Week 6

Week Five: (My) Australian exoticism of Bubble Tea

In section two of Ellis’ paper, he describes the process of an individual collecting information for an autoethnography 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 (1.)’ How am I to embark on exploring a sect of foreign culture, with practises that speak not only to the activity, but also the people and the culture from it was created?

‘Bubble Tea, or boba tea, contain tea of some kind, flavors or milk, as well as sugar (optional). Toppings, such as chewy tapioca balls (also known as pearls, or boba), popping boba, fruit jelly, grass jelly, agar jelly, and puddings are often added. (2)’

A sect of Asian culture that has often eluded, confused and intrigued me has been the various Bubble Tea houses, with locations all over Sydney, and one or two in Wollongong. I have not once in my nice, whitewashed life ever tasted, let alone set foot in one of these houses. Whilst much of Asian cuisine has made their way into western culture and become normalised, including many variants of herbal green tea, it seems to me that various fast foods and snacks, mostly consumed by the young Asian population of Australia has not been as widely received as traditional cuisine.

I went, as I’m sure any self respecting young auto ethnographer would, to the cultural gem that is Buzzfeed Australia (3,) to try and gain an impression of the standard Australian opinion of Bubble tea. With your standard assortment of dull gifs and memes, the article explains just how wide the variation of Taiwanese bubble teas can be, using a combination of jellies, tapioca pods, powdered creamer and mousse to flavour their drinks. It’s also gluten free.

The article however, did not mention ‘why’ it wasn’t as popular as other modern Asian cuisines. Whether this is due to the cultural barriers, or simply due to it being plain ‘weird’ in the eyes of Australia, bubble tea houses seem an interesting sect of Asian culture to explore, and experience, from a set of totally fresh eyes. I plan to go to two or three different bubble tea houses, armed with pen, paper and camera and soak up the atmosphere, whilst consuming one of these seemingly exotic drinks.

Through this process I hope that I can discover not only the taste of jellied tea, but also how contemporary Asian food culture has made a life for itself in Australia; and possibly why it is not as widely accepted by myself and my Australian peers. It is relevant however, as our Asian population (and influence) grows and brings with it many seemingly strange and exotic forms of culture.

(DISCLAIMER: there’s a big chance I am guilty myself of painting bubble tea as oriental, and myself contributing to the dialogue of othering. But I believe one has to start with what they know, and acknowledge it. Depending on the success of this autoethnography, I could have a very profound epiphany about Asian youth culture; but we will have to see.)


  1. Ellis C, Adams T E, Bochner A P (2010.) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview.’ Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 1
  2. Wikapedia (2018.) ‘Bubble Tea,’ Wikapedia.org/en
    Accessed: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_tea
  3. Cooke E (2016.) ’19 Things You Need To Know About Bubble Tea’ Buzzfeed, Oct 15, 2016.
    Accessed: buzzfeed.com/emmacooke24/heres-everything-you-need-to-know-about-bubble-tea

DIGC330 My Understanding

I grew up being pretty health conscious, active and engaging in multiple forms of physical activity through school sports programs and outside of school. After continuing to research Asian MMA and stunt culture I am discovering that I do have connections to the sport, however, I lack the deep cultural understanding, and my research at this point has been surfing the web, which has been helpful but I want to make a more authentic connection to what I am researching. In regards to making an empathetic connection, I can appreciate the importance of the sports and how it can influence an individuals lifestyle and professional career. I want to make sense of this Asian cultural sport as best I can. I have never experienced any MMA or stunt work. Through actively participating in some form of martial arts, I will be able to partake in an unfiltered experience drawing on knowledge from the teachers. This field work of participant observation forces me to step out of my comfort zone and immerse myself into the culture. Kawulich states “Participant observation is the process enabling researchers to learn about the activities of the people under study in t he natural setting through observing and participating in those activities”. (Kawulich, 2005)

While watching Rush hour (1998), see the last blog post… I was drawn to the humour and the slapstick style of comedy, as I have been influenced by western American cinema. this may have been something I could relate to, too much. So, I feel I must continue to engage with Asian platforms media and texts that include any stunt culture or MMA to continue experiencing revelations, and learn about the cultural aspect away from any supporting western media. This will include Anime (see below snippet of Baki the Grappler) and current films in animation such as (Kung Fu Panda). I can feel my perspective shift and have epiphanies arise as “Kung Fu advocates virtue and peace, not aggression or violence.” 

