The Ties That Bind

Hello everyone!

It’s been way too long since I’ve put out a blog post. Apologies for the delay.

The last two months have been extremely hectic, as I’ve spent most of my time preparing to hit the job market this fall! Toward that end, I’ve produced several drafts of cover letters, research and teaching statements, as well as  other supplemental documents. I’ve also reorganized my website to be a bit more streamlined and reflect the kinds of information that potential employers may look for. Hopefully you all can still access it without too much difficulty (please let me know if you have any issues/suggestions!)

Thankfully, working on my job materials hasn’t kept me from diving into other things. I’ve met with many friends and colleagues to discuss new avenues for academic and activist interventions regarding accessibility. In fact, I’ve had more than twenty meetings to discuss collaborative projects in fields like architecture, engineering, performance, art, literature, policy, and law. To go into each of those meetings in detail would take a lot of space and time, and I don’t want to subject my more casual readers to it. Rather, I’m going to spend the majority of this blog post focusing on the projects and presentations that I successfully completed over the last eight weeks.

In terms of projects (and, more specifically, publications), I’ve written several articles as of late. Perhaps the most important among them is a condensed version of the first two chapters of my dissertation, which I’ve submitted to a top journal in my field for review. I’ve been instructed not to share information about that article in any public forum, but I’d be happy to send it to anyone interested if you contact me privately (you can do so via e-mail or the contact form above). In addition my academic article, I’ve also produced a number of public facing pieces on topics like creating an accessible religious community and the consequences of conflating violence and mental illness. Those articles have been published on websites like Accessible Japan and in newspapers like the Japan Times. Additionally, I’ve written a disability studies investigation of sumo wrestling (inspired by a recent trip to the Sumo capital of Japan, Ryugoku), which will be available online soon.

As always, I’ve tried to share my work with specialists operating in numerous fields and the general public. Talks at the Japan Foundation, Kurofune Holdings Architecture Firm, the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers, Susugamo Caregiving, and many universities in Tokyo have helped me accomplish that goal. Casual interactions with educators and technicians at large social welfare events like LIVES2019 have also been a great boon. I’m really excited about future speaking engagements sponsored by private corporations and the US Embassy as well as lectures that I’m due to give in the department of Life Design at Toyo University and the University of Tokyo’s Modern Japanese History Workshop.

While I truly enjoyed my research and service over the last two months, perhaps the most rewarding use of my time at a personal level was my trip back to the United States. For two weeks at the end of August I went back home to visit friends and family. I saw colleagues from Villanova University and the University of Pennsylvania as well as the larger Japanese Studies community in Philadelphia. I also attended a monumental event in my dad’s wedding and had the honor of delivering a speech as his best man. It was truly a wonderful occasion and I can’t express how happy I am for him and my new stepmother (although I’m certain she’ll kill me for describing her as such in this post).

As I now prepare to venture forth into the final stages of dissertation writing and the muck of the job market, I can say that I’m truly happy. Everything seems to be looking up for the time being – let’s hope it stays that way.

Be well, everyone, and I look forward to talking with you soon.

Mark

 

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