Tsukumodai, Suita 8:41AM

How do you begin your day? Maybe a coffee and some carbohydrates , maybe a complaint about having to get up in the morning? I begin the day with this question: Is today a walking day?

Cerebral palsy, or to give the specific variation I have – left sided spastic hemiplegia often leaves me physically encumbered. I may live in Japan and would love to spend every non-working moment visiting the temples of Kyoto or the metropolis of Tokyo, but given my condition it’s something I really can’t do.

The worst part about with being disabled is this: there are days when you can’t get out and about and yet you suspect that something interesting is around the next corner. Time becomes important to you when you have a disablity. I know I have only a few hours of being useful, of being able to be physically active. You have to learn to use your time wisely, you have to plan, you have make decisions. Will you be able to get up early? Is today a day you can walk up steps – Japan is home to many a steep staircase. Can you walk up the steel staircase and get back down it?

There are some days when my answer to these questions is no, but there are days when the answer is yes. Thankfully for moment the ‘yes’ days outnumber the ‘no’ days.

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Preview of my next article in The Japan Times

So, anyone who comments critically about Japan, and writes in English, apparently must have ignoble intentions — and/or be lazy, according to Thorn. He then goes on to offer a fourth possible explanation for this rash of apparent Japanophobia: that people who write about Japan in English are only doing so for the money. He’s also honest enough to admit that he has done such jobs, and would “cheerfully” do so again. I suppose I have done the same, having being published twice in The Japan Times — but I wasn’t told what to write, nor what tone the article should take: I wrote something that was accepted by the publisher, and each time I initially did not expect to be paid.

To read more read The Japan Times on Monday 12th January!

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