I love origami cranes. I'm not super into the Japanese culture, although I do love much of their culture and traditions. And if you're looking for a book about the kamikaze bombers from WWII, this really helps explain their point of view, without diminishing the American lives they destroyed.
Recently, maybe in the last year, I've seen them used a lot as decoration. First, in an Anthropolgie store window, and then several times on Apartmenttherapy.com.
For my nephew's baptism I made him a mobile with fabric cranes that this lovely etsy shop sells. The pictures aren't amazing, but A helped me make the mobile and in person it is lovely. I'll try to post pictures of it a little later.
I was doing some research on them, and here is a nice article about the history of origami, which I found both fascinating and instructive. Then, as I was researching the cranes, which are my favorite, I found an saying that if you make 1000 cranes your wish will be granted...interesting challenge. In the end these two pictures have been a huge inspiration to me:
Now what should I wish for?