Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Slow Down the Pace at Work with a Feng Shui Zen Sand Garden

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010
small-feng-shui-sand-garden

Feng Shui Zen Sand Garden

The office is not usually a place that one would associate with quiet meditation and Zen gardens, but with this Feng Shui Zen Sand Garden, there is a way to bring a little Zen into your workday.

Zen gardening has its roots across many Asian cultures, and it is something that Westerners have often tried to imitate.  The art of Feng Shui has made headway in Western culture as well.  The problem is, most of us are so fast-paced and frenetic all the time; it is hard for us to slow down and appreciate the art of Zen meditation.  While we generally value the need to live in harmony with nature, we have a conflicting need for instant gratification and the two do not mix.  (more…)

Savor the Textures of this Slate Bamboo Vase

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
Slate Bamboo Vase

Slate Bamboo Vase

There is something very appealing about the sight of bright spring flowers against the cold flinty texture of a natural slate vase.  But when you add the hand-etched pattern of bamboo leaves on the body of the vase, it becomes a Zen work of art for your Zen home decor.  This Slate Bamboo Vase combines all these elements beautifully.

In contrast to the natural-edged slate on the front of this contemporary vase, the sides are made of a shiny metal with a hand painted patina finish, giving it a fashionable edge.  Its high-touch surface and substantial size makes it the kind of vase interior designers like to feature prominently in an entryway or on a mantle.  Individually hand-split slate reveals natural clefting patterns and warm earthen color beneath the gray.  Because the stone used on this vase is quarried from the earth, no artificial texture or color is needed to enhance the beauty of the slate. That is why the patina of the metal sides adds such a modern quality to the vase.  (more…)

Add Some Color to Your Martial Arts Studio with Tatami Grappling Mats

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
Tatami Grappling Mat

Before you start learning Judo, Karate, Jujitsu or Aikido, you will need to invest in some dense yet portable grappling mats. These Zebra Tatami Grappling Mats are known as the premier mat for the martial arts student.  They are used by virtually every martial arts training center because of how well they absorb shock and offer protection from throws, stumbles and take downs.  These firm vinyl-coated mats are tatami-textured and utilize superior 14lb multiple foam density technology.  The 1.5” thick surface allows for quick movement and provides a sure footing for even the most advanced fighting styles.

Zebra is the premier manufacturer of colorful tatami grappling mats that can be laid down in various patterns and grids.  Many martial arts studios custom order their colors to match the team’s logo.  The bottom of each mat is covered with a hand bonded anti-slip rubber material.  (more…)

“Wax Poetic” in this Navy Haiku Kimono

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Navy Haiku Kimono

Navy Haiku Kimono

According to the Urban Dictionary, to “wax poetic” means to become increasingly verbose and romantic in speech, or to become more and more like a poem.  While these might not seem like the qualities conferred upon one by simply wearing a kimono; not all kimonos are decorated with this inspired Haiku design.  If you’re looking for some poetic inspiration, why not try this Navy Haiku Kimono?

The Japanese art of Haiku is the most important form of traditional poetry in Japan, and like most Asian traditions it has a long and storied history.  Haiku was originally perfected by the efforts of Masaoka Shiki in the 1890’s as a form of poetry that was to be written in such a way that it could stand alone as an independent poem, rather than being part of a longer chain of verses.  The writer of haikus can describe almost anything he or she likes, but haikus are to be written with the goal of giving the reader a whole new experience of an everyday situation.  Haiku poems are written in a pattern of 5, 7 and 5 syllables, and each haiku traditionally includes a seasonal word, or “kigo”.  While many “rules” exist about writing Japanese haikus, there is no consensus about how to write them in languages other than Japanese.

When one looks at this alluring navy blue kimono, the vertical nature of Haiku writing is evident and arouses curiosity.  Even if you cannot read Japanese, the striking white calligraphy of the Haiku pattern against a navy blue background may inspire you to “wax poetic” and get into a creative mood.  This lightweight Navy Haiku Kimono is made with 100% cotton and has a matching belt, which makes it more of a Yukata robe for spring and summer.  It makes a unique fashion statement when worn at the beach or by the pool, but it can also be worn when just relaxing at home.  View the Navy Haiku Kimono in at www.chopa.com.

Experience the Magic of the Tibetan Basin Singing Bowl

Saturday, April 24th, 2010
Tibetan Basin - Fish Pattern

Tibetan Basin - Fish Pattern

There is something about the greenish-blue patina of this Tibetan brass singing bowl that makes it a very attractive piece for the garden or patio.  Maybe it is the engraved dancing Koi (carp) fish shown swimming against a strong current that makes this bowl so alluring; or perhaps it is the music it makes.

