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one thousand cranes, one thousand hearts

Hello, welcome, and thank you for stopping by!

This community is the home base for an international fan project gathering paper cranes as a show of support for Minekura Kazuya, the mangaka of titles including Saiyuki Reload, Wild Adapter, Stigma, and many more. Minekura-sensei has had many serious health problems in recent years, and has recently undergone major surgery to treat a rare, painful facial bone disorder, ameloblastoma. She's spoken on her blog about how her condition, and the pain from earlier biopsies, has affected her mood and ability to do her work, and about how the letters and small gifts of support she has received from fans have helped boost her spirits in this difficult time.

Our goal is to gather paper cranes made by Minekura fans around the world, and assemble them into a senbazuru as expressions of our love and best wishes for her health and recovery. We've already collected over 3,400 cranes, and sent the first two finished senbazuru to her in late November to wish her luck for her December surgery. Our current project is a third senbazuru to extend our hopes for her recovery in the new year; if you missed the earlier rounds of collection, new cranes and new participants are very much welcome! Sensei is going to be in for a very long recovery, so we're also discussing options for future projects to show her our love and support throughout the coming new year.

If you have enjoyed any of Minekura-sensei's work, won't you please join us? All you need to do is make at least one origami crane and mail it to the collection address -- this post has all of the details on how to participate. Our dream is to be able to present sensei with not just a simple collection of one thousand cranes, but with cranes made by one thousand individual fans from around the world -- so every new participant is deeply welcomed!

Anyone who is interested in the project is welcome to post or comment here, even if you're not a member of the community; however, non-member postings will be screened in order to keep out spambots. I will do my best to unscreen everything as promptly as I can, so please be patient if there's a little delay before I can get to your post or comment.

A final fond look back at 2010

Hello again, everyone! Before we get started talking about projects for the new year, I'd like to take a last moment to feature some beautiful memories from our crane collecting throughout 2010...


Hello again, everyone! As I mentioned yesterday, there have been a few new pieces of crane-mail that came in after our first package to sensei went out. So to start our new count for 2011, here are the last few arrivals from 2010:

New arrivals -- 12/17/2010 New arrivals -- 12/17/2010
And here are the first new arrivals, now that the counter's being reset after our first two senbazuru went out. This big crane flew all the way from Russia!
New arrivals -- 11/24/2010
This handsome trio of cranes, and a beautiful handmade card for sensei, came from Oregon.
New arrivals -- 11/24/2010
New arrivals -- 12/07/2010 New arrivals -- 12/07/2010
The quartet of cranes on the right flew all the way from Russia, and the crane!ikkou and paper airplane on the left, along with a note and art for sensei, came from folders in Michigan and Missouri.

And here are our starting crane and participant counts for the new year, minus the first two thousand that have already gone to sensei and including these new arrivals:

1465 / 1000 cranes. 147% done!

96 / 1000 participants. 10% of goal!

We're almost at the three-figure mark for participants, hooray! If you didn't get a chance to contribute a crane for our last round of collection, now would be a great time to pop one in the mail to bring our participant count up to a hundred, or more -- that would be a lovely round-number milestone to aim for with our next package. ^_^ For those of you who've already sent in cranes for our first package, you don't need to do another batch of folding right now since I've still got such a happy surplus to work with -- but please start thinking about writing up a short message to welcome sensei back home and wish her well in her ongoing recovery this new new year; I'll post a separate project-planning post for this tomorrow with more details, so please stay tuned!
Hello again, everyone, and a very Happy New Year to you all! I hope those of you who've been celebrating in December all had lovely holidays. Has it really been a month since I posted anything here? ^_^; Sorry to be so quiet -- things have been very busy and difficult for me this season, and while I've been plugging away on senbazuru #3 and updating the maps in the comm profile as new pieces of crane-mail came in, somehow I felt rather nervous and spooked about trying to talk about future projects here while we were waiting to hear if sensei came through her surgery safely...

Well, the news we've all been waiting for is finally in! If you haven't already seen it about on your f-list or news sites, Minekura-sensei is now home from the hospital and has just posted her first post-surgical blog update on 12/30; snarp has once again kindly translated the entire message. Here are some highlights:

"I'm home."

This is Minekura. With your help, I've come back to life.

