Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

This video was taken November 24, 2007 at the Japanese Gardens in Van Nuys, Ca. It was their first origami festival.

One of my gymnasts came to the event (she even did a backhandspring for Joe); so that explains the non-origami-related family footage in the 2nd half of the video.

The second video is just spare footage, including a few clips from my earlier excursion-invites at the Gardens.

Photos can be seen here and here.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Chinese-American Museum Lantern Festival (2006)

For more pictures, click on the photo.

I was cleaning through my files, and found this half-baked project. It's dated February 18th, 2006. The Year of the Dog.
There's nothing special in this video, that hasn't been seen in others; but it's memories for Yami, Joe, and myself.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Yami Yamauchi's Origami Panel at PMX 2007

This is the raw video footage from Yami's Panel demonstration at Pacific Asia Media Expo, November 11, 2007. I believe this is our 3rd year at this event. One of these days, I will make videos, covering the other two years. I also have clips of this year's, that I also might piece together.

One befuddled old lady at the Hilton (near LAX, where the event was held, as last year) walked up to our tables and told Joe and I, "You're the only normal ones here".
You get the idea?

And what? Joe, "normal"?

Joe always says he's too shy to give panel discussions and be on-stage (yet he draws the biggest audience around him all day long, entertaining people with his
humor and origami at our booth). So Yami and I always do this. I think we get better, each time.

I wish I had the foresight to have someone video my segment, as that was fun too
. (I seldom hand the camera over to Yami- you know how old people are with high tech stuff? Exactly!). But at least the "master" is preserved on film, in all his humor and glory.

Here are my photos. For those of you into cosplay, you can find more PMX vids at YouTube.

We had the pleasure of Larry Davis' company the final few hours on Sunday.

Happy 71st birthday, by the way, Yami!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Won Park Demonstrations

Apparently, people are having some difficulties in understanding how to fold the fins on Won Park's dollar koi.

I was going to try to upload a video of Won folding his model at OUSA, but it's just so damn long (he's a slow, meticulous folder); and I haven't found the patience to edit and condense it down to something viewable and easily uploadable.

For now, here is Won Park folding the fins to his koi fish:

Won Park Folds The Fins On His Dollar Koi

I apologize for the lack of explanation (remember: I was filming him folding it- not teaching it), any blurry moments, and had no control over his fingers being "in the way". Hopefully, as a supplemental to Marcio's diagrams, it will help.

As a bonus, I found in my files, this clip of Won Park demonstrating his jumping frog:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Nisei Week, Los Angeles, CA

I was not present on either weekend of Nisei Week this year. Management of vendors and artisans had changed hands, and it was a bit chaotic and uncertain; I ended up scheduling myself with other work, abandoning Yami and Joe to handle it. I filmed a few clips of their modest setup on one afternoon that I was able to make it to "J" Town, after work.

You can see photos here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How to Make a Snappy Coke Bottle Container

This model has gained traction, thanks to Tricia Tait's introduction of it at OUSA 2007. I received one from her, with an origami "hacky sack" in it.

Based on some inquiry and interest on the Origami-L, I decided I'd make a tutorial video.

It really is a great little container. I love the snapping sound it makes when you open and close it.

Leyles Torres had made clear and concise diagrams as well, back in July. Consider this video as supplemental.

Here is Tricia Tait's explanation to the O-List on how she discovered the container:
I learned the Coke bottle container while attending an origami related event this past March in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (celebration of the DoBras 3 year anniversary) I saw many members with colorful origami models in these clear, sturdy, and interesting looking containers. My friend from Brazil, Jaja Gryzbowski, commented that the group has been doing this for a number of years as an effort to recycle and protect models. They even had some special Coke containers in gold and also fuscia! I find the 1 and a halfliter bottles are especially nice for larger pieces.

The funny thing is that my 16 year old son, who drinks Pepsi, had taken to drinking Coke- just so that I'd have enough bottles to bring to teach at our convention this past June. (There go all my efforts to encourage him to drink healthy beverages, including water :-0) I'm not even sure that going out of the way to buy a beverage just to get the container is a good example of recyling! The bottles make great containers, though. I store a variety of items in these including vitamins for traveling.


p.s. The 16.9 oz. bottle makes a bit of a deeper container than the 20 oz.
one because of where the curve is. Also beware- the 2 liter ones don't work at all since there isn't a curve at all. If you find the 1 1/2 liter size-
go for it!

