digital asia

BCM320 DA – South Korean Food Fads

By Jennifer Ong, Corey Moore, Ibby Tubaro

Our group has chosen to examine ‘South Korean food fads’. Specifically ones that are uploaded online by independent internet creators or companies using celebrities for the purpose of gaining widespread attention. We all have varying knowledge and experience on these Korean food trends and challenges. The aim was to project our own unique experiences and opinions on these general food fads, and also encourage any onlookers to try for themselves or check out the South Korean food fads mentioned. This makes for an autoethnography with an interesting scope in which to investigate this topic.

Ellis et al. (2011) states a “thick description” of a culture is necessary in an autoethnography in order to produce an understanding of a culture for insiders and outsiders. The South Korean Wave (AKA Hallyu Wave) has brought exposure to the country, as a sort of soft power (Nye and Kim, 2013). South Korea is home to many successful trends and pop culture influence. These include fashion, music (K-Pop) and most significantly regarding this particular autoethnography, food. Among the food culture, the emergence of Meokbang shines. Meokbang (먹방) combines the words eat (다) and broadcast (송) that forms its meaning. Like the name suggests, people (most notably South Koreans) film themselves eating and interacting with viewers. Live stream eating paved the way for another Korean trend.

Although our group is looking at the overall South Korean food fad culture, we focused on recreating one particular challenge, called the “After Mum Is Asleep (AMIA)”. This involved us recording ourselves cooking and eating quietly. There is typically a dosimetre with a sound decimal system. When you go above a certain sound decimal, you get punished.

Jennifer’s Reflection:

Before I go into the filming experience and answering the overall objective, I would like to explain to you my upbringing on this Korean Fad. I first encountered Meokbang in 2016 when I was watching this Youtube Channel called FBE which people react to YouTube videos. This video on Meokbang really intrigued me and I started viewing all of these channels that were centralized on eating such as Keemi and Banzz.

For a while this consumed my whole life and also was the time period where I stopped eating in general since watching other people eat was enough for me. I watched less and less it over the years due to my busy schedule, but I still continue to follow the trend ‘connecting the personal to the cultural’ (Alsop, Christiane K.,2002). It should be notated though that I find ASMR Meokbang uncomfortable and cringy.

As an autoethnographer, we use our personal experience with recreating an ASMR Meokbang to produce a blog and video to represent our understanding on this popular Korean Fad (Ellis et al., 2011). Filming for this was actually very fun. It may have had to do with my role in choosing the punishment and the food, but it was great to see my groupmates eating all this unique Korean food for the first time. It also made me realize the work it takes before filming. We had to figure out the placement of me to be not in the recording view but still be able to see the Dosimetre. We had to prep this food before hand to make it easier for the other team mates and also background noises were also an issue while filming. It made me realize how praised the camera crew needs during productions even though they are rarely ever praised (Ellis et al., 2011).

One thing that I noticed during this study on Meokbang broadcasting is that the foods that Offical Korean variety shows do and Youtube channels do is use Korean foods. While this may not seem much, to cater to a worldwide audience, they aren’t changing to suit other cultures but sticking to their own. This can be seen as a marketing technique from the Government to promote Korean culture. An example of this is during the food selection for the Digital Artefact, I discovered so many Korean food that I haven’t heard of before including, Jokbal (pig’s trotters) and Hotteok (sweet syrupy pancakes).

Jokbal at Jang Choong Dong Wong Jokbal in Koreatown
Jokbal, from Eater Los Angeles
hotteok (호떡)
Hotteok, from Maangchi

Corey’s Reflection:

My experiences of Korean food culture before doing the subject Digital Asia was almost non-existant other than Korean BBQ which I first experienced in a restaurant in Japan and thought it was Japanese. I’d never heard of Mukbangs, sneaky eating challenges or After Mum is Asleep before. After experiencing these things via youtube and other streaming services that a classmate showed me, I became extremely interested. At first, I was confused and bewildered by these Korean food broadcasts not understanding their rules and if the people playing were trying to win or just losing on purpose to be entertaining to the viewer.

Looking back at my viewings of Korean food challenges reflexively (Alsop, 2002) before attempting to recreate a Korean food challenge to experience and understand why they exist. I had an epiphany (Ellis et al., 2011) that these food challenges and broadcasts while very unique and quite entertaining they are innovations on things that have existed for quite a while. people have been filming themselves eating things or trying to eat things in different ways and creating new trends, for example, Cinnamon challengeGallon challenge, and Consumption of Tide Pods the most dangerous of them all.

When it came time to attempt recreating the sneaky eating challenge, I wanted to also express not only the scene of the food challenge and being filmed but also with no prior knowledge of the foods we were eating so that my reaction captured on camera would be a genuine reaction to a first-time eater of Korean food culture to further gain an understanding of “Who am I in relation to the research?” (Pitard, 2017).

