Best short story I’ve ever read:
Haguruma (Spinning Gears) the last story by Ryunosuke Akutagawa before his suicide in 1927.
Book that should be on the national curriculum:
There should be no national curriculum but, given that there is, GB84 by me.
Best film of the book I’ve seen:
Ugetsu Monogatari (1953) by Kenji Mizoguchi from two tales by Akinari Ueda.
Best music to write to:
JA Caesar’s soundtrack to Shuji Terayama’s 1974 masterpiece Denen ni Shisu (Death in the Countryside).
My favourite opening line of a novel:
‘I lie among the corpses’ – from Tokyo Year Zero by me.
My favourite novel that no one else seems to have heard of:
Dogura Magura (1935) by Yumeno Kyusaku.
The book I’d most like to reread, if I could find it again:
England for the English by Justin Quirk; simply the best manuscript I’ve ever read but, tragically, still not yet published – sober up, publishers!
My favourite bookshop:
The hundreds of second-hand bookshops in the Jimbocho area of Tokyo.
Author I’d like to nominate for the Nobel Prize for literature:
There should be no prizes, least of all this one. But, if it has to go to someone, it should go to either John le Carré or Ian Rankin.
Deceased author I’d most like to resurrect:
Edgar Allan Poe – to find out how he bleeding died and to warn him what Lou Reed was doing to his work.