I talked with my sister about the fact that my blog is kind of all over the place. I have a very hard time compartmentalizing my life as “health issues,” “writing,” “life,” etc. I realize I probably will never have that many readers because of this, but this is who I am. I don’t know, maybe at some point I’ll create entirely separate blogs for my various interests.
Another part of my identity is that of an otaku. And this term has a different meaning in America than it does in Japan. In Japan it roughly translates to nerd. In America the word otaku specifically refers to someone who is into Japanese anime, culture, video games, music, etc. and who may, or may not, also be a nerd. My husband has told me that he doesn’t want his friends or family to know that I’m an otaku. It embarrasses him. And I get that I suppose. Even in America the term otaku carries a bit of a stigma. My husband is a Japanese citizen and being a nerd isn’t particularly a cool thing to be, not in Japan at least. America has sort of glamorized the role of the nerd, and it has cultivated its own subculture. I think the recent popularity of shows like, “Big Bang Theory,” proves my point. Another part of it is that America is gradually shedding the nerd stereotype, but that is still a work in progress. People often assume that I’m a certain person based on the way I look (got to love stereotypes) and an attractive woman can’t be a nerd or be obsessed with video games. Maybe I’ll write an entry about that someday because this is a big problem for women gamers, and the fact that guys don’t take us seriously. I’ll post a picture of me below. . .
This is a picture of me, a self-identified otaku and nerd
Before I say anything more about this, I will say that I am an American woman married to a Japanese citizen and we live in America. My husband spent the first 18 years of his life in Japan, so he is a lot more qualified to speak about Japan than I am. And it would be unfair of me to base the entirety of Japan’s culture on my husband. I realize that he is only one person from a country of about 130 million, so sometimes I take his opinion with a grain of salt. If I ever say anything that seems way off, please let me know. It’s not my intent to offend anyone with these posts or to be judgmental or culturally ignorant. I’ll admit that I am no expert by any means on Japan’s intricate culture. Hell, I wouldn’t even call myself an expert on America’s culture 😄 I guess this series is more about my experiences and thoughts as an American looking in on Japan from the outside. I’ve been to Japan a few times as well and have a few friends there. My husband’s whole family lives there as well.
I’d say my interest in Japan started from an early age. I was a very avid video game player starting with the NES, which we got when I was five. It was the SNES and the introduction of Final Fantasy II that was a turning point in my young life. The story was so amazing, and I fell in love with the characters. I knew that the game came from Japan, as did many other awesome role-playing games that I played as a kid like Final Fantasy III, VII, IX, Secret of Mana, etc. Because of this I came to think of Japan as this magical land of video games. As I grew older my obsession with video games continued to grow. My husband and I currently own a PS3, Wii, PSP, and Gameboy DS currently. We are waiting to purchase the PS4 until Final Fantasy 15 comes out, if it ever does. I love to watch video games almost as much as I enjoy playing them. I’d say that I’m more into video games than my husband, but he still enjoys them quite a bit.
I was introduced to anime at 12 years old, and I think this is a more popular foray into Japan’s culture. I’m not trying to say that anime is representative of Japan’s culture, more like otakus become interested and/or obsessed with Japan after their introduction to anime. I’m actually not THAT into anime, and neither are Japanese people, which I discovered upon meeting my husband and other Japanese people. At 12 years old my best friend at the time introduced me to Sailor Moon. To be honest, it’s not that great of a story, but it appealed to my inner needs of fantasy and escapism. I wanted to be Sailor Moon because let’s face it, being the princess of the moon and solar system is a lot cooler than being an awkward, self-hating, unpopular, and painfully shy teenager. And she had kick-ass magic powers too. Who wouldn’t envy her?
My family moved to California when I was 13, so at that point I knew no one else that loved anime and/or video games with the exception of my little sister. So in this sense it made me feel very different. The internet was still in it’s infancy when I was in high school so I was not able to connect with other otakus and female gamers at the time. Despite all of this, I still harbored a deep passion and respect for Japan. After meeting my Japanese husband in college, there was a surge of interest followed by a period of apathy as my studies required intense focus. Through my introduction to fanfiction several years ago, I have met many other females with a deep appreciation for Japan, and I suppose that increased my interest again. My interest waxes and wanes with the different phases of my life, but there will always be a special place in my heart for Japan.
Then there is the fact that I am very attracted to Asian men, and the prettier the better 😄 Sexuality is very complicated, and I’m not even sure why I love Asian men, but I just do. I guess the fact that I’m 6’0″ tall makes it ironic because the average Japanese man is 5’7″. My husband is 5’11” so he is pretty tall for a Japanese guy. But I wouldn’t mind being taller than a boyfriend by a few inches. It just doesn’t bother me. I’m not someone who was exclusively interested in Asian men. I dated lots of different guys before getting married in my early 20s. But the fact remains that my ideal of male beauty is someone that looks like Hyde from the Japanese bands L’arc en Ciel and Vamps. And legally I can’t post a photo, but I’ll post a Youtube video for you.
And most Japanese men don’t look like Hyde actually. If you go to Japan expecting everyone to look like Hyde you will be very disappointed. That would be like coming to America and expecting everyone to look like Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, Cameron Diaz, etc. I always have to laugh when I see males writing articles about how to pick-up-women, and stating that women like alpha males and masculine men who will take control, etc. Nope, not me. I wish my husband was more feminine 😄 With all that being said, there is a greater acceptance of men being beautiful and very feminine looking in Asian cultures. Currently, in America that sort of thing will often have people doubting your masculinity and sexuality. And there is nothing wrong with being a homosexual, but I think it is wrong to make assumptions on someone’s sexuality based on the way they dress. The way one dresses or appears visually does not necessarily define their sexual preferences. Just my opinion though, so feel free to disagree with me.
Here’s a popular Kpop (Korean pop) band, Big Bang, featuring more beautiful Asian men 🙂