digc330

Digital Artifact: Improving My Japanese Fluency Through Playing a Japanese Video Game

 

Transcript:
In this project, I am using the Japanese PS Vita dating simulator, ToLoveRu – True Princess as a means of improving my Japanese language fluency. You may have read in my previous blog posts that I was using the Japanese children’s television program Doraemon to improve my Japanese fluency, however this just wasn’t working for me. I often found the extremely casual, juvenile speech to be too fast and too difficult for me to understand. I also found myself losing interest quickly as the storylines were not relevant to my interests and were very basic as they were targeted at young children. All in all, Doraemon and I just weren’t working out. My language learning philosophy is that if your method of study isn’t engaging, you’re not going to learn, and I quickly realised I wasn’t learning as much as I’d hoped to.

So I set out to change this. As an avid anime fan, I decided to look at some Japanese video games to help me achieve my goal of increasing my Japanese language fluency, because I thought that this might be more interactive and therefore more fun. Coincidently, my boyfriend James had recently bought the Japanese PS Vita Game: ToLOVERu – True Princess from PlayAsia, a website that sells a variety of goods imported from Asia to international markets. Both James and I had only just finished watching all four seasons of ToLoveRu a few months ago (Japanese audio with English subtitles) so we were really keen to start chatting up our favourite characters in Japanese. No English available. To give an exceptionally brief overview of the ToLOVEru (pronounced ‘toraburu’ or ‘trouble’ in Japanese), it follows Rito, a 15-year-old boy whose house becomes home to a variety of humanoid aliens, who all develop crushes on him. ToLOVERu – True Princess is a dating sim based around this premise, where the user plays as Rito and interacts with the various girls. The girl Rito ultimately ends up with is determined by the player’s interactions with each person.

Autoethnographic Methodology
Without going off on too much of a tangent, I feel the need to justify my autoethnographic research method for this project. I used the personal narrative methodology to analyse my experience playing ToLoveRu – True Princess, as this worked best for my approach. Although the personal narrative style does receive criticism for relying so heavily on one’s own thoughts, experiences and research (Ellis et al. 2011), I felt that this methodology suited my autoethnographic research perfectly and have been careful to include multiple academic sources to validate my findings. Learning Japanese has always been a very important, emotive and personal exercise for me, and I really wanted to look at revolutionising the way I learn the language. In the past, I’ve embraced more traditional learning styles, such as textbooks, drilled repetition and flashcards, however I feel as though now I am at the level where I can branch off and use more creative mediums to further enhance my fluency. I chose this method because I wanted to test for myself whether using unconventional learning methods had any merit, and also, if I succeeded, to provide other language learners with the inspiration to move beyond their comfort zone and engage with authentic texts from their target language.

Experiences –ToLoveRu – True Princess

Accessing the Game
Accessing ToLoveRu – True Princess was actually a lot easier than I initially thought. The growth in popularity of Japanese popular culture on a global scale, combined with the media demands of diasporic Japanese audiences, have undeniably given rise to websites like PlayAsia (Tsutsui 2010) where fans can access exclusive Japanese content and artefacts from almost anywhere in the world. Although you probably wouldn’t be able to go out to your local EB Games to purchase an exclusively Japanese title, international websites like PlayAsia have contributed to the accessibility of Japanese video games to non-Japanese audiences. Although many Japanese video games never get English releases, avid fans can quite easily seek out titles online through resellers like PlayAsia and eBay. Popular gaming titles are often translated into English by bilingual fans and uploaded to the Internet to allow non-Japanese-speaking audiences to enjoy the games in their own language (Lee 2011, p. 1131). Although a fan transaction of ToLOVEru – True Princess was available online, I chose not to use it as I wanted to experience the text authentically.

Epiphanies
Perhaps one of the most interesting epiphanies I experienced while playing the game was that even though the characters still spoke quickly and storyline was more complex than Doraemon, I actually understood so much more of what was going on. The most notable feature of the game that helped me was the fact that the character’s verbal speech was reflected in Japanese text at the bottom of the screen. This is a feature I tended to overlook in most videogames I’ve played as I could usually just listen to what the characters are saying, however here, subtitles in Japanese proved to me vital to my understanding. Not only could I listen to the characters speak, but if I missed any words or didn’t understand, I could read the text box to catch up with what was happening. Even though there were quite a few kanji I didn’t know, I could understand most of them thorough matching the kanji to the character’s speech (for example, I couldn’t read all of the kanji in uchuujin,宇宙人 [alien] however when I heard the character say the word aloud, I matched it to where I was up to in the text and remembered it for the rest of the game).

