1. "Et in Arcadia ego. I did once indeed inhabit Arcady. Could it be that I too have become an Olympian?"
I never made it through The Wind in the Willows. Fact is, I think I never started. But what I devoured as an early adolescent were the companion volumes in the edition we had at home-- Grahame's Dream Days and The Golden Age. Can't think why I don't have those two books any more, since I absconded with them from the family library at an early age. I'm tempted to buy them second hand online, once I find an edition with the Shepard illustrations and not (sniffs) the Maxfield Parrish everyone this side of the pond wants to sell me. Yes I know the text is available from Project Gutenberg, but one needs the illustrations. It's also Project Gutenberg that's keeping me from ordering. No books from my teens have held up over the decades, and what I recall as sweet melancholy over the passing of time might well read now as cloying sap. (Tried rereading The Treasure Seekers and had to stop. The urge to hit Oswald a clip over the ear 'ole was becoming unbearable.)
2. Book by one David Peace, Tokyo Year Zero. Authorial mannerisms aside, strikes me as very convincing take on Tokyo after the surrender, though a small voice in the back of the mind says Surely the Japanese would have-- well, not exactly 'enjoyed' gambaruing, but been more resigned to it than Peace's protagonists are? The war was no picnic either, after all. Anyway, googled the author and discovered that he lived fifteen years in Tokyo, coming back a year or so ago with his Japanese wife and family because his mother was ill. Found an interview which suggest that he too is someone that Japan defeated, wife and kids or not. And now his wife, who doesn't speak much English, is trying to cope with the Yorkshire version of same, poor woman.
(Also in the course of googling came across an essay on Durrell's Alexandria Trilogy which I always disliked instinctively. The kind of people I've never met myself and wouldn't want to meet, if they did in fact exist and were not just projections of the author's narcissistic self-preoccupation. Essay was also self-indulgent, by someone who looooves Henry Miller and wanted Durrell's work to be even better. Ardent male fans of Henry Miller are best avoided in the first place; and when they devote their essay to being so sad that Durrell was an incestuous child abuser and an anti-semite and they can't loooove him as much as they do Miller... ah well. Enough said.)
3. Mushishi 8 is a marvellous volume. Has a marvellous story set in what looks to me more like China, a string of villages on a river/ canal/ waterway flowing behind the houses. I know that exists in Japan-- Gion's like that, and wherever it is in Kyuushuu, but the pictures I've seen are all of China. The world is melting, indeed.
Turned from that to my Seimei, found a story of monks living in an isolated temple in the countryside, suddenly thought one could certainly do a story of mushi in Heian times, and possibly Yumemakura already has; though he tends more to oni and youkai ie cognizant and directed phenomenon, rather than the semi-sentient mushi.