Arts and crafts

8 Aug

From left to right: Yamada (for S), Chinen (for me), Keito (for J)While I’ve spent a lot of my free time here cleaning my apartment, trying to get my TV to work, unpacking, and otherwise setting myself up, I’ve had a little free time for fun things, and last weekend, friend S and I made an essential for Japanese boyband concert-going: uchiwas, or round fans.

There are two types of fans common in Japan: the folding type (sensu), and round flat fans (uchiwa).  People use uchiwa in everyday life to keep cool, but at concerts, especially those for idols (Japanese pop stars), fans often bring fans bearing one kanji or the name of their favourite member of the band.  This possibly stems from a similar practice done in the Edo period at kabuki performances (or at least bears a resemblance to this practice, I’m unsure if they’re actually linked), but whatever the reason, most fans bring a fan (see what I did there?) to idol concerts, and since S and I are headed to Nagano in two weeks to see Hey! Say! JUMP in concert, we had to get to making ours!

Front and back designs

Uchiwa-making supplies can be found in a variety of places, including 100-yen stores and craft stores, but the best place in my opinion is Tokyu Hands, an extensive department store.  They have a variety of options of reflective sticker-paper used to make the name kanji, as well as different colours of the fans themselves, and while they don’t have Tokyu Hands in Gunma, S and I picked up some supplies while we were in Tokyo so that we could get to work making our uchiwa.

My first uchiwa-making experience was last year when S and I attended a different Hey! Say! JUMP concert, but we were under-prepared, and our fans were, as a result, lackluster.  Fans often go all-out on these things, wanting to show their support for their favourite member (and often putting a request on the backside, such as “make a peace sign!” or something of the like, so that they know the member saw their uchiwa), and so this year, we were ready to make some amazing uchiwa.

As it were, S actually isn’t that into arts and crafts, so I made fans for the both of us, as well as for J, who’s going to meet us at the concert.  We decided on our members’ full names on the front side (rather than just the first kanji) and “please jump!” on the back side, since “jump” is in the band’s name and it seemed clever.  It was a long day of drawing and cutting, but I think our uchiwa turned out quite well!

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