Recently, a friend’s status popped-up on Facebook and it made me upset me.
You’re nothing like that. You’re that cool white girl who gets Asians. We call you Tamago because you’re white on the outside but Asian on the inside. You know what you’re talking about and you’re smart !
Because I was that anime-loving-mange-breathing-cosplayer idiot back then.
I say back then but really, it wasn’t so long ago.
I think people give anime lovers a bad rep for no reason. Now that I look at my behaviour a few years ago… I’m ashamed and as I’m typing I am horrified when I think about how I used to say “kawaii” and add honorifics to everyone’s name. Or how I used to sing Ayumi Hamasaki songs without looking up the lyrics so it ended up in some sort of gibberish that I thought was Japanese.
But when I think about it more… I realize it’s totally normal. I remember I was introverted, shy, I didn’t want my high school friends to know too much about the stuff I was into. I never invited them over to my place because they would see the posters in my room and I didn’t want them to think I was a nerd. Not that it was bad… but most people thought that watching cartoons or reading comics was childish. And, being childish in high school is the LAST thing you want to be.
Then, came Otakuthon. Oh my god, a convention on Anime, Manga and lots of Japanese Culture related stuff. I remember, I went to this convention alone and I had only spoken to one person on the official forums; JusdePomme. After the convention, I had tons of friends, not only online… but in real life.
I finally had people with whom I could share! I had stuff in common with those people! I was so enthusiastic, a little too much but it was also their case.
Being an anime fan in high school is so hard. I think most people who always had friends who were into the same things as they were can’t understand it because, in a way, you’re stuck in 2 reality, trying to fit in in both of these worlds. Even my childhood friends would make fun of me, people that I didn’t go to school with. These friends were the people I was the most “comfortable” around, yet they made fun of me for liking anime and all that “ching-chong” stuff. How would I ever be able able to tell my normal school friends…
Then, I realized there were anime fans at my school and we became friends. I bed farewell to those other friends I had and started accepting that, yeah, I belonged with the nerdy kids. Best years of high school were these people, with whom I still talk to today.
So finally, I had people who were like me and together, we learned more about the stuff that we liked. We went to more conventions and met more people. The more people I met, the more I learned and less of an Otaku I became.
Today, I don’t watch Anime anymore. I still read manga; I’m a sucker for cheesy love stories. I proudly display them in my room; recently, my boyfriend came over and I was a little bit worried since I was a little bit scared of what he might think of my collection… but the first thing he did once he saw my collection was to pick up a few manga and read! XD I still cosplay because it’s freaking amazing too !!
Looking that at my Otaku years, I don’t regret it anymore. I’m not ashamed. I was an otaku, I was that idiot who thought Japan was the coolest place on Earth and that Miyavi was the single hottest man that ever existed. Because I’ve been there, I was able to become the person that I am today and I know that it will always be a tiny part of myself.
Liking Asian cultures, not only Japan is part of me. It’s been there since I was a child, throughout high school and even until the day I die. Born that way, I guess…
So let’s stop hating on the otakus, wapanese, weaboos… whatever you want to call them. For a lot of people, it’s a rite of passage and for others, it’s just how they are. I can guarantee you that most people who are into one aspect of Japanese or maybe other Asian culture somehow got into it because of anime… and for most of them they also have the humiliating otaku past before becoming cool.
I used to think that how I got to be who I am today wasn’t relevant but now I know... Whoever said “it’s not the destination but the journey” was right.