Monday, March 17, 2008

God Bless You

One of God's blessings to me (and my family) is that we do not have hay fever. Japan is in the throws of hay fever season and many, many of my friends and neighbors are suffering from the effects of cedar pollen during the month of March. I am amazed at how many people have allergies in Japan and the cedar pollen particularly makes people miserable. Every morning, along with the weather report, there is a hay fever report and the people who suffer, act accordingly by taking hay fever medicine, wearing masks and goggles and generally trying to stay inside as much as possible.

Hay fever really disrupts peoples' lives and many friends spend these weeks either very sleepy (from the medicine) or with boxes of tissues, eye drops, masks, nose sprays, hats, gloves, special teas, detergents, aroma therapy etc. at hand all in hopes of relieving or avoiding hay fever symptoms. Even on sunny days, the hay fever sufferers can't put their laundry out to dry or air their futons and often the conversation revolves around how miserable it is to not be able to sleep at night, not to be able to open their eyes, having to stuff tissue up their nostrils and the constant headaches and sore throats. Those of us who don't have allergies are sympathetic but probably only understand a fraction of the pain the others are going through.

I think there is even a group that is trying to sue the Japanese government because 50 years ago thousands and thousands of cedar seedlings were planted in hopes of raising the economy and now the people with allergies are having to pay through their noses! I guess the hay fever cures and treatments on the market are raising the economy in ways the government never meant but at any rate the problem is intense around here.

Unfortunately for many of my friends, I live near the largest cedar tree grove in the world but even aside from that, the mountains and forests surrounding my area are mainly made up of cedar trees. As I take Choco for a walk I can see the pollen coming off the distant forest in clouds! Sort of a light green mist covering the mountains and it might even be considered beautiful if one didn't know how much misery it was carrying. I can understand why people politely say to me,

"I'd love to see you Tanya, but I think I'll wait to visit until after the hay fever season."
(pictures from the Internet)

Of course, the scientists say that one can come down with hay fever at any time so just because I don't have it now doesn't mean that next year I won't be suffering myself!

This week I'm teaching the term "God bless you!" in all my classes and for a few more weeks it is going to be heard frequently! And God bless you whether you have hay fever or not!


Quilt Pixie said...

Hay fever season hasn't yet hit here (we still have snow), but soon enough. I feel miserable just thinking about it... The best comparison I've ever heard was someone saying to a non-allergy sufferer, that it was like having a tremendous head cold, and knowing it would last for three weeks! Must admit its a pretty good description of how I feel through the season.

Hope you continue to avoid the allergies.

Valerie said...

I have enjoyed my visit to your blog. Thanks

Shelina said...

Ooh, I have allergies myself, so I can completely sympathize. That's a lot of allergens coming off in cloud like formations. I didn't know it was that visible! The government should offer free allergy shots to everyone.
I too hope you continue to not be allergic. My sister says if you are exposed to an allergen enough, your body learns how to handle it, but I still won't visit her house because of the cats!

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

oh, dear. that looks like absolute misery to me. How lucky you are to not have allergies.

Clare said...

On dear. Poor Tonya. I bet she's sneezing just thinking about it. Seriously, I've never heard of that before. Hope it doesn't last for too long so that your friends can visit again.

meggie said...

I am always amazed that New Zealanders dont suffer more from hayfever from the pollen from the Pine plantations! My Aunt lives close to a huge plantation, & all the roads are yellow. Her house & the decking are yellow, & it is everwhere. I think they are trying to diversify now, by planting Gum trees.