My Illustrated Ethnography

Here is a short animation about my research, in which I share one example from my honors thesis as well as some of the cool theories and concepts that guided my analysis.

My research is called, “Ecuadorian Women and Pachamama: Understanding Everyday Life in Cangahua through Narratives,” and it’s all about how women in a rural Andean community find agency and meaning in their feminized roles under the patriarchal and colonialist gaze, examined through narratives that reveal their intimate relationships with food, their community, and the land on which they live.

Presented at the UCLA Lemelson Anthropological Undergraduate Honors Conference on June 8, 2020.

Subtitles included.

Quarantine Doodle #1 : Nattō 納豆

Even in the apocalypse, my love affair with fermented foods remains imperishable.

JP: 外出制限でもう逃げられない納豆苦手の兄が毎回こんな顔になってる。ちょっと可愛そうだけどやっぱり美味しくてやめられない!

ES: Nattō (frijoles de soya fermentados) es un platillo popular en Japón con un olor penetrante y, para algunos, desagradable. Es uno de mis favoritos para el desayuno, pero mi hermano no puede soportarlo. Pues, no tiene adónde escapar debido a la cuarentena…


Recipe for yui's favorite breakfast, mentioned above:
- 1 pack of nattō
- 1 raw egg (recommend getting at a japanese grocery store)
- chopped green onions
- steamed rice
- soy sauce
- (optional) kimchi, for that extra microorganism kick!

Field Note #5 — Lost in Translation (Sketchbook)

Some Linguistics humor to wrap up my day…


(Puta means “whore” in Spanish.  While in English the /b/ sound is more firmly voiced and held longer, in Japanese it’s a softer, more “staccato” consonantal sound that’s very close to the Spanish bilabial stop /p/ —so the two come out sounding dangerously similar.)

Field Note #2 — Packing for Fieldwork (Sketchbook)

My flight to Quito is less than a week away what the f

… And I have not yet figured out what to bring to the field.  As per usual it looks like I am leaving my packing to the eleventh hour.  I’m convinced I don’t know how to do it any other way.

But this time, I can’t get away with just stuffing a couple of (hopefully clean) shirts and shorts into a backpack a few hours before take-off.  I need to be prepared.  I gotta anticipate for stuff.  I have to plan in advance. 

But planning in advance?  Not really my style.

In fact, over the past seven months of writing my proposal and drafting a “data collection timeline,” I have been contradicting myself with a voice in my head preaching that nothing is going to go according to plan.  After hearing it from my advisors so many times, I’ve come to understand that that’s pretty much the mantra of anthropological research: things just won’t go the way you think they will. 

You have no idea how much comfort this brings me.  I’ve talked to members of my cohort about this and the lack of control over how our projects will play out seems to make them anxious—but for me, it’s relieving to not have the pressure of having it all figured out and instead have freedom over where our projects will take us. I’m a total sucker for this romantic idea of stumbling upon data serendipitously, much like bumping into a potential love interest at the grocery store and dropping an apple and having them pick it up for you and say, “I believe this is for you.” 

But this is a risky game to play in research.  Maybe this approach works for finding a partner (unconfirmed) but the IRB needs a little more structure than that, and sometimes you have to play by the rules.  So I guess that means it’s time to get packing even though it’s super early—four whole days before departure!

But not today.  Today, I am avoiding the crippling sense of panic creeping up on me about how unprepared I am for the field—for all of this—and decided to just doodle about it instead.

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