Spike is off on holiday with his mad botanist and evolutionary biologist amigo, Dr. T, to the wettest, boggiest, squelchiest bits of Hokkaido, in search of highly toxic Veratrum sp. herbs. It could all go a bit Hunter S. If I live, you’ll hear more in November. In the meantime, I leave you with this (I think) guilessly lovely snippet from the now almost forgotten UK poet and writer James Kirkup, on Tokyo in 1959–how times change–or do not:
Everywhere people were walking, trotting, running, cycling, driving along helter-skelter on tiny three-wheeled trucks; there was a lorry load of blue-bloomered, apple-cheeked working women with white cloths draped round their heads, smiling and waving at me; there were sturdy blue-jeaned boys with white towels knotted round their shaven pates and riding rickety bicycles, holding the handlebars with only one muscular brown hand, while the other bore aloft above the right shoulder a tall pile of trays and dishes and bowls full of noodles and steaming soup. Farther on there were women in kimono and wooden pattens, pattering along, carrying rosy-faced babies on their backs, wrapped in padded, quilted, flowery capes. I glimpsed a jovial granny dandling a baby by jigging up and down with it on her back. Vans decorated with banners and balloons and flags and streamers for the New Year whizzed passed our sedate limousine in a mad flurry of vermilions, blues, greens and a frenzy of flickering black characters on rattling cloth pennants. Everything was sharp, quick, keen, a little too hectic. It was like looking at a speeded-up film. And the noise was deafening.