After emerging scathed, from a well ventilated but still suffocating windowless room, I took great lungfuls of the hot city Yokohama air the second I stepped outside thinking : this it : I am outside in the second biggest city in Japan – there is no going back. There is probably virus everywhere : my mind reeled.
As the train pulled into Kitakamakura station half an hour later, the carriage doors opened and I was immersed, unambiguously, into the almost nauseatingly fecund air of the current season; muggy; flowers – mauve and lilac-coloured that feel like darkly overripe jasmine laced with dollops of civet, so strong the air feels heavy and dense, saturated with their perfume along with those foul, pollinating trees – whose names I also don’t know – that smell like hot spunk.
Pushing my bike up the final stretch of the steep hill once I had finally reached the top and it was smooth sailing again, away from the inescapable funk of nature going wild, the nightscents – green mountain soil, honeysuckle, rapidly manifesting hydrangeas, balmy, blue-aired and cool, were a respite from the suppressed hysteria of the day; the clinical smells of bleach, hand sanitisers; my own breath.
Back home,D was on the phone with the Kawasaki theatre organizers about Sunday’s live performance for Covid Cabaret : a chance for singers and actors and mime artistes to perform while the art scene is still on lockdown : I could hear his animated voice upstairs, muffled through the kitchen ceiling going over logistics.
I myself cracked open a beer and decided to smell Sarah Baker’s deliberately trashy adventure in sleaze, based on the HI-NRG song by the legendary Divine : Jungle Jezebel.
This is no subtle perfume. With big, flesh eating manplant accords of trumpeting banana, pink bubblegum, and pooey civet, this smells like a huge-chested Glamazonian taking a dump in the equatorial bushgrowth. Giant hairy flowers surround her. Fruitbats. Armadillos. Rotting, spiky, durian fruits.
As tuberose and ylang ylang begin to appear in the blend alongside woods and vanilla, this grotesque, yet hilarious, perfume coagulates into a florientalia that we are perhaps more familiar with, in its sweetness and fullness, a mosquito bitten Mahora; a smell-your -fingers Technicolor Odorama leopardskin nightmare of a dare. I would not recommend this perfume for polite society. I am not sure I would even license its being work out in public ( but go on). It did, however, after the grueling day I had just had, bring a big smile to my face. And surely the wigged and eyelashes bottle alone is worth the price of a ticket.