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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Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

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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

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum