Weaboo vs. Japanese: two worlds collide

This post concerns my curiosity about the beingness of an otaku. I’ve comfortably referred to myself as such over the past 4 years, ever since I went nuts over Evangelion. I realize that I’ve never really gotten how extreme this kind of geekness is, or what kind of impression it makes on people. I’ve seen how Lucky Star makes fun of otakus, as well as Densha Otoko which I feel exaggerates the pathos. What really makes otaku otaku?

Part of how I remember love

Part of how I remember love

I’ve linked to this post before, but I find it useful to do so again. What follows in an excerpt from Lawrence Eng’s “Otaku-ism: The Politics of Being Otaku” (2001).

“What defines an otaku?” is a complicated question that resists quick and easy answers. Media sensationalism aside, “otaku” has gone from simply being what hardcore fans used to call each other to being a general concept of how individuals use information for their own ends. William Gibson calls otaku “passionate obsessive(s)”. Volker Grassmuck describes them as “information fetishists”. Personally, I prefer my own definition: “self-defined cyborgs”. In the most basic sense, an otaku is someone who is highly dedicated to something and uses information from anywhere and everywhere to further his or her understanding of that thing for fun and maybe even profit. In a world where deep intellectual curiosity is considered strange and usually unprofitable, the otaku lifestyle has a lot to offer that is different. To promote negative stereotypes of otaku (or any group) amounts to a subtle form of bigotry–so subtle, it might even be unintentional.

I’m most inclined to latch on to the positive spin in the definition provided above, making me a person who is “highly dedicated to something and uses information from anywhere and everywhere to further his or her understanding of that thing for fun and maybe even profit.” But is this spin, if used as a standard definition, divorces the word from its particulars: Japanese culture (or specific parts of it including but not limited to anime). Am I prepared to suggest that the word otaku enter the english dictionaries the same way sushi and karate have.

I don’t think the beingness of an otaku extends merely to the geeking out over the subject (anime, toys, etc.), whether the behavior is amassive/accumulative or expressive. There seems to be no such stigma attached to a hardcore fan of music, film, theatre, books, tv shows, etc. Or, at least, the stigma is only that of a nerd/geek. I somehow detect pots calling kettles black in the discrimination of other geek subcultures against otaku; specifically those they identify as weeaboos. I’ve never traveled to the west, so I only see Trekkies and Star Wars geeks made fun of on TV. I can’t go into depth re the nuanced distinctions between Western and Japanese geeks.

dscf1449

I took the Japanese to a church, for the first time in his life: The Manila Cathedral

It seems to me that what marks the otaku is the social castigation. It’s the pathos that distinguishes him. But isn’t the pursuit of the subject supposed to provide the distinction? But a connosieur of fine art won’t be immediately treated as a weirdo in our Gladwellian ‘blinking’. But a connosieur of Gunpla, well, it screams otaku. But if social impairment pathos is the tag applied to the otaku, can I simply call myself an anime connosieur? Will I suddenly lose my social capital if I let people in my shameless otaku lifestyle?

The litmus test seems to be when people come up to my place. My wife is into dolls in a big way (Jenny, Licca, Barbie – especially the comic book licensed ones, Disney Princesses, dollhouses, anime figurines), but people assume that the extensive Lelouch collection is mine! My wife isn’t an otaku (she’s like Kagami to my Konata) despite her quirks. She asks ‘normal’ friends to shop abroad for her dolls and no one considers her strange in any way. They come up and see the dolls, the figurines, the robots, and get the impression that only one of us is a bit on the eccentric side.

Koichi could at least identify The Prince of Tennis, having played tennis in high school

Koichi could at least identify The Prince of Tennis, having played tennis in high school

I put these musings to work over last week. I hosted two young adults taking part of the Ship for South East Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP), an annual cultural exchange activity to promote friendship and mutual understanding among delegates. Part of this is staying for at least a full 24 hours in the home of a host family in each country part of the tour. I never knew about this program back when I was qualified to participate, so I readily agreed to become a member host family. My charges, among over 300 possible Participant Youths (PYs) include a Singaporean of Indian ethnicity (Nimalesvaran, or Nim) and a Japanese (Koichi).

