Posts Tagged ‘nepal’

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!

Ban jhankri masks bring long life and good fortune.

In between the spiritual and physical realm walks the shaman, a figure that is able to communicate with both the material and ethereal. The figure of the ban jhankri, or “forest shaman”, comes from Nepal. Described by the indigenous folk as small, golden and hairy, they are master healers and those who chose human shamans to continue their work. Novices are typically young males who are then abducted to live and study in caves. They are later returned to their communities, hours or days after their disappearance. After their kidnapping, the acolytes find a human guru who helps them to initiate trances and communication with the ban jhankri.

The faces of the ban jhankri are carved out of the base of bamboo stalks where the “hair” is represented by the roots. Many of these representations are now being produced for sale in Thailand where artisans hand-carve the visages of the forest spirits. Said to be good luck and excellent feng shui, the rich earth tones and peaceful expressions bring a little of nature’s energy into the home.

It is important to stand up for what you believe in, and when you own green furniture, it is also possible to sit, lie down, and and lean on your convictions.  To fully relax with a clear conscience, it is best to purchase furnishings that take advantage of recycled materials, sustainable woods or grasses, and are free of harmful chemicals.  As a bamboo specialty store, Bambu Batu supports the increasingly popular trend towards eco-friendly fabrication and design.  Hoping to outfit your home with stylish appointments worthy of the earth-respecting soul that you are?  Here are a couple of companies we would suggest:

Anji Mountain-  Bambu Batu is happy to carry Anji Mountain’s beautiful bamboo mats.  The company takes advantage of other renewable natural fibers and offer full lines of area rugs from jute, seagrass, wool and sisal.  Unlike many other floor coverings, these materials do not release pollutants and large amounts of carbon during production or release heavy metals and synthetic chemicals during disposal.  Man-made fibers can emit VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) while sitting in your home.  Avoid allergies and respiratory illness by choosing plants over plastics!

Modern Bamboo- Contemporary design and environmental awareness converge in Modern Bamboo’s clean, sleek chairs, closets, and tables.  Fabricated in the USA by skilled craftsmen, the company also custom builds pieces from reclaimed materials and uses VOC-free glues and finishes.  Taking advantage of bamboo’s natural strength and flexibility, the designs reminiscent of Charles and Ray Eames help to create an indoor atmosphere that is sure to remain in style far into the future.

Atmodsphere- Located in downtown San Luis Obispo, home and kitchen decor boutique Atmodsphere showcases beds, desks, chairs, and tables fashioned from reclaimed wood, recycled milk bottles, and poly lumber.  Ranging from the affordable to the very high end, the store hand selects the best in modernist style.  Drop in to browse or take part in one of their many handmade-craft workshops.

El Dot- Simple and stylish, you too will dream of outfitting a whole room or office in an El Dot collection.  Constructed from a Nepalese timber species of bamboo and of rosewood, the frames of their pieces are harvested annually by local farmers from private land.  Cushions, padding, and upholstery fabrics are composed of non-toxic and biodegradable wool, hemp,  and organic latex.  The nuts and bolts are all brass, and sourced from Kathmandu.

Linker Workshop- Central Coast local craftsmen Jamie Coxon and Nick Wilkinson provide custom installations, furniture, and displays from reclaimed materials through the Linker Workshop.  From succulent-adorned wall planters to jewelry cases, lighting fixtures to seating build-outs, picture frames to decks, these two can make just about anything for your home or business.


For the past four years, Humanitarian Acts in Nepal Developing Schools (HANDS) has been working towards providing education and community development programs in Nepal.  The seeds for HANDS were planted four years ago when founder and SLO County native Danny Chaffin, 20 years old and taking a break from school, decided to volunteer and travel through the country.  Initially attracted by the Buddhist and Hindu cultures, Danny fell in love with the people he met in Tibet, living with a host family and learning traditional Thangka painting.  Becoming more and more immersed in the traditions and society of the region, he looked to find ways in which he could give back to his adopted community.

After returning home from his first visit, Danny enrolled in Naropa University which was co-founded by famous Tibetan author, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.  The school offered a Thangkha painting course, which he enthusiastically attended, and allowed him time to study and plan his next trip to East Asia.  After a year, he made his way back to India, and then Nepal where he began to more seriously lay the foundations for a NGO.  Returning from that excursion, Danny was able to file for official non-profit status and embark upon building a school in one of the villages he had visited.  Taking a semester off from during the third year of the project, Danny was involved in overseeing the construction of the school.  Being enrolled in Naropa’s Peace Studies program, he felt as though his work dovetailed perfectly with his coursework which placed a strong emphasis on international aid.

Now in its fourth year if operation, HANDS is accepting donations from across the United States and Nepal, and has two established schools to its name.  Danny and his girlfriend are currently residing in Thailand where he is finishing up elective credits from Naropa and they are both continuing in their efforts to establish schools in Nepal.  It’s so refreshing to hear about a local student in his mid-twenties with a passion for more than beer and spring break.  Thank you, Danny for commitment to education, service, and social responsibility!

To learn more about HANDS or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit