The Need for Physical Books

Earlier this week I made a trip to Sheffield, where I had lived for nine years and did both my undergraduate degree and doctorate. I managed to combine many things into the visit, including meeting up with friends and colleagues to discuss a wide range of things. One of the reasons for going up related…

First look at “Bullet Train”

Having been conducting research about the shinkansen (‘bullet train’) for over 20 years, when I learnt of the book Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka, I knew that I had to get a copy and you can read my review on that here. In brief, however, I had many issues with the book – including the…

World Book Day – Like the Other 364 Days

Today is World Book Day, a day when we should celebrate books and many children will dress up as characters from favourite books. For me, World Book Day, is not that different to many other days of the year. My life is full of books. I have written before about the significant impact of movies/films…

“You Only Live Twice” – Bond Goes To Japan

Having recently read the original novel “You Only Live Twice” by Ian Fleming, I decided to re-watch the film again. At one level, I probably didn’t need to as I’ve seen it so many times, having grown up watching it many times each year as it was one of the few films that we had…

Book Review: “You Only Live Twice” by Ian Fleming

Recently I read “Jaws” by Peter Benchley for the first time as, despite the fact that “Jaws” is my favourite movie, I’d never read the book and thought that I should (despite the warnings from many that the book is nowhere near as good as the movie). It seemed appropriate then – though it wasn’t…

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‘,…

Wabi Sabi

10 October is Mental Health Awareness day, an issue which is as important today during the COVID19 pandemic as it has ever been. I am very happy to support this campaign. As I did for the Cardiff Half Marathon in 2019, I will be supporting MIND when I run in 2022 (race postponed many times!)….

Customer Service: Be more Cooperative and less Hermes

Over the past few years one of the things that has concerned me is the apparent rise in extremism – whether it be political views, economic conditions, attitudes on the environment, and so on. The concept of ‘echo chambers’ – whereby similar-minded people talk to each other and not engage with people with differing views…

Updating “Japan: The Basics”

It is now 6 years since my book Japan: The Basics was first published. If you’re not familiar with it, the book is an introduction to the culture, society and the global positioning of Japan. Taking a fresh look at stereotypes associated with Japan, it provides an introduction to the country and how to study…

Book Review: “The Phantom Atlas” by Edward Brooke-Hitching

I love looking at maps. One of my go-to presents that I would get myself when travelling used to be maps. There is so much you see and understand about places by just looking at maps. To date I haven’t really brought maps much into my academic work – other than needing them for discussing…

Walking the Yamanote Line

On this day (22 April) back in 2016, I ticked another thing off my ‘Japan bucket list’ (things that I want to do in Japan one day)… I walked the Yamanote Line (山手線). As four years have now passed, I thought it was a good opportunity to reflect upon the walk. For those unfamiliar with…