digital artefact

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.

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.


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.

Autoethnographic Experience of OHSHC

Ouran High School Host Club was probably the 4th or 5th anime series I ever watched and is vastly different from the rest. The first episode I tried to watch the English dubbed version and it just didn’t sound right to me, I could tell a lot of the lines just didn’t exactly match up so I switched to English subtitles. The story line is kind of hard to explain, the plot summary on IMDB says “At the ultra prestigious Ouran High School, Haruhi Fujioka looks for a quiet place to read and walks into an unused music room, and accidentally stumbles across the notorious Ouran High School Host Club, a group of boys who entertain the girls of the school for profit. When Haruhi accidentally breaks an expensive vase belonging to the wacky Host Club, she is made to serve under them until her debt is paid off. Haruhi is soon made a Host, but in order to pay off what she owes, she must continue to allow the Host Club’s customers to believe she is a boy.”

I definitely started watching it because it was fun, silly, colourful and a little bit ridiculous. But I continued watching because of the intelligent use of satire as well as Haruhi who is such a strong female lead character who is constantly rolling her eyes at these boys who are just so ridiculous and foreign to her. It’s so refreshing to see the teenage boys being viewed as the crazy ridiculous characters, that being said there are plenty of strange and silly girls in the show too.

After watching the first few episodes I had to do some research to find out what Host Clubs were and if they actually existed, so that I could understand the show better considering Host Clubs are a foreign concept to me. They do in fact exist but from the personal experiences I read online they aren’t nearly as fun and glamorous as Ouran High School Host Club might lead you to believe.

For my digital artefact I have chosen to do character profiles to highlight the different characteristics of anime that are used and parodied in the show. These character profiles will be formatted in to a tumblr because tumblr is a platform used by lots of fans for sharing photos, gifs, thoughts, fanfictions. I think because it’s such a widely used platform for fans it’s the most appropriate place to profile characters.

The tumblr is obviously not finished yet but when it is it can be found here… The Faces of Ouran High School Host Club.

Designing With Paper

How hard could designing a Paper Craft model be? “You reveal your vulnerability within a social context, discuss its social dimensions: themes, issues (death, grief), and construct an account that is both creative and non-fiction” (Ellis 2013). I feel very vulnerable. Designing a Paper Craft model is hard. From utilising the programs, to effectively representing something of Asian content, to being satisfied with the final process, something I’ve avoided attempting all this time doesn’t seem worth it.

The entire process depends on the leading program Pepakaru Designer 2. It’s shareware and Japanese. It creates paper nets from 3D models. But to create the 3D model you have to use a piece of modeling software, like Metasequoia LE. Once again, these programs are originally made in Japan, so they’re hard to use when help sections are in Japanese. However, it’s possible to use Google Sketch Up or CAD. At this point, I’m already confused and overwhelmed. I think I’ve used one of these programs before, but I assume I wasn’t too good at it because I don’t remember using it again.

Tang Mu, off Instructable, encourages that designers sketch up a design first. Not as the geometric final product, but as a squiggly, dynamic sketch. This is the idea stage, or for me, translating Asian content into a representational 3D model. This is something I’m confident at doing. Apparantly keeping the design geometric is important, i.e. boxes are better than spheres. That’s a simple rule, but harder in practice. I also have to keep in mind how a models edges will join. Christopher Bonnette, on his website, shares his process form original illustration to the final model, on almost every one of his creations. It’s reassuring to see how different the 3D model is compared to the sketch. Next I have to save the 3D model and upload it into Pepakura to “unfold”. A button in the program unfolds the model into a net to print on paper. It’s quite remarkable. Except when an error occurs.

To avoid these issues, there are other methods. The other process is to use an existing design for my digital artefact. An easy alternative is the Paper Critters website, a flash based program that allows you to create a design on a small predefined model. While recently its popularity has led to development for a paid iPad app, on the free desktop version there have been over 100,000 designs created. It’s tools are simple, the model is simple, and it could be a unique way of representing my ideas.

Or I can look up blank Paper Craft models/templates, I’m leaning towards this process, but I’m not sure. I feel ethically wrong to use someones work, but the authors are asking for people to use their custom designs. I think I would be cheating myself, skipping a crucial step in the paper craft designing process, if I based my designs on someone elses. But I’m not sure if i have the diligence or the time to create something from scratch. I want to design something similar to the works I admire. Surely, they don’t use these programs too. It’s so much easier to be a consumer.




Week 7: Autoethnographic Practice

I have been particularly confronted by the need to use autoethnography in my weekly blog posts. In deciphering my more recent posts in which I feel I have provided my strongest examples, I can begin to discern a methodology of an ‘educated ethnography’ I have employed to better investigate J-Pop.

