Book Review: “Kismet” by Amina Akhtar

I got a copy of this book as one of my ‘Amazon first’ books and due to the number of other books I’d been reading recently, had completely forgotten what the book was about and why I’d chosen it by the time I got round to reading it. In terms of the story itself, it…

My Juhachiban/’Go-to song’

Recently The Japan Society asked for contributions from members on the topic of their juhachiban or ‘go-to song’ at karaoke. Juhachiban literally means ’18’, but, according to the definition Wikipedia, its the term given to the one song which singers are especially good at and which they use to show off their singing abilities and…

Nostalgia and Movies: Robocop

Over the last week or so I have been re-watching Robocop (directed by Paul Verhoeven, 1987) – it took me a while as I just watch 15 to 20 minutes at a time as I have my lunch. One of the things I was thinking about as I watched the film is what constitutes a…

Book Review: “The God’s Eye View” by Barry Eisler

As noted in my reviews of “The Detachment“, “The Khmer Kill“, and “All The Devils“, I read four books by Barry Eisler this summer, and “The God’s Eye View” was the last of these. It also introduced me to a new character, Manus, who, based on the diagram I shared in the post for “The…

Walking On Air: A Trip to Sweden

Today PG Roxette released their latest (second) single, ‘Walking on Air’, and this seemed a good opportunity for me to reflect further on my recent trip to Sweden. For those who don’t know, PG Roxette is an evolution of Roxette, with Helena Josefsson taking on the primary role of the female vocals, replacing Marie Fredriksson…

‘Japan Says Western Pop? No, Thanks, Don’t Do It’

On 10 September I gave a presentation at the British Association for Teachers of Japanese (BATJ) annual conference in Cardiff. I spoke about ‘Western’ pop acts in Japan. In 1995, Guy De Launey’s article ‘Not-so-big in Japan: Western pop music in the Japanese market’ was published. It sought to explain some of the reasons why…

Book Review: “The Hike” by Susi Holliday

Having enjoyed the The Last Resort and “Violet“, I was quick to get a copy of “The Hike” by Susi Holliday when it came out. In the acknowledgements, Holliday comments ‘Moral of the story: never go to dangerous places with a crime writer.’ I’m not sure that going to safe places with crime writers are…

Reflecting on my time as President of BAJS

Today, my time as President of the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS), came to an end. It has been one of the most enjoyable roles that I have had during my time as an academic. While COVID-19 got in the way of being able to do some of things that I would like to…

Book Review: “The Orchid Tattoo” by Carla Damron

I got a copy of this book as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC), so knew nothing about it before starting to read it. It had been suggested that I may be interested it as I had reviewed “Her Name is Knight” by Yasmin Angoe. I can understand why the link between the two books was…

National Geographic Feb 1968 – The “Jaws” Article

On the back of my review of “An Adventurous Life” by Valerie Taylor, I’m keeping with the “Jaws” theme. I did an Instagram post earlier in August in which I said that there was only one thing that I wanted to buy during my holiday in the USA, a “Jaws”-related ornament for my fish tank……

Post 600 – China In Your Hand

Apparently, this will be my 600th post. With my 500th post, I did a post relating to the number 500 – Favourite Photos: 500 series Passing – so I thought I would do something similar with this post. There is no 600 series shinkansen, so there won’t be another train photo. In fact, the first…