You might be asking yourself: “Why?” Which is probably something we should have done too.
What a cold snowy winter it has been, but as any Japanese person is quick to tell you, there are four seasons here. What they often leave out, however, is that all of them kind of suck. While the drizzling gloomy winter gives way to the warmth and sunshine of spring, so too does it usher in an army of pollen to assail the senses of hay fever sufferers.
With burning, itchy eyes and a nose running a babbling brook of misery, these allergy sufferers desperately search for any way to ease their suffering until the blistering heat of summer comes to their rescue.
Of course this is only a problem for about 40-percent of the population, of which our young reporter P.K. Sanjun is a part. For him March came in like a lion of microscopic spiky spheres causing him to make some bold fashion choices.
Meanwhile his two older colleagues Mr. Sato and Go Hattori had no such affliction and were free to enjoy the warmth and beauty of spring. He hated them for that….
And as often is the case, hatred had bred the inspiration for science! P.K. postulated that the world wasn’t merely composed of people with or without hay fever. Everyone had the potential to have an allergic reaction to pollen, and it was just a matter of finding their breaking point.
To determine if this was true, P.K. ordered two jars of pollen from the internet, one filled with the power of the Japanese sugi pine and the other with hinoki cypress. These are the two most common hay fever triggering plants in the country. Sure, he could have just asked a medical expert in the field, but how would Mr. Sato and Go suffer that way?
Since they were intended for research purposes, each jar was quite pricey with the sugi costing 10,000 yen (US$88) and the hinoki coming in at 30,000 yen ($263). Still, you can’t put a price on science… or torture for that matter.
▼ (Left) Sugi pollen: 10,000 yen, (right) Hinoki pollen: 30,000 yen
P.K. asked Mr. Sato and Go to participate in his “study” by applying a layer of pollen to each of their faces and waiting to see if they exhibited any sort of allergic reaction. He dumped a portion of each into a frying pan and began dabbing it onto his co-workers’ eyes and noses with a make-up sponge.
While maintaining his best “scientist” face, P.K. inwardly giggled and cheered on his pile of irritating grains.
However, Mr. Sato and Go both stood there unfazed. They said it just felt like he was smearing flour on their face, and didn’t feel anything remotely uncomfortable. P.K. stared at them blankly and said, “I see, interesting.” Inside, however, he was fuming that these two supermen had such a resistance to pollen.
“We’ll need some further testing…” he uttered and began to apply even more pollen to each of their faces.
In the end each man looked like an actor from the silent era with about a millimeter-thick layer of pollen on their eyes and noses. Still, they didn’t feel the slightest bit itchy or ill in anyway.
“What the hell,” thought P.K. “I spent 40,000 yen on this stuff and it doesn’t even work?!” Beginning to think he got a bum batch of pollen, P.K. began slathering it on his own face.
As his eyes swelled and turned a dark crimson, and a clear viscous liquid began to seep out his nose, he realized that he did not get ripped off after all.
And so P.K. learned a valuable lesson from this: mother nature is a cruel hag that has cursed him with this aversion to pollen while others are free to breathe the fresh air of spring. He also learned that science hurts and is best left to professionals rather than used as a weapon against his peers.
[ Read in Japanese ]