It was meant to be a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of Tōkyō. Nicola was working hard as an English teacher in Japan; she desperately needed a holiday. A long weekend with her boyfriend, Akira, and two other friends, Mai and Masashi, seemed ideal. The four of them would travel by Japan’s safest form of transport, the shinkansen (‘bullet train’), before boarding a ferry for the trip across to the quiet island of Sado. However, Nicola and her friends could never imagine that they would become caught up in a hijacking. Why would someone want to hijack this train? How would Nicola and her friends respond to being on a hijacked train? Would the police be able to catch those responsible? Hijacking Japan follows events in a real-time format during a dramatic day that threatens to bring the Japanese government to its knees.
About Christopher Hood
Christopher P. Hood is an academic and author. He became interested in Japan whilst at high school at Concord College, Shrewsbury. He went on to study Business Studies and Japanese at Sheffield University. He then spent a year on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, being based in Seto, Aichi prefecture. After that he returned to Sheffield to do a PhD in Japanese studies before working in academia. He continues to do research about Japan, particularly related to inter-city transportation. He has worked as the Director of Japanese Studies at Cardiff University and served as the President of the British Association for Japanese Studies. In 2016 he was awarded a Certificate of Commendation from the Japanese Ambassador to the UK for his service to contributing to the deepening of mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and UK.
His books include: Hijacking Japan (2017), Japan: The Basics (2015), Osutaka: A Chronicle of Loss in the World’s Largest Single Plane Crash (2014), Dealing with Disaster in Japan: Japanese and Global Responses to the Flight JL123 Crash (2011), Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan (2006), and Japanese Education Reform: Nakasone’s Legacy (2001).
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This was a very different read, taking me into Japanese culture, but as one of the central characters, Nicola, was British, it enhanced the contrast to my culture through her eyes.
I found the story had many facets to it, including political corruption, murder, terrorism, hijacking, and the relationship between Nicola and her Japanese friends.
Nicola and her friends, are taking a few days break with her friends and particularly was looking forward to spending time with her shy boyfriend Akira. They were travelling on the shinkansen, more popularly known as the bullet train.
Also on the upper-level of the train, this was exclusively reserved for the Japanese foreign minister Mizuno.
The train was hijacked, as the title and book cover suggests, and the rest of the story did not disappoint, full of unexpected surprises.