When we were first getting to know each other, I preempted myself by talking about anime and self-deprecatingly calling myself an otaku (it’s not that big a risk because they need me, I’m their host). Both were incredulous, especially Koichi who was a very ‘normal’ finance major even though he looked geeky to me. But after my continuous weeabooisms (bakana! mada mada, yare yare/ara ara – I was channeling my favorite undine as well), I could tell he was seriously considering my claim.

I took them around Manila, fed them our delicacies, and got Koichi drunk (it didn’t take much). I kept asking him what music he liked (Mr. Children), and what he did for fun (drinking). There was no trace of otakuness, save for liking manga which isn’t really a big deal.

When they got to the house they saw the toys: the Revoltech Gurren Lagann, Eva Unit-01 and Macross robots; the Gunpla, the figurines. Nim said, “You weren’t kidding about being an otaku,” but Koichi only politely smiled.

Part of our library

Part of our library

Over the next two days I needled him about it until he gave a nervous laugh, smiled, and said yes. Then he and Nim started taking pictures of our flat, specifically the toys my wife and I put on display on various shelves along with our books. I suspect that to him I’m this foreign curiosity, someone proud of things he or his friends may make fun of back home. As to the attitude of Japanese towards foreign otaku, I’ve only seen in the Nodame Cantabile Specials (dorama), where the French piano student Franc was a significant side character who happened to be quite the otaku and had mistakenly romanticised otakus and their lifestyle.

While I cannot really speak for Nim and Koichi, the whole experience was quite intense and we did connect in ways I don’t think is probable with the host families in their previous stops (Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Brunei, and Indonesia), primarily due to our closeness in age. I was more like a consenting older brother than a parental figure. The second day, the one they stayed with me the whole time also happened to be Koichi’s birthday! I got him even more drunk than the day before (it took just one more beer total), and did my best to make his day a memorable one.

I obviously feel enriched, having made new friends. The relationship at any point never became between Japanese person and a weeaboo. It was really just guys hanging out, with me doing my best Alicia impression (not that they’d ever get the reference).

Nim, ghostlightning, Koichi

Nim, ghostlightning, Koichi

Manila isn't Neo Venezia, and this is no gondola; but hell, I'm playing undine...

Manila isn't Neo Venezia, and this is no gondola; but hell, I'm playing undine anyway...

In Intramuros, with the Guardia Civil both old and new

In Intramuros, with the Guardia Civil both old and new (those are real firearms too)

San Miguel Pale Pilsen @ Tiendesitas

Beer Montage: San Miguel Pale Pilsen @ Tiendesitas

San Mig Light @ Azul, Mall of Asia

Beer Montage: San Mig Light @ Azul, Mall of Asia

Red Horse @ Cafe Illustrado

Beer Montage: Red Horse @ Cafe Illustrado

Nim with the balut he's about to eat

Nim with the balut he's about to eat

Nim, Waifu, ghostlightning, Koichi @ our backyard "bahay kubo"

Nim, Waifu, ghostlightning, Koichi @ our backyard "bahay kubo"

Koichi with the Japanese delegation, who's that on the right?

Koichi with the Japanese delegation, who's that on the right?

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No tearful goodbyes please

This image will stay with me for a while. Goodbye for now dear friends.

This image will stay with me for a while. Goodbye for now dear friends.

See the Japanese SSEAYP delegation do their cheer for the Philippine leg of their tour:

Wasn’t that awesome! I got to congratulate Koichi too at the end, just when he thought I won’t be able to make it there and we wouldn’t see each other again.

Video adventures with Nim and Sasuke: Balut-eating at Tiendesitas, Pasig City (Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3 – where Koichi is not FAIL).

While I have no problems relating to myself as an otaku, it isn’t what defines the totality of my identity. I don’t hide what shows I like and what fictional characters I enjoy, but people somehow don’t relate to me merely as the sum of my hobby. Admittedly, older people have more difficulty understanding all of this, and when dealing with them (some of them business contacts) I don’t invite a discussion about anime (the same way I don’t invite a discussion about poetry). But let me be clear, I’m not putting myself up as some kind of template for behavior – far from it. I just want to share how I live what I write about.

Now how about you?

  1. Do you refer to yourself as an otaku? Why/Why not?
  2. If you don’t does it really mean you aren’t one?
  3. If/when you go (have gone) to Japan, what would your trip be like?
  4. Do you know people who refer to themselves as otaku, but watches far less anime and does far fewer anime/manga related activities than you? How do you feel about them?
  5. Do you know people who don’t refer to themselves as otaku, but watches just as much if not more anime than you or does more anime/manga related activities than you? How do you feel about them?

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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33 Responses to Weaboo vs. Japanese: two worlds collide

  1. [ID SOJOURNER]

    LOL. I LOVE THE VIDEO.

  2. Ryan A says:

    But a connosieur of Gunpla, well, it screams otaku

    I lol’d. BEEER! yay

    1) Deep within, I’d be lying if I said I do. I enjoy media, but am perhaps more stimulated by the resulting experiences of stories, lyrics, and melodies in general.

    2) I am on the verge perhaps, but I think people close to me understand that I am adamant about other things in the same way I am about Japan and it’s pop-media.

    3) Take it all in, see everything and feel it. While the Tokyo city-life intrigues, I would definitely like to find a retreat somewhere in the middle of no where, something with traditional Japanese style.

    4) Non.

    5) Non.

    I am alone in my remote real life … ^_^

  3. mechafetish says:

    Its funny, I have seen more anime than I care to remember, but, until we became friends anyway, I never thought of my self as an otaku in any way, shape or form. In fact, even today, I find it difficult to think of myself in this light.

    Maybe the aspect of social castigation you refer to is far more integral to my concept of the term than yours. I find no difficulty finding social acceptance in circles hostile to otaku culture because I make an effort to explicitly hide this aspect of my life.

    Is an otaku who is ashamed to be an otaku an otaku at all? Perhaps I merely consider myself undeserving of the title because of my behavior?

  4. bluemist says:

    Nothing much to add but:

    “It’s not who you are underneath. It’s what you do that defines you”
    – from Batman Begins

  5. lelangir says:

    1. no. I’m not Japanese

    2. I am not one to myself, to another, I may be one. It’s very subjective, depending on the interpreter.

    3. go to Hokkaido and climb mountains or something. no thanks Tokyo…

    4-5. dunno them. As per your statements on it, I don’t see how quantity of cultural consumption should in any way relate to cultural being. Me watching however much anime a day doesn’t make me an otaku, I simply cannot exist as an otaku, it is impossible, I am not Japanese, I cannot be in that culture, in that mode of existence. But, due to my cultural consumption, am I a nerd? Oh yes, if that’s what you’ll call me.

    It seems “hardcore _____” (weeaboo, etc.) occupy an incredibly marginalized position. They are already in a larger subculture (____dom), but they are further ostracized by scapegoats themselves (elitists, etc.), they are the scapegoats of the scapegoats. We all need some outlet of misanthropy.

  6. ghostlightning says:

    @ The Sojourner

    Glad you like it. Too bad I wasn’t able to record any of the others. Weeaboo bias is obvious.

    @ Ryan A

    Some may take to this isolation issue as a problem, but it isn’t necessarily. I’m very much into solitude too. That said, there are worlds to be discovered in the experience of others. Comments like yours cement this in my thoughts. I think here is a person very much like me superficially (likes anime, likes blogging), but has very different opinions than mine. Me finding out about you, is already a win.

    @ mechafetish

    You are who you choose to be, and what stands before you is your unacknowledged self. You do almost everything what an otaku does at a high level – but what defines you is your studied and deliberate ways of making sure you aren’t identified as one.

    So what if you are? The fact that it means so much to you that you aren’t perceived as such is what runs your behavior. You are more determined (in a Skinnerian way) than are a free agent of life. In this case, the truth can set you free.

