Dr. Barnaby Ralph
Associate Professor, Department of English and American Literature,
Seikei University, Tokyo, Japan
Mr. Ashley Williams is a talented individual who possesses both excellent interpersonal skills and an enthusiastic and passionate approach to his work.
I have known Mr. Williams for many years and previously taught with him at Meiji Gakuin University. At that time, I was impressed by his drive to educate his students and his formidable combination of erudition and intellect. He taught both English and Critical Thinking, and was a popular and challenging teacher who made a strong and positive contribution to the institution.
I am also familiar with his work as a writer and presenter, having seen him in action in a conference setting, where his audience was kept both engaged and informed. He is always well prepared and spends more time than virtually anyone else I know on making sure that his materials are useable, up-to-date and appropriate for the level of the people with whom he interacts. His university courses, which he designed and wrote himself, are of the very highest quality.
Additionally, Mr. Williams is a fluent speaker of Japanese, and is able to interact with native speakers of that language on many levels. He has always demonstrated a firm grasp of levels of formality, familiarity with idiomatic usage and all of the other hallmarks of good communicative ability.
Swiss Global Consulting,
I met Ashley when he was working as an investment broker at the same company as my partner, Jonathan, and I here in Zurich, Switzerland. Being fluent in Japanese, Ashley was often out and about, meeting Japanese clients, and I remember how amazed I was when I first heard him speaking this strange, exotic language on the phone.
At least six months went by before Ashley mentioned he was writing a novel. I told him I was an avid reader and that I'd like to have a look at his work, so he printed out and handed me Part One of his novel, The Phoenix of Babylon. I started reading it one day on the long train commute home to Luzern from Zurich. As I began to read the Prologue and then the first chapter, 'Paws and Rewind,' it was evident to me just how talented Ash (Ashley) is.
His writing has the ability to pull you in as a reader. I wanted to know more about the main characters, how they evolve in the book and what happens next. I was certainly not disappointed! By the second chapter I was totally hooked. One of Ashley's talents throughout is that he gives you, as the reader, as much opportunity as possible to use your imagination. That, for me, is the mark of a good writer. I am not spoiling this experience for anyone. You simply have to read it yourself to appreciate how good it is.
In The Phoenix of Babylon, Ashley has managed not only to combine two very difficult and disturbing subjects, but he has dealt with them both carefully and responsibly. No matter what your personal thoughts or perspectives are on the subject matter of the book, you cannot deny his talent and passion.
It is an absolute privilege to know Ash and to have read his work. He’s a very intelligent, fascinating guy, and I look forward to following his future success.
Dr. Takeshi Koike
Associate Professor, Department of English and American Literature,
Daito Bunka University, Tokyo, Japan
I first met Ashley in 1992 when we were both studying at Saints David’s University College, Lampeter (as it was called then). One day he visited me in my accommodation and told me he was thinking of working in Japan as an English teacher after graduating from university. He said he wanted to know more about Japan so we met several times after that to talk about Japanese culture and history in more detail. Ashley always listened carefully to my explanations and showed a very keen and sincere interest in every aspect of my country.
When Ashley arrived in Japan the following summer, he stayed at my house for the first week before finding his own apartment. I remember thinking how brave he was to come to live and work in Japan, not knowing anyone else here except myself, and being unable to speak Japanese. The only phrases he knew were Oishii “tastes good,” Daijobu “it’s OK,” and Atsui desu ne? “it’s hot, isn’t it?” But his linguistic inability didn't last long. He once told me that the day I dropped him off at his new apartment he felt very lonely and homesick. He knew he had to do something to change his situation so he forced himself to learn - parrot-fashion - about 20 of the Japanese phrases I had taught him. Then he walked into the nearest izakaya (Japanese-style pub/restaurant) and started speaking to people. After that, he never looked back.
I introduced Ashley to my uncle Shoji and aunt Akie because, by sheer coincidence, Ashley's first apartment was in their hometown. Over time they developed a very close relationship, like a son and his parents, and he visited them very frequently. (Now, more than 20 years later, they are still very close and keep in regular contact by e-mail and phone. In fact, they are flying to Wales to visit Ashley this summer.)
Ashley started to work very hard. He developed his own teaching materials and style of teaching, and he became well-known as a competent and engaging teacher. That reputation would help him secure teaching posts at high schools and universities during his career.
He also picked up Japanese very quickly. A couple of years after he came to Japan he was already fluent. When he visited me at my parents’ house, I didn’t need to act as an interpreter between him and my parents any more. My father and Ashley always liked to drink beer and smoke together. They looked so comfortable in each other's company that I actually remember feeling envious at the time! Once again it was clear to me that Ashley had a gift for communicating with people, whoever they were. Of course, by that time he had no problem communicating with my uncle and aunt in Japanese. In fact, when their daughter (my cousin Yuka) got married to an American man, Ashley acted as emcee, interpreting everything for the American and Japanese families and guests at the wedding. Ashley also did interpretation work for British and Japanese companies, both in Japan and abroad.
But Ashley was not only concerned with Japanese language. He also took a deep interest in Japanese culture, especially history. I remember he once told me about his interest in some Japanese haiku poems which reflected the different characters of the most famous feudal lords in medieval Japan. It was really interesting to talk with him about my own country because he always showed a sincere interest in the culture, just as he did when we first met in Lampeter. I think that now he might know more things about Japan than I do!