As I learn about the historical side of the Asian MMA culture, it provides a cultural framework and foundation for me to analyse Asian texts. ‘A researcher decides who, what when, where and how to research, decisions necessarily tied to institutional requirements.‘ (Ellis 2011.) I am aware that the structural research decisions I make are directly linked to the interest of mine or things I can empathise with.

As I stated above I have limited understanding of Asian entertainment media and I do struggle to resonate with anything than universal human emotions in these shows, as values language and social norms are all very foreign to me I can occasionally feel displaced and uncomfortable in that setting. However, I understand the critical importance of

“the influence of Dragon Ball Z is more prevalent than ever. UFC bantamweight Marcus Brimage, for example, who was faced with the tall tasks of welcoming Cody Garbrandt and Conor McGregor to the organization, is an avid fan of the show and has cited it as one of his primary reasons for pursuing the sport. ” 

I also need to look how the rise of social media and the internet has allowed Asian forms of MMA such as Kung Fu, Thai chi and taekwondo influence western culture and…

Baki the Grappler. 

I kept noticing how anime portrays the male body of and masculinity, this should undoubtedly influence Asian perspectives of what is considered to be attractive and healthy.

Conversations regarding this masculinity are sustained online due to this pop culture conditioning. ‘Since sophomore year in HS, my fitness regimen has been inspired by the Dragon, Bruce Lee. This was partly because I’m too shy to work out in gyms, but the convenience of callisthenics is also appealing.’To platforms such as Reddit and fan fiction where fans can discuss evaluate character decisions.


  1. Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12
  2. Kawulich, 2005, Participant Observation as a Data Collection Method, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, Vol 6, no 2.
  3. self.Asian American, Asian Fitness, Reddit, June 3rd,
  4. Lo, K 2005, Chinese Face/Off: The Transnational Popular Culture of Hong Kong / Kwai-Cheung Lo, Urbana; Chicago: University of Illinois Press, c 2005.
  5.  Taylor, T 2017, The Massive Influence of Dragon Ball Z on MMA, Jet Li, viewed: 8th September 2017, https://www.jetli.com/2017/07/massive-influence-dragon-ball-z-mma
  6. Travel guide China, 2017, Chinese Kung Fu (Martial Arts) accessed 1st September 2017, https://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/martial_arts/

Asian stunt/MMA culture

So I had an epiphany on what I should do for my artefact… Hong Kong/Asian stunt culture and martial arts! Basically, because Bruce Lee is a legend and I get to watch Rush Hour again. However, I need to refine if its Asian stunt culture in general or Hong Kong stunt culture, as I am finding a lot Asian mixed martial arts crossing over from different countries. (I want to research into this component as well; the potential research could be: How there is this spread of culture shared by so many countries.)

I found a fantastic Reddit thread about Asian American identity and how this influences how individuals cater their health and fitness towards a cultural avenue.

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 1.32.20 pm


This sparked my interest, as I can conduct a bit of a cross cultural examination of Hong Kong and Asian influence on American cinema. I then decided to watch a film that incorporates MMA and cinema as my digital component. I chose Rush Hour (1998). I decided to live tweet as I was watching my reactions. This directly links to my experience while watching the film, I feel I need to do this with at least a few movies so I can gain some primary research regarding my experience and especially how it shifts as I research and understand more about the topic – and it also directly connects to Ellis’ definition of narrative autoethnography:

Narrative ethnographies refer to texts presented in the form of stories that incorporate the ethnographer’s experiences into the ethnographic descriptions and analysis of others. Here the emphasis is on the ethnographic study of others, which is accomplished partly by attending to encounters between the narrator and members of the groups being studied (TEDLOCK, 1991), and the narrative often intersects with analyses of patterns and processes. [17] (Ellis, 2011)

I feel like I took a very cinematic perspective to the film. I automatically started a comparison between American and Hong Kong culture. This could be due to my lack of understanding in Hong Kong martial arts in cinema, and I automatically create connections with what I am comfortable with. It’s important that I clarify potential bias in order to stay transparent to audiences, and I feel while watching Rush Hour (1998).  It may have turned into watching for entertainment purposes, I forgot to live tweet purely because I was enjoying myself so much. I found the same thing with action comedy movies they suck you in. For the next movie, I watch im going to try and keep that barrier up and analyse and see what I pick up on.


