“Here let us breathe and haply institute
A course of learning and ingenious studies”
(William Shakespeare, *The Taming of the Shrew*).
Thank you to everyone who has made me feel welcome at Kobe College during these first few months, including my students and colleagues here in the English Department. I am the Megumi Visiting Professor of English Literature for this academic year. I look forward to teaching and working with you this year. I am on sabbatical from the School of Educational Sciences, Bangor University, UK. It is located between the golden sands and the mountains of North Wales. So, I am happy to be working and living so close to the hills of Nishinomiya. I like to hike in them on the weekends. I also think that the patisseries around Kobe are very delicious!
During my year here I am teaching two courses in both semesters:
Introduction to Literature and Shakespeare and his Age. Next semester I will also be teaching courses on Theatre Studies, Dissertation Seminars, and a Special Lecture on Children’s Literature. I am passionate about these subjects because they align closely with my research interests.
I am a Shakespeare specialist, with an emphasis on Shakespeare for young people, in education and popular culture. My publications include the books *Shakespeare in East Asian Education *(2021) with Uchimara Kohei (Osaka City University), Adele Lee (Emerson College, U.S.A.) and Rosalind Fielding (University of Birmingham, UK) as well as *Shakespeare Valued *(2015). I founded the magazine*Teaching Shakespeare *with the British Shakespeare Association: it is available for everyone to enjoy, free of charge, online
The articles are short and accessible for students, as well as teachers and scholars.
My interest in Young Adult (YA) vampire retellings of Shakespeare means that I increasingly work in the area of Gothic Studies too. Last year, I co-founded the Gothic Association of Asia with colleagues in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand. My work on Young Adult literature also encouraged me to take on the role of Lead Editor at Jeunesse: young people, texts, cultures*, an international peer-reviewed journal of children’s literature and culture published out of Canada.
I have studied and worked in universities in Australia and the UK — and now Japan — since the year 2000. I enjoyed my time at university so much that I did not want to leave! So, what are my three top tips for making the most of your time at Kobe College, enjoying as well as succeeding at your studies?
1) Choose courses, texts and topics for your assessment that you love. You will do your best work where you are passionate about the subject and where you are naturally curious to find out more.
2) Be brave and open-minded! Find out more about courses, activities and opportunities (to travel, to work, to volunteer) that sound interesting, even if you are not sure what they involve and you never did anything similar before. You can ask your seniors and staff to tell you more about them, to help you decide whether these new adventures are for you.
3) Find extra-curricular activities that enrich your wellbeing and social networks as well as your studies. For me, it was performing drama in French, being in student productions of Shakespeare, and doing yoga classes for students. Choose something you enjoy and that gives you a break from your screens.
Best of luck in your endeavours and ganbatte kudasai!