Author: Louise

A Deeper Look into Idol Dancing Themes

Chibi Beatz was an incredible outsider experience of a westernised view into Japanese culture. Chibi Beatz, created by the same people who run Yokai Beatz which is held around Halloween, is a small underground “rave”/mini-convention where trinkets are sold and performances are held. It is named after Japanese folklore and people often people cosplay as Japanese Yokai which are a class of supernatural monsters, spirits and demons. Very much like people would around Halloween.

Ellis mentions that “When researchers write autoethnographies, they seek to produce aesthetic and evocative thick descriptions of personal and interpersonal experience.” (Ellis, 2011), and when looking at it like this and imagining the dark hall of Chibi Beatz with the stage lights shining down on my friends as they danced to Hatsune Miku songs with their friends and fans yelling to every beat of the song tapping their light sticks along as well as calling out their stage names. Ellis basically discusses that it’s all about telling a story, which in turn is about engaging the audience. “Writing personal stories thus makes “witnessing” possible” (Ellis, 2011) Which is why I’m trying to write down every detail about my experiences

The first time and one of the only times I have been experienced the fan culture of idol dancing was at Neko Nation. Which is similar to Chibi Beatz and Yokai Beatz in the sense that it is a westernised view into Japanese culture. Neko Nation featured catgirls, live performances from online music creators such as Teddyloid, performances from idol dances and J-Pop and J-Rock singers. Neko was similar to Chibi Beatz except it was set in a university bar, which as just as dark. The stage was illuminated by stage lights and bright LEDs and I spent the entire night cheering my friends on who were  on stage with the colour that matched their skirts

Every idol show that I can think of is somewhere dark like a bar or hall and the stage is illuminated with bright lights lighting up the dancers. Probably the more famous one I can recall would be Uncle Tetsu’s Angel Garden, which is a Japanese style café dedicated cheesecake and every Saturday at 9pm, Idol performers AGS102.

Ellis mentions that “ethical issues affiliated with friendship become an important part of the research process and product” which is something I will need to consider since all of the idols I am apart of the fan group for and am watching are all my friends.

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1. Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095

Autoethnographic Experience of the Fan Culture of Idol Dancing

I’ve never left Australia, so my experiences with Asian culture have only been from the internet and my social circles. I’m in the cosplay community, a term which originated from Japanese journalist Nobuyuki Takahashi while in Los Angeles for a science fiction Convention, but my friends and I attend almost every convention in cosplay. The conventions are almost always filled with comic books, pop culture merch, anime, manga. Many of my friends in social circles are inspired by Japanese fashion and Japanese culture, I also have a few friends who have learnt the language.

Thanks to online streaming services such as Netflix and Stan, before even starting BCM320 I had already watched some Asian tv-series and films, not counting anime which I almost grew up with. Most recently, however, my most autoethnographic approach to the digital Asian topic was going to watch my friend’s idol dance in Sydney at a convention. A couple of weeks ago I attended a small convention in Sydney called Chibi Beatz, run by Yokai Beatz. At this convention, there were a few small stalls with trinkets, art, jewellery and clothing, Including KamiFox who I tweeted about.

Chibi Beatz also included some performances by some of my friends, Project:VRI and Will-O. They were cosplaying and dancing to Vocaloid songs. Not for the first time, but at Chibi Beatz, I joined the fan culture for watching Idol or (Vocaloid in this case) dances.

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Project:VRI (Anaristya) and Will-O-Wisps

In my experience, the fan culture for idol dancing is insane. They are incredibly enthusiastic and loud, screaming to every beat of the song. I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as them but I was screaming for my friends constantly, I didn’t have a light stick with me this time but I have previously used one during one of my friend’s idol performances. It is common in Idol dancing culture it’s common to change the lightstick culture to the colour of your favourite idol and wave it to the beat of the song.

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MewsAU Instagram, ‘Light your penlights these colours”

A couple of my friends are also in a dance idol group called MewsAu, who mostly perform at every anime-themed convention. They are original a Love Live/Jpop cover group based in Sydney. This was my first experience into the fan culture for Idol dancing since the fan groups are usually bigger at larger conventions and Chibi Beatz was not a large convention. I can’t imagine the thrill of getting up and dancing in front of a live audience, which is why I love going to support my friends cheering them on.