My family carried your gifts to me every single day in the hospital. The thousand-cranes... no, the tens-of-thousands-of-cranes filled the room until it was overflowing. The nurses said they'd never seen so many. After the surgery, when it hurt so bad I wanted to scream, the bright colors of the decorations in the room were incredibly encouraging. They tell me that my scar has healed very cleanly, and I give the credit to my good luck charms. I thank all the people who have supported me from afar from the depths of my heart. I'm so grateful to all of you.

I've been allowed to come home from the hospital, but my wound has yet to heal (it'll be about half a year before it settles down enough), and there are a number of things I physically can't do; it takes all my energy to get through my day-to-day tasks. ...But when I look around at all my beautiful good luck charms (<- I'm bragging), it gives me hope. When I put my manga on hiatus, I was so miserable I cried, thinking that people would be disappointed and angry with me. I feel honored to have received so much support and understanding. ...

...And that's how things are right now. I hope to get back to work soon, though it seems hard now - I really feel disappointed in myself that I can't do it yet.

But I've already gone back to work on things other than manga for next year and on (illustrations, a novel, and various other things). I feel like I should use this opportunity to challenge myself a little and branch out into new areas - I'm going to keep moving forward as I go into the new year. Anyway, even though manga's impossible right now, I've got to draw at least a little, [???] (laugh), I really want to draw a lot. Of course, it's all for the sake of the day when my beloved children once again rage across the field of manga.

Please keep thinking of me and supporting me in the future. ...Oh, uh, I couldn't do it for three weeks, so excuse me for smoking now. (bitter laugh)

Looks like I'm going to live.

You can read the entire translation at snarp's journal here -- http://snarp.dreamwidth.org/328208.html, but before you click PLEASE take warning that Minekura-sensei talks about her surgery and its aftereffects in fairly blunt detail; if you are squeamish or tenderhearted, you may find it very distressing to read everything she's been going through and is going to be facing in the future. If you don't feel up to reading all of the painful specifics in sensei's own words, Anime News Network has a short, less detailed summary of the situation here which may be slightly easier to read. Sensei's surgery was very extensive, painful and disfiguring, and it appears that the earlier diagnosis of fibrous dysplasia that she had mentioned previously may have been mistaken; the neoplasm removed from her jaw is now being described as a different sort of rare, benign bone tumor, ameloblastoma: you can read about it here, but again I would warn you before clicking that the Wiki article contains some potentially disturbing medical images.

Along with discussing all the specifics of the surgery and its immediate aftereffects, sensei also talks a bit about the future course of her treatment; she is going to need some reconstructive work and prosthetics to replace the areas of removed bone, but her face is going to need more time to heal further from the initial surgery before they can be fitted. And aside from those major issues, there are also various other unpleasant effects of the surgery, like facial scarring and problems with blinking/painfully dry eye, that will only be mitigated with time. So just as expected, Minekura-sensei still has a very long and difficult road of healing and rehabilitation ahead of her, and it sounds like she could really use our continued support and good wishes throughout this coming year. T_T

I'll be posting another big update tomorrow to bring everyone up to date with recent arrivals and discuss our next care package, but in the meantime I'd like to thank each and every one of you who've been involved in our project throughout 2010. I wish we'd never had to come together in such sad circumstances, but I am just profoundly touched and honored to have been part of this global outpouring of love and support, and grateful that our efforts have helped bring our dear Minekura-sensei some much-needed encouragement. You are all an inspiration to me -- thank you all so much, and I'm looking forward to continuing to work with you all to keep spreading the love throughout 2011.

{{{{{{{{hugs everyone}}}}}}}}

Soon you will be flying...

Hello again, everyone! I'm happy to report that as of Monday evening, the first batch of cranes have begun their final journey...

Look below the cut for the farewell photos of the first flock!Collapse )
If anyone wants to follow them vicariously on their travels, you can plug the label number EG523061678US into the USPS Track and Confirm page, or sign up for email alerts. (Fair warning, though, as any obsessive BJD or doujinshi collector can tell you, the USPS/EMS online tracking of international parcels isn't nearly as reliable or timely as one might wish...)

