Book Reviews – “Jaws: Memories from Martha’s Vineyard”, “Joe Alves: Designing Jaws”, and “Adventures in Amity: Tales from the Jaws Ride”

As I have some unexpected (and unwanted… and unpaid) free time today (see the post Enough is Enough), I am doing a second post. And, after the book review of “Life & Laughing” by Michael McIntyre, it’s another book review (and I have at least one other book review to do a post on, as…

The ‘Uncanny Japan’ Podcast and Culture Shock

I subscribe to a number of podcasts – and have even appeared on some (for example, Voices in Japanese Studies, the Compounding Curiosity Podcast talking about my research on the shinkansen, the Fandomentals Podcast talking about Japanese baseball, and Let’s Jaws For A Minute). One of those that I subscribe to is Uncanny Japan in…

Japan’s Borders Are Open!

Today, at long last, Japan lifted almost all of the restrictions for visiting the country (and there are no shortage of news stories covering this). Although I could have visited Japan before now as getting a visa for academic research would have been possible (and indeed colleagues have done this), I have held off doing…

Being Prepared For An Accident (again)

Back in May I did a post about ‘Being Prepared For An Accident‘ and I wanted to build upon this, drawing on a few additional recent travel experiences. The first of these relates to taking a cruise on NCL. This is my second cruise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, in terms of…

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…

Japan’s Continuing Sakoku

I have been very critical of the Japanese government’s handling of COVID and its (relatively) closed borders and isolation (sakoku) in the past few months. In the last week alone I have written a post (Nothing Splendid About Japan’s Isolation) about the topic and a further post with details about a letter than I sent…

Another Letter to the Japanese Ambassador in London

Today, in my capacity as President of the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS), I jointly (together with the Chair of the British Association for Teachers of Japanese) sent the following letter to the Japanese Ambassador in London. This is the second letter (click here for the first letter) that we have had to send…

Nothing Splendid About Japan’s Isolation

In the early seventeenth century Japan entered a period of self-imposed isolation known as sakoku. In reality, the level of isolation probably wasn’t as strict as is sometimes made out, but it was strong enough that it allowed Japan to develop many aspects of what we know think of as Japan’s traditional culture with limited…

Music Review: Pet Shop Boys Live

Having previously done a review of a concert that featured Altered Images, Tom Bailey, and The Human League, I’m doing one about the Pet Shop Boys concert that I went to last night. This was the second time that I have seen the Pet Shop Boys (one of my favourite acts), and again, like both…