Reflecting on the Closure of the Azumazeki-Beya

Over the weekend it was announced that the Azumazeki-beya (東関部屋, Azumazeki Stable) is closing, merging with the Hakkaku-beya (八角, Hakkaku Stable). In amongst the stories about this closure, I also discovered that its former Oyakata (stable master), who had previously fought under the name of Ushiomaru (潮丸, real name Motoyasu Sano), had died at the…

Working Titles

Although when I start writing I have an overall idea for a book, I don’t always know exactly how the book will come together. This is true of both my academic books and novels. While with academic books there will be a more formal book proposal that will include a planned contents list and structure,…

Some Reflections on Writing “FOUR” – Why it is in Four Parts

Yesterday I did an interview for a news item for the alumni network of my high school, Concord College about my latest novel, FOUR, which was recently released as both an eBook and Paperback. Although I covered some of this in the interview, and what I said was correct, when I went back over some…

“252 Seizonsha Ari” – Dramatic Japanese Disaster Movie

The next of my posts about movies which I studied for my article “Disaster Narratives by Design: Is Japan Different?” is about 252 Seizonsha Ari (252生存者あり) (Nobuo Mizuta, 2008), known as 252: There Are Survivors or 252: Signs of Life in English. A summary of the movie on IMDb is as follows: A massive earthquake…

Delighted with another 5-Star review for “Tokyo 20/20 Vision”

Delighted with another 5 star review for Tokyo 20/20 Vision, which is averaging 4.7 (out of 5.0) on Amazon. Here is the review: “I’m not a fiction lover normally, but as I’m familiar with things Japanese after having lived there for a long time, I picked this one up. The author has a fantastic grasp…

Timing Challenges in My Novels

When I started writing my first novel Hijacking Japan, I had no idea that it would take so many years to write. Nor did I realise what the consequences of this would be. When I started writing Hijacking Japan, Japan had no Ministry of Defence and the possible establishment of this featured in the Prologue….

Post 123

This is blog post number 123. For many I suspect that there is no particular significance of this number. 123. Or 1, 2, 3. But for me, I will always associate it with JL123, Japan’s and the aviation world’s Titanic, which has been one of my research areas since 2007. I have already done a…

Choosing a Character for My Novels

When writing novels, one of the hardest things can be creating characters and choosing names. This gets particularly complicated when the character is not only going to appear in one novel, but a whole series. My second novel was going to be the starting point for such a series. Tokyo 20/20 Vision marks the official…

Yasuhiro Nakasone

Yasuhiro Nakasone (中曾根康弘) has already been mentioned in a couple of posts, but today, on what would have been his 102nd birthday, I thought I would pull together some additional thoughts. Back in 1993, while on the JET Programme, when I decided to become an academic and start on a PhD, I had no idea…

Contents Tourism – Bangkok Plane Graveyard

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’m writing about the Bangkok Plane Graveyard. This one is a bit different to the others I have already written about in that the others were largely inspired by seeing…