Interview at Pause and Select

I had a really great time in a recent interview I did with the YouTube channel Pause & Select.

It was particularly gratifying and amazing to see so many viewers on YouTube and reddit respond to the interview both positively and critically within the first 12 hours or so that it has been up.

I promised at the end of the interview to be in dialogue with viewers, so here are some thoughts on questions that people raised, offered in three broad categories:

Continue reading “Interview at Pause and Select”

Teaching True Believers

My latest piece is up over at Sacred Matters. This one is about some similarities between teaching the academic study of religion and teaching Japanese Popular Culture. I wrote it right as I was finishing up my Japanese Popular Culture class in Fall 2015. See a video syllabus for the course below:

What Isn’t Shintō?

Photo credit: Jeordy Meow, Wikimedia Commons

I’m thrilled to report that a panel I’ve organized was accepted for the upcoming annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies. The panel, called “What Isn’t Shintō?” is the first part of what I hope to be a longer-term project (stay tuned for more details). For now, see the panel abstract after the jump:  Continue reading “What Isn’t Shintō?”

A Buddhist Profit? New Post Up At Sacred Matters

September 24 was a big day. I gave the annual Day Lecture at the University of Alabama and I had another blog post go up at Sacred Matters. This piece is my third for the online magazine, which has been a great outlet for some of my “fun” writing projects.

This particular piece is on Buddhism and capitalism. Like my forthcoming article in Material Religion it resists the easy move of saying that using Buddhism to market things is an affront to the tradition. You can read the post here.


I had a full and fulfilling day yesterday at the University of Alabama, where I delivered the 3rd Annual Day Lecture on religion and popular culture. One particularly interesting new experience was that of having my presentation live tweeted by a number of people in the audience. See the feed below:

2015 Day Lecture, The University of Alabama

I’m gearing up for a trip to Alabama (my first time in the state) to deliver the 3rd annual Zachary Daniel Day Lecture at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. My talk, “The Buddhist Virtues of Raging Lust and Crass Materialism in Contemporary Japan,” is based on a forthcoming article with the same title (Material Religion, due out late 2015/early 2016). A short video abstract of the talk is below.