Origami, the traditional paper folding art of Japan, has such a global presence and appreciation that at times it is hard to even associate the practice with the country. Onigiri, or rice balls, are also a traditional Japanese treat gaining popularity because of the ease with which they can be made, and the variety of fillings they can offer. As with all things art and food, evolution is inevitable, however. However, we didn't quite expect to see the two collide like this. What started out as a volunteer activity effort after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami has led to a combination of onigiri and origami that lets you wrap your rice balls in origami shapes!

Mt. Fuji

Cleverly called "Orinigiri", the culinary art fusion is based on pre-creasing and folding origami paper in accordance to your desired shape, then setting a plastic wrap on top of it to hold the paper in place. On top of the wrap you lay down a sheet of nori (seaweed), and then the rice and fillings of your choice. After that, you carefully fold the onigiri as if it were origami. Winner of the the 2016 Good Design Award, the Orinigiri project keeps traditional art alive, while spicing up an everyday Japanese snack with some added style.

While it is currently seeking crowdfunding for commercial release, instructional videos have been released for those who are ready to challenge it on their own. English descriptions are also available on their website.

Flying Bird

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Hopefully the crowdfunding effort will be successful, allowing for wide access to the goods necessary for everyone to make Orinigiri at home. Even without that decided, however, those more artistically inclined can challenge the practice at home by preparing some origami paper, creasing carefully, and following the videos. While the site is mostly in Japanese, Orinigiri's inquiry page (top right button), may be able to answer questions in English.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.