An interest in Japan came from two sources. She studied basic Japanese language and culture at high school in New Zealand. But her introduction to Asian history came from her grandfather’s experiences in Burma during the Second World War. His recounted experiences encouraged an interest in life history, memory and narrative.
Returning to England at 17, Susan worked initially for the Japanese Export-Import Bank of Japan and the Japanese Ministry of Finance in London before going on to gain a BA in History from the School of Oriental and African Studies at London
Following two years on the Jet programme where she taught on the special English course at Hamamatsu Konan High School in Shizuoka, she returned to England to gain an MA in Pacific Rim Studies at Essex University.
After two further years in Japan, this time as a Monbusho scholarship research student at Tsuda Women’s College in Tokyo, she began a doctorate at Sussex University, England, researching the lives of Japanese women who live long-term in England. The themes of this research include linguistic and cultural issues of cross-cultural communication (especially the methodology of oral history interviewing) and research findings resulting from the interviews on topics such as education, work, relationships, the expatriate community, migration, identity and cultural comparisons. A shortened version of the thesis can be read on this website. The full version can be obtained from the British Library.
After a decade in Japan as an associate professor at Nagoya University of Commerce and Business, and later at Bunkyo Gakuin University, Tokyo, Susan has now returned to the UK whever, having completed an MA in Creative Writing in the Faculty of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, she has begun a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing in the same school.