I am a cultural historian of modern Japan, India, and the UK, based at the University of Edinburgh and working also as a journalist for the BBC and a number of newspapers and magazines.
I’m especially interested in religion/spirituality, philosophy, literature, and mental health. You can find details of my past and present research and writing, along with info on talks and publications, by following the links above.
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By way of autobiographical basics, I grew up in London before heading ‘up north’ (as it seemed at the time) to Oxford University.
After finishing an undergraduate degree in History I co-founded a company producing music for the computer games industry… but was lured back into academia and a doctorate in South Asian history at St Antony’s College, Oxford.
I had the chance to go to Japan for a number of years, to study the language and to train and work as a journalist with the Asahi Shimbun.
I got regularly and horribly lost above and below ground in the great city of Tokyo, but made it back to the UK to start work at Edinburgh University, where now I research and teach on India and Japan.
I’m involved in print journalism on these regions and beyond, for, amongst others, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The New York Times. I help to run a group in Edinburgh – CATAS – which holds public conversations on spirituality and therapy. And I’ve been contributing to the MASSOLIT project, providing short filmed courses for school students and learners of all ages – you can watch a trailer here.
My first book for a general readership is Japan Story: In Search of a Nation, 1850s to the Present, published by Penguin Allen Lane in November 2018.