internet

DA: Translating English to Japanese to English

As someone who was born in Australia in a family where Tagalog is the first language I’ve picked up on both English and Tagalog growing up. During Primary School I’ve also picked up Japanese as well. Japanese media was a huge part of my life since it makes up a huge portion of not only my childhood but my current interests and hobbies as well. Ranging from building Gundams to playing the next big JRPG a year before it’s English release.

https://vid.me/68ME1

Growing up with a family that speaks Tagalog at home, friends that speak English and studying Japanese in my own free time. I’ve been exposed to a wide spectrum of perspectives regarding Asia and the west. One of my most fond memories of my childhood was watching Cartoon network shows such as Foster’s home for Imaginary friends and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. The writing behind the two series is amazing and all the jokes have impeccable timing.

Since I know more than one language, I figured it’d be interesting to see how those two made the transition from English to Japanese. But on top of this, I’ve translated it back into English to see how it compares to the original English script.

Part of the idea came from putting 少年 (shounen/boy in Japanese) into Google translate, reversing the translation from JP > EN to make it JP > EN then switching the 2nd language to a different one. This could be done to a point where the word has changed completely. It’s kind of like Chinese whispers but for Google actually now that I actually think about it.

During this digital artifact I’ve come across a few epiphanies regarding translation from one language to another. The biggest one that came from this project is that a 1-to-1 translation is never recommended, at least for English to Japanese or vice versa. Literal translations never come out well.

_ShijinTenshi_AirGear_V12_Ch097_14_038_

Here’s what it looks like if you aim for a 1-to-1 translation.

Translation is all about having something make sense for a foreign audience while retaining the original message behind the medium. It’s absolutely key to retain the original experience the original audience had and let a foreign audience experience it the same way. Despite this being the key point of translation however, fan subtitles can fall into this trap. Duwang translations of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure being among one of the most infamous.

Even though, fan translations are generally of lower quality, they’re quite popular for Japanese video games (Lee, HK 2011). One of the best examples of a fan translation is the one for Phantasy Star Online 2. I mention this one specifically because while it is a fan translation, it’s a fan translation of an MMO. MMOs generally take 4 – 5 years to create. Part of this large process is due to the script for NPCs, story and quest text. PSO2 has yet to be released in English however the fan translation team has translated 99% of it and are keeping up with the game’s constant story/quest updates.

Another thing I learned from this Digital artifact is that, adding subtitles to something is more time consuming than expected. Going in I thought adding text to a video was simple. I mean it was, but aligning the timing of the words with the subtitles is was took the most effort, especially for longer sentences. Getting the timing down for subtitles to stay on screen long enough for the audience to read but not have it too slow was something I had to keep in mind.

One final thing that I took away from this project is that it’s difficult to make Japanese seem have a lot of flair in comparison to English. At least in regards to the cartoons I’ve translated. This is the dialogue in the cartoon network shows are very direct and lack a lot of the nuance that made them so fun to watch years later. While it may seem small, this difference in language vocabulary and structure is what leads to what works in each language. Slapstick comedy shows such as Gaki no Tsukai  are more popular than ever in Japan, but stand up comedians such as Louis CK is what’s popular in the west. Slapstick comedy is straightforward and requires no build up while stand up comedy is quite the opposite, relying on how it’s set and built up.

To end this project, take a look at the results: (I used vid.me because youtube takes too long to upload)

https://vid.me/cASyv

https://vid.me/QZ7mM

https://vid.me/m7vry

Reference List

Ellis, C, Adams, TE, & Bochner, AP 2011, ‘Autoethnography: an overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no. 1, viewed 15 October 2017, <http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095&gt;

Lee, HK 2011, ‘Participatory media fandom: A case study of anime fansubbing’, Media, Culture & Society, vol. 33, no. 8, pp. 1131-1147.

V-pop (is NOT K-pop!)

Hey everyone!

This blog post is just here to accompany my podcast for my DA!

