Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Incense from Bambu Batu

 

Scent is a sense that is intimately connected with human memory. The olfactory nerve is situated close to the amygdala, the area of the brain associated with emotion and emotional memory. Some biologists believe that olfactory memory evolved as an early form of communication. Surrounding yourself with comforting smells is not just a way to bring back pleasant experiences, but to also calm the nervous system and aid in meditation. At Bambu Batu, we carry a host of Indian, Nepali, and Tibetan incense. We are now proud to being offering Shoyedio Japanese incense in six individual blends and in variety packs of eight assorted scents.

As the legend goes, a piece of fragrant wood washed up on the shores of the Japanese island of Awaji 1,400 years ago. Recognizing its special fragrance, the locals preserved the treasure and offered it as a gift to Empress Suiko. In the early 18th century, Rokubei Moritsune Hata began to refine incense production techniques and introducing his creations to royalty and the general public. Twelve generations later, the Hata family is still crafting scents using the best natural ingredients. They are certified by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry, and the US Fish & Wildlife Department, ensuring that their recipes use materials that are sustainably harvested and use no animal products.

Each box of Shoyeido Incense contains a bundle of 35 sticks, each with a burn time of 45 minutes. Most of the recipes are sandalwood based and include premium woods, herbs and spices, and all products are made in their factory in Kyoto, Japan. No accelerants are use, ensuring a long burn time and a pure, headache-free smoke. Bambu Batu’s Shoyeido collection ranges in price from $2.95 to $5.95 depending on variety. Come take a whiff and find your favorite!

Ever feel a bit guilty that you are using what once used to be a stately tree to wipe your behind? The American obsession with soft tissue has been responsible for the clear-cutting of forests across the world, and all just to keep clean in between showers. Simple solution? Bamboo toilet tissue!

According to Simple Ecology, Americans use 50 pounds of tissue paper per person each year. Each household will use two trees a year to fulfill their needs, translating into 200 pounds of paper. This figure is nearly 50% more than in Western Europe and Japan. Furthermore, the processing of the tissue is a major contributor to air and water pollution as well as habitat destruction. The industry is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, and uses many cancer causing chemicals. With a full two-thirds of paper used at home, individuals can do a lot to help reduce their ecological footprint.

Finally, there is a green alternative for your bathroom break. The Tian Zhu Paper Group Co. offers bamboo pulp toilet tissue that is soft, strong, and sustainable. Established in 2006, the company is located in Jinhua Industrial Park, Chishui and operates out of a 70 acre facility. They take advantage of fast growing bamboo to create everything from toilet paper, to facial tissue, napkins, hand towels and kitchen towels. While there is a definite concern over the energy used to transport the paper products, bamboo toilet tissue is a great substitute for the devastation of old growth forests.

Bamboo is the grass that just keeps on giving.  Now, in addition to sheltering, clothing, and feeding us, this magnificent plant can also provide us with a healthy buzz.  If you are searching for something new and exotic to spice up your happy hour, you need look no further than this magnificent plant.

Traditionally Tipsy- “Zhuyeqing jiu”, produced in China, is a sweet liquor made from bamboo leaves, which gives the liquid a yellowish green color.  It is brewed for a number of herbal medicines, and ranges from 38-46% in alcohol content.  “Jugyeopcheongju” is a traditional Korean liquor also made with the leaves of bamboo.  Throughout Asia, wine is made from fermented bamboo and other sugary carbohydrates and housed in the nodes of the plant.  Some varieties of rice wine are infused with the juice of the grass and once sealed inside the stalk, absorbs more of the bamboo’s liquid.

The Bamboo Cocktail-  A variation of the martini, the Bamboo Cocktail was created during the later half of the nineteenth century at the Grand Hotel in Yokohama, Japan.  The drink combines vermouth, sherry, orange bitters, Angostura aromatic bitters, a twist of lemon, and an olive for decoration.  Extra points for serving the cocktail in a bamboo drinking vessel.

Helping Hands-  Even when not the main player, bamboo is an important supporting actor in the production and presentation of alcohol.  To produce Indian Jack-fruit wine, the pulp of the fruit is soaked, the seeds removed, and ground in bamboo baskets to extract the juice.  The juice is later transferred to earthen jars and fermented. Bamboo wine bottle racks and holders are currently en vogue, and whether it is woven, compressed, or fashioned from the entire stalk of the grass, the material makes for a stylish way to cradle your distilled delights.

Tiki Time-  What would a backyard Polynesian retreat be without the bamboo tiki bar?  Bambu Batu is home to several styles of bars and patio sets that are certain to make you feel as though you are on your own private tropical island.  Add a fashionable surf cutting board for garnishes, bamboo tongs to handle the ice cubes, and bamboo kitchen towels for cleanup, and you are set to entertain like a pro.

