Adorable Animals

Hey everyone!

Today’s post is about making animals. As always, I’ve included three projects with varying degrees of difficulty, so don’t worry. We’re going to be folding a frog, a bunny, and an elephant.

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Frog

The easiest one would have to be a jumping frog. I used to make these all the time as a kid. This project is actually made out of a rectangular piece of paper. Therefore, you can either fold a square piece in half, or use half the sheet. The online instructions may be a little confusing, so I’m also linking a video from Proud Paper Official.

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Moon Rabbit

The bunny is a little bit harder than the frog. Personally, I find the diagram for this one to be a difficult to interpret, so I think this video from Origami How To is very helpful. This figure begins with a bird base most commonly seen in cranes. If you don’t remember how to fold one, I recommend watching the video.

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Elephant

The final figure I have for today is the elephant. It does take a little bit of time to fold, and the folds are not traditionally basic. You’ll understand what I mean when you watch the video. But, other than that, it really is quite an fun project and the elephant is so cute.

Hopefully everyone tries at least one of these out. Have fun and good luck! ^__^

Have a great day,

Yada

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Trick Or Treating

Hello Everyone!

I hope October is treating you well! Halloween is right around the corner and many of you might have already made plans on how you’re going to be spending it: costume parties, trick or treating, and etc. Similarly, Halloween is a fun day in Japan as well!

In America, trick or treat is a traditional activity. Children go out to their neighborhoods and knock on doors asking, “Trick or Treat”. Then they would receive candy and different small trinkets.

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Figure 1

People in Japan often go out to Halloween parties; however, trick or treating is still not as popular as it is in America.

Well first of all to go trick or treating, people have to pay in the neighborhoods that are hosting the trick or treating events. Second of all, children could only go to specific houses and only the people who paid before could go. Lastly, the children don’t say “trick or treat”. Instead, they say “Happy Halloween”. You can learn more about it by clicking on this video.

Why is this case? In Japan, there is a desire to avoid being a bother/pain to someone else. Going trick or treating can be imposing another house for candy and be real inconvenience (Reference).

There are different yummy looking candy treats. Most of these are very popular and often made to match the Halloween theme.

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Figure 2  (Yummy!)

I hope the post help explain why trick or treating is different in Japan than it is in America. In Japan, people really do not want to be an inconvenience to others.

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Figure 3

Have a fun and safe Halloween everyone!

Peace!

Hanna

Bats, Ghosts, and Pumpkins

Hey everyone!

Happy Halloween!!! I know it’s a bit early for celebrations, but the origami meeting for this month was Saturday, October 15th. That’s plenty of time to practice the ghost I taught. I would consider the level of this on the easier side, and it’s super fun because you can draw whatever face you want on it. Will yours be friendly or scary?

I had two other projects planned, but we didn’t get to them due to time constraints. The jack-o-lantern is about the same level of the ghost. Plus, you get to practice making the square base for this one! Like carving a pumpkin, you can add whatever face you want onto this. If you want a normal pumpkin, I would suggest making a stem and gluing it onto the back.

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Jack-o-Lantern
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Ghost

Finally, I saved the bat for last. It may be a little confusing at first, but I would rank this project as intermediate. This project is not composed of one of the basic folds, so that might throw you off a bit at first. The video is very easy to follow, though! For the eyes, I used my hole puncher to create white circles to glue on.img_4060

Bat

That’s all I have for today! To the right is an example of all the origami I have introduced today. I used them to decorate my dorm room door. Hope you are all inspired to fold Halloween origami this year. Good luck everyone!

Have a wicked day,
Yada

Useful smartphone apps!

Hello! This is Stacie, your Japanese director.

Today, I’m going to introduce some useful apps for people who want to learn the Japanese writing system! It’s mainly Hiragana and Katakana because Kanji is a little bit more difficult to learn.

Here are the apps I will be introducing: Screenshot_20161017-160946.jpg

1. Kana Town: Hiragana & Katakana (rating: 4.8/5)

This is my personal favorite out of the five, but it has its pros and cons. Kana Town is an app that lets you study Hiragana and Katakana. There is also a section for vocabulary, but they are very basic. However, there is an option that allows you to purchase more vocab packs.

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The picture above is what the app looks like when you open it. It tells you how much you mastered Hiragana and Katakana. If you click on the Hiragana tab, it will look like the picture below.

