Hay fever

Japanese cedar, along with other evergreen trees that grow here, are my mortal enemies this time of year.

When I first came to Japan 12 years ago, I only knew the pain of hay fever through hearing accounts of it from relatives who suffered.

Called kafunshou in Japanese, seasonal allergies is almost an art form over here. They have special glasses for kafunshou victims, special masks, special machines that clean indoor air of pollen, even special curtains to block out pollen from your home.

I think it’s due to the sheer amount of pollen-producing trees they have here, but I know far too many people here who suffer from it.

I also heard, when I was new to the country still, that a lot of foreigners start off without hay fever and then eventually get it.

I am one such unlucky person. Beginning about two years ago, I am suddenly an avid sufferer of hay fever. It feels like having a cold, but it lasts for three months for me. I’m on allergy medication, and I’m still suffering.

As the weather begins to warm here, I can’t help but both loathe and love spring. I hate the cold so the warmth is a welcome reprieve, and there are cherry blossoms to enjoy, but then hay fever comes along and puts a damper on all of it.