Your curiosity is a desirable attribute. But let me make a suggestion. I've embedded Perl interpreters into C and C++ projects before. It's not terribly difficult to get something simple up and running. A basic framework is found in perlembed. However, it can get very complex, very fast.
My suggestion is this: Read perlembed thoroughly, and then get an interpreter embedded in a C program. Put it through its paces with C first, before ever considering moving onto the next step of exposing the C code to Java. In particular (since you mention the power of CPAN), work on getting the embedded interpreter to work with CPAN distributions that you think will be used by your Franken-Java creation.
Interfacing Perl with other languages at an 'internals' level is one of those pursuits where it's best to learn to walk before trying to run. When you look down you'll notice that you're skirting a cliff. ;)
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