The Opium Den was what Steve H christened his orientally-styled room at Hook End Manor, where the band recorded Season's End.
Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia says: "The dried juice from the immature seed pods of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) is a narcotic drug called opium.
"The active principles of opium reside in its alkaloids, or organic bases. These alkaloids are of two types: one may be addictive and acts upon the nervous system; the other is not addictive and acts to relax the involuntary, or smooth, muscles of the body. The legitimate uses of opium are medical and include purified alkaloids such as morphine and codeine and alkaloid derivatives such as laudanum, dilaudid, and apomorphine.
"Opium, either raw or in a derivative form, is also used illicitly. Opium smoking is believed to have been introduced in the United States in the 1850s and 1860s by Chinese railroad labourers. In the past the eating and smoking of opium were grave problems in the Orient. In recent years, however, the illegal use of opium appears to have declined, except for the use of the derivative heroin."
Opium dens were common in Britain in the late nineteenth century when it was the hardest drug available. Opium dens tended to be located near docks where the drug was smuggled in to the country and provided a place to indulge one’s habit in relative anonymity. Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray has a good depiction of an opium den, as do several Sherlock Holmes stories, including The Man With The Twisted Lip which can be found in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
The Japanese whispers
Fangorn has sent in an exact version of the Japanese whispers recorded by Cathy, the secretary at EMI: "Nani ka wo kanjiru made iki wo tomete. Sorega wakattara sore de iino nareru no yo."
I found someone online by the nickname of Bluebird who translated it for me. Upon reading it, I questioned them and they confirmed it was a literal translation of:
They also added that Japanese is not a language that easily translates to English, and therefore the Japanese could be translated in several different ways. The original translation Blackbird provided was, "Hold your breath until you feel something. When this happens (you understand/enlightened ?) that will be o.k. (that will do).""Hold your breath 'till you feel it begin... Here it comes... Do you feel that? Feel this? Get used to it."