I’m getting older. Like, I’m actually getting kind of old. You might not think it (I do, after all, have the mental age of a 12 year old) but truth is, I’m not the carefree youth I was… er… in my youth. While I always like to stay true to myself – fact is, as I get older the frequency of me experiencing Real Life Otaku Problems is increasing. I’m having to adapt to survive out there.
So for my first article in quite a while I thought I’d raise some of these problems here. Maybe you can relate, maybe you can’t – I just hope to God I’m not alone here…
1/ I am unable to open my mail in polite company.
Last year I bought the Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus artbook and got it sent to work – only when it was sent, they didn’t put my name on it. Just my company name and address. So the postroom opened it and later that day, I came back from lunch and there it was in full view, sitting on my desk.
Now there’s nothing wrong with that, you might think – only my place of work is, how can I put it, fairly straight-laced. They’re safe, middle class professionals – ‘excitement’ is discovering Waitrose’ humus is a little coarser than it was three weeks ago.
That image above is the cover to the Shinovi Versus artbook. To say it caused something of a stir by the watercooler is an understatement. And we don’t even HAVE a watercooler. I would have caused less fuss had I rode through the office on a pink giraffe – wearing nothing but a hat made from giant, rotating dildos.
The result is that all the women in my office are eternally suspicious of me. This ‘incident’, combined with the fact that I once spent my lunch break googling ‘Sailor Moon colouring books’, means that everyone else thinks I’m ‘gay’.
2/ I have no money
There’s a reason I don’t have guacamole in my burritos. It’s not because I don’t like avacado – it’s because every time I import anything from Japan, a man comes to my house and holds my videogames ransom with an extortionate HM Revenue and Customs charge.
I swear to god the Queen heats her palaces though the winter by exploiting my moe addiction. If I wanted to bring the treasury to it’s knees I’d just stop buying anything from the GoodSmile Company.
But it’s not just the customs charges.
It’s because there’s a new Tales of Zestiria Special Edition. And because they remastered Cowboy Bebop. And because I decided to rebuy the hardback Nausicaa volumes again because I dropped the last one on my living room floor and it dented the corner.
And because I’m kinda into drinking, like, a lot of bourbon in the evenings right now as I try to work though my ‘unfinished’ JRPGs and general life issues only I just get bored of them go on Amazon a bit drunk and order more stuff and then the postman comes with more shit I don’t need along with another customschargeandohgodpleasewon’tsomeonegivemesomegoddamnedselfcontrol…
3/ I buy things that I know are ‘bad’ – just because of the artwork.
Okay, case in point – I bought Time and Eternity. Now I have a pretty high tolerance for bad/mediocre games – you could say my threshold for getting enjoyment out of bad games is pretty amazing.
So amazing, that I’ve gone full circle and find myself not particularly enjoying games that I know to be ‘good’. Like Uncharted for example. A great, great series – but I’d rather pump boiling water into my rectum that play another hour of it.
Time and Eternity though? Oh man, just the suggestion of Vofan artwork is enough to put me into a heightened state of arousal. So aroused, that I’ll pay for , and play, something so utterly tedious it can be genuinely considered a complete waste of my fucking time and energy.
And the weird thing is, I LIKE the fact that I own this game. I would trade a hole stack of 9-10 rated games and keep this one.
Even though it is, frankly, a monumentally shit game.
Still, that cover art though…
4/ My neighbours think I’m a pervert.
I was out in the garden a few months back, bringing in the washing off the line (yeah, I’m old school like that). My elderly neighbour was mowing his lawn, his wife was hanging washing on her line. We nodded in acknowledgement of each other over the fence.
They are nice people.
When he shuts off the mower engine, suddenly my back garden is filled with the sounds of excited Japanese school girl chatter – all exclamations and loud girly-sighs from the TV – the anime I was watching still running.
It sounds like I’m watching porn, I think to myself.
I’m tempted to say ‘it’s not porn’ but I know that would definitely be the worst thing to say. Instead she just holds my gaze.
For a few. Agonising. Seconds longer. Than either of us. Are entirely comfortable with. As the ‘innocent sex-noise’ continues unabated…
The husband fires up his mower.
Things will never be the same between us.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve tried to keep the ‘everyone thinks I’m a pervert‘ examples to a minimum – but it’s genuinely quite hard. Did I ever tell you about the time I accidentally yanked my headphones out of my Vita while playing Senran Kagura Bon Appetit on the bus? It went a little bit like this…
But that’s a story for another time.
5/ I can’t be bothered to explain anything to anyone anymore
While I generally have a great relationship with my family – my father is the kind of guy who likes to go up ladders and bang things into other things. He’d often come into my room at the weekends – usually to ask me if I could hold a piece of wood for him, or stick a pair of scissors into an electrical socket, or challenge me to run across the dual carriage way at the back of the house after drinking the Nytol from the bathroom cabinet.
Inevitably he’d find me playing something like Ganbare Goemon (Ugh, that boxart is nasty) or Pocky and Rocky. When I was little, he’d be like – ‘hey, buddy, watcha playin’?’. As I got older and my tastes got more eclectic he’d just glare at me from my bedroom door and roll his eyes at me.
It hasn’t been any easier as I’ve grown older. You could say it’s got worse. While I have my share of anxieties, OCD-like tendencies and am regularly accused of ‘being on the spectrum’ (whatever the fuck THAT means) I do make a concerted effort to be as social as possible – even if it scares the living hell outta me sometimes.
The problem with being social is people like to ask you questions. I would love to be able to answer a ‘what’s your favourite game’ question with ‘Call of Duty’ and be done with it. We’d all shrug our shoulders and gaze into our drinks and move on to the next topic of conversation.
Only I can’t do that, can I – after a few Whisky and Cokes I have to go and mumble ‘Steins;Gate’ or something. Or drop Neon Genesis Evangelion into conversation.
‘Steins;Gate? What’s that?‘ they might say – and even when I try to keep it respectfully succinct (for even I understand not everyone is into this stuff) their face says it all.
Like they caught me in the street with my pants down – molesting a dog.
ILJG runs the I Love Japanese Games Facebook Page and can be found on twitter via @japan_game_love
His views are not those held by Rice Digital or it’s partners.
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