Month: September 2016

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Whose Bloody Brilliant Idea Was This?

My fourth blog post reflecting on my third blog post, about how far I have come in the past few weeks with my Auto-E study!

Notions of Mine

Who thought it was a good idea to let me slowly descend into madness by playing this game?

I love the Dark Souls series for it’s rich lore and RPG gameplay elements, but holy sh*t was I under exaggerating when I said that PvP was a different thing entirely.

So it has been a few weeks and I have been steadily streaming and building an audience on Twitch, allowing them to engage with me as to how I should build my character to be ready for this PvP study. Unfortunately I got a little bit carried away with playing the game itself and engaging with said audience, by including small games and music to the streams, rather than spearheading a discussion about the PvP subcultures. However, I have gotten quite a lot of satisfactory footage that highlights a lot of what I had assumed about the cultures in the past.

twitch This…

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Viewing myself on an Asian dating show

In my previous post, I proposed my individual project of examining Asian culture through dating shows and recorded my initial thoughts and assumptions of these shows, specifically, If You Are The One, a Chinese dating show where one man attempts to impress 24 women. To delve deeper into the understanding of this culture, I’m now attempting to reflect upon, analyse and interpret this experience within its broader sociocultural context using an autoethnographic research approach.

Chang observes that the uniqueness of autoethnography comes from the way it “transcends mere narration of self to engage in cultural analysis and interpretation”, setting it apart from things such as memoirs and autobiography. It is not about focusing on just self, but finding understanding of others through understanding your own assumptions and beliefs. For my project, I am not focusing on my own dating experience; I am finding an understanding of Asian culture by using my own experiences as reference and context.

My first reaction to the dating show was pure shock and humour. If I envision myself in the position of the audience members, I would see myself rooting for one of the girls, or picture myself dating the man on offer. But instead, from my own perspective, all I could do was laugh. The reasoning behind why the women didn’t want the man seemed so far-fetched and unusual to me and when the first contestant began performing their talent to win over the other, I froze, wide-eyed and whispered …. What the shit am I watching?

This is entirely indicative of a Western, single, young woman mindset who has never considered some of the things these people considered when it comes to dating such as children and whether my family would be ashamed, or whether their hair is too short so he looks too bad …

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Vast outlines critical cultural differences between Asian and the West dating. He explains one of the main points to be that Asian women are interested in guys who genuinely make them feel liked since they are often considered to be insecure. He explains this to come from the fact that “Asian girls focus on how much you care about them, and want to stay with them, because they don’t have the same financial security and earning opportunities as Western women do”. Moua adds to these differences, stating that family values are very important in Asian dating, “women are often introduced to eligible men through their parents’ mutual contacts and are expected to be married [between 22-24]. The parents of the eligible singles often [screen] the other person before deciding if they should start contacting one another.” As such, Asian women look for a man who will please her parents and would provide a family for her soon. Moua continues that public affection is something that Asian couples are expected to avoid – “being seen in public together is often enough for a man and woman to be recognized as a couple.” This is entirely different to Western dating, where affection is often a key point in the relationship.

These stereotypes and dating norms were prevalent in my first reaction to If You Are The One, highlighting the tendency to unconsciously relate to any text we consume by viewing it in the context of our own culture and experiences. Even though I previously did not have a lot of knowledge with Asian dating norms, seeing them so starkly compared to what I am used to has bridged a connection and understanding in under an hour.

To conduct further research on Western match-making, I shamefully reopened my old Tinder conversations to see what kinds of things were talked about first, similarly to an episode of the show. Usually, the conversation began with some cringe-worthy pickup line or comment on appearances, followed by the standard questions like what I do with my life and what my weekend entails. When I compare this to the Asian dating show, similarities do surface like the job questions and the judgement of appearances. However, I am yet to see the use of a pickup line throughout the show and there are definitely no inappropriate sexual comments which are way too common on Tinder 😦

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An interesting point I noticed on a recent episode of If You Are The One, was that a woman instantly turned off her light for an American man and justified this by saying that her family would never approve. From my perspective, interracial dating would never be an issue. But when statistics are considered, 88.8% of Chinese men marry Chinese women, and 79.9% of Chinese women marry Chinese men (source: Le). This, again, creates a difference between Western and Asian culture, understood from an autoethnographic standpoint.

After researching further into Asian dating culture and viewing more episodes of a show that is very similar to that with which Australian people readily consume, I understand more that it is naïve to just brush Asian dating norms off as strange and accept that I would never behave the same way that some Asian people do during dating, because there are actually dense similarities between us. Our context and history has changed certain behaviours, but underlying all these talent and dating shows, there is a culture of appearance judgement and considering how all aspects of your own life would fit with the other person’s life: it is just that these Asian people often live a very different life.

