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Enjoy Life with Practical Origami

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Yamaguchi, Makoto
Enjoy Life with Practical Origami
Publisher: Natsume
2003, 208 pages, softcover
Japanese. ISBN: 4816334041
山口, 真
kurashi o tanoshimu jitsuyou origami
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As usual with Mr. Yamaguchi's books, this A5-size (approximately US trade-paperback size) book is beautifully produced, with glossy paper throughout, color photos of all the models (including wonderful paper suggestions) and clear, duo-toned instructions. That the book is entirely in Japanese should not bother anyone with a modest amount of origami experience; the diagrams use standard origami notation, and are well drawn. Page references from the color photos to the diagrams are easy to find, as they are generally the only numerals on the photo pages; similarly, suggested paper sizes are listed as, for example, "5cm x 5cm" in the heading of each model's diagrams, and are easily distinguishable from the surrounding Japanese text.

As the title would suggest, the focus of the book is on using origami, rather than simply presenting a collection of models. This means that many of the projects require multiple pieces of paper, and occasionally you'll need glue, fasteners or other finishes to complete, for example, a lifelike flowerpot arrangement. For some projects, a little crafting experience is also helpful - attaching flowers to wires, etc.

The models range in difficulty from simple to somewhere in the intermediate range, and many are three-dimensional when assembled in the various projects, but between the detailed photos and diagrams a beginner to intermediate folder should have no problems following the directions.

If you're looking for some interesting ways to use origami - and some appealing models to teach - with the added bonus of a peek into the world of modern Japanese style, then I recommend this book highly.


Chapter 1: Gift Items - includes themed items like Mother's and Father's Day gift holders, small boxes and cards and some very nice variations on the traditional Japanese wrapped envelope (noshi-bukuro).

Chapter 2: Origami Flowers - includes arrangements and bouquets of many different flowers and leaves, and some clever uses for individual flowers as ornaments and package decorations.

Chapter 3: Kitchen and Tableware - includes plates, containers, chopstick rests and wrappers, and one very cool bowl which, if made from baking parchment, can be used to bake a cake or muffins.

Chapter 4: Housewares & Useful items - includes photo holders, bags, a wallet, some clever lampshades, small boxes you can make into drawers, and a truly hilarious eyeglass holder shaped like a nose.

Chapter 5: Holidays - includes display models for some traditional Japanese holidays (New Year's, Children's Day and Tanabata) as well as some cute and easy Christmas decorations.

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