Some of the 20 ounce coke containers have now changed (hopefully it's not permanent...I've seen one store receive the old bottles again....Cherry Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, and Vanilla Coke still use the old bottles). Faye Goldman offers suggestions and verbal directions:

For all of you who recently learned how to make those neat holders out of the Coke bottles and were disappointed to see that the new coke bottles don't have the same 5 grooves in their sides, take heart! The old Sprite bottles still work. I have tried to estimating 6ths, on the new Coke bottles to see if that works. The 'waist' is higher, so it will mean a bigger holder. The six sides are narrower than the 5 sides, but it is acceptable. You must start off cutting the bottle in the middle of the label, not near the bottom.

For those who are totally lost here are the directions (for the Sprite/ Old Coke) to make a neat holder and recycle/reuse some plastic:

Find a Coke/Sprite bottle with the 'waist'. (the coke shape has a narrowing of the bottle.)
Cut through the label about 1/4 inch from the bottom of the label. Through away the top.
Make 5 cuts parallel with the sides of the bottle, using every other indent of the bottle. The Sprite bottles have dots, the old Coke bottles have valleys. DO NOT GO PAST THE NARROWEST PART OF THE WAIST. You can always cut down more. You can't 'uncut', Starting at the middle of each separation (it is also marked on the old bottles) make curved cuts forming a petal. When done correctly, these petals will lay over over the bottom of the bottle, forming a nice holder for a small oriami gift.
If Coca-Cola is seeing a sudden spike in their sales this year, perhaps it could be traced back to this fad amongst origamists....?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Classic Elegance and Beauty in Simplicity

One of the sweet advantages of living in Los Angeles is that it's a "happening place". And being in the same town as those in the entertainment industry, sometimes I receive origami projects.

Leaving things around at places you shop, can sometimes pay off, financially. I've often had places that I frequent, keep their origami gifts out on display, with my contact information.

Last weekend, a person was looking for someone to fold two vases of traditional origami flowers for a movie. She said my name kept popping up wherever she asked around. Catherine Ortiz still heads our Westcoast Guild, and recommended me. A store in Little Tokyo, Bun Ka Do, also told them to get a hold of me.

So, anyway, I got commissioned to fold 40 roses for a movie called "Repossession Mambo" starring Jude Law. According to my contact, The flowers will be in a funeral scene in a commercial they are watching on TV in the movie." We'll see if it actually makes it on screen.

This was a last minute, hectic project, and Sunday night I got 2 hours of sleep to finish by deadline (one problem I encountered was searching for the right paper when many stores close on Sundays at inconvenient hours).

What was rewarding for me, was rediscovering my deep appreciation for the elegant simplicity of such a classic model as the traditional lily.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fun, two, three, Fold

For two months in a row, now, the WCOG has been a bit obsessed with flexicubes. It seems Yami returned from OUSA with a couple of flexicubes, one being the single piece Philip Noble model; the other being the modular version. Joe Hamamoto's been folding the multi-piece version while Yukie Partos has been folding the single sheet version, and teaching it to Guild members. Joe has been teaching his method of piecing together David Brill's double star flexicube (found in Brilliant Origami). He does something a bit different than the actual directions, adding in two extra hinges, I believe.

Can't get this silly song out of my head because of the oversaturation of that ipod commercial on tv. So I thought I'd use it in this video to exorcise me of the song.

I think I took a backward approach to solving my problem.

This is from our September 8th Westcoast Origami Guild meeting.

2007 WCOG pictures can be viewed here.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

OUSA Convention After Action Report

My old Fisherknight yahoo album, where I kept festival and convention photos, made a forced migration over to shutterfly. It took me a while to figure out how to make my photos publically available for viewing. Convention photos from last weekend's OUSA can now be found here. Please bookmark it, as I will get around to making all of the old photos from the Fisherknight account available here, along with others I have not gotten around to uploading, from before.

As is the case each year, I spent a bulk of my time in the goldmine, vending to help offset my travel expenses. Bless the buyers!

I achieved maximum sleep deprivation. Arriving home Monday morning at 9am, my intentions were to go in to work at 3:30pm; I decided to "rest my eyes" as soon as I got home, for 30 minutes. The next thing I knew, when I opened my eyes it was 11:30pm!!!

Who needs sleep and shower when there is a year's worth of folding to be crammed into 2 days?

