First of all, I just wanted to explain to you guys on how my posts are going to work each month. My first post will most likely be an information piece, such as the History of Origami post from last time. Then, the second post will be actual hands-on projects.
For today, I’m writing on basic origami bases. As the name implies, they are very common structures that are used throughout various projects— cranes, pinwheels, butterflies, etc. Obviously, it is not necessary to memorize them, but the final product always looks better if you start with a good foundation.
I’m linking this playlist from the website, Paper Kawaii, that has excellent video tutorials on how to fold these origami bases. Bases are not limited to only these twelve. On Origami Instructions, there are even more structures that can be learned.
Don’t dwell too much on trying to learn them all! Some of these are harder to master than others such as the bird or frog base. I’ll be linking some projects below, so that you can also practice utilizing these skills:
This is a continuation from Part 1 of The Japanese Writing System.
The third writing system is Kanji. For kanji, there is no specific chart to learn from because there are over 2000 of them. If you want to read a Japanese novel, you will generally have to learn over 2000 kanji. Kanji is derived from Chinese characters and it can be very complicated to beginners with no exposure to Chinese characters. One kanji has different meanings and different ways to read which can complicate things even more. For starters, I will explain the 2 different readings.
Kanji has 2 different ways to read: on-reading (音読み ; onyomi) and kun-reading (訓読み ; kunyomi). On-readings are pronunciations borrowed from China and kun-readings are originated from Japan. On-reading is generally used when the word is a compound word (more than 1 kanji). Kun-reading is generally used when the kanji is by itself. For example, let’s look at the kanji 力. It means power or force. 力 by itself is read as ちから (chikara). However, when you combine it with another kanji, it is read as りょく (ryoku). ちから (chikara) is the kun-reading and りょく (ryoku) is the on-reading. The kanji 力 in the word 努力 (どりょく ; doryoku) is read as ryoku since it is used in a combination. When kanjis are used in combination, they generally use the on-reading.ど (do) is also the on-reading for the kanji 努. However, on-readings and kun-readings can also be used in combination. For example, the word 見本 (みほん ; mihon) is using both on-reading and kun-reading. み (mi) is the kun-reading for 見 and ほん is the on-reading for 本.
Just like Hiragana and Katakana, Kanji has a specific way to write. These are called stroke orders. Although it’s not necessary to follow the stroke order, following the stroke order usually allows you to write the kanji more naturally. Here is an example below.
As you can see, kanji is a very complex part of the Japanese writing system. Learning enough kanji to be able to read a book might take you a while, but once you start learning, it’s not too bad. Normally, you learn kanji in words and not each character by itself. Learning it in words also allows you to learn more than one kanji at a time and can help you learn the meanings of them from the help of the words’ meanings. However, learning the characters one by one is not a bad idea if that is what you prefer. Kanji will probably take the longest to learn, but just keep studying and you’ll get there one day!
(don’t feel too bad if you’re worried or scared about kanji because I suck at kanji too lol)
Hello! This is Stacie, your Japanese director! I’ll be introducing the Japanese writing system.
Japan has thee writing styles: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. This is part 1 and I will be covering Hiragana and Katakana. Part 2 will cover Kanji.
The chart above is the Hiragana writing system. As you can see, there are 46 main characters. You can combine them or alter them by adding a ” or °. For example, ka (か) can become ga (が) by adding ” on the top right corner. Ha (は) becomes pa (ぱ) by adding ° on the top right corner. There are also combinations. If you combine ki (き) and a small ya (や), it becomes kya (きゃ). The key point here is that the ya (や) is smaller. If you make it the same size as ki (き), it becomes kiya (きや) instead of kya (きゃ). Another thing to watch out for is the wo (を) and n (ん) character. Wo (を) is used as a particle. Words generally do not begin with the character wo (を). N (ん) is not a particle, but it never goes in the beginning of a word.
The chart below is the Katakana writing system. Hiragana is used for pure Japanese words, but Katakana is mainly used for foreign words. It may look similar to Hiragana, but they are different so make sure to familiarize yourself with the differences. Every Hiragana character has a Katakana equivalence. Just like Hiragana, n (ン) never goes in the beginning of a word. Wo (を), the Hiragana particle, in Katakana is ヲ. However, this character is not used as a particle. In everyday Japanese, it is very rare to see the Katakana wo (ヲ). It seems that wo (ヲ) was used in some pre-WWII documents, but these days, it is mainly used in video games and manga.
Let’s look at the chart and try reading these words!
For those of you who attended our first Origami and Japanese club meeting, you learned how to fold a simple Origami butterfly. This model is quite easy to fold, but still involves some important Origami techniques, which makes it a great beginner project. If you’re interested, this link contains instructions for a slight variation of the model we taught at the meeting. This version is identical to the one you already know, but has a different final fold and has a sharper, more angular look than the more rounded style of the butterfly we taught at the meeting.
We hope you enjoy folding these 2 types of butterflies!
Tempura (天ぷら) is definitely one of the most famous Japanese dishes in America. It consists of seafood or vegetables (sometimes both) that have been battered and deep fried. At the hands of skilled Tempura chefs at nice restaurants, tempura tastes delicate and is crispy fare that it is finger-licking good! The origin of tempura goes back to the mid-16th century. The concept of batter frying was introduced to Japan by Portuguese merchants. The word “tempura” is derived from the Latin word “Tempora”, which refers to “The Ember Days (quattuor anni tempora)”.
