Author: harrisonjthomas

I'm a University student currently studying at Wollongong from 2015 - present I'm in my very early 20's and enjoy creating (hopefully) entertainingblogs for other people to read and learn from.

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


DA – The Hidden Fortress

Harrison Thomas

Hey hey, I made a 10 minute podcast describing my experience with Akira Kurosawa’s film ‘The Hidden Fortress’. I personally loved this film and had a great time experiencing it. This experience has certainly broadened my views on films from other cultures, making me want to seek out films from other countries. Enjoy…

I came into this film with an open mind. Embracing all aspects of Japanese culture as much as I could. I had issues regarding subtitles and as you might hear in the podcast, trouble with the pronunciation of certain names. I’ve never watched a Japanese film, apart from some anime. I stay inside my cultural bubble and don’t usually search for anything to get me out of my comfort zone. After some research, I began to see the connection between Kurosawa’s films and some of the most well known western films today, such as Star Wars…

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Auto-ethnography: Reflection.

Throughout the semester, I’ve been pushed more and more out of my comfort zone. Experiencing different cultures, mainly through film. All the different films and documentaries we’ve watched in the BCM320 class, have discussed various cultural issues and differences. In this blog post, I’ll attempt to reflect on my personal experience with these different cultures and how I wrote about them in my previous post. This reflection is a part of the auto-ethnographic process, attempting to create a greater understanding of my experience with different cultures.

I’ve never been outside my cultural bubble. I’ve stayed in Sydney pretty much my whole life, rarely going to a different state. I like to believe that I have heaps of experience with different cultures, however after seeing all these movies and documentaries in BCM320, it’s rather obvious that I haven’t got much experience at all.

I’m focusing on the film “The Hidden Fortress”.

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I was rather shocked to learn about The Hidden Fortress. It was a source of inspiration for several incredible films that I grew up on. It was partially responsible for several films that I’ve come to know and love. One I mentioned previously was “Star Wars: A New Hope” (1977)

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I’m interested to see how this experience will go, as the previous movies that were viewed in BCM320 were somewhat eye-opening. Especially Gojira, which made me read between the lines within films and look at the giant metaphor roaming around Japan, destroying stuff.

I’m also excited to explore the movies that were inspired by Kurosawa, like “The Hateful Eight” by Quintin Tarantino, “The Magnificent Seven” by John Sturges, “A Fist full of Dollars” by Sergio Leone, and many other classics.

In my further research and Digital Artefact, I’ll attempt to better understand the culture from where The Hidden Fortress came from, whilst also being able to create an experience for the readers in order to include them on the journey that I will undergo. I’ll explain and explore my epiphanies that I experience throughout my viewings of the Hidden Fortress, to help create that experience for the readers.

I’m looking forwards to it being another culture shock, discussing issues relating to the time it was produced. Similar to the films we’ve discussed throughout the semester in Digital Asia like Akira and Gojira





Ellis, C (2018). Autoethnography: An Overview: Qualitative Social Research, [online] Available at:  [Accessed 19 Sep. 2018].

Independent Auto-ethnography: Japanese Film Experience.

I pride myself on my ability to find time to watch movies and TV shows. It’s a rather incredible gift. A pointless one, until now.

For my Digital Asia class, I have to research Asian culture and discuss my experience of it. I’m a typical white boy and don’t have that much experience with any culture in general. I’ve never been overseas at all, I am going to Japan at the end of the year and I’m more than ready for that culture shock.

For my Digital Artefact I’m going to be doing so research into Japanese films. I’ve watched countless movies. I wouldn’t be able to count how many i’ve watched in the last year or two. I also try to watch a wide variety of different films, and different genres. E.g Horror, Action, Drama, Rom-coms, and the rest.

I have never watched a Japanese Film. I was going to jump head first into a doozy of a film. “Seven Samurai” (1954), directed by Akira Kurosawa. A 3 hour and 27 minute long film.


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A highly regarded film which has inspired various other directors like Quentin Tarantino, with his incredible use of camera angles, blocking and framing.


Akira Kurosawa’s brilliance has caused dozens videos analysing his techniques.


I chose not to watch “Seven Samurai” just yet.

I’ll watch “The Hidden Fortress” (1958), directed by Akira Kurosawa.


Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 6.08.53 pm

A 2 hour and 19 minute film about two peasants who unbeknownst to them, are guiding a Princess and her General.

“The Hidden Fortress” has inspired some brilliant films, one in particular that i’m more than positive everyone knows. George Lucas’ “Star Wars” (1977). There’s a parallel with both stories. Both with similar stories, of course with different aspects and twists.


In this video, Lucas discusses his appreciation of Akira Kurosawa and his direction techniques. In particular his camera angles and framing.

For my digital artefact for my Digital Asia class, I’ll be discussing my experience of Kurosawa’s work. I’ll give my perspective on the quality of the film and i’ll be researching into how he’s inspired present day directors. I’ll discuss my experience through blog posts, filled with videos and images. It will be a little challenging, considering I haven’t experienced this type of film before, and also I hate reading. So subtitles will be a huge pain.

The films I’ve already experienced, like “Akira” (1988), have been a massive culture shock (Akira was just a shocking film in general). These films have shed light on the cultures from which the film originated, pushing me out of my comfort zone. It’s been incredible. It’s inspired me to research into various different asian cultures, Japan in particular. I’m really excited to experience Kurosawa’s films and to discuss it with you.




Harrison Thomas

This weeks film in BCM320 was Akira.


Akira is confronting, disturbing, and rather deep. I found various scenes unpleasant to watch, other scenes unbelievably intense and captivating. This was my first ever viewing of Akira, and I would like to watch it again in the future. In its own weird and twisted way it conveys the message, similar to (1954) Gorjia, the potential dangers involving man and it’s creations. Also similar to an anime Frankenstein, however on a larger scale. The film discusses the dangers of scientific advancement, with Tetsuo and Akira’s powers displaying similarities to an atomic bomb. With Tetsuo being unable to control his powers in the end and all the foreshadowing from the weird 60 year old kids, this from what I could gather, attempts to mirror the damage from WW2 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I personally think it conveys that very well. It also lightly touches…

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Harrison Thomas

The powerhouse that is Godzilla has always been an exciting character to watch for me. Destroying buildings and terrorising cities, every version of Godzilla satisfies my destructive urges. Fortunately, the original 1954 ‘Gojira’, directed by Ishiro Honda was the first film played in my Digital Asia subject at UOW. For this screening we had to live tweet our responses as we watched. Unfortunately, I was away for this screening as I had the flu. But I decided to watch it in my spare time anyway as I’ve always enjoyed watching Godzilla films, it can be my prep for the new Godzilla films coming out later this year, battling King Ghidorah and breaking stuff and whatnot.


My first impression of Gojira was that it was a fun, destructive adventure to watch and enjoy without thinking. However, after research and discussing with my peers, I realised that i’d barely scratched the surface…

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