Not everything on the Kettle List is an exciting outdoorsy adventure, or designed to snap me in half. Some of them are craft based and have a bit more substance, like my task of making 1000 origami cranes
I have therefore started on my epic paper folding journey as I hope to create 1000 cranes by 2027. If you go check out this vlog, you’ll notice that I didn’t do a tutorial, but included links to videos I have used, which will make folding your own cranes that bit easier. My favourite ones are Lelya Torres & Tavin’s Origami Instructions. So what’s the deal with cranes then? And why am I making 1000 of the things! (That’s like 8 a month, every month, for the next 10 years!)
Senbazuru – 千羽鶴
According to Japanese culture the crane is considered a magical, mystical animal that represents both good fortune and longevity. This may be because it was believed that cranes could live for 1000 years, which in turn may have led to the belief that folding 1000 origami cranes would result in your wish coming true. As origami was originally reserved for religious purposes, mainly due to the cost of paper as it was imported from China, this task would have been near unachievable for the majority of people to complete. While an origami crane is called orizuri (折鶴) the word senbazuru (千羽鶴 ) is used when talking about 1000 cranes. This term is first used in a 1797 book called “Senbazuru Orikake” – which contained instructions on how to fold them. While the practise is hundreds of years old, it came to global prominence with the story of Sadako Sasaki.
As a child she was exposed to radiation after the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. Despite surviving the bomb, she was later diagnosed with leukaemia. Hoping that her wish to survive the disease would come true, she set about folding 1000 cranes. Now, depending on which version you read one of two things happened: In the short story by Eleanor Coerr “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes”it is claimed that Sadako did not get to complete her task – reaching 644 cranes before finally succumbing to her illness. To honour her final wish, her classmates continued the folding and she was buried with a wreath of 1000 cranes in October 1955, aged 12. However her family claim she succeeded in making not just the prerequisite 1000 cranes, but more, and that her classmates made an additional senbazuru which was buried with her.
Whatever the true story, there now stands a statue of a young girl holding a crane above her outstretched arms in Hiroshima peace park.
The story also inspired a number of peace memorials around the world…
I then also need to decide what my wish will be, and what I will do with 1000 cranes once they are completed…I love the idea of taking some to Hiroshima and placing them on the Children’s Peace Monument. It’s somewhere I would really like to visit, along with other parts of Southern Japan, so maybe that could be where some will end up. In fact spending my 50th Birthday in Japan would take the whole Bucket list full circle, as I visited the country just after my 40th birthday – wonder what the Customs Officers will make of a string of paper cranes in my luggage?