Sunday, March 5, 2017

We're almost ready to relaunch

A note on what is happening

Later this month, I will mark a year since I left Australia to come to Japan to spend more time on my research and teaching in Japanese politics and security. It has been a most interesting year. There have been a number of times when I have been inclined to post something on the issue of the day in Australian higher education as well. 

I have deferred my views however, sandbagged for a year as it were lest my concerns be viewed through the (soggy) prism of sour grapes. Nothing could be further from the truth. I feel very fortunate to be in the position I am in at present at a university in Tokyo which has a strong commitment to education and social responsibility. Anything I might have to say in reflection on the Australian higher ed system will be just that, reflection (based on some twenty years or so experience, for whatever that is worth these days). 

Let's just see how that goes. 

In the meantime, I have settled on ideas for continuing this blog while in Tokyo (you might be already familiar with my other main blog, psephy's pic of the day, where I post daily observations with photos, part of the #project365 series). 

Having spent much of this past year getting used to a new higher ed system (not that different really), new courses (all in Japanese), new students, new colleagues, I found myself with not quite as much time to write as I would have liked (nor that I would have expected). 

I have several projects on the go and new ones starting. 

1) There is my main project of Japanese security and the East Asian security community project. Living and working here for the past year has refreshed this project quite considerably. 

2) The little project that turned into a monster (but a good one): the interesting things that went on between Australia and Japan in the late 19th century. This project will start taking shape (in the form of a book) this year. 

3) I have also advanced my work on whaling and Japan-Australia relations quite considerably. That will take some solid form this year.

4) I have commenced a new project on examining the history and culture of surfing in Japan. This is one of those accidentally fortuitous projects that happen along from time to time (much in the way project 2 above was, and remains). I had decided to undertake an interesting 'side project' while in Japan, to take me out of the classroom and get me out and about. A book to write when...I wasn't writing books. I settled on surfing because I have a background as a surfer, growing up in the vicinity of beaches and swimming before I could walk (or so goes the family lore). Turned out that the International Olympic Committee determined that surfing would be one of the demonstrator sports at the 2020 games in Tokyo! Now I have a real reason to get on with it. 

5) This year will shape up as the year I properly tackle my long-held interest in women in politics in Japan. I have spent much of this year observing and note-taking and I am formulating my approach. I'm looking forward to that. 

All of these projects are of course overlaid with my ongoing work in political philosophy, in particular, reading Hannah Arendt and Kant. The more I read, the more interesting life gets. 

I will be making every effort to return to weekly posts on this blog with a view to observing and analysing the political events of the week from a Tokyo perspective. Naturally, that will include Japanese politics, but also Australian as well as other aspects as seem necessary. 

Sunday night might be the night: looking back on the week as well as anticipating what is coming. Starting time will be April: it is the new academic year and seems like a good time to reacquaint oneself with the habit of writing. (I'm also returning to Australia for the next two weeks, for a bit of a break but also to present a paper on surfing in Japan at a symposium on the Gold life turns.)

So thank you for your patience, but we are almost ready to relaunch and ready to again offer a small contribution to the ever-growing blog-post world. 

My apologies and thanks in equal measure. 

5 March 2017. Tokyo.