My Podcast (For some reason it wouldn’t upload to Soundcloud… .-. :
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B38Ro63ZCMKqb3k0LWl5aWNobGc/view

My Notes:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/11S7xqf5cYufr9yxPAg86ZZ3kCKCuzG5LrhKekso4AEE/edit?usp=sharing

MV Research:

 

 

 

Sources:

Evaluating my experience: Asian Hip-hop/Rap music

In my auto-ethnographic exploration of the diverse and intriguing Asian hip-hop/rap culture in the blog post; Everything Asia #1: Asian Rap Music I attempted to outline my personal bias, i.e. the lens I was consuming this media from. The ultimate goal was to understand and familiarise myself with this non-dominant media artefact.

“The radical, performance (auto)ethnographer functions as a cultural critic…His [her]…[autoethnography]  becomes diagnosis, not just of him [her] self, but of a phase of history.”(Spender, 1984, p. ix) [Accessed here]

I believe my original blog post achieved my goal through Spender’s process of diagnoses of a phase of history; in this case being the emergence of this [sub]genre of Asian musical culture into the wider consciousness.

However in understanding the need for generalisability and integrity of my writing, in this post I will evaluate the following important aspects of creating an Asian autoethnography;

  • Identifying and addressing the existence of orientalism
  • Dissecting and explaining any East/West comparisons
  • Reiterating any personal bias against or presumptions towards Asian culture

Ellis et. al (2011) place emphasis the eternal struggle of auto ethnography to appear ‘scientific whilst still being artful’. In other words; the author loses interest for the pursuit of the truth or presents an entertaining narrative with little factual basis.

I attempted to walk this line in my blog post by explaining my context in the beginning to set the tone for any possible imbalance in favour of subjective narrative. This combined with my initial skepticism formed a clearer framework to consume my writing and opinions.

As for East vs West, this is absolutely the most difficult part of this topic as the roots of Hip-Hop/Rap are embedded deeply in African-American culture since its conception in the 1980’s. An industry still heavily dominated by this demographic to examine rap as a cultural output is to examine ‘black’ culture. I made efforts to sidestep this tempting comparison by discussing the influence of U.S. imperialism and the effect it has had on all cultures particularly Asian, and not pitching modern U.S. rappers vs Asian rappers. Instead of imposing my perspective of the artists included, I simply embedded curated links for the audience to decide and explore. I did however, slip up and compared the flow of Rich Chigga’s “Glow like dat” to Cleveland rapper; Kid Cudi, an epiphany which I would welcome genuine disagreement on. Instead of allowing the East vs West comparisons to alienate listeners, I took the angle which asserts that many Asian rappers will struggle to break western markets into dominant media channels unless they alter their sound towards the current norm.

So what about orientalism?

Edward Said  understood the concept of orientalism to be that ‘Middle Eastern and Asian cultures are undeveloped and static societies compared to the west. Implicit in this fabrication, writes Said, is the idea that Western society is developed, rational, flexible, and superior.’

Thus, to have the slightest sense of orientalism in one’s writing, involves the comparison of the east to a culturally-imperialist west. Although there is passing comment made in the initial blog it is hard to see even a faint sense of cultural inferiority/superiority.

I am glad I chose to research and represent this topic in my blog as I have now been listening to more and more of this music and am beginning to realise just how easily this cultural output transcends language barriers, i am hooked on the artistic fusion of many of the artists introduced to me by the 88rising record label.

**All references are in the form of hyperlinks**

 

Touring North Korea

Picking up where I left off, in the midst of virtually touring North Korea, I think I have decided upon where my autoethnographic research will lead to for my final research digital artefact. Autoethnography is, essentially, when the researcher throws themselves into a cultural field, experiencing the oddities and nuances alike. And upon experiencing these foreign, but otherwise “everyday” events, looking back to within one’s self and understanding why such events have stood out. To explore my research through such a process I am thinking of writing a short online fiction piece. The narrative is still not entirely decided upon, however I am thinking of a plot that’s loosely based around the idea of a character being absorbed through a virtual reality headset and placed into the actual world of the 360 North Korea video I am basing my research around. From here the character experiences the unfolding events. I am considering embedding live tweets from my research as thoughts, or learnings that the character experiences. This would be slightly interactive as the readers could click on research links through embedded tweets(form of references/further readings).

