Best Way to Kill Time

Living beneath the radar, ducking foot patrols, means a lot of waiting around. Origami was exactly the same for thousands of years until after the occupation, then suddenly it was all about creating new forms, and that was the end of your grandmother’s old origami. Now there are tiny, three-dimensional folded-paper models for everything, and I mean everything, from an inch-long pack of cigarettes that really opens and closes to gaping vaginas. You can fold a model of a clogged artery, a surfer surfing, or Santa and his reindeer. One complex pattern leads to a miniature rider on a horse — folded entirely out of one rectangle of paper — all without cutting.

You can fold a crane, or you can fold two hands folding a crane, or you can fold four cranes around a birdbath, again only using one small piece of paper and no scissors. Dinosaurs with teeth and toes, six-legged insects, spiders, scorpions, lobsters. Couples dancing, couples coupling. If you want to try some really difficult stuff, buy the how-to books from Japan titled The Super Complex Series. Each of these models requires hundreds of folds, days of folding and unlimited patience. Oh, and the instructions are in Japanese. But if you need more than the diagrams, you don’t belong here.

Start with books by Montroll, for ease, or Lang, for elegance, or Brill, for originality. Origami books, priced at $15 to $20, are available at any chain bookstore. But the best books are in Little Tokyo, at places like Kinokuniya, where you can also find the most beautiful origami paper for $5 to $20 per pack.

Weller Court, 123 Astronaut E.S. Onizuka St., Suite 205, ?Little Tokyo, (213) 687-4480.


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