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My weaboo experience: the latter days


Clephas

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I am a weaboo and it is good, lol.

More seriously, I started out becoming a Japan fanatic through swords, rather than through anime or games, like many others.  As an adolescent, I shared the same obsession for sharp things that any number of young men in the past have had, and that eventually led me to the katana, then to the samurai, then to Japan (in that order). 

I met anime and jrpgs about the same time, which only made the hunger more intense. 

Like all newbie weaboos, I practically worshiped everything Japanese... I wouldn't accept criticism of anything Japanese, and I instantly thought of anything Japanese as awesome.  That lasted well into my twenties, when I began to seriously study Japanese history as part of my larger hobby of studying world history and anthropology.

To be blunt, it is about this time that my views began to change, if subtly.  The weaboo psychology, such as it is, is peculiar in some areas.  Some weaboos continue to simply idealize everything about Japan, past and present, regardless of what information they pick up.  Others become disillusioned as the faults in Japanese society (again, both past and present) become apparent.  The third, and final group, tempers their adoration to a mere fondness and preference for things Japanese as they accept a more objective (relatively-speaking) viewpoint on their subject of obsession.

The first ideal that had to be broken for me was the samurai...  to be blunt, reading the history of Japan puts the samurai caste into perspective in a way movies and video games just can't.  The samurai ideal a lot of weaboos practically worship was born during the centuries of peace during the Edo period and is a relatively recent invention.

Once the samurai ideal was broken for me, it became a lot easier to see Japan for what it was.  I still love Japan, I still love Japanese culture, and I still have a definitive preference for Japanese ideas.  However, I can now admit that Japan's society is just as badly flawed in its way as my own, thus reducing my weabooism to a matter of personal taste, rather than a fanatical obsession, lol.

So what kind of weaboo are you? (not assuming you are one, whoever is reading this, lol)

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Of course I'm a weaboo. But when I'm asked whether I'd want to live in Japan I say "No way!". Too many faults in its society :

  • it's still isolationist one
  • kraoushi (overwork)
  • tiny flats
  • expensive life
  • huge time waste in transport
  • horrible tv wit its variety shows and ads, ads, ads
  • weird "rituals" both at home and at work

But I can't feel appeal of western culture anymore. A bunch of well-off professional studios are making high-quality content for the whole world. And I'd rather see variety than quality. Among western movies, tv series, cartoons and games there's only couple of new things that get to interest me each year. But hey, there are indie works now with much variety - I can't stand both indie and doujin works somehow. 

On the other hand Japanese culture has been almost a bottomless source of inspiration. I'm no big fan of manga and light novels, but dorama is much more natural than any western series. My favorite game genre is RPG/SRPG/TBS and I've seen every western game of those genres, number is just not enough. Then I look at japanese works in those genres... a vast ocean that I fail to see the end of. Visual novels are mysterious for me as it can be virtually anything and its best species are breathtaking. As for anime, I'm absolutely assured that it's going to abolish crimes, because nothing can really outweigh missing new season works. I feel a definite cultural shift towards East in the air.

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I study Japanese, attend a Japanese University, and occasionally like watching anime and reading VNs. Well that is me currently. Just a couple of years ago anime and VNs were a far bigger part of my life. But regardless, even though my interest in otaku-media has fallen, I think many would still label me a weeaboo. 

What I find very interesting and also admirable about you Clephas, is the fact that you still maintain such a passion for this stuff. And I always find it astonishing when people claim (and in your case I know it is true) that they learned Japanese through anime and VNs. While I have found VNs good practice for Japanese, honestly I found it not very good for learning (practice and learning I think are two different things). Personally I found talking to Japanese people and being immersed in the language to be the only effective way to learn the language (in addition to taking classes). VNs are more a secondary means for improving my Japanese (mostly just reading and kanji at that). 

In Japan I have noticed, that most foreigners who can speak the language at a reasonable ability share one thing in common. We like Japanese women. I say "We", because I have noticed that my motivation to learn Japanese transitioned at a certain point. While I started learning for VNs/anime, what motivates me now are Japanese women. I feel like this is an unpopular view to express in an otaku community (partly because of the whole stigma against 3D). But honestly, In real life at least, most foreigners I met  who were reasonably fluent in Japanese were either married to a Japanese woman, or they were a womanizer of Japanese girls. 

