4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Wrapped with Care

“Every single gift must have its proper folds,” says Lisa Koide Halverson. “In America, on Christmas, you don’t wrap a present in black — usually red or green. On Easter it’s usually wrapped in pink or yellow cellophane to represent spring and renewal. In Japan you have to consider the type of box, the folding, the type of paper, and the color of the paper.”

On Saturday, December 13, Halverson will conduct a class on how to use Japanese gift-wrapping techniques to package a bottle of wine, a book, and a jar. The Japanese word for the concept of wrapping is tsutsumi. Explained by Kunio Ekiguchi in his book, Gift Wrapping: Creative Ideas from Japan, tsutsumi encompasses much more than simply wrapping gifts. “For example, gods or Buddhas are ‘wrapped’ in a household altar…gardens are enclosed by a variety of fences. Architectural space is defined by translucent shoji doors, opaque fusuma doors, and bamboo blinds…and food is placed in lacquer containers.”

Ekiguchi goes on to explain that tsutsumi is “not a tight, hermetic seal but a loose, flexible covering or shading. This style embodies the concept of ‘gentle concealment,’ a central part of the traditional Japanese sense of beauty.”

Japanese paper, known as washi, is made using fibers from the mulberry tree. “It’s not rice paper, as many people think,” says Halverson. Washi is exceptionally sturdy — it can take up to 600 folds before it tears. Contrary to western culture, in which wrapping paper is seen as trash the moment a gift is revealed, the Japanese are more likely to keep and reuse it.

“In ancient times, when the priests of Japan would graduate a student from a particular study, the student would receive an intricately folded piece of origami,” says Halverson. “They [the pieces of folded paper] proved you went to school — it was actually a diploma, and you kept it the rest of your life, folded. No one could replicate the highly complex folds, they were so intricate.”

Years later, samurai warriors would exchange gifts adorned with noshi, ceremonial origami made of folded strips of paper considered to be good-luck tokens. “Origami was originally used for celebrating happy occasions, like origami butterflies for Shinto weddings. In modern times, starting in the early 1900s, it became a fun thing for little kids to fold and entertain themselves.”

These paper-folding techniques are now taught as a part of basic curriculum in Japanese schools. “There is hardly any kid you’ll meet in Japan who doesn’t know how to fold a crane,” says Halverson.

Japanese-style gift wrapping employs many of the same folds used in origami. When wrapping a present, Halverson says the goal is to “conceal the gift as beautiful as your thoughts about the person you like or adore.”

For Halverson, giving an unwrapped gift is almost unthinkable. In past years, some of her friends have converted her wraps to Christmas tree ornaments after removing the gift. “One year I gave my niece a Billy Idol record, and I made a Billy Idol paper sculpture, with jagged hair, on the front.”

It is considered rude in Japan to open a gift in the presence of the giver. “As my mother explained it to me, to do so proves you’re more anxious about the gift than the person who came to give it,” says Halverson. “The gift is but a pittance compared to the value of your time together. You have to say to a person, ‘I respect you. This is not about the gift, but about our friendship.’”

A standard gift given in Japan is smoked salmon, or any token on a similar scale. It’s not the salmon that matters so much as the “thought and beauty of the gift wrap.”

In addition to the pleasing aesthetic of a meticulous wrapping job, there are layers of meaning among the folds. For example, a wedding gift might be embellished with an origami crane, which is not only a symbol of peace but also of matrimony. “A Japanese crane picks one mate and stays with that mate for life,” Halverson explains. “If one dies, the [remaining] crane never mates again.”

Another important aspect of gift wrapping is the mizuhiki, or corded paper. “Once that knot is tied in the mizuhiki, it’s tied — it can’t be bent back and reused,” says Halverson. “It is the tie that binds.”

Perhaps Ekiguchi best summarizes the role of gift wrapping. “In Japan, it is said that giving a gift is like wrapping one’s heart. Just as one helps a friend into a coat carefully and courteously, a gift should be wrapped tenderly and conscientiously.”

— Barbarella

Japanese Gift Wraps for Wine, Book, and Jam

Saturday, December 13

10 a.m. to noon

Japanese Friendship Garden

Balboa Park

Cost: $22

Info: 619-232-2721 or www.niwa.org

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Stingaree's red-light rules, early Horton Plaza, Lomaland

New Town suffers downturn, San Diego's Civil War vets, merchant killed in Mission Valley
Next Article

Stingaree's red-light rules, early Horton Plaza, Lomaland

New Town suffers downturn, San Diego's Civil War vets, merchant killed in Mission Valley

“Every single gift must have its proper folds,” says Lisa Koide Halverson. “In America, on Christmas, you don’t wrap a present in black — usually red or green. On Easter it’s usually wrapped in pink or yellow cellophane to represent spring and renewal. In Japan you have to consider the type of box, the folding, the type of paper, and the color of the paper.”

