Month: October 2018

Keeping in ‘Toon’ with Digital Asia- Final Auto-Ethnographic project.

Grace's blog-spot

It is safe to say I came into this semester of BCM 320- Digital Asia with my eyes closed, but I am emerging with them, as I mentioned in my first blog, extremely open to the vast array of media goodness coming out of Digital Asia and I couldn’t be happier about it. Auto-Ethnographic research methods are to thank for this as they have allowed me to, aligned with Anderson’s (2006, pg. 378) five key features;

5 Features 2

Now on to my digital artefact. I have chosen to present my research in the form of an Auto-Ethnographic video (link below) taking inspiration from Denzin (2003) and being “a public intellectual who produces and engages in meaningful cultural criticism”(pg. 259). While I have not so much provided cultural criticism, I have most definitely attempted to create a useful cultural commentary on Webtoon content.

I have discovered that in Australia, Webtoon’s are considered…

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Harrison Thomas – Tate Robinson: Japanese Etiquette

What did we experience?

When we started, we had written a research report. That was the wrong move. We’ve shortened it down and created a podcast.

In this podcast, we discussed different topics regarding Japanese etiquette. These include

  • Funerals
  • Weddings
  • Chopstick etiquette
  • Tipping
  • Business
  • Social interactions


At first we were expecting there to be several differences compared to western society. Of course we did find some, however there were some similarities relating to funeral and wedding attire. At first some of these were a shock, especially the amount of money you’d give for a wedding/funeral. For a university student, that was a shock. However, the amount you give usually changes depending on your relationship to the person/family. That’s why we don’t like talking to people. We personally loved some of the things that Japan does, that we don’t. Or that we don’t focus as heavily on. For example, the cleanliness and lack of physical contact.

The rituals relating to funerals were rather interesting as it really focused on seeing and looking at the deceased person. For example, in one specific ritual, they place the deceased on their favourite piece of furniture, most likely a futon or a lounge/bed, and they then place certain items on the body of the deceased to protect them. 

Here’s the podcast –




Nakata, H (2009) Japan’s funerals deep-rooted mix of ritual, form: Japan Times [online] Accessed October 12, Available at:


Deep Japan (2015) What to do at a Japanese Funeral: Funeral Etiquette [online] Accessed October 12, Available at:


Cremation Society of G.B (2007) Cremation Statistics [online] Accessed October 12, Available at:


Wiren, A. Japanese Funerals: Sunset in the rising sun: Japan Visitor [online] Accessed October 12, Available at:


Japan Info (2017) How to Attend a Japanese Wedding: 5 Essential Things to Keep in Mind [online] Accessed October 12, Available at


BCM320 Autoethnographic Project: A Contextual Essay


For the individual autoethnographic research project, I looked at the world of Japanese Pop (J-Pop), in particular Japanese girl idol group such as Momoiro Clover Z. To further understand my autoethnographic approach to this field site, it is necessary to discuss the methodology that assisted in my research.

I presented my findings in the form of media-rich blog posts. Ellis et al (2011) describe how when writing autoethnography, it is much more engaging to use techniques of “showing” rather than merely “telling”, as it offers a way to bring readers onto the scene in order to “experience an experience”. Through embedding links, YouTube videos and even my own Spotify playlist, my digital artifact allowed me to make my research engaging and emotionally rich.

Anderson (2006) provides an interesting counterbalance to the work of Ellis et al (2011) by putting forward a more analytic approach. When discussing the importance of being…

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An Autoethnographic Project: The World of J-POPジェイポップ


Following on from my previous blog posts about the initial stages of planning for my digital artifact exploring the phenomenon of J-Pop, here I will present the findings of my research and final conclusions. As I have mentioned in my last blogs, the reason that I chose this topic is that it is something completely new to me. Therefore I was interested to see how I would interpret this field site given my own cultural framework and understanding, how I make sense of the world. I also chose to look at J-Pop as it seems to be less popular as K-Pop, its Korean counterpart. Intrigued as to why this may be, I endeavoured to find out more.

Before I go into my personal experience with researching this aspect of digital Asia, it is necessary to first explain what it is by understanding its history and evolution.

What is J-Pop?