    @ bluemist

    Yep, inasmuch we can agree in objective definitions. But even if we just qualify our tags as ‘practical’ (definitions) of a person, calling someone who engages the anime hobby as much as me otaku works.

    @ lelangir

    In you I see a strong will to distinguish yourself. I mean this not so much as a will to be better than others (only you can validate that), but as a strong will to make sure you aren’t like others – even when there are many similarities. This is by no means a bad thing. It’s an assertion of identity – whether this is a means to an end, or an end in itself I won’t speculate on further.

    Regarding being otaku without being Japanese, I do think it’s possible through appropriation of the language. However, you’d be very right to say that it’s not the same, and won’t be. I think of Patricia Martin in Lucky Star, and she is still very much an outsider in Japan, marked further by her otaku obsession.

    So I take responsibility for relaxing the parameters of the definition of otaku, allowing for differences in nationality, and of parent culture. Am I right to do so? Never mind. I really am just interested in how people see themselves. Perhaps the comments and reactions will be useful in your/our writing on nexistences in the future.

  7. Turambar says:

    1. “Maybe”, or at least that’s the response I give to those that ask me if I am one. I don’t personally refer to myself as one because I have yet to determine just what the term “otaku” means to me. It’s a word that seems to change in definition as it cross cultural lines and thus leaves my thoughts on it a bit in limbo.

    2. Again, the answer to that can only be “maybe”

    3. I’m am a history major first and foremost. That should probably give everyone somewhat of an idea what my trip would be like.

    4. No

    5. Yes, one. But then again, she isn’t resentful of the term either. It simply is not a word used when describing her identity. She stands besides the term “gamer” far more adamantly than “otaku”.

    Off topic: Ghost, you look like a slightly older version of my friend Eugene and that is just a tad creepy, haha.

  8. xau says:

    i have trouble identifying myself as otaku. i love anime and watch it a lot. i read manga and read light novels and love it. i listen to anime music all the time. however, otaku to me seems to be an over-obsessiveness of the hobby. it is the difference between a ‘fan’ and a ‘geek’, or a casual gamer or a hardcore gamer. the term otaku for me also seems to say that it is a ‘way of life’. for me, that isn’t true. i envision myself giving up on anime when i hit a certain age. i’d say i am close to an otaku with the way i have dealt with the hobby, but will never cross the line of seeing myself as one.

  9. Some interesting questions here.

    1. No. As I never tire of pointing out ‘fan’ comes from ‘fanatic’ and so is perfectly capable of carrying a very similar idea. Unlike ‘moe’ and ‘karate’, ‘otaku’ can be easily replaced by an (even shorter!) English word.

    Furthermore, I don’t collect figures or gunpla, or indeed anything peripheral to the anime I watch. Indeed, I throw away anime DVD cases and store the disks in a big folder.

    2. Depends what the people around me think. Since the people around me away from the internet don’t know I like anime, I’m not an otaku when I’m not online. I couldn’t say about my online identity/identities.

    3. After some thought, I’ve decided that I don’t really want to go to Japan.

    4. No, I don’t know people like that.

    5. Again, no. I avoid anime fans when not online.

  10. ghostlightning says:

    @ Turambar

    If you feel uncertain about things, you might as well define it for yourself and be that which it is/isn’t depending on what you really want.

    This Eugene must be a good looking guy (~_^)

    @ Xau

    I’m not here to tell you what to do, so go ahead and be happy! The Animanachronism makes a great case for simplifying things in his comment.

    @ The Animanachronism

    I agree, and the distinction (that may seem forced to you given how things can be simplified) may be motivated by asserting a separate identity. An otaku implies anime and manga, a fan can cover everything and is therefore generic.

    I’ve met few people who are happy with being generic with identity, so this is why I think people would appropriate the word. I realize now that for me, it’s a matter of convenience. I think people who are reluctant to call themselves otaku are more relaxed when they meet someone who is friendly and is more than ok with calling himself such.