Now that they've finally shipped, several people have been nudging me for a while with questions about chipping in for postage, so -- if anyone really really wants to contribute a little bit towards the shipping costs or other operating expenses, I've added the cranes4minekura@cox.net address to my Paypal account. (Or I suppose you can just send a check to the project P.O. box if you'd prefer, just PM/email me first for the name to use! ^_^;) But please, don't feel like you're under any obligation to contribute a particular amount or even to donate anything at all, and please don't feel guilty in the slightest if you'd like to donate if you could but can't spare anything right now. Everyone who's gone to the trouble and expense of making and mailing in their cranes has already made a huge contribution, and that's all I really wanted to ask of anyone here; if you're willing and able to donate towards the project expenses, that's truly going above and beyond!

Finally, since I am a huge nostalgic sap, here's an old favorite island song to bid farewell to our departing flock...

See you all next time, when I start work and reporting on senbazuru #3! :)

At last...ready for takeoff!

Hello again, everyone, and many apologies for the prolonged radio silence! I've been having some nagging health issues these last few weeks that slowed me down a lot, but I've been plugging away at finishing up our first parcel as best I could, even if I couldn't manage to keep up with the regular posts as well. So this is going to be a rather massive, photo-heavy entry to catch up with all the latest progress and crane-mail arrivals...

Two thousand redux!

Whew, sorry about the delayed reports these last few days, everyone -- the vote in the last poll closed out overwhelmingly in favor of sending two senbazuru out in our first package, so while I haven't been keeping up with posting my daily photos, I've been very very busy nonetheless. Here's a very quick recap of the most important news for the last week...

Day 53 -- stringing continues Day 53 -- stringing continues
Tuesday I continued stringing the bigger cranes for the second senbazuru -- when I stopped for the evening after midnight we were up to 13 strands, shown here with the token daily new crane...
Day 57 -- two thousand! Day 57 -- two thousand!
I seem to have accidentally deleted Wednesday's stringing photo from my camera before I transferred everything, and Thursday I didn't manage to get any stringing done, just a little folding on the go... But after sewing like mad Friday night and Saturday morning, the second batch of a thousand is completely strung!

Sunday I'll be putting those strings together and working on finishing up the booklet -- sadly, my local post office has very limited weekend hours, so Monday morning is really the earliest I can possibly get it out in the mail. (straycat_cayra, is the little introduction letter almost done?) If anyone has any last-minute suggestions for little greetings and well-wishes to include in the booklet, please speak now because I'll be printing out all the labels tomorrow!

Other than the stringing, there's not much new to report -- no recent crane-mail, and my own daily folding has mostly just been little token singleton cranes folded right before photographing the day's sewing. I have been snapping photos of other people's cranes as I did the stringing, however, as working on the cranes individually I found all sorts of cute hand-drawn art that was overlooked when their packages initially arrived. So once this package is done and taken care of, there will be a posting with a gallery of cranes to help wrap up our first round of the project. ^_^

Finally, here are the counters showing all our stats as of tonight:

3395 / 1000 cranes. 340% done!

86 / 1000 participants. 9% of goal!

2200 / 1000 cranes strung. 220% (54 strands) finished!
Two senbazuru completely strung! ^_^

(If the strand numbers seem a little off, it's because a couple of the strands here are made with slightly smaller cranes, so I used more than 40 cranes per string for those to get a more even length with the larger cranes -- the big guys are all in strands of 40, some slightly smaller ones are in sets of 50 and one slightly smaller still batch are in a strand of 60.)

Countdown week continues -- 7, 6...

Hello again, everyone! Here's the rest of the news for Monday...sorry to post later than planned, I got so wrapped up playing with the big cranes that I just kept stringing until I was too bleary-eyed to look at the computer. XD

Day 52 -- act two begins Day 52 -- act two begins After the first senbazuru was wrapped up, Monday night I got started working on the second senbazuru with the bigger cranes! Here are the first five strands, with the day's token newly-folded crane keeping them company. These bigger guys are being strung on gold and silver metallic crochet cotton, with matching tiny gold and silver bells for stoppers.

No new crane-mail for the day, but there are still some nice little changes in the status counters:

3387 / 1000 cranes. 339% done!

86 / 1000 participants. 9% of goal!

1400 / 1000 cranes strung. 140% (35 strands) finished!
One senbazuru completed and ready to send ^_^

A few quick reminders, since Round One's mailing date is fast approaching -- if you haven't already voted in this poll on how many senbazuru should go out in our first parcel, please drop in and make your preferences known! I'll be closing that one Thursday morning so vote now if you want to have your say. And I'll soon be putting the finishing touches on the booklet for sensei that's going in the box along with all of our cranes, so if you'd like to make any suggestions for titles or short sentiments you'd like to have included, please drop by this post and comment away!

