Thursday, November 8, 2007

Beware the tall, bubbly grass/恐ろしい背高泡立ち草

Japan's attention to the seasons is well known, and though fall is lovely, it's sneezing season for me!

In early spring, the vast amounts of cedar pollen fostered by Japan’s postwar reforestation efforts increase yearly, and the ‘pollen forecast’ is announced on the nightly news along with the weather, just like the cherry blossom forecasts in late March.

Autumn, however, is increasingly difficult for the allergic thanks to invasive goldenrod, 背高泡立ち草 setaka awadachisoo (lit. ‘tall, bubbling grass’). A friend told me yesterday that it came in about twenty years ago, and that at first people thought it was lovely. I’ve also heard that it was brought in as a potential cultivar for grave decoration bouquets.

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