Introducing a new photo project. A little something I call…
Sound exciting? I thought so! Wait—what’s a senbazuru? Glad you asked.
What the Heck is a Senbazuru?
Most of you probably know that orizuru (paper cranes) are good luck in Japan. The fold is a very traditional one and relatively simple do to, making it something nearly everyone can make.
What you may not know is that folding one thousand of them is extremely lucky. One thousand! 1000! Senbazuru is the name for this group of one thousand folded cranes. For those unfamiliar with Japanese, that would be read something like Sen-bah-zoo-rue
The idea of good luck for folding these comes from an old Japanese legend that states anyone who folds one thousand orizuru will get a wish from the gods. Some versions of the story say you get long life instead of a wish, others say general good health. Either way, the basic idea is that completing a senbazuru will net you some kind of good fortune. The catch is that all the orizuru have to be folded by the same person and they must all be folded within a year.
Usually the thousand orizuru are strung together and hung up. Due to the legend they are popular as gifts, two common ones being from the father of the bride to the couple or to new babies. You can also often spot them hanging out at shrines. Maybe the most famous place to see them is at the Hiroshima Peace Park. This is because of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who developed leukemia when she was 12 due to the atomic bomb and who attempted to fold 1000 orizuru to wish for good health. She only reached 644 before she died, but her memory is honored with many senbazuru at the park.
Chasing Senbazuru 0001 — So it begins
You might guess what’s coming next…. I am going to be folding one thousand cranes and taking photos of each of them. Here’s the first.
Easy you say? Well, let’s do the math. To fold a thousand cranes in a year means roughly 3 a day. That is tougher than it sounds. Sure, on good days, when spirit and motivation is high, folding 3 is no problem. But on bad days or on those super busy days we all occasionally face… it is tougher.
I have done this photo project before, actually. A few times. But those times were all before I had kids. Being successful this time might be more tricky. We shall try, at any rate.
Now, since one thousand photos of orizuru might be a little boring, I am going to play around with each shot, trying different ideas and experimenting. Hope some jump out at you.
Also, as posting 3 photos of cranes here per day might be a little boring and/or overwhelming, I will probably combine the into a single post per day. Or maybe even the weekly photos to one post. We’ll see how it goes.
Oh one more thing—I won’t be saving these, but will probably continue to do as I already do with orizuru, which is to leave them laying at random places for people to find. Maybe that’s giving them my luck instead of holding on to it. If so, oh well. Better to keep the world a magical place. When I see a coin on the ground I often flip it face side up and leave it for the next person to discover for this same reason. Pass on the luck and keep some magic in the world.But I digress. Anyway...
Let me know your thoughts or any ideas you have. Also, feel free to join in. I will be tagging this #chasingsenbazuru. If you want to join the fun, tag your posts the same.
|David LaSpina is an American photographer lost in Japan, trying to capture the beauty of this country one photo at a time.|