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Wellbeing

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In this great weather, we sweat more and therefore drink more water, either tap or bottled.

The smell of the chlorine discourages drinking tap water, but the idea of supporting bottled water industry is also not so appealing. With products such as filtering cartridge available, again, amount of plastic package used in such products often seems excessive. Remembering my grandmother using binchotan (white charcoal) for purifying water and making rice cooked fluffier led me find out more about charcoal and its production process.

Some charcoal such as binchotan and bamboo charcoal are used as filtering materials. With bamboo charcoal, since bamboo is a fast-growing plant the supply is abundant and sustainable in Japan. It only takes 5 years for bamboo to complete maturity. Badly managed bamboo forests could propagate tremendously and attacks the trees and shrubs around. It also can cause blasts as well as cliff deterioration. Managing bamboo forests and make good use of it helps to protect the balance of the forest.

The same problems can be said in the UK. Britain imports around 95% of its charcoal needs all the way from tropical rainforests, yet this could be supplied from national resources. Making charcoal out of neglected woodland in the UK and purchasing them supports not only greater wildlife but also benefits local economies.

bamboo_charcoal

Bamboo Charcoal available at Momosan Shop is produced by Mr Suehiro from Kumamoto, Japan. At the age of 75, he still travels mainly to developing countries teaching how to make bamboo charcoal.

What makes bamboo charcoal a perfect filtering material is that the super-porous structure which is produced when it is fired at much higher temperature than usual charcoal making process. This numerous small pores absorb chemical substances and odors in tap water and gives great filtering abilities. After bamboo charcoal is used as water filter, it can be still useful as moisture regulators around the house, then finally broken into small pieces to be buried in the garden to help improve soil. Nothing to throw away nor to waste. This makes it a perfect solution for tastier tap water.

Could it get any better?

 

At Momosan Shop, you can find a range of other bamboo products.

All of these are harvested today from the garden I share with other housemates. Fig trees are planted by our Greek landlady in 70’s, plum trees hanging from neighbour’s garden, and giant beetroots have grown from seeds I planted a few months ago. All happening in London N7. This is the future!

Now, my challenge is preserving all these fruits that we can not consume right away. My friend Thomas suggested to have “Preserve Exchange” in autumn. So, keep that in your mind if you would like to swap your own preserve with creations of others.

Barter system can work brilliantly that way.

Bathing with yuzu / Hinoki Bath Spa: Each bag contains highly aromatic wood shavings of Hinoki, Japanese Cypress. Made entirely from recovered material from forestry management and timber production. Simply place the bag into a hot bath and enjoy the calming and rejuvenating effects of a Japanese forest

Yuzu is a very aromatic citrus fruit originated from China but widely cultivates and consumed in Japan. It is rarely eaten as a fruit, but we use its aromatic zest and juice in many ways as a condiment in Japanese cuisine.

Last time I was back in Japan, my grandma gave me a bag full of yuzu from her garden. Since I never seen fresh yuzu sold in the UK, I brought some back to London. That was nearly half an year ago and yesterday I found three yuzu left at the bottom of my food basket, completely dried out. They are no good to be used in cooking anymore, but then I remembered what my grandma told me “yuzu is good for bathing”.

Because of its characteristic aroma and the oil from its skin, yuzu is often used as a fragrance. In Japan, it is a custom to bath with yuzu on the winter solstice and is believed that it helps to prevent against colds by accelerating the circulation and warm the body.

Yesterday was a fine summer day, but I took a long yuzu bath anyway, thinking about my grandma who passed away one month after she gave me these yuzu. Then, I had the best sleep since long.

There are certain smells that bring you back a sense of place or memories. For me, yuzu is one of them and Hinoki is another.

Hinoki is Japanese Cypress, highly aromatic wood widely used in home interior, furniture and as fragrance. Like yuzu, I found Hinoki’s aroma very pleasant.

The manufacture for cherry wood washboards that I sell in the shop happens to work with hinoki, too. The shavings left from the manufacturing process are strongly scented and are enclosed in a cloth bag, releasing their aroma. Another simple yet clever product discovered.

Like yuzu, the aroma of hinoki take me back to my parent’s bathroom which are build with hinoki wood.