I’ve read a couple of online posts about being an ‘otaku’ in Japan. The word simply means being a fan, it could be anything and not just anime + manga. Yep, when I say anything I mean anything, like train for example (who wouldn’t get envy with Japan’s mass transport, ours is so…let’s just not talk about it.) But I’m not really an expert on this being I’m not Japanese, and never been to Japan (oh my gosh, let this thing happen soon already お金が必要だからさ～本当にすぐに日本に行きたい！！！）
As for me, it’s easy to label myself ‘otaku.’ One, it is, most often than not, just means ‘anime + manga’ fan. Think how famous celebrities and their fanbase’s names. In essence that’s how light the word otaku means to me. It’s just a label and there’s nothing negative about it. Of course, let’s also mention the not-so-good label that’s also somewhat associated with it…the weeaboo. I’ve written a whole lot about this thing (and contemplating whether to publish…although the article isn’t anything horrible…I think it’s a bit educational especially weeaboos are known to be excessive with little to almost no real knowledge about Japan’s culture, language, and tradition.)
Anyhoo, I can safely say I’m not one. I love being Filipino! Yes, with all the flaws! It never occurred to me to abandon my culture (It’s the government I disliked, not my culture and traditions) there are certain things that I can’t do, will never do, and simply don’t understand. And I don’t expect every Japanese to act like anime characters—because (1) it’s fiction; and (2) they aren’t! Yep, even I have limits as anime + manga fan as well. But allow me to further explain this topic next time, OK? (Once I pull off the courage that is!)
Of course being an otaku introduces us to Japanese culture that can grow into fascination or even admiration. I don’t hide that, my sisters & I are fond of Japanese history & culture (I think it really started when I watched Rurouni Kenshin back in the late 90’s). It’s easily, at least from what I notice that anime + manga fans tend to like Japanese culture as a form of appreciation towards the medium.
But being an otaku outside of the motherland comes with a heavy price—I mean literary heavy price! I love supporting my favorite medium, manga + anime! I gotta support as much as I can. But! Living outside of Japan you have to rely on local bookstores (for manga) that are being distributed by North American companies (PH speaking that is) as local publishers hardly gamble on this industry. And they can be very hefty—hefty like hardbound book price per volume! I did find ways like importing the *raws but oh my gosh the shipping prices!!! That’s why sometimes I buy digitally! It must be nice going to a bookstore and all the manga you want are easily accessible! <3
Being an otaku is simply associated with anime and manga, at least in my experience. I’m not sure how that works in the country itself or for others aside from mine (strictly speaking for other as well) but it’s pretty lax and no heavy stigma comes with it. In my years of being an anime + manga fan, or “otaku” I had never been discriminated or made fun of! ;D Actually it bridged the gap and helped me friended some other fans as well!