YouTube

Kon’nichiwa Australia! Looking at the prevalence of Japanese culture in Sydney.

Another blog in the machine.

Australia is a multicultural nation. We pride ourselves on diversity and being open to new cultures and the Japanese culture is no exception. In recent years manga, anime, cosplay and all things Japanese have all exploded into Australia culture and the cultural and media exports make Japanese culture a soft power deserving of our attention. Through my digital Asia studies I have discovered how much Japanese culture is available for consumption in Australia and it’s popularity among Australian audiences.

There are some who believe that the rising popularity of the socially constructed ‘cool Japan’ and products that have an essential ‘Japaneseness’ about them serve to reduce bad feelings toward Japan that came after WWII (Allen 2006). What creates this idea of ‘cool Japan’ are the innovative technology and interesting cultural products that Japan are able to export to Australia, and Australian consumers can’t get enough of them. From sushi and…

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Quality control

This week I also decided to look at the quality of the videos (The cutting the editing and the prime video quality available) and see if it was possible to see if good quality meant a better following. Of course that’s a rather ambitious to research as there is no concrete data, so I figure why not use a little bit of auto ethnography and consult a view articles that guarantee more viewers. For me, I LOVE good quality and well edited videos. I’ve tried to make videos in the past, for pleasure and for uni assignments and it’s a LONG process (particularly if you don’t really know what you’re doing). There is so much cutting and editing, I can really appreciate it. I don’t really like watching videos that are available in at least 480. Let me show you a difference in quality

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 2.31.10 pm Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 2.30.45 pm

One is 240 and one is 1080, I’m sure you can pick the difference!

From my own observations I can only assume others feel similar to the way I do. I like to watch videos that are of good quality because they feel more professional and easy to watch. I scoured the ‘tube to try and find some bad quality videos that have gained loads of views but haven’t come up with anything concrete. I think it also differs in what content you offer. Some subcultures of YouTube expect different things. A certain way something should be cut, edited and presented. Some areas have intros and others spend more time discussing comments and other platforms. On a side note, I came across lots of articles that suggest “buying YouTube views”. Has anyone heard of this? As far as I’m aware, YouTube are pretty savvy and will delete your account if they notice something suspicious. Although this trusty wikihow provided some interesting tips into quality of videos! This guy is probably my favourite though http://www.wikihow.com/Be-a-YouTube-Star

Live Music in Thailand

After looking into Thailand’s music scene and industry over the course of the semester, I realized that I have not yet chosen to look into the live music scene in this region. This is especially strange due to how much I enjoy live music here at home – I’ve lost count of how many bands I’ve seen over the years.

For my project, I’ve chosen to look into more alternative music genres throughout Asia, rather than focusing on mainstream artists. This means that most live gigs that I will be talking about will not take place in large stadiums or well-known venues – rather underground bars and clubs, and old houses turned music warehouses.

After doing a quick Google search of live music in Thailand, I was directed to the Lonely Planet’s website that detailed a few alternative and ‘indie’ venues such as ‘Brick Bar’, a basement pub and ‘Parking Toys’, a nightclub in Bangkok that specializes in local electronic music (Lonely Planet, 2014). It was interesting to discover venues such as these – of course, most cities in any country has their own local and underground music scene that we may not know about, but it is a little strange for me to think of this one in particular.

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This got me thinking about why I hold such views. Why is it that it can be so normal for me to experience Sydney or Wollongong’s local music scene, but almost unheard of for the same events to take place in an Asian country?

After asking myself this question, I find that most of my Asian stereotypes in terms of music stem from the huge popularity of genres such as J-Pop and K-Pop that have penetrated the Western music industry, and that we can now hear here in Australia on a daily basis. Due to the sheer magnitude of K-pop artists and songs such as Psy’s Gangnam Style (with two billion YouTube hits, it’s a wonder if anyone hasn’t heard this song) I feel as if though these types of artists are what I primarily think of in terms of Asian music.

Of course, I know that this is a stereotype and a generalization. This is why I think my research into Thailand’s music industry is really helping me to break these views I used to hold. Music is something that I enjoy thoroughly, and it has been enlightening over the semester to be able to broaden my horizons, and quash any clichéd perspectives I used to hold about the Asian music scene.

