Car Crash Memorials and Self-Driving Cars

One of the English language sites, Japan Today, that I use for keeping on top of the news in Japan (and what others who don’t speak Japanese might be seeing about Japan) had a story today (16 September 2021) talking about a memorial for a road traffic accident and touching upon the issue of self-driving…

The Future of the Shinkansen

I recently did an interview with Sarah Sieloff about the future of the shinkansen in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and some of what we discussed featured in an article, ‘Japan’s Bullet Trains Are Hitting a Speed Bump’ in Bloomberg. The article is very well written and I recommend reading it. I’d thought I’d do…

Anniversary of the Opening of the Shinkansen

1 October marks the anniversary of the opening of the first shinkansen (‘bullet train’) line, the Tokaido Shinkansen. The line opened in 1964, just a few days before the Tokyo ‘summer’ Olympics (which were held in October to avoid the heat of a Japanese summer). Since then the network has expanded across the country, and…

Photographing the Shinkansen: The Hokuriku Shinkansen

I have already done some posts about taking photos of the shinkansen. This one is a bit different as rather than focus on one location, it covers a whole line. Also, as yet, I’ve not had a chance to explore the variety of popular sites that exist along the line and will feature instead two…

Photographing the Shinkansen: Takasaki

I have already done a few posts about taking photos of the shinkansen and my previous post was about Urasa on the Joetsu Shinkansen. This post is about photographing the shinkansen at another station on the Joetsu Shinkansen, Takasaki (高崎) – together with discussion about why I have been to Takasaki so many times over…

Researching Japan – My busiest trip

I have been visiting Japan since 1989, going there at least once in all but two years since my first visit. To date (May 2020), there have been 45 trips and the majority of these have been for research. As well as keeping notes from the observations and interviews and taking photos during these trips,…

Contents Tourism – Akime

In the next of my posts on contents tourism (if you don’t know what contents tourism is, please see my post about Tanigawa and Ichi-no-kurasawa), I will be focussing on the tiny village of Akime. As I wrote in my ‘postcard’ on the International Journal of Contents Tourism site… If you have seen the James…

My research about the shinkansen

The image of the shinkansen or ‘bullet train’ passing Mount Fuji is one of the most renowned images of modern Japan. Yet, despite its international reputation for speed and punctuality, little is understood about what makes it work so well and what its impact is. Since 2000 I have been conducting research on the shinkansen…

Contrasting Experiences of Growth and Decline in Regional Japan

An area of vital importance at the national and local levels where there are inter-connected factors of cause and effect, and which have deep implications for social and economic stability in Japan’s shrinking regions, is in the relationship between depopulation and infrastructure development. One factor that has long been identified as contributing to geographical peripherality…

The Shinkansen’s Local Impact

The shinkansen began operations in 1964. In subsequent years it went from being merely the ‘bullet train’ and a means from travelling at high-speed and on time between major cities to becoming a potent symbol of Japan’s development. Other changes have occurred that not only reflect the changing nature of the transportation market and the…