The post below was written Jessica Lipnack. You can find the original here http://endlessknots.netage.com/endlessknots/2011/03/a-thousand-million-trillion-cranes.html
If this inspires you to start folding, the instructions for an origami crane can be found here. http://monkey.org/~aidan/origami/crane/
A thousand million trillion cranes
We all feel the same, heart-sick, heart-broken, heart-aching for the people of Japan. I’ve been thinking about Sadako and the thousand paper cranes, the belief that wishes are granted to those who fold that many. Sadako, two years old when the bomb was dropped near her home in Hiroshima, died of leukemia when she was almost 12, having folded 664 cranes, short of her goal of 1000. Her classmates finished for her.
In Japan, when others are ill, people fold cranes. And when babies are born. And for good luck.
When he was eight years old, my husband learned to fold cranes at a Thanksgiving dinner with his grandparents in New Hampshire. Soon after we met, he taught me; we both taught our kids, who became quite good at origami. It became a family tradition to fold cranes in restaurants and leave them with our tips. For a few years in the 1980s, there was a Japanese paper store in nearby Newton Centre; we bought many sheets and folded large hanging cranes for friends.
All I can think to do now with the does-not-compute scale of this cascade of tragedies in Japan is to start folding cranes, a thousand million trillion, which still won’t be enough.