The Midnight Writer -- June 1998
by Mike Lloret
The first thing I want to say this issue is that what I really wanted to do was to give this space to recent TPC monthly meeting presenter Robinson (of Alien Bug fame) for a long-awaited review of Bryce 2, which adorns -- there really isn't any better word -- his great website, Robinson's Brain on the Web. You ought to visit and look around; it's a great site, at http://www2.gol.com/users/robinson/ well worth some serious wandering in.
Unfortunately, this time the AJ was a real photo finish, with me away much of the final weekend and Publisher Paul Cipywnyk working 17-hour days. I'm writing this late Sunday night, and the masters have to go to the printer tomorrow morning. Since I have to go by car tomorrow instead of by train, I have to get up extra early to be sure of making it to the office on time, so there just wasn't time to do a good job on the review. We hope to be able to run it next issue.
Speaking of transportation, I haven't yet quite adjusted to my new place in some ways, with transportation looming large among them. On the positive side, even though Kumagaya is plenty far away from Tokyo, the company is willing to pay for a shinkansen pass, so I can get from home to work, door-to-door, in 70 minutes. Even sit most of the way, usually. Assuming I plan things properly, and get the right train. Also assuming I ride to the station on the second-hand motorbike I had to buy for the purpose, rather than spend a half-hour walking there.
The distance makes commuting all the way to the office by bike pretty much out of the question, but there are times, like last Friday and tomorrow, when I have to take the car in. To ensure my arrival by nine, this pretty much means I have to leave by 6:30, even if I intend to use the expressways (Kanetsu, Gaikan, and Shuto) for the trip. Getting home by car is harrowing, too, especially if I decide to skip the expensive ¥2500. total) expressways and use Yamate Don and Route 17. Only a lunatic or a masochist would take that route except to save on tolls, though: not only are there too many traffic lights, there is also a disproportionately large number of dangerously incompetent drivers. Just the other day I saw a classic... a motorcyclist in front of me turned to watch a passing girl in one of the new lingerie-look dresses. Turned his entire torso around while travelling along at about 70 kph. With his hands still gripping the handlebars. And looked surprised when he managed to extricate himself from the bike which he had essentially driven into a guardrail. Perhaps he wasn't surprised at wrecking his bike but rather at surviving. For a moment there I thought I was going to be able to submit an eye-witness story to the Darwin Awards. He walked away from it, though. More's the pity.
But getting around by car or bike isn't the thing that most bothers me about the current setup, it's that dreaded concept that -- since on a motorbike so I was pretty free of time constraints -- I've been able to avoid thinking about for years now.. the last train. Even in the days of yore when I was commuting a lot by train, I usually had the option of catching a cab home if I missed the last train. A little expensive, but doable. I definitely don't make enough money to be able to afford 80 km cab rides, though, so if I miss the last train, I've got to find a place to spend the night. And the last train leaves Tokyo Station at 23:00, meaning if I'm in, say, Shibuya, I've got to get moving around 22:00. Ten o'clock, when the night is still very young. Those who know me can imagine how well this fits into my lifestyle...
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