    I’m intrigued by your avoidance. I’m the complete opposite ^_^

  11. Amazing post and makes up for your several days of absence. If you’re more interested on this, I wonder if you’ve seen otaku no video. If you haven’t, you’ve failed as a man since it’s a Gainax classic, and it’s the original otaku story (only 2 hours long, too.) One part features a hilairious interview with an american fan where they dubbed over fake translations of what you can hear him saying (this actually made said otaku mad and he almost sued)

    Another great example is in Lucky Star whenever Patty talks. All of her ‘knowledge’ about Japan completely confounds the normal characters XD.

    as for those questions

    1. Do you refer to yourself as an otaku? Why/Why not?

    FUCK YES. Because I burn with pride.

    2. If you don’t does it really mean you aren’t one?

    nul question.

    3. If/when you go (have gone) to Japan, what would your trip be like?

    Akihabara. Comiket. Pilgrimage to the holy lands. Locations seen in anime. But if I go to Japan, I’ll prolly move there, since a visit would be pretty pointless.

    4. Do you know people who refer to themselves as otaku, but watches far less anime and does far fewer anime/manga related activities than you? How do you feel about them?

    You mean Narutards? I usually explain to them what it actually means to be an otaku.

    5. Do you know people who don’t refer to themselves as otaku, but watches just as much if not more anime than you or does more anime/manga related activities than you? How do you feel about them?

    Not really, if you’re a true otaku, you’ve usually prided yourself in it. That’s part of the otaku lifestyle. I remember No Name once saying he wasn’t as big an otaku as me. I laughed half to death since he’s seen around 500 DAYS of anime.

  12. ghostlightning says:

    @ digitalboy

    FUCK YEAH. No ambiguity in you at all. I knew that after your marathoning of Lucky Star there’s no way you’d respond to this post without awesomeness. I would rather relate to the “otaku” question this way: you can be partly otaku as much as you can be somewhat pregnant. But well, ambiguity is as ambiguity does.

    I’ve had 3 different downloads of otaku no video over the last 2 years, and all FAIL AT HAVING ENGLISH SUBS. The latest one was last week’s and only the Italian subs work. I swear I’m cursed with Gainax. Link me to a good one and save a nerd mmkay?

    Patty-chan is straight dope. One of my favorite scenes is when Kagami quizzes her on the Japanese bands she listens to. Hilarious.

  13. lelangir says:

    @Ghost: Oh god….you’ve unleashed the true geekfreak in me. You could write a book on precisely “where” the otaku exists, tracing its history, its digital development, its transnationality…

    …there’s this excellent interview of Stuart Hall wherein he describes his intellectual/political development (See Morley and Chen, 1996). Essentially, and this was quite a revelation to me when I read it, Stuart Hall did not become _____. The ____ became unto him. Nascent political ideologies can grow, and thus they have the capacity to territorialize its subjects as within that political space, as a political subject. It’s precisely what made many Americans say “once Obama got elected, I was actually proud to be an American.” That’s how powerful the effect of racial change is, it’s shifting the hegemony of the Bush administration – before its even out! – and reconstituting and retailoring the political discourse to fit new salient ideologies to which people (the slightly-more-educated-masses) subscribe.

    I’m sure there’s literature on this, though I haven’t read anything like that in Mechademia vol. 1 (haven’t even touched vol. 2 yet, and need to order vol. 3)

  14. schneider says:

    1. I do not call myself otaku, and suitably correct people when they call me so. It’s because I believe there are two kinds of otaku: the self-proclaimed ones who pose and posture about their piddly experiences with Japan (you know who these are), and the ones that are just batshit insane like those genius Niconico people. And I’m not either one of them. I watch anime, read manga, play Japanese import games (navigating through Gundam games with sheer Gundam-fu), but I don’t build an MG or marathon a show every week. I also usually keep quiet about my otaku pursuits in public. But let’s just say I don’t hide my interests to people who can sense it. I once made a friend in the office during my OJT when I pointed out the name of the Gundam in someone’s wallpaper, hohoho.