This blog also comes as a form of writing therapeutic for my author’s sense of self and experiences (Ellis et al., 2011). As the experience of the Korean BBQ plate at the centre of the table and everyone working together to cook and share a meal isn’t very similar to how I’ve experienced my meals.

When it came to being filmed the cameras became the furthest thing from my mind, as the art of eating silently and actual winning the challenge was my sole focus while eating. It was so much fun to experience and myself consciousness wasn’t an issue. The punishments while humiliating as they are intended to be, which I was also unaware of what they would be prior, but they didn’t affect my mood much which I personally think is why the contestants doing these challenges are also so willing to accept them also, they really just had to the experience.

While I expect I’ll never ever attempt filming one of these food challenges again. I can see myself thinking back on it and the Korean broadcasts I’ve watched whenever I attempt to eat something quietly or open something noisy and remember that the simple art of eating quietly can entertain a lot of people.

Ibby’s Reflection:

My personal context regarding South Korean culture is average. I became a fan of K-Pop in 2010, from there my interest in South Korea in general began to develop. I have familiarised myself with aspects of the culture through online browsing. I had no prior knowledge of this challenge, but I’m accustomed to ‘mukbangs’ and things like ‘the sneaky eating challenge” (the video involves a K-Pop group I’m a fan of, Red Velvet.) I always felt awkward watching mukbangs. I thought they were exaggerated to create a ‘fake’ relationship with the viewer.

Reflexivity is important within autoethnographic research (Pitard 2017), so I acknowledged that my own values can affect reliability. To understand and soften any prejudice or bias, I researched further on the Mukbang culture. Kim (2015) states the success of Mukbangs comes from the fact that people’s desire for food can be satisfied by viewing. Mukbang hosts interact with the people who are watching the broadcast (usually live, but sometimes through comments when video is posted).

I now understand better why Mukbang’s are successful. Mukbang’s require a relationship between the viewer and host, the “AMIA” challenge however doesn’t necessarily require that. Berger and Milkman (2012, pp.194) state in terms of online trends, “people share interesting or surprising content because it’s entertaining and reflects positively on them.” In these food fad videos, the people are professionals in terms of entertainment. When they successfully engage and invoke positive emotions, regardless of cultural or personal context, a successful form of entertainment is produced and has the potential to garner widespread attention. In my case, I’m not Korean, but I was still entertained by watching different “AMIA” videos. Watching them hopelessly try to keep quiet and fail, hence being hit with a toy hammer- or simply giving up and making loud noises because they just want to eat the food? Quality content.

Ethnographers become ‘participant observers’ (Ellis et al., 2011), so our methodology involved viewing examples of these Korean food fad videos and also attempting to recreate the “AMIA” challenge. The awkward silence and then a sudden crunch from a chip or sizzle from the hotplate created an almost cathartic experience where I was compelled to laugh. I personally found doing the challenge and watching others do it entertaining, but in different ways.

My first epiphany (Ellis et al., 2011) was realising through actually attempting the challenge, it’s difficult to keep the sound decimal low enough to not be punished for it. When I first watched “AMIA” videos, I thought the reactions were exaggerated by the contestants, and that it couldn’t be that difficult to eat those foods quietly. Although I now believe such reactions aren’t completely exaggerated, I still see these videos as a sort of ‘performance’.

Another epiphany was even though I enjoyed doing this with my group mates because we’re friends and they understand the struggles of this challenge, I realised that wouldn’t be enough to completely engage any random viewer. I knew I was filmed, but I was more focused on doing everything quietly, rather than entertaining the audience. I’m arguably not an entertainer, just an awkward University student. So not everyone would necessarily find it as funny as we did together.

Overall, even though it was somewhat frustrating to do the challenge in terms of not being punished, it was still very fun to do. I also now have a new outlook on South Korean food fads. For mukbangs, the experience of viewing someone else eat can be satisfying. For other food fads, the exhilarating situations where when presented with a challenge involving food, the performer can deliver an entertaining experience for the viewer that transcends cultural and personal context.

Conclusion:

Evidently as shown in each of our reflections, we were impacted differently from this overall experience. But we all definitely agree that we gained a better understanding of South Korean food culture than before we did our autoethnographic research, and in extension have new perspectives regarding these South Korean food fads.

References:

Who You Gonna Call? Host Hunters

I must admit, I came into this movie-viewing with zero expectations. But, after watching Forensic Files on small hotel TVs for the last 3 weeks I was dying for a good movie. And boy did I get one.

Today, I spent the afternoon live-tweeting my experience of viewing The Host, directed by John Ho Bong. It was an epic (and disjointed) thriller where a father would stop at nothing to save his little girl from the grips of a mutated monster.

