Nissan builds an origami car to celebrate the fifth birthday of its Juke crossover

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

It’s been five years since Nissan launched its compact Juke SUV/crossover, and the company is celebrating with a very special fifth anniversary edition: a full-size origami model.

Oftentimes, auto manufacturers will mark the round-number birthdays of their best-sellers with a special paint color or extra badging. Nissan, though, instead enlisted English origami artist Owen Gildersleeve to make a paper Juke to commemorate the milestone.

▼ The regular/metallic juke

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Unfortunately, this special car is a one-off, so you won’t find one waiting in the inventory lot of your local Nissan dealer. But if we ever find ourselves in the market for a Juke, and if Nissan is offering “origami” as a factory option at that time, we’ll be tempted to check that box when placing our order.

Owen Gildersleeve website

Make a cute and simple origami chopstick rest with nothing but the wrapper they come in


RocketNews 24:

So you’ve mastered the use of chopsticks and can proudly turn down the offer of a fork when you go to your favorite Asian restaurant. Many upscale eateries will probably supply you with a hashioki or chopstick rest to set the eating-end of your utensils on when not in use. At more casual restaurants, though, you have no choice but to lay them across your plate or setting them on a napkin so as not to touch the table’s surface.

Or, if you’re feeling crafty and would like to try your hand at some origami, you can use the paper wrapper your chopsticks came in to create a cute and useful peacock chopstick rest!

Even if you’re not a very crafty or dexterous person, if you know how to make a paper airplane, you’ve pretty much got the beginnings of this peacock origami down! And don’t worry if you don’t speak Japanese – the visuals in this video are easy enough to follow along with.

Prince William meets tsunami survivors in Miyagi

Japan Times:

Britain’s Prince William stood atop a hill Sunday in Miyagi Prefecture, stretched below him barren land known as the “Bay of Destruction,” where a tsunami swept ashore four years ago.

On the last leg of his four-day visit to Japan, William laid a bouquet near a shrine gate that overlooks the bay to commemorate the victims. Of the nearly 19,000 people who died in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, nearly 3,300 were residents of the coastal town of Ishinomaki. About 22,000 lost their homes.

The tragedy of Ishinomaki has been repeated across the shoreline, where communities are still trying to rebuild, mourning lost lives and worried about the future, as the younger generation leaves in droves. Thousands of people are still living in temporary housing and many are dependent on aid for food and clothing.

William, who earlier visited more lively and modern spots in Tokyo, had insisted that his first ever trip to Japan include the tsunami-stricken region.

Teruko Sekiguchi, a 42-year-old housewife and Ishinomaki resident, waited for the prince’s arrival on top of the hill in the cold rain for more than hour. She was touched he would come all the way out to the disaster region.

He is gorgeous. You can feel his kindness,” she said.

When the tsunami hit, Sekiguchi fled to a nearby junior high school and waited for a week, feeling miserable, not even knowing whether her husband, a schoolteacher, had survived. When he finally came to find her, she was so overjoyed she just cried and couldn’t even walk toward him, she recalled. Although the area below the hill, previously filled with small homes, has been cleaned of debris, no one will live there again. Plans are still being studied to turn it into a park.

It’s like the area has been finally cleaned up enough into a white canvas so we can start painting on it,” said Kimio Abe, who heads his own company installing heating and air conditioning.

Abe was also among the crowd of about 80 people waiting on hilltop for the prince. Abe’s home, near the hill, was also half destroyed by the tsunami, but he fixed it up and still lives in one room with his wife.

Earlier in the day, William visited a local newspaper, which had produced handwritten newsletters right after the tsunami to keep communication going.

William wanted to know what the journalists had done, what the rescue operations was like, as well as the personal background of Hiroyuki Takeuchi, a journalist at the Ishinomaki Hibi newspaper.

It remains with you forever. You remember where you were. It must have been unbelievably terrifying for you and all the others,” William told Takeuchi.

Akemi Solloway, founder of the London-based Aid for Japan, which supports tsunami orphans, said William’s visit will not only provide a morale boost for the residents, but also reassurance that their plight has not been forgotten and renewed international awareness of their daily struggles.

William later went to another tsunami-hit coastal town, Onagawa, welcomed by a traditional lion dance to the cheerful music of wooden flutes and drums.

At a shopping area that sold local goods by storekeepers trying to turn their lives around, he rang a bell that survived the tsunami, called the “Chime of Hope.”

The prince met a couple whose children died in the tsunami. He offered them his sympathy and said that he, too, had lost a member of his family in a tragic way, NHK reported. Local children presented him with a paper crane at Hiyoriyama Park in Ishinomaki.

William returned by bullet train to Tokyo and later Sunday left on a visit to Beijing.

William will leave Japan for China on Sunday night.

Incredible origami dinosaurs, angels, flowers, and other creatures created by artist Adam Tran

Big Jaws

Laughing Squid:

Adam Tran, a skilled origami artist from Vietnam and member of the Vietnam Origami Group (VOG) has created an incredible series of dinosaurs, flowers, and other creatures, all through the beautiful craft of folding paper.


Green Dinosaur



Red Flowers



Praying Mantis

photos by Adam Tran

February 22 is Ninja Day, as these cosplaying civil servants at Koka City Hall just reminded us

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Are you feeling bummed out that February’s two most high-profile holidays, namely Twin Tail Day and Valentine’s Day, are both already over and done with? Cheer up! While it may not necessarily tug at the heartstrings like February 2 and 14, what’s arguably the coolest holiday of the month is coming up this weekend.

That’s because February 22 is officially Ninja Day, and one town in Japan is helping people get into the spirit with a bit of shinobi-style cosplay at its city hall.

The kanji for Shiga Prefecture’s Koka City can also be read as “Koga,” which is a name Japanese history buffs might be familiar with. The Koga Ninja who were based in the area were one of the most formidable shadow warrior forces of Japan’s feudal era, and present-day Koka wholeheartedly embraces this part of its history.

▼ Even the floor of this Koka train station is decorated in a throwing-star pattern.

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Japan loves its puns, and someone noticed that ni, the Japanese word for “two,” is pronounced just like the first of the three syllables in “ninja” (yes, in Japanese, “n” is a syllable all of its own). Before long, support grew for February 22 (2-22) to be known Ninja Day, a designation now officially recognized by the Japan Anniversary Association (the same group which has given its nod of approval to the aforementioned Twintail Day).

In celebration, the five-employee team at the Koka City Tourism Promotion Office has spent the week commuting and working in attire that reflects their city’s claim to fame.

Just to be clear, their workspace isn’t located in the middle of an amusement park or museum. These civil servants go about their duties right smack in the middle of Koka City Hall, just a shuriken’s throw away from the sections of the municipal government responsible for registering marriages and official residence addresses.

Speaking of shuriken, this week the members of the Tourism Promotion Office have also been handing out origami throwing stars to visitors who’ve come in to ask for information about local attractions. On Ninja Day itself, they’ll also be onboard trains on the local Shigaraki Kohgen Railway, once again making paper versions of the tossable tools of the ninja trade.

▼ The mysterious shinobi keep their masks on at all times, even when doing desk work or talking on the phone.

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Obviously, the Tourism Promotion Office staff would be happiest if you celebrated Ninja Day by taking a trip to their lovely town, maybe to see Koka’s Minakuchi Castle. If you absolutely can’t make it to the home of the Koga Ninja, though, you’ll be happy to know that other organizations across Japan are also doing something special to mark the occasion, with specific details available here on the English-language version of the official Ninja Day website.

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Skilled Japanese artist creates intricate cut-paper origami cranes


RocketNews 24:

Kiri-e (切り絵) is the Japanese art of hand-cutting paper into intricate designs. Kirigami(切り紙), on the other hand, involves cutting and folding paper to create a 3-D image that pops right off the page. But one talented Japanese artist has combined these two traditional art forms, creating folded paper cranes that contain a seemingly impossible-to-achieve cut-out design. Let’s take a closer look at her stunning artwork!

Going by the name Uni (Japanese for “sea urchin) on her Twitter, this steady-handed artist shows an amazing amount of skill as she’s able to fold, cut and bend paper into a delicately designed paper crane. Here is just a small sample of Uni’s work:

She’s also amazingly able to replicate the same technique and style in miniature form, shrinking her designs down to the size of a 1-yen coin (22 millimeters/0.87 inches).

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Uni has also created stained glass paper cranes. The way the light passes through each hand-cut panel is simply gorgeous!

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Of course, Uni makes traditional kiri-e creations as well. Here’s a beautiful flower cut from a single piece of paper:

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We’re sure by now you can’t get enough of Uni’s beautiful artwork. So hop on over to her pixiv site for more of her kiri-e and kirigami paper cranes!

Awesome origami artist recreates the creatures of Monster Hunter

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RocketNews 24:

Although it’s had only limited success internationally, in its home country of Japan, the video game series Monster Hunter is a massive hit. New titles have been released for the series at a pace of more than one a year, and the franchise can count 17 titles since it began in 2004.

Monster Hunter is popular enough that you could argue that it’s become one of Japan’s national pastimes, so maybe it was only a matter of time before someone thought to combine it with another of the country’s favorite cultural activities, the paper-folding art of origami.

The first image most people think of when hearing the word origami is that of a paper crane. The precisely creased lines combine with the lightness of the paper to create an effect that’s at both strong and graceful, much like watching a real crane soar through the skies.

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But what if you’re not interested in such delicate designs? Can origami instead be used to create something ferocious and powerful, like Monster Hunter’s dreaded mountain dragon, the Lao-Shan Lung?

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Sure it can. As a matter of fact, you won’t need more than a single sheet of paper to pull it off, as shown in this video created by Niconico Douga user Asa.

For the proper scale, you’ll need a pretty big sheet, and the video makes use of a square measuring 90 centimeters (35.4 inches) on each side.

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Once you’ve got that, all you’ve got to do is make the proper folds. The video even gives you directions to follow, so how hard could it be?