As such, autoethnography has allowed me to grasp an understanding of Asian culture by understanding and examining my own biases and experiences to filter out similarities and differences between the two cultures. I have found that my continual viewing of If You Are The One, has changed slightly where I strangely enough now try to consider myself from an Asian woman’s standpoint to try and guess whether the woman will choose the man or not. It is surprisingly more entertaining. Stay Tuned.

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An Autoethnographic Analysis of Thai Lakorn

Madeleine Burkitt

A few weeks ago, my partner Andy and myself watched an episode of Thai Lakorn (Thai Soap Opera) and documented our thoughts, comments and feelings – all in the name of auto-ethnographic research. I wrote about it, and outlined the scope of my auto-ethnographic project here.

In this post, I’ll be reflexively analysing our documented experiences, drawing upon contextual research of Thai Lakorn and Khmer audiences in order to reach new understandings of cultural patterns and phenomena. I’ll not only be seeking to make sense of Cambodian audiences who view Thai Lakorn, but of my cultural self.

A sound analysis of our documented experience is not possible without embedding it broader contexts. To understand Thai Lakorn and Khmer audiences better, and thus be equipped to unpack my own assumptions, stereotypes and judgments, I researched the following questions. I’ve included a quick summary of each.

What is Thai Lakorn? What are…

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An Outline of of my very own Auto-E Study: Dark Souls PvP Subcultures

A Reblog of my initial thoughts on how my Dark Souls PvP subcultures study will be structured with some insight as to why I chose to engage this subject matter!!!

Notions of Mine

After studying what auto-ethnography is about, it is finally time to begin undertaking my studies. One will be with a group, and the other I will be doing on my own. There are many different elements to the auto-e experience and I am hoping I get it correct from the very beginning. With that said, it was important to me that I was able to choose a subject matter that was simultaneously familiar to me, yet some concepts of which continued to elude me.

This decision came rather naturally to me one evening while settling down with my partner over skype and grinding out some playthrough on the video game Dark Souls III. I had been ‘farming’ for ‘covenant’ items; items which are usually earned through the player vs player aspect of the game, in order to get a 100% achievement unlock rate for the game. I was expressing my distaste…

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Pachinko Part 2

In my first post I spoke about my experience with Japans pachinko machines and how this experience compared to that those I’d had with Poker machines in Australia.

I spoke about how relaxed the rules regarding gambling and alcohol seemed to be in Japan and believed this to be a reflection of their culture. When I had spoken to locals regarding the visible lack of law enforcement around the pachinko parlors in particular how patrons were able to freely walk in and out with I.D being checked to prove I was of age, the locals said that its simply not in their culture for teenagers to want to go out drinking and gambling. Rather Japans teenagers want to be teenagers. They like to hang around arcades, go out for meals and put a lot of time and energy into their focus.

So to prove if these theories are correct I have conducted research to find out about the laws regarding drinking and gambling in Japan whilst also touching on youth culture.

Drinking & Gambling

Spread throughout cities in Japan there are vending machines where alcohol is easily accessible to passers by. To obtain drinks from these machines there is no proof of I.D required and they simply work like a regular vending machine. Despite these machines being readily available the main sources of alcohol of youth in Japan is from their home or from a convenient store. Even at convenient stores it is very rare for anyone to be asked for a form of I.D. It is considered that Japan is one of the safest countries ranked in the top 10 on the global peace index and it is therefore it is highly unlikely that if you’re to pass out on a train or in the street that you would be subject to violence or theft. Whilst Japans enforcement of the legal drinking age of 20 is rarely upheld, criminal acts that are caused from drinking such as a car crash etc are dealt with very harshly.

The focus of my artifact is on the pachinko machine in Japan. My lack of research in my first post looking back is now clearly evident because to my surprise, the Pachinko machine isn’t actually considered to be a form of gambling. Here’s why..

It is officially not considered gambling because Japanese laws regard pachinko as an exception to the criminal code on gambling for historical, monetary, and cultural reasons. pachinko parlours can be found all over Japan, and they are operated by private companies. As of 2011, there are about 12,480 pachinko parlors in Japan.

In pachinko, when a player’s ball makes it into a special hole to activate the slot machine and a jackpot is made, they are rewarded with more balls. Players can then exchange the balls for prizes of different value at a booth in the parlour. Money cannot be awarded at pachinko parlors as this would be in violation of the criminal code. However, players almost always exchange pachinko balls for special tokens, usually slits of gold encased in plastic, and then “sell” them at a neighboring shop for cash. Usually such shops are also owned by the parlor operators, but as long as the winners do not receive cash in the parlour, the law is not broken.

In my previous post I had mentioned about what seemed to be money lent services operating across from the parlors and in a way I was correct. However the biggest surprise to me was that the pachinko machine doesn’t fall under the classification of gambling because no money exchanges hands. This would furthermore explain why there was no one checking for I.D at the entries.

Despite pachinko not being a form of gambling do Japans youth still partake?

This a difficult question to answer and it really depends on the parlor that you visit. For the most part it is considered illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to enter these parlors, however there are some exceptions. Some parlors will allow minors to play up until 5pm as long as they are in the present of a parent or guardian.

Whilst I have been able to answer many of the questions I had for myself from my first blog post, there are still a number of questions that I believe simply can’t be answered with statistics or research. I believe the answer simply lays in their culture. In Australia it would be a given that if vending machines sold alcohol, everyone aged 13-17 would be passed out drunk every weekend. Why is it that Japan are so laid back with their regulation of alcohol and gambling, I believe part of it is that Government simply trust and respect their people to do the right thing. Both trust and respect are deeply ingrained in the Japanese culture.

Lastly I believe that the pressure placed on the youth of Japan to exceed in their education and career leaves little time for activities such as drinking and gambling. Excessive amounts of either could be considered damaging to the future of Japans youth.

The below video explains the pressure and the effects that these pressures are having on Japans teenagers.

 

 

Reference

https://www.tofugu.com/japan/underage-drinking-in-japan/

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fPLZI_NIhk&gt;

 

The brutal and hilarious world of Asian dating

Most of you reading this will know about television shows such as The Bachelor and X-Factor. Some of you might even be huge fans, with your Foxtel IQ memory being used up by countless hours of women crying over one man and people who can’t possibly think their talented making a fool of themselves on national television.

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Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of dating and talent shows, but my god has that changed. I have recently been made aware of the single greatest dating show I’ve ever seen. It’s called If You Are The One and it’s so great. Brutal, full of surprises and so opposite to every Western dating norm that I am used to, If You Are The One is a cultural phenomenon. It has bridged an understanding of Chinese dating and partner types through the use of entertainment, but the real understanding comes from my own experiences: the fact that some of the dating standards are so strange and so funny to me produces a strong juxtaposition between Australia and Asia and allows me to understand the culture so much more – a direct feature of autoethnography.

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To describe the show quickly, a lone male suitor has to impress a panel of 24 single women (The Bachelor), who register their interest or disinterest through the use of podium lights (X-Factor). Throughout the show, the man introduces himself through pre-filmed footage and short performances of their talents. If the man and woman choose each other, then they win a trip to the Aegean Sea – wild. But the real lessons and entertainment comes from the reasons the women don’t choose the man, usually for purposes such as their family would disapprove of they are not ready to father children immediately.

My initial encounter with this Chinese dating came a few weeks ago during my first viewing of the show, from which my spiralling obsession has grown. I recorded a few observations during this first episode:

  • Huge live audience with lots of applause
  • All the 24 girls are beautiful and very thin – much like Australian dating shows.
  • The show uses purely English music – empowering as the man walks on, sad music if he walks off alone
  • Win prizes if every girl turns light on. If no one turns on light, they get another chance with audience members who are interested.
  • First impressions: turn lights on if they like him. Purely based on looks (Tinder).
  • Women makes comments like “You’ll be fun to marry”
  • The men and women perform things to impress each other: breaking dancing, singing jazz dancing and yoga – maybe the funniest thing I might have ever seen
  • Seems like a talent show and dating show mixed into one
  • Man shows introductory videos: one of them is about past relationships: re-enacted videos of the lovers together: seems so odd for the new women to want to see that. Man describes why the relationship ended – usually things like careers not matching or man not ready for marriage or children (this usually means many women turn their lights off)
  • So brutal when the countdown from 24 women goes further and further down (written largely on the screen)
  • The participants seem much more picky than Australian dating shows. Consider deeper things than just personality and looks
  • Internal thought: “50 minute episodes and 4 people find a lover or not- this is so much fucking better than an entire season of the Bachelorette. No drama and no tears!!!”
  • One woman sang to show her feelings – ‘Can’t take my eyes off of you’ – why an English song?
  • Most men speak of the expectations to find a wife and have children to keep family happy and leave a legacy
  • One couple chose each other and straight away decided by what age they would have children together. When choose each other, straight away choose when to have kids by
  • Feels like such a weird blend between English and Chinese. The music and show really don’t mix together well

As such, my individual research project aims to understand Asia, in particular Chinese dating, through my own experiences, considering how my own cultural biases and experiences form my opinions. “Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno)” (Ellis et al. 2011). In this way, the researcher makes themselves the subject of research by using their thoughts and observations. So, by describing and analysing my personal experience of dating and dating shows I will produce research into the cultural experience of Chinese love.

