Train Folding

Train Folding

There are some things that fall into the “only in Japan” category, not because they require location, but because they require all the elements to fall into place.   Such was my experience on the train to Himeji when we noticed the woman across the way, patiently folding delightful origami birds and boxes.   Americans aren’t accustomed to traveling on passenger trains, so just sitting on the Shinkansen, whizzing across Japan en route to the famous Himeji Castle was a foundation for an interesting cultural experience.  Most people read, look out the window, snooze or maybe listen to music on long train and car rides.  A very few people might knit or something of that nature, but it’s not common for people to make things while traveling.  The US is also not a country with a single, unique pastime that can be enjoyed by everyone – knitting and crocheting don’t count.  Origami, on the other hand, is a singularly unique Japanese pastime that is learned young and, apparently, practiced throughout life.   Which brings us to the origami lady – who was seated across the aisle from us on the train.  Apparently she was just as enchanted with our enthusiastic videoing of Mt. Fuji and the train experience as we were with her patient folding of many different origami delights.  She gave us the peacock pictured here, let us take her picture, and then went on to fold an entire bag of peacocks, boxes and other items for the entire train ride.

Origami Peacock

Birds on Train Lady

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