The "Won" Dollar Bill

Most of my energies were focused upon the single-minded purpose of learning the $ koi fish, koined, "the Won Dollar Koi" (by no one else, but myself). To that end, I succeeded; and while Marcio Noguchi has koi directions at the top of his list of Won Park models to diagram, Won and I talked about possibly uploading a video of the folding process.

I pretty much filmed Won for an hour-and-a-half with my digital camera, folding the koi; but I don't think the quality is good enough for the average folder to learn by. Plus, it's a lot of video to scale down and edit. (Then there's also the incriminating, crude banter going on in the background audio of the video, by Joseph Wu, Jason Ku, and Rob Hudson...I'm sure you good folks in the origami community do not want to ease-drop upon that bit of conversation, do you?).

Perhaps a combination of step-folds and video-clipping of the fold process....? I'll have to make sure Won is still ok with it.

For those curious about how Won embarked upon the creation of his $ koi, it started with a WCOG member, Pam Miike (who lurks on the O-List- I see you Pam!), spending time in Hawaii, and consequently, spending time having Won fold her stuff while she just watches. Not that long ago, they went out for noodles; and in the noodle shop, Won saw a painting of a koi. That was the inspiration, right there, for the next dollar model.

On the flight from Hawaii to NY, Won started designing a seahorse, that already looked good, even though it was just an unfinished prototype.

I believe it was 2002 when I first met Won at OUSA. It was my 2nd Convention. Joel Bauer had met him in Hawaii, and told him about the Convention. Before that, Won was pretty much an isolated folder, whose work was largely unknown.

Back then, one of the last things Won tried to teach me, at 4 O'Clock in the morning, was this napkin rose:

I think Won's version is one of the best simple napkin roses out there, and I've been wanting to fold it for the past 5 years. Now that I've seen it again, I can't believe how simple it actually is and that it's not much different than what I've already seen; I guess it's just his artistry that made it stand out, as somehow different from the rest.

I carried a 4 GB memory card with me, but didn't go to OUSA this year with the mindset to make a video. In afterthought, I regret having missed some opportunities: Chris Palmer demonstrating his famous flower tower....my cicada glider boomeranging around the hospitality room; Shrikant's storigami; Kuniko Yamamoto's hospitality room entertainment; Jinni Xu's impromptu magic show (she's perhaps the only other person besides myself who came away from Convention, able to fold the $ koi on her own- she was more determined than me!)....nevertheless, here is the meager I did capture:

I am a creature of habit, who likes his daily routine. I cannot abide being away from my work for very long. I do not like to travel, nor do I like to take vacations. So my Convention travels, for the last few years, have been extremely short, with me leaving by Monday morning, even though there are great classes that go on during Mondays, as well as the Monday night banquet. I feel a twinge of guilt, that some of my Convention friends, I barely said hi to, if even that. I see these people once a year, and with the best of intentions, being busy at the moment, I figure I'll spend time saying hi and folding with them later. I forget that amidst the whirlwind and cramming of Convention folding, it is extremely easy to run out of time, and before you know it, you are packing it in, homeward bound. Final goodbyes and first hullos are sometimes left unstated. It's with this in mind, that I do apologize to anyone who I failed to spend longer hours with, or who I failed to spend even one minute with. Convention often leaves me breathless, with so many activities going on all at once and so many that gets left unaccomplished....

Also blogging:
Origami desde Lerma
Origami Tessellations

Other OUSA Photos:
Andrew Hans
Brian Chan
Brian K. Webb
Daniel Scher
Joseph Wu
Julie Savard
Phillip West
Rob Hudson
Sipho Mabona

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My reason for attending OUSA this year in June

After missing last year's convention (after attending about 4 or 5 straight conventions), I will be going this year, in large part because of the second coming of Won Park. Click on the photo to visit his Moneyfolder Yahoo Group.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Joe Hamamoto: Retired, but working harder than ever!

This video is a very rough edit. I got lazy after all these recent vids, and decided to pretty much just string a bunch of raw footage together, making for a very long video. Because it went over the time limit (11 minutes) and file size, I could not upload it to my YouTube account; and my one LiveDigital account is now over quota. So I decided to use Google Video.

Joe is at his best in entertainment. He is rather creative in his presentations. What I love most is how much delight he brings to people. I love watching their reactions and hearing their laughter.

Joe is also extremely generous, always folding hundreds of jars and bags of giveaway origami to hand out at festivals.