▼ Oh….

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That fancy geometric design may look like the pattern on a traditional kimono, but it’s actually a layout of all the folds that need to be made to complete the paper Lao-Shan Lung. To give you an idea of how the whole thing comes together, the video’s creator highlights the most basic elements of the structure, then combines them and shows how they can be used to produce s simplified model of the finished product.

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Of course, that blocky little guy isn’t going to strike fear into even the least experienced monster hunters, which is where all of the extra embellishments of the complete plan come in.

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Each tiny crease needs to be formed precisely, and Asa comments during the video that as the process went on, it became increasingly harder to keep his concentration up. Intense focus is essential though, as a single mistake of crushing or tearing the paper would ruin all of the work leading up to that point.

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Some of the most intricate details are found in the dragon’s head.

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The creature’s rock-like body means that it also needs a row of craggy spikes along its spine.

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▼ The complete version

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It’s amazing that not only is the Lao-Shan Lung balanced well-enough to stand on its own, if you were the sadistic type, you could slowly undo the entire process, fold by fold, and end up with a flat sheet of paper once again.

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Of course, the Lao-Shan Lung isn’t the only terrifying colossus in Monster Hunter. The key to the game’s popularity is its extensive pantheon of creatures, such as the gigantic Rathalos.

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But while the poisonous wyverns are a major challenge for Monster Hunter players, they once again are no match for Asa’s origami skills.

▼ The plan, detailing clockwise from upper right, one wings, the legs, the other wing, the head, and at the center, the tail.

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▼ Forming the tail

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▼ All done

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Next on Asa’s list is another wyvern, the Basarios, which has a much bulkier build than the sleek Rathalos.

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▼ A whole family of Basarioses….or should that be Basariosi?

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And while it’s common knowledge that dragons are by far the coolest fantasy monsters, this origami artist also took the time to show some love for the crab-like Daimyo Hermitaur.

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Mastered origami? Try the next traditional Japanese paper art: kirie!

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RocketNews 24:

Most people who have a fondness for Japan have encountered origami at one point or another. It’s certainly one of the most famous of the Japanese paper arts and the origami crane carries so much more meaning than a simple piece of paper.

Another Japanese art that utilizes the complexities of paper is kirie, or paper cutting art. All it takes is a craft knife, a little dedication and free time and you can turn a black piece of paper into a stand-out work of art. Looking for a new hobby this winter vacation? Look no further than kirie!

Mentions of kirie date back to even before the Nara Period and used in ceremonies for the different Japanese gods. Nowadays though, it’s a craft/hobby with fans around the world. It’s pretty easy to see how kirie has become popular nowadays, as kirie projects are just calling to you whenever you open any manga.

One Japanese Internet user has shared her works online with the simple title of “Had a craft knife and some time, so I decided to learn kirie.” The results are pretty awesome.

The incredibly talented artist only started kirie two years ago, and she has already produced some really amazing and intricate pieces of art.

A little Hatsune Miku and one of the first kirie the artist made.

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Not limited to just anime characters either.

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Final Fantasy X-2 Yuna 

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The Beatles

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Not satisfied with simple black outlines, the artist also decided to add some color to her work. At first glance it might look like she mounted the kirie and then painted inside of it.

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However, upon closer inspection, you can tell it’s actually more cut paper! Even the shadows have been meticulously cut out and added to the art in order to give it that unbelievable depth.

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A colored version of Luka.

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Here are some in-progress shots so you can see just how detailed the work is.

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A colored version of Yuna.

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Whether these pictures intimidate you into never picking up a craft knife, or inspire you head to the arts and craft store, we can all appreciate the beauty and effort that went into them.

Soaragami: A portable armrest divider that uses the principles of Origami to foster cooperation between passengers


Soarigami: Patent-pending consumer travel product that ends all in-flight armrest battles.

Soarigami, a company whose mission is “to unfold savvier skies” has developed a the “Airmail Edition,” a novel portable armrest divider that uses the core principles of origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, to foster cooperation between fellow passengers by eliminating the need for the inevitable armrest battle.

Savvy travelers hate fighting for the armrest. However, they also hate carrying unnecessary clutter around. …Introducing the Soarigami Airmail Edition, our pilot concept. The Soarigami is a consumer product that attaches onto any armrest to extend the space and allow two people to comfortably share. The origami-inspired design makes the device thin and sleek, perfect for any savvy traveler’s carry-on. Made from plastic parts (not paper).

Soarigami “Airmail Edition” will be available for pre-order in early 2015.


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Soarigami has also come up with their “Annoying Passenger Anthem” a very amusing, yet very accurate song that describes the woes of traveling by air.



Hello, booger eater you’re so gross
No one likes your selfie pose
Buddy, we all know that it was you
Please wait till you’re at home to poo

That’s why I don’t like to fly
More ways to cry
That’s why I don’t like to fly
Just wanna cry

Hello, smelly toes come out to play
Stinky pits are here to stay
Chatty Cathy wants to talk some more
Struggle in an armrest war

images via Soarigami