Author: brookiyuki

Communications and media student at UOW, majoring in Digital Media. Passionate about new technologies, television and film, literature, and experiencing new places.

Culture-Tinted Glasses – Japanese Attitudes towards Foreign Exchange Students


In my first blog post concerning my upcoming study in Japan, I investigated two possible host universities.  Both are similar in that they offered courses in English, are private institutions in Tokyo, and are both UOW partner universities.  Without any prior knowledge or any past students’ reports to assist me, I utilised the web to decide between the two and ultimately make a decision that I will be living with for the next year.

I had anticipated that it would be an easy task, given Japan’s affinity for technology and their perceived fondness for foreigners; however, I found that their websites were difficult to navigate and hard to understand.  It’s off-putting for a hopeful exchange student to encounter such barriers, but my experience has led me to a few epiphanies as to why this may be the case.

rainbow-bridge-2086645.jpg Tokyo is home to over 20 million residents, and only 1.5% of…

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Becoming a Gaijin Girl


I came into this subject knowing I wanted to focus my studies on Japan.  The country has fascinated me ever since I began studying the language in high school, and that passion has not dwindled over the last 8 years.  I hope to work with and among the Japanese in the future, perhaps even working and living in Japan, and I am starting that journey by hopefully studying there as an exchange student next year.

Therefore, my research project for Digital Asia will centre on my preparations for exchange next year.  As I have no first-hand experience with Japanese universities, nor know anyone who has been to the unis I am considering, my first stage of investigation will involve analysing the various unis and making a selection based on the information I find online.

As a UOW student I only have a handful of Japanese universities to choose from, and I…

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Why is Japan So Important to Me?


My understanding of autoethnography stems from high school, and coincidentally, came about as part of my Japanese studies.  It may even be the reason I decided to take DIGC330 in the first place, as I now view my time in this class as the pivotal driver of my appreciation of Japan and Asian culture.  My moment of epiphany, as Ellis describes it; the transformative moment when I knew Japan would have a place in my future.

In Year 10 I went on a study trip to Japan with my class.  It was my first trip overseas without my family and needless to say, I was very nervous about the whole experience.  My Japanese teacher, Ms David, was a big fan of learning through experience, and so she would set us challenges.  Challenges, I may add, that she had avoided telling the Department of Education about as they were sure…

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ゴジラ – Exploring Japan Through Film

I am a little behind the pack on this one, but here it is nonetheless – my reaction to watching the classic Japanese film Godzilla in class, whilst live-tweeting the experience.  The tricky thing about writing last is that all the most profound and insightful discoveries have already been stated by others, so I’ll be using my tweets to guide my response.

Godzilla, or ゴジラ as it is written in Japan, is one of the most iconic 海珠 (kaiju, or monster) films of all time.  I’ll admit that despite this, I’ve never seen the original, only the Hollywood remake featuring Bryan Cranston.  I have also never watched a black and white film outside of high school English studies – damn you, To Kill A Mockingbird!

I don’t know why I’m so surprised, to be completely honest.  As a white, atheist Australian woman with no direct links to anything across the sea, any culture I experience is new and foreign to me.  Perhaps that’s why I am so drawn to the Japanese culture, history and lifestyle – it is incredible to experience as an outsider.

I am very open to the idea of being absorbed in Japanese culture as it gives me a window of insight into the cultural nuances of Japan.  I love the works of Studio Ghibli, and I adored the J-drama series 花ざかりの君たちへ (Hanazakari no kimitachi e) when it was first shown to me by my Japanese teacher.  I tried to draw comparisons between the J-drama and Godzilla at first, before realising that they are completely different insights – it’s like trying to compare The Notebook to Transformers.

My early thoughts when watching Godzilla commented on the plot and acting, which I likened to Home and Away in its dramatics.  However, it wasn’t long before I began to notice the subtle details, such as the choice to keep non-diegetic movie scarce, and the number of women in the film.

As the film progressed, I found myself less distracted by the yelling-acting and the dated special effects, and began to appreciate the film’s nuances.  One scene in particular, with a mother comforting her two children in the moments before death that they would see their father in heaven soon, made me tear up more than it had a right to.  I didn’t realise how invested I was in the film until this point.

Once I appreciated the film and its story beyond its goofy effects, I discovered the underlying symbolism of Godzilla as the aftereffect of the nuclear bomb’s dropping on Hiroshima.  Once I understood this (around the same time as the rest of the class), the film takes on a whole new layer and depth of meaning.

I only shared one quote during my live-tweeting session, and it was the following:   “If we keep doing nuclear testing, it’s possible another Godzilla will appear, somewhere in the world”.  It’s a devastating moment in the film, where the film is trying to drive home their anti-nuclear and anti-war message.  To me, it sounds like a plea, the film asking the audience to understand the crushing realities of war.  I felt a little foolish for joking around at the beginning when the reality is that the film, for its time, must have been revolutionary.