Spike is on holiday

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.


5 responses to “Spike is on holiday

  1. Sounds like your average day on the Gaien Higashi Dori…

  2. Oh please let it be all Hunter S.!!!!

    As your attorney, I advise you to take a hit out of the little brown bottle in my shaving kit. You won’t need much, just a tiny taste.

    • I’ve been informed that my flippant comment is much closer to the likely truth than I’d imagined.
      “As Hunter S said, ‘The bathroom floor was about six inches deep with soap bars, vomit, and grapefruit rinds, mixed with broken glass. I had to put my boots on every time I went in there to piss.’ Travelling with me is a bit like that – you thought you were joking didn’t you – so I’d go for heavy-duty boots, if I were you. That’s certainly what I’ll be bringing. He also said ‘The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass…’ Which is exactly what the trunk of your car will look like after a couple of days, except that we’ll have several hundred bags of grass.”
      All we need is a map of the best shroom sites on Hokkaido and we’re sorted for fear and loathing. Someone’s going to get arrested. Whether we’ll capture the zeitgeist is another matter entirely.

  3. Good time as any to post this:

    I colorized the graph, and while I admit it’s not the clearest of presentations I think the data is interesting nonetheless.

    What surprises me most is that Japan’s intake of elderly population is an s-curve, but the nation is just about entering the tail-end of this induction already (the US has another doubling+ (40M to ~90M) to undergo 2010-2050).

    By 2015 Japan will have largely seen its elderly population peak.

    Complicating matters is the falling working-age population, which theoretically requires higher & higher tax social insurance burdens on workers as the nation’s savers turn into pure spenders.

    One thing’s clear, Japan is going to have a senior-majority voting bloc RSN!

    Such a complicated picture . . . can one person actually see its entirety?

  4. Happy Veratrum hunting! Maybe you`ll find some Tamogidake up there!

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