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"Pollen Levels in Tokyo This Spring Projected to be Fourth Highest on Record"

Learn Japanese from the News

Broadcast on March 6, 2023 Available until March 5, 2024

Welcome to "Learn Japanese from the News". In this program we learn Japanese and more about Japan from news stories presented in simple Japanese. Today's headline is "Pollen Levels in Tokyo This Spring Projected to be Fourth Highest on Record" which was published on NEWS WEB EASY's website on January 31, 2023. Keywords include 「花粉症(かふんしょう)kafunshoo」"hay fever" and 「くしゃみ kushami」"sneeze".



"Pollen Levels in Tokyo This Spring Projected to be Fourth Highest on Record"

Welcome to "Learn Japanese from the News."
Join us as we learn Japanese and about the country from Japanese-language news stories. Today's headline is…

今年(ことし)の春(はる)に飛(と)ぶ花粉(かふん) 東京都(とうきょうと)では今(いま)までで4番目(ばんめ)に多(おお)そう
"Pollen Levels in Tokyo This Spring Projected to be Fourth Highest on Record"
This news story was published on NEWS WEB EASY's website on January 31st.
Now let's go over some vocab words that will help us understand what's going on.
hay fever
2.7 times
Let's keep these words in mind as we listen.
Hay fever season has arrived in Japan. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the amount of pollen in the air this year will be higher than usual. They also forecast more days with "high pollen counts" than an average year.
They're encouraging people to wear face masks when they go out, and gargle after returning home.

Now let's break down the following sentence from the story.
"When pollen is in the air, those with hay fever suffer from sneezing and itchy eyes."
In Japan we call hay fever  花粉症(かふんしょう). Hay fever is an allergic reaction to 花粉(かふん), that is, pollen. Symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose, congestion, and itchiness or redness of the eyes.
Cedar pollen is the most common cause of seasonal allergies in Japan. It's said that one in three Japanese people experience hay fever symptoms.
The 症(しょう)in 花粉症(かふんしょう)is used to describe medical conditions with specific symptoms. So for example, if you have trouble sleeping, we call that 不眠症(ふみんしょう), that is, "insomnia."
くしゃみが出(で)るmeans "sneeze." We can use the verb  出(で)るto describe the act of expelling something from the body, like mucus coming out of your nose, or coughing.
Speaking of  coughing, in Japanese we say  咳(せき).  Both くしゃみ and 咳(せき) are things we do to prevent foreign substances such as dust, pollen, and bacteria from entering the body. But while くしゃみ is your body's way of clearing your nose, 咳(せき) is a mechanism for clearing your throat.
Now in English, we use the word "achoo" to represent the sound of a sneeze. In Japanese we say ハクション. To express the sound of coughing we say ゴホゴホ.
OK, that's all for today.
Here in Japan, we start seeing a lot of hay fever-related news in February, before the pollen season is in full swing. It really speaks to how many people suffer from it.
Yes. Officials in Tokyo are predicting high pollen levels this year because of long hours of sunshine in early summer last year, which encouraged Japanese cedar and cypress trees to grow and produce more pollen. So although Japan is set to ease its mask-wearing guidelines, it may be a good idea to keep your mask handy.
All right, tune in next time for more!

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