Autoethnography as discussed by Ellis, Adams and Bochner as a marrying of autobiography and ethnography (2011). Put simply a drawing of comparisons between personal experience and cultural investigation. Ellis et al also discuss the importance of showing vs. telling when performing autoethnography as the author must remain as subjective as possible. As the area of study is completely new to me, for the most part I can only draw comparisons through my personal knowledge of industrial practices in Japan that I have already explored as part of my university degree, areas such as fan interaction with cultural content and the Japanese film and television industry. My personal knowledge of more local music industry practice is very specific and thus is difficult to apply to the larger industrial process that J-Pop represents. The majority of the autoethnographical process I have established relies on this and the developments provided through a processing of recent preceding research into the J-Pop industry. In their overview of autoethnography Ellis et al (2011) discuss the importance of the epiphany, which has guided my understanding of the practice in discussing my constantly evolving understanding of the practices of the industry. It is these epiphanies that prompt me to further investigate the viability of these connections and consequently finding more avenues of exploration.


Ellis, C; Adams T E; Bochner A P 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no. 1 art. 10

vlogs, blogs and fandom fun

This week I have continued the blog and profile from different sections of YouTube fandoms. I honestly had no idea YouTube had separate fandoms, but you really start to notice a a trend on similar videos, the same people and similar language is used. Because of this little discovery I have decided to also look at the fandom surrounding the individuals. I have been looking on tumblr and other fan created sites and profiles (such as fan instagram accounts) and will be adding these into the profiles of the YouTubers.

I felt this was important to add, as it helps create a more whole insight into the YouTuber and their fans (who are obviously quite important). Not all YouTubers have such an obvious fan culture but using their comments as evidence can help too.

My experience with the task has been a really positive one. I have found myself enjoying a lot of videos I would never normally watch, such as Let’s Play videos, which *confession time* I had never actually watched before. The fan culture is interesting too, I found myself fangirling over some of these stars along with the rest of the community.

As I was writing some of my blog posts I felt that I needed something more formal to back up some of my personal theories (to see if I was simply making some of them up). I found some helpful articles which have further enhanced my understanding of the YouTube culture is Asia specifically.

Here and here.



Brennan, D. (2007). YouTube and the Broadcasters. U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper, (220).

Krishnappa, D., Khemmarat, S. and Zink, M. (2011). Planet YouTube: Global, measurement-based performance analysis of viewer;’s experience watching user generated videos. pp.948–956.


A Digital (Paper) Artefact

My digital artefact is going to be an experience for me, an exploration of a community I’ve admired, but have never partook in. I’m going to embark to the other side of the Paper Craft community: designing. It’s what fuels the archive pages, fills the stream with new models, collaborations, and series, by artists from across the world. Designers, like SmileRobinson, are selecting content that they enjoy so much they want to share it with a larger audience. They do this by constructing Paper Craft models of their favourite characters, for fans to experience, build, and discover new content, in a hand-crafted collection. I’m utilising my knowledge of the Paper Craft community to design a facet of a cultural experience, to make a culture familiar for insiders, and represent a culture to outsiders (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2011).

I want to design Paper Craft models of Asian content and showcase it online as templates and constructed models. Along side, I will develop a reflection of the process, the story behind the model, and encourage learning about a different culture through design. And these designs will be representations of the research fields the students of DIGC330 have chosen. You, are my subjects that have presented me with connections to unfamiliar content. I will share that knowledge back as foldable paper.

 Digital (Paper) Asia:


*I share no affiliation with ‘Asian Paper: The Global Pulp, Paper and Board Industry.’ Although that’s a pretty cool industry group.

Week 6: Moving Forward

In light of last week’s worrying conundrum in deciding the mode of interaction with my digital artefact I am happy to have found an article which has confirmed a starting point for the community. Yoshitaka Mōri (2009) provides an interesting look at the evolution of J-Pop, it it is through his discussion of the “genre” that it is made apparent that J-Pop is not a genre but a signifier of a process of it’s evolution. Mōri summarises this in the quote “the success of J-Pop, it’s petty nationalist tendency and hybrid quality of music are definitely an effect of, and a response to, globalization and it’s consequent anxiety” (2009, p.485). On reflection on this point it seems as if I have somehow subconsciously been drawn back to my interests as discussed in my very first post. J-Pop ultimately serves as a response to an Imagined Asia, a response to fears of the diluting effects of western content. J-Pop is described by Mōri as a descriptor of appropriations of western music first encouraged as a response to forcing the popular radio station J-WAVE to play Japanese music as it was initially a western music only station (2009). They didn’t want to play more traditional Japanese songs but instead sought out songs that sounded like they had been made in Europe and the US but had been made in Japan, ”J-pop was the genre that filled the gap between Japanese popular music and western music at that moment“ (Mōri 2009, p. 476)


By looking at the idea of J-Pop more widely as opposed to what I feel was too intense a specificity, a community has the opportunity to be developed. What I am proposing is simply turning the ideas I had last week on their head. Instead of there being a single producer everyone is, which will further promote an open engagement. As J-Pop was an appropriation we can replicate this process by going back to an original idea of making simple sound packs maybe one instrument or texture for the community to use in the creation of new songs, using as many or as few as they want whilst retaining the freedom to mix in new sounds that they feel compliment. It will be interesting to see if a new genre or sound is perpetuated by this free interaction, though it might be slightly ambitious considering the time frame of the project.


