136 - Ahh-Ahh-ACHOO!

I have allergies.

I am actually pretty much allergic to every form of plant life, but spring is the absolute worst. When I got tested as a child, they told me I was allergic to almost every single tree and weed they tested me for. What can I say; I am clearly a nature lover.

In Japan it is not uncommon to see people wearing masks during spring time for protection against seasonal allergies. I don’t really believe they make much of a difference, but people like their masks here.

In Japanese seasonal allergies or hay fever is called 花粉症(かふんしょう), which literally translates to “pollen sickness.” If you want to tell someone you have allergies, you would say:

わたし は かふんしょう です。
I have seasonal allergies (hay fever).
Literally: "I + は + hay fever + です”

Instead of doing a lesson on complaining about my allergies (because I complain too much), I found a small entry on a Japanese webpage explaining hay fever, what causes it, and the symptoms you can suffer from.

Let’s learn about allergies, in Japanese:

In the first paragraph, they describe what hay fever is and give some basic information.

きせつ せい あれるぎー せい びえん(=かふんしょう)
Seasonal allergic rhinitis (=hay fever)
Literally: “season + condition + allergy + condition + rhinitis”

Note: The 性(せい) suffix in this case indicates the condition or characteristic of the noun it is describing.

げんいん となる かふん の とぶ きせつ に だけ しょうじょう が あります。
A condition caused by seasonal pollen in the air.
Literally: “cause + to become + pollen + の + flying + season + に + only + condition + が + have”

にほん では、やく ろくじゅう しゅるい の しょくぶつ が かふんしょう を ひきおこす と ほうこくされています。
In Japan, it has been reported that seasonal allergies are caused by about 60 types of plants.
Literally: “Japan + では + about + 60 + types + の + plant + が + seasonal allergies + を + to cause + と + to be reported”

Note: In this sentence the される or the passive form is used in place of する. This is because the verb is modifying the passive subject, or the subject that is an inanimate object.

Next we move onto some of the causes of seasonal allergies:

おも な あれるげん
Main allergens

Japanese cedar, Japanese cypress, orchard grass, Timothy-grass, ragweed, Japanese white birch, etc.

Then finally, a description of all the symptoms of seasonal allergies: Which I am currently bravely facing at this very moment. (I am sure there is a pun in there somewhere…)


1  鼻の三大症状だけでなく、
2 目の症状(かゆみ、涙、充血など)を伴う場合が多く、
3 その他にのどのかゆみ、
4 皮膚のかゆみ、下痢、熱っぽい感じなど
5 の症状が現れることがあります。

1 はな の さんだい しょうじょう だけでなく、
2 め の しょうじょう(かゆみ、なみだ、じゅうけつ など)を ともなう ばあい が おおく、
3 その ほか に のど の かゆみ、
4 ひふ の かゆみ、げり、ねつっぽい かんじ など 
5 の しょうじょう が あらわれる ことがあります。

Other than the 3 major nasal symptoms, the case of eye symptoms is also common (itchiness, watery eyes, and congestion); along with other itchy throat, itchy skin, diarrhea, and feeling feverish.

Literally, Line #1: “nose + 3 major + symptoms + only + でなく"
Literally, Line #2: “eye + の + symptoms + itchiness + tears + congestion + を + along with + in the case of + が + many"
Literally, Line #3: “that + other + にの + what + itchiness"
Literally, Line #4: “skin + itchiness + diarrhea + feverish + feeling + etc."
Literally, Line #5: “の + symptoms + が + appear + ことがあります”

Note: In this sentence the adjective かゆい is turned into かゆみ. Replacing the い with み in an adjective indicates a state of being. So 痛み(いたみ)is “the state of being in pain,” or 悲しみ(かなしみ)would be “the state of being sad.” Niko talked about this in Lessons #125 and #130.

This sentence can seem pretty heavy, but if you focus on breaking it down, piece by piece, it becomes much easier to understand. Essentially it is just listing symptoms, so go slow and try to parse the meaning.

1 (さらに、シラカンバ、ハンノキ、イネ科花粉症などの人が、
2 ある果物や野菜を食べると、口の中がかゆくなり、腫れたりする
3 「口腔アレルギー症候群」という症状もあります。)

1 (さらに、しらかんば、はんのき、いねか かふんしょう など の ひと が、
2 ある くだもの や やさい を たべる と、くち の なか が かゆくなり、はれたり する
3 「こうくう あれるぎー しょうこうぐん」という しょうじょう も あります。

(On top of that, those who eat fruits and vegetables that have been pollinated with the Japanese white birch, Japanese alder, rice plants, etc.; may also have itching and swelling of the throat, a condition called “Oral Allergy Syndrome.”)

Literally, Line #1: “on top of that + Japanese white birch + Japanese alder + rice plant + seasonal allergies + etc. + の + people + が”
Literally, Line #2: “have + fruit + and + vegetables + を + eat + if + mouth + の + inside + が + itchy + become + swelling and others + do”
Literally, Line #3: “oral + allergy + syndrome + called + condition + も + exists”

Note: という is used in the previous sentence and means “called.” It is frequently used with the word before it in quotes, but the quotes are not necessary:

まろん という わたし の いぬ
My dog called Maron

This lesson turned into more of an information session than anything, but I hope you learned something. Key words you should learn, at the very least:

花粉 (かふん // pollen
花粉症 (かふんしょう // hay fever [allergy to pollen]
季節 (きせつ // season
アレルギー (アレルギー // allergy
症状 (しょうじょう // symptoms
原因 (げんいん // cause; origin
かゆい (かゆい // itchy
かゆみ (かゆみ // itch; itchiness
鼻 (はな // nose
皮膚 (ひふ // skin

I have to go back to blowing my nose and wiping tears off my face like I am watching the first 7 minutes of the movie “Up.” I hope you all are not suffering half as much as I am!

This lesson was written by Cassy L., a guest contributor: