Author: briloulaw

Brianna, 21 from Sydney Australia Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies, UOW 2016

Henna Mehndi

A Brief History

Known in Indian as Mehndi, otherwise known as Henna in Arabic, is a form of body art dating back over 5000 years originating from South Asia, the Middle East and Africa with “some of the earliest records of henna come from Egypt and traces have been found on the mummified bodies of Cleopatra and King Ramses II“. The practice of applying henna can not only be used for body art, but also as relief from the intense heat of of the countries where henna originates from.

Photo by: Subhankar Barai Photography ( for an Indian wedding

Contemporary decorative henna is closely linked with with traditional celebrations. Additionally, the designs of the body art vary due to both culture and geographic regions. For example, mehndi consists of fine lines of lacy, floral, paisley patterns. Whereas,  henna is often associated with bold lines and geometric designs.

A significant traditional use of Mehndi…

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Collecting Data & Making Bento


Ellis describes autoethnography as “an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy)personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno).” 

I will be reflecting on my previous blog post, a narrated experience which outlined my data collection regarding Japanese bentos. I will be using Ellis and other sources to analyse my autoethnographic experience with bentos, and thus, how my own cultural framework structured my data collection. 

The selection of my field site, making bentos, was based upon an epiphany I had while reflecting on my time studying Japanese in high school. I remembered two things standing out to me: that Japanese students often had to stay back after school to help clean, and that they had had delicious looking lunches served in boxes with multiple compartments: Bentos.

Related imageBento

Epiphanies guide the autoethnographic process…

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Throughout primary school my lunch was very consistent. Inside my plastic lunch box, I had a wholemeal sandwich with ham and cheese, an orange cut up and wrapped in foil and a Le Snack. When I got to high school I ditched the plastic lunch box and a roam

Image result for le snacLe Snack, An Australian Primary School Favourite

bread roll floated around in my bag for lunch, with a muesli bar for recess. At university, I usually don’t even bring lunch, mostly opting to buy something from one of the many food outlets available on campus.

I remember brushing on Japanese lunches when we learnt about the schooling system in Japanese class in high school. Two things stood out to me: Japanese students often had to stay back after school to help clean the school, and that they had massive, tasty looking, creative, gourmet lunches- Bento. As someone who…

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Understanding Akira: A Stranger Thing


Autoethnography, as defined last blog post, is described by Carolyn Ellis as “an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno).”

It’s a broad, sweeping definition that has a whole lot to unpack. But really, what does this mean?

The methodology has been broken down into steps: 1. Determine your field site. 2. Gather your data. 3. Identify key observations/epiphanies. 4. Interrogate your assumptions. 5. Engage in further research and analysis. 6. Communicate your findings.

Drawing on my viewing experience (which I documented via live-tweeting) of the 1988 Japanese Anime Akira, I will attempt to identify the elements of an autoethnographic process as I tried to make sense of the text as a white Australian female in 2018.

One of my favourite live-tweeting tropes while watching the assigned…

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Autoethnography & Gojira


I would say that growing up I was always sheltered from the big scary news events, disasters and historical moments. I never knew that 9/11 occurred until I watched the 2004 Disney film Tiger Cruise. I didn’t know anything about the Holocaust until I saw the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, nor did I know much about the war at all.

It wasn’t until Japanese class in Year 9 at high school that I learnt about the Hiroshima Nuclear Attack. Survivor, Junko Morimoto visited our school to talk about her experience and it was something which stayed with me forever. I read so many Wikipedia articles and watched so many documentaries on the attack.

When we sat down in BCM320 to watch the 1954 black and white Japanese film Gojira I thought I knew what to expect. Great, another trashy, unrealistic action film with a larger than life…

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