Friday, 21 September 2018

Epilogue eleven

This is the end, beautiful friend
The End - The Doors

And that’s it. Fin. (There may be a role for some brief updates in the future - we’ll see.)

Last year, in Japan, we visited a theme park in the city of Beppu, in Kyushu, It boasted of being one of the region's “Top 31” attractions. We had a good laugh about that. Presumably not in the Top 30, we figured.

I had been lent a book about Japan by a friend. Serendipitously, the book turned out to have been written by my anthropology supervisor from university (Professor Alan Macfarlane). So I was delighting (!) the rest of my family by infusing our adventure with ethnography.

It transpires that Japanese people actively avoid "Top 10" type lists. The round number implies, to them, that the length of the list was defined first, and then populated afterwards. What to Western eyes looks tidy, to Japanese eyes looks contrived. Where we might use the number of places on the list as a proxy criterion for judging candidates, Japanese would have to determine some other criteria for inclusion/exclusion. If a Japanese person were compiling a list, (s)he’d even be inclined to nudge the threshold for inclusion slightly in order to avoid ending off with a round number of entries.

For similar reasons, they tend not to sell things in tidy sets of 4 or 6, preferring odd and awkward numbers. (I bought a lovely set of 5 pairs of chopsticks - perfect for our family.)

There's no way I'd finish this blog, were I Japanese, with ten epilogues. And in this, they have a point. So, I’m respecting Japanese tradition, for a moment here. Because there's no defined moment when it should all cease. But somewhere, it has to.

That moment, I've decided, is here. It doesn’t really matter how. Even if it’s in the middle of a


  1. Good luck, you do seem to have a good view of the road ahead, and what to expect, and what to focus on going forward. Thalidomide is awful stuff – not to mention the side effects. It will be interesting to see what happens with the randomisation and how your numbers come out after the SCT. Hopefully a good few years of feeling more normal and being motivated again. Going around the SCT loop a second time, I can understand you wanting to focus on things other than the Blog. As a fellow Myeloma sufferer, I just wanted to say a very big thank you – you have covered many things close to my own heart. I always like a happy ending, so perhaps you might keep us all updated once in a while? All the best - Stephen

  2. Alex, I've found your blog helpful and informative. One of the best on myeloma. Thanks very much. Bill

  3. Thanks for writing the blog Alex. Thank you for keeping us informed. And thank you for teaching something new in each and everyone. Vaya con...

  4. Alex, thank you for sharing your journey up to this point. Your Closure post summed up how I feel perfectly, when Phil was first diagnosed I read all I could and posted constantly on the Myeloma UK forum but now six years on I do not seek out or share information in the same way but Phil and I will miss your blog. Megan