(Originally published on Deremoe on February 19, 2014.)
I was supposed to participate in the latest episode of Radyo Pirata’s program #MuchMoreRANDOM but I didn’t even make it no thanks to the mobile internet connection infrastructure that I had, thus ending with me as a freaking nuisance.
The topic on their latest episode is about the topic of “Weeaboos,” non-Japanese people who has a mindset that being Japanese is the best thing ever, and the roundtable include RP’s station manager Pat (@qbmanx) and his circle of friends, including people from Local Otaku Media Anime Pilipinas.
The discussion started with an Editorial on AniPinas mentioning a new segment on the three-decade long noontime show Eat Bulaga! called “You’re My Foreignoy,” wherein full-blooded male foreigners participate by testing how Filipino they are, from speaking words to practicing traditional Filipino ways on Philippine television. Even Japanese people situated in the country participated in this competition.
The post is directed at Filipino weeaboos asking them not to forget the culture they grew up to, which is the Filipino culture. Just because that you’re prioritizing everything Japan doesn’t mean you can forget about our ways and means as Filipinos.
The discussion then transitioned to defining the border between the Otaku and the Weeaboo and Anime-related merchandise, indirectly mentioning the recent tarpaulin auctions at Otaku Expo 2014.
I’ve paused the podcast halfway to write this post.
I’ve seen the “You’re My Foreignoy” segment a few times, and I am very much aware of the concept that they’re doing. For starters, all of these things happened when the noontime show’s concept of showing the beauty of the ugly was denied by the local television board. At that time, they had a game called “Trip na Trip” where, to be blunt, select females from the audience gets to have fun with full-blooded foreign guys by doing minigames on the stage. That’s the idea behind “Foreignoy”.
I wonder if I said that right, considering that we all have minds prone to assumption and implications.
Now, there have been reactions about this, some agreed with their editorial and some didn’t. Reactions such as “I’d rather be a weeaboo than be a part of this stupid culture,” or “I do not care since both cultures have their lapses” appeared. Some even thanked them for stating the point.
From what I see, I am guilty of being a weeaboo as well. If you are an avid listener of the Roundtable Otakus podcast (or even RadyoPi’s tech show Tech Rant, in I co-produced with Al), you’ll hear me spew things out of nowhere such as “Eeeeeehhh, so~na…” (What? No way…) or even the simple “desu” (with a silent ‘u’). I do that off the air as well.
I’ve been doing it for a while to a point that I got accustomed, and come to think of it, I was awkward. Very awkward.
On the other hand, there are people online that are far worse than me; so regardless of how bad it is, I still think I’m fortunate that I’m not as weeaboo as others. It might take time for me to get rid of that mannerism I have, but hopefully, I will be able to draw the line between being an Otaku and being a weeaboo.
I still do think that measuring how Otaku are you is always not an option. Those images and stuff you see on Facebook telling you how Otaku are you are so bad in its concept that I can consider those who made it as elitists. Why? Here’s a story.
I had online friends who watch the more notable, mainstream Anime such as One Piece, Naruto, Fairy Tail, Attack on Titan and Sword Art Online, and they love each series so much they are willing to Cosplay the characters. Isn’t this enough to call them Otaku?
Considering that SAO and AOT are recent Anime that went into the mainstream to the levels of the former three and started in the time where the word “Otaku” is prevalent, they’ve had all the guts to watch each and every episode of the series regardless of how they were able to do so.
“If you’re an Otaku, name […]”
“If you’re an Otaku, do you […]”
They’re actually doing it wrong. It’s like shoving your dominance over others. It’s like saying “Hey, I’ve watched 154 Anime series including Evangelion and you only watched a couple of shows recently, so you’re a n00b” to beginners. There might be people who watched Anime for the rest of their lives and still not show their dominance around the community.
Also, you can even use Evangelion to draw a border to who is the real Otaku and who are the pretentious weeaboos. I can’t be wrong with this.
I also want to hurt the guys behind those “What is your Japanese name?” web apps because they’re not even helping at all. Making a shortcut as an answer to this question is just a lame excuse. You can ask your friends who passed the Japan Language Proficiency Tests (JLPT) to translate your name to Kanji or Katakana or Hiragana, but it’s much better if you can ask them to actually teach you so that you can pass the test as well.
One does not simply show off. Being a weeaboo means you’re showing off your /mad skillz as a Japanophile of some sort with little to no effort, and that pisses off those who took their time and effort to hone those skills while being shy or a bit hostile about it.
This is what I think of Otakus: They’re saying that they’re Otakus and just move on. They have too much time on gushing over their favorite character / series / game / wut not that they have little time to show off. They don’t try to show dominance by means of words as they really do it. Walking the talk. This may be hypocritical of me and I might be wrong with what I think, but it took me a while to know where I am.
The bottomline here is to restrain from abusing the word. It is also worthy to note that the community we are into lacks the emotion to be concerned with things like these so much that we have lots of time to show off.
In a social context, Filipinos know how to brag a lot, and I feel that if someone from another country sees our shining pride, they’ll be turned off instantly. That’s hostility to me. If we were the proudest mob of weeaboos and we’re facing the beginners who want to know more about the culture we are into, chances are we’d be hostile against them.
I have been guilty of committing such hostility as well. I get pissed off when anyone doesn’t give justice to the character/series that I love the most, thus I react badly. I get to interact with people who understand why they love a character/series the most. Can you even blame me if this is happening? No.
This is why being an Otaku is connected to sharing information to others. I do believe we have an obligation to share this information to others so that justice is served. We can get rid of the weeaboo culture by sharing them information about their interest as much as we can handle. We don’t need to get hostile either — As much as I can, I try not to diss off anybody who lacks detail in their Cosplay; or anybody who missed a plot hole in our favorite series.
At least you can motivate them to research more (and never stop). To interact on non-vulgar discussions. To continue that specific detail in their costume so it will look like the one you see on the screen. To be concerned. The keys here are information, motivation, empathy and understanding.
Inform those who need to learn. Motivate them to strive hard. As you understand their struggle between fantasy and reality, empathize with them.
Apparently, most of what I’ve said here are also mentioned after I played the podcast, but either way, you need to know that there are people concerned about this.