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As you can see, there is a list of all the Hiragana characters to choose from. You can go at your own pace by clicking just the ones you want to study and then choosing the option to practice only selected kanas. You can gradually increase the amount as you get more confident. When you select the ones you want to study (or select randomize), the picture below will show up.

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A character will show up and you have to type in the correct answer. The picture above showed く so I would type in “ku” and it it will move on to the next one. If you get it wrong on the first try, you can continue guessing or give up and get the answer. All of this works the same way for Katakana.

I personally think this app is very nicely organized and very easy to use. The design is very clean too. The only downside for me is that you can’t practice writing the Hiragana and Katakana. This app is only for being able to recognize them. However, this is a great way to get into learning the characters.

2. Dr. Moku’s Hiragana & Katakana (rating: 4.3/5)

This is for people who are having difficulty memorizing the characters! This app gives you fun and creative ways to memorize each character. The picture below is what you will see.

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As you can see, it gives you creative ways to memorize each character. The only downside is that it costs money. The app itself is free, but you are given very few characters to study unless you purchase the full version. With just the free version, there is very little to do and you can’t really learn much. However, it is helpful and a fun way to learn. For those who are interested or having difficulty memorizing the characters, I would suggest for you guys to check out this app and maybe consider purchasing the full version!

3. Hiragana – Read and Write (rating 4.5/5)

4. Katakana – Read and Write (rating 4.5/5)

5. Kanji – Read and Write (rating 4.3/5)

These three apps are grouped together because they are by the same creators. This app is very nicely organized for beginners. When you open the app, you will see the screen below.

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There is an introduction page that explains the Japanese writing system and about the app. If you want, you can go straight to lesson one without reading the introduction. Here is a picture of lesson one below.

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This app breaks down the Hiragana characters into small lessons. Each lesson teaches you about the characters and gives detailed explanations of what’s important. You can also practice writing the characters. The app will give you random characters and you will have to write them in the box. Unfortunately, it’s randomized so you will have to either learn all the characters or just skip the ones you don’t know yet.

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The Katakana app works exactly the same way as the Hiragana one, but just with Katakana characters. The Kanji one is a little bit more complicated since there is no chart to refer to. The Kanji app is a nice introduction to beginners and teachers you simple Kanji. I think it’s a nice way to start, but definitely not the app to help you learn the 2000 Kanji you need to know.

And that’s all I have!

I personally think the Hiragana, Katakana, & Kanji app is more useful than Kana Town if you want to learn the characters in more detail, how to use them, and what to look out for. You can also practice writing and listen to the pronunciations. The three apps might be a nice way to learn the characters for people who are completely new to the language. Kana Town is a nice way to review and make sure you know how to read each character. Dr. Moku helps you learn in fun ways so you can memorize better. Each one is different and has its own pros and cons. Try each one out and see what works for you.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this helpful!

Kappa

Hi Everyone,

     Kappas (kawatarō 河童/川太郎literally means river child) are the most mischievous and mysterious water-typed demon in traditional Japanese folklore. They are distinguished by having a small pool of water suspended on their flat hairless head to indicate their habitat and life force. Their appearance is described as similar to the look of a frog or monkey the size of a human child. More than that, their scaly reptilian skins can be green, yellow or blue. Their physical features include a shell and beak. They could swim in water like fish. They would lose all of their powers and may even die if they ever dry out. Modern culture tends to portray them as a cute and harmless creature. However, during the Edo period, this humanoid sprite was viewed as vicious and ferocious. They would dwell in lakes, rivers and other swampy areas to wait for their prey. Children and women were most likely to become their victims. Kappa would drown them, drink their blood, eat their livers and take away their shirikodama (尻子玉), which translates literally as “small anus ball”. This is the strangest part of this folktale. It is believed to be a mythical ball that contains the soul of a human and it can grant the kappa magnificent powers.

Folklorist/manga artist Mizuki Shigeru wrote:

“Ever since I was a child I heard that I had to be careful in the water because the kappa would try and take my shirikodama. It was said that in the water, a kappa would come from below, extend an arm upwards and stick a hand up your anus to extract the ball.”

As the example above suggested, Kappa is also used as a warning to keep children aware of the danger of drowning in lakes and rivers.  

One of the most interesting facts about them is that cucumber is their traditional favorite meal. So if you ever meet a kappa in your life, you should bribe them with a cucumber they would promise to fulfill all of your wishes and you can protect yourself from being killed. 

