As I’m sure everyone in the goddamn universe is aware by now, the phrase ‘otaku‘ as it is used in modern Japanese slang refers to a person who has obsessive interests. The earliest definitive otaku self-declarative work, Otaku no Video, explains how there are anime and manga otaku just as there are special effects otaku, weaponry otaku, and cosplay otaku. While you may cross otaku ‘classes,’ to be an otaku about something, you must be obsessed with it to the point that no matter how you look at it, it’s a major part of your life. You know everything about it, and you are constantly engaging in practices pertaining to it. But while there are a lot of kinds of otakudom that are pretty close to the conventional anime otakudom, such as video gaming and film appreciation, I also know a lot of people who are anime otaku have other, more distant otakudoms. So I’m here to ask, what are you “otaku” for?
I got the idea to make this post when my brother and I were bike riding through a new area yesterday. We came upon a road leading into a neighborhood that looked like it’d been laid down just weeks ago. It was smooth, black as the night, and wide, so we immediately altered our course to head down this road. The road was rather long, but we road it to the end, fanboying the whole time about how it was such a beautiful road and how we’d have to come back sometime. We ended up doing a whole 15 minute detour just to admire this beautiful road, and as we were heading back, I said mockingly to my brother, “dude, you are a total pavement otaku.”
And it’s true. My brother and I both ride bikes and rollerblades, and over the years we’ve naturally learned that some pavements are much more pleasing to ride on than others. Especially on skates, because a smooth road can be the most fun you’ll have all day, while a rocky one will be instant diarrhea. We’ve plotted skating routes based on the kind of pavements we’d encounter, or the kind of inclines we’d have to face, or bike routes that involve dodging certain obstacles in ways only we’ve figured out for maximum fun.
Now, I don’t ride my bike enough to be called a bike otaku, even having been riding more since I graduated a couple weeks ago, however, my brother is definitely one. He has a specific hour-long route that he’s ridden every day for almost a year now, and he gets all bitchy when he misses his daily ride. And he’s definitely an anime otaku, too, seeing as he’s made cross-referencing nico meme videos and spends most of his time listening to Fuzakenna TV. I find it quite interesting, because most people wouldn’t associate that image with otakudom. He’s a fucking good-looking dude too, strong and thin and he’s been building on muscle lately, too, but that same guy can hum the Ryuuseigun and do the Hare Hare Yukai dance like the rest of em.
Personally, as much as I really wanted to be able to say that I had other otakudoms, I can’t really say I do. I am obsessed with blogging and directing and writing, but all of it is directly influenced by anime. While I do enjoy physical activity, I am not really obsessed with it, and my interests in any sort of ‘normal’ things never tend to go beyond a passing fling. However, I do have something I want to become an otaku for.
Parkour. Or ‘freerunning’. I really, really want to be able to do parkour. Jumping from building to building, hoisting myself over ledges, etc. I have a huge love for urban architecture and exploration, so I’d love nothing else than to be able to run and jump my way through a cityscape. However, it’s going to take a hell of a fuck of a lot of training. Currently, I’m a little fat and a lot of weak, and I can’t even lift my body weight (not 1 pull-up. My bro can do 4, that fucking bastard.) However, I plan to eventually be able to do parkour, and become an otaku of the city.
So, what are you Otaku for?