Sakura Cherry Tree Planting in Cardiff

Yesterday I attended two cherry tree (sakura) planting ceremonies in Cardiff. The UK and Japan have a strong relationship, developed over more than 150 years. At the heart of the relationship is a desire for mutual understanding and to learn from each other’s way of life, culture and history. By planting thousands of sakura trees…

Boeing 747 Model – Owning a part of an actual B747

The Boeing 747 (B747) “Jumbo Jet” is my favourite passenger plane. I love its shape – it’s not too “perfect” like Concorde – and I love what it symbolised to me in terms of leaving Europe for the first time and many more times after that. Of course, there is a darker side to the…

Letter to the Japanese Ambassador in London

Today, in my capacity as President of the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS), I jointly sent the following letter to the Japanese Ambassador in London. The letter can also be found on the BAJS website. I would like to thank colleagues in BAJS and also the British Association for Teachers of Japanese for coming…

N700 Shinkansen Model – Owning a part of an actual shinkansen

Through the nature of my work, I have been involved in a variety of media and translation projects over the years. One that I did recently was for the company Icarus which makes models and other products out of the actual thing that they are modelling. You can find out more information about the company…

Remembering the Great Hanshin Earthquake

Today (17 January) is the anniversary of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake – also known as the Hanshin Awaji Daishinsai (Great Earthquake) or Kobe earthquake (阪神・淡路大震災). On that day I was in Sheffield, in the first year of doing my PhD – but it could have been very different. A little over 24 months earlier,…

My Top Disaster Movies

For my article “Disaster Narratives by Design: Is Japan Different?” I studied 38 English-language disaster movies from 1978 to 2018 and a further 22 Japanese-language disaster movies. Since the article was published, I have seen a few more disaster movies. All of these I have written separate blog posts about. What I haven’t done until…

Mask-wearing: Does culture play a role?

Last week I was interviewed by a very enthusiastic group of students from Cardiff University’s School of Journalism about cultural issues relating to mask-wearing, passing on my knowledge about some of the issues relating to Japan. The interview features within a series of interview clips in an article that has now been published. You can…

Astronauts as the Origin of Space Society: Reflecting on a Webinar

Last week I attended a seminar on the topic of ‘Astronauts as the Origin of Space Society’ hosted by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. The main speaker was Naoko Yamazaki, an aerospace engineer and an astronaut. In April 2010, she was onboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as part of the crew of STS-131, an assembly and…