Week 60: Old textbooks

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The scholar who I met in Week 58 sent me a box of old textbooks that he actually used at medical school 20 years ago. When we met two weeks ago, he mentioned that he has many old books that he doesn’t use anymore, and he offered to lend them to me. I immediately answered ‘yes’!

When opening the box, I was very excited. There were 13 books (and one VHS cassette) in it, and, taking each one in turn, I wrote down the titles, authors, publishers and year published. Some of the books are 38 years old and out of print now. They are so valuable. If he had not offered, I would never have been able to access these sources. Furthermore, I noticed there is an author’s signature on the front page in some books, and there are little notes written by the scholar on the last page in each book. I can tell that he has kept his books very neat and clean. It was really nice to feel that I could recognise his ‘personality’ from these handwritten notes and signatures.

It is Fieldwork Week 8 this week. I have had a kick-off meeting with each research participant and finished scheduling my observations and recordings. I will start planning focus group discussions soon. Things are moving forward!

Speaking of my social life, I see my friend once a week for a change of pace; I met up with Asuka on Sunday and had a chat over High Tea. Next week, I will take a whole week off and spend some time with my mother.

My achievements in Week 60:
– Made seven observations and four audio recordings, and conducted an interview.
– Visited six participants to arrange details for further observations and recordings.
– A scholar asked me to help his research, and I was really happy to be asked!

Goals for Week 61:
– Submit my revised paper by 28th.
– Spend a week with my mother and enjoy my time off!


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Relaxing time with Asuka



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Aman Tokyo Lobby



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The Library at Aman Tokyo


Week 59: Second day of data collection

This week, I conducted the second day of my data collection, which included five observations and four audio recordings. I have really enjoyed visiting different patients with health professionals and learning how professionals in different fields work together in elderly care.

My biggest achievement of the week is that I finished writing and submitting my conference proposal and fieldwork report. I am very happy that I managed this as I haven’t been able to spend much time writing since January.

It took some time for me to start data collection. I didn’t want to begin observations or interviews immediately. First, I wanted to have several face-to-face meetings with physician participants (usually in their office). They didn’t mind doing this. All of them were interested in my research ‘from a researcher perspective’ and they agreed to participate because they were curious about its findings. When I have finished my research, I will share the results with all of the participants. This motivates me in my field research!

My achievements in Week 59:
– Made five observations and four audio recordings.
– Submitted my conference proposal.
– Contacted all prospective participants (11 physicians) – and they all agreed to participate.
– Made leaflets to recruit patient participants for audio recordings and focus group.
– Finally finished writing my progress report on field research to share with my supervisors (started working on this a month ago).

Goals for Week 60:
– Finish editing my paper.
– Conduct two-day observations and an interview.
– Celebrate my dad’s 75th birthday!


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Post-work treat: Apple juice!



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Post-work treat: Club Sandwich!


Week 58: Moving forward

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What an intensive and hectic seven-day last week! Six weeks have passed since I started my fieldwork at medical clinics/institutions in Tokyo. The biggest achievements from the week were that I got my ethics clearance from an organisation (no more ethics applications required!) and that I got inspiration for my methodology through a meeting with the scholar who I mentioned last week, a ‘very cold person’.

His tone in his emails was very distant, and he seemed reluctant to talk to me, but eventually, he agreed to see me. I visited his office at a hospital where he works. I was very nervous.

He was actually nice, cheery and helpful, and he gave me a lot of information that I wanted. I got a bit confused about the difference in personality. He was smiling throughout the meeting, and what’s more, he offered to send some academic books to my address, which I really appreciated. In the meeting, I confided in him that I was concerned about the potential disconnect between my research questions, methodology and answers. He immediately understood the point and gave me advice on how to better answer my research questions, which resolved all the anxieties I had been suffering from over the past months! It was almost a miracle.

It would be one of the greatest benefits from doing fieldwork to have a face-to-face meeting with an expert and get a deep understanding of what actually happens in the field, not just what literature tells.

However, fieldwork is not all fun and productive. My work in Japan has been about ‘walking, meeting people and interacting’, and I have not been able to spend much time on ‘writing’. My aim for Week 59 is to work on editing my paper and writing some reports.

I also miss having training sessions and research seminars at my uni which I had got for the last year.

My achievements in Week 58:
– Made contact with three physicians, to whom one of my research participants introduced me.
– A participant also introduced her colleagues, three physicians, for my research.
– Started collecting relevant books for a systematic literature review.
– Arranged some details for focus group discussions that will take place in March.
– Wrote a draft of my proposal for a conference.
– Helped a physician to organise and conduct a healthcare seminar, and I learnt a lot!
– Got the ethics approval from an organisation.
– Had all my worries on methodology solved.

Goals for Week 59:
– Submit my conference proposal.
– Write my first report on my fieldwork to share with my supervisors.
– Edit my paper for an online journal.

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