I just finished a three week listening course titled Japanese Culture Through Rare Books put out by FutureLearn and it was both informative and inspirational. One style of book in Japan is called the Orihon (折本) which is a folded book. In English it's called an Accordion book. I've never made an accordion book to my knowledge so this course inspired me to make one. Then, not being satisfied with the first one, I made a second one. My second orihon/accordion book is better than the first one.
The first one used blank scrap paper. Just to see if I could do it. The second one uses two of my short stories: The Merchant of Venus and Monkey, Dick, and I. To make an orihon/accordion book we first need to glue individual papers together, then fold it however we want, and add covers. Nice process and fun. The final book is also fun to read. I mean, you can read it while flipping rapidly through the pages.
The book is about 115 mm wide and 160 mm tall. Slightly larger than A6 (about very roughly 4.5 inches by 6 inches for our north American captives.) It is about 220 cm long when completely folded out. (Again, about 7 feet for those who aren't conversant in the metric system.) And a whole lot of pages (see what I did there? If you’re a Zeppelin fan). It has a thin pinkish strap around it to keep it closed. The front part is the Merchant story and the back part is the Monkey story.
The Merchant of Venus, by the way, is a love / horror story set in another universe where females are created from the fingers of males. (Not unlike making a female from a rib? Maybe?). The main character is a man who makes females from the fingers of his clients. He has made two wives for himself. Each female, however, as an expiration date: 20 years after creation. To make things livelier, they are born 20 years old. Having made two wives for himself, he has eight fingers. He retires but is blackmailed into making a woman for a government syncophant. But the woman created isn’t interested in the syncophant; she’s interested in the main character. So he has to make another woman from his own fingers, leaving him with seven.
Monkey, Dick, and I is a con artist story about Monkey, a young girl (maybe 11 years old), who has fallen under the tutelage of the homeless and poverty-stricken ex-Navy narrator, the I in the title. Monkey and the narrator convince an old Navy friend (Dick) that Dick is the father and needs to take care of Monkey from now on because she needs a real family, an education, and consistency in her life that homelessness cannot provide. It is unclear in the story who is Monkey’s real dad: the narrator or Dick.
Making these books was a challenge but it is the Year of Getting Out of Our Comfort Zone so it is to be expected. While taking the Rare Book Japanese Culture course, I also learned about the tatamino-mono book (たたみもの) - a fold out book. I made one of those, too.