Interesting how American cinema slapstick comedy aligns so well to HK stunts and action. The pair fit nicely together. 


Chan struggles culturally in America but his Martial art moves are no match for Americans! 

I then want to compare the film with an older traditional style of film with Bruce Lee in it. And I want to go and experience some martial arts training myself.

Next, I will be looking at how animation has taken martial arts and stunts and research further into that. Watching Kung Fu Panda 2008, and how animation has changed the face of martial arts and stunts. The animation is constantly pushing digital boundaries and is constantly developing and creating a timeless cultural connection between cinema culture and martial arts. The CNN video, allowed me to understand how deeply and culturally rooted MMA and stunts are in Hong Kong entertainment and society. It’s a complex sport that requires precision and acting something i wouldn’t have associated with Hong Kong cinema previously.


Cinema isn’t the only digital means we are seeing MMA in, we can also find direct links between Martial arts and anime. “The martial arts were a central foundation of this iconic anime series. From Master Roshi’s Turtle School, where Goku and many of his compatriots received their martial arts training, to the World Martial Arts Tournament with which the show’s final saga began, Dragon Ball Z was steeped in martial arts culture. Yet the relationship between Dragon Ball Z and the martial arts has been a reciprocal one.” …. Just as martial arts provided the backbone of this beloved show, the show has, in turn, influenced throngs of young people to explore the martial arts, eager to harness their inner Goku, put in some work in the gym, and become the world’s strongest fighter. Some of these DBZ-inspired young people evolved into heroes of the MMA world.

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 3.35.41 pm


I want to research more into animation, and how stunt culture is still extremely relevant to Asian entertainment and society due to its cultural and religious roots. As I become more educated on the topic I want my perspective to shift, to be able to analyse the trends and processes surrounding this mass distribution of stunt and MMA film nationally and why it is also so successful internationally.


  1. CNN, n.d. Hong Kong’s Kung fu stunt school viewed: 7th September 2017 http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2017/07/06/hong-kong-stunt-school.cnn|
  2. Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12
  3. self.Asian American, Asian Fitness, Reddit, June 3rd,
  4.  Taylor, T 2017, The Massive Influence of Dragon Ball Z on MMA, Jet Li, viewed: 8th September 2017, https://www.jetli.com/2017/07/massive-influence-dragon-ball-z-mma

Autoethnography Project Scope: The Amazing Japanese Arcade

In Australia arcades are a pretty poor affair these days. The few dotted around New South Wales, the Timezones and even Market City’s City Amusements are shadows of their former selves. It’s been something I’ve always seen as normal, having visited arcades very little growing up. I can remember playing the racing games with prop cars and bikes at the local bowling alley, or getting some Street Fighter and Time Crisis practice in whenever I managed to spend a spare hour at one.

Last year, before I headed to Japan for the first time, I knew arcades were a big thing over there – but I never expected it to be as big as it was. The quiet, single storey arcades of Sydney were dwarfed by the multistory ‘Club Sega’ that ended up being a regular visit while we there (being one train stop from Akihabara, anime and arcade central, helped here. It’s this contrast and enjoyment that has become the basis of my Digital Artefact – my plan is to examine the Japanese Arcade and its place in Japanese society through the lens of what we see as an arcade here – often a relic of a bygone era.


A shot from my trip of the huge Club Sega (red building) in Akihabara

My initial experience with arcades in Japan was at the very same Club Sega pictured above, nestled around the corner from the Akihabara train station. When you first walk in your greeted by a ground floor full of UFO catchers (prize machines with the little dangling claws) outfitted with the latest figures from popular anime, stuffed toys and other trinkets. Escalators up and down stood next to the machines, one leading straight down to the featured new games, specifically Pokken Tournament at this point. Another four stories were above, each with their own colouring, feel and theme of games.

