Only In Japan

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I shocked my coworkers the other day.

We were talking about how Japanese Pop Culture is perceived in the West; and while they knew manga and anime to be wildly popular all over the world, they were quite surprised to realize cosplay and hentai had also become common words in English.

To prove my point, I showed them some Western cosplay websites... Their incredulity soon turned into gasps of horror as they looked at page after page of Westerners dressed as anime or videogame characters, and when they saw the list of cosplay conventions all over the world. You see, Japanese people are not really proud of their "weirdoes", be they otaku technology geeks, hentai fetishists, or "strange dressers" of the many kinds available in Japan. Most Japanese people are very proud of Japan's homogeneity and correctness; and as such they are rather nonplussed when they discover that Westerners see Japan as "cool" because it's a land of strangely-dressed, tentacle-rape fantasizing computer geeks. And try as I might, I couldn't convince them that "Weird Japan" was way cooler than their image of hard-working, honest and polite office workers creating the best DVD players in the world.

DVD players, he he. All the better to watch hentai anime with, my child...

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