This is just a video from Neko Nation where Mews Au performed last year, I’m waiting until my friends post their own footage so I can put it here. In this video, there is a clear evidence of screaming and lightsticks though!

References:

Sarkar, P. (2016). History of Cosplay. Geeks.media. Available at: https://geeks.media/history-of-cosplay

PuddingFloss and KristyLeighCosplay in the featured Image

Akira And The Rest

It was not a new experience for me to be watching an animated film as I have watched many previously before Akira. My Neighbour Totoro and Akira are now tied in the place of ‘oldest anime film*’ I’ve watched (film* not anime series), which still isn’t very old, yet they are both award-winning films. And I can see why, Akira was different. Definitely not the strangest anime I’ve ever watched, Miyazaki has some pretty elaborate films and some animes are known for being ‘out-there’ i.e. Elfen Lied or Goblin Slayer that both come with warnings attached.

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I’m no stranger to ethnography either. I’ve previously taken BCM241, where I studied the Esports community and the language that came with that. Ellis describes ethnography as studying “a culture’s relational practices, common values and beliefs, and shared experiences for the purpose of helping insiders (cultural members) and outsiders (cultural strangers) better understand the culture” (Ellis, Adam & Bochner, 2011) Watching Akira it was interesting to think about the culture that they were portraying of Japan, many peers accounting that it was unlike the stereotypical ideas of the country they had previously seen.

Autoethnographers, however, “must consider ways others may experience similar epiphanies; they 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, Adam & Bochner, 2011) From my understanding (mostly from what biographies and autobiographies are) Ethnography is looking in on another culture why autoethnography is being apart of the culture itself. Now I can’t say I’m a part of any Japanese biker gangs or any laboratory experiments, but I am an anime fan.

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Anime only recently drew me back in with the remake of the old anime and complete manga series Fruits Basket (which is absolutely perfect by the way), but I have watched a range of different animes in the past. I am a person who is open to any anime, but it depends mostly on the art style. If the anime is too cartoonish like Panty and Stocking or Lucky Star I will find trouble watching it. Akira was borderline on the art style I like and dislike, but since the story and colours were so beautiful I had no trouble getting into it. Overall Akira was one of my favourite movies to have watched in a BCM class, especially since it was a mix of sci-fi and anime.

Akira-Remake-700x300

Ellis, C, Adams, T.E & Bochner, A.P, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no. 1, <http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095&gt;

Week One Screening: The Host!

Now I may be a bit bias when it comes to ‘The Host’ but when I found out we were watching it in BCM320 I was ecstatic and not just because we were finally watching a horror film in class. I first watched this film one day when I was bored at home and craving a horror film, at first, I was going to sit, and half-watch it while on my phone I found it hard to ignore this fast-paced action-packed film.

This isn’t my first experience to live-tweeting having previously experienced it in BCM325, which helped significantly, as I found I was less hesitant to start and continue conversations with the rest of the class. The fact that I had previously watched ‘The Host’ also helped as I had previously looked at articles about this film, so it wasn’t difficult to find these articles again to share. It also helped when I missed parts of the movie, I wasn’t completely lost due to missing the subtitles.

Both my parents come from Australia with an English and Irish background so growing up there wasn’t really any Asian films, I had to seek these out on my own. Though I did get into anime at a young age most of them were English dubbed, I grew up watching dubbed Sailor Moon, Card Captor Sakura and One Piece only seeking out the subbed ones later in life. Most of the time now I will even watch dubbed over subbed since I don’t want to miss key points in the story since I’ll be on my phone.

‘The Host’ was a rare occasion for me when I just wanted to sit and watch a movie, which I’m glad I did. Apart from anime, my experience with Asian films are either horror or the ‘banned’ ones which also usually end up being horror. From an autoethnographic view, Korean horror films are some of the best. My pool of knowledge might be a little limited, but I love the small comedic value they bring into their horror films. In ‘The Host’ it was the main character Park Gang-du and his family who brought the comic relief with their poor choices (there must have been at least 5 or more bad choices) and remarks throughout the film.

The Host will always be a movie I recommend to people if they’re looking for something good to watch. Even though it’s 13 years old, it’s the perfect mix of horror, comedic relief gorgeous filmography and a story that won’t leave you bored halfway through.

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