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…

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,…

2021 in Review – A Difficult Year with Some Positive Highlights

Much like 2020, 2021 didn’t really work out as planned. When I look back at 2021 the over-riding memory is of losses. First, my father, Peter Hood, and then also friends, most notably Masaaki “Mick” Yamada. But there were other losses too – such as Shin’ichi Iida, fellow-Blade David Wainwright, and Salti (the owner of…

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…

Book Review: “Did They Steal A Million Yet?” by James Crookes

It’s December 2021. But it’s also December 1984. Yes, after the highly enjoyable “Do They Know It’s Christmas Yet?“, Tash, Jamie, and company are back for another crazy ride between two time lines. Unlike the first book, this one doesn’t have the premise of needing to ensure that a key thing happens so that history…

Visual Packaging Culture

What underpins much of my research is an interest in symbolism and how symbols can be used to understand aspects of Japan. Although this aspect of my research may be most apparent in my publications such as Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan, Japan: The Basics, and ‘Contents Tourism in Plane Sight‘,…

Troubling Anniversaries – An Excellent Online Conference

On 21 and 22 October I attended an online conference on the theme of ‘Troubling Anniversaries’. The conference was organised through a partnership between the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) within the School of Advanced Study in the University of London and Centre for Public History,(Opens in new window) The online conference explored the uses of…