Geek Culture Around the World

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Nyarlathotep
Not a god. Not even a titan.
Posts: 1693
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Geek Culture Around the World

Postby Nyarlathotep » Sun Nov 11, 2007 4:47 am UTC

At present, I'm in Japan, taking an anthropology class on Anime and Manga. It's been fascinating, and as an American nerd I can't help but make cross-cultural comparison.

Here in Japan, anime and manga are mainstream. You don't realize just HOW mainstream 'till you've gotten on a train and seen the walls PLASTERED with ads for the latest series in the latest Jump-magazine clone, or seen every other person on the train with a huge, thick book. There are actually "Geek meccas" here, such as the famed Akihabara Electric Town in Tokyo and its cousin Nipponbashi in Osaka. Besides those places there are plenty of collector's stores out and around here. In Nakano (yet another mini-town that has been devoured by the horrific black-hole mass that is Tokyo) there's a place called the Broadway Mall which has literally four floors of nothing but anime and manga merchandise. It's a huge buisness here, very well supported by the industry. While nerds themselves are pariah, even moreso than in the US due to unfortunate associations with serial killers (even worse than the way that gamers in the US are marginalized as unstable weirdos likely to go on shooting sprees at school), they are ironically very well supported by industry. I am daily surrounded by nerd paraphernalia, and it is HUGE business here in Japan. While getting particularly rare action figures can be a challenge, look for even a somewhat sideline series and you're likely to find, somewhere, figurines or posters of it.

Compare this to the United States, where you have to go out of your way to support your nerd habits. Getting tee-shirts and action figures is a hassle, even when we're talking about series that originated in the US. Sure, there are some media-driven exceptions, especially today - Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings - but it usually takes whatever it is becoming a huge hit movie before anything happens, while in Japan something can still be pretty niche and yet STILL Have a slew of merchandise related to it. Nerds are more accepted but they're also less provided for. If I wanted to get, say, Superman related stuff before Superman Returns came out and made it a big deal again, I would have had to go out of my way to a comic book store to find it. IT is true that in Japan you have to go to specific stores, but the stores are WAY more common. In Washington DC, where I live at home, I can think of only a few stores in the entire metropolitan area, and they're all VERY spread out and hard to access without a car. Here, there are three manga stores on my street alone, and EVERY neighborhood has them... despite the fact that you can get to anywhere easily by train.

In addition, there's nothing like Akihabara in the US as far as I know. There are no cities that I know of with a true Nerd Center - sure, there's conventions and whatnot, but no permenant bastion of the geek. We congregate on the internets, not in real life.

So... my question is this: What's nerd culture like outside Japan and the US? There's such differences between these two places and I must wonder what it's like elsewhere. What is it like in Korea? in Australia? any other insights on the Us/Japan dichotomy?
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.

User avatar
frezik
Posts: 1336
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:52 pm UTC
Location: Schrödinger's Box

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby frezik » Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:55 am UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:While nerds themselves are pariah, even moreso than in the US due to unfortunate associations with serial killers (even worse than the way that gamers in the US are marginalized as unstable weirdos likely to go on shooting sprees at school), they are ironically very well supported by industry. I am daily surrounded by nerd paraphernalia, and it is HUGE business here in Japan.


Interesting. If there's more stores for nerd stuff, then there are either more people buying it, or those people are willing to spend more. I'd be interested in what the price for that stuff is compared to average salary. I understand that housing in Tokyo is astronomical, and it's common for young people to live with their parents much longer than is typical in the US. This may mean they have more disposable income.

In addition, there's nothing like Akihabara in the US as far as I know. There are no cities that I know of with a true Nerd Center - sure, there's conventions and whatnot, but no permenant bastion of the geek. We congregate on the internets, not in real life.


US nerds tend to congregate around universities. US universities are still considered some of the best in the world, and I'd expect (as a guess) that many of the better Japanese students end up over here instead of staying at home. This would mean there's no Japanese equal to Berkley or MIT, so the nerds that stay there tend to end up in a centralized burrow rather than a university.

