Beckie Smith

Beckie Smith is an international education and freelance journalist who also writes about Japan, media, feminism and current affairs. She has a degree in Japanese and spent time living in Kyoto as a student. She blogs at ciswhitefemale.wordpress.com.

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Why love hotels are thriving in Japan

There might be a general assumption that there's something seedy about the trend, but there's far more to it

Why is fruit so expensive in Japan?

The value of Ruby Roman grapes has rocketed since they were first put on the market in 2008 - when they were a snip at just ¥100,000 (£573)

Avril Lavigne's ‘Hello Kitty’ and the stereotypes of Japanese women

The singer has shown a complete lack of awareness of how the video fits into a wider view of Japanese culture

Sex myths without substance: Mislabelling Japan

These stories gain traction because they support a view of east Asia which is at best patronising and at worst overtly racist

Wendy Davis talked her way to a vital victory for US women last night

Let's hope the senator fights Texas' abortion bill a second time round

Will Sex and Relationships Education be included in the National Curriculum? I hope so...

With damaging misconceptions that are so widespread, educating young people about healthy sexual relationships is a matter of urgency

Beyoncé Knowles, the most beautiful person in the world according to 'People'

Admire Beyoncé for her music, not her feminist credentials

It seems people have been determined to shoehorn Beyoncé into the role of feminist icon for several years

‘Who is to blame for sexual assault?’ The language of rape

She should 'bear some responsibility'; 'his' life was ruined as a result; the perpetrators' lives 'fell apart'? Let's try looking at it from a victim's point of view for once

Shocked at the Japanese pop star who shaved her head for having a boyfriend and betraying band rules? Look around you

Minami Minegishi's band AKB48 embody the disturbing schoolgirl fantasy: naïve and submissive, yet unattainable - and the hypocrisy isn't unique to Japanese culture

Studying Japanese gives you an insight into Japanese culture and international relations. This photo shows plaques depicting prayers and wishes in a shrine in Japan

What's it like to study... Japanese

Rebecca Smith is about to embark on her final year of Japanese at the University of Leeds - and it's much more than just a language course

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Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

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The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

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People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
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Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

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Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

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Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
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Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

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2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

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Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

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