Author: Dimitri Lignos

Understanding Autoethnography

After reading Ellis et al Autoethnography: An Overview, the Autoethnographic process was pretty straight forward and easy to understand. In layman’s terms, its the combination of the study of ethnography, which is studying a culture, understanding their beliefs & values, and how they form relationships, and autobiography, which is the study of one’s personal experiences, pretty much their life story.

When you combine the two studies, you get autoethnography – The study of a culture, through an individual’s own personal experiences when immersed in that culture. Well, thats how I understood it.

The more I thought about the concept of autoethnography, I realised that everyone can or has experienced ethnography. People who travel the world and immerse themselves in another culture, experiencing the wonders of said cultures, are gaining a personal insight  and learning about how that culture functions. I remember when I was ten years old travelling to Greece, my mum bought me a diary to write in. In the diary, I wrote about what happened throughout the day, where we went, what we ate etc.

However, what separates a world traveler from an autoethnographer, is how analytical they are of their experience. Like Mitch Allen mentions, “everyone has their own story, but what makes your story more valid is that you’re a researcher. You have a set of theoretical and methodological tools and a research literature to use.”

As I understand, there are different ways of how to approach writing about autoethnography. For example, an indigenous ethnographer will focus on power, how they can address the issues and disrupt it.  The utilisation of interviews can add an element of emotion and insight to the piece that the autoethnographer may not be able to provide. For example, it would be like me interviewing a family member in Greece about what it is like to be living in Greece. My experience would be from the point of view of someone on holiday, not really understanding what its like to actually live in the country.

From Autoethnography: An Overview, I now know the methodology and the process behind autoethnography and I look forward to applying different forms of autoethnography throughout this semester, and to gain a further understanding of Asian media culture by immersing myself through the multiple forms of entertainment that it provides.

Tokyo Terror: an Ethno-Australian Perspective on Gojira (1954)

As a child, my father raised me on 80s metal and action movies, whether it be listening to Queen or watching Arnold Schwarzenegger star in the Terminator, I grew to having an understanding and an appreciation for music and film at a young age. The first real interaction I had with any form of Asian media was watching animes such as Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh, as well as, watching Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee films.

Before watching Gojira, I had never actually seen a Godzilla film before, so I was intrigued to see how the film would be presented, and how much film had changed in the past 60 years. I understood that the film would look campy and very low budget, but in 1954, it was revolutionary and ground-breaking.

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Modern film-making tries to make a movie flow seamlessly, utilising today’s technology to splice scenes together to create this flow. It was obvious in this film how jarring each scene was spliced together, continuously hard cutting from one scene to another. However, there is certainly an appreciation for the attempt to make the story of Gojira flow, especially how they actually had to physically cut the film and put scenes together. Something that I really enjoyed was the synchronisation of the soundtrack with the film, something I did not expect from a film made in the 1950s.

The actual story itself is very intriguing, especially using Godzilla as a metaphor for the atomic weapons used by the US in World War II. In my opinion, the set design was fantastic, and created a realistic representation of Tokyo, and was especially impressive how accurate it was without the use of modern day CGI. The Godzilla costume design was another aspect of the film I was impressed with, and the way Haruo Nakajima moved in the costume, really made the character of Godzilla realistic at the time. There was one scene in particular that annoyed me, when we see Godzilla under water for the first time, Nakajima is walking in the suit instead of swimming. I know it was a small detail, but it just annoyed me a little.

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Gojira was a great way to be introduced with Asian film making and Asian media in general, and is just the beginning into the discovery of the world of Digital Asia.