    2. Yes, objectively speaking I would be a true otaku. However, again I actually feel unworthy being one. There’s just too much to learn, and I’m loving every step I take in experiencing new things. I’m fine being a not-otaku otaku.

    3. I’d love to live in the countryside, or at least, reenact Takemoto’s infamous bicycle trip from H&C. And yeah, raid Akihabara for stuff.

    4. I know LOTS. And I mean LOTS. I don’t bring it up to them but they amuse me with their relative ignorance. Not that I antagonize them or something. It’s one of my guilty pleasures to feel superior to those kind of people, I must admit. 😛

    5. I know some. They are the people I respect the most, quietly pursuing their hobbies and not caring if it’s the “cool” thing to do.

  15. ghostlightning says:

    @ lelangir

    If it’s true to you, then go for it. You know how authenticity is big in these parts.

    >>Nascent political ideologies can grow, and thus they have the capacity to territorialize its subjects as within that political space, as a political subject. It’s precisely what made many Americans say “once Obama got elected, I was actually proud to be an American.”

    YES! Ideology, even identity can be (re)created/transformed. There will be complications on how long the person “remains changed” given that the change is a contingent phenomena. This is the same when someone ‘comes out’ (to appropriate a gender politics term) as an ____. The person may not have been ____ until a certain phenomena triggers a reflection, and then a decision.

    This is how I think people can become otaku or whatever they choose (not) to be. And I really don’t care what the choice ultimately is (from a value-judgment perspective), but I do derive utility knowing people are/become authentic. It’s just that my life, my experience taught me a high correlation between authenticity and genuine happiness, vitality, freedom and joy.

    I haven’t read Mechademia, I’ve only read about it in The Animanachronism. If you’d lead me to the well, you’d slake a nerd’s thirst wonderfully.

    Re further “placing” of the otaku, I’m interested in reading more about it as well.

    @ schneider

    You make the word mean so much! The way you ascribe value to the word, and the person/lifestyle it represents is entertaining to say the least.

    Your answer to #3 is epic. Last night I vowed to Mechafetish I will be able to sing the extended Nyan Nyan Service Medley of Death now that there’s a karaoke version. I should make Mechafetish sing the Sheryl parts.

    Your answer to #4 is likewise amusing. Re #5, it’s not that I don’t care what others think. I actually care a lot, but the key is to never let it stop me from pursuing happiness.

    Right now, happiness = deculture.

  16. hahaha, that quiz actually made me facepalm because she said ‘l’arc~en~ciel’ and I know a thousand narutard girls who list it as a ‘favorite band’ even though they only know the FMA opening.

    As for downloads… dude I fucking stream everything I watch. I actually watched OnV the first time on youtube because I could find 0 torrents or streams and it wasn’t terrible quality. I then saw it again at otakon.

    But seriously, the DVD is 5 bucks on fucking right stuf. BUY IT.

  17. schneider says:

    @ ghostlightning

    I want to sing a medley too but I don’t have any partner. OH GOD WHAT DID I JUST SAY

    Further expounding on my #5, we both know that our country’s culture is mad about anime and some people really make it a point to stand out with their interests. It’s very easy to do that, but I admire people who keep their heads down. It’s a kind of hidden wonder to meet people like that–the revelation is just refreshing.

    Also, you just sparked my interest to watch H&C again. Hmm…

  18. omisyth says:

    1) No. I don’t collect figurines, just byuy the occasional anime or manga DVD. I don’t see the whole “obsessive” connotations normally associated with otakus in me.

    2)Well, then you’d have to define what an otaku truly is, which would take tracing the word back to its origing in Japan, seeing how its meaning changed and then comparing it with modern and Western ideas and perspectives. But even so, with what I believe is the current definiton, the answer’s still no.

    3)I have no idea. Really, I’d probably just go and see all the landmarks I’d either heard about in general or seen in anime. Maybe grab a few souveneirs.

