Take what you love and turn it into research!
My love for everything Sherlockian was sparked not by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, but by Aoyama Gōshō’s famous Meitantei Konan manga and anime series. Ironically, it was Aoyama's works that introduced me to the Canon. Although I grew up in Canada, I was very fortunate to have had access to a small library of Japanese manga and I also grew up watching Japanese crime dramas and police procedurals such as Furuhara Ninzaburō--all thanks to my parent's influence.
Since about the age of 8, or 9 I was fascinated with tales of mystery and crime and became an avid reader of Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Georges Simenon and P.D. James to list but a few of my favorite authors. I collected anything and everything that had the words detective, mystery and Sherlock Holmes written on it. When I was in grade 6, my home room teacher taught a unit on mystery fiction, focusing mainly on the works of Agatha Christie. We watched a film adaptation of one of Christie's work, which I can't recall, but I clearly remember being frightened from a scene in the film where a woman is found murdered, dangling on a clothing line, and hung with pins. Despite feeling scared, I was addicted to mystery. One day, my home room teacher held a competition in class, which required us to create a mystery themed book cover. The winner would receive a note pad and pen provided by the Forensic Pathology Branch of Ontario" (thanks to her father who worked as a detective). I won that competition and I still have the notepad and envelope that came with it (though, sadly, I’ve lost the pen).
Detective fiction was my calling and in 2012, I pursued my first MA in Popular Culture, Communications & Film, which was prompted by what I perceived was a gap in North American scholarship on manga adaptations of classic detective fiction and Sherlock Holmes. Doing research in my field wasn't easy. At a time when the study of manga was still emerging in Canada, I turned to literary theory and interdisciplinary approaches to trouble definitions of a Great detective through a counter-orientalist reading of Aoyama’s manga. In 2013, I undertook another MA, but this time in English Literature, to study Japanese adaptations of Jane Austen’s works to further expand my knowledge of manga adaptations of literary classics. The feminist aims of this project made me rethink boundaries of female empowerment and agency and I began investigating issues of social justice and equality in Japanese society, which led me to a study of women's participation in the Japanese game industry.
Ultimately, what keeps me going is my passion for detective fiction and the study of pop culture. Pop culture is everywhere! It's the food we eat, it's the music we listen to, it's the shows we watch. It shapes and defines who we are as individuals and connects us to people from all around the world. It connects us with the past, defines the present and prepares us for the future.
Currently, there is no landmark text in my field of study and I intend to write one. Who knows what the future holds, but as Holmes once said, "The game is afoot!"