I plan to continue watching more Chinese dating shows (hell yeah), and then produce a digital artefact which compares or relates what I am used to (Western dating) with the norms of Asian dating. I am still tossing up with the form my project will take – however, I am sure I will take notes during the dating shows of anything that seems different to what I am accustomed to. I will then use this information to create a project which clearly highlights the differences in culture, perhaps using reasons that people in Wollongong have decided not to date someone.
Autoethnographic research will allow an insight into Asian culture that regular research would not – application to real life situations. Hopefully, this form of research will produce an interesting, humourous project that bridges an understanding and connection between Australia and Asia.

Learn how to do K-POP

iccrvTo experience the K-Pop, not only listen to the song but also learn how to dance with it. In my digital artifact, I’m going to experience the K-Pop by previewing the music video and learn how to dance. It is essential in K-Pop as the visual part of K-Pop, not only the appearance of the music video, but also the choreography of the song. (Michael 2015)

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In the industry of K-Pop, it is a highly visual phenomenon. (Michael 2015) The biggest appeal in these K-Pop videos in terms of visually comes from the dance choreographies of K-Pop groups. It is often to change the dance formation such as switching the front dancers. There are one or more lead dancers in one group, which leads the whole group to dance. Not meaning that others won’t be the front, but in terms of visually, the whole groups should perform in a clear and neat formation. They rely on the choreography, which might include significant dance moves and multi-tops formation. There are also some backup dancers when it is necessary to provide a visual formation. Non-professional dancers, like fans can produce a quick easy-to-imitate cover dance by watching those music videos. When I researched about K-Pop dances and notice the “easy dances” of K-Pop, I feel it is bringing its own significant music industry and dancing to the world in a whole new level. For sure it is only during the time in 2009, because those simple dances like “Gee” by SNSD, “Nobody” by Wonder Girls and “Sorry Sorry” by Super Junior are quiet “classic” compare to now K-Pop dances industry. The fact that K-Pop back then is too simple compared to K-Pop now.

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There are new groups coming out this year and bringing the significant “shaping knife” dance moves, which means with a 100% fluency and the best formation changes. It is difficult and fans love them. It is quiet different when I figure it out by looking at the research material and the K-Pop songs I listened this year. Still, there is nothing changed with the fact of formation and its significant dance moves. With solo artists, they do have backup dancers to do multi-formation, but the front is the artist, like PSY.

 

How does K-Pop be significant? A mixture of dance styles. This is the second information I agreed with the research. K-Pop dances can be described as a mixture of different dance styles. (Michael 2015) They especially use hip-pop and often simplified to more minimalistic dance patterns, choreographed for group performance and combined with characteristics gestural movements, so called signature moves. Hip-Pop is the base of K-Pop as the reason of early hip-pop group in Korea. It gained a strong foothold in Korean pop culture and the styles have become an integral part in the dance lessons of idol aspirants.

Not only with the hip-pop stylists, but also the labor force came from global brings the global dimension of K-pop dances. In 2008, dancer Rino Nakasone Razalan who gained the fame as a dancer and choreographer for American pop stars such as Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani, was contracted by SM Entertainment for the dance choreography in the music video called “Replay” which signals Korean company’s image to be global company.

 

Talk about significant move, it is how they promoting K-Pop to the international audiences. As a non-Korean speaker, it is easy to memorize a song by looking at its gesture. As a tool it can help them circumvent language barriers and remember the songs. That’s how they do to PSY “Gangnam Style”. With the dance move crossing hand and jumping, the song became a huge fame around the world.

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For the future project, it is good to try how they use significant move to promote a song. I’m a dancer so it is quiet easy for me to memorize the dance moves. However, it is more important to explore how do they do the formation. It is hard for me myself to do it, I would try all roles to see how the difference of being in the center and being at the back.

Massive Green Screen Success!