Anyway, I bring this up because I think while many weeaboos end up dropping this phase and moving on with their lives. I think of the weeboos that actually bothered learning Japanese, when their weeboo phase starts ending I think it is very common for them to transfer that interest to Japanese girls. 

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13 minutes ago, Zalor said:

I study Japanese, attend a Japanese University, and occasionally like watching anime and reading VNs. Well that is me currently. Just a couple of years ago anime and VNs were a far bigger part of my life. But regardless, even though my interest in otaku-media has fallen, I think many would still label me a weeaboo. 

What I find very interesting and also admirable about you Clephas, is the fact that you still maintain such a passion for this stuff. And I always find it astonishing when people claim (and in your case I know it is true) that they learned Japanese through anime and VNs. While I have found VNs good practice for Japanese, honestly I found it not very good for learning (practice and learning I think are two different things). Personally I found talking to Japanese people and being immersed in the language to be the only effective way to learn the language (in addition to taking classes). VNs are more a secondary means for improving my Japanese (mostly just reading and kanji at that). 

In Japan I have noticed, that most foreigners who can speak the language at a reasonable ability share one thing in common. We like Japanese women. I say "We", because I have noticed that my motivation to learn Japanese transitioned at a certain point. While I started learning for VNs/anime, what motivates me now are Japanese women. I feel like this is an unpopular view to express in an otaku community (partly because of the whole stigma against 3D). But honestly, In real life at least, most foreigners I met  who were reasonably fluent in Japanese were either married to a Japanese woman, or they were a womanizer of Japanese girls. 

Anyway, I bring this up because I think while many weeaboos end up dropping this phase and moving on with their lives. I think of the weeboos that actually bothered learning Japanese, when their weeboo phase starts ending I think it is very common for them to transfer that interest to Japanese girls. 

As my vet uncle once said... 'The best way to learn a new language is in bed with one of the local girls.'

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7 hours ago, Zalor said:

Just a couple of years ago anime and VNs were a far bigger part of my life.

I was often being told in school that I'm going to change. Twenty years later I'm still the same with only change that I take less interest in western games. Back in high school and university I read everything that could interest me from philosophy and social studies - and got disillusioned by them. It's my rational choice based on experience of prior generations to be a weaboo. That's why these beliefs are so hard to budge.

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Well, for me the obsession took root when I was 5 and watching Dragonball Z and Sailor Moon on Toonami, and it was when I first watched Rurouni Kenshin that my love for anime seriously started to kick in. Kenshin's philosophy on peaceful resolution and his vow to never kill resonated strongly with me, and it was the first time I felt an attachment to a fictional character. Games like Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts 1/2 reinforced this to an even greater degree with their brilliant design, immersive setting, and rich story and characters. Sadly enough though, my experience with otaku entertainment was very limited earlier on in my life, and I was only able to consume it through television and console games. Oddly enough, I had discovered Clannad on an anime-on-demand channel, but I wasn't able to watch Afterstory until I had a computer to watch it on. After joining the military and having the money to buy a PC of my own, it felt like I had a whole world of anime at my fingertips, and I proceeded to watch anime like Toradora, K-on, Key adaptions, and just about anything that came off as unbelievably moe. It was a very magical time for me. After about a year of watching anime through streaming sites, I was eventually encouraged by chatango users to create a MAL account, which would become my gateway to the more niche parts of otaku fandom.

When it comes down to it, I'd say I have a lot of common traits that define me as a softcore weaboo. I cringe at the idea of casuals only watching anime with English dubs. I cringe even harder when they've only watched mainstream anime. I've had several thoughts of buying cute anime girl posters, figures, etc, but neither my budget nor my room space allow it. Plus, I don't even want to imagine how much my brother would harass me if he found out I had cute girl figures, lol. I've bought pocky several times just because I've seen it in anime, and I would buy melon bread in a heartbeat if I ever saw it on the shelves. I have attempted to learn Japanese, but failed miserably. I have used weeb terminology in online conversation several times, though I have yet to do so irl. I honestly thought Go! Go! Nippon! was an interesting experience because it had cute girls explaining Japanese culture. I use Pixiv as a source for many of my desktop backgrounds and profile pics, I'm subscribed to Waifu Wednesdays on Youtube, and I use to take my reputation in the anime community very seriously. Hell, one time I even made a comment on SAO that got pinned in the Nyaa chatbox and felt like I seriously accomplished something. Yeah, I was kinda full of myself, lol. And maybe I still kinda am, but definitely not to the extent I use to be. I wouldn't consider myself a full-blown Japanese enthusiast though since I've spent very little time researching its culture and history, and only made assumptions based on what I saw in anime. But I imagine that's pretty much on the same level as most other internet weaboos. :P