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.

 

References:

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.

 

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 https://systemcards.wordpress.com/digc330-autoethnograpic/ 

English subtitles for Japanese Ghosts

While searching for Japanese ghost videos on YouTube I came across the above show. It seems to be a sort of reality TV show where they get people to watch a series of viral ghost videos and get their reactions. I’m unsure of the name of the show or of its popularity, but it’s existence and over 2 million YouTube views give some evidence to the pervasiveness of the horror genre in Japanese popular culture. 

The Ghost videos are all edited or faked, some significantly better than others, but still give off a creepy vibe followed by a good jump scare. Once the clip has played the show plays an instant replay of the jump scare but still with live footage of the people watching, seeing their horror intensify as they are forced to watch the scare again. 

After watching about 15 minutes of the show and understanding none of the Japanese being spoken I was a bit lost on the purpose or context of the show. I trawled the comments for some sort of insight and saw one user mention Closed Captions. I then realised that YouTube had Closed Captions available for the video, albeit in Japanese. Luckily Google has integrated all of its services so it can instantly translate the Japanese subtitles into plain English for me…
re-watching one of the clips (at 9:40) the only context it gave me was “Damage due to High Crude Oil prices also a profound…” JUMPSCARE! so that didn’t really help my understanding at all. Even further into the video I’m great with this translation

the installed ratattat

 

Which again gives me no context or understanding. Just an urge to make this

install

This week I was trying to look at viral Japanese ghost videos as a peripheral media and potentially look at the digital stories they told. Instead I was left struggling with translation and laughing at horrible subtitles, let’s call that a success.

-Nathan Smith

Diaspora and YouTube

I am a YouTube fanatic, there I said it. I love videos, great editing and the community of those who make videos as well as their audience. There are many examples of Diaspora when it comes to those who post content on YouTube, some that were mentioned in the lecture are some of my favourites. Natalie Tran from Community Channel and Lilly Singh from IISuperWomanII are both excellent examples of the representation of their culture from another part of the world.

A quick google search for some other Asian YouTubers (Mostly those who are living in another country) brought up search results and so many I already knew and was already subscribed to. To name a few that you would find on my subscription feed, Michelle Phan, Lindy Tsang, Its Judys LifeHey Claire and LaurDIY.

This is such an interesting observation, the fact that I had never really connected their heritage and culture to their content and videos struck me as really interesting. Even though these YouTubers would even discuss their culture in some videos, I had never thought of them as a peripheral group. Often they make fun of their culture and play on stereotypes, the reason I can relate to this is it’s often based on family life. From the protective mother to the grandmother who can’t understand technology, this all resonates with me as I’m a 20 year old still living at home. Even if it didn’t resonate with me personally I think the way they present it is interesting and entertaining. In saying that though, I love being able to hear them make fun of themselves, I think that’s having a really great sense of humour.

There are many websites that discuss great Asian YouTubers to watch, so there is clearly a market out there for people who want to connect with a specific cultural group. After some more intense research (Google) There were SO many articles about Asians “taking over” YouTube, some were negative and some were really positive about many different cultures being represented online. You can read some of these articles (HereHere and Here).

My experience with YouTube is a long and winding road, one that will probably never end. The experience I have with diasporic groups on YouTube has been even great, considering I am able to see a PERSONAL view and experience of a specific person, perhaps it has a lot to do with their culture or perhaps its just about being a certain age or gender. Reflecting on my thoughts of stumbling across much of this information is that I shouldn’t really be surprised that there is a market for people seeking anything, really.

 

boom

It’s More Like J-Metal…

For this week’s blogging task, I chose to focus on the Japanese electronic-infused metal band Crossfaith, a band on the peripheral of the vast Japanese music world. Crossfaith have taken the metal music world by storm, and for good reason. They’ve jumped out of Japan to take on the world, and have been able to do so through taking advantage of digital media giants like YouTube to release music video after music video which has helped them gain attention worldwide.

They have continued to appeal to fans and viewers because of their high-energy live performances, and their fast-tempo, electronically influenced brand of metal, which they’ve particularly showcased in music videos like ‘We Are the Future’ (2013), in which they appear to be playing on a deserted planet in a futuristic time.

