Sharing Japanese Culture by Manami Watanabe

ONLINE ORIGAMI WORKSHOPS

Origami experience for everyone anywhere. 

You can learn Origami from YouTube and websites, but it's more fun and fulfilling to do it with other people!
  • Clear and easy to follow instructions
  • Learning not only steps, but also associated Japanese culture
  • Suits both kids and adults with various skill levels
  • Customized classes for kids or advanced guests are availabe

My guests are from all over the world! The USA, Singapore, Germany, France, Australia, China, Vietnam, the UK, Mexico, even from Japan...

Typically at 9am and 20pm JST on weekends and Japan’s national holidays. 1 hour, 1,000Yen, max 3 guests but a private group up to 10 people is ok.

Origami and Me

I started Origami when I was around 3, and it has always been part of my life.

I intensively practised it when I lived abroad at the age of 7. Me and my little sister had no toys nor friends, of course no internet nor smartphones. So what we did was to cut any available paper into square and make Origami. We ended up in making a cardboard box as a house and filled it with paper flowers, animals, furniture and people. We did the same at school, surprised other kids and could actually make friends with them.

As it saved us from loneliness, Origami is a great way to get you concentrated, leaving things behind, and finished with the sense of achieving something beautiful. I find it amazing that we can create many things like endlessly out of just sheets of paper.

AYA TORI (Japanese String Figures)

Aya Tori is a traditional entertainment in Japan, in which you tie both ends of a string and make a loop, hanging it around or off your fingers, and create various figures or designs. Aya tori is played either individually or by passing a loop of string back and forth between two or more players.

Only until a few decades ago, this simple but lovely game had been a very common entertainment at home for kids. 

String Figure exists not only in Japan but all over the world with different names and styles, and is considered as one of the oldest games in human history, that may have appeared spontaneously in different places.

Aiming to bring attentions to this fading tradition, I make short instruction videos in English.

Culture Videos "The Why Japan"

I have been running a small YouTube channel on Japanese culture called "The Why Japan".
The channel started with some short videos looking into simple questions that people often have about Japan but cannot easily find answers.
For example, why are Japanese people so crazy abour cherry blossoms, why is Ramen so popular, why is Japan not cashless, and why do they love disgusting food like Natto? etc. 

The channel expanded to included Origami and Aya Tori instuctions, as well as some language assistances. However, these Why Japan culture videos are at the core of the channel. 
With these videos, you can get an insight into Japanese local's views and honest feelings on what internationals often wonder.

Host

Manami Watanabe
I'm a Tokyo local living here for the whole my life. Since I was little, I have been interested in Japanese traditional culture, and visited places with temples and shrines such as Kamakura and Kyoto many times.

I majored in European medieval history at university and cultural heritage protection at graduate school. After studying in Germany and doing an internship in Switzerland, I got once again fascinated by Japanese culture, its spirit and Tokyo, inspired in a good way by other cultures. I started to engage myself in sharing Japanese culture with other people. 

My projects include guided tours in an old neighborhood in Tokyo when it is possible, teaching Origami online, and YouTube videos about Japanese culture and language.

I offer my programs in English and sometimes in German.
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My Policy

All my culture sharing projects are based on the following ideas. 

  • Deliverying what Japanese culture is like: our values and their reasons, things we love and their meanings. 

  • Helping people who like Japan or are interested in Japan to know more about it.
  • Sharing with them simple, normal and local side of Tokyo and Japan.

As a Tokyo local, I feel like it is a pity that people visit only Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roppongi, Asakusa, and think Tokyo is that's it. I would like them to know how the non-touristic life of my city looks like. Likewise, I wish to share what we as kids practiced in our daily lives to entertain ourselves. 

When people wish to learn about Japanese culture, I would like to be the one who they can reach out first. 

CONTACTS

Ms. Manami Watanabe (Ph.D.)  渡邉 真菜美
Instagram      origami_tyo_world
Facebook       https://www.facebook.com/manami.watanabe.31586/
E-mail           mana.watan@gmail.com