The reason why I was out of the country on the first two weeks of June was because I delivered two paper presentations in international conferences in Japan. This venture was my first time to present my finished papers, so this has been a memorable learning experience for me. Suffice to say, despite being utterly nervous about how other scholars would react to my research, I found that not every scholar would eat me alive, and even if they do, I am there to learn from them, and that I would have to lessen being hard on myself.
The first conference I attended was The Sixth Asian Conference on Cultural Sudies (ACCS2016), held at the Art Center of Kobe, Kobe-shi, Hyogo-ken, Japan on 2-5 June, 2016. In relation to this year’s theme, “Cultural Struggles and Praxis: Negotiating Power and the Everyday,” I submitted my term paper in our Arts of Asia seminar course, entitled, “Beat of Asia: Analyzing East Asia’s Cultural Hierarchy and the Negotiation of Hallyu Stars’ Identity and Songs,” which discerns the cultural politics involved in the promotion of Korean (Hallyu/transbordering) artists in Japan with a case study of BoA, of course.
Listed below are some of my favourite happenings during the conference. I will post more about my latest Japan trip some other time, for now here’s ACCS2016:
Welcome Reception – June 2, 2016
The conference kicked off on June 2 with the conference registration and welcome reception. After receiving our goody bag containing a lot of coupons and other paraphernalia, we participants indulged ourselves with lotsa wine and sodas, and socializing with fellow scholars at Art Center of Kobe. It was when I was devouring my second piece of sushi when I heard an “Ate?” call out to me. When I turned around, two bagets came up to me and introduced themselves as Nina and Rodel, who are UP graduates, as well (Student numbers: 2011. Don’t we feel old? Lol.).
Basically what went down that night was me drinking more wine, holding on to Rodel while asking for water ‘cause I already had a buzzed head, making friends with –mostly- Asian scholars, and going home with a bunch of calling cards in my wallet. It was a good night, indeed.
Have I mentioned how beautiful the Kobe night view was from our hostel?
I met Koichi Iwabuchi
Whenever I’m asked how the conferences I attended were, my first response has always been, “I met Koichi Iwabuchi.”
To those who don’t know him, Koichi Iwabuchi is one of the leading scholars of Japanese and East Asian media and cultural studies whose most popular book (I think) is Recentering Globalization: Popular Culture and Japanese Transnationalism. The two papers that I presented both cited Professor Iwabuchi’s works –it’s even in my framework!- so it goes without saying that I was totally starstruck when I met him! The friends I was with during the coffee break can attest to how jittery I was while psyching myself to talk to him!
Thankfully, I met Porranee, a Thai Ph.D. student at Waseda University, who was Prof. Iwabuchi’s former student. She introduced us and omg I was stuttering the whole time during our conversation, and even blurted out, “May I shake your hand?” before asking for a photo with him. Haha.
The Lunch (Buffet)
During lunch breaks, we had an option to dine in at a Katsu restaurant or have lunch buffet at Mama no Hatake at Ana Crowne Plaza. Of course me and my lunch buddies tried both.❤
The lunch buddies:
Presentation Day + Coffee Breaks
I presented on June 4, 2016. With an“I’ll just wing it attitude” I managed to survive the whole thing. I managed to deliver my presentation within the allotted 25 minutes, considering that my original manuscript is 47 pages long, and the Q&A session after that had been fruitful. My favourite moment during Q&A was when a professor in Tokyo commented that she appreciated my presentation upon learning about the genesis of the hybridized Korean cultural production practice, making her understand how Korean artists became successful in Japan, and helping her relate with her students who are K-Pop fans.🙂
Also, one of the scholars I befriended there told me that my presentation garnered positive comments, so yay! I had to hear it from others, of course. J
What I also loved about ACCS was the unlimited supply of coffee, and the scholars whom I was able to chat with. I was glad that there were those who approached me during coffee break to further talk about pop music in Asia, particularly the male scholar from National University of Singapore (he didn’t have a card with him and I also forgot his name) whose face I would always remember ‘cause, like me, he’s a fan of veteran Asian stars. I can’t even remember the last time I talked to someone about old school Hong Kong music! There was also Ayako from the University of London, who is also a big fan of TVXQ. I almost missed watching Charnina’s presentation because Ayako and I kept on spazzing about Toho, lol.
International | Intercultural | Interdisciplinary
This is the tagline of the International Academic Forum (IAFOR). And they totally live up to it.
Indeed, IAFOR’s conference brought together around 200 scholars from all over the world for knowledge production. Despite being named as the Asian Conference on Cultural Studies, non-Asian scholars flocked the conference, and it’s great to engage in discussions with people from different walks of life to gain additional perspectives and insights with regard to our research interests. In my case, as an Asia specialist, I get to attend panel sessions on hybridity (my research interest), even though the case studies presented are about Europe.❤
IAFOR actually organized three conferences during those days, namely, The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies, The Asian Conference on Asian Studies, and International Conference on Japan and Japan Studies; and we were allowed to watch the presentations from the other two conferences, so I didn’t run out of sessions to watch! Hurray for learning.❤
I had my reservations prior to pushing through with this conference as concerned peeps from grad school cautioned us of IAFOR’s conferences being predatory – which was why I went anyway to see for myself and to share my own experience and observations. Based on my experience, the relatively high registration fee of IAFOR was reasonable, and once you attend the conferences, you’d see where your money went – from the venue, program, perks, food and refreshments, and excellent service among others.
Overall, I had a great time here, and if given the chance I would love to attend another IAFOR conference again.