In Western cultures, it is a little unusual to find a brass bowl that “sings”, but the magic of the Tibetan basin is quite common in the East.  Just fill the basin with water halfway, rub the handles of the bowl lightly and listen.  The ensuing tones and reverberations will make the water splash up in the middle, and legend has it that the higher the water goes, the longer your life will be.   Similar to traditional singing bowls, Tibetan basins are also used for healing ceremonies and attunements.

Once you see the magic behind it, this Tibetan brass basin will become a “must-have”.  Even if you are not into superstition or making music, this handsome bowl makes an interesting piece to display on your outdoor table or patio. It is exquisitely crafted and replete with Japanese symbolism that exhibits a spirit of perseverance.

Whenever one sees two koi swimming upstream, as shown here, it brings to mind a spirit of perseverance, excellence and high ambitions.  Carp have also been known to bring scholastic luck and they are a symbol of intrinsic harmony in a marriage.  In China, the fish is often associated with wealth, success and an abundance of good fortune.

Each Tibetan basin is hand crafted and measures 8 3/4″ x 8 3/4″ and 3 1/2″ tall. Brass handles compliment the design.  Makes a unique gift for Mother’s Day!  You can click the following link to buy the Tibetan Basin singing bowl is hand cast in a greenish-blue Patina brass.

This Glass Cherry Blossom Pendant Complements Any Wardrobe!

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Eco Glass Cherry Blossom Pendant

Eco Glass Cherry Blossom Pendant

Need a simple way to accessorize this spring?  Wearing a natural eco-friendly glass pendant is a smart and inexpensive way to express your individuality and your love of nature.  The translucent turquoise glass of this beautiful Cherry Blossom Pendant will complement your spring wardrobe perfectly, while celebrating the beauty of the Japanese cherry blossom tree; and the best part is, each piece is a unique work of art.

Besides being a gorgeous piece of Zen-inspired jewelry, this Eco Glass Cherry Blossom Pendant is hand crafted and finished with a silver-plated bail against a multi-strand blue cotton ribbon.  Each piece is numbered and signed by the artist, and only 200 of each pendant is created, so you probably won’t see someone else wearing it.

The iconic cherry blossom tree is an important part of Japanese culture.  Not only do the trees symbolize clouds, they are also metaphorical in other ways.  With their stunning beauty blooming in the spring, followed by a quick death, the Japanese often equate cherry blossoms with mortality, or the ephemeral nature of life itself.  For this reason, cherry blossom patterns are a very important part of Japanese culture, appearing everything from art, anime and film to kimonos, bedding and dishware.

In keeping with the cultural influence on symbolism, Japanese fighter pilots were even known to paint cherry blossoms on the side of their planes before embarking on a suicide mission or bring cherry blossom branches with them on their missions.  The government even tried to persuade people to believe that the souls of lost Japanese warriors would be reincarnated into blossoms.
Whenever you put on this one-of-a-kind Glass Cherry Blossom pendant, you will be reminded of the rich traditions associated with this colorful tree. The 100% recycled glass pendant is 1” x 1” square and is fused with a nature photo that has become part of the glass. The necklace cord measures 17” in length. Why not buy one for yourself and someone you love.  It makes a wonderful Mother’s Day gift!

Bring Good Fortune to Your Outdoor Space with this Large Garden Buddha

Monday, April 5th, 2010
Large Gaden Buddha

Large Gaden Buddha

Now that the spring weather is finally here, it’s time to create that meditative space in your garden where you can soak up the sun and feel at peace with the world.  This tranquil spot will not be complete without the iconic beauty of a Garden Buddha.

Before the Buddha became a common fixture in the Asian garden, it had long been a symbol of mythology and good fortune.  Hindu gods like Krishna, Ganesh, Vishnu and Buddha have given people of the Hindu and Buddhist faith a tangible deity for worship, while bringing to mind the cultural heritage of the stories they tell.  Ever since the 8th century, when the Pala and Chola empires arose in India, bronze statues have played a major role in shaping the beliefs of Hindu worshippers.  Today, they are used as inspiration for people to develop the inner qualities that bring happiness, satisfaction and good fortune.

This masterfully designed Garden Buddha is seated with hands folded into a mystic triangle, which is symbolic of the fire that consumes all impurities.  It also represents the three “jewels” of Buddhism, which are the Good Law, the Sangha, and the Buddha himself.  By keeping this Buddha in your garden, you will continually be inspired to achieve your full potential in life, which will help you develop the qualities that bring your dreams to fruition.

This Garden Buddha is cast from a high-quality, weather-resistant aluminum alloy and coated with a patina-like finish.  Measuring 16” wide and 21.5” tall, the bottom has a soft protective covering that will keep it from damaging tabletops.  Whether you get a Large Garden Buddha for yourself or as a special gift for someone else, it is certain to become a conversation piece.

Stretch out on the floor with a Tatami Zaisu Chair

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

tatami zaisu chair

If you visit a Japanese home, you may be surprised at the low profile of their home décor.  This is because much of Japanese life is lived on the floor, whether in meditative spaces like Tatami rooms or seated on a Tatami Zaisu Chair.  This unique Japanese chair looks a lot like other chairs, but with one exception – it has no legs.

Why would someone want a chair with no legs?  Well, when you consider how many traditions of Asian culture involve sitting on the floor, it makes perfect sense to have a chair that offers back support and padding.  The traditional Japanese sitting style, known as the “seiza” style, involves sitting with all body weight atop the lower legs, which are folded beneath the body.  But this position can become uncomfortable after awhile, which is why so many people prefer the option of a zaisu chair.  This way, the legs can extend out in front of the body while the back is fully supported.

This particular Tatami Zaisu Chair is made from solid Asian hardwood, with a backrest that is curved for optimum support and comfort.  Made of tatami, the seat cushion is removable, and the back rest has a fan shaped cut-out pattern that makes it easy to carry from room to room.  With a seat measuring 18” x 18”, and a backrest 16” x 16”, these chairs are extremely comfortable and can easily be folded for storage.

Consider getting a few of these Japanese Tatami chairs for informal gatherings and for sitting at low-tables while playing cards, dining or watching television.

Welcome Spring with this Torii Japanese Garden Gong

Thursday, March 18th, 2010
Torii Garden Gong

Torii Garden Gong

Just in time for the start of spring, this Torii Japanese Garden Gong will infuse your Japanese garden with the graceful shape of the Torii of Itsukushima Shrine.  Long a revered symbol of Japan, the Shrine incorporates the graceful lines of calligraphy with the robust structure of a traditional Asian gateway, only it is designed to welcome departed spirits as come across the Inland Sea.

Fully visible only at low tide – when visitors can approach the gates on foot – the gate appears to float on the water during high tides.   The dramatic Torii (gate) of the Itsukushima Shrine is such a popular tourist attraction in Japan that the view of the gate from Mount Misen is known to be one of the three best views of Japan.  The gate itself is made from camphor wood and dates back to 1875, but the first gate was built in 1168.

In your garden, this Itsukushima Shrine replica will be more than a conversation piece; it will also make a beautiful sound.  When it is time to relax amid the blossoms of your garden, nothing will transform your spirit more than the rich resonance of a Japanese gong.

So important are gongs in Asian culture that they have been used to deter invasions, heal the sick, chase away evil spirits, and even invoke the spirits of the deceased.  With such a colorful history, it is no wonder that today the garden gong is said to add a sacred aspect to an outdoor setting.  Why not bring the ancient splendor of the Far East into your home and by adding this transformative gong to your garden this spring?

This Torii Japanese Garden Gong is made from walnut-finished ash wood with a black steel frame and a hand-hammered bronze gong that is 20” in diameter.  It measure 43” tall and is 37” wide.  A mallet is included.

Rikyu Japanese Tea Pot will help you celebrate the “Way of Tea”

Friday, March 12th, 2010

If you have ever wondered why the Japanese place so much importance on their formal tea ceremonies; or why their teapots look so much different than Western varieties, then learning about Sen no Rikyu, the “master of tea” himself, might fill in some of the blanks.  Rikyu’s memory is celebrated here in this beautifully crafted RIKYU Cast Iron Tea Pot.

RIKYU Cast Iron Tea Pot
RIKYU Cast Iron Tea Pot

Thanks to the 1989 movie, Rikyu, about the life of Sen no Rikyu during Feudal Japan, the world has gained more appreciation for Rikyu’s idealistic pursuit of aesthetic perfection in tea.  Because of this film, Rikyu has become a classic symbol for the “art of tea”.

The infamous Japanese tea ceremony, also known as the “Way of Tea” is a celebrated cultural tradition throughout Japan, which involves the ceremonial preparation of powdered green tea (chanoyu), all choreographed in something known as the “temae”.  The whole ceremonious presentation of tea in Japan places emphasis on the artful deliberation that characterizes Zen Buddhism.

This RIKYU cast iron Japanese teapot is a replica of the first ones used in Japan, when tea was still made over an open fire.  Many were designed to be hung over a hearth as a source of heat and humidity during winter months.  Hand-crafted in green cast iron with a bamboo pattern on the lid, this striking tea pot holds up to 45 fluid ounces, is 4” tall, and comes with a removable strainer inside.  It makes a unique addition to your kitchen or a wonderful gift!