Skip to content

Crane project spreads wings

The demand for origami crane pins, created over the last two weeks as a fundraiser to help Onagawa, far outstrips the supply.
Kim Osika holds 1

The demand for origami crane pins, created over the last two weeks as a fundraiser to help Onagawa, far outstrips the supply.

“We just cannot keep up,” says Kim Osika, who spearheaded the campaign. “We must have folded about 1,500. We’ve got places asking for them all over town and out of community. New Denver took 40.”

Nelson city council has agreed to match up to $10,000 from funds raised through sales of the paper cranes.

“We’re really hoping that happens,” she says.

So far they’ve raised over $1,200.

Paper cranes are a Japanese symbol of hope and peace, and a legend says that anyone who folds 1,000 will have their wish granted.

Volunteers have folded them at various places around town, and they are available by donation at the Nelson and District Community Complex, Grounded, That Craft Store and KC Restaurant.

Osika says they have not yet sold the larger, hanging cranes.

“Those are quite attractive and I think people will be interested in having them in their house because of what it represents,” she says.

The 1,000 that have been created so far have been strung together, and will be exhibited during fundraisers this weekend.

Osika is organizing an event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Prestige Lakeside Resort called “To Japan With Love,” which will include live music, a silent auction, and children’s activities. (See Friday’s Star for a more detailed preview.)

She says crane folding will be at the centre of that event too.

“It’s kind of the heart of the whole matter. We’re going to have a big table with people folding and try to put together another 1,000 cranes,” she says.

Possibly the first set could hang at Touchstones, and the other sent to Onagawa, although she notes the existing ones are “very heavy. I think we would have to focus on the small ones to be able to get it over there.”

Trafalgar principal Geoff Burns, whose school hosted Onagawa students last year, says now that they are back from spring break, his classes would be willing to help out with folding.

• Nelson firefighters are also planning a fundraising campaign on Saturday. They will be at various locations for about five hours with their trucks and equipment, and hope to involve the paper cranes.

• Homestay coordinator Wendy Lacroix says they continue to seek past Onagawa students who have visited Nelson. All of the ones who came last year survived the tsunami, as did at least nine from the previous year, but they haven’t been able to establish the whereabouts of any others.

Nelson resident John Craig, who is now in Japan (see related story off front page), took letters and pictures from local homestay families.

• A new idea is to sponsor t-shirts for the kids of Onagawa, with Canadian or Nelson messages or symbols on them.

Selkirk College student Kei Takayama, who will be going back to Japan next month, is also thinking of collecting postcard messages from Nelson and taking them to Onagawa.