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.
Born and raised in a financially disadvantaged region during the 90’s, the ongoing socio-economic transformation of the landscape I called home—as well as a frequent confrontation with various forms of discrimination—have no doubt formed an important cornerstone in developing both my current world-views and my ongoing interest in the notion of (national) identity. Simultaneously, as I found myself increasingly engaging in online communication, so too became digital media an important element of my formative years. During my undergraduate studies in Applied Informatics,1 this expressed itself through a growing desire of developing myself beyond purely technical skills. It is after graduation, then, that admittedly under the Internet-facilitated influence of Japanese pop-culture, I enrolled in the Japanese Studies program at the Catholic University of Leuven, graduating with an MA in 2019.
Furthermore, I had, during my studies, the wonderful opportunity to spend one year and a half in Tokyo, Japan as a MEXT-funded research student at Chuo University (中央大学)’s department of Socio-Informatics (社会情報学科). As a synthesis of both my former studies and my studies at Leuven, I took both theoretical courses related to Media & Communication Studies, and technical courses pertaining to digital humanities. Entering 2020, I began my PhD studies at 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’m fairly passionate about music. I’ve spent the better part of my youth picking up music lessons or playing in bands, and although I’ve made some sacrifices in order to pursue my academic ambitions, I enjoy spending free time on composing and playing piano.
This blog-site serves simultaneously as a kind of personal portfolio and as a technical or creative outlet. That aside, I hope I’ll be able to provide some assistance to my fellow students (or anyone interested) on technical aspects related to academic studies, or on Japanese Studies and the Japanese language.
From a technical side, I designed and built this blog as a static site using the lightweight, python-based Pelican framework, hosting my generated pages 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 content in the markdown syntax, and do so using Pelican as well.