Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Origami Series: "A for Armadillo"

Texas Armadillos

One of my Texas friends referred to armadillos as Texas turkeys. The word "turkey" often used to refer to someone who lacks smartness, i.e. a dumb person. I suppose armadillos are referred to as turkey for their appearance and slowness. In defense of armadillos their eye sight is very poor but their sense of smell is very sharp.

I had never seen armadillos until I came to Texas. The first sight of an armadillo are usually seen by Texas visitors on highways as road kill (dead ones, hit by speeding cars). Armadillos are nocturnal animals. They come out sometimes in the evening hours to hunt for food, but most of them are active in midnight hours. Using their strong sense of smell, they can find their favorite bugs and worms in the ground. They also have the sharpest claws on their front paws. I know armadillos have visited my yard during the night because of several freshly dug holes. The holes are usually about 10cm in diameter and 10cm to 20 cm in depth. Their favorite food is grub worms. Holes in the yard are something I don't want, but because they eat these harmful worms, it may be said armadillos are one of the beneficial creatures. They don't do any harm to anyone other than digging holes on the lawns.


A Foreign Student Who Wanted A Live Armadillo

A few years ago, when working as a mentor in the local elementary school, I worked with a 4th grade Japanese student who had just come to the United States with her family. Her dad was an electrical engineer and was here for a 3-year assignment to work with their American counterpart of the company in this town. The student had never spoken English language before she came here, and was abruptly thrown into the American education system. My job as a mentor was to work with her to learn English, help with school work, help to make friends, and most importantly help her to get accustomed to the American way of school life. She was a very sharp person and her improvement in English and school work was phenomenal during the year. By the end of the school year, she was able to write a short story in English for her assignment. Her teacher was absolutely wonderful in the way she did everything she could to help her do well in the school. Needless to say it was her idea that I come to school to help her. Every student's book was professionally bound. A copy of her book has found a place on my bookshelf ever since.

No Armadillo, A Boxful of Origami Armadillos

She was very interested in seeing a real live armadillo. The ones she has seen were those on the highway, the dead ones. So, I tried to capture one during the night by setting up a trap. Obviously, armadillos are not so dumb. I was never able to catch one. But I knew how to make Origami Armadillos. So, I told her if I could not catch a live one by the end of school year, I would make origami armadillos for everyone in her class.

One day before the school year was to end, I made a boxful of origami armadillos. When she saw the box with many origami armadillos in it, she was very happy and said, "you are an Origami Master!". She took the box of armadillos and happily went to her class. Her dad finished his work by the end of their 2nd year and soon after, they went back to their home in Japan.


  1. I say it too!! You are the master of Origami!!
    When I visited my brother in Oklahoma, I saw one or two Armadillos. Nine-banded armadillos live in Florida, but I never saw one!!

  2. 英語のversionを読んで、好きでしたよ。
    - ジャック