Pollen Count for 2008
Many people suffer from pollen allergies (花粉症, kafunshou) in Japan, so the Ministry of the Environment announces its predictions for the coming year so people can prepare themselves.
The Ministry of the Environment has made a prediction of the total diffusion of Japanese cedar and cypress pollen for the coming spring. The amount of airborne pollen varies depending on the area. From Tokai to Kanto and Tohoku regions the amount is expected to be more than that of this year, and from Hokuriku to Kyushu regions levels will remain unchanged or slightly less. The onset of Japanese cedar pollen diffusion is expected to be approximately the same time as, or a little earlier than that of the average year.
There is a Japanese website that follows the progress of pollen from about early spring (February) to early summer (June). It will start showing regular updates from February 1 this year.
When you start seeing a lot of people wearing masks, especially when they are outside, you can be pretty sure that the pollen has arrived.