of every nation’s economy.
Japan’s Tourism Organization decided to show the world that beyond the darkness, there is always light with their video ‘Hope Lights The Way’. A video which features beautiful scenes such as A torii gate standing in a river grove, lanterns covered by moss, scenic diving scenes, snow-blanketed trees followed by scenes of tourists doing the usual activities such as visiting traditional baths or shrines.
There is so much more in the video, there is a message of hope and watching it brings nostalgic smiles filled with hope… Japan will be explored again. This dark time we have will make way for the light, and hope lights the way.
The League of Legends anime short is a riot
Yes it is a bad pun, but seriously Riot made an anime short showcasing their newest League of Legends champion and it is super sugoi! The anime, “Kin of the Stained Blade” is a 10-minute masterpiece jumping between CG animation and hand-drawn anime art. Its part of a current game event called “Spirit Blossom,” which brings anime elements to the game like character skins, a new dating sim-like narrative experience, to mention a few.
Riot developed the story last year, and when it received the green light the anime’s story board process began, working in partnership with two animation studios, Haoliners Animation and Paper Plane. The main goal is not just to introduce a character but also to show a different side of League of Legends. “We really want to pump up the fantasy of what you’re going to get in-game,” says art director Mike Berry. “We don’t have the limitations that you do in the game. There’s a lot more sword fighting in our piece than you’re going to get in-game, because we don’t have to worry about cooldowns. A real samurai doesn’t worry about a cooldown. And that’s where we went more into the anime space.”
The Art of Origami
Origami is an art that does not need an introduction to many. We have seen the art form being used in many Western television series. In the epic superhero television series Heroes, the character Hiro Nakamura once folded 1,000 paper cranes and used his ability of space/time manipulation to show a girl named Charlie that everything is possible. In Blade Runner, the character Gaff folds origami through out the movie. In season 2 of the TV series NUMB3RS, in the episode ‘Judgment Call’, Charlie discussed the different folds in Origami.
The origin of the word Origami comes from the word ‘ori’ which means folding and the word ‘kami’ which means paper. Origami can be described as the folding of a flat sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques. The use of cuts, glues or markings on the paper are usually discouraged, and besides, using mad ninja skills in folding paper without the aid of glue and so forth is more impressive and skillful. If you do use cuts to achieve your goal with the paper it is not referred to as origami but kirigami.
The earliest reference to origami is in a poem by Ihara Saikaku in 1680, which mentions a traditional butterfly design, which was used during Shinto weddings. It is of course much older than that if the design was already in traditional use. It may have been brought over to Japan from China where the art of making paper from pulp existed since about 102AD, in fact there is a legend that a Buddhist monk brought over the secret of making paper from China to Japan.
The best-known origami design, except maybe for the mundane paper plane is probably the crane. As mentioned, there was an episode in the series Heroes where Hiro made a thousand paper cranes using origami. The Thousand Origami Cranes are usually a group of one-thousand origami paper cranes held together by string. An ancient Japanese legend promises that the Gods will grant anyone who folds a thousand cranes a wish. In some versions it is believed that the person who desires to make the wish, cannot give them away, the must be kept by that person for the wish to be granted and must complete the 1000 cranes in one year.
A more recent tale tells us of a young woman, Sadako Sasaki, aged 24 months, who was exposed to the radiation of an atom bomb dropped by the US during the Second World War. She ended up in hospital after developing leukemia at age 12. In a storybook retelling of her life story called ‘Sadako and the 1,000 Paper Cranes’ by Eleanor Coerr, a friend visits her in the ward with an origami crane, telling Sadako that it represents health and that if she can make 1,000 cranes, she will be well. Sadako’s friend teaches her how to fold a paper crane and Sadako, after mastering it, begins her quest to make 999 more cranes. Her brave venture starts to attract the attention of the hospital staff and visitors – soon gifts of paper, from x-ray foil wrappers to pages from magazines, ends up in her room to help her in her resolve to create 999 paper cranes. When other patients get interested, she stops folding and teaches them the art of folding cranes as well.
Sadako, a victim of an illness caused by war, spreads her message of peace, folding her cranes. Soon there are hundreds of cranes and her health is improving! She is allowed to go home. Sadly, in a twist of events, she becomes sicker again, her illness return and she is unable to continue her project. Less than 700 hundred cranes are completed when the brave girl collapsed in a coma, and died… Her classmates are so moved, so touched by Sadako that they, in memory of her dream to complete the 1,000 cranes, learn how to fold the cranes and soon the 1,000 cranes are complete. After that they write to other children all over the country of Japan, asking for contributions of money, to help erect a monument in Sadako’s honour. The Japanese Government, moved by the story, decide to rename a park in Hiroshima “Peace Park’. A huge statue is erected with a replica of Sadako lifting up a giant crane. Her classmates were honoured in their efforts by deciding what to write on the statue’s base. They chose the word: “This is our cry, this is our prayer, Peace in the world”.
One brave girl made people all over the world aware for the need for peace. When you see an origami crane, remember Sadako’s tale. Remember that one paper crane led to many and that one little act can bring a message of peace.
Would you like to create an origami crane? Here is a video tutorial to help you :
Spread The Word: Kami (Paper)
The origin of the word Origami comes from the word ‘ori’ which means folding and the word ‘kami’ which means paper. Our word for this month is thus 紙 kami which means paper.
Japanese paper is called 和紙 washi but Western paper is 洋紙 youshi. The difference being the materials used to create it as well as the resistance or durability of both paper.
The Japanese even has precise words to designate different purpose, for example:
千代紙 chiyogami – a kind of washi used for origami
料紙 ryoushi – a washi used traditionally for shodo (Japanese calligraphy).
用紙 youshi – a paper used for printer or a paper where something has already been printed on
Japanese Food and Snacks
If you ever want to try out an Asian snack then OishiMart is the best online store to quench your desire for Asian nibbles. We interviewed Carmen Oh, a member of our Whatsapp community and owner of OishiMart to find out more.
Carmen, can you tell us more about OishiMart?
OishiMart is an online Asian grocery store, stocking tons of Snacks, Drinks, Cooking aids and more to try and bring the taste of Asia right to your doorstep! We have tons of items for you and your family to enjoy! If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for try a surprise box to receive a variety of Asian snacks and drinks to try!
Random question: What is your favourite food anime?
Food Wars obviously, it’s like Chopped but anime. :-)
What is your favourite item on your site that you may be addicted to?
Hmm addicted? That’s tough… Asian drinks are what got me into having my business, I’d say I’m obsessed with drinks (ice teas especially) and instant noodles but if I had to narrow it down to one drink it would be the Uni President Yakult flavoured ice tea
If I am a newbie checking out your site, what would you recommend to me first.
And for a beginner on my website and to Asian snacks in general, I’d recommend the beginner or lover snack surprise box! You get a little bit of everything to try and of course the price is reduced since you get a little more in there for a little less.
Please note that currently deliveries may take quote longer than anticipated due restrictions caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.
Best 5 anime of 2017
2017 gave us some memorable anime that will not be easy to forget. It also hails the time when Black Clover began and the series is still going strong. It catered for Fantasy junkies with gems like The Ancient Magus Bride, Made in Abyss and Youjou Senki, and science Fanatiks with the dark Inuyashiki. Before we look at our top 5 of 2017, here is some memorable mentions: Kino’s Journey (Kino no Tabi), which won the South African Anime Awards, Clockwork Planet, Isekai Shokudō, Girls’ Last Tour (Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou) and the shockingly bloody Ousama Game The Animation. And our top five are:
The Ancient Magus' Bride
Made in Abyss
The Saga of Tanya the Evil (Youjo Senki)
Anime Challenge: Made in Abyss
Our August Anime Challenge is Made in Abyss which is based on the manga series by Akihito Tsukushi. The anime was adapted for screen by Kinema Citrus and ran from July to September 2017. The anime covers volumes 1 – 3 of the manga and the final episode was an hour long special. The series was directed by Masayuki Kojima and written by Hideyuki Kurata, with character designs by Kazuchika Kise. The Australian artist Kevin Penkin composed the anime’s soundtrack.
The Opening and ending themes ‘Deep in Abyss’ and ‘ Tabi no Hidarite, Saihate no Migite’ were performed by cast members Miyu Tomita and Mariya Ise the latter in collaboration with Shiori Izawa (Nanachi).
The anime was followed by two compilation films Made in Abyss: Tabidachi no Yoake (episodes 1 – 8) and Made in Abyss: Hōrō Suru Tasogare (episodes 9 – 13) in 2019. A sequel movie Gekijōban Made in Abyss: Fukaki Tamashii no Reimei premiered in Japan on January 17, 2020. The movie was set to premiere in Boston, USA at Anime Boston, but the convention was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Made in Abyss is set in a world where the whole world was explored except for a massive bottomless chasm named The Abyss, a place filled with relics and artefacts. Our hero is Rico, a 12-year-old orphan with a dream to become as famous an explorer like her late mother. The Abyss hides artifacts and remnants of a civilization long gone, making it a popular hunting spot for so-called Cave Raiders, who undertake dangerous adventures into the mist-filled depths to recover whatever relics they can find. Returning from the Abyss can be dangerous as “the Curse of the Abyss,” a mysterious and potentially fatal malady, manifests upon ascension. One fateful day she meets Regu, a strange robot boy who may just be the one who helps her reach her dream … if they can survive, that is…
We have a surprise for you! We are hosting a discussion of Made in Abyss tonight, on the 4th August 2020 at 20h00 on our Discord. Join us tonight for more surprises.
Anime Birthday: Megumi Shimizu (August 26th)
Imagine a hot summer in a quiet little village; in our story, the village is called Sotoba, a quaint little ‘normal’ countryside hamlet. New neighbors move in and a series of mysterious deaths begin to spread throughout the little community. The symptoms include cold- as well as flu- like symptoms and tiredness and there are insect-like bites usually on the neck…. This sets the setting for the anime Shiki.
Doctor Toshio Ozaki, dean of the little clinic/hospital in town at first suspect this disease an epidemic, but as his investigation on the deaths continue and the body count rises, he becomes sure that the disease is actually caused by a creature called a Shiki (Corpse Demon), a vampiric being. At the same time a teenager named Natsuno Yuuki also begins to picture together what is happening. It is up to them and a few others to try to save the village and to eradicate the Shiki.
One of the victims of the Shiki curse is our birthday girl, Megumi Shimizu. Born and raised in Sotoba, she hated the little town and just wanted to get away and go to university. She dreamed that she would be scouted and then become part of the show business lifestyle. Nothing in her ‘deadbeat-of-a-town’ interested her except Yuuki and the large house on top of the hill. She goes missing on the 11th of August, last seen by Seishirou Kirishiki. The whole town search for her and she is found on the 12th on the mountain. The villagers call Dr. Ozaki and he goes to Megumi’s house to give her an examination. He finds nothing wrong with her physically, but there is a concern because she won’t eat anything. Strangely there is no fever, and the worst thing on her is a few insect bites. She does seem to be a little anemic and Dr. Ozaki decides to draw some blood. Megumi says that she is sleepy. When asked, she says all she can remember is talking to Seishirou Kirishiki. To find out her fate, watch the anime Shiki!