Senbazuru: One Thousand Origami Cranes

What is Senbazuru?

Senbazuru literally means one thousand origami cranes in Japanese. The lore is that if you fold one thousand cranes, you'll be granted one wish.

May life be full of adventures...

One thousand of them, in fact. One for each crane. That's my wish.

Traditionally, the one thousand cranes would be strung together. But I wanted something a little more manageable. So naturally, I went with a massive jar.

The bulk of the cranes are folded from cheap origami paper. Otherwise, I'd fold whatever I could get my hands on to be honest. Leaflets, tickets, posters, magazines, newspapers, sudoku, Whittaker's chocolate wrappers... Particularly, if it was something that resonated with me that day or had some kind of sentimental value. Comic books saved from my childhood and destined for the recycling sack, finally realised their purpose after collecting dust for close to two decades.

Jar of 1000 Cranes

One Thousand Cranes

This bit was particularly grueling. Despite my weeks of tallying, when it came to laying them out in lines of 20x50 I discovered that I actually went over 1000 by like a dozen. I recounted a few times to make sure that I was definitely getting exactly 1000 cranes here. I'd spent too many hours folding to fudge the numbers now.

Doraemon with my jar of origami cranes


Surrounded by my Doraemon gang, they really brighten up my living area. It literally took me weeks, if not months, to lovingly fold each one as I went about my life. But the result is so rewarding, both visually and emotionally.

It only ever starts with just one. The first 200 are the hardest, and then it gets easier. It's a journey, and you do learn some things about yourself along the way, in terms of your patience and perseverance.

Having my jar of 1000 cranes displayed prominently serves as a constant reminder of what a lifetime of adventures could possibly look like. One of the cranes represents my move to New Zealand. Another one might just be a particularly interesting walk home. I add the spirit of each new experience to my jar, and hope I never forget the memories.

So how are my 1000 adventures going?

Meh, who's counting ;)

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