Using fresh and seasonal ingredients is the key to creating delicious tempura. It’s important to cut the ingredients to the same size and thickness to ensure all of them are cooked evenly at the same time. Although it might seem like a jumble of vegetables or seafood , but each component delivers something unique to the overall taste! In addition to being eaten as is, it can also be eaten with dipping sauce, salted without sauce, or used in combinations with other dishes. Wowww, おいしい!
I’m pretty sure everyone has heard the word origami at some point, but, if you haven’t, that’s okay! For this post, I’m going to go over a brief history and explanation of this paper art. Don’t worry, I’ll try not to bore you with countless dates and details.
The word, origami, was first branded in 1880. It is a combination of the two Japanese words— oru (to fold) and kami (paper). When the term was initially created, it was named, orikata, for folded shapes. The crane is one of the most renowned figures in the world of origami.
In the 6th century, paper was first introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks. The origins of origami are quite unclear as there are no specific dated records, but the art was established during the beginning of the 7th century. As paper was quite expensive back then, origami was mainly reserved for religious and formal ceremonies, such as wrapped offerings to the gods. (Incidentally, kami is a homonym for spirit or god!)
During the Edo period (1603-1868), people had better access to paper, so the art quickly gained popularity. It has been a classic in Japanese culture ever since. Even in the present, origami has become normal lessons taught in kindergartens. There are many forms that have been created: kirigami, modular, wet folding, and so on. Origami continues to capture the interests of many as it is an art known around the world.
I hope you learned something new about the ancient art of paper folding. Please come out to OJC regardless of your skill level. It’s never to late to learn, and if you’re already advance, I’m sure there’ll be people who would love to learn from you (like me!). Feel free to leave a comment or feedback. Thanks!
Today is Respect of the Aged Day in Japan! It’s a national holiday that is celebrated on the third Monday every September. It’s also called Keiro no Hi. The Holiday can be traced back to 1947 in a small village from the Hyogo Prefecture.
This day is the day to express respect to the elderly, thank them for all the contributions they’ve had to the community, and to congratulate them for their long lives. Elders who turn 100 years old 12 months before this day are given a silver sake dish from the government on this day. Below is a picture of a silver sake dish.
Sadly, due to government costs, the size of cups had shrunk and the government is currently thinking about just sending a letter and ending the practice.
Communities will throw parties and give special gifts to the elders.
In America, we have Grandparents’ Day, but we don’t have a day where we respect the elderly in general. The Japanese show great respect for the elderly. It is part of their culture.
For this day, maybe you can call your grandparents or do something nice to an elder.
In today’s post, we’ll discuss about seiza(正坐／静坐, literally means the ‘proper’ or ‘right’ way of sitting), one of the most traditional sitting postures adopted on formal occasions in Japanese culture. The history of seiza could be traced back to the Muromachi period. In traditional Japanese architecture, floors in various room designed for comfort were completely covered with tatami (straw mats); thus the ruling warrior class adopted this manner of sitting as a way to show respect and formality. To sit seiza-style, one needs to be kneeling on the floor with the calves tucked under the thighs, while resting the buttocks on the heels and toes pointed to support the backside. It’s also important to keep the back straight, fold hands and put on the lap while practicing this posture.
Seiza and traditional Japanese arts are inseparably intertwined, it is the most commonly used sitting posture for calligraphy (flower arrangement), tea ceremony and Buddhist meditation. In modern time, seiza has become less common and popular in Japanese life due to the drastic change in the style of architecture and clothing. Also, seiza is blamed for reducing blood circulation and causing pain from the tight tendons which many parents openly discourage their children from sitting in this manner. However, proponents still believe seiza is the most ideal sitting position because it leads to an alert mind and shows a high level of respect.
I hope everyone had a wonderful summer break! Before you knew it, summer flew by and now you’re back at school.
Hopefully by now, whether you’re a returning student or a freshman, you have settled into life at Urbana-Champaign. On the first day of school, you probably woke up, either super excited or just meh, and hopefully made it to your first class of the day.
Above is a picture of a Japanese Entrance Ceremony for a school. In Japan the very first day of school is important for everyone. Elementary, Middle, High School, and some colleges have an entrance ceremony. Entrance ceremony, also known as nyugakushiki (入学式), is the first day of school. Teachers and the older students usually take a seat in a gym or a big room. Then, the younger students walk in and are greeted by the older students and teachers.
Usually the principal says a speech, encouraging and congratulating students on their first day. This is followed by the older class president then lastly a chose student from the new incoming students goes up and says a speech for his entire classmates. Lastly, the entire school would sing a song.
This ceremony allows the new students to feel more comfortable within the school and identify themselves as students of the school.
Entrance Ceremonies are more common for high schools and middle schools. It is not as common in colleges. However there are companies in Japan that still continue to do something similar to this.
My last comment is whether it is a school or company, people put in a lot of effort to make the newcomers feel comfortable and a part of a bigger community.
I hope everyone had a great first couple weeks of school and is excited for events OJC will be planning!