bird cage (soon)
Yeah, you heard me. Otaku. "But Alyson, you lived in Japan! You like J-pop and manga and stuff! You have a Yuusuke Urameshi plushie in your room!" Yes. But I'm not a fucking Otaku. I am a geek, and there is a big difference, ladies and gentlemen: I have a grasp on reality.
You can like anime. That's fine. There's some really great anime out there (Well, at least some non-completely-shitty anime). You can like Japanese music, there's some great stuff. Same with video games.
Just don't come to Japan expecting that everyone is a fucking "otaku." If you do, you're hitting a 10.0 on the Retard Scale. Japan is not about giant robots and girls with big tits. I am not here to say that all fans of J-pop culture must die a horrifying death, but the people that come expecting anime heaven and refuse to take a bath until they find it are on my list.
Yes, anime is on Japanese TV. So? Hate to break your illusion, sparky, but only kids, my friend's gay host dad, and gaijin watch Inu-Yasha, pretty much. Y'see, in Japan, after you graduate high school you have to become boring. I have yet to meet ANYONE at Kansai Gaidai who LOVES a band. They have bands they like, but thats' it. One girl I talked to used to be in SLAVE (the Luna Sea fan club) and go to concerts all the time. But that was in HIGH SCHOOL. Apparently you're allowed to be a nutcase until college, where you must stop being a dork and start buying Louis Vuitton handbags. People who don't do this (my SLAVE friends that I go to concerts with, the people you see in the hentai section at Mandarake) are considered very, very strange. According to a friend's host mother, when she sees someone reading manga on the train, she thinks they're stupid. Anime is not as huge and universal and accepted in Japan as you're telling yourself while the school bully flushes your Asuka Langely Souryuu figurine down the toilet.
And then there's the word "Otaku" itself. Sure, it originally became a label because it's also a super-polite term for "you" that Otaku males used because they're pussies with no social skills, but let me bring it home another way: You guys do know that this means "house," right? Think as in "person who never leaves their house because they're too busy masturbating to tentacle porn." Well, basically it means you don't leave your house cause you're busy obsessing about ANYTHING, not just anime, but you get the idea. Think of that kid who did nothing but play Everquest all day and then finally killed himself because he had no fucking life other than that stupid-ass game. Sure, we of the obsessive personalities may have reclaimed words like "dork," "nerd," and "geek" back for ourselves (although most people consider those words to have different levels of offensiveness)... you can't do that with "otaku." I was watching a special on Japanese TV where they were talking about how Shonen Jump is now in English, and they asked some guy in the store if he was an "otaku." The kid grinned, and said "yeah, I'm an otaku!" He went on to say how he once asked a Japanese person if they were one, and how the Japanese person was completely terrified and offended and said 'NO!" about 500 times. There's a reason for this, fucktard. When the Japanese hear this word, they think shut-in moron. They think of that serial killer guy with his stockpile of anime porn that made the word so creepy in the first place. Just say "anime ga suki," or some shit like that. You won't totally terrify them then. But "watashi wa otaku desu" means "I am a fucking loser retard gaijin, and the last time I took a bath was back when there were still only 5 Sailor Scouts." Please, keep up.
There's other situations where you also have to be warned about this: Japanese friends aren't necessarily going to want to look at your cosplay pictures. They won't know who the fuck you are unless you're Sailormoon, Goku, Doraemon, or Lupin. And they still probably won't care unless you're one of the last two. Japanese girls mostly do not like yaoi. In fact, most of them will scream "KIMOI!" ("gross!") if you show it to them. So just don't, okay? This country isn't as gay-friendly as your Cloud and Sephiroth hump-hump fanfics make you think. Don't make yourself look like an ass, unless you see them in Mandarake in the 1x2 section, or wearing a JxIno t-shirt at a FAKE? concert.
Also: not all of your fellow ryugakusei are 'otaku,' either. Keep this in mind. Not everyone will think it's cool that the first thing you did when you got here was buy a Japanese PS2, Gamecube, and X-BOX and set them up in your dorm room. They will think there's something wrong with you. Wearing the same Urusei Yatsura t-shirt every day will not make you anyone's friend. Now, let's look at the school I went tol. Most people liked at least a little anime. Most people liked some sort of video games, mostly RPGs and fighters. There was a decent amount of J-pop/J-rock fandom. But there were also huge cross-sections of people that HATE anime, or whatnot. There were even plenty of people (like myself) who like some anime/manga, but hate anime fans for the most part, because they consider Japan nothing but one big shopping trip and not an actual country.
And the MOST annoying otaku are the ones that insist to me that Japan still "r0x0rs" the US, but they've never even fucking been there. Now, I complain a lot, but when you boil down all the good and bad, Japan and America are probably about even. EVERY country for the most part is just simply mediocre. But nooooo, they watched Evangelion and now they know EVERYTHING ABOUT JAPAN, so I must be wrong. To people like this: Please die. Quickly. And never fucking come to Osaka, because I will murder you myself. And no, it won't be in a fucking giant robot.