On Saturday, December 13, Halverson will conduct a class on how to use Japanese gift-wrapping techniques to package a bottle of wine, a book, and a jar. The Japanese word for the concept of wrapping is tsutsumi. Explained by Kunio Ekiguchi in his book, Gift Wrapping: Creative Ideas from Japan, tsutsumi encompasses much more than simply wrapping gifts. “For example, gods or Buddhas are ‘wrapped’ in a household altar…gardens are enclosed by a variety of fences. Architectural space is defined by translucent shoji doors, opaque fusuma doors, and bamboo blinds…and food is placed in lacquer containers.”

Ekiguchi goes on to explain that tsutsumi is “not a tight, hermetic seal but a loose, flexible covering or shading. This style embodies the concept of ‘gentle concealment,’ a central part of the traditional Japanese sense of beauty.”

Japanese paper, known as washi, is made using fibers from the mulberry tree. “It’s not rice paper, as many people think,” says Halverson. Washi is exceptionally sturdy — it can take up to 600 folds before it tears. Contrary to western culture, in which wrapping paper is seen as trash the moment a gift is revealed, the Japanese are more likely to keep and reuse it.

“In ancient times, when the priests of Japan would graduate a student from a particular study, the student would receive an intricately folded piece of origami,” says Halverson. “They [the pieces of folded paper] proved you went to school — it was actually a diploma, and you kept it the rest of your life, folded. No one could replicate the highly complex folds, they were so intricate.”

Years later, samurai warriors would exchange gifts adorned with noshi, ceremonial origami made of folded strips of paper considered to be good-luck tokens. “Origami was originally used for celebrating happy occasions, like origami butterflies for Shinto weddings. In modern times, starting in the early 1900s, it became a fun thing for little kids to fold and entertain themselves.”

These paper-folding techniques are now taught as a part of basic curriculum in Japanese schools. “There is hardly any kid you’ll meet in Japan who doesn’t know how to fold a crane,” says Halverson.

Japanese-style gift wrapping employs many of the same folds used in origami. When wrapping a present, Halverson says the goal is to “conceal the gift as beautiful as your thoughts about the person you like or adore.”

For Halverson, giving an unwrapped gift is almost unthinkable. In past years, some of her friends have converted her wraps to Christmas tree ornaments after removing the gift. “One year I gave my niece a Billy Idol record, and I made a Billy Idol paper sculpture, with jagged hair, on the front.”

It is considered rude in Japan to open a gift in the presence of the giver. “As my mother explained it to me, to do so proves you’re more anxious about the gift than the person who came to give it,” says Halverson. “The gift is but a pittance compared to the value of your time together. You have to say to a person, ‘I respect you. This is not about the gift, but about our friendship.’”

A standard gift given in Japan is smoked salmon, or any token on a similar scale. It’s not the salmon that matters so much as the “thought and beauty of the gift wrap.”

In addition to the pleasing aesthetic of a meticulous wrapping job, there are layers of meaning among the folds. For example, a wedding gift might be embellished with an origami crane, which is not only a symbol of peace but also of matrimony. “A Japanese crane picks one mate and stays with that mate for life,” Halverson explains. “If one dies, the [remaining] crane never mates again.”

Another important aspect of gift wrapping is the mizuhiki, or corded paper. “Once that knot is tied in the mizuhiki, it’s tied — it can’t be bent back and reused,” says Halverson. “It is the tie that binds.”

Perhaps Ekiguchi best summarizes the role of gift wrapping. “In Japan, it is said that giving a gift is like wrapping one’s heart. Just as one helps a friend into a coat carefully and courteously, a gift should be wrapped tenderly and conscientiously.”

— Barbarella

Japanese Gift Wraps for Wine, Book, and Jam

Saturday, December 13

10 a.m. to noon

Japanese Friendship Garden

Balboa Park

Cost: $22

Info: 619-232-2721 or www.niwa.org

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Guadalupe Valley draws the line at an amphitheater

"They will leave us a ghost town”
Next Article

Ideal round of golf: “any Wednesday evening at Mission Bay with three friends and 12 Stellas”

Lowest score wins
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close