Chinatown Ethnography

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The site that I have chosen for this ethnographic research is the streets of Chinatown. The reason why I chose Chinatown is because it portrays my Asian background, but at the same time, it still brings out some Western elements so that I could relate the two different cultures with each other. I had some trouble coming up with a site that allows me to feel connected to it because a lot of the other sites that I go to more often do not signify anything special particular about my character. The first site that came to mind when I was brainstorming ideas was Barnes and Nobles. I go there to look at books as well as to observe the other people around me. I thought that this would be easier for me because its location is a lot closer than Chinatown's. However, I find the activities that take place in Barnes and Nobles to be quite trite and not so very exciting. Whenever I go there, I usually see the same kinds of things that go inside and around it, such as students sitting by the Starbucks shop and working on their papers, random people reading the newspapers and magazines with their coffee, people typing on their laptops, as well as people browsing through the many sections of the bookstore. Eventhough it was easier for me to participate by starting a conversation with some of the people I see there, I still find it more difficult to be interested and involved in such a site. Then, Chinatown came to mind and I realized that I may not visit it as often as I do for Barnes and Nobles. However, the kind of attachment that I have for Chinatown is a lot stronger and more personal. Thus, I am determined to research Chinatown carefully and observe its characters from both an insider and an outsider.

Eventhough I am part Chinese, I sometimes still feel like a foreigner or a tourist when I visit Chinatown. The main reason why I feel that way, I think, is because I do not speak Chinese - the language that most people use to communicate with each other there. Nonetheless,...
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