Archive for the ‘Japanese Decor’ Category

Buckwheat Zafus

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Click on any picture to see additional product

Like many retailers selling kapok and buckwheat hull cushions, I had a hard time explaining the differences between these two natural fillings. This has been particularly true for online stores, whose customers are unable to feel the weight and texture of either material. Rather than taking a wild guess or choosing the one that sounds like it will work, I recommend learning about each of them in this series of articles. The first article, Kapok Pillows and Zafu Cushions, will give you the download on kapok and this one will fill you in about buckwheat hull pillows.

Before you read on, remember that the choice of one meditation cushion over another is a matter of personal taste. It usually comes down to the one that gives you the level of support you need to remain in the same position for long periods of time. That being said, I hope these articles will help you make an informed decision.

Part One: Buckwheat Hull

In case you’ve never heard of buckwheat hull, you’re not alone. This popular grain is readily available and not quite as rare as the Asian kapok tree. While it’s not nearly as soft as the downy kapok, people love the way buckwheat hull pillows conform to the contours of the body. Anyone who has been practicing meditation for a long time will recognize the value of this type of lumbar support, but this is by no means a “fluffy pillow.” The buckwheat hull zafu cushion is ergonomic and helps maintain healthy posture while meditating in the cross legged position. Covered with a 100% cotton twill fabric, the buckwheat hull filling makes it conform to the body’s shape more readily than kapok.

What is a buckwheat hull?

Buckwheat hulls are the parts of the plant that cover the seed or kernels. They have been used in ancient cultures, such as China, for hundreds of years but have only become more popular in the West in the past few decades.

Is a buckwheat hull pillow only for meditation?

Because of their ability to conform to the shape of the head and neck, buckwheat pillows often are recommended by medical professionals and doctors of chiropractic medicine. They are known to provide relief to those who suffer from migraines, snoring and neck pain. Because it is so similar to sitting on a mound of beach sand, buckwheat hulls give users a “grounded” feeling during meditation.

In addition to their use in zafu meditation pillows, buckwheat hulls are used for keyboard rests to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, eye pillows, and those cylindrical pillows that support the back while sitting at a desk. They even can be purchased with natural herbs added to the buckwheat hulls for a calming or energizing aromatherapy session.

What makes buckwheat hulls “sustainable?”
The material used for buckwheat hull pillows is actually the outer shell of buckwheat grain. Because it is too hard to be eaten by animals or humans, the hull would normally be discarded. By using it to fill cushions, nothing in the environment is disturbed.

Pros and Cons of Buckwheat Hulls





1. Buckwheat Hull cushions are adjustable. Each of them has a zippered opening which can be used to fill the cushions. This opening allows for the removal or
addition of buckwheat hulls to adjust the height and comfort.
2. Buckwheat hull cushions do not flatten or require fluffing up.
3. Buckwheat hulls are more like a natural sand surface because they conform to the shape of the body and provide a grounded feel.
1. If you prefer the feeling of a soft fluffy pillow, buckwheat hull cushions might not be the best choice. Some customers find them to be a bit hard, which
can be a firm surface if you don’t have your own “natural cushioning.”
2. Buckwheat Hull cushions weigh about twice as much as kapok cushions.
3. The Buckwheat Hulls make a bit of a scrunching sound when you move around on them.
4. After a while, the hulls can break down, but they can easily be replaced by adding more through the zippered opening.

Buckwheat Hull cushions have become increasingly popular for meditation, accounting for the majority of zafu cushions sold today. People who choose kapok
instead are usually looking for a more traditional pillow that is comfortable to the touch.

It is best if you can test a few cushions locally before making a purchase, but we stand by our return and exchange policy. We want you to have the best cushion
for your needs.

Sale pricing expires February 28th, 2013. Enter Feb10 in the coupon box at check-out to receive 10% off. Not valid with other coupons or on previous sales.

Table Gongs and Chimes Bering Instant Tranquility

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

table chimes and desk gongsIt may seem a little far-fetched, but the sound of certain gongs and chimes can cause a physiological response in many people.  Just as noted author William Congreve once said, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast;” the same could be said about the sound of a gong.


Why Choose Bamboo Rugs Over Traditional Carpeting?

Monday, January 14th, 2013

bamboo rugCreating a Zen-inspired living space in your home may require quite a bit of renovation, particularly if you’re room includes traditional carpeting.  It’s not that a room cannot be Zen-like with regular rugs, but it is customary to use more organic materials.  Many Asian homeowners forgo carpeting altogether in favor of hand-woven tatami mats or hardwood floors, but there is another popular floor covering – bamboo rugs.


Why Choose Traditional Hand-Tufted Rugs Over Bamboo?

