I used to be a child too afraid of his own shadow that even mentioning the word “ghost” or hearing an unusual noise at night could have made my blood run cold. Never had I imagined that one day, studying Japanese mystical urban legends in Studio Ghibli anime, perhaps those with a sense of sinister, would ever help me learn about its culture. None the less, this apprehension of mine does not arise from the denial of godliness, but in the opposite, from my initial understanding of Buddhism and being exposed too early to acknowledging another “dimension” according to Buddhist ideology. Employing autoethnography as the primary approach to this research project, epiphanies as such enables me to understand certain aspects of the Japanese culture based on my cultural framework. While the two cultures (Vietnamese and Japanese) may be different from one another in many aspects, Asian religions often share the…
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I have always been a massive fan of urban legends and mythology, so I commend your ethnographic search into Japanese folklore. Your point that there isn’t always a direct translation from Japanese to English is especially important to understand as an ethnographer because each culture will interpret something in their own way. I think it’s important as an ethnographer to explore areas that will expand and question their own cultural framework, which seems like you are doing by confronting your fears. Will you also be studying how the cultural interpretation differs from your own?
Looking forward to seeing where your research leads to!