Eventually I came to realize how my obsessive behavior is the leading cause of my anxiety issues, and I've spent the last couple years trying to tone it down and regain some form of sanity. It hasn't worked out as well as I would like, but I'm getting somewhere. Still having difficulty starting a social life outside of the internet, which is kinda hard since I'm not into sports and my interests in western entertainment mainly extend to superhero shows/movies and niche RPGs.

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1 hour ago, Kenshin_sama said:

Well, for me the obsession took root when I was 5 and watching Dragonball Z and Sailor Moon on Toonami, and it was when I first watched Rurouni Kenshin that my love for anime seriously started to kick in. Kenshin's philosophy on peaceful resolution and his vow to never kill resonated strongly with me, and it was the first time I felt an attachment to a fictional character. Games like Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts 1/2 reinforced this to an even greater degree with their brilliant design, immersive setting, and rich story and characters. Sadly enough though, my experience with otaku entertainment was very limited earlier on in my life, and I was only able to consume it through television and console games. Oddly enough, I had discovered Clannad on an anime-on-demand channel, but I wasn't able to watch Afterstory until I had a computer to watch it on. After joining the military and having the money to buy a PC of my own, it felt like I had a whole world of anime at my fingertips, and I proceeded to watch anime like Toradora, K-on, Key adaptions, and just about anything that came off as unbelievably moe. It was a very magical time for me. After about a year of watching anime through streaming sites, I was eventually encouraged by chatango users to create a MAL account, which would become my gateway to the more niche parts of otaku fandom.

When it comes down to it, I'd say I have a lot of common traits that define me as a softcore weaboo. I cringe at the idea of casuals only watching anime with English dubs. I cringe even harder when they've only watched mainstream anime. I've had several thoughts of buying cute anime girl posters, figures, etc, but neither my budget nor my room space allow it. Plus, I don't even want to imagine how much my brother would harass me if he found out I had cute girl figures, lol. I've bought pocky several times just because I've seen it in anime, and I would buy melon bread in a heartbeat if I ever saw it on the shelves. I have attempted to learn Japanese, but failed miserably. I have used weeb terminology in online conversation several times, though I have yet to do so irl. I honestly thought Go! Go! Nippon! was an interesting experience because it had cute girls explaining Japanese culture. I use Pixiv as a source for many of my desktop backgrounds and profile pics, I'm subscribed to Waifu Wednesdays on Youtube, and I use to take my reputation in the anime community very seriously. Hell, one time I even made a comment on SAO that got pinned in the Nyaa chatbox and felt like I seriously accomplished something. Yeah, I was kinda full of myself, lol. And maybe I still kinda am, but definitely not to the extent I use to be. I wouldn't consider myself a full-blown Japanese enthusiast though since I've spent very little time researching its culture and history, and only made assumptions based on what I saw in anime. But I imagine that's pretty much on the same level as most other internet weaboos. :P

Eventually I came to realize how my obsessive behavior is the leading cause of my anxiety issues, and I've spent the last couple years trying to tone it down and regain some form of sanity. It hasn't worked out as well as I would like, but I'm getting somewhere. Still having difficulty starting a social life outside of the internet, which is kinda hard since I'm not into sports and my interests in western entertainment mainly extend to superhero shows/movies and niche RPGs.

*blinks innocently* Isn't the only way to watch anime subtitled or raw?

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7 hours ago, kivandopulus said:

I was often being told in school that I'm going to change. Twenty years later I'm still the same with only change that I take less interest in western games. Back in high school and university I read everything that could interest me from philosophy and social studies - and got disillusioned by them. It's my rational choice based on experience of prior generations to be a weaboo. That's why these beliefs are so hard to budge.

Just to be clear, I wasn't saying that it is inevitable that interest in anime/games, etc will decline as you grow, just that it is very likely that it will. 

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