Since my last blog post, Dan and I have set up and filmed one of our videos for our projects, and we’ve analysed what worked and what didn’t. Dan and I came into the assignment confident of our video production skills, with great expectations of the results. While we’re both happy with the results of the video, i’m sure we can both agree that there were some elements that were successful, and others that weren’t.

We had assumed that the camera work would be easy if we set all the cameras up on tripods, pressed record then synced up the footage afterwards through an audio spike, but it proved to be a bit harder than we imagined. We had issues with cameras stopping the recordings at different times (this is due to the SD card writing speeds and the limitations that the companies put on the cameras to avoid taxes…

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Let’s hope for something scarier

In preparation for my final project I decided to watch the American version of The Ring for the first time since I was 15, you know, to get a feel of what I’m getting myself into. All I can say is, that was disappointing. This made me happy that I was advised to analyse the Japanese version of the film only, and not analyse the American take on the film. I just hope that the Japanese version is a whole lot scarier, or at least has a better plot than its American counterpart.

As bad as some of the Western horror movies are (yes I’m looking you Ring and Ring 2), I can certainly see the appeal of the horror genre. They have a way of keeping their audience in suspense waiting for that jump scare that inevitably makes them jump and yell “holy shit”, however, most of them are labelled with clichés as there are always certain stereotypes planted in every horror movie to come out of America. Jumping out and making excessive sequels to horror movies as also given the genre a bad name, as franchises like Friday the 13th and nightmare on Elm Street going on and on for decades getting to the point where they are almost becoming comical.

Looking across at Japanese horror movies, they have become more popular over time, which has lead to some western audiences to want darker and bloodier movies made from Japan, successes of Japanese horror movies include Ringu, the Grudge and One missed call. Japanese horror movies have drawn success in the past by using children as antagonists, as opposed to many American horror movies that use adults or late teenagers as the villains in their movies, which can work, it originally worked with movies such as scream and the first batch of Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm street movies. But Japanese horror movies go a different way as people don’t often see children as being capable of doing such horrible acts to people, even if they are possessed, which is often the case in Japanese Horror movies.

Another drawing in factor for Japanese Horror movies is the use of teenage girls as the protagonists or victims for their story. The use of teenage girls has supposedly had a drop in the need for having gory movies as opposed to American Horror, which are often gore fest slash films (Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre for example). Japan has found an effective way to both scare their audience and not bring their more squeamish viewers to being uncomfortable and enjoy the film at the same time. Again, the Japanese use of possessing a young person in their movies is often an effective use of scaring the crap out of their audience, mainly because it’s an unexpected turn, and people don’t often like seeing bad things happen to children or teenage girls in movies, unless it’s chucky (that little bastard still creeps me out).

Reading more into the two cultures and their horror movies I didn’t actually know that the influence on each other was as big as it is. The influence isn’t just based into horror movies, it stretches out to movie franchises such as Godzilla (Japans were better) and anime and cartoons being released in Japanese and then being dubbed at a later date into English. Good examples of the influences is the success that Dragon Ball series has had, it was immensely popular in Japan and America and still is today with Dragon Ball Super (and completely ignoring that god awful Dragon Ball GT).

For my final project I have decided on doing a podcast, they’re easier to manage than recording and editing a video then waiting for it to upload. With doing a podcast it would be easier to include sound clips of the movie and certain sounds and worry less about copyright issues. The only issue I see at the moment is that it may be hard to provide written evidence of any further research I want to do.

So far for this project, I have heard that American versions of horror movies are like most tv show or movie adaptions of books, as in they are terrible and probably should be done, and after watching the American make of The Ring, so far that statement is true, but I’m more curious to dive into Japanese Horror movies. Further research into the topic has lead me to believe that Japanese horror movies aren’t gore and stereotype filled messes that the American horror genre are (hopefully that fixes itself one day), which is also a big selling point, as I don’t have any experience with demonic possession movies (which excites me a little bit), and am interested to see if there are any Japanese horror movie stereotypes that I can find.

 

Video Techniques for Autoethnography

For my individual research project, I wanted to explore the differences in films produced and released in Asia, compared to the movies I usually watch. I wanted to examine what I thought was normal, and what I thought wasn’t normal, but how their different techniques affected the film overall, and how it affected my overall opinion of the film.

So to achieve this, I had to set up an environment where I could watch an asian movie, and also record my reactions to the movie, so I could clearly show through my expressions, what I thought wasn’t normal – or at least in my culture. I found that a friend of mine also had a similar idea, so we decided to help each other out throughout the process, but we would both have our assignments reacting to an individual film.

When Dan and I were discussing how the best way…

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