Nowadays, most people suffer from hay fever in Japan. Endless sneezing, itchy eyes, running nose and possibly other more serious symptoms. Sadly, I'm one of them. Continuous itchy eyes keep me uncomfortable every year in this season even if I take medicine. In my living area, I can almost see a lot of cedar pollen is being dispersed by the wind every day until March. Like a weather forecast, we can know how much pollen is dispersed every day, and seeing a warning indicating lots of pollen makes me sigh deeply.
Why are there so many patients with hay fever? About 1 out of 4 people in Japan are hay fever people. In Tokyo, about half of the entire population. Awkward, isn't it? It's said that one of the reasons why so many cedar trees were planted to recover forest resources after world war II, and grown cedars began to disperse lots of pollen. If I were a billionaire, I would buy up forests and replace all the cedars with different kinds of trees.
If you have a runny nose and itchy eyes when you visit Japan this season, no worries, antiallergic drugs can be easily available as OTC medicines. Drug stores and convenience stores prepare various kinds of them at affordable prices. Of course, you may visit a hospital to obtain prescribed medicine. It's not so expensive even without any healthcare insurance.
Ironically, this suffering has been very useful for some people to gain habits of wearing masks in order to protect themselves from pollen, which are now pretty much working as strong life defense today, I think.