Co-viewing, or consuming a digital medium when physically accompanied by another person, also played a substantial role in my ability to comprehend what was happening in the game. Co-viewing and co-manipulation of multimedia texts are widely praised in academia for being a driving force behind children’s language acquisition and creating a linguistically enriching experience (Meskill 2002, p. 169), therefore I knew I was doing the right thing by playing ToLOVEru – True Princess with James. If there were parts in the game where either James or I became lost, we’d jump in to help one another, make guesses and discuss our ideas together, or consult our electronic Japanese dictionaries. Often, making inferences based on our individual knowledge of the characters, anime storyline and the gist of the in-game text was enough for us to power through the storyline. Yes, we may not have understood every single word, but as long as you get a sense of what is happening and are enjoying yourself, who cares? Overall, I think that cooperatively translating and playing this game with James significantly improved my Japanese comprehension and retention.

I actually found playing ToLoveRu – True Princess to be a really enjoyable, educative experience that prompted me to look into games as a medium for education on a larger scale. A quick Google search of ‘learn Japanese through video games’ retrieved thousands of results. There were multiple blogs documenting learners’ personal experiences and recommendations for games that could be easily understood by language learners, not to mention a large number of smartphone apps that were games designed for Japanese learners. An examination of academic literature also revealed that videogame-based learning has continued to surge in popularity since the early 2000’s due to the immersive and interactive nature of the medium (Hwang & Wu 2012). According to Squire (2006, p. 19) a player’s understanding of their target language is enhanced by the “developed cycles of performance within the game world.” This notion was reflected in my own experience playing ToLoveRu – True Princess. Not only did I already have a firm grasp of the general plot features and progression of the dating-sim genre, but I also had a deep understanding of the characters’ personalities, individual storylines and the game world in which I was playing in, which was a huge advantage to my ability to understand what was going on.

Although I think using Japanese video games to further one’s fluency is definitely worthwhile, I feel that it is important to note that I would not recommend this method for players who had little to no understanding of Japanese. I felt that in order to enjoy the game’s story, it was important to have a strong grasp of the language in place before trying to translate or understand the Japanese – it would be really difficult. I know that I would have felt a bit overwhelmed had I not already possessed a deep knowledge of the language’s writing systems, grammar and vocabulary. It is for this reason that I’d recommend beginner-level Japanese learners to either familiarise themselves with the language more prior to using games to learn, or use games as a supplementary learning method. This is not to say that you can’t just blast blindly though a non-English game without caring about learning anything – that’s absolutely fine – however I think in the heavily story-line based dating sim genre that it is important to understand exactly what is going on.

 

Reference List

Ellis, C, Adams, TE, & Bochner, AP 2011, ‘Autoethnography: an overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no. 1, viewed 15 October 2017, <http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095&gt;

Hwang, GJ & Wu, PH 2011, ‘Advancements and trends in digital game-based learning research: a review of publications in selected journals from 2001 to 2010’, British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. E6-E10.

Lee, HK 2011, ‘Participatory media fandom: A case study of anime fansubbing’, Media, Culture & Society, vol. 33, no. 8, pp. 1131-1147.

Meskill, C 2002, ‘Chapter 4: The role of the aural in language teaching and learning’, Teaching and Learning in Real Time: Media, Technologies and Language Acquisition, Athelstan, Houston, Texas.

Squire, K 2006, From content to context: videogames as designed experience’, Educational Researcher, vol. 35, no. 8, pp. 19-29.

Tsutsui, WM 2010, Japanese popular culture and globalisation, Association for Asian Studies Inc., Michigan, United States.

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The Iron Chef Experience

https://theironchefexperience.wordpress.com/

With absolutely no experience with Iron Chef prior to this autoethnographic process, we intend to present a researched series of recordings that not only reflect prior research and understanding of Japanese culture but further authentic reactions and reflections  with the influence of our own cultures.

