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Well, well, well. Nature attacked. I have kabure – contact dermatitis – on my face and neck. I’m not sure if it was urushi, the tree that makes Japanese lacquer and also the toxic urushiol that poisons ivy, oak and sumac, or if it was chadokuga, the tea tussock moth caterpillar with its poisonous hairs. Or it could have been some other troublesome garden pest. But there is no doubting that I have been marked.

Jenny and Helen get poison ivy so bad they need oral steroids to clear it up. I got it too, last time I was visiting, but it wasn’t so bad. However, poison ivy reaction gets worse with multiple exposures. Maybe this brush with whatever has set off a stronger reaction.  If it’s urushiol, it will take a couple of weeks to clear up. It does look like poison ivy, but it doesn’t itch the same way.

I put some cortisone salve on it yesterday and it didn’t seem to do much. I decided I needed a stronger drug, so I got myself some topical steroid cream this afternoon. Not very strong, because it’s Japanese OTC medicine, but it should help. If not, I will go to the clinic on Monday and have them look at it properly – and prescribe me a stronger steroid cream.

I also took the suggestion of my friend, Soness, and got some activated charcoal pills to try cleaning out things from the inside. It won’t hurt and it might help.