"I am who I want to be and now I want to be someone who is sleeping." 
 - Ferruccio from the Italian film, "Life is Beautiful"

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Joe Demonstrates 3 Kasahara Models

Joe brought 3 new models to show off at the Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival. He is often imaginative in presenting stories to go along with his favorite models, to entertain folks. I have footage for one more video from last weekend's festival in Monterey Park, featuring Joe...retired, but still hard at work in origami. I also hope to go back and edit together a video from our presence at the Chinese-American Museum in March. There was one guy in particular that Joe had fun entertaining; I missed some of their funniest exchanges, though. I gotta learn to keep that camera running...

The models can be found in The Art and Wonder of Origami.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cherry Blossom Festival, Monterey Park, CA- Origami Demonstration Pt 1

The video runs under 10 minutes; but I probably talked for almost 20. I blended both days into one video.

My material isn't well-rehearsed. What I mostly talk about is how the art of origami honors the traditions of the past by not only preserving it, but evolving from it. So I show off some modern origami that some people might not be aware of, in terms of types of origami, and the evolution of new creations.

My aim is also to get more people excited and involved in enjoyment and appreciation for the art.

Part II, III, and IV are below this post, in respective order. Photos of the 10th annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Monterey Park, CA, can be viewed here.

Cherry Blossom Festival, Monterey Park, CA- Origami Demonstration Pt 2

Part II covers the magic of moneyfolds.

The demonstration was only supposed to last for about a half hour; so, not much time to cover the wide-range of billfolds. So I showed off only a few, leading up to asking someone from the audience for a dollar (which, normally, I will examine, then stuff into my pocket, asking someone else for another one).

The Robert Neale flapping butterfly (with John Andrisan's cosmetic modifications) only takes me a minute to fold. Maybe even less time than that. With the right buildup, there really is a kind of magic to it. I don't think the video represents my best presentation, but it's what I have; and what you, the viewers, are stuck with.

Again, as in Part I, I blended both days into one video, extracting what I could, and tried to make a seamless blend. Some parts were not recorded, as my cameramen stopped filming at certain points. Many thanks to both of them: Jimmy Taggart, who filmed on the first day (April 21st) and is a magician and fellow paperfolder at WCOG; and Art Fukomoto, who is a volunteer at the Festival.

Sorry for the low quality of the sound.

Cherry Blossom Festival Indoor Demonstration Part 3- Yami Yamauchi

Yami taught his banger, to be used at the end of the presentation in an origami contest. He also taught the transition into the moving mouth, which I did not film all of; so I discluded (made up word? Still makes sense to me...) it altogether in the final edit.

Yami also wanted to mention Lillian Oppenheimer in Sunday's demo, and her contributions to the evolution of origami, and pioneering in the States. I think we got our signals mixed up, and he meant for me to talk about it. Hopefully, there are some in the crowd who will be inspired to look further into origami than what we could share in 30 minutes.

Cherry Blossom Festival Indoor Demonstration Part 4- Quickfold Showdown Game

Unfortunately, I did not pre-plan to have anyone film this part of the demo. So day one, I filmed what I could, while "MC-ing"; and the 2nd day I got Yami to just stand there and film (never expect the older generation to understand how to work today's technology).

Missing from the video is my explanation of the contest. Basically, I choose two volunteers from the audience for a showdown. Their objective is to fold a banger (any banger) and make it snap before the other person. The two paperslingers stand on opposite sides with the raw paper on the floor. For fun, you might get them into a cowboy stance, ready to "draw" (ie, fold). I brought a western soundtrack, as I had done before, to set the mood. On day two, I folded several hats, and Joe folded a couple of Marukai hats, so that the contestants could have something to wear, for fun. Originally, I wanted to use Darren Scott's Australian bush hat, and modify it into a cowboy hat. I didn't plan this out well enough in advance, and only managed to fold two of them on the day of. One was way big, and the other one was too small. I'll just have to chalk this up to experience, and learn from it next time. I think I'll drag things out longer next time with more bantering around with the contestants so that the audience can get to know them, and so I can make bad origami puns and deliver entertainer's jokes.

We're still learning as we go, and Yami and I weren't even sure what we would do for the demo until the weekend of the Festival. Not that we haven't done this previously; but everything is unrehearsed and unscripted. I do think we are getting better and better as we go along.

Holy cow...I'm blind as a bat!

