The Sensei Next Door

Sensei [sen-say]
Teacher, master, or doctor.

“The Sensei Next Door” is looking to be a recurring segment where I give you a brief (and slightly silly) explanation of a term or concept. Eventually I suspect I’ll start including tiny history and culture lessons. (The fun kind, I swear. The kind where you get to put on plays about the French Revolution and build Roman cities out of food.) For now, though, I’ll just focus on vocab.

Whenever I catch myself using (or wanting to use) some “otaku jargon,” I’ll post a little explanation of it. Of course, if you stumble across a term somewhere and want to know more about it, feel free to Ask me, too. Anime 101, as promised!

And now that I’ve used the word otaku, I guess I’d better explain it:

Otaku [oh-tah-koo]
In America, this term has come to refer (rather positively) to someone with a love of Japanese animation (anime) and comics (manga). 

In Japan, it refers (rather less positively) to That Guy living in a poorly-lit room at his parents’ house, playing erotic video games and painting figurines of cat girls.

As my apartment is free of parents, erotic video games, and cat girl figurines (three for three!), I use the American definition to refer to myself, but not the Japanese one. I’ll do the same here at JND, using “otaku” as a friendly shorthand to describe anime and manga fans. Feel free to do the same.

(And if you really want to paint a cat girl figurine while you’re at it, well, that’s fine, too. ^^ )

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