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

traditional surya oasis rugThere is much disagreement among home decorators about whether floor coverings should be part of a room’s design.  Many designers subscribe to the belief that patterned rugs are distracting and they draw the eye away from the more dimensional elements of a room’s décor.  Conversely, modern designers tend to enjoy using colors and patterns in carpeting to dictate a room’s overall palette.  Looking at some of the rooms displayed in Architectural Digest or Metropolitan Home, it would seem that both arguments are equally supported by award-winning designs.  Like many other concepts in home décor, the choice of a traditional rug over an organic surface comes down to personal taste.


Good Fortune Tea Set

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

This inviting porcelain tea set will capture the moment for the holidays and make a lasting impression all year long. Made of high quality, heavy porcelain in a soft shade of green, the tea set has the Kanji character for good fortune and a single seal on the teapot and on each cup. The set includes a tea pot with a bamboo handle and four cups. Stainless steel strainer basket is included. Attractively boxed, it makes a wonderful gift or a special treasure just for you!

Ikebana Japanese Vase

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Click on any picture to see additional product information.


Ikebana is a centuries old Japanese art form which brings together nature and humanity through flower arranging. Translated as the “way of the flower,” the emphasis is placed on simplicity and highlighted through the shape, graceful lines and form of the stems and flowers used.

Originating in the 16th century, the Japanese created ikebana flower arrangements as offerings to Buddhist Temples placing the flowers and branches upwards toward heaven as symbols of their faith.

The ikebana process invokes quiet reflection to appreciate and connect with nature, identifying the beauty in all forms. Through this process the practitioner in turn, found solace of mind, body and spirit.

We are pleased to offer these beautifully designed Ikebana vases offering the simplicity of Japanese design and style. Available in your choice of three premium woods, that will enhance any room and bring a natural element to your design. The legs of the vase are finished in a complementary wood that creates a designer touch. Distinctively designed, the iron bowl sits beneath the base. A kenzan frog is included to hold the stems securely in place.

Each type of wood is finished with the highest quality Danish oil. To complete the Zen look, polished black stones are included and can be arranged to your liking.

Ikebana Vases

–     Maple     –     –   Cherry    –     – Mahogany –

Click on any picture to see additional product information.

Adding one or two single stemmed flowers can bring both beauty and nature to your sacred space. This Japanese vase measures approximately 8 1/2" long, 3"
deep and 3 1/2" tall. Available for $39.00 each and proudly handcrafted in the USA.

Tranquility is Easy with Ikebana, Rock Cairns and Fountains

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

rock cairnsTrue inner peace and serenity is hard to come by these days.  With all the distractions from the media, cell phones, job stress and jam-packed schedules; it’s no wonder we have so little time left over to relax.  People need to find quick and satisfying ways to decompress and detach from the outside world, and Zen gardening is a great way to do this.

Unlike traditional American gardens which consist mainly of flowers, a Japanese garden maintains a much lower profile.  Tranquility is the primary goal of a Japanese garden, so it’s just as likely to contain fountains and rock sculptures as it is to be minimalistic.


The Iconic Influence of Japanese Home Décor

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

japanese home decorOne of the most recognizable styles used by interior designers is Japanese home décor, much of which has its roots in Buddhism.  Influenced by the spiritual teacher, Siddharta Gautama (aka Buddha), Japanese design is often anchored by the harmonious proportions and the graceful lines of a Buddha statue.  But over the years, the Asian school of interior design has been influenced by many other principles.  One of these is the “Zen state of mind” that comes from Zen Buddhism, a lifestyle that aims for a state of continuous enlightenment through meditation and wisdom.


What Can Shoji Dividers Do for Your Rooms?

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

shoji dividers + roomsIt’s funny how one day we can love the look of our home, and the next day every room looks like it needs a facelift.  Short of splurging on a lot of new furniture and room décor, Shoji dividers can make rooms look more organized and unique.  When you infuse your home with stylish Japanese Shoji dividers, rooms take on a sensuous and elegant look that is not easy to achieve in other ways.


Tatami Beds – A New Way to Look at Sleep

Monday, May 7th, 2012

tatami bedsMost Americans have been conditioned to believe that they must sleep on a thick mattress to get a good night’s sleep.  This belief is as much a part of the culture as believing a chair is where one should sit.  But this is not true in other areas of the world.  For example, tatami beds are widely accepted throughout Asia as an ideal sleep surface.  When one considers the mainstream paradigm of traditional mattresses being the best solution, or that a 2 to 3 foot deep system of mattresses and box springs would be needed to get the “firm bed” effect,” it does seem a bit silly.  As more people seek out a firm bed for comfort, tatami beds are an ideal choice.

The whole concept of soft and comfortable mattresses being the ideal place to rest our tired bones might just be a myth perpetuated by the mattress industry.  In reality, most sleep experts find that rejuvenating sleep comes from surfaces with less “fluff.”  The Japanese seem to have perfected this concept through their popular tatami beds.  The preferred sleeping surface in Japan still seems to be a futon mattress spread out on the floor, or a Japanese futon set.