Individual responses to the burning of various incenses

Tamara’s personal experience:

  •      During the incense burning, I felt an openness of the mind and a sense of connection with my surroundings at the time
  •      I found that the different scents gave me different thoughts, perspectives and reactions
  •      The more natural and perhaps subtle smells definitely gave me a sense of peace and tranquillity while the more harsh smells did not give me that same sense of connection with my surroundings and nature
  •      Different scents made me tune in to my surroundings more and take note of things such as birds and other sounds
  •      Overall, I can understand why incense has such a strong history in religion and social contexts as I too felt a sense of connection and peace that is often associated with religion and notions of a higher order


Ruth’s personal experience 

When we lit the first incense stick it was quite a nice scent, it was the pure agarwood. Personally, I’m not much of a ‘scent’ focused person. I don’t really use many candles and have only seen incense in those spiritual shops or in certain restaurants. I did like it; I felt it was very relaxing. The second stick (sandalwood) was quite similar, It smelt natural. The third, which was chakras, I didn’t find it as nice as the others. It smelt a little soapy and unnatural and much stronger than the other ones. We were unsure if it was a traditional scent from India and we have this certain idea of what they should smell like or if it might have been an adapted one for less traditional consumers. For the last stick of incense, we were completely silent. This made the experience very calming as we were also outside on the grass and in the sun. It was very pleasant. Although it was nice, I probably wouldn’t do it often or every day like some people do however it is understandable of how there are spiritual and mental to the act. 


Sophie’s personal experience 

I’ve used incense before, for the most obvious reason – fragrancing an area or space. But I hadn’t ever experienced a feeling of calm. Most of the time, I put incense on and leave the room. However, burning incense in the outdoors made me more aware of my surroundings and immediately, I felt at ease. Proving my research to be correct. The differing scents had unparalleled effects. Some were so strong that my head would ache, whilst others were the opposite. Despite being a shared experience, it was unique to the individual in terms of one’s reaction and overall opinion.


Kate’s personal experience 

I was expecting the incense to set off my hayfever, it is often set off by strong scents such as perfume. Thankfully this didn’t happen. I liked the scents and they made me feel relaxed. I can’t confess any sort of spiritual experience but I did feel relaxed. It was nice to sit and listen to the sounds of nature. Curiously I was left feeling light-headed something that lasted for a while.


Eliza’s personal experience 

I bought an array of incense types for the practical task of burning the incense, some traditional such as agarwood, sandalwood and frankincense, and others based on the attractive scent or type of packaging I feel had been customised for westernised societies. The first stick we burnt was the pure agarwood, it was potent in its intensity but I enjoyed the scent and it gave me a nostalgic feeling of the holidays I took as a kid to a beautiful Buddhist retreat on the north coast. It could have been the memories or the familiarity with burning incense but it was an overall pleasurable experience burning this incense. I felt pretty well calm the whole way through burning the rest of the incense as it’s something I personally burn in my room all the time, it also reminds me of home because my mum always used incense.. whether it be while she meditated, general relaxation while cooking dinner and listening to folk, or just to make the house smell oh so good. One of the packets labelled ‘7 chakras’ claimed to help make zodiac predictions come true.. I found this a commercialised form of incense, a tactic to get people to buy it, and the smell of the packet alone was similar to a recently cleaned bathroom. I found by the end of the experience, which I think is noticeable in my body language seen in the video, I was calm and relaxed. The day had been non-stop up until that point and it allowed me some time to zone into my surroundings and be present in the moment.

Jack Polglase

SOLΔR태양, A two-member k-pop duo with a twist on popular k-pop culture. The aim of this series of k-pop inspired cover art/posters was an attempt to enhance our understanding of the Autoethnographic process, see what it really entailed to complete a series derived with the complexities of a different culture.

The K-pop phenomenon itself or The ‘Korean Wave’ highlights the growing popularity of a number of Korean cultural products across East and Southeast Asia from the late 1990s. The Chinese popular media began to use the term ‘Korean Wave’ (Hallyu) to describe the increasingly high audience ratings of Korean dramas on major broadcasting stations in Japan and China. From this period, Korean films and Korean pop music, widely known as K-pop, also increased in popularity in international music markets (Kwong, SH & Kim, J 2013, p.518)


K-pop has become the international face of South Korea thanks to an extremely regimented…

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Cooking with Blake, Tanae & Cassie

Welcome to our group digital artefact!

