Photographing the Shinkansen: Maibara

During media interviews a couple of times I have asked where my favourite place is on the shinkansen network. The answer is Maibara (米原). Thanks to there being a bend just before the station (if approaching from Tokyo/Nagoya) and also a slope down into the station, it’s one of the few sections of the shinkansen…

My 47th Prefecture: Toyama

Following my post about the Hokuriku Shinkansen, this post is all about Toyama (富山). The title of this post refers not to where I would rank Toyama amongst the 47 prefectures of Japan, but rather that it was the 47th one that I visited. That visit happened in 2004, 15 years after my first visit…

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…

Gifu-Hashima: The Political Shinkansen Station?

I have already done a few posts about taking photos of the shinkansen and I have done one, about Urasa, linking that to one of my articles relating to the political links to the shinkansen. On another line, the Tokaido Shinkansen, there is another station with strong political connections, Gifu-Hashima (岐阜羽島). Just as with Urasa…

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…

Photographing the Shinkansen: Urasa

I have already done a few posts about taking photos of the shinkansen. This one is a little bit different in that it’s centred around taking pictures at a station, namely Urasa (浦佐) on the Joetsu Shinkansen. Normally photographs at stations aren’t the most interesting, partly as they’re not so challenging since trains are likely…

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,…

Clear skies may not be something to celebrate

Thanks to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, many people are stuck at home. For many in the UK – and I’m sure elsewhere – people are turning their gaze to the skies and enjoying the sunshine, although it has led to some amusing comments about how normally it would be raining, but now that we’re not…

End of Eras

I first travelled to Japan in July 1989, in the first year of the Heisei era. In January 2019 I made my 43rd trip to Japan and the final one of the Heisei era since there will be a change during the year. One of the highlights of my first trip was taking a 100-series…

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…