The rumor mill in Marion has it that Junichiro Koizumi, the prime minister of Japan, who’ll be visiting Memphis Friday, might motor over the mighty Mississipp to eyeball the soybean fields that Arkansas is so desperately trying to market for a Japanese auto plant. Seems unlikely  — what’s the fun of a hot bean field, even accompanied by dancing visions of intermodal transport facilities — but who knows?

Commercial-Appeal says the visit by the prime minister, President Bush and Laura Bush WILL include lunch at the Rendezvous and a visit to Graceland. Koizumi, soon to leave office, will be in Washington Wednesday and Thursday for talks on important subjects such as North Korea. The trip to Memphis is a farewell gift from Bush to Koizumi, who’s apparently nuts about Elvis. Somehow, in this context, the bean field gossip seems even more far-fetched.