So, in order to create this interactive online digital story, I must begin my research.

To do so, I am going to delve into some of the following things that stood out to me, in the hope of understanding North Korean culture through the cultural framework of my own life. Through this research it will be interesting to consider how my experience of the video changes. This investigation should then hopefully inform how I will convey my research through my interactive digital piece. Looking at my previous observations, I want to focus in on a few core aspects:

  • How successful can North Korea really be? How much longer can they last while being isolated from the rest of the connected world? To expand on this, I want to look at the internet situation of North Korea. In the last few days North Korea accidentally leaked the DNS for .kp, showing only 28 domains on their internet. This Reddit post will be a valuable place to being my autoethnography.
  • Military experts analyse the footage from the festival to try and gain an understanding of N.K’s military strength
  • The notion of tourism, or tourism attractions in North Korea is interesting.

Furthermore, there are a few other curiosities I am interested in exploring:

  • How do weddings work in North Korea? Are they planned marriages?
  • Traffic is reported as being relatively new to N.K.
  • Most people (everyone?) are wearing navy blue armbands. What are these?
  • The Supreme Leader is kind of hard to take seriously with his massive portrait on a float regardless of how many missiles and nukes he flaunts. However it is hard to ignore the atrocities he is carrying out.

As the civilians in the 360 video walked the streets, waited for trains, and even visited “tourism destinations”, I noticed they weren’t doing something almost everyone does in my day to day life. As they moved through the streets and waited in the metro, absolutely no one was scrolling through feeds on their phone, something of a complete obsession within the culture I am familiar with. The strangeness, and perhaps more importantly, the significance of this cultural variation was emphasised in the narrators final lines.

“All of this closing off from the outside world cannot be sustained as each successive modern era requires participation in a global economy in order to survive… many wonder how much longer will this last”

The notorious censorship of the North Korean internet is just one facet of this so called “closing off” of the country. But in understanding this isolation, I am, as an autoethnographer, able to better understand the 360 video at hand and thus the North Korean country. Interestingly, North Korea’s main Domain Name System (DNS) server was recently leaked revealing that there are only 28 websites on North Korea’s public internet. Now, when I say public, I mean this limited amount of websites can be viewed by the outside world and tourists. There is an internal intranet used by officials and government in North Korea, which would be a whole new type of interesting, but there is a lot of significance in seeing the limited extent of the public internet. For starters, many of the websites are propaganda in its simplest form, one site show casing the Supreme Leaders activities, such as visiting farms full of bountiful fruit. In this case, these sites are most likely meant to be viewed by the outside world.

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Supreme Leaders Activities: http://rodong.rep.kp./en/

Most of these sites are extremely “pre-dated”. Looking at the North Korean internet is like taking a step back to the beginning of the internet. They are slow to load, and when they do, you are presented with an unsophisticated site that may not have been updated for a long time. Yet in a way, this brings a kind of authenticity to my North Korean experience.

A few of these sites bring me back to one of my early observations in the tourism of North Korea. The idea of North Korea as a holiday destination is one that seems completely insane to me. The places I have holidayed in, be it western countries such as America or Asian countries such as Thailand, for the most part where safe and allowed for tourists to do what they wanted. This form of freedom and adventure in a foreign place is what I understand as the idea of a holiday. However, there is practically no freedom to tourists visiting North Korea. You cannot leave your hotel room without government official “guides”. While most western visitors recounts of travelling in North Korea are positive, saying “the only way DPRK tourism is not safe, in my opinion, is for tourists who plan on participating in any civil disobedience”, Enright, a travel writer who wrote about her trip on her blog, Borders of Adventure, said she was constantly aware of breaking the rules and the possible punishment this entailed. “You can’t say to your guides, ‘Hey did you know that during the war the North bombed the South and not the other way around?’” She goes on to explain that telling her North Korean guides the truth about the rest of the world would have put not only herself but the guides in immense danger if she were overheard. In discovering this bleak way of tourism, there is obviously a definite reason you are escorted around the country by The Supreme Leaders Henchmen “guides” on specific, structured tours.