It is our hope that this project is not only informative but entertaining!

So sit back, relax, grab some popcorn and enjoy!

-Dimitri and Caitlin

A Cheesy Tale: A failed story of Japanese Cheesecake

The process of cheese making was first introduced to us over 2000 years ago in 200 BCE. The cheesecake is believed to have originated in Ancient Greece and was ‘served to athletes during the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C.‘ (Bellis, 2017) as a form of superfood.

GREECE

Originating in Ancient Greece, it is believed that the cheesecake was originally eaten as a superfood during the first Olympic Games.

The cheesecake was introduced to Japan after the Meiji government encouraged the adoption of foreign foods through ‘a recipe book published in 1873 making the first mention of the cheesecake.’ (Thompson, 2017). However, it was not adopted until the postwar period when American forces introduced American-baked cheesecake.

Contrasting to traditional cheesecakes, such as the New York style cheesecake, the Japanese cheesecake contains more of a soufflé texture and can be described as light, wobbly and fluffy. ‘Rikuro Ojisan‘ in Osaka was amongst the first shops that began serving this style of cheesecake, in the 1960’s. Its popularity has since boomed with the introduction of other Japanese cheesecake shops.

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The ‘wobbly’ Japanese Cheesecake

An example of this presents itself in Uncle Tetsu’s, which opened in 1970 in Fukuoka. As of 2016, Uncle Tetsus’s crossed the border and made its way to Sydney, Australia.

This occurrence has allowed us to experience this different texture of cheesecake that is loved by many in its home country. The cakes uses ‘Australian cream cheese and Australian butter and Australian milk and Australian egg and Australian flour and sugar…’ (McNab, 2016).

We decided to create our own Japanese cheesecake, based on a recipe we found online. The video below features our experience creating this cheesecake as well as comparing it to the traditional New York style cheesecake and Uncle Tetsus’s Japanese cheesecake. It is a demonstration of our autobiographical experience with the Japanese cheesecake as we utilise storytelling conventions such as ‘character, scene, and plot development.’ (Ellis & Ellingson, 2000; Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2011). The video also demonstrates the “showing” (Adams, 2006; Lamott, 1994; Ellis et al, 2011) technique that is used to bring ‘“readers into the scene” – particularly into thoughts, emotions, and actions (Ellis 2004, p.142) – in order to “experience an experience”’ (Ellis, 1993, p.711; Ellis & Bochner, 2006; Ellis et al, 2011).

The only kind of cheesecake we had been previously exposed to was the New York style cheesecake. As described in the video, this cheesecake has a thicker and creamier texture and taste, complimented with a biscuit base. The Japanese cheesecake had a lighter, sponge-like texture with a much eggier taste. Noticing these taste and texture differences was our first major “epiphany” during this process. Ultimately this has provided us with a deeper understanding (Ellis et al, 2011) of the kinds of cheesecakes that are out there and how they differ amongst cultures.

By experiencing the unfamiliar through the Japanese cheesecake we gained a bigger appreciation for the New York style cheesecake, as we favoured its flavour more. This therefore allowed us to ‘practice self-reflexivity’ (Alsop 2002, p.1) and to transcend beyond our immediate self and society. Additionally, this experience exposed use to Alsop’s notion of being ‘home and away’ where we studied our own culture whilst simultaneously studying the “other” culture (p.2).

Consequently, the glass that once divided the familiar and the unfamiliar has been shattered as our knowledge of the cheesecake has expanded.

We were pretty disappointed by the outcome of our Japanese cheesecake, so we were excited to try Uncle Tetsu’s to see if it would differ to our own. After watching a few videos reviewing Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake, our excitement seemed to dissolve when we finally ate it. We experienced what Alsop describes as ‘Heimweh’, a German word meaning ‘Homesickness’ (p.5). We soon longed for the taste of the familiar. Despite this, we had no issues with the Japanese cheesecake as it was just an extension of a food we already love. The texture and taste of the Japanese cheesecake is simply different.

Bibliography:

Ellis, Epiphanies and Photography

Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno),” – Ellis, Adams and Bocher 2011.

In my previous post, with the benefits of hindsight, I narrated a past cultural experience. This was the beginning of an autoethnographic story. The analysis of both the experience and how I communicate my experience reveals my cultural framework. Once I recognise such frameworks and the related points of epiphanies,  will I be able to see how my cultural framework structures my project investigation.

