Reflections on week one

Right, I have decided to use this space as a public forum on my teaching. I am sure few people read it but I think that being open to public scrutiny when you are in public education is a vital thing!

So, the first week – the module introduction! I always dislike these weeks. It is like the pre-party when a few people have arrived but don’t know each other so mill around looking confused and then drinking too much to compensate for nerves.

Firstly, the module grew exponentially this week so a cozy and intimate module of 20 is now a large and more unwieldy workshop of 38. This has resulted in a room change and, on a personal level, makes it hard to learn everyone’s names. In terms of group discussions it now takes longer to get around to everyone and hear each groups opinions. The workshop is two hours long and the room is not big enough to get everyone into a circle so I may need to employ some creative ideas on  room formatting.  Turns out there are multiple websites devoted to just this so next week I will employ what is know as a ‘cabaret style’ setting.  Will involve moving table so that is a pain but never mind!

As usual I ran out of time and had to rush going though got reading. This is not satisfactory and, to counter this, next week I think I will start with the reading so I can ensure that all students are ok with how to break down an article and, hopefully, figure out the key points.

This week with ‘Wink on Pink’ by Christine Yano, so as you can correctly guess, we spent some time on かわいい as a concept. I dislike かわいい loads. To me, it too often symbolises the most commodified, negatively gendered, lacking in intellectual content and trite narrative that you can get in popular culture. Still, it does sell and lots of students are clear devotees of the cute-aesthetic so I will need to tread carefully!

Asking people a popular culture artefact they really like was interesting. The clear winners were Studio Ghibli, 응답하라 1988/Answer me, 1988 and 치즈 인 더 트랩 / Cheese in the Trap. So Korean and Japanese culture is once again  leading the charge. Few films were mentioned and even less people cited music as their main popular culture passion – this is a curious one and means that shifting the focus towards TV a bit more may prove popular.


Nobody wanted a set screening so all have promised to watch in their own time….we shall see. If it becomes clear people are not watching it then I will have to bring back a set screening and take attendance. I would rather not as clearly smacks of school but I have no desire to have  a class when no one has seen the visual artefact under discussion.
The DoCoMo ‘be careful while texting’ advert got some laughs as did the wonderful xiaorishu.  So perhaps humour is the best way forward – this will be hard in the weeks on sex industry but we shall see!




In conclusion, it seemed to go okay. I always feel better once I know the class a bit better and have figured out what really makes people tick. Next week Hallyu and Winter Sonata.


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