Monday, July 11, 2011


Last Thursday Mrs. Harada brought me a present! A cat object!

This is actually two Japanese kamifusen, paper balloons... A large one, and a small one with ears and a face on it. I blew up the balloons, dented the larger one and put the little one in the depression. When a breeze from the fan blows though, the balloons go scattering across the window sill... Or of course when a cat decides to play with them.

are traditional in Japan. They are usually colorful and can be bought flat in a package. With a little breath power they expand and keep their shape while children gently play with them....volleying them into the air. According to Wikipedia they have been around since the 1600's in Japan.
(Picture from the Internet)

When I was a child I used to be enchanted by paper balloons. My grandparents must have had Japanese relatives send them to America because every so often I would be given a paper balloon. My brother and I would forget the "gently" rule and when we got too rough the paper balloon would shred and end up in the waste paper basket.

In later years my family would visit Little Tokyo in Los Angeles on a Sunday afternoon and I always begged for a paper balloon which were relatively cheap. A simple, natural, unexciting toy but it gave me a smile and spoke to me of far off places in the Orient.

My kitty kamifusen from Mrs. Harada may not last long in my house. Chip has already taken an interest... But they are light and don't take up much space. Maybe I'll take the kitty object to my mother! I'm sure it will give her a smile too!

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