However, the disconnect between the government and the people was the most shocking part of the film. As I live-tweeted, I found that my memes slowly turned into political observations. The misinformation used by the government (SPOILER I mean – there was no virus?!?!?!) to control the perception of the chaos that erupted was somehow more horrifying than the giant mutated fish that was eating people. I mean, it had more regard for human life than those in power did and that’s saying a lot.

For most of my life, I have admired and closely studied film and special effects. Because of this, I have a habit of critiquing a film, rather than watch it. But, The Host really drew me in and I genuinely enjoyed it. I truly appreciated the effort it would have taken to keep the monster on screen using CGI for as long as it appeared. The version I viewed was dubbed in English, so the voice acting was not great but it really helped me understand the plot and dialogue.

Culturally, I am emersed wholly in Western entertainment and ideals. My whole life I have lived in Australia, which takes much of its cultural influences from the United States – especially in the entertainment industry. However, one of my father’s favourite past times was to surf the movie channels, and many times we would find ourselves on the World Movies channel, watching a foreign film. One of my favourites to come from this tradition is Om Shanti Om, a film I still regularly watch.

In this way, I am accustomed to the differences between the films in my popular culture and those such as The Host. Although this was a horror film, there was still an element of comedy / physical humour which is not often seen in American style horrors. The goofiness of the characters makes them equally frustrating and loveable, and it reminds us that they are only human. This is something that is often missed in the brooding action heroes that we see in many Western films.

Watching The Host was refreshing, and it has me excited to watch more films like it.

Le Host? What the hell is that?!

For the first week of BCM320 (Digital Asia), we took a look at the South Korean monster film ‘The Host’ (2006), directed by Bong Joon-ho. To be honest, I had absolutely no idea what to expect before watching the movie. I can’t really say I’m a massive fan of monster movies, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t even seen one since that terrible Godzilla movie with Matthew Broderick in it. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t walk away having actually enjoyed the movie overall.

At first I thought The Host would be some kind of cliche horror/thriller movie, with the monster being portrayed as some kind of looming antagonist which doesn’t really get unveiled until towards the end of the movie. But I literally couldn’t have been more wrong and I’m glad.

Image result for the host 2006 monster

After introducing some of the primary family characters and laying some framework for 5-10 minutes, the CGI mess which is the films star attraction emerges from the river, going on a rampage which I thought would of been saved for much later in the movie. I’m glad it wasn’t though, as it instantly made the rest of the movie completely unpredictable from then on.

I kind of have to talk about the monster itself a little bit though as it was by far the most entertaining part of the film, not because of the action in the scenes it is featured in or because it is genuinely a good movie monster in general (even though The Host actually does pretty well in those regards), but because of the borderline horrendous CGI used to bring the monster to life. Looking like the mutant offspring of a Koi fish that climbed out from a pond somewhere in Chernobyl and one of those weird demon fish dog things from the first Hellboy movie, the monster from the host captivates you in every scene taking you back to the good old days of PS2 graphics and low expectations.

Image result for demon dog Hellboy
“Now introducing, The Host monster Lite”
Demon dog..fish…thing ‘Hellboy’ (2004)

While the monster may of been the highlight of the movie for me personally, the story and the rest of characters were just as entertaining throughout, and managed to successfully keep the flow of the narrative consistent and engaging. The Host felt like a much more light-hearted movie for the most part, despite the abundance of death and personal loss throughout the film, with comedic elements scattered in scenes which would typically be treated with a lot of seriousness in western films. This tone layered throughout the movie did make me wonder if this is maybe a trope of this kind of Korean cinema, but I would obvious need to dive deeper into the genre to find out if this is the case. And if it were, I would definitely be keen to see more of it.

As for the live-tweeting aspect of watching the film, it was defintely a different experience as it was the first time I’ve even attempted to use the site. It was a bit of a challenge to try and follow along to the films subtitles and while simultaneously live-tweeting my reactions, but I don’t feel like it stopped me from following along with the film or anything like that.

Overall, I found The Host to be a good introduction to South Korean monster movies, which is a genre I’m now glad to discover even exists.

I’d give it 3.5 moist river boi’s out of 5.

The Host: Not a monster movie

The monster is not the focus of ‘The Host’, but only a tool to give narrative to the film’s structure, a surface problem leading to deeper layers of meaning.

I was born in Vietnam. An Asian in every way.

I grew up, to put it in a visualized way, ‘in the middle of Hollywood and Asian cinema’. During my childhood and adolescence, I let myself be immersed in the fantasy world of Chinese movies, such as the one and only ‘Journey to the West’. I would tune into Disney channel to go on an adventure with Ariel the Little Mermaid and Woody from Toy Story, or HBO channel where all kinds of Hollywood movies were screened. And when the night came, it was time for the Hallyu Wave, time for passionate Korean love stories and relatable, heart-warming Korean family dramas, such as Boys Over Flowers and Reply 1988.

