Finding out you can’t eat soba stinks — but at least this is the coolest way to get bad news!
Japan has had a pretty good track record with the annual Ig Nobel Prize. Scientists from all over the country have been awarded for nine years straight for their contributions to wacky and humorous research. Last year, Professor Kiyoshi Mabuchi recieved the Ig Nobel Prize in Physics for determining exactly how slippery a banana peel on the floor is.
Now, Dr. Hajime Kimata of the Osaka Prefecture Neyagawa Allergy Clinic has been given the Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine. However, rather than investigating a silly topic, Dr. Kimata’s findings were actually rather sweet: Kissing can reduce a person’s allergic reactions.
While many Japanese believe hay fever, or kafunsho as it’s known here, to be something unique to Japan, there appear to be just as many suffers of pollen allergies in South Korea and other parts of Southeast Asia. For those unfortunate enough to be stuck with the nasty symptoms these allergies bring on, spring and summer can be the worst seasons of the year, leaving many to seek professional help for their nasal and respiratory issues.
But with the abundance of allergy medications now on the market and competition for business between clinics, it can be pretty hard to get your name out there. Among all those commercials for featuring happy patients enjoying active lifestyles after treating their allergies, one clinic in South Korea specializing in atophy, rhinitis, and asthma has decided to shake things up a little with their unusual advertisements full of lowbrow humor.
Surfers could be at greater risk of developing an allergy to natto, a Japanese study has found. And the unlikely culprit is thought to be jellyfish stings.
Natto, the sticky fermented soy beans that are as as polarising as Marmite, is a traditional and common Japanese food. Allergy to natto is rare, but research from Yokohama City University Hospital suggests it could be more prevalent in people who spend a lot of time in the water and have been repeatedly stung by jellyfish.
Ah, spring: that season which is supposed to be a pleasantly warm and sunny break from the bitter cold instead makes millions of allergy sufferers feel like they have invisible daddy longlegs of fire crawling across their faces 24/7.
From masks to medicine, there are plenty of products on the market to combat the symptoms and reduce exposure to the evil, evil pollen, but they all encumber your freedoms by blocking your vision or clouding your mind. However, a new, all-natural method of subduing allergic reactions was presented at a meeting of the Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology and Agrochemistry, and best of all it uses easy to find ingredients: Yogurt and mikan (tangerine) peels.
We’ve covered many products developed by Thanko – that company always seems to have clever ideas and is never afraid to flirt with madness – in the past. Their upside-down desk, and upside-down cushion both look very tempting, whereas their more ambitious products such as camera glasses and the Fanbrella seem inherently flawed with poor battery performance.
Whether Thanko’s newest release, the USB Pollen Blocker crosses the crazy train tracks remains to be seen.
It’s already March and things are starting to look a lot like spring. The sun is out, the birds are back, and those dead hunks of wood are starting to look a little more like trees. Sunny skies are here again and everyone seems to have a pep back in their step… except for those with allergies.
Now, let’s be honest, for those who suffer from hay fever, spring is a b*tch. Excuse the profanity, but hay fever sufferers know that the coming of spring signals itchy eyes, piles of tissues, and all around unpleasantness. If you have hay fever and were thinking about visiting Tokyo, think again; this weekend’s pollen levels are literally off the charts.
Anyone with allergies can tell you that they suck pretty hard. Particularly in Japan, the high density of cedar trees has hay fever sufferers throwing on masks for several months of the year starting about now.
To our rescue comes Koji Kawahara, Professor of Cellular Engineering at Kitakyushu National College of Technology who last year found a component in strawberries which eases allergic reactions.
Professor Kawahara presented his findings at an international biology expo and filed for an international patent. He will likely synthesize the active ingredient into pill form, but can simply adding strawberries to our diet do the trick too?