Aside: I gave a little smile recently when my local Borders Books put a sign up next to the Magna section marked "Otaku Gear".
I do not agree with the beer you drink, but will defend to the death your right to drink it

User avatar
pKp
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:17 pm UTC

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby pKp » Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:50 pm UTC

Here in France, geeks mainly stay around Paris and its suburbs. Also around engeneer schools cities.
The geek culture...well, it's somewhere in between "WTH are you talking about" and "Yeah, I saw it on Slashdot". I'd say about 25% of people know the word "geek". LOTR was a huge it, so it probably helped. There is also a pretty huge Linux-user community (French Ubuntu forum is the second bigger on the net, at least for Western countries), and manga/anime is a definite trend, but not really connected to the geek culture...I've got a lot of friends who buy mangas but can't tell a file from a folder.
Experience is a thing you can't have for nothing - Oscar wilde

User avatar
RockoTDF
Posts: 582
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 6:08 am UTC
Location: Tucson, AZ, US
Contact:

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby RockoTDF » Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:33 am UTC

frezik wrote:
US nerds tend to congregate around universities. US universities are still considered some of the best in the world, and I'd expect (as a guess) that many of the better Japanese students end up over here instead of staying at home. This would mean there's no Japanese equal to Berkley or MIT, so the nerds that stay there tend to end up in a centralized burrow rather than a university.

Aside: I gave a little smile recently when my local Borders Books put a sign up next to the Magna section marked "Otaku Gear".


Uhh...I highly doubt that Japan is void of MIT quality universities. Based on sheer numbers alone America would not issue *that* many student visas.
Just because it is not physics doesn't mean it is not science.
http://www.iomalfunction.blogspot.com <---- A collection of humorous one liners and science jokes.

zenten
Posts: 3799
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:42 am UTC
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby zenten » Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:58 pm UTC

Canada's pretty similar (or at least Ontario is) to the US. Although I've found the comic/gaming shops tend to clump together, sort of. In that you'll have a few in the downtown core, and still have some spread throughout. Montreal seems to have less shops, but the shops they do have are larger with more selection. That could just be from me not living there, and thus not seeing the smaller places though.

User avatar
bigglesworth
I feel like Biggles should have a title
Posts: 7461
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 9:29 pm UTC
Location: Airstrip One

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby bigglesworth » Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:06 pm UTC

I'd imagine that the physical size of America would have the greatest impact, favouring the internet and the places where people congregate anyway to places people go by choice.
Generation Y. I don't remember the First Gulf War, but do remember floppy disks.

User avatar
aleflamedyud
wants your cookies
Posts: 3307
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:50 pm UTC
Location: The Central Bureaucracy

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:59 am UTC

I can't believe I'm saying this, but does that mean Japan actually manages to get cliquier than the United States?

Actually, speaking of geek culture, why are so many American geeks anime/manga fans? I watched the stuff on TV too when I was a kid, and I liked it, but I never became a real otaku (meaning: obsessive) in the way that geeks around me seem to (1/3 of the people in my CS residential hall are making some efforts to learn Japanese).

They're cartoons, people! Not merely cartoons, but one genre of cartoons!
"With kindness comes naïveté. Courage becomes foolhardiness. And dedication has no reward. If you can't accept any of that, you are not fit to be a graduate student."

User avatar
Nyarlathotep
Not a god. Not even a titan.
Posts: 1693
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby Nyarlathotep » Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:04 am UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:I can't believe I'm saying this, but does that mean Japan actually manages to get cliquier than the United States?


Oh GOD yes. Japanese people make your average American valley girl look like unique and independent beings who always follow their own hearts and never do what anyone else tells them to. I'm not even joking. Even the supposedly counter-culture things here are cliquy. there's no such thing as non-clique. Ever. It's frightening. Japan is the land of trends. the US may have invented the fad, but like so many other things, the Japanese both perfected it and twisted it into something alien and horrifying. Indeed... living here can be like living in some creepy dystopian science fiction film at times.

aleflamedyud wrote:Actually, speaking of geek culture, why are so many American geeks anime/manga fans? I watched the stuff on TV too when I was a kid, and I liked it, but I never became a real otaku (meaning: obsessive) in the way that geeks around me seem to (1/3 of the people in my CS residential hall are making some efforts to learn Japanese).

They're cartoons, people! Not merely cartoons, but one genre of cartoons!


clearly you haven't watched enough of them. And unfortunately it's not something I can properly explain, just like you probably couldn't explain geek culture very well to your average prep/jock. Basically... because it's cool? Because most American animation didn't and still doesn't do a lot of the things Japanese animation does..?