I feel these strict circumstances around tourism and the isolation placed on North Korea are both pointing to what the Supreme Leaders dictatorship is trying to achieve and continue to maintain, a unified hive mind of solidarity. North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Su-yong told reporters at a UN climate change conference earlier this year that “The real source of power in our country isn’t nuclear weapons or any other military means, but the single-minded unity of the people and the leader. This power of unity we have is the real source of power that leads our country into victory.”

Living in a country where freedom of speech is a somewhat protected right, it seems bizarre that the government of North Korea is promoting single-mindedness. Furthermore, that’s an interesting sentiment when the country literally parades massive nuclear weapons through the capital city in celebration of the 70th anniversary of The Workers Party.

What I have found through my research is that North Korea is ultimately an oppressed society with limited freedoms. However, in a way this only adds to the culture of which as an autoethnographer I have begun exploring. As Ellis (2011) explains, “When researchers do ethnography, they study 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. These practices, values and beliefs (which I have merely scraped the surface of) vary from mine own with such a vast difference that when I view the 360 video now, the entire context has changed.

Unpacking Bitcoin: An autoethnographic analysis of the emergence of Bitcoin in China

In my previous blog post, I proposed investigating the current state of Bitcoin in China for my individual research project and recorded my initial thoughts, perceptions and reactions to Motherboard’s documentary Life Inside a Secret Chinese Bitcoin Mine (2015). The purpose of this post is to reflect upon, analyse and interpret this experience within its broader sociocultural context using an autoethnographic research approach.

Chang (2008, p.43) observes that autoethnography can be distinguished from other genres of self-narrative such as memoir and autobiography by the way it “transcends mere narration of self to engage in cultural analysis and interpretation”. In other words, autoethnography is not about focusing on self alone, but about searching for understanding of others (culture/society) through self (Chang 2008, p.43).

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Hall (1973, p.30, cited in Chang 2008, p.34) argues that “the real job” of studying another culture is “not to understand foreign culture but to understand our own…to…

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Oh how you’ve grown!

I’m sure many of you know what cosplay is (merging of the words ‘costume-play’), but how many of you know where it comes from and how far it has actually come?  The past week I have been looking into the history of cosplay culture and let me just say, I was surprised to find out that the first ‘sighting’ of a cosplay costume was wayyy back in 1939..and in America?!

Forest J Ackerman is thought to be ‘the first’ – dressing in a futuristic costume based on the pulp magazine artwork by Frank R Paul at a world science fiction convention ‘back in the day’. It wasn’t until 1984 however, when President of Japanese ‘studio hard’, Nobuyuki Takahashi attended Los Angeles Science Fiction Worldcon and coined the phrases ‘cosplay’ after seeing convention go-ers dressed up.

Since then, it is clear how much this sub-culture has expanded, both in the world of gaming/anime/comic onventions and in everyday life.

Harujuku: a famous district in japan known for its cosplaying community.

http://www.tntmagazine.com Girls dressed up in Harajaku

The hobbyist aspect of cosplay is largely recognised through conventions in both America and Australia – however, in Japan cosplay goes further than just an element of conventions. Cosplay has become a significant part of Japanese culture. With Akihabara (a city in Tokyo) considered an otaku cultural city. Otaku is a japanese term for people with obsessive interests and it has predominantly shaped the business and buildings of the area as Japanese Architects have designed the stores of Akihabara to reflect the general desire of many otaku to live in an animated world.

