Saturday, March 24, 2007

Things I suck at...*

So I haven't posted a lot recently because in between returning from Seoul** and getting ready to go to Hokkaido***, I've been busy doing absolutely nothing at all: aka, lazing about, reading up a storm, and wasting time on the internet.**** I've also been pretending to be artsy. With the stress on "pretending".

Recently, I learned how to make Japanese paper dolls, both simple and more complex. While the latter is with the help of a trained professional, I have been amusing myself some evenings by making a series of little paper dolls meant as bookmarks, wall hangings, and other such nonsense that I like to pretend is art. I went wild at the hyaku-en shop about a week ago, and bought a bunch of accessories with which to further decorate and accessorize my paper-doll creations - ribbons, stickers, burlap and textured paper for backgrounds, etc. I even got truly brave and modified the dimensions of some of the dolls so that they would be even smaller and more petite to fit onto some of the backings I have bought for them.

Tonight, I decided it was time to progress beyond mere dolls and create simple origami pieces, both 3D and flat, that could be used on a background or just generally complement the dolls. How hard could it be to make a paper crane, anyway? Japanese kids fold them all the time.

Well, I have never been very handy with, uh, my hands. In grade 4 math class, I was the only kid who couldn't manage to create and glue those damn 3D cubes, triangles, and octagons, without mangling them beyond recognition. In grade 9, my parents told my Industrial Technology & Arts teacher that it was no wonder I was unable to operate the machinery in his class nor build a simple dwelling or bridge out of popsicle-sticks - I couldn't even figure out how to use the electronic can-opener at home! While I still publicly hold this statement against them, in private, I know it is all too true. I get befuddled by most things that aren't book-shaped.*****

But grade 4 was a long time ago. ...Grade 9, too, for that matter. (God, I'm old.) Surely I can master the art of paper-folding! If nothing else, the mere fact of my presence in Japan, the land of paper-folding masters, would surely combine with some other weird, supernatural, ethereal force (or maybe just an alignment of the stars), and some of the paper-folding skill would rub off on me. Right?

Well, I found many Internet sites devoted to introducing me to the art of origami, and a few that had instructions I could actually sort of understand and follow. However, many, many, many attempts later, I remain without crane, star, duck, windmill, or frog.

I do, however, have many crumpled pieces of pretty paper lying about my apartment. I'm thinking of gluing them all into one giant ball, sticking a Japanese paper doll next to it, and calling it Katamari Origamacy.

* Undoubtedly not the first time I will use this post title.

** Which was excellent, and as soon as I weed through my 537 photos, you might hear more about it.

*** Which will be excellent, I am sure. And will undoubtedly spawn another 500 photos. I'm surprised my computer is still alive - I need another hard drive!!!

**** Out of respect for this most excellent of activities, I spent the entire day today (Saturday) in my pajamas, and for dinner I had the same thing I've had the last two nights for dinner: cheese toast and tomato soup, with ice cream and cookies for dessert. What a decadent lifestyle I lead.

***** And even then, I wouldn't put it past me.

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