Week 55: Another ethics application

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Three weeks have passed since I returned to Tokyo to start my fieldwork. I have spent the weeks (and will spend the next few weeks) contacting and recruiting research participants, having face-to-face meetings with them, explaining the study and arranging dates for my observations and recording, and working on literature reviews as well.

This week, I found out that I need to get an ethics approval from an institutional ethics board to conduct my observations and focus groups in the institution. I filled in a form and submitted it to the committee.

I found that I need to take time to establish rapport with the participants and make sure of the ethical aspects before initiating data collection. I assume that the stage that I can actually start collecting data will be at the beginning of February, meaning that I will spend a month doing the preparation in the field. But it is much easier for me to do these processes here in Japan because I can have a meeting with people immediately and get advice from them easily, which has allowed me to be active and motivated!

I would like to a mention a scholar who is taking part in my research and has helped me greatly to collect data. He is a very busy person as a medical scholar, physician and a chief of two organisations, but he is always willing to have a meeting and share resources (people and research ideas) with me. I really cannot thank him enough for his support; without his help, I would be struggling with the fieldwork. This is a very important aspect; in field research, you need to find a person who has a strong network of local people, and you first need to focus on the one connection and build a relationship and expand the research sites.

Apart from the rapport-building process, all the preparation is done. I have got two reliable recorders, a camera, field notes, printed consent forms and comfortable walking shoes.

I talk to Luca every day. I have a disciplined life here (go to bed at 11 pm and wake up 8 am), but he seems to be struggling with living alone in England. Speaking of our relationship, this period is very important for us to concentrate on our own things and to be mentally independent.

Regarding living in Japan, I really enjoy cooking and eating many different foods. Also, I am very addicted to shopping for many cheap cosmetics at drugstores!

My achievements in Week 55:
– Found two participants and confirmed that they are willing to participate in my research.
– Submitted my ethics application to an institutional committee in Japan.
– Signed up for a gym and started daily exercise.

Goals for Week 56:
– Have some meetings with my research participants.
– Continue editing chapters.

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