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!
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!!!