I begin my previous post sharing a personal feeling. When reading back on my post, I can remember being hesitant in sharing this information. I know that it is normal to feel conscious about sharing feeling on a public space, but the fact that I did not shy away from the core of my project work shows that, when it matters, I am able to use language to openly communicate. The nature of an autoethnographic narrative encourages this emotive storytelling. It was interesting to do this in an academic context where we are usually not encouraged to share our feelings and personal bias.

I then in my previous post discuss how I regard travel. It is obvious from the beginning that I am using travel as both a way to recharge my personal batteries and also as an escape. I mention my passion for travel and that I value my privilege as a white person. This idea of being me describing myself as a ‘white person’ was interesting to read. I am a very brown female with curly black hair, raised in a very brown family. And in my day to day life in Australia I pride myself on being vocal about racism in Australia as I do often notice the differences (both good and not so good) of being a person of colour in a very white costal town. Here I realise that many aspects of my life, for example my medical care and travel access are defined by the constructs of my life as an Australian, not as a migrant in a white country.

I narrate that the first structured activity I do when arriving in a country was a visit to a historical site. Reading my previous post I reflect to recognise I was raised with the idea that to understand, respect and enjoy a culture, I must learn about their history, from their perspective, in their land. This is something that I have always done as a solo traveller, but did not previously recognise it was something that stemmed from familial travel routines.

I have always valued art. I grew up in a house of classical Indian music, foreign films, so much food from different parts of the world and different languages of literature. As a child there were many reasons I disliked travel with my parents – we never went to theme parks or stayed in luxury hotels,, Instead we were focused on history, art and food. I moved out of home at 17 and thought that I had left my parents travel habits behind (I do love rollercoasters and the very occasional night in a fancy hotel), but they had taught me so much about how to travel.

This cultural framework, being primarily my life as a first generation migrant and my rooted familial values, is what has structured my project. My access to travel and style of travel lead me to Cambodia and the S21 Museum. It was here that I was exposed to the nature of photography in Cambodia.

While epiphanies are self-claimed phenomena in which one person may consider an experience transformative while another may not, these epiphanies reveal ways a person could negotiate “intense situations,” – Ellis, Adams and Bocher 2011.

Autoethnography identifies these epiphanies as points of understanding. To put simply, it is only when something stirs or changes that we can recognise a shift. When reading the beginning of my narrative, it is clear that I had one of these epiphanies pushing me to seek something. It was an ‘intense situation’ that demanded reflection and action. At the time, my shift was to travel. In Cambodia I had epiphanies about how strong humanity can be. And about how humanity shares their emotional experience. It is this that inspired me to also use photography as a way to communicate loss.

…writing personal stories can be therapeutic for authors as we write to make sense of ourselves and our experiences,” – Ellis, Adams and Bocher 2011.

Writing and reading the previous post does feel therapeutic. Using photography as therapy is an extension of this autoethnographic expression as a form of therapy.

This TedxTalk by Bryce Evans provides an investing presentation on photography therapy and how it can help a person navigate through their mental health. Bryce Evans says in this video that – “Everyone knows how to take a photo…photos allow you to connect instantly on an uncurious level, without the stigma to of it (‘it’ being mental health),”. HIN both my previous post and the paragraph above, it is clear that I value maintaining a healthy mental health and believe creative outlets can help me achieve this.

My values framed by my family, my experiences as a migrant, unfortunate ‘intense situations’ in life, my love of photography and focus on mental health has evidently structured my DIGC330 final project.

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1. Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095

This Cambodian Life

I find that my sense of curiosity and wonder peaks when life takes unexpected turns. One such peak occurred earlier this year, late May. A time that forced me to dig into the dark of my stomach and pull out the reserve of energy and hope I hold within me. And although these few handfuls of memories and aspirations fed me through to the end of semester one, I could feel my tank was emptying. And so, like many other privileged first world citizens, I felt the prick and itch to travel. To a space where no one knows me. Somewhere away. Something new.

I soon found an internship in Cambodia and bought a plane ticket. I love how the soles of my feet buzz when getting on a plane, excited to soon be touching unfamiliar earth. And so while many travellers take the obligatory selfie at the Sydney airport Departures sign, I take a picture of my feet.