At first the huge amount of UFO catchers was peculiar, here they’re usually used for small chocolates or expensive toys and always seen as a scam. I remember seeing PSP’s in machines outside the local Kmart as a kid, never seeing anyone succeed at it and firmly believing they were just a money grab. After even a few hours it was pretty clear how big an attraction they are in Japan, and how – while hard – they still often deliver their prizes to players. There’s even a whole ecosystem of stores that operate solely to buy and sell UFO catcher prizes, but that’s a whole separate project…

Experience notes:

  • Strong smell of smoke, especially in higher up levels (due to indoor smoking being allowed)
  • Games are sorted into floors of the same style of game (ie. rhythm games)
  • High encouragement to buy digital passes that save progress for returning visits
  • Vistors weren’t solely kids, plenty of adults, even in business suits, playing games
  • Action based games like Gundam seemed most popular
  • Cheap and easy – coin changers everywhere and 100 yen coins (roughly $1 AUD) get you ages of play, not just a single race/round
  • the western arcade fighter wasn’t as prevalent
  • branded and rapidly changing promotional games/toys
  • filled with plenty of school or older aged females, breaking the ‘sterotypical’ western arcade attendee

There’s more I have committed to memory, but as a whole I’m very curious to delve deeper than the surface level of arcades that I first experienced. With modern day consoles and computers, what makes people leave their homes to drop 100 yen coins in a tall building filled with games? What do the Japanese arcades owe to their much longer lifespan, and continued support, that we don’t see here?

Below is a video I quickly together with the team from work as a feature on Pokken Tournament (as it was unreleased outside of Japan at this point), which includes some shots of the arcades and my initial thoughts on the experience.


My plan for the Digital Artefact is to take this approach one step further, taking a filmed walk through of a Sydney arcade (hopefully City Amusements due to its size) and discussing aspects of it in relation to my experiences in its Japanese counterparts. This is where research, readings and extra resources come in, with the intention of editing it all together into a video package which combines my own experiences with this research.

Ultimately, there’s a lot to unpack here, ranging from the introduction of arcades into Australia in contrast with the prevalence of them in Japan to the actual purpose they serve in each of the two societies. To understand this there’s a lot of history I need to delve in to the culture that surrounds these arcades and districts like Akihabara, places very unlike what I’m used to here in Australia. I’m very curious to learn more about something I enjoy as much as the arcades of Japan – I’ll be sure to keep the daydreaming of being back in one to a minimum.

My Autoethnographic Experience With Yoga.

For my autoethnographic project I will be attempting to practice yoga and observe whether it has an impact on my lifestyle and relaxation levels. I have a basic knowledge of yoga, essentially that it is an ancient practice which is a really good form of exercise as it lowers blood pressure, stress and can enable people to have a more relaxed outlook on life. As a broke and stressed out uni student I need more of all of those things in my life and therefore have absolutely nothing to lose by attempting this. Except maybe a little dignity when I discover I am not as flexibly inclined as I originally assumed.


Caitlin Turner who goes by  Gypset Goddess on Instagram. Photo via Instagram


I have been doing yoga for the past 8 months in between uni, working and  going on holidays I can’t afford, in an attempt to get some zen and relaxation into my routine. I am generally a very high strung person who is stressed about anything and everything. However I realized there must be a better way of dealing with life in general than this. Hence; yoga.

Currently I aim to go 3 times a week and I usually leave feeling somewhat relaxed (never completely) with the impression I have done some exercise even though I basically stayed in the same spot for an hour, sticking my ass into the air and lying on a mat.

Last night I went to a Yin Yang yoga class which involved a lot of twists and turns and holding poses to release pressure on the joints which helps cleanse the body of toxins.

This morning I woke up at 7 am,  and instead of feeling as exhausted as I usually would when I wake up at the crack of dawn, I felt refreshed and energetic and my brain felt somewhat clearer.

I’ve never had this reaction since I began practicing yoga. I’ve felt relaxed and found myself able to concentrate on things better, however this is the first time I’ve felt full of energy after a class. It was awesome.