Maids line up in Japan for  Uchimizu - For a further look at the Akihabara city head over to http://site.saikit.com/akihabara-anime-heaven/

Maids line up in Japan for Uchimizu – For a further look at the Akihabara city head over to http://site.saikit.com/akihabara-anime-heaven/

Fast forward from the conventions of 1938 to today, a technology centered global community. We have social networks and websites based on cosplay activities, along with Internet forums that allow cosplayers to share stories, photographs, news, etc. The rapid growth in the number of people cosplaying as a hobby has made the phenomenon a significant aspect of popular culture.

One of the biggest cosplaying magazines in japan Cosmode has a digitally adapted website version in English to allow different countries are able to come together to share experiences. Cosplay influenced Japanese ‘maid cafés’ are another example of how this sub-culture has expanded globally to countries such as China, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, Mexico, Canada and the United States.

By making myself a primary participant in my research of cosplay I feel as though my autoethnographic approach will be significantly enhanced. Making  a video documenting my own engagement of cosplay costume creation and relating it to additional research will reveal both my personal experiences and observations about the subject and an even further critical reflection of my findings.

Looking first at the Cosmode online website– it was apparent that it had not been updated since 2009, although all of the content uploaded prior to that seemed fairly consistent. I then decided to look into the Cosmode Thailand website – even though I can’t understand much of it at all.

To be honest, it is what I expected. Much like any other magazines online website it shows you the top articles, front page spreads, directs you to social media pages and has a fair bit of Asian advertisements. What I loved was the visual aspects; cover models dressed in costumes I have no idea about but can’t help but adore! Advice on how to do ‘cosplay make up’ really caught my attention and the bright colours made it impossible to look away! From there I was directed to their ‘webboard’ which was actually their Facebook page. Immediately I was impressed by the most recent post – an upcoming Japan fiesta in Bangkok! A ‘music festival’ with j-rock and cosplay! With a ‘cosplay-break the record’ element (check the video!) which I can only imagine is trying to break some kind of record seeing as I can’t exactly understand what is going on but i did recognise the ‘Tag #JFestacosplay’ which I thought was pretty interesting so of course, I headed to instagram to check it out!

With 135 posts so far the hashtag seems to be going fairly well with some amazing costumes although I did make one fairly stereotypical observation; the majority of them are female, and selfies (although I will be exploring that more later).

A screenshot of the #Jfestacosplay hashtag on Instagram

A screenshot of the #Jfestacosplay hashtag on Instagram

For now, I feel as though this is a prime example that reveals how much the Japanese sub culture of cosplay has grown and influenced elements of other Asian countries as well as westernised countries through conventions and online extensions.

Excited to share with you my further research into this extremely broad and wonderful world!

Gaming Cafés

With the people, if someone wants to play a video games, you buy an expensive computer or a console.  If you want to play with your friends you either hook it up to the internet or you struggle to get the damn thing over to your friends house and hook them all up to the local modem.  It’s not easy.  Only recently did I hear about the notion of gaming cafés.  They’re like internet cafés but come with popular games installed so that everyone in the café can play together.

It’s a nifty idea that no one ever seems to have thought of here.  After looking a couple of them up I realised I had walked past a couple before but never really thought about it, disregarding them as the boring internet versions.  Even still, they always seem to be empty.  The only time I’ve ever seen more than two people in one of these cafés is in my briefs forays into chinatown, but I didn’t really notice what they were playing.  The notion of having to leave home and go somewhere I’m not socially comfortable with is totally foreign to me.

The idea could be kind of cool though.  Personally I like to play Magic: The Gathering.  For the uninitiated it’s like playing the grown up version of Pokemon cards.  For the initiated I’m sorry but that’s the fastest way to make people unfamiliar understand what’s going on without a lengthy explanation.  You can’t play a paper card game online so I have gone to events to play with people I don’t know and made new friends.  I guess it’s the same with the gaming cafés, going somewhere to both enjoy your hobby and play with like-minded people.

The more I think about this the more I wish that I was old enough to remember the game arcades of yesteryear, here people were almost forced together to play together, to compete together, to share a hobby.  Which was something I never had.  For me, games were never that social an aspect of my life until recently, which I think is a product of me living in Australia where physical sports are much more popular and sports personalities can become celebrities.