For many years I have been exposed to a mix of genres and film nationalities. I have seen, and loved, numerous Korean films, which always profoundly talk about social phenomena and issues. 

But never in my life have I watched a Korean monster movie.

Nor a Bong Joon-ho’s production.

At first, I thought the film was going to follow the Hollywood monster-movie motif, merely focusing on the fight between heroes and a creature. The movie begins with the shockingly sudden appearance of the creature, proceeding through the innocents-in-danger scenario and the unexpected bravery from a crew of characters (Klein 2008). 

However, as it progressed, I came to realize that ‘The Host’ is much more than that. It is a departure, a divergence from the Hollywood convention. The monster is not put in the spotlight but rather used as the background to shed light on Korean realities. 

The dark sides of Korean modernization and authority are addressed by showing how the Park family gets tangled up in Seoul’s bureaucratic and capitalist modernity (Klein 2008). It was frustrating for me to see the government and the media lying about the existence of the deadly virus, the police ignoring Gang-du’s claim that he receives a phone call from his daughter, and the fumigator easily being bribed by a bucket of spare change (which is also a bit of humor and sarcasm coming from the director, and I enjoyed it).

I also came to notice that ‘The Host’ is trying to criticize Korea’s relationship with, or more specifically, Korea’s submission to the United States. I am haunted by the scene of the American mortician ordering his Korean underlying to pour hundreds of formaldehyde down the drain, the U.S official forcing the Korean doctors to drill into Gang-du’s brain, and the “Agent Yellow’ scene, which reminds me of the Agent Orange contamination during the Vietnam war. 

Besides Korean realities, The Host also highlights the beauty of family bond – father-to-daughter, father-to-son, brother-to-sister and sister-to-sister love, which is the only motivation for the characters to unhesitantly sacrifice themselves in the fight. It was outstandingly smart and subtle of Bong Joon-ho to express the characters’ longing to reunite with and take care of Huyn-seo through the eating scene, which moved me emotionally. 

The Ghost.jpg

What surprised me the most is that Huyn-seo could not be saved in the end. In the scene where she is pulled out from the monster, I was expecting her to wake up as a miracle, which is very common in the Hollywood films that I have seen. But she does not. Yet, the other boy, wrapped in her arms, is still alive, thanks to Huyn-seo.

A symbol of humanity. 

I did not have the opportunity to experience live-tweeting as I was sick and could not attend the tutorial. Yet, I took notes while streaming the movie at home, jotting down all my thoughts and emotions, which made me watch the film more attentively and critically. Reading subtitles was no big deal for me since I grew up watching movies from other countries.

To conclude, ‘The Host’ is a monster movie, yet, not a monster movie.

It is so much more than that. 

References: 

Klein, C 2008, ‘Why American Studies Needs to Think about Korean Cinema, or, Transnational Genres in the Films of Bong Joon-ho’, American Quarterly, no. 60, vol. 4, pp. 871-898. 

 

CLAUDIA MULLER: CHECK IN ON THE DA

https://claudialouisemuller.com/2018/09/21/625/

Bonjourno, (just quickly, you should read this before you continue on here)

Set the task of exploring a facet of a culture previously not experienced, I opened up to a type of research that prompts the researchers vulnerabilities (Ellis et al. 2011, 14.1.18) and cultural frameworks to gather insights typically unattainable. My field site being cosplay and its anime adaptions, I quickly realised that by immersing myself into the experience I felt vulnerable and certainly out of my comfort zone. Whether that be the idea itself as a daunting action, concealing your own identity as another’s for costume play, or whether it be the unfamiliarity with the field site itself, I was acutely aware that I was letting my feelings, thoughts, and vulnerabilities influence the way the project was migrating (Ellis et al. 2011, 14.1.3), in a way that other forms of research methodologies would certainly not allow for.

This investigation into cosplay originally was rooted in personal experience, but when I found myself hesitating to participate I found myself redirecting towards a more niche area of study; whereby perhaps there was a middle ground to find, whereby I could create looks that were alike to the characters from Studio Ghibli films, designing them to look like everyday pieces or at the very least curating costumes from everyday pieces that I already owned. Could I find a way to interact with a culture I was trying to understand in a way that was part of my own cultural framework?

IMG_0900
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Working in fashion retail and with a history of sewing projects behind me, could I take what I understood already and utilise it to imitate the feelings and processes associating with the action of cosplay? Furthermore, could I create a layered account of my experience by introducing my fondness and knowledge of anime produced by Studio Ghibli? These were all questions I set out to answer, and one that could only be facilitated by the means of autoethnography; a method whereby I could introduce an alternate voice amidst a construction of knowledge (Sturm, D. 2014).