We all can’t deny that we all love the good spontaneous take-away Chinese meal to save ourselves from doing our own cooking. There are always a huge variety of things to choose from, it’s cost-friendly, it’s an extremely easy process (either you pick it up or pay that little extra for delivery) & it’s seriously tasty.

Chinese cuisine has been around in Australia basically since the 1850s and we can thank Chinese immigrants within the Gold Rush era for that.

In the first half of the 20th century the Chinese restaurant was one of the most visible symbols of cultural diversity in Sydney” – B. Nichol, National Library of Australia Presentation.


The overwhelming majority of Australia’s original Chinese community came from Kwangtung Province (located in Southern China) with its distinctive Cantonese cooking style based on fresh fruit/vegetables, fish, poultry and pork. Rice was also grown in large amounts and was served as a nutritious base for a variety of food combinations, with herbs and spices.

Majority of this was happening in Melbourne (presumably because this is where the Gold Rush took place) and it had great substantial growth.

  • 1930’s: 18 Chinese cook-shops/restaurants listed in trade directories
  • 1970’s: 150 Chinese restaurants operating in the city and suburbs of Melbourne
melbourne china town

China Town in Melbourne

Cantonese food that was available in these restaurants was extremely approachable due to the emphasis on freshness of produce and its large palette.

The dishes were a variation on the theme – now sometimes referred to as ‘chop suey cuisine’. Thus fried rice, sweet & sour pork, lemon chicken, and chow mein (without any mein ((noodles)), became the signature dishes of ancient and refined cuisine” – Annette Shun Wah, Sydney Morning Herald.

Chef Neil Perry feels as though we as a country are eating more and more authentic and regional Chinese food. This is due to the Australian citizens becoming more adventurous when it came to the cuisine. Due to this Chef’s have started to slightly change the recipes on some of our favourite recipes and dishes to give them new flavour and to make them healthier.

Thus being the reason why we decided to experience some of this traditional Chinese (Australian) cuisine in all of its glory. By actually COOKING IT. Yes, that’s right. We actually went and bought the ingredients, followed a recipe and successfully cooked a meal.

authentic traditional chinese food

The three of us came together due to our love for Chinese cuisine and inability to cook it. So we all agreed we needed to try something new and we got our chef on after researching about the history of the food here in Australia.

We chose to cook a simple, yet traditional and highly popular *Lemon Chicken*. Our reasoning for this was because we wanted to cook something that would be a recognisable dish to everyone, we all were familiar with it and enjoy eating it cooked by a restaurant, and neither of us had never cooked a traditional Chinese dish before which was our main point of this as we wanted to try something new and push ourselves a little bit.

We found a recipe online and we gathered the ingredients required. The three of us documented ourselves turning Tanae’s kitchen completely upside down cooking to produce what you’d probably call a ‘short cooking segment’ that you’ll find on youtube.

We didn’t want to create a cooking tutorial, we just wanted to document our experience on cooking the dish for the first time. So rather than teaching people how to cook the dish through our actions we show you how we taught ourselves with only ONE TAKE!!!

Obviously the footage was edited to shorten it because cooking the dish actually took a lot longer than expected. I promise though you’ll still get to see the good parts.

We all felt as though this was a really eye opening experience even though its something so simple. We really enjoyed the process of bringing our dish together and doing something out of our ordinary. Would we do it again? Yes, highly likely, although we would probably try something new next time and something maybe a little less time consuming. Either that or we will have much better time management in the future.


Give it a watch and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Group Members:
Blake Sykes
Cassandra Bradley
Tanae Armstrong



Maxabella, B 2018, ‘A (brief) history of Australian food,’ SBS, 21 June,

Nichol, B (insert date here), ‘Sweet and sour history: Melbourne’s early Chinese restaurants,’ National Archives of Australia,

Savill, J 2013, ‘Canto Cool,’ The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 September,

Shun Wah, A & Aitken, G 1999, Banquet: ten courses to harmony, Doubleday, Sydney.




