Making paper balloons with the locals

Pocket

otahimatsuri8 2

Photo credit to Daisen city

I had a lot of fun creating these lovely paper balloons with the locals of Daisen City. When signing up for this event, I had no idea what was in store for me. Initially, I thought that the balloons were going to be a lot smaller where each person individually made his/her own design; kind of like the lanterns seen in Disney’s Tangled. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that everyone would work together to create one huge paper balloon._DSC7206 _DSC7183The locals showed us exemplary images that we could use for our own balloon, yet they were completely open to our own ideas despite our lack of experience. After we finished practicing how to draw on the rice paper with paint, paint markers, and permanent markers and successfully traced and colored in all of the firework designs for half of the balloon, we were able to finally move on to our own creation side._DSC7186The small group that I came with were all students of Akita International University, so we were able to unanimously agree upon drawing our school’s mascot, One (Wan), a green colored Akita Inu, and his girlfriend. It was a little challenging at first to come up with the proper sizing of the two dogs and their placement on the sheet, but we somehow managed. A pencil or a separate blank piece of paper to draw a sketch of the design first would have been nice, but we made due with what we had and created a rough sketch with a light-colored yellow marker._DSC7293The ginormous paper balloons are created by gluing together three long strips of paper, that are made up of four square panels each, together on each side; thus, twenty-four panels total. Because we had two dogs, yet three panels for one side of the balloon, we decided to have both of them holding onto their very own paper balloon that they too will release into the sky. We felt that by including this paper balloon drawing nicely tied in our design to the overall festival. I believe that we effectively depicted the unity of the AIU students with the local community by having our mascots celebrating in on the festival too._DSC7343Directly communicating with the locals of Daisen City was not very difficult at all. Everyone was extremely nice and always willing to help. If you did not understand how to do something, they would rephrase and demonstrate it again until you did._DSC7237Even when we had lunch together with the locals in town and I could not read some of the kanji written in the menu, they described what the dish included in an easy way to understand. I ended up selecting one of the recommended items on the list, which was indeed a very wise choice. The flavorful and easy to chew meat complemented the stir fried veggies quite delectably. Although it was a lot to eat, I savored every single last bite of it. _DSC7271My favorite moment by far was “Into the Balloon.” After we finished making our balloon by sealing the top part with a large circular cut piece of rice paper, we placed the bottom open end over the heater and watched the magic begin. The balloon swelled with hot air and began to take flight. Once inflated, we were allowed to see the interior of our new creation. It was like entering into a mystical realm. Through the room being brightly lit due to the sun’s rays reflecting off of the endless sea of white snow outside, it helped to create an ethereal atmosphere once inside of the balloon. It was definitely a fabulous experience to be inside the balloon, and it even makes for a fantabulous photoshoot!_DSC7420 _DSC7409I could tell that the other students also really enjoyed this paper balloon making activity. As quoted by Stefanie Berrier, “It was really cool to see how quickly everything came together at the end. After we finished painting, all we had to do was make a few cuts, add some glue in the right places, and all of a sudden we had a balloon!” Although the initial process of drawing and painting may have taken a while and was probably the hardest part, once that was finished, just as Stefanie had said, it all just quickly came together and your hard work was rewarded with a fabulously decorated product._DSC7320 _DSC7446Even though we have yet to see our newly colored paper balloons in action outside lighting up the night sky, seeing the final product indoors properly floating around was just as exciting. I am really glad I had the opportunity to take part in this event, and I look forward to the actual festival later on in February where our creations will be on display, illuminating the nighttime scenes._DSC7431 _DSC7434Written by Jasmine Gatten(American)

Pocket