Month: September 2019

Reflecting on: Japanese Car Culture

In my previous blog (found here), I discussed the Japanese car scene and its influences throughout the world. I attempted to link my narrative and research perspective by giving my own background of the topic as well engage on cultural experience with readers who may have a similar epiphany (Ellis et al., 2011). This blog will analyses and explain my epiphany and how it drew on further research.

Ellis et al. (2011) suggested that Autoethnography is the practice of giving your own personal cultural experience and to reflect on yourself as a researcher to engage with other individuals, as well as using other methods of research such as drawing on epiphanies (personal experience) to illustrate facets of cultural experience and make characteristics of a culture familiar for insiders and outsiders.

As Bochner (1984, p.565) suggested, epiphanies in ethnography are important as they draw on recollections on feelings that are present long after the event occurred. In my previous blog, using Adams (2005) and Wood (2009), I attempted to expand and open a wider lens for readers to understand who I am and how my epiphanies influenced my interpretation of Japanese car culture. I discussed how being exposed to a western car culture at a young age has led me to Japanese car scene/culture, and by using emotion, such as the feeling of being at a car meet, influenced my research and drew from epiphanies, rather than assuming they don’t exist (Ellis et al., 2011). Thus, attempting to engage with others who may feel the same, and provide insights to insiders and outsiders, into a culture that may not be familiar with as Maso (2001) suggested.

While doing ethnography we become participant observers of the culture by taking field notes of cultural happenings (Geertz, 1973) which led me to taking further field notes and researching Japanese car culture. But, as suggested by Boylorn (2008); Ellis et al (2011); Denzin (2006); Jorgenson (2006); and Ronai (1995, 1996), I didn’t want to just purely talk at a narrative standpoint, but rather I used collected research, relevant cultural artifacts and topics about car culture, such as different types of cars and it’s relation to other media, and then compared it to my own personal experience to illustrate characteristics of Japanese car culture as well as contribute to understanding of a culture. Thus, using a personal narrative of my background and relation to car culture, to invite and connect readers into my “world”, to reflect on past experience (Ellis, 2004, p.46).

That’s a whole lot of text.

The main area of the blog was drawing on my emotions and epiphanies, and how it influenced me as a young person, and now as I am older. I wanted to create a blog post that was engaging, aesthetic and evocative to give insight to the reader to my personal experience through images, text and videos.

This is aesthetic and engaging… right?

This post is a bit research heavy, but I hope I provided some insight to how an epiphany came to me when thinking of a topic to write about, and how I went about further contributing research into the car culture (Not just Japanese care culture).

I would like to leave you with another video clip from fellow Australian Noriyaro that shows a bit more insight into Japanese car culture and how other car cultures influenced the Japanese scene.

Also, since its “Raid Area 51 Day” today, i’ll leave this here for you guys.

I forgot to mention this in my last post, but Eurobeat is a big part of Car Culture


Adams, Tony E. (2005). Speaking for others: Finding the “whos” of discourse. Soundings, 88(3-4), 331-345.

Bochner, Arthur P. (1984). The functions of human communication in interpersonal bonding. In Carroll C. Arnold & John W. Bowers (Eds.), Handbook of rhetorical and communication theory (pp.544-621). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Boylorn, Robin M. (2008). As seen on TV: An autoethnographic reflection on race and reality television. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 25(4), 413-433.

Denzin, Norman K. (2006). Mother and Mickey. The South Atlantic Quarterly, 105(2), 391-395.

Ellis, Carolyn (2004). The ethnographic I: A methodological novel about autoethnography. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no. 1.

Geertz, Clifford (1973). The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books.

Jorgenson, Jane (2002). Engineering selves: Negotiating gender and identity in technical work. Management Communication Quarterly, 15(3), 350-380.

Maso, Ilja (2001). Phenomenology and ethnography. In Paul Atkinson, Amanda Coffey, Sara Delamont, John Lofland & Lyn Lofland (Eds.), Handbook of ethnography (pp.136-144). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Wood, Julie T. (2009). Gendered lives: Communication, gender, and culture. Boston: Wadsworth.

Ronai, Carol R. (1995). Multiple reflections of child sex abuse. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 23(4), 395-426.

Ronai, Carol R. (1996). My mother is mentally retarded. In Carolyn Ellis & Arthur P. Bochner (Eds.), Composing ethnography: Alternative forms of qualitative writing (pp.109-131). Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira.

Analysis of My Autoethnographic Approach

Nicole Gentle

For BCM320 in week five, I wrote and uploaded a brief blog post which discussed my own autoethnographic experience with Japanese anime Violet Evergarden. Today, I will be analysing this experience, and investigating the effectiveness of understanding outside cultures using the context of my own cultural framework, through an attempt at what Ellis et al describes as a “layered account” (2011).

Throughout this blog post, I mainly focused on the aspects of the show which triggered a sense of familiarity. This included things such as the setting and the character design. However, I have to be honest, I probably focused on these aspects a little too strongly and missed some of the more nuanced meanings behind the anime, but I digress.  I wrote:

…it appears to be somewhat Eurocentric. Perhaps set somewhere in the late 19th-20th century based on setting, clothing, and mannerisms, and very likely set in Western…

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Korean food

王曉萱 Felicia Wang

my research. So far, I think my project is very successful.

I know that autoethnographic is a kind of research style and a writing style that connects individuals with culture and puts them on social and cultural background. It is an autobiographical study of researchers’ self-life experience, and it is a kind of personal narrative (Ellis,2011). So I used the autoethnographic method into my investigation.

I intend to discover the characteristics of Korean food culture and the differences with Chinese food culture through my own experience in cooking Korean food.

The ingredients, sauces and practices of cooking Chinese cuisine are similar to cooking Korean cuisine. I need to watch the video tutorial once so that I can make the whole dish almost smoothly. I uploaded two videos about my cooking Korean food experience on YouTube.

For the first time, I learned the practice of kimchi soup according to the online…

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Naomi Osaka, Japan and Dual-Citizenship.

My Blog

I realised my last blog post didn’t really narrate my initial encounter, so I’ll do that now. I’ve never been too interested in viewing sports (apart from figure skating…), but I loved actually playing tennis, and was even in a tennis club in primary school. But watching someone playing tennis? No thanks.

Source: Giphy

Cut to 2018. Serena Williams vs. Naomi Osaka news is everywhere, and Osaka becomes the first Japanese Grand Slam singles champion. I’m glad this event eventually introduced me to the current World No. 1 tennis player.

I knew Osaka was half Japanese and half Haitian, but was surprised to find out she actually holds both Japanese and American citizenship (Steger, 2019). Online debate on which citizenship she’ll retain sparked due to arguments of her American upbringing and not having a complete grasp of the Japanese language (Nikkan Sports, 2019), despite her representing Japan.

My initial reaction…

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My Autoethnographic Process of Exploring Lolita Fashion

The Critical Millennial

In this blogpost I will be reflecting on my narrated experience of Lolita fashion which I talked about in my previous blogpost.


Autoethnography “acknowledges and accommodates subjectivity, emotionality, and the researcher’s influence on research, rather than hiding from these matters or assuming they don’t exist” (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2011).

Thus I will be dissecting my epiphanies and presenting my understanding of Lolita fashion through my own cultural framework. Like Pitard (2017), I will be using  “autoethnography as a method of journeying to the centre of myself” to unpack my own reservations when trying to understand Lolita fashion as a sub-culture.

Pitard (2017) outlined four key questions to ask oneself as a researcher to explain their positionality, or to answer the question “Who am I in relation to the research?”.

The questions are as follows:

  1. “What do I believe underpins my knowledge of life?
  2. Where did I gain this belief?

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Exploring Japanese Idol Culture


In my blog post last week I mentioned that my DA will be about Japanese idol culture, and I will analyze it in the future. This week’s theme blog will describe the process of ethnography, so I want to talk about why I am concerned about and want to explore Japanese idol culture.

