Spring is Here

Finally, I don’t have to wear that thick overcoat whenever I go outside. I don’t even need to wear a boshi (hat) because the temperature is getting warmer by the day. Yay! It is such a relief to be rid of those layers. Unfortunately, judging by the way my jeans fit me these days, there are other bulges that I need to be more worried about. Don’t you just hate it when you pack on the pounds during the winter season? Not to mention the ravenous appetite!

Picture 20 Practically everyone celebrates the end of winter, and the accompanying start of spring. When you see so many flowers in full bloom, you couldn’t help but feel giddy with happiness. I wish I could, but like the millions of kafunsho (pollen allergy, or pollinosis) sufferers in this country, I welcome the start of spring with much wheezing and sneezing. Not to mention the clogged nostrils and the itchy red eyes. In other words, hell.

Baggy actually has it worse than I do. I only have a relatively milder case, but it doesn’t mean that I got it any easier. By the way, both of us developed pollinosis after a few years of stay in Japan. We have never had this kind of allergic reaction while we were still living in Manila. And you’d think that we’d have at least developed some kind of resistance due to our frequent exposure to dust and pollution! So if you’re a newcomer to Japan, and you seem to be asymptomatic the first few years, don’t count on it. You could develop kafunsho, just like we did. We used to laugh at other people who wore masks (Doc, where’s the operation?!!). Now, like the rest of them, we turn to masks as our best defense. What an ironic turn of events.

My blood test results indicated that I am mostly allergic to cedar (sugi) pollen.

Apparently, about 20% of Japanese are afflicted with this uh, disease. That’s 1 out of 5. From what I’ve gathered on the internet, this is quite a fairly recent phenomenon. After the WWII, cedar trees were planted across the country to support their lumber industry. Well guess what, turned out that lumber is much cheaper when imported from outside, and consequently the cedar trees in Japan lived long and happy lives without being chopped off.

The solution? Well, it seems that they are studying varieties of cedar trees that do not pollinate so much, and hopefully would be used to replace the existing ones. I’ve heard of this before, but I’ve yet to see any concrete actions toward this plan. Japan, in all its high-tech greatness, couldn’t get rid of the allergens in their air. Wow. I’m not just being sarcastic here. I mean, this is a really, really serious problem. The authorities, the government, the health department, all the available doctors and intelligent scientists should pool their resources together and find a solution to this blight. Now.

Let’s just look at it this way: kafunsho makes people sick, uncomfortable, and distressed. Imagine the times they have to go out of the room to blow their noses or wash their faces to get rid of the pollen. Or the hours they lose sleep because of discomfort and that overall feeling of misery. Ergo, their efficiency and productivity at work goes down. The whole economy is affected!

And until they find that permanent solution, spring time for us will always be suff’ring time. Ha-choo!!!

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10 Responses to Spring is Here

  1. Gypsy says:

    Hmm…spring’s starting here in the UK as well, so far no pollen problems though I now see an occasional bluebottle fly–yikes! Happy New Home by the way. Change ko na ang link mo. :)

  2. caryn says:

    hi kathy! i know exactly what you mean. i developed kafunsho a couple of years ago too. last year i was popping medication like crazy, but this year i’ve curbed it a bit with the use of haymax, an organic pollen barrier. try nyo. i dont know how it works exactly pero it does. hahaha! atsaka, since external application lang sya, i feel its much safer in the long-term than taking allergy meds. do you guys take anything?

    i do wish the japanese government would do something tangible about the problem.

  3. kathy says:

    Gypsy! Thanks for the linkback. :)
    I wonder if there’s a similar pollen problem in the UK. But I guess it isn’t as bad as it is here in Japan, the allergy capital of the world, heheh.

  4. kathy says:

    Caryn! I haven’t heard of Haymax. Maybe it would be worth trying. I used to take antihistamines (Allegra), but this year I decided to battle it “drug-free,” haha. Like you, I’m a bit worried about the long-term effects of taking medicine for my allergies. Imagine popping two tablets everyday for at least three months in a year! That’s bound to do something to your body. Maybe not now, but later when we’re old and frail…who knows?

  5. caryn says:

    i know. scary no?

    haymax is a product of the UK. i had a friend send me some so i could try it out.


  6. dimaks says:

    i tried wearing mask few days ago.. but it was kinda uncomfortable for me so i decided to just stop it :) am not so sure but i think, i don’t the allergy yet :)

    i like that header photo up there.

  7. kathy says:

    Well, it’s not so bad, once you get the hang of it. It’s easy to confuse colds with kafunsho, btw. A sure way to find out if you have allergies is to get a blood test.

  8. Belle says:

    haven’t visited ur site for a while. i love it!

    i know how you feel because i have allergies, too, from juniper trees. they are blooming right now. and i don’t like wearing mask because it interferes with my breathing. am taking xyzal and nasal spray for the first time today.

    that haymax is worth trying.

  9. annamanila says:

    Even the most awaited time of year has a downside. So you around with a mask on? Well, it sets off your salamin and cute chinky eyes … pero hides those amazing dimplies. :)

  10. Pingback: Salamin » Taking Time Out

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