The Janitor gives me origami.
The janitor at one of the elementary schools where I teach English here in Yokohama is a young dork. He’s either in his 20’s or 30’s where as all the other maintenance men/ground crews/janitors at the other dozen schools I’ve been assigned to over the years are usually in their 50’s or 60’s. He has a goofy way of talking. He has big nerdy glasses that he wears with his janitor jump suit. He loves being in a school with the pleasantness of teachers and laughing children. He seems like he enjoys going to work and doing a service others each day.
And, he loves origami.
When I met him he gave me a gift: A small heart-shaped ring folded from paper. He joked that if origami was a career option he’d be all over that. He is dedicated to origami. He researches projects and characters. He spends time meticulously folding, marking, cutting, and combining pieces to make works of art. He contributes to the cut paper bulletin boards in front of the school that illustrate full seasonal scenes like children catching bugs or playing games on field day. When I mentioned that I loved origami as a child and it was one of the things that made Japan “cool” to me as a munchkin, he knew he had an audience. Since then I’ve gotten a TON of gifts from him. Each project is increasingly extravagant and complicated.
So today, I took them off my desk and brought them to the park. You gotta see this.