Then again I've gotten mostly out of the Japanese anime fandom, though I'm still addicted to videogames...
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.

User avatar
aleflamedyud
wants your cookies
Posts: 3307
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:50 pm UTC
Location: The Central Bureaucracy

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:18 am UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:Oh GOD yes. Japanese people make your average American valley girl look like unique and independent beings who always follow their own hearts and never do what anyone else tells them to. I'm not even joking. Even the supposedly counter-culture things here are cliquy. there's no such thing as non-clique. Ever. It's frightening. Japan is the land of trends. the US may have invented the fad, but like so many other things, the Japanese both perfected it and twisted it into something alien and horrifying. Indeed... living here can be like living in some creepy dystopian science fiction film at times.

Anyone that far-gone lost their soul long ago and deserves the tentacle rape they will so assuredly get.

Though any counter-culture that persists for long enough eventually becomes Yet Another Flower-Power Trend.

clearly you haven't watched enough of them. And unfortunately it's not something I can properly explain, just like you probably couldn't explain geek culture very well to your average prep/jock. Basically... because it's cool? Because most American animation didn't and still doesn't do a lot of the things Japanese animation does..?

Then again I've gotten mostly out of the Japanese anime fandom, though I'm still addicted to videogames...

I watched some (some dub, some sub). Quite often the production values are pretty good, they've got kickass music that really helps to narrate the story and even a Standard Anime Joke can elicit belly laughs if used at exactly the right moment.

I just didn't get obsessed like some people did. After all, there were programs to write and video games to play.
"With kindness comes naïveté. Courage becomes foolhardiness. And dedication has no reward. If you can't accept any of that, you are not fit to be a graduate student."

User avatar
Nyarlathotep
Not a god. Not even a titan.
Posts: 1693
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby Nyarlathotep » Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:24 am UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:I watched some (some dub, some sub). Quite often the production values are pretty good, they've got kickass music that really helps to narrate the story and even a Standard Anime Joke can elicit belly laughs if used at exactly the right moment.

I just didn't get obsessed like some people did. After all, there were programs to write and video games to play.


I understand the obsession, kinda, just not the specific obsession with anime and manga. I obsess over things quite a lot (almost ALWAYS video games. Kingdom Hearts still owns my life, as does Myst). the only reason I go to anime cons is 'casue they're strongholds of geek culture in general and therefore tonnes of fun.

And yeah, there are counter-culture movements here but the turnover rate from "counter-culture" to "Trend" is a LOT faster because of the speed with which Japanese marketing companies jump on things and have ridiculous feeding frenzies.
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.

AKADriver
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:28 pm UTC
Location: McLean, VA

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby AKADriver » Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:03 pm UTC

How much of what you're seeing in Japan is truly geek culture, and how much is simply pop culture that appears geeky from a Western frame of reference? There are different cultural standards at work. From the earliest Confucian tradition of valuing education over might, the mainstream ideals within Japanese culture have always been more closely aligned with "geeks" in the West. History's greatest Japanophiles were geeks - Lafcadio Hearn, Frank Lloyd Wright.

User avatar
Vanguard
Posts: 807
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:52 pm UTC
Location: Away from you

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby Vanguard » Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:12 pm UTC

I'm frankly not surprised that Japan is more nerdly advanced. Half of the stuff here in the US comes from them anyway.
Image

Supergrunch
Posts: 135
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:17 pm UTC
Location: Cambridge, UK
Contact:

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby Supergrunch » Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:55 am UTC

Well, Cambridge is probably the geekiest place in Britain (Oxford is more diffuse, and London has some very geeky places, but they're aren't concentrated in one location), so I can probably give some insights into geek culture in the UK. Here, nearly everyone you run into is a geek of some sort, and I love it. There's a fair few geeky shops, such as comic book stores, and a geeky t-shirt shop about 100 metres from my current location. There are also 3 massive book shops, one of which has a huge sci-fi and manga section. Of course, there're loads of geeky clubs and the like to go with this.