    As for 4 and 5: Some people refer to themselves as otaku with a kind of badge (not picking on him, but Kairu Ishimaru does it often). I used to think in the same way, but then I learnt more about the word and its meanings. As for how I feel, I just see most watchers of anime as anime fans who really like it and perhaps those who are heavily into things like gunpla, figurines, Drama CD’s, VN’s, Idol Concerts and related media as otaku.

  19. picchar says:

    Warning, I am at work, waiting for the end of my shift at 8:15pm. I think my brain left without me.

    1. Do you refer to yourself as an otaku? Why/Why not?

    Nope.

    I watch anime, play JRPGs, listen to JPop and L’arc (the only JRock band I listen to XD), read manga, collect figures and draw in “anime/manga” style.

    I’m a proud fan, but I don’t like using the word. I can’t really explain why, but part of the reason is not really knowing the meaning because it’s in a foreign language (some things cannot be translated).

    So yes, I guess I am one. But I don’t call myself one.

    …I’m confused too.

    2. If you don’t does it really mean you aren’t one?

    Huh? Brain not working. Brainsss…

    3. If/when you go (have gone) to Japan, what would your trip be like?

    Top to bottom, left to right. All around. Everywhere.

    4. Do you know people who refer to themselves as otaku, but watches far less anime and does far fewer anime/manga related activities than you? How do you feel about them?

    I don’t think I know anyone who call themselves otaku. However, I do know of people back in the Phils who call themselves anime fans (back when the word wasn’t created yet, I think) but all they do is drool over characters in popular anime. Worst of all is they claim characters.

    “OMG! Akin si Eriol!!” This was back when Card Captor Sakura was popular. Ever since that day I’ve blocked all such statements. Or maybe I killed them.

    Brainsss…

    Oops. Did I answer the question?

    5. Do you know people who don’t refer to themselves as otaku, but watches just as much if not more anime than you or does more anime/manga related activities than you? How do you feel about them?

    Uh… I don’t personally know anyone here who watches more anime than I do ^_^v

  20. picchar says:

    Hmm… I should’ve removed the questions from my comment. Haha.

  21. ghostlightning says:

    @ digitalboy

    I passed the tip to otou-san and he’s real thrilled by it. He saw it for $9 though. Will look for an original dvd in my haunts.

    @ schneider

    record the whole medley as ranka, then overdub on it as sheryl. voila! instant schneider duet!

    @ omisyth

    I find it interesting that some people actually use it as a badge, like kairu, or even digitalboy. As for myself it’s not so much a badge as an acknowledgment of my primary hobby and how it contributes to my identity.

    Is there space for ‘taking pride’ in it? Yes, I think so. Therefore wearing the badge of otaku as part of or as a primary aspect of identity is possible.

    @ picchar

    You can always do two things: read/learn about the practical meanings as agreed upon by users, or own the meaning yourself. By that I mean make it mean whatever you wish.

    Claiming characters is fun! You don’t think so?

  22. picchar says:

    Haha, I’ll think about that ^_^

    As for claiming characters… well… it depends. Yes it’s fun, but sometimes it just (irrationally) irritates me XD So I just try not to think about it. It’s not my place to judge ^_^

  23. I just want to know when it suddenly became a bad thing to portray an interest in a culture other than one’s own. This whole “weaboo” thing has been, I think, one of the biggest F you’s to the school of cultural anthropology that I’ve ever born witness too, and the funny thing is, I don’t even like Anthropologists. Anyway:

    1 & 2. No, mostly because my interest in anime is a passing one at best. It’s not a devoted pursuit per se, which I think would be a requirement to be considered an Otaku.

    3. lol I don’t know, first I plan to visit Paris one day to see what the country my family came from is like, although I can imagine. I’m sure if I visited Japan I’d probably hit up Akihabara at least once and try out the local sushi and ramen shops. I’d definitely have to get a picture of that Gundam statue in the train station near Sunrise HQ as well as maybe see inside the building and then I might tour the countryside a little. Then I would try to gauge whether Paris or Tokyo is truly the more expensive city.