After several disappointing airport coffees and a room temperature spinach tart, my plane number is finally called. I have never been able to sleep on planes, so instead I re-read for the umpteenth time my trusted Lonely Planet guide to Cambodia. Like many travel guides, the accompanying photographs are stunning. Tantalising street food stalls. Lush green temples. Rich red dirt roads. Streets that scream colour. Bars that promise fun. I could not wait to be living the photos and take pictures of my own.

Photography, specifically travel photography is a personal interest. It is not the pictures that I value, but the moment that it brings – the ability to take me back to a moment so vividly.

After an eighteen hour journey, I arrive in Phnom Penh. Inside the airport it is hot and the customs officials are not welcoming. Outside the airport the locals are smiles and waves. I leave the buzz of the airport and make my way to the side street to find a tuk tuk. I only have one hour to check into my hostel, shower and be ready for a tour of the S-21 Museum and Killing Fields.

The first photographs I saw of Cambodian life taken by Cambodians was at the S-21 Museum. A place that was first a school – a prison and torture centre during the Pol Pot regime – now a museum sharing the harrowing experience. A stark contrast to the photographs in my travel guide. It was here that I learned how the Pol Pot regime destroyed almost all photographs taken before their reign.

While in country, I started looking for local photographers and photo galleries. I spoke to the artist as often as I could and none of them had photographs pre-1975. If a solider found a photograph during a regular raid someone could be killed – the cost of holing onto the physical photo was too risky.

There are many Cambodian photographers who now dedicate their art to documenting their day to day lives, exploring their personal and community identity.

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Vandy Rattana  photographs the every day life of Cambodians. The photographs capture the rebuilding of physical structures, land waste, poverty, office life, family life and meal times. The photographs have philosophical and historical purpose. The image below is a photo of a construction site.

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Neak Sophal photographs the experience of Cambodian women and poverty post Pol Pot. In the picture above, she frames the colloquial Khmer saying, “No rice for pot,”.

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Vuth Luyno photographs the experience of the modern LGBTQ community in Cambodia. The younger population are more likely to accept LGBTQ individual but there is much discrimination and many elements of taboo. In the picture above, he aims to communicate the normalcy of gay relationships – to the right is Sitha’s family, to the left is a recreation of a memory.

Sitha, pictured on the left , describes the context of the memory she chose to reenact:

“I met my wife during the Pol Pot regime when we were digging a canal opposite each other… During rice transplanting month, I went to ask for some salt from her, but she refused…During harvest month, we met again and started to talk, and we fell in love… This love is difficult, because they didn’t let us meet… After 1979, we didn’t get married properly but we created wedding rituals. I play the role of head of the family, as husband and with her as a wife, and we have adopted three children—two daughters and a son—and have six grandchildren. My children call me dad, and my grandchildren call me granddad.””

 

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Pete Pin has conversations with individuals about their life, then takes a portrait that captures the story and intentionality of the person. In the photo above, he was interviewing his Father.

Cambodia for me was a place of learning and love. It was also a place where I was reminded daily that this is a place of loss. As a field NGO researcher, every conversation I had with a local citizen would inform me of the horrors of their war. Almost every family had lost one or several members to the regime.

Here, I learn that modern photography is important. It documents their lives, shares their experience and the work that needs to be done. There is vulnerability and at the same time strength.

There is no way to measure or compare sadness and suffering. So I would like to begin this paragraph by saying that my personal life can never compare to a genocide. Inspired by these photographers, I would like to create a photography portfolio for my final DIGC330 assessment. As a student in my final semester of uni and a women working through loss, I want to document this section of my life. I am hoping to include both pictures of my day to day life, landscape and portraits to create this portfolio.

Photographs are all the courtesy of the artist and found here. I was not able to write about all the artists, but I highly recommended visiting both the site above and the site here.

