I joined the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Concordia University as Assistant Professor in July 2008 but had first moved to Montreal in 2006 to take up a position as Postdoctoral Fellow in the Comparative Study of Indigenous Rights and Identities, in the Department of Anthropology, McGill University. There I developed my work on Indigenous Ainu in Tokyo in terms of thinking about Urban Indigenous Studies as a coherent (sub-)field of anthropological research.
I did my doctoral work in Anthropology at the University of Alberta between 2000-2005 two years of which I spent doing fieldwork as Visiting Researcher at the Institute for International Culture, Showa Women’s University, Tokyo, Japan. I also spent 8 months at the Centre for Japanese Research, Institute of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia. My doctoral thesis (2006) was entitled Kanto Resident Ainu and the Urban Indigenous Experience.
Prior to this, I had gained my MA with Distinction in the Social Anthropology of Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK. I started this degree in 1999 after moving back from Japan where I had been working for two years as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) in Komatsu, Ishikawa-ken employed by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET).
I am now a social anthropologist but my first degree (BA(Hons) First Class) was an interdisciplinary experiment called Communications and Image Studies at the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK. I spent one year of this program studying Northern Studies and Finnish language at the University of Jyväskylä in central Finland.