Personal details

I started my career teaching English as a foreign language in schools, colleges and universities in East Asia and the United Kingdom. I have lived and worked in Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan for extended periods. Over the years my professional interests have cycled through various roles, such as teacher trainer, assessor, and materials developer. I am currently a senior associate professor in the Center for Language Research at the University of Aizu.

I am primarily interested in research communications, e.g. theses, articles and abstracts. Academic and scientific writing is a skill that draws upon a range of literacies, e.g. critical, logical and statistic; and requires mastery of range of language features, e.g. coherence and cohesion.

I use corpus linguistics and discourse analysis to develop research-based materials to deliver learner-centered EAP or ESP classes that are enjoyable, challenging and relevant. I am an avid grammarian, and enjoy discussing any aspect of any grammar from anaphora to zeugma.


Degrees, diplomas and professional qualifications

  • PhD Applied linguistics
  • MSc Computer science
  • MEd Applied linguistics
  • MBA with specialization in financial management
  • MA Creative writing (in progress)
  • BA(Hons) Combined studies
  • PGCE Postgraduate Certificate of Education
  • AdvDipEd Advanced Diploma in Education (Language and literacy)
  • DipMan Diploma in Management
  • MBCS Professional member of the British Computer Society
  • RSA Dip RSA Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults (now called DELTA)
  • RSA Cert RSA Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults (now called CELTA)
  • Cambridge CELTA Lead tutor

Linguistic-related interests

  • Research themes: scientific and academic writing, educational technology
  • Branches of linguistics: corpus, computational, applied and forensic
  • Languages: Japanese, Chinese (Cantonese/Hakka), Thai, Latin, Sign language (ASL)

Non-linguistic-related interests

  • Outdoor pursuits: winter mountaineering, winter and ultralight camping; wild swimming
  • Martial arts: arnis (escrima, kali), silat, Thai boxing and judo
  • Cognitive-enriching: chess, crosswords and ciphers
  • Knowledge-enriching: entomology (lepidoptera), forensic criminology, human anatomy, linear algebra
  • Collecting: geology (rocks and fossils), philately (penny reds)
  • Dexterity-challenging: cardistry, coin walk, juggling (three-ball cascade)

Favourite sayings

  • "Outwork everyone."
  • "Grit, tenacity and perseverance outweigh talent."
  • "Climb high, lift heavy, swim hard."
  • "Passion for life correlates exponentially to the proximity of death."
  • "Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill
  • "It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude." Zig Ziglar
  • "Stay strong." David Goggins
  • "The mountains are calling and I must go." John Muir
  • "It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." Sir Edmund Hilary
  • "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." Henry David Thoreau
  • "Life is hard. Then you die." David Gerrold, American science fiction screenwriter and novelist
  • "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." Friedrich Nietzsche
  • "Aggregate marginal gains." Dave Brailsford, British Olympic Cycling Team manager
  • "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." Will Durant
  • "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." Gandhi
  • "The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing." Socrates
  • "I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think." Socrates
  • "Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people." Socrates
  • "Do every act of your life as if it were your last." Marcus Aurelius
  • "The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." Mark Twain
  • "People first, then money, then things." Suze Orman
  • "Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today." Jordan Peterson
  • "Every second you get that isn’t painful you should cherish." Jordan Peterson
  • "Visualize yourself on the battlefield of life under ferocious attack; so you are always prepared for the worst." Morihei Ueshiba 植芝 盛平, founder of aikido
  • "As soon as you judge someone you create an opening in your heart for evil to enter. Comparing, competing with, and critizing others will weaken and defeat you." Morihei Ueshiba 植芝 盛平, founder of aikido
  • "If you want peace, prepare for war. [Si vis pacem, para bellum]." Latin adage, popularized by John Wick
  • "Ready for anything [Utrinque paratus]." motto of the Parachute regiment
  • "Be polite, be professional but have a plan to kill everybody you meet." General James (Mad Dog) Mattis (former US Secretary of Defense)
  • "Always carry a knife with you. Just in case there's cheesecake or you need to stab someone in the throat." General James (Mad Dog) Mattis (former US Secretary of Defense)
  • "Marriage is a lot like playing cards. In the beginning, all you need is two hearts and a diamond. By the end, you’ll wish you had a club and a spade." Unknown

Snippets from my Ph.D. thesis

  • "Although these three scenarios provide only a glimpse of the vast number of potential permutations, it is apparent that the frequency of opportunity far outweighs the frequency of occurrence." (Blake, 2021, p.164)
  • "lexis-grammar duality of language is analogical to the wave-particle duality of quantum theory as conveyed by the thought experiment of Schrödinger’s cat" (Blake, 2021, p.199)
  • "20 permutations out of almost 200 accounted for over two-thirds of all the move sequences" (Blake, 2021, p.255)
  • "Simply put, discipline-specific lexical choice appears to trump move-specific lexical choice." (Blake, 2021, p.257)
  • "There is a disjuncture between the prescriptive advice and the descriptive reality." (Blake, 2021, p.259)

Multiple intelligences

According to Gardener's theory of multiple intellgences, intelligence can be thought of as modalities. Each person has a different balance of intelligences. As can be seen below, I have to work hard to deal with music and people.

multiple intelligences

Contact details

  • Office: Research quadrangles #265
  • Office hours: By appointment
  • Email: jblake (followed by @ and u-aizu.ac and the country domain .jp)
  • Postal address (en): Center for Language Research, University of Aizu, Aizu-wakamatsu, 965 8580. Japan
  • Postal address (jp): 〒965-8580 福島県会津若松市一箕町鶴賀 会津大学語学研究センター
  • Telephone: not my preferred choice of communication