However, pretty much anywhere else in the UK is completely the reverse. Most geeks stay under wraps, and the only way you can get geeky things is off the internet - high street shops cater very much for the "normal" person. That being said, geeks are fairly accepted, definitely much more so than in Japan. It's only really kids who make fun of geeks.

User avatar
MrHackman
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 5:21 pm UTC
Location: At the Mad Hatter's tea party. Have some wine.

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby MrHackman » Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:19 pm UTC

It seems to me that the US is one of the biggest countries that has a geek culture, but unlike Japan, everything is alot more spread out. A quick search for "tabletop gaming" on google maps of my hometown gets no actual table top game places (actually it got a big 5 sporting goods, which is kinda like the opposite of tabletop gaming) within a 4 mile radius. a search for "manga" gets one comic book store (and about 3 borders/barnes&nobles but those are nowhere near the level that the Manga stores Japan apparently are), and "lan gaming" gets 2 rock climbing places, a staples and an office depot, but no actual internet cafes.
Japan probably would have roughly the same level of geekery as America, except it's so compressed, so it seems more intense. Plus because you are more likely to run into another geek outside of the internet in a dense area like Japan, the geek culture is intensified (hence the "perfection and twisting into something alien and horrifying" factor).
With America, all we have is the internet, and even though geekery is a bit outcast in the US, there is such anonymity online that you can get away with it. So all our Akihabaras are virtual, even if they aren't as intense.
Of course I could be totally wrong about this, as I have not yet been to Japan, and if you have (or live there) feel free to rant at me and tell me I'm horribly incorrect and deserve to die.
Last edited by MrHackman on Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:39 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
If four times five is twelve, and four times six is thirteen, and four times seven is fourteen, what base is next? And more importantly, who is doing the calculation? :)

User avatar
loratwopointone
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 2:19 am UTC
Location: Manchester, UK
Contact:

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby loratwopointone » Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:30 pm UTC

I'm from Manchester, UK. I wouldn't say we're that geeky although we have two decent comic book/sci-fi/fantasy bookstores that sell decent merchandise like figurines/dvd's/games and one of them is always happy to order stuff in if they don't have it. We have a sci-fi/film bar called Fab Cafe which whist expensive is very fun, think darleks, arcade machines everywhere, bad B-Movie posters and they play lots of Ash. Oooh, the bar sells sweets as well.

I think the actual geek culture here tends to be focused around the three Uni's or based in people's living room's. It's a great city for fashion, indie music and vintage/art shopping but not really that geeky.
Goth Juice - The most powerful hairspray known to man. Made from the tears of Robert Smith.

User avatar
Akula
Posts: 619
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 7:55 pm UTC
Location: Vermont
Contact:

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby Akula » Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:54 pm UTC

I've never under stood the Anime thing either. My guess is that it's really the only source of movie length animated stories, that aren't for children. If you think about it, there's pretty much nothing in terms of fully animated movies or mini-series that are intended for adults. So if that's the kind of thing you're looking for, I guess Anime fits the bill. I'm still not a fan. Most the stories seem silly to me... (btw, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that most of Cartoon Networks original content is absolute fucking drivel of the worst kind) and that really is the key, because there were a few with truly compelling stories and interesting characters, and I definitely enjoyed those. Evangelion comes to mind most readily.

I think there's also some differences in geek culture that have more to do with interest then nationality. For example, I've known plenty of people you could easily term art nerds who could care less about video games, anime, or internet memes. I've known people who took games and anime like religion, but were dumb as shit when it came to academics. But most of us probably cross over into many of these things. I love gaming, I'll say I like a few bits of anime, but dislike most of it, and I'm a sucker for science and history.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get down off of my soapbox, and go plunge neck deep into Mass Effect.
"I never let my schooling interfere with my education" - Mark Twain

Puzzlemaker
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:16 pm UTC
Location: Maryland, Silver Spring, USA

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby Puzzlemaker » Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:27 pm UTC

Actually, from what I have see and heard (THIS IS OPINION, MIND YOU) America probably has the most individualistic anti-authoritative culture in the world, or close to it. This is both good and bad, as with most things.

We don't follow others as much, which is good and bad, because sometimes we should be following someone else's example, and sometimes we shouldn't. We also tend to want to do things our way, which means we have innovation a lot. We also make mistakes a lot.