 

As I went on to have my first swing at cosplay, or whatever it was that I deemed a variation of it, I began to realise that the research project was as much about myself as it was about the topic; “..autoethnographies offer a diverse body of works, with many often producing essentially autobiographical accounts of the self as both researcher and the researched” (Kien, G. 2007).

And so here I find myself, at a crossroads whereby I believe I have navigated down an alternate route, truly utilising my own cultural framework to gain a better understanding of other cultures around me. In translation, I will utilise the data I collect to create and curate wearable, everyday pieces that are cosplay, to a degree, and critically analyse the experience alongside further research into the area; a layered account (Ellis et al, 2011). The aspect to tackle now, I find, is distinguishing autoethnography as both a process and a product, a notion brought to my attention by both Ellis (et al, 2011) and Angus Baillie in our seminar conversation, and how they are to interrelate in this investigation.

 

All for now,

Claudia

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 14.1. Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095

Kien, G., 2007 A Western Consumer in Korea: Autoethnographical Fiction of Western Performance, Cultural Studies ⇔ Critical Methodologies, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 264-280. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1532708614565454#_i2

Sturm, D. (2014) ‘Playing With the Autoethnographical Performing and Re-Presenting the Fan’s Voice’, Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, pp. 214. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1532708614565454

CLAUDIA MULLER: INDEPENDENT DIGITAL ASIA AUTOETHNOGRAPHY

https://claudialouisemuller.com/2018/09/11/claudia-muller-independent-digital-asia-autoethnography/

Ola mi amigos, time for another autoethnography project!

Utilising autoethnography as an approach to research can reveal qualitative insights into areas that may go amiss with traditional research methodologies, made evident by the hundreds of BCM students to pass before me. I can particularly see how the process assists many in Digital Asia, encouraging students to view Asia as ‘another’ rather than ‘other’ through immersing themselves into the culture or point of interest. This week, we were tasked with selecting a specific area of Asian interest to become literate in, prompting an account of our experience with a topic, text, product, service or platform of our choosing, to be broken down into a field site, a data type, speculative research area, and a communication format.

Now, if you ask me what the one thing of interest I have about Asia that I have yet to look into and better yet to barely begin to understand, its cosplay. I have always been aware of its existence and acknowledged its seemingly large following purely from interactions online, but with friends recently getting into it and my club having several interactions with the Universities’ Cosplay society, my interest has been peaked. Although, I was particularly curious to understand cosplay surrounding a broad spectrum of fandoms, but also that which surrounds styles adopted from Studio Ghibli. I’ll get to how I got to this point later in the blog, but growing up I didn’t get the chance to watch much anime at all, I was rudely informed only at the ripe old age of 20 that Winx Club was actually Italian and very much not anime (although it did apparently have a cult following in Japan in the 2000s).

Despite this, in high school my two best friends agreed that we should all watch the others favourite movie. While I picked Gatsby and our friend Tom picked Casino Royale, we were very lucky that our beautiful friend Georgie showed us Howl’s Moving Castle as hers. It was the beginning of my love for Studio Ghibli films. I have seen it twice more since that first movie night, and I have seen a few other cult favourites over the years such as Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service to name a few. Each and every time I have fallen in love with the illustrations, the colours, the settings, and the ability of the films to transport you elsewhere. This may stem from many years of art classes growing up, or from my studies in Design throughout uni, but I can never let my mind pass over the images without admiring them.

So here we are. Combine a need to understand and know more about the world of cosplay and an appreciation for the style and aesthetics of a studio’s animes and boom. You’ve got yourself a project. Not just any project, an

~** i n d e p e n d a n t   d i g i t a l   a s i a   a u t o e t h n o g r a p h y **~

The thought of tackling cosplay in a project like this is daunting to me, and it isn’t necessarily the idea of dressing up that scares me but the act of putting yourself in a vulnerable state perhaps? It is definitely not the costumes themselves, as I have always been fond of them for their excessive nature and the likeness to the imagination. I taught myself to sew growing up, and I was forever making weird and wonderful pieces that weren’t practical for everyday use. Most of which I have never shown anyone. I am curious, nonetheless, of cosplayers confidence when in character – I will make a very generalised assumption that it’s the ability to be someone who you are not that allows it to bloom, but who am I to know for sure? This fear of vulnerability may be perfect for this particular project, especially with the intended methodology. Ellis and Bochner (2006) support autoethnography ought to be “unruly, dangerous, vulnerable, rebellious, and creative”. My interest in anime, similarly, most likely stems from an appreciation for illustration and art; I was always drawing growing up.

Which brings us to the breakdown of this research project. I needed to set myself some guides as my mind does tend to wander when it comes to research, particularly ethnography.