I hope you enjoy this post! o(‧”‧)o

Warm wishes,

Xue

 

 

 

Origami Artist Spotlight: Tomoko Fuse

Hey OJC! This is Sasha, one of the Origami Directors, and today I want to tell you about Tomoko Fuse, one of my  favorite origami artists.

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If you have ever seen any beautiful modular origami, chances are the person behind them is Tomoko Fuse.  Born in Niigata, Japan in 1951, she first began learning origami when she was bored in a hospital as a child and continued to pursue her passion after graduating high school.  tomoko_fuse

At the age of 19, she began studying under the renowned origami master Toyoaki Kawai.  Despite having such an influential mentor, Tomoko Fuse developed her own style and became one of the people who pioneered the field of modular origami.  She is most known for the countless books that she has written since 1981, which have been published in many languages, including Japanese, Korean, and English.

 

Online Instructions

There are many resources online with instructions on how to  make many of Tomoko’s models.  Here are two to get you started:

http://origamitutorials.com/tag/tomoko-fuse/

http://goorigami.com/tag/tomoko-fuse

Books

If you would like to take your modular origami skills to the next level, below are a couple of books that have been extremely popular over the years:

Unit Polyhedron Origami, Amazon Link

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Floral Origami Globes, Amazon Link

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If you are going to buy any of these books through Amazon, please remember to use smile.amazon.com, which allows you to donate a small portion of your eligible purchase to a charity of your choice, at no extra charge to you! 🙂

Links to instructions for the beautiful modulars at the beginning of this post:

Icosahedron and Rose Unit Kusudama

Origami Meeting!

If you liked what you saw in this post (or even if you didn’t), don’t forget to come out to our first full-length Origami Meeting!  Come to learn how to fold some awesome models (I’ve heard rumors that there will be origami cats) and meet fellow origami enthusiasts. Paper and guidance will be provided (please pay dues! c: ) but feel free to bring your own ideas and supplies.

When: Saturday, October 15, 1:00 p.m. CST

Where: Greg Hall Room 223 (follow our Facebook page for updates)

 

Saturday, October 8 Meeting

Hello! This is Stacie, your Japanese director.

If you came to the meeting today, thanks for coming! For those who couldn’t come to the meeting today, don’t worry! I will write about what we learned in this post. Those who came today can use this to review what you learned. This was the first Japanese meeting and I didn’t know everyone’s levels so I stuck with self-introduction and some basic information on sentence structure.

自己紹介 (jikoshoukai) is the Japanese word for self-introduction. We went over things like how to ask what someone’s name is, how to say what year you are in school, and how many people are in your family.

名前 (namae) is the Japanese word for “name.” To ask someone what their name is, you would say お名前は何ですか? (onamae wa nan desu ka?). This translates to “What is your name?” To answer this question, you want to say ____です。( ____desu.) which translates to “I am ____.” So if someone asked me お名前は何ですか?, I would respond “ステイシーです. (ステイシー is how I write my name in Japanese!)

Next, we learned how to ask someone what year in school they are. 何年生ですか? (nan nensei desu ka?) translates to “What year in school are you?” You would respond by saying ___年生です。(___nensei desu.) which translates to “I am a ____.” In Japanese, we don’t have special words like freshman or sophomore. We use numbers instead. For example, if you are a freshman, you would say I am a first year. Freshman, or first year, is 1年生 (ichi nensei). Sophomore, or second year, is 2年生 (ni nensei). Junior, or third year, is 3年生 (san nensei). Senior, or fourth year, is 4年生 (yo nensei). I am a sophomore so I would respond to the question by saying 2年生です (ni nensei desu).

The last part of the 自己紹介 (jikoshoukai) was saying how many family members you have. “Family” in Japanese is 家族 (kazoku). 家族は何人いますか? (kazoku wa nan nin imasu ka?) translates to “How many people are in your family?” You would respond to this question by saying __人います。(__nin imasu.) which translates to “I have __people (in my family).” In our meeting today, everyone had 3, 4, or 5 people in their family. If you have 3 people, you would say 3人います (san nin imasu). I didn’t introduce all the numbers in club today, but here are the counters for people:

1 person – 1人 (hitori)

2 people – 2人 (futari)

3 people – 3人 (san nin)

4 people – 4人 (yo nin)

5 people – 5人 (go nin)

6 people – 6人 (roku nin)

and so on. As you can see, the counter for people is irregular when you want to say “1 person” or “2 people.” There are many irregular ways to count and say numbers in Japanese depending on the situation. I will go into more detail about this in the future!