Whether fermented or furniture, bamboo is the life of the party!

 

Before Pecha Kucha, PowerPoint demonstrations and slideshows were the primary residents of the realms of Boring, Tediousville, and the Land of the Mind Numbingly Dull.  With multimedia conversations under 20min apiece and discussing subjects such as the bicycles built by the Wright Brothers, Moroccan/American/Polish/Latino creative writing and environmental art, there is something to keep everyone awake and interested.  Held this Saturday, October 22, at 7pm at the Oddfellows Hall in SLO (520 Dana St.), the night will offer seven presentations spanning the disciplines of art, regional politics, nature, medicine and music.  Suggested donations begin at $5 at the door and refreshments will be available for purchase.

Pecha Kucha was created by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham Architecture in Tokyo in 2003 as a venue for young designers to meet and discuss their works.  Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of “chit-chat”, the events have spread to over 230 cities across the world, all following the format of “20×20”, or 20 images for each 20 seconds of exhibition.  The brevity of each discussion provides for succinct conversations that focus on the most important and essential elements of a topic.  Any member of the community is allowed to present, and speakers are selected by community panels and organizers in each city.

Support the intellectual and artistic members of your community by attending Pecha Kucha!  Interested in presenting for the next installment?  For more information contact the organizers at (805) 801-6922.  Be entertained and informed this weekend with subjects that will expand your horizons and connect you to the fascinating individuals living in you area!

Sorry Oscar, but I HATE trash.  Case in point; marine garbage patches.  What exactly are these giant, floating messes?  Technically, these suspended litter heaps are concentrations of debris (usually consisting of small pieces of plastic) concentrated within a common area.  Contrary to popular belief, there are no permanent “islands” being created in the middle of the ocean that can be detected via satellite.  These collections of rubbish are, however, extremely harmful to marine ecosystems and enormously difficult to contain, clean and manage.

There are several massive known aggregations throughout the world, identified as the Eastern Pacific (between Hawaii and California), Western Pacific (off the Coast of Japan) and North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone (north of Hawaii) garbage patches.  There are also Atlantic equivalents to the Pacific concentrations (as debris will collect around major gyres, or large circulatory currents), although research is comparatively thin compared to those in the Pacific.  While these are not the only places flotsam accumulates from human activities on the mainland, they are by far some of the biggest and the subject of great concern. Since their size and shape changes daily or seasonally, estimates of location and span are at time difficult to pin down in exact terms.

The vast majority of the masses are made up of plastics.  From single-use bags to water bottles, plastics are responsible for chemical pollution through degradation, choking marine life who mistake objects for food (see the Guardian’s photo essay on Albatross death), and endangering entire ecosystems by disintegrating into tiny pieces which are taken up through the bottom of the food chain.

These  particles are then accumulated upwards into the tissues of larger organisms, eventually reaching top predators and human beings who consume animals lower down on the food chain.  Plastics are very hard to remove from the oceans as sunlight may reduce them into pieces unable to be captured by nets. Where trash collects, so does marine life, and attempts at skimming debris might also harm the creatures swimming amongst the junk.  Major clean-up efforts would also use a large amount of fossil fuels to locate, process and haul the detritus out of the sea.

Luckily, as individuals, we have the power to make decisions that can have large-scale effects.  Water bottles and plastic bags, who are common occupants of these floating landfills, can be replaced with multiple use items such as cloth grocery sacks (like Blue Lotus’s stylish produce bags), thermoses, canteens and reusable water bottles. At Bambu Batu, we dig the sustainable and attractive Bamboo Bottle. We also offer an attractive assortment of re-usable bamboo utensil sets and sporks, to further reduce your dependency on disposable plastics.

Reducing the amount of plastics we use, as well as recycling and properly disposing of what we purchase, can go a long way to stem the flow of trash making its way into our oceans and food chain.

 

 

Okay, so with the recent Japanese disaster, we’re all a bit sketched out over here on the Central Coast about things such as milk, meat, and of course, our drinking water. But should we have felt safe about our tap water to begin with? Maybe not. While it’s a given that if you live in Morro Bay or Los Osos, you probably shouldn’t drink the tap water, you don’t think twice about it in the rest of the county.

However, the merits of fluoridation of our water has recently come back in to debate. While proponents of fluoridation argue that the benefits outweigh the potential risks, such as a 40% reduction in cavities, it is known that overexposure can cause dental flourosis (a decaying and mottling of tooth enamel) and skeletal flourosis (joint pain and stiffness).

This is perhaps why the U.S Department of Health recently lowered the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water. 60% of Americans get fluoridated water, whether they are aware of it or not.

All things considered, do you think we should allow fluoridation in our drinking water? How much is too much? Do you drink tap water? We want to hear your thoughts.

Facts provided by The Daily Green.

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