Every time I saw him in Tokyo he knew so many new things and had had such exciting experiences. He did so many interesting things while he lived in Japan. For example, he was the lead singer for a Japanese rock band for more than 10 years. His band was very popular and they played at hotels, US military bases, foreign embassies, music festivals and pubs and clubs all over Tokyo and beyond. For a few years he also had his own business exporting sports cars to the UK. Ashley really made the most of his time in Japan. He achieved and experienced everything he put his mind to.
Ashley is an amazing man and I am very happy that we are still good friends, more than twenty years after we first met.
Founder of Your Life Your Truth
Miami, Florida, USA
I first met Ashley in Argentina at an ecological park I was staying in for a couple of months. One of Ashley's roles was coordinating the activities for all the volunteers, including me. He introduced himself as soon as I arrived and I was immediately drawn to his infectious, natural smile and witty humor (and the Japanese-style ponytail he sadly no longer sports).
One of the many things I love about Ashley is that in every interaction I have with him, I'm either laughing or learning something new. Ashley is a library of knowledge. Whether the topic is history, politics, nutrition, religion, literature, or almost anything else you can think of, Ashley knows his stuff - and he knows it well. But it’s not just knowledge he has. He has a passion for life. He really cares. He cares about animals, he cares about the planet and he cares about people.
And all of this comes across in his actions. Aside from being absolutely in love with his dog, Trixie (who was the park’s unofficial little mascot), Ashley also cared for all the abandoned and malnourished dogs and cats in the area. He made sure they were fed, bathed and well taken care of. We took care of several dogs and a few kittens during my time there. He would also tend to the plants as if they were his pets. I’ve never seen anyone as passionate or as diligent in their care for plants as Ashley was. He even helped me make furniture out of bamboo, which I thought was awesome.
Ashley always sought to educate, any chance he got. During my time at the park, Ashley showed more than a dozen documentaries with the aim of bringing more awareness into the minds of the volunteers, on topics such as animal cruelty, the environment, nutrition, geopolitics, spirituality and more. We would then have discussions around these topics, expertly moderated by Ashley. I felt lucky to have access to someone with such breadth and depth of knowledge. As if the discussions and documentaries weren’t enough, he somehow had an actual, physical library in his tree house with an eclectic mix of books and resources we could reference to get deeper insights on a particular topic.
He’s now working on his own book, The Phoenix of Babylon, which he can add to this library. It’s still in the early stages but the chapters I’ve read so far have been vibrant in detail, intriguing and enthralling, and the characters are rich in depth. I’m really looking forward to seeing the final manuscript and I’m extremely proud of the work he’s done.
At the end of the day, Ashley is an impressive man who I’m lucky to call my friend. Ashley possesses every positive attribute you could want in a person: he’s intelligent, wise, funny, kind, compassionate, understanding and generous. He has so much to share with the world. I couldn’t be more excited to see what’s to come.
Security Manager, CISSP, CISM, Storebrand Group,
I first met Ashley in 2012, in a rural area not too far from Buenos Aires. While we spent the scorching pampas days doing yoga, building and repairing huts, tending the fields, clearing and reclaiming land, and sneaking swigs of Argentinian moonshine, the late afternoons and nights had us engrossed in deep conversations. I knew at once I'd found a friend for life. Ashley's inquisitive and analytical mind, his keen interest in and respect for other people, and his impressively broad knowledge of a multitude of topics made him the perfect conversation partner, and our paths parted far too soon.
Luckily, this digital age has made it easy to stay in touch, and we've maintained contact through e-mail ever since. While he mentioned his book project in passing when we met in person, it wasn't until later I had the privilege of being sent chapter after chapter, being asked to proofread (as if my English could ever surpass his), muse on the dynamics and storyline, or add input on the few technical or geographical details he didn't feel fully versed on. But with his beautiful style of writing – also clearly present in his other published articles – and intellectual gravity, I must confess there wasn't really much I could add to further the quality!
The Phoenix of Babylon is an action-packed, riveting thriller, filled with three-dimensional - real - characters, at locations so perfectly and correctly described that the reader can hear the sounds of the Baghdad bazaar or smell the canals of downtown Amsterdam, on a backdrop that promises to rip the blood-soaked band-aid off the festering, puss-filled wound that is the hypocrisy and pure evil of the ruling classes of British society. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Founder and CEO of dub,
I asked The Writing Service to edit an article I'd written for a qualitative research journal, and I was very satisfied with the end result. The quality of the editing, the quick turnaround and the fact that it was very reasonably priced means I would certainly use their services again.
Wealth Consultant at MRG,
Sevenoaks, Kent, UK
I've always loved Rudyard Kipling's wonderfully inspiring poem ‘If,’ and I wanted my three boys to have a framed copy each to hang on their bedroom walls. When I came across the-writing-service.com I asked them to help and I'm so glad I did. They were expertly written and looked great in their frames. They even addressed them individually to my boys at the top of each page. A first class piece of work! Would definitely recommend this service to anyone, and use them again myself!
Director, Electra Business Services,
Aberystwith, Wales, UK
I approached Ash’s company, The Writing Service, because I was having difficulties writing my website text. I needed it to flow better and present more impact. Ash spent time with me in order for him to gain an understanding of my requirements for the site, and he really helped my website wording look more professional and dynamic. I found the experience valuable and would recommend him to others who needed any type of writing service.