Week 32

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It’s been very humid and hot in Tokyo. I have been meeting with a lot of people who are relevant to my research every day. My 32nd week can be described as ‘walked hard’.

I started conducting my preliminary fieldwork in Tokyo. I visited two facilities, and I was allowed to make observations in seven medical consultations and take notes. In each, a doctor, a nurse, a patient and the patient’s family were there – although I was not allowed to take audio-recordings this time. The doctor introduced me to the patients, and we greeted each other. It was an opportunity for the patients to understand who I am and what I am studying. Eventually, I was able to select some patients who are likely to be eligible and take part in my project. I also had a great opportunity to meet several doctors who are likely to participate in my research.

I am not worried about the quantity of data collection, but there is one thing that greatly contradicts my expectation. Initially, I had planned to observe two kinds of healthcare services. One is a doctor’s home visit, and my observations of the home visit have been going well. The other one is nursing homes for elderly people, which turned out to be a very different setting than I expected in terms of the interactions between the older people and the professionals.

Some healthcare professionals gave me advice, telling me that I might need to focus on doctors’ home visits. Home visits from a doctor can be a type of social situation involving multiple people, such as a doctor, a nurse, a patient and the patient’s family members for most of the cases. In addition, doctors who are willing to go for home visits to elderly patients’ houses are highly likely to have an interest in the concept of patient-centeredness. I haven’t reported this aspect to my supervisors yet, but I must do so as soon as possible. I am now organising my fieldnotes from the observations.

My achievements in Week 32:

  • Started networking with healthcare professionals and made observations in seven consultations
  • Made the information sheet and consent form for doctors

Goals for Week 33:

  • Complete the translations of consent forms (for other participants)
  • Attend Luca for Tokyo sightseeing for five days
  • Complete my fieldnotes from the first observations (the notes are still not organised)

Apart from my work, I met up with seven friends of mine! The reunions were great. One of my best friends, Juri, told me that she is opening her new shop soon. This wonderful news made me very happy, excited and motivated for work! Again, I am very happy to have wonderful friends and have gained opportunities to meet great advisors and supporters around me.

Luca is coming to Tokyo to see me in two days. I am planning our sightseeing schedules, as well as preparing my second observation starting in Week 34.

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Week 31

I have been translating information sheets and consent forms for my field research into Japanese, which is a very tough job! I need to finish this by 8th August.

On Thursday I flew from England to Japan to conduct my three-week preliminary field research. I will be making observations in Tokyo for the next two weeks, with further observations in a rural region in the third week. I will keep a record of all details of my fieldwork every day!

Soon after I arrived in Tokyo on Friday, I went straight to see a doctor. A rash came out on my arms two weeks ago. Although I had previously visited a walk-in clinic and got some medication from a nurse, there was no sign of it getting better. The Japanese doctor said that the rash was caused by fatigue and stress, and gave me some tablets and a pack of cream. They worked well, and the rash has gone since I submitted my draft. It might have been due to stress, as the doctor said.

My achievements in Week 31:

  • Sent my draft of Chapter 3 (revised the first half sections) to my supervisors on Saturday
  • Started translating the forms for five participant groups and finished one sheet (out of five)

Goals for Week 32:

  • Complete the translations of all the information sheets and consent forms
  • Start making my fieldwork notes
  • Maximise fun time with my old friends whom I can see only once a year!

I was very lucky. They upgraded me to business class.

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Week 30

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The ethics committee has finally granted my ethics clearance! It was in Week 20 that I started working on the application forms. It took two-and-a-half months to shape my research protocol, information sheets and consent forms. A couple of weeks ago, I received a request for modifications from the committee, and resubmitted a response letter and the full application documents on Friday. Shortly after that, I received the clearance.

It was a great relief to reach this stage, and I can finally start my data collection during my trip starting next week!

All through Week 30, I have also worked on writing Chapter Three of my thesis, and had a supervision meeting on Friday as an annual progress review. My supervisor said that I have done much more work than I needed to. This is a very good thing regarding work, and I was glad to hear it. But maybe it is now time to find a balance between work and social life, and start hanging out with friends at least once a fortnight, baking at the weekend, and watching films or reading non-academic books.

Throughout the summer break, I have worked at home from 9 am to 11 pm (Luca said I am an authentic workaholic), having a short break every two hours, going shopping for groceries and doing some paperwork sometimes.

This weekend I cooked a macaroni bake for dinner and made Japanese mochi dessert, and also watched an anime movie, ‘Your Name’. The anime had a very high quality of colouring techniques, and all of the scenery was very beautiful. The story was moving. I can understand why the movie has been screened at cinemas in Japan for over a year.

Goals for Week 31:

  • Resubmit my working draft
  • Safely fly to Tokyo and start my fieldwork
  • Work on translation for consent forms

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Week 29

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Week 29 was my Master’s graduation week! I am not finishing yet, as I am still doing my PhD studies at the same university, but I wore the graduation gown, attended the ceremony and took many photos with my old classmates, which was a very nice reunion event.

I met Luca at the university on the very first induction day in 2015. We spent the whole of the MA programme together, working on all pieces of coursework and our dissertations over the summer. I cannot put into words how much I appreciate his support and encouragement regarding my studies and his affection for me since that day.

I had planned to complete Chapter Three of my thesis at the weekend (the actual deadline is not until September), but I wasn’t able to finish it, so I’m aiming to do that next weekend.

My goals for Week 30:

  • Complete my draft of Chapter Three
  • Resubmit the revised ethics applications
  • Submit my general leave form

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Week 27-28

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I received an email from the committee requesting some modifications to my ethics applications. I need approval urgently because, without it, I cannot conduct my preliminary fieldwork in August. I spent three days amending the documents on the basis of email suggestions from my second supervisor. I was so grateful for her prompt responses and support in these circumstances!

A draft of one chapter is due in 10 days. I am now back to where I am rushing to meet the deadline.

Last weekend, Luca and I went to a new Thai restaurant. Like Michelin inspectors, we scrutinised the hygiene standards, the service and the food, and whether the restaurant was better than our usual favourite. We decided that the latter is so much better. After dinner, we went to the cinema to watch Despicable Me 3. It’s so much fun, and they are so cute and funny!

My goals for Week 29:

  • Attend and enjoy the graduation ceremony for MA
  • Complete the draft of one chapter