Singlespeed bikes, Japan, getting out of Streatham, trying not to bang on about multiple sclerosis

Monday, October 23, 2006

Hello and good evening

Why am I here? No reason more pressing than what drives the other anonymous bloggers who fill cyberspace with dreck. I type faster than I can write in my diary, and I only seem to write in that about once a month. And it's dreck, of course, personal drivel and attempts to keep a record of my relapses and progression towards a wheelchair. I have multiple sclerosis, which tends ultimately to reduce its customers' independent mobility to something pretty minimal. But hey! It's a slow burner, and there might even be a cure one day. There are lots of others out there who write about it much more informatively than I can, so if you want information, go to them. I'm actually more interested in bikes, especially singlespeeds. I have six bikes, which may seem excessive, and four of them have lots of gears. I'm not a total monomaniac. Those bikes are a lot more fun than wheelchairs (having taken a spin in several of the NHS's finest) and I hope to be riding them for a good while yet.

I haven't quite earned the "waster" part of the blog name, I've just been hamstrung by my lack of ambition. This really took hold while I was in Japan on the JET programme. You try that trip and most likely your protestant work ethic will collapse when you realise that you'll never be paid so much for so little work and so much fun, ever again. Being an atheist I didn't have a built-in work ethic anyway. I was doomed.

I lasted a couple of years on the programme, in Fukuoka, and then went independent. Meaning I taught English to housewives in the clean room of my apartment. I also took on the job of running a magazine called True Gaijin, and ran it for a year. In 2002, after I'd studied journalism and worked for Cycing Plus magazine for a while, I went back to Fukuoka to take over as editor of a magazine whose name had best remain anonymous, a monthly free paper run by a guy I'd been semi-friendly with when I'd been in the city before. It should have been a great job. If you have a job in Japan which doesn't involve teaching English, you're special. And it would have been great, if the magazine hadn't been run by a jerkoff whose name rhymes with Licks Ass, who demanded a basic 50-hour working week, paid less than McDonalds and rewrote all copy to match his own juvenile idea of style.

Not that I'm bitter.


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