I have long been a fan of Japan. Ever since my childhood when my mum took me to the Chinese New Year celebrations in Liverpool, I have been hooked on Asian culture in general, but my interest in Japan started when I was 13 years old. A school friend gave me a copy of an old book about learning the Japanese language; I took myself to the library one day and discovered a number of other books about a country, which to me at the time seemed almost imaginary, it was so far away.
Initially, during my teenage years, I taught myself the Japanese language from various textbooks. My interest in Japan continued to grow and I became evermore fascinated with the country. I decided I wanted to join the JET Programme, to live and work in Japan. I realised however, that I would need a university degree, so I decided to study Japanese and applied for a place at the School of East Asian Studies at Sheffield University.
It was at Sheffield that my interest in Japanese history grew. I became increasingly interested in the nineteenth century, late Edo and Meiji periods of Japanese history, in particular. For my final dissertation, I wrote a paper called The Sakamoto Ryoma Phenomenon – Investigating the Contemporary Cult Status of a Meiji Restoration Idealist (1999). After earning a bachelors’ degree in Japanese Studies, I finally got a place on the JET Programme as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) in Aomori City (1999-2002). After three years in Aomori, I decided I wanted to further my studies and develop my knowledge of international relations, which I had acquired an interest in through my work as a CIR in Aomori. I went on to study for a Master and then a Doctoral degree at Kyoto University Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies under international politics specialist, Dr. Nakanishi Terumasa. Since 2012, I have been working as a lecturer in Anglo-Japanese relations in the Department of British and American Studies, School of Foreign Studies at Aichi Prefectural University.
I have lived in Japan for a third of my lifespan and the place still continues to excite my imagination.