Tuesday, February 25, 2003



(No, this has nothing to do with the popularly unelected US president or his effect on other nations.) Speaking of allergies, when I first came to Japan back in the early seventies I noted a phenomenon I'd never heard of in my years growing up in America, a thing the Japanese called "atopi," which manifested mainly in infants. At the time, I thought it was a Japanese word, that's how often I'd heard of it. A quick look in the medical references showd me that such a thing did exist in the West, where it was called "atopy," and was vaguely defined in the medical texts as an allergic reaction with strong familial tendencies, but during my years in the States I had never seen it, whereas it seemed to be very common in Japan (many of whose cities, as everyone knows from Minamata et seq., have served as the world's pollutional guinea pigs). If you haven't noticed an increase in atopy/allergies generally in the past few years, here in Japan or elsewhere, then you must be just back from Mars. For an update, how does an allergy increase of 90% sound? And then comes the wonder where all the allergies come from, could it be the blue food, the brown air, the red water... for of course you are everything you eat and drink and breathe and wear and live in and...

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