The Japan Times:

Fuminori Nakamura, The Rope Artist

Alan Spence’s Mister Timeless Blyth

Books for 2023

Chris Glenn’s The Samurai Castle Master

Lady Joker: Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura

Three Stories by Yoko Tawada & Early Light by Osamu Dazai

Review of Steve Alpert’s Kyoto Stories

Review of Tanizaki’s Longing and Other Stories

Review of Kamusari Tales Told at Night

Vou edited by Taylor Mignon

Yoko Tawada’s Scattered all over the World

Chris Glenn’s The Battle of Sekigahara

Ko Machida’s Rip It Up

Fuminori Nakamura’s My Annihilation

David Joiner’s Kanazawa

Books for 2022

Kaoru Takamura’s Lady Joker: Volume One

Kyoko Nakajima’s Things Remembered and Things Forgotten

Mizuki Tsujimura’s Lonely Castle in the Mirror

Izumi Suzuki’s Terminal Boredom

Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun


Interview with Alan Spence

Feature on Strong Women, Soft Power

Interview with Taiyo Fujii

Interview with Risa Wataya

Interview with David Pilling

Interview with Allison Markin Powell

Interview with Fuminori Nakamura

Books for 2021

The Best Japanese Books of the Last Decade

Feature on Sake by Brian Ashcraft

Feature on Books for 2020

Feature on Tomoka Shibasaki’s Spring Garden

Feature on A Tokyo Anthology

Feature on Brian Ashcraft’s Japanese Whisky

Feature on Books for 2019

Feature on Books for 2019 part 2

Feature of Masahisa Fukase’s Family

Feature on Hal Gold’s Unit 731

Feature on Haruki Murakami’s Underground

Two Rabbits 20 Questions

Lockdown Literature

Review of Shion Miura’s The Easy Life in Kamusari”

Review of MW Larson’s When the Waves Came

Review of J M Lee’s The Investigation

Review of Marius B Jansen’s Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration

Review of Chris Harding’s The Japanese

Review of Ono Masatsugu’s Echo on the Bay

Review of Susumu Nakanishi’s The Japanese Linguistic Landscape

Review of Seishi Yokomizo’s The Honjin Murders

Review of Gavin Blair’s Zen in Japanese Culture

Review of Kazumi Wilds’ Kojiki: The Birth of Japan

Review of The Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks

Review of Shaun Curry’s The Swords of Silence

Review of Teru Miyamoto’s Inhabitation

Review of Kanji Hanawa’s Backlight

Review of Nick Hurst’s Falling from the Floating World

Review of Kyoko Nakajima’s The Little House

Review of Soji Shimada’s Murder in the Crooked House

Review of Shuji Terayama’s When I Was a Wolf

Review of Speculative Japan 4

Review of Mia Ayumi Malhotra’s Isako Isako

Review of Fuminori Nakamura’s Cult X

Review of Hideo Yokoyama’s Seventeen

Review of Durian Sukegawa’s Sweet Bean Paste

Review of Meiko Kawakami’s Ms Ice Sandwich

Review of Tokyo Poetry Journal 5

Review of Ikigai. 

Review of Kiriu Minashita’s Sonic Peace

Review of Kazufumi Shiraishi’s The Part of me That Isn’t Broken Inside

Review of Fuminori Nakamura’s The Boy in the Earth

Review of Richard Henry Brunton’s Building Japan

Review of Karin Tanabe’s The Diplomat’s Daughter

Review of Hiromi Kawakami’s The Nakano Thrift Shop

Review of Sir Ernest Satow’s A Diplomat in Japan

Review of Hideo Furukawa’s Slow Boat

Review of Brian Burke-Gaffney’s Nagasaki

Review of Ian Buruma’s The Wages of Guilt

Review of Kenneth Rexroth’s 100 Poems from the Japanese

Review of Marc Peter Keane’s Japanese Garden Notes

Review of Mamoru Akamine’s The Ryukyu Kingdom

Review of Michael J. Green’s By More Than Providence

Review of Paul S. Atkins’s Teika: The Life and Works of a Medieval Japanese Poet

Review of Nicolas Obregon’s Blue Light Yokohama

Review of Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s Kappa

Review of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko

Review of Naoya Shiga’s A Dark Night’s Passing

Review of Takeshi Kaiko’s Into a Black Sun

Review of Yukio Mishima’s The Sound of Waves 

Review of Ko Unoki’s International Relations and the Origins of the Pacific War

Review of Sarah Frederick’s Turning Pages

Review of Yasushi Inoue’s The Hunting Gun

Review of Tokyo Poetry Journal 3

Review of Steve Twomey’s Countdown to Pearl Harbour

Review of Kunitake Kume’s Japan Rising

Review of Matsuo Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Review of Lian Hearn’s The Tengu’s Game of Go

