What’s an Ex-Otaku?

dsc00202The first time I set foot in Japan was fittingly on April Fool’s Day. That was also the first time I saw a cherry blossom tree in person, albeit the only thing between the tree and me was a few inches of thick airport window glass and several miles of runway, but at least my phone got a blurry picture (it was promptly deleted to make room for games).

That was 2 years ago.

I’ll come clean; like legions of weebs each year, my reasoning for coming to Japan was largely affected by my interest in anime… and I hit the jackpot. I graduated high school 2 months early to fly to TOKYO as a foreign student. I was going to live here for a couple of years pursuing a college degree, but did that matter to me at all?

No.

Akihabara was always 30 minutes away from where I lived, and that was a dream come true.

So what happened?

Disappointment, disillusion, depression, etc. etc. For example: Akihabara. Mecca for anime? Sure. Maid-cafe galore? Absolutely! Foreigner friendly? Hell, they thrive on tourism income, and THAT is the problem.

Akihabara’s strip is short; it’s lined mainly with software stores and otaku merchandise retailers. The overall theme is to SELL SELL SELL. If you ever dreamed that the world-famous anime town was going to be anything like an anime convention, then you’re going to be greatly disappointed. It’s not an interest, it’s first-and foremost a business.

(Now, I understand that the entire anime industry is a business. However, if Akihabara is marketed as a year-round get together for fans then please make it so.)

Of course, this is just one of the many misconceptions that foreigners have of Japan. That’s what this blog is for. Without the blinding enthusiasm that got me here, I can finally see what this country is at its heart.

Now, this blog is in NO way bashing on Japan. It’s simply a medium to share what I experience through articles and pictures. I’ve been a student, a tourist, and a part-time worker. I’m sure somewhere along the way I’ve picked up ideas worth sharing. I still very much enjoy this country, from the sheer convenience of having a 24-hour convenience store 30 seconds away from my dwelling to never having to worry about buying a car, and that I will definitely be sharing too.

dsc00455Yours,

The Ex-Otaku

 

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8 thoughts on “What’s an Ex-Otaku?

  1. Akihabara is definitely a disappointment for fans. I actually found it pretty difficult to find things on my first trip as a lot of the shops are on higher floors and only have kanji signs. On my first trip to Japan everyone had asked for t-shirts from their favorite animes as souvenirs but I had real trouble finding anything. My friends ended up disappointed.

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    1. It’s sad. Merchandise of any kind is almost always limited to what’s popular on Japanese TV at that moment. Presently, it’s all Love Live, Is the Order a Rabbit, and some other highly moe-centric shows. There isn’t even much for the ladies. If you’re ever looking for something specific then I suggest Mandarake (the second hand super-store). They’re the only store that has a fairly large lineup.

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      1. Agreed. Mandrake is good. We have a big one in Nagoya. Some of the stuff you find there is a little….. suspect.
        When I was in Akihabara I was looking for pretty specific things. For example I was looking for Bakuman and even the jump shop at the Skytree didn’t have anything.
        Still that’s just the way of things. Ecchi, Moe and anything Idol project dominate and we have to search around to find our favorites.

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  2. I haven’t been to Nagano yet but I really should some time. The best place in Nagoya is around Osu . It’s the same kind of things you find in Akihabara mixed with a lot of second hand clothing stores and retro shops.

    Liked by 1 person

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