Tag Archives: pollen

Allergy Season Is Upon Us

Although it’s still late winter, the allergy season has already started in Japan. Pollen allergies are very common here, and I have become allergic to some pollen since coming to Japan.

The most common allergies to pollen in Japan are sugi (Cryptomeria japonica, or commonly and incorrectly called Japanese cedar) and hinoki (Japanese cypress). Thanks to an aggressive tree-planting scheme decades ago by the Japanese government, a huge number of sugi were planted all over the country. And because of this, the allergy has developed in a large number of Japanese (and some foreigners, like myself). My symptoms are pretty common: itchy mouth, itchy eyes, runny nose, and lots of sneezing.

Before I came to Japan, I had no known allergies. But I became sensitive to Cryptomeria pollen. But that’s not all I became allergic to. Now, fruit from the rose family affect me. I get an itchy mouth whenever I eat most fruits from that family. This includes apples, pears, apricots, peaches, and cherries. Interestingly enough, I’m not allergic to strawberries or raspberries. I don’t like plums, and I’ve never tried loquats, so I don’t know my reaction to those.

If the fruit are cooked or processed in any way, I have no trouble eating them. When I was a kid, I ate canned pears a lot, and I can still eat them that way.

Of course, as I was typing this, I had a severe sneeze attack. That was fun.

Anyone have seasonal pollen allergies?

Spring Has Arrived

Spring in Japan means many things. It’s a time for beginnings. A new school year begins, a new business year starts, and new life appears. One of the biggest signs is the blooming of the cherry trees. This is how it looks today, though not in full bloom yet.

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However, there are two other trees that impact many lives. They are sugi (Japanese cedar) and hinoki (Japanese cypress). After the war, the Japanese government planted millions of cedar trees around Japan in an effort to repopulate the forests with a tree that grows quickly and can be used for house construction. It’s a very useful tree. Unfortunately, the pollen has proven to be a problem for both trees. People are very often allergic to it. Me too. March and April may be beautiful, but for many people it’s a beautiful hell.