百物語怪談会 / Hyakumonogatari Kaidan-Kai: Will you be afraid? II


Some information:


Hyakumonogatari Kaidan-Kai/百物語怪談会 or better known as ‘The 100 ghost stories ritual’ is one of Japanese summoning rituals in Japan. Originated from a test of courage between 7 samurai back in 1660, the game spreaded to the rural area and became feudal Japanese favourite past-time. Hyakumonogatari is literally translated in part as hyaku – one hundred, monogatari – a story.Kaidan, however, is a crucial component to the establishment and the ongoing development of the ritual. In modern Japanese culture, Kaidan means ‘to narrate the strange’, different from the contemporary definition as ‘frightening ghost stories’ (Davisson, 2011).

tonoigusa-hyakumonogatari-spider.pngThe samurai engaging in the ritual.

Many kaidan(s) represent the Japanese relationship with Shintoism – which has been linked to since birth and their belief in the supernatural. Part of the reasons why kaidan, as well as the ritual, still manage to survive after hundreds of years…

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South Korea’s Illegal Tattoos – A Look Into the History & Culture

Getting a tattoo is illegal in South Korea.

Well… Not quite. It’s not illegal to have a tattoo in South Korea and it’s not technically illegal to get one in Korea, but “under criminal and medical law, only licensed doctors can perform tattooing on their ‘patients.‘” There probably isn’t a single person on Earth who would go through medical school to become a tattoo artist. Despite this illegality, Korea has a thriving underground tattoo artist scene.

Many tattoo artists promote themselves on social media. Many more tattoo artist accounts have conspicuously been deleted or are private (img src: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7)

But there’s also a lot of stigma surrounding tattoos in Korea. Vice magazine published an article (our first encounter with Korean tattoo culture) interviewing several female tattoo artists about some of the difficulties they’ve faced:


How do people react when they see your tattoos?

“People typically avoid me when they see me on the street. Some people are fascinated by my look, but most feel uncomfortable and scared.”

How has having tattoos affected your day-to-day life?

“[…] My parents are also very devout Christians and their church has stopped me from coming to services because they feel like I’m sort of “satanic” being with my tattoos.”



Considering the nation’s rise as a cultural powerhouse (through K-Pop and K-Drama) and how trendy it’s pop culture scenes are, we were shocked that something like tattoos would be illegal and so heavily frowned upon.

So the two of us decided to do some research into South Korea’s tattoo culture. After looking into the history of tattoos in Korea and the perspectives of some Korean natives, we realised that the treatment of tattoos isn’t too different from experiences in our own lives – it’s just more intense in Korea.

We’ve collected highlights from our discussion & perspectives in this podcast:


History – Criminal Stigma

In South Korea tattoos are traditionally associated with criminals and gangs – and there’s a history behind this.

Sometime during Korea’s Goryeo era (918 A.D. – 1392 A.D.) the practice of tattooing criminals with their crime’s was adopted from Japan. This continued into the Joseon era (1392 A.D. – 1910 A.D.) before falling out of practice (Park, 2016). In South Korea tattoos still carry this criminalized stigma. Some people feel uncomfortable around tattoos, people with tattoos (or visible tattoos) are not allowed in most Korean bathhouses, and they can impact your chances of employment.

In our experience as Australians, we’ve noticed that this same stigma can be found (although it’s much less common). There are plenty of people who will be uncomfortable around or avoid people with particular types of tattoos, due to concerns about criminal connections. Neither of us really carry this perception, but we’ve definitely heard it expressed.

Ideology – It Disrespects Your Parents

What most surprised us about Korean views on tattoos, (as expressed in the recorded interviews below) was the idea that tattoos are damaging the pure body that was gifted to you by your parents.

In our experiences as Australians, individuality and independence from one’s parents is encouraged. The idea of not getting a tattoo because you owed your entire body to your parents seemed almost absurd.


How does your family feel about your tattoos?

“My parents are both preachers and they believe that your body should be a temple of God. Needless to say, they were shocked.”

What is it like being female with tattoos in Korea?

“There’s an expectation for girls to be modest and demure, but I think it’s such a double standard.”







How does your family feel about your tattoos?

“My dad still doesn’t know that I have tattoos. I only visit home during the winters or when it’s raining so I can wear a sweater or jacket and cover up. I wear a lot of long dresses too.”

Do you think the perception towards tattoos in Korea is changing?

“Tattoo culture is like fashion; it’s always changing, and changing quite rapidly. I just hope it changes for the better.”



But such devotion to one’s parents is deeply embedded within Korean culture, via the ideologies of Confucianism.

