When Selecting a Japanese Futon, Should It Be Traditional or Modern?

Dec 23rd 2014 at 2:04 AM

Something Old, New, Borrowed or Blue

When considering purchasing a futon, how does one decide between a more traditional Japanese style futon or sleeping mat, or a modern, hybrid style of futon mattress upgraded for more Western sleeping comforts?

This is a good question…..

When I was a kid growing up in what I believed was the only state of mind on the planet (Pennsylvania or Ignorant Bliss), the music of Glenn Miller seemed to permeate the walls of every room, including the kitchen and the bathroom, where my mother and my father ruled the world, as a mysterious compound fused from a plumber and a book-keeper. Despite my lingering neurosis, I can still remember my mom and pop swinging each other from side to side to “In The Mood” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Mood or singing along to “Moonlight Serenade” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonlight_Serenade, as my father yelled at the neighbors to keep quiet.

Looking back again. . . As soon as I found my apparent freedom by going away to college to sleep in a noisy dorm’ room in north Jersey, one of the first things I discovered was the way that modern Rock music derived its power from the music of the past, leaving me again with ‘something old, new, borrowed or blue”, which came to me each day from WNEW, a New York radio station that no longer exists in its original incarnation, www.nyradioarchive.com/wnewfm.html.

So, how do I gracefully segue from modern music to traditional or modern style futons without sounding dissonant? Well, by being honest with you about my childhood trauma that how easy it was to harmonize with a cultural evolution. You see, from an early age, I suffered from moderate insomnia, and to compensate, I faithfully slept on my stomach, which eventually led to lower back-pain. However, when I moved to Colorado, I began to realize that the bedroom had more to offer than idle dreaming and tossing and turning, and that’s when I discovered THE FUTON, in all its shapes and sizes, which, at that time, were only one.

The Old-School Sleeping Mat

The first futons I sleep on were more like traditional Japanese futons, or sleeping mats, such as the Japanese style Shiki sleeping mat, manufactured by Haiku Designs in Boulder, Col.  It is composed of 3 inches of pure, firm cotton, custom-made and handcrafted exclusively in the U.S., using the finest materials nature can offer. However, this sleeping-mat has one significant advantage over traditional Japanese futons: it is made with an eco-friendly procedure that uses natural materials, such as organic and unbleached cotton.

In Japan, Taiwan and many other countries in the Far East, the preferred way of sleeping is to lay on a futon that resides on a Tatami mat. Since space in general is almost coveted in Japan, the Shiki mat was designed to roll up easily to be used as a couch to lean against or stored in a closet; this way, the bedroom could be used for other purposes during the day. One could say that the ultimate benefit of a product such as this is that you can preserve the traditional virtues of the Japanese style of bedding—comfort and firmness—while promoting and living in a healthy environment, free of toxic petrochemical materials. https://plus.google.com/102729034046130716903/posts

The New-School Waking Mat

A good example of a modern, maybe considered hybrid futon with more contemporary characteristics is the Eco-Rest futon offered by Haiku Designs, and several other manufacturers, which is made from 100% organic materials, including latex, wool and cotton. The 3-inch latex core effectively and evenly conforms to anyone’s bodily contours, supporting the spine orthopedically, while the wool and cotton provide layers of comfort. These styles of futons offer the comfortable firmness of a traditional futon with one noticeable difference: the latex core allows the cotton batting to flex or yield for those sleepers who don’t like futons that are too firm. The latex used in the production of this futon is a natural form of foam rubber created from the sap of the Asian rubber-tree, which does not release toxic off-gasses into your sleeping environment the way that futons do that are made from synthetic foams.  One good advantage of the futon manufactured by Haiku Design’s latex is that it is composed 100% latex, as opposed to other futons or mattresses that are made from a blend of latex and synthetic polystyrene petrochemicals.

About the Author:

Clay Phipps is the founder of Haiku Designs which is a market leader in platform beds and modern furniture.

Since its inception, Haiku Designs has provided the finest collections of modern furniture for home and offices. It offers all kinds of bedroom, living room and dining room products. Apart from this, Haiku Designs also offers natural bedding, floor covering and accessories


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