When I was young, or it could be in the early and high school days, K-POP culture was more popular in China. My understanding of Japan can be said to be only the animation aspect, and I know nothing about other aspects. I don’t know what idol groups are. Probably in the past few years, a girl’s group called SNH48 was born in China. The popularity is very well known in the past two years. This the way I got to know the culture of Japanese idols. In my opinion, the biggest difference between Japanese idols and…

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The Journey To J-Rock (Thanks To Makoto Shinkai)

Hey, Honey!

My previous blog post, which you can view here, discussed my initial exposure to J-Rock, and Makoto Shinkai’s works as a starting point. By using a reading from Ellis et al. (2011) and Hokkanen (2017), I intend to analyse how some components of the autoethnographic process are explored in the blog post and/or my encounter. 

I loved anime as a teen, so when an opportunity to see Kimi No Na Wa in Australian cinemas presented itself, I couldn’t pass it up. I hadn’t encountered a lot of J-Rock prior to seeing the movie, but I’d loved multiple songs from bands I was exposed to from the morning show SBS PopAsia. Up until sixteen or seventeen, I hadn’t even heard of K-Pop, let alone J-Rock or anything that wasn’t pop or 80’s/90’s music. I wasn’t even interested in J-Pop, even though it was present in most of the shows I watched…

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I first was exposed to Korean music when I was 9 from my auntie always playing groups like 2NE1, Shinee and Girls Generation in the car. My initial reaction was very negative as I never understood why my auntie listens to something that she couldn’t understand. And I said at the time that I would never listen to ‘that music’ again. One year later, I was actively listening to K-pop as a mood booster.

Unlike other genres of music at the time, K-pop pushed musical envelopes with a single incorporating various different genres (e.g. rap, pop, ballad, electronic) whilst also being accompanied by insane dance moves.
The visuals of the MV’s are crazy and alluring. In my opinion, Korean idol groups production-wise put boy groups like NSYNC and One Direction to shame.

And the K-idols look perfect….maybe too perfect………

Ong Seong Wu

The next few years were great and at that time I was exposed to even more groups like MBLAQ, f(x) and Kara. Then 2012 came and around that time, I completely got disinterested by the K-pop world. The songs got predictable in terms of structure, the use of EDM gave me a headache and most importantly, I got sick of the annoying fandoms.
But in 2014, I got into K hip-hop and K- RNB artists like Dok2, Jay Park, The Quiett and Jessi and that was the leeway for me to get back into the world of K-pop. From then to now, I am a hybrid between K-pop and k hip-hop alternating through them.

So I guess you are wondering why I am telling you my life story?? Well, In BCM320 I had to apply autoethnography in analyzing Asian culture. While I have succeeded to some extent, I never fully understood the concept until it clicked during the tutorial of BCM. Ellis describes that autoethnographers, “must use personal experience to illustrate facets of cultural experience, and, in so doing, make characteristics of a culture familiar for insiders and outsiders.” In light of that, here I am now telling you my life story about one of my favourite passions, K-pop.

K-pop for me has helped make leeway for me to make tons of friends through the K-pop online community nice or not. Also, it has made me respect my Asian culture since when I was younger, I was often bullied about my race. But Jen, your not Korean. So why do you listen to K-pop?? I get asked this question a lot. Even though I am not Korean, I still can connect emotionally with the song I am listening to. It brings up the point that music can overcome the language barriers thus providing an emotional connection with the listener.
That is not to say you should listen to K-pop but I am addressing the point that you don’t have to be Korean to listen to Korean music.


Since initially embarking upon my study of Hinduism and the religion’s highly spiritualised death and burial practices, I have begun to experience many moments of epiphany. Coming into the research I clearly had very little understanding of Hinduism or religious death and burial ceremonies, yet here I am 3 weeks later completely intrigued by diverse religious practices throughout the Asian continent.

Autoethnography has confused me, excited me and challenged me throughout the semester. However, it was not until I began to immerse myself in Hinduism that I began to realise how powerful autoethnographic communication can be. As Ellis et al. (2011) highlights, autoethnography ‘expands and opens up a wider lens on the world, eschewing rigid definitions of what constitutes meaningful and useful research’. It is this widening of one’s lens that ultimately defines the course of study, in turn representing the diverse nature of cultural interpretation. Thus, it is within the framework of personal description that I must analyse my own experiences, in the form of epiphanies and reflect upon how influential my cultural framework is in defining my research. It has become increasingly apparent that my experience will greatly differ to others. Therefore, it is important to 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).