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These Are My Final Words On Autoethnography

Welcome to the Machine

Welcome to this final autoethnographic post which is about what I have achieved and the epiphanies that I have had throughout my journey during the execution of my digital artefact. When I look back on what I have created I feel that sense of not quite having got it right. However when I listen to the soundtracks in their finished state I feel pleased. Yes! There is my voice and it is a genuine mix of fact and nostalgia as I remember it. There are parts that are not very professional and some parts that I probably could go over and “gloss” up and if I had more time I probably would do so, but perhaps its current state is truer to the spirit of what I understand autoethnography to be.

In my last blog post I spent some time agonising over whether I was successfully delivering my personal narrative…

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Luk Thung and the Sound of Siam – Digital Artefact

My digital artefact can be viewed here:

Contextual statement – task 3

Given the heart of this project being around the meaning and feeling of traditional Thai music and how I react and relate to it, it seemed only necessary to undertake an auto-ethnographic study in the form of a podcast.

Auto-ethnographic methodology

“When researchers write autoethnographies, they seek to produce aesthetic and evocative thick descriptions of personal and interpersonal experience.” (Ellis et al, 2011)

For the sake of authentic auto-ethnographic research, it was deemed fitting that reactions to the music, or at least some of the reactions, had to be fresh or live.

To achieve this, two things were ensured:

  • The podcast was done in one take
    • Although this was difficult and took planning to ensure timing and structure was well established prior to recording, it was an essential way to keep the methodology authentic, “aesthetic and evocative”.
    • Songs were chosen at random from the record to be listened to during the podcast
    • Another effort to ensure the listener was able to grasp how I, the auto-ethnographer was reacting to the music.


“When researchers do autoethnography, they retrospectively and selectively write about epiphanies that stem from, or are made possible by, being part of a culture and/or by possessing a particular cultural identity.” (Ellis et al, 2011)

Epiphanies are what make auto-ethnographic research so valuable. This experience was highly intriguing due to the observation that before beginning the podcast, only one epiphany had been thought of for discussion, however as the recording took place and the previously unheard songs were heard, more came to mind. This can be attributed to the personal and concurrent style of auto-ethnography, where the research relies on the ongoing reaction and feedback of the reader.

A perfect example of an auto-ethnographic epiphany is best seen in the reflection towards the end of the podcast where it’s discussed how it seems these songs have strong psychedelic influences, and it’s questioned whether this can be put down to the past drug culture of South-East Asia, or its simply the listener’s interpretation.

Personal touches

Auto-ethnographers “must use personal experience to illustrate facets of cultural experience, and, in so doing, make characteristics of a culture familiar for insiders and outsiders.” (Ellis et al, 2011)

Although this podcast was planned to be in a live, or fresh setting, it was always intended to keep in touch with a personal connection. While it often contains commentary on music features, much of the reflection is based on my own persona as a passionate music fan. Heavily reflected also are the links I find between my own common listenings, and the unheard, fresh sounds of Luk Thung, an important part of keeping in touch with personal, auto-ethnographic research and presentation.


Ellis, C., Adams, T. and Bochner, A. (2011). Autoethnography: An Overview. [online] Volume 12, No. 1(10). Available at: [Accessed 22 Oct. 2018].

A Crack at Cosplay: Contextual Essay


Contextual Essay 

Over the course of my time studying Media and Communications, it has been made abundantly clear to me that the power of autoethnographic research is unmatched, and will always result in otherwise unattainable insights. As a methodology, it accesses a range of data that one would not consider in formal methods for the risk that it might bias their results. Ethnography flips this ideology and says yes, your cultural framework will always alter the way you react to a topic, or at the very least shape the way you interpret it.

I think one of my past blog posts summarises this reflexiveness in a way I couldn’t put any better; “I quickly realised that by immersing myself into the experience I felt vulnerable and certainly out of my comfort zone. Whether that be the idea itself as a daunting action, concealing your own identity as another’s for costume play, or whether it be the unfamiliarity with the field site itself, I was acutely aware that I was letting my feelings, thoughts, and vulnerabilities influence the way the project was migrating (Ellis et al. 2011, 14.1.3)

I found myself incredibly inquisitive about this area of research, and as a result, ended up picking up my old past time of sewing in my spare time. I thought this may have something to do with Ellis’s notion that autoethnography and writing “personal stories can be therapeutic for authors as we write to make sense of ourselves and our experiences” (Kiesinger, 2002; Poulos, 2008), highlighting the empowering nature of research that allows you to fully submerge yourself into. A project like this giving “…people a voice that, before writing, they may not have felt they had” (Boylorn, 2006; Jago, 2002). Interacting with cosplay and participating myself allowed me to be much more involved in the area, and in some ways relate to the area of study that I could not by simply reading papers on.

