It’s time for another random Japanese lesson. I often question if I’m even qualified to be doing this, but fake it till you make it right?
Today’s word is deeply related to the changing seasons; 花粉症/かふんしょう/kafunshō.
花粉症 means “hay fever/pollen allergy”.
This is one of those instances where the kanji combination makes sense in an intuitive way(something I’m super grateful for when expanding my vocabulary). However, the most interesting thing about this word isn’t so much the word itself, but the image below.
This is a map projecting the daily amount of pollen in the air around different parts of Tokyo. Since many Japanese people suffer from 花粉症, it’s common to find these reports attached to the weather forecast; often appearing in apps and on train screens during your daily commute.
Some of you may be familiar with the common sight of people wearing medical masks here in Japan. The common misconception in the west is that the air in Japan(and a few other Asian countries) is heavily polluted. This is incorrect. Instead, it’s common courtesy to keep your snotty nose behind a mask so you don’t contaminate the people around you. Crazy, I know. However, this isn’t exclusive to when people are suffering from hay fever, but also the flu, lack of makeup, or maybe your face gets cold in the winter; the point is, it’s not so weird when you really think about it. Tofugu covers all those reasons in-depth here.
Does your country offer a hay fever forecast? Do people wear masks for cold prevention? It’s honestly a really good idea. Would you consider using a mask in daily life?
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