I know thats a huge generalization, but I am talking about a trend, not specific examples.
RezardVareth wrote:Bad argumentation can be painful to answer, but responding with empty logic just perpetuates the cycle.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby Belial » Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:02 am UTC

Discussion of Anime, and its status as a "genre" has been moved to TV boards
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
william
Not a Raptor. Honest.
Posts: 2418
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:02 pm UTC
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Contact:

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby william » Mon Dec 10, 2007 2:01 am UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:I can't believe I'm saying this, but does that mean Japan actually manages to get cliquier than the United States?


Oh GOD yes. Japanese people make your average American valley girl look like unique and independent beings who always follow their own hearts and never do what anyone else tells them to. I'm not even joking. Even the supposedly counter-culture things here are cliquy. there's no such thing as non-clique. Ever. It's frightening. Japan is the land of trends. the US may have invented the fad, but like so many other things, the Japanese both perfected it and twisted it into something alien and horrifying. Indeed... living here can be like living in some creepy dystopian science fiction film at times.

You know what that reminds me of? The idea I've had of combining Hot Topic with ironic purchasing habits in order to create a wormhole of meta.
SecondTalon wrote:A pile of shit can call itself a delicious pie, but that doesn't make it true.

User avatar
Okita
Staying Alive
Posts: 3071
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2007 7:51 pm UTC
Location: Finance land.

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby Okita » Mon Dec 10, 2007 3:34 pm UTC

Strangely enough... I think that part of the geek culture in Japan is a side effect of the hikikomori problem which is a side effect of Japanese economic troubles.

For those who don't know, hikikomori refers to those who seclude themselves completely from the outside world, practically never leaving their room, let alone their house, living off of their parents. The original numbers were scary (but turned out to be made up and based on schizophrenics) but it's still a interesting problem with creepier branches (ex. realdolls).

But I think that sort of isolated living promotes internet usage and whatnot. I suspect part of the difference is that you also don't have the same mindset necessarily in Japan that you do in America when it comes to online activity. I would think there are more griefers here in the US than there are in the east. But that's more of an opinion than something grounded in any actual research that I have done on that subject.
"I may or may not be a raptor. There is no way of knowing until entering a box that I happen to be in and then letting me sunder the delicious human flesh from your body in reptile fury."

User avatar
Nyarlathotep
Not a god. Not even a titan.
Posts: 1693
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby Nyarlathotep » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:23 am UTC

Okita wrote:Strangely enough... I think that part of the geek culture in Japan is a side effect of the hikikomori problem which is a side effect of Japanese economic troubles.

For those who don't know, hikikomori refers to those who seclude themselves completely from the outside world, practically never leaving their room, let alone their house, living off of their parents. The original numbers were scary (but turned out to be made up and based on schizophrenics) but it's still a interesting problem with creepier branches (ex. realdolls).

But I think that sort of isolated living promotes internet usage and whatnot. I suspect part of the difference is that you also don't have the same mindset necessarily in Japan that you do in America when it comes to online activity. I would think there are more griefers here in the US than there are in the east. But that's more of an opinion than something grounded in any actual research that I have done on that subject.


Griefers?
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.

User avatar
UmbralRaptor
Posts: 201
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 5:47 pm UTC
Location: Officially: KC area, Kansas, USA, Sol III
Contact:

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby UmbralRaptor » Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:13 am UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:Griefers?

Why some people (such as myself) avoid games with non-consensual PVP. People who play online games for the purpose of causing grief in others. This is typically by sneakily killing others characters repeatedly, taking their stuff (depending on the game), and generally preventing the victims from doing anything or enjoying any aspect of the game.
Urband Dictionary linkage.
And on wikipedia
Why do you assume that I exist?

User avatar
ZZCat13
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:00 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby ZZCat13 » Fri Dec 28, 2007 2:59 am UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:Oh GOD yes. Japanese people make your average American valley girl look like unique and independent beings who always follow their own hearts and never do what anyone else tells them to. I'm not even joking. Even the supposedly counter-culture things here are cliquy. there's no such thing as non-clique. Ever. It's frightening. Japan is the land of trends. the US may have invented the fad, but like so many other things, the Japanese both perfected it and twisted it into something alien and horrifying. Indeed... living here can be like living in some creepy dystopian science fiction film at times.