While I did go into the project with an open mind, I found my own understanding of what cosplay is was challenged and morphed as I tried to be reflexive in my process. I discovered that is in fact much broader than previously thought, and I guess that was a poor and incorrect assumption I had gathered in my previous state, and know now that cosplay encompasses a large demographic of people, with different interest and craft levels, who cosplay characters from a mass range of sources and cultures. In reflection, this perhaps would be a good topic to look at transculturally, as it is a much bigger global phenomenon than I had realised – a result of my upbringing with no friends who were ‘into’ cosplay; “Autoethnographers also recognize how what we understand and refer to as “truth” changes as the genre of writing or representing experience changes.(Ellis et al. 2011, 14.2.25)

I do believe the scope of this project could have been a lot wider, with so many avenues to find yourself down. I often found myself discovering new elements of my field site that I wanted to expand on, and felt limited with the project constraints. Developments for further research would include the flow of the practice globally, partly missed because of my own self-involvement in the project. This perhaps is a limitation of autoethnography, in hindsight, whereby self-obsession on involvement in the project maybe narrows our scope down too much, focusing on hidden insights rather than bigger picture issues that other methodologies uncover.


Contextual Essay References

Boylorn, Robin M. (2006). E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one). Qualitative Inquiry, 12(4), 651-680.

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 14.1. Available at:

Jago, Barbara J. (2002). Chronicling an academic depression. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 31(6), 729-757.

Kiesinger, Christine E. (2002). My father’s shoes: The therapeutic value of narrative reframing. In Arthur P. Bochner & Carolyn Ellis (Eds.), Ethnographically speaking: Autoethnography, literature, and aesthetics (pp.95-114). Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira.

Poulos, Christopher N. (2008). Accidental ethnography: An inquiry into family secrecy. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

Learn Korean With Me! + Contextual Essay

chantelles blog

If you have been following my blog for the last couple of months, you may be aware of the fact that I have taken it upon myself to learn the Korean language. I have blog post explaining the initial idea here and and update of my progress here.

Ellis begins to describe autoethnography as an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience (Ellis, 2011). For my digital artefact I engaged with autoethnographic research by learning the Korean language through the mobile app Duolingo and to communicate my personal experience of engaging with the language I vlogged the process and uploaded it onto YouTube.

As autoethnographers not only try to make personal experience meaningful and cultural experience engaging, but also, by producing accessible texts, they may be able to reach wider and more diverse mass audiences that…

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BCM320 Contextual Essay: My Autoethnographic Investigation into Japanese Horror Films


Digital Artefact is available here

Contextual Essay

I chose to undertake an autoethnographic investigation on the topic ‘Japanese Horror movies’. I selected this topic because of my own limited experience of Japanese horror movies, and my complicated relationship with American horror movies; as I love the idea of them, but can never watch them in their entirety.

Selecting a field site for my investigation was easy, as when looking for films there were a range of Japanese horror movies available on YouTube with English subtitles. I settled on choosing ‘Kuchisake-onna/Carved: The Slitmouth Woman’ as it had over two million views. I was prepared to watch another Japanese horror if ‘Carved’ was of a poor quality, but after the first five minutes of dialogue and quality cinematic shots I was interested in the story.

To collect my data from the field site I used the layered accounts approach, which Ellis describes…

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BCM320 Digital Artefact: Japanese Horror


Digital Artefact

‘Japanese Horror|Carved: The Slitmouth Woman Reaction’, is an evocative reaction video with a focus on understanding the Japanese horror film industry.


This was my digital artefact, a 90 minute reaction to the film ‘Carved: The Slitmouth Woman’, edited down into a 10 minute video displaying eye opening commentary and epiphanies about Japanese Horror. Originally I planned to conduct this autoethnographic research by a combination of the layered accounts approach and community autoethnography; using reactions from all my housemates. Conversely, after reflexive thinking instigated by peer responses to my previous blogs, I came to the conclusion that if only I reacted to the film, I’d have the ability to pause it at will, and discuss important aspects of film when necessary. Moreover, my housemates had already experienced many Japanese movies and thus had already unintentionally gone through autoethnographic process.


During the film I had many important realisations…

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