Spring’s Washi

by Satoshi Hasegawa
Hasegawa Washi Kobo

Ume no Hana
Ume no Hana

As March draws closer in Mino, the sunlight and warmth can be felt. Even as we are drying paper, a lighter feeling to the body of the paper is felt.  In the garden, lovely plum flowers (Ume no Hana) come in to bloom and there is the sense that spring is coming in the order of the course of one’s work.  However, there are some troubles that come with this time.  It is the time that the East Asian yellow dust from China and the Japanese cedar pollen comes.  To start with the yellow dust season, the dust from the distant Chinese continent gets taken on an air current and the small Gobi Desert sand flies in. It is like a dim haze as far as the eye can see, giving a feeling of smothering. Just when it appears the yellow dust has paused, the pollen from Japanese cedar comes next.  With mountains and forests surrounding the work area, seeing the dispersal of pollen feels as though you are shivering.

Japanese Cypress
Japanese Cypress Woods

As the springtime wind blows through the Japanese cedar woods, a band of amber is upsurges and it appears as if smoke has come from the whole mountain area. Since coming to Mino, I have been plagued by allergies to pollen, but will have to endure the time from February to May no matter what.

March to May marks the last stage of the season for making washi, but because the weather stabilizes, we can continue working relatively well. Making washi in the workroom mostly goes on uninterrupted, but endless sneezing and runny noses are to be had when drying the paper in the sunlight and sorting through the sun-dried paper. Sun drying paper is limited to outside the workroom, and during that time cedar and cypress pollen are certain to slip in. I often hear from various Japanese consumers who use the paper to repair their homes that they are always sneezing. Perhaps overseas users too have certainly felt this. If you sneeze when handling washi, do remember this article. It is spring’s washi.

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