First impressions of the USA (notes from 2004)

Not long after I moved to Japan in late 2003, the research centre that I had joined started planning overseas business trips to exchange information. At the time I didn’t realize just how research budgets work—and fortunately I wasn’t in charge of them—but the Centre paid for several of us researchers to go to the United States in early 2004. The very idea of going to the USA to me

On the complex relationship between learning a language and being in the world

(CW: Language learning, panic attacks, mental health, suicide) I hesitated to write this post because I still feel shame about my level of Japanese after living here so long. By now, surely, I “should be native level, right?” is a question I’ve often been asked by friends back in the UK. But I’m not. I’m still intermediate level. What does that mean? Well it means I can order in restaurants,

On how I fell into sociology

Sociology gets a bad rap, often quite justifiably in my opinion. But I am a sociologist and although I’m not working at the moment I think sociology gets into your bones and to an extent becomes part of what you are. I want to say a bit about that here, but first I need to get defensive, as sociology is often laughed at, one of the ‘fake degrees’ (“oh you

Panic! at the Bistro

(CW: panic attack, hospitals, general mental illness etc.) I’m on extended sick leave from work at the moment, diagnosed with Panic Disorder and severe depression/Bipolar 2. I decided when I took sick leave that I would be open about my mental illness on twitter, but I haven’t written anywhere how it came about or why I’m open about it. Let’s start with the latter first. As a sociologist I have

On how I got here

First proper #blogtober post and why not start by giving my life’s history… no don’t worry I’m not going to do that, but some people might be interested in how I ended up in Japan. Let me start of by saying I was not a Japanophile. I think this is important to say because so many people seem to come to Japan because they have a strong love of the