Their highest viewed videos like ‘Omen’ and ‘Monolith’ both have over 1.5 million views respectively, so they’ve been successful in capturing a particular part of the market of the heavy world. Coming from a place like Japan, where the J-pop scene is much more prominent than the heavy scene, Crossfaith have had to work hard on social media like Facebook and Twitter to really push their name and music to the forefront, but they haven’t lost sight of their cultural heritage either. They blend the traditionally heard Western metalcore sound with synthesised and electronic Asian style melodies creating a mixture of cultures that works to set them apart from other big metalcore names.

Coming from a heavy music background myself, I took a quick liking to Crossfaith and the way they showcase themselves through YouTube, both in live performance videos and music videos. It’s easy to see why they’ve managed to capture the attention of a new generation of metal enthusiasts with their blend of Eastern and Western styles. Listening to the songs, the lyrics are a little harder for me to relate to, but I very much enjoyed the instrumental aspects to their tracks.

References:

1. Crossfaith Official Website. 2014. Crossfaith Official Website. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.crossfaith.jp/en/. [Accessed 26 August 2014].

2. Crossfaith (JAP) – discography, line-up, biography, interviews, photos. 2014. Crossfaith (JAP) – discography, line-up, biography, interviews, photos. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.spirit-of-metal.com/groupe-groupe-Crossfaith_%28JAP%29-l-en.html. [Accessed 26 August 2014].

3. CrossfaithOfficial – YouTube. 2014. CrossfaithOfficial – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/user/CrossfaithOfficial/videos. [Accessed 26 August 2014].

RPG vs LARP

Ones real life identity tends to be irrelevant in the culture of gaming, RPG’s (Role playing video games) such as Final Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons and WOW allow an individual to portray themselves however they please through their character in the fictional world. Reflect your real life morals or go against them and be someone entirely different – the choice is yours. There are two specific ‘groups’ within this RPG culture, they include WRPG (western) and JRPG (eastern). The western culture RPG’s tend to be more system/rules based with darker realistic graphics, however Eastern RPG’s are generally action/story based with brighter anime-like graphics and intricate plots.

 

 

Regardless of their cultural differences, role playing video games are peripheral to the art of cosplay in the fact that the characters/identities portrayed in these games are who cosplaying individuals look toward to influence their costume choice.  A lot of the time, an individual will develop a bond with their online persona and therefore, it becomes easier for them to reflect this persona in their cosplaying over a character they are not familiar with.

An extension of this RPG experience is LARP (live action role play) where a group of individuals dress up and pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world while interacting with each other in character. I see this as like ‘next level’ cosplaying, as they are not only dressing up as the characters, but also choosing to engage themselves in the recreation of the characters identity through role play.

A lot of the time, YouTube is the digital media platform which both RPG and LARPers use to express their voices through recording their live action or video game experiences and uploading them for the public to see, as seen below. In addition to this podcasts are used, one group in particular who use this in addition to their YouTube channel is Rooster Teeth.

 

 

 

Through viewing and comparing both these forms of role play, it is immediately clear how much dedication and passion an individual puts into their characters. To me, the LARP genre actually helps to break down the stigma created by RPGer’s as the second video reveals the multitude of people who actually get involved. The Rooster Teeth video (to be honest I didn’t watch all of it) does reveal the ‘WRPG’ mentioned by the comparison video through its darker and more realistic graphics. As a non-gamer the detail and customisation actually surprised me but in saying that, the specifications confused the hell out of me! People who actually play this game and understand it, I applaud you because I had no idea! This video also shows how RPG’s allow the option for both male and female characters regardless of your real life gender (Ray has chosen a female panda even though the others chose a male) which is the same when dressing up for cosplay in the fact that you can be whoever you choose to be.

Back to the LARP video – I was amazed at the amount of planning and scripting etc that goes into them because before watching this, I honestly thought that they were improvised. The fact that people do this kind of thing on a weekly basis is actually impressive, a further reason why the dedication and passion are so necessary to these gamers life. The strategic and tactical ‘quest’ elements resonate through both the RPG and LARP  worlds, and I feel as though it would be one of the main motivations to playing the games. Completing quests, moving up levels and gaining more skills would be super satisfying and ultimately enhance the bond you have with the character.