In my initial experiences practicing yoga I found it surprisingly easy as a result of my many years of dancing as a child into my teens.Giving me a bit more flexibility than a lot of beginners and helped me to enjoy the practice more initially.

Things started getting harder and more strenuous when I realized the class I was attending was in fact one of the easy ones. Meaning I probably wasn’t as good at yoga as I’d hoped.

After doing a Hatha yoga class a couple of weeks later I learnt 3 things

  1. Yoga is not to be messed with for the faint hearted
  2. Yoga is awesome when you do it right
  3. Yoga instructors have the lungs of aliens and can spend 30 seconds taking the same breath and expect you to do the same. They should all be Olympic swimmers or something because that is amazing and unnatural.


Hatha yoga is one of the more traditional styles and focuses on keeping breathing and movement in sync. As yoga encourages deep and long breathing while doing quite difficult exercise, this was something I struggled with. Trying to keep my ass and leg in the air  while feeling like my wrists are going to pop out and practicing ‘mindfulness’ with ‘relaxation breathing’ simultaneously, sometimes proves difficult.

Although I’ve attended yoga for a few months now, I realized I didn’t know much at all about the background and theory behind the practices. Therefore it was time I completed some research and found out what it actually was I was participating in.

Hatha yoga refers to any type of physical yoga and consists of 8 Limbs which emphasize the steps for a healthy and happy life.  The limbs are outlined in the Sutras and each one relates to a different aspect of achieving a healthy and fulfilling life. The Limbs include the 5 Yamas which are directives on how a yogi should undertake aspects of life towards others. I find them similar to the 10 commandments of Christianity, however they appear to be less strict and enforced and are more guidelines rather than specific things you can’t do which are considered bad or sinful.


  • Ahimsa: reffering to non-violence against others and is often used as an argument for choosing to be a vegetarian.
  • Satya: practicing truthfulness
  • Asteya: not stealing from others and also alludes to not bringing people down to make yourself better
  • Brahmacharya: refers to chastity but can mean either celibacy or just control of sexual impulses
  • Aparigraha: not coveting what others have

The next limb is the Niyamas and is broken up 5 ways again to describe how one should act ethically towards themselves.

  • Saucha: referring to cleanliness and alludes to keeping pure intentions
  • Santosa: contentment with oneself
  • Tapas: self discipline
  • Svadhyay: self study to look within yourself for answers
  • Isvara pranidhana: surrender to a higher power

The other 6 of the 8 limbs of yoga include:

  • Asana: the physical practice of yoga postures
  • Pranyama: the practice of breathing exercises
  • Pratyahara: the withdrawal of senses, so the outside world isn’t a distraction from the internal inside individuals
  • Dharana: concentration, the ability to focus uninterrupted by internal and external distraction.
  • Dhyana: Meditation and the ability to extend your concentration beyond a single thing
  • Samadhi: bliss, and the transcendence of the self through meditation where an individual merges with the universe. This is also known as enlightenment

I’ve heard allusions to some of the Limbs before during my practices, however what I didn’t expect was the implied chastity practice in Brahmacharya. As I’ve always seen yoga as a free and relaxed form of practice which allows individual interpretation of the limbs, I didn’t expect such a direct instruction regarding sexuality. I would expect this from the stricter religions although because yoga has such Buddhist and Hindu roots, there would be some sharing of morals and guidelines.

Over the next few weeks, I aim to practice yoga and attempt to observe the 8 limbs which aim to attain health and fulfillment. I will document my practices and how I feel and then my auto ethnographic experience to how well I was able to achieve a better lifestyle through undertaking yoga.



NIHON Encounters


The individual research project practices autoethnography by allowing us to document personal experiences of a particular culture, different to my own and brings further research to allow social, cultural and political understandings of the experience. You can say that I’ve basically cheated and went ahead before this semester started by already incorporating myself into a cultural experience.

Earlier, during the break between semester one and two, my friends and I went for a month’s holiday in Japan and South Korea. I vlogged, recorded and took pictures of my whole journey. Coming back to Uni and going through the DIGC330 course, I realised that everything I recorded, everything I did and experienced in Japan and Korea could be used as an advantage for this individual research project. So, as Chris said, I’m basically cheating- but in a good way!