Totally reminds me of what Dave Barry wrote one time...

They (the rock bands gathering in Harajuku) were uniformly awful. It was the Festival of the Bad Loud Semituned Bands Doing Lame Imitations of MTV Stars. But what was really pathetic about them was their desperately misguided effort to be different. For example, you don't see a lot of tie-dyed T-shirts in Japan, and there was one band whose members all wore tie-dyed T-shirts, which I guess made them different by Japanese standards, but they all wore virtually the same tie-dyed T-shirt. And dancing in front of them was a crowd of groupies - all teenaged girls, and they all wore the same shirt, on top of which they were all doing the same dance step, which I assume they thought was cool but which I swear looked exactly like the "Hokey-Pokey."
It was sad, really. All these kids, gathered in one place, trying so hard to be rebellious and iconoclastic, while in fact being far more regimented than a typical American bowling league.


Written in Dave Barry Does Japan, for the curious. A great book to give to any Japanophile friend of yours whose bubble you want to burst.
"To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." - Carl Sagan

User avatar
LoopQuantumGravity
Posts: 416
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 4:19 am UTC

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby LoopQuantumGravity » Fri Dec 28, 2007 4:50 am UTC

So, wait, let me summarize some key phrases about Japan for my own convenience:

    anime and manga are mainstream
    walls PLASTERED with ads for the latest series
    "Geek meccas"
    horrific black-hole
    four floors of nothing but anime and manga
    unfortunate associations with serial killers
    can get to anywhere easily by train
    Japan actually manages to get cliquier than the United States
    otaku
    there's no such thing as non-clique. Ever.
    Japan is the land of trends.
    the US may have invented the fad, but like so many other things, the Japanese both perfected it and twisted it into something alien and horrifying.
    living here can be like living in some creepy dystopian science fiction film at times.
    deserves the tentacle rape they will so assuredly get
    seclude themselves completely from the outside world
    made up and based on schizophrenics
    non-consensual PVP

Where can I get my plane ticket to visit this magical land?
I study theoretical physics & strings, and am a recipient of the prestigious Jayne Cobb Hero of Canton award.

And the science gets done and you make a neat gun
For the people who are still alive!

User avatar
william
Not a Raptor. Honest.
Posts: 2418
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:02 pm UTC
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Contact:

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby william » Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:00 am UTC

The airport, probably. Failing that, a brane.
SecondTalon wrote:A pile of shit can call itself a delicious pie, but that doesn't make it true.

User avatar
LoopQuantumGravity
Posts: 416
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 4:19 am UTC

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby LoopQuantumGravity » Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:04 am UTC

william wrote:The airport, probably. Failing that, a brane.


Is this double-reverse sarcasm?
I study theoretical physics & strings, and am a recipient of the prestigious Jayne Cobb Hero of Canton award.

And the science gets done and you make a neat gun
For the people who are still alive!

User avatar
william
Not a Raptor. Honest.
Posts: 2418
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:02 pm UTC
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Contact:

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby william » Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:07 am UTC

It's midnight where I live. I'm just going a bit crazy.
SecondTalon wrote:A pile of shit can call itself a delicious pie, but that doesn't make it true.

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Geek Culture Around the World

Postby Vaniver » Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:09 am UTC

RockoTDF wrote:Uhh...I highly doubt that Japan is void of MIT quality universities.
Well, it sort of is. Compare the score of MIT and Tokyo University in the ARWU rankings. That said, the difference between 5th and 20th is probably not as significant as their scoring system makes it seem- but it's still noteworthy.


I imagine that population density has to do somewhat with the number of geek shops, and that it probably also makes it easier to reach some 'critical mass' of geeks that makes it mainstream to be a geek. If you know three people within a 30 minute drive that like the anime show that you do, you probably aren't going to advertise it much. If you get together with a group of fifty cosplayers every month, you'll probably advertise it quite a bit.

For example, a lot of people in America play Dungeons & Dragons, but outside of college campuses (and maybe high schools), there aren't that many recruiting places for new players. If you decide at 30 "hey, I want to try out a tabletop roleplaying game" you're probably not going to have an easy time getting started; unless there are lots of other 30-year olds deciding the same thing around you. A trip to the local game store will not be as rewarding as a trip to the local anime store in Japan.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.


Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests