Saturday, March 10, 2007

Things Japanese: The Bamboo

Japan is an economic giant second only to the United States. The Japanese are famous for their advanced technologies and their love of gadgetry. They are, after all, the people who have given us the Nikons, Sonys, Hondas and a long list of other household goods, motor vehicles and so on.
But for all their modern ways, the Japanese always have room for tradition and respect for culture.

For example, the good old bamboo plant which we find in abundance and left unnoticed in Malaysia, plays a very important part in the life of every Japanese. Bamboo, or take as it is called in Japanese, is used to make all sorts of things imaginable. Some of the more common uses are for making chopsticks and as foodstuff, i.e. the bamboo shoots. Others include baskets, fences, garden and street furniture, place mats, brooms, fans and vases. In the arts, bamboo features a lot as subjects in paintings.

Perhaps it is time that those people entrusted with promoting the development of our handicrafts take a long, hard look at our bamboos. Our tropical climate is a boon for bamboo cultivation and related industries.

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