“Today, Confucianism is not a formal religious institution in Korea but rather a code of latent ethics and values that has profoundly influenced the society for nearly two millennia.” – Park & Cho, 1995, p.118

Confucianism promotes a strong hierarchical relationship structure in society – including the relationship between parents and children, also known as filial piety. This concept of filial piety (or hyo in Korean) encourages the reverence of one’s family and ancestors.

“Parents are revered because they are the source of your life. They have sacrificed much for you. One should do well and make the family name known and respected: bring honor to your family” (src)

So while this idea of getting tattoos as being incredibly disrespectful to your parents and family is still pretty foreign to us, we’re now able to understand that thought process. It would make a lot of sense to a society that’s been influenced by such an ideology for two thousand years – the criminal stigma surrounding tattoos probably exacerbate this perception of disrespect.

Conclusion & a Disclaimer

It’s important to note that neither of us speak Korean, and the vast majority of our sources have been mediated; they are largely created by outsiders (non-Koreans) or authentic Korean accounts have been presented to construct a particular narrative (as all media presentations do). While we’ve done our best to accurately research and present our findings, there is the possibility that we’ve misrepresented or misinterpreted things. But, well that comes with the territory of looking into a foreign country’s illegal underground subculture.

Either way, this experience has been enlightening. With the illegality and stigma in South Korea towards tattoos, but with their history and the longstanding moral virtues of the nation in mind we can understand it, even if we still disagree with it. If it were up to us we’d abolish the law outlawing tattoos artists’ work, but then, we’re outsiders to this culture. It’s hardly our place to make demands of the nation, is it?





Park, IH & Cho, LJ 1995, ‘Confucianism and the Korean family’ Journal of Comparative Family Studies, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 117-134.

Park, J 2016, ‘Signs of social change on the bodies of youth: tattoos in Korea’, Visual Communication, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 71-92.



DA Epiphanies and Realisations

Studio A

Japanese and Korean Comedy Shows

“When researchers do autoethnography, they retrospectively and selectively write about epiphanies that stem from, or are made possible by, being part of a culture and/or by possessing a particular cultural identity. However, in addition to telling about experiences, autoethnographers often are required by social science publishing conventions to analyze these experiences”. (Ellis, 2011)

In the rest of this post I will discuss the few epiphanies discovered by watching the 6 Asian comedies in my Digital Artefact. Those comedies can be found via these links.

DA Blog Posts (In Order)
‘Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!’
Watanabe’s Shiratori Mirei Skits
‘Invisible Man’
‘Gag Concert’
‘Mecha-Mecha Iketeru!’
‘Men on a Mission’

The original plan was to do a comedy variety show for a greater range of Asian countries as I wanted to see the difference in comedy styles but in the end I did 3 Korean…

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A Review on One Episode of Men on a Mission

Studio A

Men on a Mission.
아는 형님

Aka Knowing Bros or Ask Us Anything.
Episode S1: E2
Can be found on Netflix.

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Basic Overview:

Korean male celebrities are in a high school setting pretending to be students, welcoming in star transfer students as guests every week and engaging in battles of witty humour and slapstick with the hosts Kang Ho-Dong, Lee Soo-Geun, Sang-Min Lee.
Episode Netflix Description: Eun Ji-Won from the group Sechs Kies challenges the class to a game of Indian poker. Kang Kyun-Sung, a singer from Noel, invites them to slackline.
First couple of minutes feature the guests asking quiz questions about themselves to the class.


I’ve noticed that quite a lot of Korean comedy techniques involves being sort of disrespectful or speaking down to people that are older than you. I’m learning that like in many cultures Koreans respect elders a lot, even if it’s just by a…

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A Review on One Episode of Mecha-Mecha Iketeru!

Studio A

Mecha-Mecha Iketeru


2018-10-13 (1)

Basic Overview:

Mecha-Mecha Iketeru is another variety game show that consists of a range of different games and skits that are often times not replayed again, making a unique experience each time. In this episode teams of Girl Group Japanese Idols “young manufactured stars/starlets marketed to be admired for their cuteness” declare their rivalries for other teams, take fun, light hearted jabs at each other and just have a good roast session for the first 16 minutes. Then they all play against each other in fun sports games each of the 8 girl groups has one team player go up and verse the other chosen players from other teams. All the girl groups have their own individual colour shirt to wear.
Three games were played Capture the Flag, High Jump and Sumo Wrestling.


In the beginning all the girls…

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