    4. Never happened

    5. The Deathasaurus? An interesting fellow to be sure and quite jovial to boot.

  24. TheBigN says:

    1. “Otaku” is a state of mind? I guess by the Japanese definition of things, no, but by the Western definition of otaku, then yes? I consider myself an anime fan(atic) first and foremost though. 😛

    2. Is moot based on one.

    3. I really don’t know myself. I’d figure I’d spend some of time sightseeing, some of the time getting over my fears to actually attempt to speak to people in Japanese (though I’d probably be labeled as strange and a silly foreigner), and some of the time trying to keep myself inconspicuous where my appearance (6 feet 1 inch, black) would be anything but in that country. 😛

    4. Yes I do, and I’m cool with it. I don’t look at being an otaku as “the elitist of the elite anime fans”, or hold some sort of special status to being one. If they think they are, that’s cool, and if they think I am by there definition and of the more “experience” I have with anime, than that’s fine too.

    5. If they’re cool with that, then “insert answer 4 here”, though I’d definitely consider them to be more passionate about anime than I am. 😛

  25. rollchan says:

    pardon me, but, what’s a weaboo?

    thanks.

  26. ghostlightning says:

    @ rollchan

    From Urban Dictionary:

    1. weaboo

    A negative term directed to anyone overly obsessed with Japanese culture to the point where they become annoying.Used frequently on the image boards of 4chan.

    Most weaboos are uneducated about their obsession of choice and are often noobs who are overly zealous, trying to impress others with their otaku knowledge. Another trait of a weaboo is their desire to “be Japanese”.

    While the two terms are often fused together, weaboos are very different from anime fans or enthusiasts. A fan may be just as enthusiastic and knowlegable
    about Japanese culture, mainly anime, but they neither boast about their knowledge nor call themselves otaku(because of its known negative connatation).

    Weaboo: Liek OMG, did anyone see the Inuyasha Movie 3 on teh the Cartoons Network last night! LOLZ Sesshomaru is SO HOTT!!!

    Weaboo 2:I hope the Naruto fillers end soon LOL

    Humble anime fan: STFU weaboos

  27. rollchan says:

    “Another trait of a weaboo is their desire to “be Japanese”.”

    hmmm… I’m certain, I don’t want to be like that… LOL!

    in any case, thanks.

  28. rollchan says:

    oh yeah, I forgot, the current Prime Minister of Japan, Taro Aso is a manga. How’s that for an otaku. hehe. 😛

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  30. pinkturbokitty says:

    A lot of people think I’m a weaboo/wapanese because I’m interested in anime. I’ve been made fun of so many times for being interested in Japanese culture/anime that I feel bad even watching it.

    I dont go around uttering Japanese phrases and stuff. People just make fun of me for even being interested in it and imply I want to be Japanese or something just because I’m interested in it. Say if I never mention the fact I’m interested in Anime/Japanese culture, the issue never comes up and I dont get made fun of.

    It’s so bad that I’m afraid maybe somehow I’m behaving in a way I’m not aware of and this is why people do this. Though recently it’s only been a few very bigoted racist people. I like crazy Japanese shit, though it never got into my life that much except for listening to Japanese music occasionly or watching anime.

    Do I sound like a weaboo to you? I really like to know from some random unbiased anonymous person.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Well, sure. But the thing is, I don’t think of it as a bad thing. The bigoted people who pick on you would pick on you for other reasons — they probably like to do so. One good test is to watch their behavior with other people. Do they pick on them too? For what reasons? (Gay, ethnic, musical taste, whatever).

      If you see them pick on others for those reasons, you can see that it’s really on them. They pick on people. That’s how they get off. So, if you want to change your behavior just to avoid being picked on, think about how they’ll find some other excuse. You’ll just end up denying yourself and become even more miserable.

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  32. Bobj says:

    Actually, in Japan I called myself an Otaku, because I thought that it meant “really big fan”. Over there, where it originated, it means something like a depraved loser, so anybody will correct you over there if you use the word. There’s actually a lot of sensationalism over there about it kind of like in the U.S. how people think that there are “hackers” running around sabotaging people’s microwave ovens and making streetlights malfunction.

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