While others are celebrating the beginning of spring already, we “kafunsho” or hay fever patients are suffering in every sense of the word. We were lucky in that we didn’t experience the symptoms as early as February, as in some years. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the hay fever season will surely come. Right smack at the beginning of this month, we started experiencing the sniffles. Red, itchy eyes and clogged nostrils. Hay buhay.
Funny thing is, we only developed these allergies after having stayed here for a long time – during the first three years or so of our stay here, we breezed through spring and enjoyed the sakuras and all the other stuff you can enjoy in spring. I remember when my labmate asked me if I had “kafunsho,” I could only reply, huh? What the heck is that? I didn’t have a clue then. A few years later, I was wheezing like the rest of them.
Why in the world did the Japanese plant “sugi” or Japanese cedar (cryptomeria japonica) all over their mountains? I don’t know the reason. What I do know is that about 20 years ago the word “kafunsho” was inexistent. They made up the word when the number of allergy sufferers shot up. Apparently, they are now trying to develop species of the cedar which do not pollinate so much. Good luck to them. In the meantime, the pharmaceutical companies and drug stores are drawing for a kill. Everything from nose sprays, eye drops, anti-histamines, masks and even goggles are for sale. I’ve tried all except for the goggles. They simply look silly. Parang pang-Halloween costume. Anyway, good thing that at our clinic I could get all my drugs for free. The perks of health insurance. I have to buy the masks, though.
Since both Baggy and I are hay-fever sufferers, there is a very good chance that Aya would develop her own allergy, too. Good thing she is not experiencing it yet.
As for us, we’ll enjoy the cool spring air, but we’ll curse the pollen.