Lastly, I explain a little bit about the basic sentence structure. The basic sentence structure looks something like this: _____は_____です。は (wa) is the topic marking particle. です (desu) is the sentence ender. If you take a look at は, some of you might notice that it is the Hiragana character for “ha.” So why is it read as “wa”? This is because it is a particle used in a sentence. When “は” is part of a word, it is read as “ha.” In this case, you would read it as “wa” because it is used in a sentence as a particle. You might also be confused on what exactly です (desu) is. There is no equivalent word in English for this and it’s not really translatable. It is normally just called a sentence ender because it usually ends a sentence. The use of です (desu) can be seen above with the sentences ___です。( ____desu) and ___年生です。(___nensei desu). Here is an example using this sentence structure: 私はステイシーです。(watashi wa Stacie desu). In this sentence, 私 (watashi / I) is the topic, は (wa) is the topic marking particle, ステイシー (Stacie) is my name, and です is the sentence ender. All together, it means “I am Stacie.”

Another thing I explained was the question marker, か (ka). Whenever you’re asking a question, your sentences will usually end with a か (ka). This can be seen above with the questions お名前は何ですか? (onamae wa nan desu ka?), 何年生ですか? (nan nensei desu ka?), and 家族は何人いますか? (kazoku wa nan nin imasu ka?). Because か (ka) is the question marker, you actually don’t need to put a question mark at the end of the sentence. For example, you can say お名前は何ですか。 (onamae wa nan desu ka。) and it would still be a question even though there is no question mark at the end. Because there is a か (ka) at the end, it becomes a question. However, this does not mean the question mark is unnecessary in the Japanese language because there are cases where a question will not end with か (ka). In these cases, you must add a question mark to let others know it is a question. I will not go into detail about different cases because this is just a simple introduction.

And that’s it! That’s all we covered in our first meeting.

If you didn’t already, please fill in this form: http://tinyurl.com/j74ubwk

If you have any questions regarding the things I talked about, feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment down below!

Thanks and I hope I see you next meeting!

Yuki-onna

Hello Everyone!

October has finally arrived! And you know what that means…. HALLOWEEN!

In the United States, we have lots of well known monsters: vampire, werewolves, poltergeist, and more. As you guys might have already assumed, different countries have different monsters.

Today I will be talking about the yuki-onna. A yokai monster (ghost, supernatural, spirit) from Japan.

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The picture on the left (Figure 1) is a picture of an older depiction of the yuki-onna. The picture on the right (Figure 2) depicts a more modern picture of the yuki-onna.

Yuki-onna is literally translated into “snow woman”. There are many different myths and depictions of the yuki-onna. However, the appearance is generally the same. She is usually dressed in a kimono; however, there have been depictions of her nude. She has long black hair and pure white skin. Her eyes are known to be terrifying.

The origins of this yokai remains something of a mystery. She was supposedly a young girl who died on a snowy man. Hence why they typically live in mountains with snow. However, modern times depict them in places anywhere with snow.

Yuki-onna is very well known in Japan. And yet, there is no one single myth. There are myths of her being a blood sucking vampire, who goes and steal the blood and souls of men who she seduced. However, there are also myths of her being a loving mother and caring lover who fell in love with her prey.

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Figure 3

There is one well known myth about her. There were two woodcutters named Mosaku and Minokichi. One night there was a strong snowstorm so they took shelter in a hut. However in the middle of the night, Minokichi woke up and saw a woman with black hair and dressed in white. She was breathing on Mosaku’s face. The woman approached Minokichi and said to him “I planned on treating you like the other man. However, you are young and I pity you. Never tell anyone about this or else I will kill you” and she left. One whole year passed after this, Minokichi had not uttered a word of what he saw that day. He marries a young women and has children with her. One night, Minokichi tells her of the Yuki-onna he had met. His wife turned to him yells at him and announced that she was the yuki-onna from that night. However, she decided to spare him one last time for the children they had together. Then she melted into mist and disappeared.

Here is the link to the full story! Yuki-Onna story

I hope everyone learned a lot about the yuki-onna. If you’re thinking about a costume for Halloween, maybe this is something you want to try!

Peace!

Hanna