5 things you may not know about MJG

Mike GristLife 2 Comments


I lived in Japan for 11 years, during which time I built this website up to getting over a million hits a year. I specialized in stories and photographs of my adventures in the ruins of Japan, places like abandoned military bases, forgotten theme parks and ruined love hotels.

I almost had a book deal twice for this content, but both times they fell through. I decided to publish my own in the end, available only as an ebook called ‘Into the Ruins’. In addition most of the explores and photos from that time are still on this site under the ‘haikyo’ link. People still come to see them, with about 300,000 page views a year.



My Dad was an Anglican vicar until I was around 8 years old, then quit and became a witch king (Wiccan coven leader, actually) instead. This affected me in only slight ways at the time, though one of them was that me and my brother got to go to pagan camp in Bridlington, which as I recall involved us kicking a football around a lot while witches did witch stuff.

I also got a date with a girl, who on our first date to the movies after pagan camp brought her little brother along as chaperone. I think I paid 50p for him to play video games in the arcade.

My Mom is American, and we (my brother, sister and mom) used to spend all our summers in Kentucky. I worked in my uncle’s Schwinn bike shop, later on worked at summer camp in Boston where I won an award for Best Camp Counselor, and won a scholarship to study at an elite high school for 6 months in Indiana.



I played Ultimate Frisbee for about 8 years, rising up to the rank of B-team captain at University. I organized a tournament for 20 teams called Not the Nationals which our team won. I was MVP (Most Valuable Player) on occasion. My nickname was ‘psycho Mike’.



I was in a documentary movie. It was called ‘Silent Visitors’ and was about the hobby of going round to ruins and photographing them. I didn’t get paid, but I did get an all-expenses paid trip to, uh, Saitama. Which is just above Tokyo, where I lived. We stayed in a dog-hotel (?).

You can not see this movie anywhere, but it exists. I was the only non-Japanese to be featured. Here is the IMDB page. I made up the term ‘haikyoist’.



In the last two years since I started indie-publishing in 2013 I have written 5 novels and one travel book for a total of around half a million words, published 3 collections of short stories and two previously written novels to add about 400,000 more words, ordered 13 book covers from 4 different artists, hired editors and proof-readers, notched up my first movie option, and finally broken out of the red and into the black on my book expenditures.

The third book of my Zombie Ocean series should take me up close to or over the million words published mark. I plan to write 3 or 4 books a year from now on.

Comments 2

  1. Cool about your dad! i certainly didn’t know that.

    Again FANtastic about your writing! i knew you could do it and I know this is just the beginning!

    I’ve recently been drawing my weird art again; it’s easier to do than just mazes, and a bit more variety!

    And further diluting my brand, I’ve got stuff on yet another site, but one that could potentially pay me some moolah!


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