Sakura Cherry Tree Planting in Cardiff

Yesterday I attended two cherry tree (sakura) planting ceremonies in Cardiff. The UK and Japan have a strong relationship, developed over more than 150 years. At the heart of the relationship is a desire for mutual understanding and to learn from each other’s way of life, culture and history. By planting thousands of sakura trees…

Book Review: “Base Notes” by Lara Elena Donnelly

I got this book as part of Amazon Firsts, where you get a free book a month or so before the main release. From the blurb that accompanied the text, it sounded very good and reminded me of another Amazon Firsts book, “These Toxic Things” by Rachel Howzell, that I had recently read. With my…

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: “At First Light” by Barbara Nickless

On the face of it, as someone who is interested in symbols and semiotics, this should have been the perfect crime book for me to read. There was certainly much that I enjoyed. But I also found elements of the book a bit of a battle. The two main battles I had actually surrounded the…

“Europa” by Holly Johnson – Frankie’s Third Album?

Continuing with my recent music review posts, this time I am covering “Europa” by Holly Johnson. As I mentioned in my post about influential albums… Europa – Holly Johnson. Great return to form from Holly Johnson. Extra bonus of having a signed copy. The concert in 2014 was amazing too. Some brilliant songs and lyrics….

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‘,…

Football in Japan

After mentioning my undergraduate dissertation in the posts Designs That Defined Modern Japan: The Rice Cooker and Designs That Defined Modern Japan: Hello Kitty, I decided that I would upload the dissertation so that people could read it if they are interested. The version I am making available here is not the original version. That…

Designs That Defined Modern Japan: Kaiten Sushi

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I attended an excellent webinar on the topic ‘Designs That Defined Modern Japan’ by Professor Hiroshi Kashiwagi, and the audience were set the challenge of coming with their own list of 8 Designs That Defined Modern Japan. I have already done seven posts (these are not in any…

Designs That Defined Modern Japan: The Emergency Exit Sign

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I attended an excellent webinar on the topic ‘Designs That Defined Modern Japan’ by Professor Hiroshi Kashiwagi, and the audience were set the challenge of coming with their own list of 8 Designs That Defined Modern Japan. I have already done six posts (these are not in any…