Experience/Field Site:

  • Cosplay + Anime: wearable pieces?

Data Type

  • Reactions + feelings during experience
  • History and insights on cosplay
  • Physical clothing items and created pieces:
    (HMC) Calcifer earrings, skirt?
    (HMC) Sophie’s hat
    (HMC) Sophie’s dress
    (HMC) Howl’s wings – dress/top
    (Akira) Kaneda’s red jacket
    (SA) No face earrings or patch

Research/ to Speculate

  • Speculating that the fashion and aesthetic of anime often translates into cosplay which is a high level of commitment, is there a middle ground?

Communication & DA Format

  • Instagram account with vlog-style stories and photos to post. Photographs of alike finds, videos of creating processand/or blog posts to accompany.

To kick the project into gear, I began by creating an Instagram account (@cosplaystudies) to detail all of my data in a curated means, and begin to work my way through the topic. I started by looking for inspiration and put my ‘feelers out there’ but trawling through s o   m a n y   hashtags across Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr to see what people were actually cosplaying as. I feel that I mustn’t let my own preferences get in the way of understanding cosplay as a whole, rather than a specific alley of the culture itself. A true testament to the ability of autoethnography, as Rachel E. Dubrofsky & Megan M. Wood (2014) dictate “privilege participation in the form of self-reflexivity and active fashioning of the self” can act as an extension of the data or rather as a constraint. A starting point nonetheless, there’s much more to be investigated. I am most looking forward to getting to what I hope to be a very tactile part of the project.

 

That’s all for now,

Claudia

Dubrofsky R. E., Wood M.M., (2014) Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies Vol. 11, No. 3, September 2014, pp. 284

Ellis C., Bochner A. P. (2006). Analyzing analytic autoethnography: An autopsy. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, pp. 433.

GOJIRA *CLAP* DESERVED *CLAP* BETTER *CLAP*

This one is definitely one I never thought I’d be writing. Let me set the scene for you:

I am on the floor of a dingy little motel in Ipswich, Queensland. Why am I on the floor you ask? The charger to my laptop doesn’t reach the supplied workspace and to my surprise, the turtle-paced internet provided by the institution hosts a better connection down here. Welcome to my wild Saturday night in. I was called last minute to head to sunny Queensland with a motorsport team I work for, which is why this blog post comes so profusely late and why it comes from these humble beginnings.

When I thought about studying communications at uni, this was hardly what I had in mind. Yet here we are, detailing my experience of the original Godzilla film. Oh, that’s right, what you’re actually here for; Gojira.

I recently started a subject ‘Digital Asia’, and I am delighted to be analysing my consumption of the original classic as my first task. If you aren’t familiar with the film, check here for what you need to know on the ’54 original.

I have never actually sat down to watch any of the Godzilla films in any way, shape or form, so this was a first for me. Although I have never seen any of the films completely or even partially, for that matter, I had an understanding of the construct of the film and the notion of the storyline. Big, prehistoric-looking monster traumatises cityscape and destroys civilian populations and landmarks.

“I HAVEN’T SEEN ANY GOJIRA OR ANY OF THE FILM ADAPTIONS, HOWEVER, I SOMEHOW HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE TROPE ADAPTED FROM A GENERAL KNOWLEDGE ABOUT GODZILLA FROM POP-CULTURE?” –@CLAUDIALMULLER

Little did I know there were so many more layers to the dinosaur-reptile hybrid that tromped across the skyline. A monster with hidden depths? Tell me more.

I was fascinated to discover that take away the million dollar franchise and the corny special effects, beneath lies a tale detailing an entire populations’ fear of nuclear warfare, and a bleak future outlook for the world. The personification of current social concerns and atrocities in the form of an immense, nuclear beast fascinated me, and I was able to identify it through a marketing looking glass given my specialised knowledge in the area of social marketing. The personification of a negative action or activity is a common technique to help push social cause marketing efforts on the basis of developing particular emotions within the audience. There is a possibility I wouldn’t have been able to identify the effectiveness of this method if I had seen the film earlier in my childhood.

This, of course, wasn’t the first time I had seen a black and white film. Although I did come to the realisation that nearly all had been about caucasian lifestyles and glamorous women, clean-cut men and typically western ideals. I often felt a sense of shame, having not broadened my horizons earlier and ignorantly consuming exactly what Hollywood tells us we should. I doubt this embarrassment is something that the producers aimed at for a western audience. Then again, who could have predicted the concept would branch off into million-dollar remakes across the globe? Was the film ever intended to be seen by any Western eyes?

The final point of interest for me was watching my classmates, and myself, project our own current cultural references, interpreting the ’54 original though a 21st Century framework through our platforms, our memes and often also gifs. Our understanding of a digital asia, I presume, will come through our own learning processes in our online digital environment. Captured perfectly by our tutor Angus Baille:

That’s all for now, until next time.

