using my hangover as an excuse to delight in origami

origami cranes

Sorry, I didn’t post last night, but I was too busy checking out Antique Bar and having an enlightening heart to heart over wine and cheese with my friend. The only kicker to this lovely evening is the hangover this morning. And the lack of sleep, since I was only able to snatch four hours before I awoke at 5am to go to work.

I simply adored the bar. It was exactly the kind of place that I feel comfortable in – beautiful antique furniture, a cosy atmosphere and it was practically empty the whole time we were there, apart from the lovely bartender. I definitely want to go back there. In fact, I enjoyed myself so much that I can easily see myself regularly visiting it.

But of course, everything had a price, and a magical evening such as last night comes with a morning of nausea, dizziness and some slight head pain. This is especially difficult especially when combined with Monday-itis and an early start. In fact, I was still a little intoxicated when I arrived at work this morning, although luckily working around fried food cured any cravings I may have had. Plus, I seem to have worked out an effective routine for dealing with hangovers – oatmeal with banana for potassium and stable blood sugar, plus lots of water and tea throughout the morning to rehydrate. And one coffee for energy. It seems to work well for me.

Of course, come the end of my work shift I was still feeling pretty icky (although it was an upbeat icky), and I still had an assignment to fill my afternoon with. But, like any skilled procrastinator, I was inclined to spend the afternoon pursuing other delights instead of putting myself through extra suffering with essay writing. So I armed myself with the excuse that any work I did get done would be poor quality due to the fuzz that is my head today, and I bought myself some textured card to make origami cranes with, which I plan to string together and hang in the spare room. This is a project that I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while, and at last I am finally giving wind to it.

I have a longstanding relationship with origami cranes. I studied Japanese in school from Year 5 through to VCE, and naturally we had classes featuring origami at least twice a year. But the main reason I can make a crane with such ease (though even after all these years I still struggle with neat folds) is that when I was 11 years old my best friend’s father was diagnosed with leukaemia, and we found inspiration in the Japanese tale of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. For those not familiar with the story, Sadako is teenage girl in Japan who develops cancer following the bombings of Hiroshima and surrounds. In a desperate bid to get better, she makes a thousand paper cranes, which, according to a local legend, will grant her the gods’ gift of being cured. In the tale, she makes it to 644 cranes before she grows too weak to fold anymore, and passes away. Her family and friends fold the remaining number, and she is buried with them.

So, upon hearing this tale, my class spent many, many hours folding paper cranes and stringing them together until we reached 1000. We did make our goal, and even a current affairs program. My friend’s dad went into remission following a bone marrow transplant, though he too died a few years later when more cancer was discovered.

Though my story has a sad ending, it did teach me to appreciate how people join together in one big effort for a greater purpose. Utilitarian goals tend to have that effect, and yet we rarely see this type of phenomenon happening.

The thousand paper cranes is a major peace education tool in schools, and a symbol for peace throughout the world today. It’s a story with a lesson much more valuable than the book containing it lets on, and one that needs to be spread everywhere.

But more than that, it needs to be listened to.


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