Hello! I’m Stevie, a Belgian PhD student enrolled at the Catholic University of Leuven. Through this page I will briefly introduce myself as well as summarize the intent of my blog.
Like many of my age demographic, online communication and digital media played an important role in my upbringing. As a logical extension of my interest in the technical aspects of the internet and computing cultivated while growing up, I enrolled in an undergraduate program in Applied Informatics1 in 2011, graduating with a BA in 2014. Having reached the end of those studies and becoming more interested in matters of politics and society, however, I felt an increasing desire to develop and express myself beyond those technical skills. Admittedly under the internet-facilitated influence of Japanese pop-culture, I next enrolled in the Japanese Studies program at the Catholic University of Leuven, graduating with a BA in 2017 and MA in 2019.
During that period, I received the wonderful opportunity to spend three academic semesters in Japan as a MEXT-funded research student of the department of Socio-Informatics at Chuo University. No doubt a life-changing experience, my time at Chuo University also served as an important synthesis of both my former, technical interests and the interests I had developed in media, politics and cultural sociology during my time at KU Leuven. Entering 2020, I began my PhD studies at KU Leuven, working on the topics of grassroots political usage of social media in Japan and political propaganda in subcultural online spaces.
On a personal note, I am fairly passionate about music. I have spent the better part of my youth taking up music lessons or playing in bands, and although I had to make some sacrifices in order to pursue my academic ambitions, I enjoy spending free time on composing and playing piano.
This blog serves simultaneously as a kind of personal portfolio and as a creative outlet. That aside, I hope I am also able to provide some assistance to my fellow students (or anyone interested) regarding the technical aspects of learning Japanese or working academically on the topic of contemporary Japan.
Technically, his blog was built as a static site with a homemade template using the lightweight, python-based Pelican framework, and is hosted on GitHub’s free web hosting service GitHub Pages. Due to its ease and sustainability, I have for the past half decade written most of my writings (including graduate and undergraduate thesis, term papers and course notes) in the markdown syntax, and continue doing so with Pelican.