During James May’s trip to Japan, he made a number of interesting discoveries and encounters. While looking through the stores of Tokyo, he discovered a number of gadgets that were designed to solve problems that no one else thought of. Among those gadgets were self-cleaning toilets. I always knew Japan was a technological superpower, but I never thought their usage of technology would be this diverse.
Then James’s day in Tokyo got even better when he met a couple of otaku or “super geeks”. The interesting thing about otaku is that while geeks would be shunned by Western society, geeks in Japan are welcomed as an essential part of the social fabric. Otaku interests can range from anything from manga to video games. The otaku James met were a special breed of otaku known as train spotters and they knew everything about trains. They could imitate the sounds of trains, they would take photographs of trains in stations, they enjoyed listening to train station music, and they could imitate train station announcements.
As a super geek myself, I could easily relate to these two otaku. The moment I saw their quirky mannerisms and the passion of their interests, I knew they were like me. Since geeks are embraced as part of the social fabric in Japan, I think I would feel right at home there.