Mōri, Y 2009, “J-pop: from the ideology of creativity to DiY music culture”, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, vol. 10, no. 4 pp 474-488

YouTube Profile

I honestly wasn’t really sure on how to present my topic of YouTube and Diaspora, but have finally settled on doing a WordPress blog (simply a dedicated page on my personal blog) and presenting a new YouTuber each week. In their profile I will give information about them and their channel as well as discussing my experience in watching their videos. 

To make sure the posts are consistent I intend to look at the same criteria for each person/profile

  • Name, age, occupation and the usual introductory bits and pieces
  • What is the channel about (Beauty, music, gaming etc.)
  • Cultural content and Cultural experience perhaps looking at cultural representation
  • Evidence of audience exerpeince

I’m definitely open to more ideas on what I should be looking at in regards to YouTubers. I don’t necessarily want to look at YouTube ‘stars’ but feel it would be good to look at both ends of the spectrum. I also think I would like to look for users IN Asia as well as in other countries to see how and if their experience differs. 

At the end of every post, it would be important to make sure I comment on my personal experience of watching YouTubers I have never watched before as well as watching some old favourites under a new light. 

Here is a link to my personal blog if you would like to follow the experiences I have 

My own hentai digital artefact

I think the process of turning my autoethnographic study into a digital artefact will really bring to a head all the tensions I’ve been having with this topic. I have to find a way to channel the aspects of this study that challenge my ideas of what I consider, as a Western feminist, appropriate representations of men and women, but also express it in a way that I feel comfortable sharing with my peers, i.e nothing too graphic that could offend someone.

I feel there are a lot of questions that need to be asked about how this genre might contribute to the patriarchy and gender stereotypes, and what the implications of this are given that hentai is animated material, not real life.  Hentai, at least the correct Japanese manifestation of it which means perverse, produces some truly disturbing and profane material. Exploring this within my own digital artefact will be interesting.

I’m thinking I’d like to create some parodies of the genre, perhaps with clear role reversals, but my drawing skills are, and I’m being generous here, limited. Though that doesn’t mean I couldn’t do some kind of digital collage. Or I could even take an existing video and subtitle/dub it with an altogether different dialogue that subverts the original meaning.  Maybe even get some of my friends involved and do an improvised, collaborative re-dub.

I also think that it’s reached that time in the autoethnographic study arc that I begin to engage with some online communities. Since this methodology requires that the researchers themselves are a primary participant, and that in regards to hentai the online forums abound, I believe I should leave the periphery and cautiously edge my way in.

For an example of what I potentially have in mind here’s a parody dub from the Dark Knight…

공동체 (community)

Thinking of a way to turn my research of South Korean culture and Eat Your Kimchi into a Digital Artefact was proving to be quite difficult for me. I wanted to convey my identity as a fan and investigator of EYK, my fascination with South Korean culture, and my autoethnographic experience in a way that I myself could be interested in. My experience with the production and editing of videos, creation of code, and the production and compiling of music is quite limited, so those weren’t viable options for me. I also found it a little difficult to push my mind past the examples that we have seen so far, such as tumblr blogs, Sabato Visconti’s Glitch Artworks, playlists and collations of videos or pictures, or subreddits, as I didn’t feel that any of these fit what I wanted to convey.

It is clear to me that the Eat Your Kimchi fan community has been incredibly important in the success of the blog, as without their fans, Simon and Martina (the couple who make the content for EYK, along with business manager Soo Zee and intern Leigh) may have found it much more difficult to remain in South Korea beyond teaching. The fan community supported their transition to full-time YouTubers in 2 ways

  1. YouTube offered EYK a monetary partnership when their channel surged in popularity as their subscribers/fans grew substantially around 2010
  2. Simon and Martina had their IndieGogo campaign successfully funded by their fan community (a total of approx. $113 000), which allowed them to apply for a South Korean business licence and rent an apartment closer to the centre of Seoul (the capital of South Korea)

Looking at this wave of success that the EYK crew have been riding since they started blogging in 2008, it’s really obvious to me that there’s a lot of love, passion and curiosity coursing through the veins of the EYK fan community. When looking at the EYK community and how it is represented digitally over many different platforms (Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit and on their blog), I find it equally as worthwhile to mine through the comments sections as consuming original EYK. There so much to learn from these spaces. Not only do they provide added ethnographic context to EYK’s observations on South Korean culture and entertainment, but they also build upon the opinions and ideas offered in the videos. These forums are, to me, a comprehensive representation of the majesty and power of a fan community (already well-represented by their ability to keep EYK going through funding), reflecting the quality and insight of the EYK content.

In order to capture this ecology I have decided to design a blog in which I will reflect on my personal understanding and learning, following my observation of these spaces. I hope to design a Digital Artefact that provides a visual representation of my observations and interpretations, whether it be through a graphic, word visualisation or other performance medium, showcasing various comments, the original EYK content, and my derived autoethnographic experience.