Monday, April 23, 2007

How to fold a Marukai newspaper cap

I call it a "Marukai" hat, because Joe Hamamoto prefers to fold this model with Marukai ads. It's stiffer than your standard newspaper, and more durable. Joe says he learned this from Carol Stevens, but does not know the origins. I guess I'll have to ask Carol, the next time I see her.

How to fold 2 action models in less than 60 seconds

This is the first of a series of videos from last weekend's 10th annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Monterey Park. I have a new camera now with a 4 GB memory card, allowing me to take long clips; so no more need to "mask" the defects of my footage "cutting out" with music. I will start putting up some videos with the natural sounds.

Sometimes parents bring their kids to our tables, wanting us to teach their child something. A problem arises when the kid proves to be 2 years old. Often, the parent will find himself assisting his kid...then pretty much taking over all folding chores himself.

One of my favorite models to do for young kids is Yami's banger; which I can quickly transition into a moving mouth. I like it, because I can either fold this extremely fast for a young child with a short attention span; or, I can teach it fairly easily to kids old enough to understand the words that are coming out of my mouth.

Yami will use the banger model as a warm-up exercise for a new group of people at his table. It also allows one to gage the folding abilities of one's students.

It's fun to not tell the group what they are folding; I just tell them we are going to make a super complex model- something that is an absolute work of artistic beauty. When we are done folding the banger, of course it doesn't look like much of anything. I let them guess as to what it might be. A lot of times kids will say it's a book. I'll let them know that this is no ordinary book, because this book you don't have to read; it actually talks to you. Right before I move my arm up to snap it, I'll sometimes ask, "Oh...what's that over there?" and point behind them. As they turn their heads to look, I'll unload a thunderous snap from the banger.

In this video, I show a very fast transition to the moving mouth. One that works for me. If I'm folding the model for a child, I like to let them feel involved in the process by at least allowing them to glue on eyeballs (or drawing them in with a marker- you can also write a message inside the mouth). Joe uses eyeball stickers; I like those button eyeball thingies with the eyes that float around in the bubble. You can either apply glue stick yourself to where the eyes should go, or hand over full control to the child and give him the glue stick...and see exactly where the child thinks those eyes should be applied onto the model.

People seem to see different things when they see the moving mouth. For instance, some see a frog, others see Godzilla. Most everyone though, universally see that origami is fun and entertaining.

Later, I'll post a video up of Yami teaching the banger transition to the moving mouth, during our on-stage demonstration. He has a good method for teaching how to fold the mouth; mine is designed for expediency, from a performance standpoint for an audience.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ready for the Weekend

Well...it's actually Monday; but "Ready for the Weekend" is the name of the vignette weekend tips that USA network does, in between commercials and their "movie of the week". Last summer, sometime, I got invited to do a very short segment. We filmed at a restaurant down by the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

I can't believe they edited out the part where after we folded the banger, I asked the host "What's that over there?"; when he turned his head, I unleashed the snap of the banger on his unsuspecting ear. I thought that was the funniest part of what we did. Oh, well.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Japanese Ambassador Honors Wounded U.S. Veterans

U.S. Army Pfc. Marissa Strock , left, a double-leg amputee wounded in Iraq, and her mother, Sandi Ogden, follow Japanese Lt. Col. Ichiro Sato's instructions as they fold origami paper into cranes during an evening at Ambassador Ryozo Kato's residence Feb. 23 in Washington, D.C.
Defense Dept. photo by John J. Kruzel
In Japan, people make origami paper cranes for the sick and injured as a prayer for their recovery. A group of 70 wounded US troops and their families found cranes waiting for them on their dinner tables February 23, when they attended a dinner in their honor at the residence of Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato.

Kato said they "carry the burden of service to their country," and he thanked them for their "service to the larger ideals that our two countires represent." Japan is a close ally to the United States, and a close ally in the war on terror.

Kato delivered a message fro Japan's prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, "the grateful people of Japan wish each of you health and success in the years ahead, just as we wish for the nation you serve."

Kato told the troops that although the two cultures differ, US troops represent Japan's 'samurai spirit.' "Samurai serve with valor, with honor, with loyalty, with respectful, ethical behavior, and so have you."

After a feast of Japanese cuisine, Japanese Self Defense Forces officers taught the guests how to fold origami cranes. "We make a crane to show our deepest compassion. This evening's dinner is a metaphor for a large paper crane.

Hat tip: Gazing at the Flag