For my individual project, I’ve decided to draw upon my experience in Japan (not Korea, because it was my second time there), travelling through Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto within a week for the first time. This includes cultural experiences through historical sites and landmarks across the country, social encounters with Japanese citizens as well as indulging the gourmet food. In doing so, I plan to incorporate all the images and video recordings I’ve captured through not only my camera but also personalised Snapchat stories – and using all this footage to form a sort of journal – like story. Combining photos of landscapes, mouth- watering food shots, cultural sites and cities that I’ve taken myself; I intend to personalise my individual artefact and reflect on my autoethnographic experience.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The platform I’ve decided to use is Instagram. I thought this would be most suitable in uploading images and short videos quickly and easy without having the need to heavily edit. The platform allows hashtags to help people navigate my images as well as GPS location tagging. Having the option of adding a description for the image or video enables reflection with each individual experience. Overall, Instagram would be beneficial as a visual journal of my encounter in Japan and its culture.

A few raw observations from my experience:

  • Sushi preparation and whole etiquette was very different with either set menus or a la carte with options with or without wasabi on the actual sushi rather than on the side. Soy sauce is usually not needed and seafood was very delicate and melted in your mouth
  • Gave you a small wet towel to wipe your hands before you eat as well as serviettes if needed
  • Tea was usually accompanied with meals at sushi restaurants or miso soup
  • Convenience store has full meals available- not just average sandwiches but bento sets and noodle meals as well as microwaves to reheat and hot water for instant noodles
  • Restaurants are small; some with only even 8 seats while watching food get made in front of you. It was very intimate and allows communication with the chef
  • Cities like Tokyo and Osaka were much quieter during the day than expected- not many people walking around the streets but rather busier at night
  • Lots of natural scenic views and historical sites- such as shrines, temples, rivers, bridges and forests
  • Lots of English on street signs and restaurant menus- or they had images to choose
  • Subway system was very confusing with various transportation cards for different rail companies and subway tickets were small like a coupon and had no English- it was confusing figuring out what ticket we needed for each destination
  • People are very welcoming, friendly and bright and always went out of their way to help. I noticed people would offer to take a photo for us when we were taking ‘selfies’ or video blogging.
  • Although there was lots of English around the street and on signs but the people didn’t know English very well- evident language barrier
  • When ordering food they had either vending machines where you choose your meal then received a ticket to give to staff or they had English menus with images.
  • Lots of souvenir shops at shrines and temples had ‘good luck’ charms for different aspects of life such as money, relationships, health, family and safety.
  • Restaurants displayed menu items through shop windows at the front with waxed figures that resembled the exact meal. Presentation was very bright, colourful, neat and to high standards
  • Seafood was very cheap compared to Australia however, fruit was very expensive- an apple cost around $5AUD at a convenience store.
  • Lots of places opened quite late- at around 10-11am and closed late also; thus attracting nightlife
  • Alcohol was allowed to be consumed in public- In Kyoto people gathered at night beside the water bank and drank alcohol, ate and enjoyed live music.
  • Arcades had sticker photo booths that were very westernised and edited photos to have bigger eyes and whiter faces with bright lighting and funny edits. Beauty products, hair tools and costumes were available to be used for people to take photos which were surprising. Gamers were fast paced, devoted and very competitive
  • Temples and shrines had wooden panels that can be purchased and written on with wishes, then hung and showcased.
  • Very little pollution on streets and public bins were very difficult to come across; noticed a lot of people taking their own rubbish home to dispose.
  • At temples and shrines, I noticed lots of people wearing traditional kimonos and was dressed up with appropriate attire- including wooden shoes.
  • Cars were mostly petite and cubed with lots of older models. There wasn’t a lot of traffic and I noticed lots of people on bikes and using public transport than cars.
  • When eating we were worried about leaving leftover food when we couldn’t finish the meal as it could be rude.
  • Whenever we entered a restaurant, staff would welcome and bow. Bowing was very common whenever entering or leaving an establishment

You can follow my instagram account @linhdoesjapan_ for all the images and experiences of Japan!




