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James Swan

Nara, Japan

Currently a professor of English at Nara University, in semi-rural Nara, Japan. I've been teaching English in Japan since my early days in Tokyo (1973 - 75) and at the tertiary level since receiving my MA from the University of Hawaii in 1981. I've been at my present position since 1992. My academic research interests have centered around the topic of extensive EFL reading. I am the published co-author, with Richard Day and Yamamoto Masayo, of the Pearson Longman ELT textbook, Journeys 3 Reading. Additionally, I have done writing, editing, and proofreading for several Japanese textbook publishers for over thirty years.

I have been a member of several academic societies since 1981, but most active in the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT), one of the largest academic societies in Japan, in which I have held official positions at the local and national levels, serving as the Founding Chair of two JALT Special Interest Groups, first Bilingualism (about three years) and then Materials Writers (about ten years), and culminating in two one-year terms as JALT President (from November 2002 to November 2004).

I face mandatory age-based retirement in a few more years, so I am now trying to position myself as a creative writer for the post-65 era. In addition to my scholarly pursuits, I have an album of songs, entitled "None-Too-Great Hits," commercially available from the iTunes Music Store and other music downloading sites. You can listen to the first five songs here without charge:

They're all simple home recordings dating back to the 70s and 80s. Each is in a different style, but they're all very folk-oriented. If you like them, please tell all your friends and associates about me -- becoming known is the hardest thing for an independent musician. Any contacts with music business professionals willing to give my songs a listen would be gratefully appreciated! At my age, I don't envision a performing career for myself, but I'm confident that my songs could be great vehicles for up-and-coming young artists.

Finally, I am currently at work on a novel, Dawn in Honolulu. Some of the songs on "None-Too-Great Hits" tie in with the novel, which I hope will provide a nice little marketing advantage in both directions.

Interests: novels, songwriting

Published writer: Yes

Freelance: No


Published works:


  • Journeys 3 Reading