Japanese Visual Novels

After experiencing the Japanese visual novel and dating simulator game, Hatoful Boyfriend, I have found myself intrigued by the popularity of these types of video games. Before playing Hatoful Boyfriend, I had never heard of a visual novel. While it is true that most video games do hold an element of ‘visual novel’, this game in particular purposely lacked a lot of gamer control that I’m used to. This surprised me as it technically is categorised as a video game, yet your options to manipulate the game itself is very little. Now and then there would be an option to choose, for example, which High School Club you were going to join, which would essentially shift the story’s direction. This means to uncover every aspect of the novel the game would have to be played at least ten times, revealing each possible play. Personally, unless you were invested in the game’s storyline the whole thing can become a bit tedious at the start. Wondering if it was just me finding the game boring after reading several reviews online I turned to Reddit where users shared their own Hatoful Boyfriend perspective. Each user’s experience actually differed from one another depending on the route they followed. While some ended up with the expected outcome- a boyfriend- others ended up down a darker path. This path involved the protagonist’s murder and player’s having to continue the story through the eyes of one of the pigeons trying to discover the truth. Reading each player’s experience made me reinvest in the game and its surprisingly complex structure and storyline.

After so many Reddit users taking an interest in the game and sharing just how unique the storyline actually is, I found an interview with the Japanese creators, Hato Moa and Damurushi, to uncover the intent behind the pigeon dating simulator. It was actually created as an April Fool’s Joke, a parody of another Japanese dating simulator, which explains the game’s humourous tones. The creators met through an internet community and were both highly interested in creating their own JRPG (Japanese role playing game). There was less thought behind the choice of using pigeons, as it was discovered Hato Moa has quite the fascination with birds.

The overall interest of the game has made me fascinated in the popularity and history of visual novels in Asian culture, specifically Japan. My initial idea for this blog post was to research both visual novels and dating simulators in the Asian market, however, after finding out that majority of dating simulators are in fact rated X, I’ve decided it best to just focus on the visual novel element.

The history of visual novels backtracks to 33 years ago when the Japanese video game publisher, Enix came out with an interactive mystery game called Portopia Renzku Satsujin Jiken. It follows the murder of the highly prominent banker Kouzou Yamakawa. The game relied on text-based inputs and dialogue scenes essentially introducing the visual novel format – onscreen visuals and dynamic character interaction- to the Japanese industry. From this, most visual novels still remain mostly in Japan however the introduction of the platform to the western world has increased. One reason for this introduction is the fan groups that have pushed the transition of certain games into the western world. Fans contacting game creators for an official translation and localisation making it available for western countries.

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Regardless of visual novels in western society, in Japan they are still hugely popular. One reason for this is because the Japanese tend to be huge on reading. In a lot of their games text is already very much integrated. This is another aspect which I’m interested in. For my research project I hope to further examine the key characteristics that make up typical Japanese video games. At the moment my experience with them is still limited so I hope to also branch out into different genres. My starting point could be the mystery game Portopia Renzku Satsujin Jiken. I do not know yet how difficult this 33-year-old game will be to get my hands on but I have already found YouTube How to Play videos on the game. Along with this I still hope to investigate the visual novel trend in Japan further.

Reference:

https://www.gamespot.com/forums/games-discussion-1000000/visual-novels-could-they-work-in-western-market-28997195/

http://www.denofgeek.com/us/games/video-games/255200/the-rise-of-the-western-visual-novel

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/answerman/2016-03-30/.100434

Untangling the Strings of I Ching

this is claire

iching全球 is the Cantonese character for ‘global’

I engaged in a legitimate I Ching spiritual reading two weeks ago, in the confines of my bedroom – via app. It didn’t phase me at all. I’m what Mark Prensky would describe as a “digital native“; I circumnavigate the corners of the globe via technology, as effortlessly as I breathe, without conscious consideration.

It’s when I step back, take a deep breathe and consider the implications of my virtual journey, that the epiphanies ignite. The following is an excerpt from my post- an excerpt from my post I Ching for iPhone, featuring two epiphanies which ignited from my experience;

“One voice in my head whispered oh my God it actually worked, over and over again. A second is mindful that this traditional Chinese art has been translated from Mandarin, which has a completely different dialect and alphabet…

View original post 839 more words

Asian stunt/MMA culture

So I had an epiphany on what I should do for my artefact… Hong Kong/Asian stunt culture and martial arts! Basically, because Bruce Lee is a legend and I get to watch Rush Hour again. However, I need to refine if its Asian stunt culture in general or Hong Kong stunt culture, as I am finding a lot Asian mixed martial arts crossing over from different countries. (I want to research into this component as well; the potential research could be: How there is this spread of culture shared by so many countries.)

