Spring Time, Kafunshou Time

By Donnie | Articles


Do you know what the Japanese term kafunshou (かふんしょう or 花粉症) means? Well, this is pretty neat opportunity for a small Japanese vocab lesson I just learned. The term kafun (かふん or 花粉) means pollen. The term sho (しょう or 症) means symptoms or illness. When you put the two together, kafunshou, it means allergies. Cool right? 😀

Much like springtime in the U.S., every year, brilliantly-colored, blossoming buds release copious amounts of their flower love powder into Japan’s air. The resulting effect is allergies a plenty. Allergies give people the sneezes, runny noses, itchy eyes, and a small dose yearly hell for those who are really pollen sensitive. I used to feel quite lucky that I, had never had a problem with allergies. I don’t know about how the pollen is where you’re from, but in Georgia, I distinctly remember pollen being so heavy that you could walk outside to find yellow blankets of sticky, yellow pollen all over your car. I was okay in Georgia, so I figured I’d be okay here.

Oddly enough though, this year in Japan, for some strange reason I am having the watery/itchy eyes, sneezing, and runny nose symptoms like I never had before. It’s not incredibly bad or anything, but it is noticeable. Despite the allergies, though, I absolutely LOVE spring. I’m just glad to be done with winter, so now I can comfortably train outside.

Whenever I ask people about their favorite seasons, so many prefer the heat and humidity of the Japanese summer to the spring breezes and cooler, sunny skies of spring (mainly because of pollen). I often wonder how you could you possibly choose summer over spring in this country?! That summer humidity is something serious. But I have to catch myself when I see just how many people are plain miserable during the spring. One English expression that many Japanese people know and understand is hey fever.

I’m going to try to enjoy this fleeting spring season while it lasts. I’m going to try to enjoy it before the steaming, demonic, clammy fingers of summer grip the country*

I hope you the pollen doesn’t bother you too much this season. Grab your antihistamines ladies and gentlemen because spring is here!

How do you rank the seasons? From your favorite to your least favorite. I’ll go first by posting in the comments section.

Donald Ash

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  • 1/2 Spring and Fall are tied depending on where I am.
    3. Winter. I can deal with being chilly. I don’t like it.. but it’s better than

    • 4. Summer. I loathe being hot. I’ve heard I will have to suck it up in Japan though (doesn’t this depend on where you are though?)

      • Donald Ash

        It does. Japan is really interesting. The country’s not so big, but as you travel along the island, the climate can be so different. I hear Hokkaido isn’t nearly as humid as other parts of Japan. But by and large, summer’s going to be pretty darn hot in most prefectures.

  • Matthew Wallace

    1 Winter, for its frosty awesomeness! 2/3 Fall/Spring. 4 Hot summers of doom!

    Mostly because you can add layers when it is cold to get comfortable, in the summer heat, you can’t do the same thing.

    I am looking forward to visiting Japan this Winter, I should be there from December 12th to January 4th, I just love sliding on the icy streets! Wakkanai here I come!


    • Donald Ash

      Nice! Thanks Matt. I think I’m the opposite of you. I enjoy frosty awesomeness sometimes, but I don’t like having my toes go numb when I’m running. So for me, I’m gonna say 1. Fall (I like the colors of the leaves and that it’s slightly cool), 2. Spring (it comfortably warm), 3. Summer (I don’t like the extremes…in this case when it’s extremely hot and or humid…but I can still train outdoors), and 4. Winter. I hope you have a great trip when it comes around.

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