May in Makuhari-hongo

The view from the guard tower hill
The view from the guard tower hill

A few things I’ve learned about Japan and spring:

  1. Japan has a lot of flowers
  2. They bloom beautifully
  3. If you don’t have hay fever when you get to Japan, you might have it when you leave.

All the cherry blossoms in my area have pretty much bloomed and gone, but the other types of flowers are just starting to bloom around here. To most people, that means beautiful scenery, smells, and sunshine. To Japanese people, that means the rise of the dreaded kafunshō (hay fever/pollen allergies). If you have allergies, it’s considered polite to wear a mask to block your coughing and sneezing, and to keep pollen away from your face. It seems like overnight my town became a sea of surgical masks- myself included!

Inside the museum
Inside the museum

Despite nature’s wrath being inflicted on allergy sufferers, the flowers really are beautiful. It smells like a flower almost the whole way to school (a leisurely 20-minute walk), and our campus has a lovely garden. You can even identify the flowers with the help of the name plates!

Since the flowers are blooming and it’s been pleasantly sunny, my dorm mother wanted to have a barbecue! Everyone in the dorm got together and made a dish from their country. I made fruit pizza, since the forecast predicted it would be about 85°F. We had a ton of food, and our dorm father grilled some meat for us as well. It was a great chance to get to know everyone in the dorm a little better, and test how many people could fit into the kitchens. J Until next time!

*Alyssa Pragovich is a Japanese major at the University of Iowa spending her semester at The Kanda University of International Studies Exchange in Chiba, Japan.

Student blog entries posted to this International Accents page may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UI Study Abroad and International Programs.  The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

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