Well hello there everyone!
Gosh, it's been about a years or so since I made my last post here on this blog. But I'm thinking I'll try to write down a blog or two every week from here on in. Maybe it'll take me somewhere new too, who knows? :D So I think I'll dedicate my first post to my first academic year in Tokyo. In this post I'm going to talk about my PhD journey so far, and a bit more about what's waiting for me in the upcoming two years (if I'm lucky heh).
Many people ask me why are you studying British literature in Japan out of all places. And yes, I do admit that it's not a very common course of actions, but you know, life leads you wherever it does, and in this case it wasn't much of a choice of mine, but rather a path that life made me walk. And I'm not complaining. Of course, I'd love to be in Cambridge or Oxford, but Keio University is one of the top in Japan, and when it comes to Mediaeval British lit we're a leading university in the whole world. I gotta admit this is pretty cool, and I realised how lucky I've gotten when we went to check out some rare manuscripts from 14th and 15th century.
But anyway, I'm not here to brag about how awesome my university is (even though it's quite a big deal :P). I had my entrance exams back in the end of February 2018, and got my reply on the 1st of March. At this point I had already met my future supervisor and was really hyped up about the whole thing. With positive results, I started to get ready to move to Tokyo. March of 2018 was one hell of a busy month, but somehow by the end of it I had managed to settle down in my apartment in Tokyo.
With April coming, the school year also started, and being in a very new environment, having almost no friends or acquaintances, it was a bit depressing at first, but with time things started looking up. School itself was very enjoyable from the very first day. Meeting new professors and students, new people in general was a very exciting experience.
The year was quite busy with researching new materials, trying to come back to English literature after a two-year-long gap, trying to be set up good terms with the people around me, and just figuring out the hell I want to do with my PhD.
By the end of the first semester I had figured out that I want to give a presentation, and luckily the chance came rolling around quite soon. From there on in, that is from about the beginning of August until pretty much the day before the presentation in mid-October, I was researching and preparing the speech. It was quite an interesting topic, a comparison between Pre-Raphaelite painting and A.C. Swinburne's poetry. Combining both of these maxims was not an easy feat, but a lot of people gave me good feedback, which was a great deal of a boost for my academic confidence. Either way, the paper will hopefully be published by the end of this year, and then I'll be able to quote myself in some of the upcoming posts :^)
I'll be honest, I haven't done much research ever since I finished the presentation, and instead have been concentrating on the schoolwork, reports and the books that I need or want to read. But probably it's thanks to this that I've managed to come up with more or less a doable and interesting topic for my thesis.
Either way, my spring break started up last week, and even though I still go to school, and probably will do so for the whole break (the library is my favourite place for reading and writing!), there are a couple of things that need to be accomplished by the end of the vacations:
- Writing a paper to submit to a peer reviewed journal in the beginning of April;
- Transform my presentation from October into a paper and hand it to another peer reviewed journal by July;
- Come up with presentation topics for three conferences which will be taking place in the autumn of 2019, write down abstracts and maybe outline them;
- Hopefully have a first draft for the first chapter of my thesis;
- Read, read and read some more.
These are my main goals as of the moment, but chances are some other things will come up on the way. I still have two reports to finish by the end of the month, and honestly, I am not quite sure how to go about those :'D so wish me luck.
Anyhow, this post is getting a bit long, and I have some chores to take care of, so I'll get going for now! I hope to make this into a bit of a habit, and thus will try to write another blog when I have some free time during the weekend :3
Lastly, before I leave, I'll post a photo of my university, since I really like the campus, and hope you will do too!