Review of Lian Hearn’s Lord of the Darkwood

Review of Alan Spence’s The Pure Land

Review of Yukio Mishima’s Forbidden Colours

Review of Akiko Hashimoto’s The Long Defeat

Review of Shusaku Endo’s When I Whistle

Review of Seicho Matsumoto, A Quiet Place

Review of Adam Clulow, The Company and the Shogun

Review of Lian Hearn’s Autumn Princess, Dragon Child

Review of Lynne Kutsutake’s The Translation of Love

Review of Keigo Higashino’s A Midsummer’s Equation

Review of Lian Hearn’s Emperor of the Eight Islands

Review of Kenzaburo Oe’s A Quiet Life

Review of Kenzaburo Oe’s Somersault

Review of Yukio Mishima’s After The Banquet

Review of Kenzaburo Oe’s The Silent Cry

Review of Leza Lowitz’s Up From The Sea

Review of Amy Yamada’s Bedtime Eyes

Review of Robert S Boynton’s The Invitation-Only Zone

Review of Jackie Copleton’s A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding

Review of Nicholas Hogg’s Tokyo

Review of Kyoko Inoue’s MacArthur’s Japanese Constitution

Review of Jay Rubin’s The Sun Gods

Review of Ryotaro Shiba’s The Last Shogun

Review of Banana Yoshimoto’s Amrita

Review of Machi Tawara’s Salad Anniversary

Review of Glosserman and Snyder’s The Japan-South Korea Identity Clash

Review of Yukio Mishima’s Confessions of a Mask

Review of Kenzaburo Oe’s A Personal Matter

Review of Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant

Review of Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World

Review of Frederick R. Dickinson’s War and National Reinvention

Review of Phyllis Birnbaum’s Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy

Review of Richard Connaughton’s Rising Sun and Tumbling Bear

Review of Yasushi Inoue’s Life of a Counterfeiter

Review of Alan Spence’s Night Boat

Review of Shusaku Endo’s Deep River

Best Books of 2016

Review of Sawako Ariyoshi’s The River Ki


Sunday Times. April 26th, 2020.

Interesting Times. Guest blog post for Birlinn.

Planning Permission, an essay for Nothing in the Rule Book.

June 6th 2016, In Writing about Aberdeen … in The National. Read.

June 5th 2016, ‘Essay of the Week’: Remembering Piper Alpha: the inferno that changed Aberdeen forever in the Sunday Herald. Read.

May 25th 2016, 5 Books Based on Contemporary History for the Scottish Book Trust. Read.

May 24th 2016, a look at page 69 of The Waves Burn Bright for The Next Best Book Blog. 

“What The Devil? Why Scotland Does Scary So Well.” An article for the Scottish Book Trust.

It’s Not What You Know: Aristotle and the Authority of Experience, an article for Nothing in the Rule Book.

The Undercover Soundtrack. An article on the relationship between music and my writing.

Guest post about First Time Solo on Our Reviews Online.

The Guardian: A piece on Nirvana’s album, In Utero

The Way of Japanese Whisky in Escape: The Summer Issue

The List: Teaching English in Japan

RAN Magazine: A travel article on Inuyama, Japan and a book review (not archived online).


The Only Gaijin in the Village:
Chapter 1: Moving In
Chapter 2: Community Service
Chapter 3: A Farewell to Arms
Chapter 4: War and Peace
Chapter 5: The Secret Garden
Chapter 6: Exterminator!
Chapter 7: Look Into a Glass Onion
Chapter 8: Wuthering Heights
Chapter 9: Happy When it Rains
Chapter 10: Paint it Black
Chapter 11: New Year’s Day
Chapter 12: Comfortably Numb

Japanese Literature:
1.  8 Contemporary Japanese Novelists (Who Aren’t Haruki Murakami)
2. 14 Novels Set in Japan
3. 9 Must-read Books on Japanese History
4. Great Japanese Writers: Kenzaburo Oe
5. Great Japanese Writers: Yukio Mishima
6. 8 Japanese Novels Set Outside Tokyo
7. Great Japanese Writers: Shusaku Endo
8. Kazuo Ishiguro
9. Great Japanese Writers: Hiromi Kawakami
10. Great Japanese Writers: Miyabi Miyuki
11. New Year, New Books. J-Lit in 2018
12. Discovery: 5 Japanese Science Fiction Writers
13. Great Japanese Writers: Fuminori Nakamura
14. Great Japanese Writers: Ryu Murakami

Hida-Furukawa Snowshoe Trekking
The Mummy of Yokokura Temple
Gaijinpot: A large number of travel articles about Japan (some of these were then republished on Japan Today)


The Thorn Puller by Hiromi Ito

Monkey Man by Takuji Ichikawa

Kou Machida’s Rip It Up

Rita Taketsuru (Cowan) and the Scottish roots of Japanese whisky here.


Interview with J David Simons in Eastlit September 2014.

Guest Editorial in October 2013 Eastlit

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