As previously touched on in my third blog post, my Western, Atheist cultural background has somewhat blinded me in regard to global religious cultural practices in the past. However, through further research and engagement with Hindu death practices, I have begun to really develop an interest in the religions profound understanding of life and death. Upon first engaging with the video in my third blog, I was taken aback by the public spectacle of the burning of the dead, however, as I further delved into the cultural meaning of such practices I began to deeply reflect upon how diverse human nature and understandings of life can be.

Hindu’s hold the belief that supreme beings watch over a cycle of reincarnation, whereby, their soul becomes eternal and enters a spiritual realm, only to return to the physical realm in a new physical form. Thus, it is the idea of Karma that has continually caught my attention. My Mum has extensively travelled India, thus I think it has been her description of the Indian caste system that has ignited this interest. Within Indian Hindu culture they socially stratify society into four categories (plus ‘outcastes’).

indian caste pic

Whilst this system acts to hierarchically stratify society and has been outlawed, the conceptualisation of reincarnation within Hindu culture in many ways supports its continued functioning. Throughout the Western world this system is highly criticised, yet within India, society still believes that one’s good or bad fortune (Karma) no matter their caste, will ultimately determine their social status in their next life. This leads me back to the burning of the dead, in Hindu culture, it therefore becomes apparent that the body could in fact be described as ‘the prison and the soul in being held prisoner for the sins of the physical self’, thus when the soul leaves, the physical body merely returns to the elements of earth. This epiphany has proven highly significant, my initial Westernised reaction toward the ‘intense (cultural) situation’ (Ellis et al. 2011) experienced upon first watching the public burning ceremony has transformed into one of cultural understanding.

As Kalyanamalini Sahoo (2014) describes in his extensive description of Hindu religious practices, the funeral rites are of great significance. However, as I have personally discovered, it is not the physical body, instead the soul that is accorded significance (pg. 32)

Hindu funeral rites are performed at various stages linked to death:

(a) As death approaches; (b) For the disposal of the body; (c) For 12 days following death to transform the departed soul into a preta (i.e., ‘spirit’) body; (d) One-year memorial to assist the departing soul to reach pitru-loka; and (e) Annual Memorial Day in honour of the ancestors.

I have also always thought that this system of reincarnation continued forever, however, whilst watching the video below, I realised that this process continues until one’s soul ‘attains perfection and becomes one with the Divine’. This concept is not readily talked about online, thus with further research I aim to delve into it and assess its reliability.

My personal experience thus far has been extensive. I have clearly already begun to experience cultural epiphanies and I have thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in one of the most diverse Asian religions. I am yet to personally experience the Sri Venkateswara Hindu Temple in Helensburgh, however, I am still planning on doing so and capturing my experience whilst I’m there. I’m looking forward to communicating my experience with you all further and can’t wait to experience many more epiphanies along the way.

Until next time…

Reference List:

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P, 2011, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, Vol. 12, No. 1

Sahoo, K 2014, ‘Rituals of death in Odisha: Hindu religious beliefs and socio-cultural practices’, International Journal of Language Studies, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 29-48


Naturally Gravitating towards South Korean Hip-Hop and R&B

pay attention and scroll...

Drawing upon my previous blog I touch base on the underground Korean music scene and my pertinent attitude for personal consumption. As part of my autoethnographic process it is important to consider the cultural framework in which I’ve been exposed, to inform my investigation into my chosen topic. Stemming from this week’s seminar, I’ve borrowed the following questions to stimulate my autoethnographic thinking:

“How does this experience connect to your own personal past?”


“How does your own culture and understanding impact on your experience on the encounter?”

(Source: Moore 2019)

In short, I can recall listening to non-asian hip-hop and R&B music from my immediate surroundings usually at home and at family gatherings, thus informing my preference to the genre as part of my cultural upbringing. Ellis et al. (2011) constructs the notion of illustrating facets of cultural experience through personal experience and it is through the pre-conceived…

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