I found a fantastic Reddit thread about Asian American identity and how this influences how individuals cater their health and fitness towards a cultural avenue.

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https://www.reddit.com/r/asianamerican/comments/38b3st/asian_fitness/

This sparked my interest, as I can conduct a bit of a cross cultural examination of Hong Kong and Asian influence on American cinema. I then decided to watch a film that incorporates MMA and cinema as my digital component. I chose Rush Hour (1998). I decided to live tweet as I was watching my reactions. This directly links to my experience while watching the film, I feel I need to do this with at least a few movies so I can gain some primary research regarding my experience and especially how it shifts as I research and understand more about the topic – and it also directly connects to Ellis’ definition of narrative autoethnography:

Narrative ethnographies refer to texts presented in the form of stories that incorporate the ethnographer’s experiences into the ethnographic descriptions and analysis of others. Here the emphasis is on the ethnographic study of others, which is accomplished partly by attending to encounters between the narrator and members of the groups being studied (TEDLOCK, 1991), and the narrative often intersects with analyses of patterns and processes. [17] (Ellis, 2011)

I feel like I took a very cinematic perspective to the film. I automatically started a comparison between American and Hong Kong culture. This could be due to my lack of understanding in Hong Kong martial arts in cinema, and I automatically create connections with what I am comfortable with. It’s important that I clarify potential bias in order to stay transparent to audiences, and I feel while watching Rush Hour (1998).  It may have turned into watching for entertainment purposes, I forgot to live tweet purely because I was enjoying myself so much. I found the same thing with action comedy movies they suck you in. For the next movie, I watch im going to try and keep that barrier up and analyse and see what I pick up on.

 

Interesting how American cinema slapstick comedy aligns so well to HK stunts and action. The pair fit nicely together. 

 

Chan struggles culturally in America but his Martial art moves are no match for Americans! 

I then want to compare the film with an older traditional style of film with Bruce Lee in it. And I want to go and experience some martial arts training myself.

Next, I will be looking at how animation has taken martial arts and stunts and research further into that. Watching Kung Fu Panda 2008, and how animation has changed the face of martial arts and stunts. The animation is constantly pushing digital boundaries and is constantly developing and creating a timeless cultural connection between cinema culture and martial arts. The CNN video, allowed me to understand how deeply and culturally rooted MMA and stunts are in Hong Kong entertainment and society. It’s a complex sport that requires precision and acting something i wouldn’t have associated with Hong Kong cinema previously.

http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2017/07/06/hong-kong-stunt-school.cnn

Cinema isn’t the only digital means we are seeing MMA in, we can also find direct links between Martial arts and anime. “The martial arts were a central foundation of this iconic anime series. From Master Roshi’s Turtle School, where Goku and many of his compatriots received their martial arts training, to the World Martial Arts Tournament with which the show’s final saga began, Dragon Ball Z was steeped in martial arts culture. Yet the relationship between Dragon Ball Z and the martial arts has been a reciprocal one.” …. Just as martial arts provided the backbone of this beloved show, the show has, in turn, influenced throngs of young people to explore the martial arts, eager to harness their inner Goku, put in some work in the gym, and become the world’s strongest fighter. Some of these DBZ-inspired young people evolved into heroes of the MMA world.

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I want to research more into animation, and how stunt culture is still extremely relevant to Asian entertainment and society due to its cultural and religious roots. As I become more educated on the topic I want my perspective to shift, to be able to analyse the trends and processes surrounding this mass distribution of stunt and MMA film nationally and why it is also so successful internationally.

 

Bibliography:
  1. CNN, n.d. Hong Kong’s Kung fu stunt school viewed: 7th September 2017 http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2017/07/06/hong-kong-stunt-school.cnn|
  2. Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12
  3. self.Asian American, Asian Fitness, Reddit, June 3rd,
    015http://www.reddit.com/r/asianamerican/comments/38b3st/asian_fitness/
  4.  Taylor, T 2017, The Massive Influence of Dragon Ball Z on MMA, Jet Li, viewed: 8th September 2017, https://www.jetli.com/2017/07/massive-influence-dragon-ball-z-mma