Claudia

References:

Origami – My Autoethnographic Experiences

I love learning new things so having the ability to explore Japanese, Chinese and Korean culture through the use of autoethnography has been awesome. As someone who has dabbled in Japanese culture through high school, I did start off this journey knowing a thing or two about the culture through books and materials the school gave to us. I’m not necessarily saying I know everything about the culture because in reality I only know a very small aspect of something so big, but what I do know has definitely opened my eyes.

Autoethnography is something that has taken me some time to get used to, but looking at it from a new perspective and especially using it during the time of discovering new aspects of Digital Asia’s cultures I have discovered that I was able to sort through my thoughts and ideas in a narrative autoethnographic form. By doing this my narratives would place emphasis on what I was thinking/feeling and remembering while engaging in these topics.

For my Digital Artefact, I followed an epiphany that I had during the week and chose to look further into the art of origami and specifically paper cranes. In order to make my research into an autoethnographic experience, I chose to investigate the history behind the folding of origami and paper cranes while also drawing on my own experiences with making these cranes for my art project.

Origami is the art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures which originated in Japan. The crane is considered a mystical animal that is believed to live for thousands of years and because of this, they have become a symbol of good luck and long life. Origami was considered a ceremonial and religious art form since the symbol of the crane is lucky and sacred. A sense of wonder about the paper cranes sparked my curiosity which leads to the art of origami.

When approaching this subject to find out the history of the practice I chose to try and look at it in an autoethnographic way. Autoethnography is known as a genre of writing which displays multiple levels of consciousness, which connects the personal to the culture (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011). When looking at this practice I wanted to place emphasis on the study of the practice and my research and interaction with the practice.

When approaching the research side of the project I wanted to find out as much as I could about the evolution and history of origami. To do this I found a lot of websites that gave me information on the folding methods and also interesting points about its history. I found that there weren’t many academic articles about the topic so I chose to use those instead.

Coming into the research aspect of the project I found that I knew very little of the history of origami and origins of paper cranes. I found that most if not all of the information was new to me and in the long run I found out a whole lot more of a culture that I found intriguing.  The research as a whole did give me a lot more information, understanding, and insight into the culture and in hindsight, by researching the topic more I did end up understanding the practice a whole lot more which changed my outlook on the project. It started as something that I was doing because it was pretty and fascinating to something I was doing because I loved the history and story behind it and wanted to delve into the culture.

The criteria for the art piece is to create a device of wonder that spurs imagination, examination, investigation, and speculation that is caused by something beautiful, remarkable or unfamiliar. Devices of wonder invite the audience to engage in the work and ultimately become a part of it. The idea of curiosity is sparked between an individual’s and the work encourages investigation which is where the idea of someone becoming a part of the work is explored.

The prototype of the art piece was successful when it was put together and everything turned out how I wanted it. There were, however, setbacks though with the process of actually putting it up and hanging it from the roof. The reality was that my prototype was only a small indication of how it would look and I did need to change the way that the cranes were hanging from the mesh to get the impact that I wanted from the audience.

I thought that folding all these paper cranes would end up turning in to a chore and I would despise paper after, however, I think that the process of folding paper cranes has become quite therapeutic for me to do after having a stressful day or just needing some time alone.  Through experiencing this I have an understanding why this practice was originally an art form for formal ceremonies as well as an elegant way to pass the time.

 

Untangling the Strings of I Ching

iching全球 is the Cantonese character for ‘global’

I engaged in a legitimate I Ching spiritual reading two weeks ago, in the confines of my bedroom – via app. It didn’t phase me at all. I’m what Mark Prensky would describe as a “digital native“; I circumnavigate the corners of the globe via technology, as effortlessly as I breathe, without conscious consideration.

It’s when I step back, take a deep breathe and consider the implications of my virtual journey, that the epiphanies ignite. The following is an excerpt from my post- an excerpt from my post I Ching for iPhone, featuring two epiphanies which ignited from my experience;

“One voice in my head whispered oh my God it actually worked, over and over again. A second is mindful that this traditional Chinese art has been translated from Mandarin, which has a completely different dialect and alphabet…

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Chinese Cupping Therapy

Here’s what you may have missed in my last blog post.

Two weeks ago, Lauren (meaning me, myself and I) went on an adventure to seek out an alternative form of therapy to relieve her overwhelmingly constant back pain. It was full of new experiences and epiphanies, that she will long remember. Read about what took place here because she is about to go all in on how cupping came to be.

Cupping is an ancient Chinese medicine therapy that has been around for thousands of years. Supposedly, one of the first ever recordings of cupping was found in a tomb of the Han Dynasty, written in a collection of medical works made of silk called a Bo Shu. It was used as a way of healing, relieving the body and boosting ones energy. The methods and equipment used today are said to have both remained the same but also developed with technology.

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A part of a Mǎwángduī Bóshū, similar to what was found in the Han tomb. Photo cred: http://bit.ly/2vvxB8W

“Acupuncture and cupping, more than half of the ills cured,”  is an apparent saying in China that supports the cupping as a form of alternative therapy.

With celebrities and athletes like Justin Bieber, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michael Phelps and Victoria Beckham flaunting their perfectly circular bruises in public, many sources believe that cupping has become increasingly popular in recent years within the western world. I can see this to be true, as I myself was influenced to give it a go after seeing micro celebrities, Erin and Joslyn doing it. Though I did genuinely believe this therapy could potentially benefit me and not because I saw it as a fad.

Though, going into this experience I was completely naive in terms of how many things cupping therapy is used for. There are multiple reasons for requesting this remedial therapy as Live Well- Acupuncture and Herbal Clinic highlights, including:

  • Clear the meridians ,
  • Qi and blood circulation ,
  • swelling and pain ,
  • and expelling wind and cold

Gladly, I successfully managed to maintain some massage room etiquette and avoid the last. (Possibly because I didn’t eat before hand.)

I also discovered that it helps aid more then just ones physical conditions but also mental, especially with depression and anxiety. Stating, “the therapy can limit the inflammation and overall pain in the body. As a result, it will help to enhance the physical and mental relaxation. That will naturally boost the well-being of the patient.”  This is  definitely how I felt leaving the clinic.

One thing I found intriguing was the cups themselves. I was unsure as to what they were made of but due to the amusing noise they created, I  made the assumption they were some sort of rubber. After further research, there are different forms of cups that can be used that made of various materials including glass, bamboo, earthenware or silicone.

Cupping-therapy-Cup-types

Photo cred: AcuPro Academy. http://bit.ly/2h4cSns

In a research article published by PLOS in 2012, a group of researchers reviewed 135 cupping cases and they concluded that cupping is also effective for various diseases and conditions, in particular herpes zoster, acne, facial paralysis, and cervical spondylosis. Though they make point that the reviews may be biased and further randomised controlled trials are necessary. I think what it comes down to is the individuals experience and their own unique experiences, which is definitely something Ellis et al (2011) explores.

There are two different types of cupping, wet or dry. I knew this but I didn’t know what exactly this entailed going into my experience.

Now, I tried dry cupping as that was all the clinic offered and I am glad I did after researching what wet was. Wet seems very advanced and a little more daunting. Dry cupping is where the cups are placed on effected areas, drawing the skin that begins to turn red into the cups. Wet cupping takes dry cupping one step further by removing the cups then using a scalpel to make superficial slices in the skin then again placing the cups back on top to draw out a small amount of blood for detoxification. An ointment is then placed on the cuts to avoid infection.

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Wet cupping. Photo cred: http://bit.ly/2wY8bp5

Oh yeah! By the way… WARNING! The image above is a bit icky.

There are potential side effects to cupping and skin infection is one of them. Bruising is the most common and expected but generally fades around 10 days. Some others are mild discomfort and fire cupping can induce slight burns.

I thought the length of my cupping experience was short. As I had fixed cupping done which is where different sized cups are suctioned onto one spot, according to Back In Health, the cups are only supposed to be left on the effected area for 3-5 minutes.  Unlike mobile cupping where the cups are moved around using oil, like an inverted massage.

Something I also think is interesting to know is the people therapists recommend cupping is not fit for. Due to the manipulation and steering of blood, menstruating or pregnant women, anyone who has metastatic cancer, anyone who suffers from muscles spasm or bone fracture and anyone who suffers from haemophilia are not recommended. This is really important to know before going into a session, particularly for young women who may not know it isn’t good to go when menstruating.

So, the fact that this therapy has withheld the times and has remained mostly the same, makes me believe there is definitely some sort of power in it. Though I do still believe its power comes down to each individuals own unique experience.

Lauren.

ALSO ! Before you go!

Here are a series of links that really helped me understand more about the process of cupping. I highly recommend you check out these if you want to know more or plan on getting cupping therapy done.

Back in Health – http://backinhealthosteo.com.au/the-myths-truths-behind-myofascial-cupping-therapy/

WebMD – http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/cupping-therapy#2

Cupping Warehouse – http://www.cuppingwarehouse.com/history-of-cupping/

ACOS – http://www.acos.org/articles/chinese-medicine-cupping/

SA Integrated Therapies – http://www.saintegratedtherapies.com.au/cupping/

Mindbodygreen – https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16791/3-reasons-everyone-should-try-cupping.html

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