During my last trip to Japan, I visited the bamboo garden in the Hokokuji temple that reminded me of my youth.
Now that I’m living in the Bay Area, when I see or hear of the word ‘bamboo’ it reminds me of my bamboo hardwood floor in my loft, the cutting board in my kitchen, and the waste basket in my bathroom. Of course, they have been processed and transformed into smooth and beautiful objects that no longer resemble the plant I once knew as a child. I buy them anyway in the hope that they may remind of my childhood. I recal up in the temple in Asia, bamboo shoots was one of those vegetables that I found in every dish I ate. Like tofu, bamboo is able to take on the flavor of the dish and still remain a whole vegetable without overwhelming the diswith its own aroma. As a monk, vegetables and grains are our main source for nutrition; so I was told bamboo has a lot of nutrients. So use your bamboo chopsticks and eat away. Outside of the kitchen, bamboo played a much more significant role in most kids’ lives whether they knew it or not. The bed and the mattress they slept on, the chairs and table from the living room to the garden, the baskets that they carried things in from one place to another, the fishing pole, the water cup… all were made out of bamboo. Such a wonder grass we may say. Very few grasses or plants provide such great flexibility.
Here are a few fun facts about bamboo that you may not know… Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on Earth with reported growth rates of 39 in. in 24 hours. It is also the tallest and strongest grass plant we know of. This grass plays a very important role in human daily life. As a food source young bamboo shoots, both fresh and dry, are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths and as a vegetable that can be eaten year round. Building materials and furniture made from bamboo are a new trend in the West as of the last 15 to 20 years but it has been part of Asian decor for thousands of years.
images: Ancient Giant bamboo grove, Kanagawa, Japan, print size : 40 by 40in. set of 4, two are sample here. open edition are available at Grand Images. photos: ©2012, by joSon