You might be asking yourself: “Why?” Which is probably something we should have done too.
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.
Good news for all those who live in Japan and suffer from pollen allergies! Scientists have genetically modified rice in an attempt to desensitize the body to that nasty Japanese cedar pollen that causes all of the sneezing, mask-wearing and eye-watering every spring. Just think, eating some of this special rice everyday could relieve you from all of your hay fever woes!
Most of my early trips to Japan involved visiting my brother, back when he was living in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture. One day while waiting for a train at the station, I passed the time by staring out at one of the many lotus farms the town is known for.
“Ah, Japan!” I thought as the plants swayed almost hypnotically in the hot summer breeze. “So appreciative of the beauty of nature!” The lotus must be so highly prized that it’s economically worthwhile to use large tracts of what little arable land the country has to cultivate and sell the flowers, I concluded.
I found out later that I was only half right. While it is true that Japan tends to get more excited about blossoming flora than other nations, all those lotuses weren’t being grown for aesthetic reasons. Lotus root, called renkon in Japanese, is edible, and not only is it delicious, it can also help you cope with one of the absolute worst parts of life in Japan: hay fever.
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.
Every year, pollen counts in Japan are getting worse. In fact, pollen levels in Tokyo were literally off the charts just a few weeks ago. As a result, for four months out of the year, an estimated 15 to 30 percent of the Japanese population suffers from hay fever.
The tragedy of this situation is that Japan’s pollen problems are caused by its own government which encouraged people to plant cedar trees to meet the growing demand for timber in the 1940s and to replace forests that were destroyed during WWII. Hay fever was actually relatively rare in Japan until the 1960s when the millions of cedar trees began to mature and produce pollen.
As cedar pollen levels continue to climb, Japanese scientists may have found a solution to the problem: pollenless cedar trees.
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.
Spring brings new life, new love, warmer weather and so many other great things. It also brings with it heaps of pollen, and we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of pollen season. While it’s been a pretty easy year in terms of pollen, many of us are still shut indoors and suffering. I may have stumbled upon an easy, cost-effective way to take care of that, though.