Live Reaction/Review: Stardom 5 Star GP Night One – Part 1

Brendan Vs The World


This is my first experience with Stardom but I am fairly familiar with Japanese Wrestling in general. Stardom is an all female wrestling promotion based in Japan. The 5 Star GP is an annual tournament that they run. It features a round robin system with 2 blocks (Blue/Red) with the block winners facing each other to crown the tournament champion.

Match 1: Azumi Vs. Momo Watanabe

I’ll be honest no idea who is who in this one. Both wrestlers are quite short and the commentators keep saying ‘kid fight’ so I think that’s why these two are paired together. Also I’m pretty sure this is a non tournament match. It seemed like a bit of a throwaway match to just warm up the crowd. Well they are both actually kids that’s why the announcers were saying ‘kid fight’ Azumi is 12 years old and Momo is 15. Ok the match is already over, it was really…

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Medical Tourism in the Philippines

So this time I watched another television show, but this time it was from the Philippines and it has a cosmetic surgery focus. The show is called Belo Beauty 101 and it was created by and for the Belo Medical Group – a large cosmetic surgery and beauty product company in the Phillipines that was founded by Vicky Belo. The show explains the basics of cosmetic surgery procedures and always has various guests that are both everyday people and celebrities, in each episode these guests have various procedures done. While the show is hosted by Vicky’s daughter, Cristalle, the celebrity guests talk with Vicky about their experiences and what they recommend. Belo Beauty 101 has been running since 2007 and is in both Tagalog (the national language of the Philippines) and English. If you want to watch the show and you only speak one of those languages (I assume English) be prepared to be occasionally confused by the constant switching back and forth between them.



I watched a few random episodes from season 7 which is the most recent season. When I originally saw the description for the show I expected it to be a bit more graphic as it had mentioned that it showed the actual procedures being done. While it does show some graphic footage it is sped up and the editing cuts from one scene to another very quickly in the procedure scenes. Additionally, the show seems to have more of an emphasis on the stories of persons undergoing procedures and the results achieved rather than the actual procedures.


I was also surprised to learn about a lot of smaller basic procedures that exist. In one episode a male celebrity wanted to get rid of his love handles so he consulted Belo, they decided a good procedure would be to freeze his cellulite in that area to kill the fat cells. I didn’t know that was a thing until now… Honestly I couldn’t stop yelling ‘JUST EXERCISE!’ at my laptop screen but I had to remember that this was a cosmetic surgery show, they aim for slender but they like to get there the easy way as depicted by Belo Medical’s Instagram.



Celebrities are really open about their plastic surgeries and Belo Medical has various celebrity ambassadors and sponsors. This ties back to the episode of Get it Beauty that I watched where celebrities were heavily featured throughout the episodes, there isn’t as much of a stigma around plastic surgery so some celebrities don’t seem to feel the need to hide it that much.


When you look into their services and products it becomes much more apparent that they provide more than just traditional cosmetic surgery, I mean they have various skin care product lines and weight management programs that don’t necessarily have anything to do with liposuction. So would I call them a hybrid or just acknowledge the fact that in more advanced cosmetic surgery countries there are just way more options?


For the Philippines there seems to be insufficient statistics regarding how commonplace cosmetic surgery is and what the most popular procedures are, however I was able to find statics regarding the Philippines’s major medical tourism industry. This means that their surgeries are so cheap that it attracts hundreds of thousands of foreigners who otherwise could not afford it. Additionally the Philippines is already a bit of a tourist destination, thus many patients have recovery vacations thereafter their procedures. Now the sponsor from the first few episodes of Belo Beauty 101 season 7 makes sense, the sponsor company was a resort at Boracay island. In 2006 the Philippines earned an estimated $200 million from medical tourism which put it up in the same league as established medical tourism areas like Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.


Whilst I did know this was a thing in Singapore, I didn’t know it was a thing in my mother’s homeland… oh wait! Yes I did, my family and I used to go to the Philippines to get dentistry work done because we couldn’t afford to do everyone at once in Australia. Good job Mary! Really putting two and two together there…