Drumroll, please!

Ready to fly!
Ready to fly!

The first senbazuru is complete! The thousand tiny cranes are all arranged under the larger crane!ikkou (and crane!Nii), with their strings braided together and attached to a light basswood dowel. The hanging cord is braided from the same variegated embroidery floss used to string the cranes.

More pictures and news from the start of stringing the second flock will be coming a little later tonight, but I didn't want to wait to share the squee once this one was completely done. ^_^

Countdown week begins: 7...

Hello again, everyone! It's the final week of preparations getting our little flock ready to travel, so things are going to start getting really busy around here. Here's the news for Monday:

Day 51 -- little and broken, but still good Day 51 -- little and broken, but still good
Monday, I picked up the crane-mail from the package slip left on Saturday -- eldanis kindly sent along a print of this piece I commissioned earlier this year, along with a note for sensei. The day's handful of new cranes are posed in the corner, including a couple of special dedications folded on request for people who couldn't send in cranes of their own.
Day 51 -- spreading their wings Day 51 -- spreading their wings
And here are the first flock of a thousand, all grouped together and unfolded; tomorrow will see the last few finishing touches in putting them together into a very special senbazuru.

And here are the updated counters:

3386 / 1000 cranes. 339% done!

86 / 1000 participants. 9% of goal!

1200 / 1000 cranes strung. 120% (30 strands) finished!
One senbazuru completely strung ^_^

Stay tuned tomorrow for the first photos of the completed senbazuru #1, and the start of stringing the larger cranes into the second flock!
Hello again, everybody! I hope you've all been having enjoyable weekends. Sunday's update is a fairly small one -- I've been doing lots of stuff that doesn't really lend itself much to photography or the existing progress counters, and that will be done shortly enough that it doesn't really make sense to set up new counters. I've selected the twenty-five completed strands that will be used for the first senbazuru, set the five extras aside for later, and am busy popping out all their little wings for the very last phase of assembly. And the little scrapbook that's going in the package to sensei is now pretty much all laid out -- nothing is glued down yet so I can reshuffle the pages a little bit if needed for last-minute contributions, but all the envelopes/labels have been trimmed down and sorted out so that with every turn of a page, you'll see contributions from at least two countries, and two or more different individuals. For the extremely enthusiastic folders who sent multiple pieces of crane-mail, I've picked one representative envelope or label -- whichever one had the coolest-looking stamps or most interesting paper color, etc. -- and then just saved the stamps to tuck in around the margins. (And not to worry, even if you used padded envelopes or heavy cardboard boxes for your crane-mail, you didn't get left out: I've gotten pretty good at delaminating those to minimize their bulk!) Here's a little sneak peek...

Day 50 -- book &apos;em! Day 50 -- book 'em!
Sunday's token new crane is posing here with the booklet that's being put together with all the cards, letters, and fanart for sensei, and a selection of the envelopes and labels that the cranes travelled in.

And this is where I'm looking for some suggestions from everyone. I'm planning on printing out little country captions and flags to go on all the envelope pages, to make it easier to see at a glance how the cranes have been coming from all around the world. But since the envelopes and labels are in so many different sizes, some pages still have a lot of empty space, or blank space on a large envelope, even after adding those little decorations. In those cases, I'm thinking of adding in a few extra little labels with short greetings and good wishes for sensei -- if there is any particular message you'd like to be included, please comment here with suggestions! Please keep them short and general like greeting-card captions -- "get well soon", "we love you", that sort of thing: they're going to be printed on small address labels, so there really isn't space for anything too long and wordy. And of course, suggestions do not have to be limited to English-language sentiments -- just let me know what language/country your suggestion is from and an English translation, so I can subtitle the labels and put them on pages associated with the appropriate countries. ^_^

(Also, I haven't yet thought of just what to write on the cover or spine of the little booklet. So if anyone has a good idea for that, please fire away!)

No status counter posts for Sunday, since there was of course no new mail, only one token daily crane was folded and I was busy working with the finished strands rather than stitching up new ones. But there's some crane-mail waiting for pickup when the Post Office opens on Monday, so the next report should be a little more interesting. Stay tuned!