つ:つる (cranes)

1 Aug

The Japanese Crane (also known as the Red-Crowned Crane or Tanchou/タンチョウ) is a rare bird that symbolizes long life and good luck.

It is said that if one folds 1,000 paper cranes, they will be granted one wish (such as overcoming illness). A thousand paper cranes can also be given for good luck. Below is me and Takeshi Honda (men’s figure skating) standing in front of 1,000 paper cranes that had been sent to the Japanese Olympic athletes from Japan for good luck.

If you want to fold your own paper cranes, click HERE for great instructions from Origami Club.

In Japan, the crane/つる is the main character in famous stories such as Tsuru no Ongaeshi /鶴の恩返しand Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

Here is a video of つるのおんがえし:

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8 Responses to “つ:つる (cranes)”

  1. 紗織 August 1, 2011 at 8:56 AM #

    Such a sad story. Thanks for sharing. It was pleasant to watch.

    • Hiragana Mama August 1, 2011 at 9:18 PM #

      A lot of Japanese folktales have sad endings…there’s a lot of stories I haven’t exposed my 3-year old to yet. But I guess most fairy tales originally had sad endings too :)

      • 紗織 August 1, 2011 at 11:01 PM #

        Yeah, that’s true. Such as that story about the man and the turtle he rescued. He went under the sea where there was a castle and had a party. When the time comes, he gets a present from the queen of the castle, which is a box. If you’ve heard of the story, you know that the ending is also sad here.

        Lately, fairy tales in America are changing even more. When I was a kid, the two of the three little pigs were eaten up by the wolf. But it’s not the case anymore. I’m sure tons of fairy tales used to be sad and were altered over time.

        • Hiragana Mama August 2, 2011 at 6:40 AM #

          Yes, うらしまたろう、あかいくつ、かぐやひめ… I kind of like that it’s not always “… and they lived happily ever after.”

          I’ve never heard the version of the little pigs where they get eaten up!! So funny. I think Disney plays a big part in making the stories “happier”.

  2. Bicultural Mama August 1, 2011 at 8:43 PM #

    My sister and her family lived in Hiroshima for 3 years (for her husband’s job) and she told me the story about the paper cranes and how school children from all over the country and world would send them to Hiroshima.

    • Hiragana Mama August 1, 2011 at 9:19 PM #

      Thanks for commenting :) That is neat your sister got to live in Hiroshima. My sister lived there for a few years too and loved it.

  3. Nami | Just One Cookbook August 2, 2011 at 3:07 AM #

    Takeshi Hoonda sounds familiar. You went to see Olympic or you used to figure skate too? yeah a lot of Japanese songs/folk tales are sad ending. Is it the same way in America or more happy stories? I’m not familiar with American ones.

    • Hiragana Mama August 2, 2011 at 6:44 AM #

      I wish I was a figure skater! I was an assistant to the Japanese Team during the Salt Lake Olympics. I translated, chauffeured athletes/other JOC (Japanese Olympic Committee) members to events, and helped in any other way they needed. I should do a post on that experience sometime. Takeshi Honda ended up getting 4th place in men’s figure skating that year.

      A lot of the stories that are well-known in America comes from the Grimm Fairy Tales, which often have interesting endings (originally).

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