Hide Yo’ Oshi, Hide Yo’ Fandom

Admitting that you’re an idol fan is a challenge for some people like myself. It is hard to tell someone that you’re into girl pop groups, a lot of which feature teenage girls. I honestly would have a tough time admitting that, especially to those that aren’t as open-minded as you’d hope them to be.

I guess you can call me a closet idol fan. The only people that know that I’m an idol fan are my closest friends, my idol bros and my family members. I am at an age where I don’t really have people over my house all the time. My place is small and not ideal for friends to come over and have a good time (my room is the size of one of them tiny Japanese apartments).

 

Here are the pictures of my room.

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As you can see, it is not very big but plastered with idol posters for the most part. Now, the funniest thing is that I actually do not like having strangers in my house because of this. With friends, I’ve explained what it was all about and they asked questions and may have judged me without my presence but the responses have not been negative at all.

Lets say for example that I need cable installed for internet and a Comcast tech needs to come to my house. The first thing I do is confirm the time of the appointment. After that, I proceed to remove all the posters from my wall. Why is a lazy man like myself taking all this effort to take down some idol posters. Well, the only answer I can give you is that I guess I am kind of ashamed of my hobby. I know, it’s a terrible thing to say but I really can’t put it any other way. Would I do the same thing if I lived in Japan? Maybe but I know that this hobby of mine would be somewhat understood by people over there. My closest friends who know about my fandom happen to be into anime, manga, video games, and have an interest in Japanese culture itself. I think I will certainly have a much harder time explaining this fandom to people who are totally oblivious to Japanese culture or people who think dudes listening to girl groups is not “manly” or “dudebro”.

I had a situation happen where a co-worker took a peek at my iPod. I have an older iPod that actually shows a slideshow of CD covers when the iPod isn’t playing any songs. My co-workers actually saw the covers of idol CDs and said, “Who are these Asian girls?” while looking at this cover of “Pareo wa Emerald”.

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My response was, “They’re a girl group from Japan”. Did I need to explain who they were and what kind of pop group they were? No, absolutely not but I certainly felt a little bit like I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar. It’s a weird feeling to explain. After that incident, I thought about what my co-workers could be thinking about me. “I didn’t know he was into young Asian girls”, etc. This incident has not come up since and it was never really an incident in the first place. It is just my overly sensitive self worrying about dumb shit. If they did inquire further, I may have gotten defensive and I’m not sure how I would have responded to further questioning.

Some of you are thinking, “Yoshi, who the fuck cares? If they want to judge you, let them”. I wish it was that easy. I’ve always been a self-conscious person and being into this idol fandom certainly does not help me feel more confident about putting myself out there. As a guy who hides his cards to most people, opening up is a daunting task.

Just a heads up to those of you reading this. You would be in on my “deepest, darkest secret” that I keep from co-workers, casual acquaintances, etc. It is crazy to think that I keep this a secret from people I talk to daily but here I am putting myself out there on the internet of all places. The good people in this fandom give me hope that one day, I won’t be afraid to be open about my fandom.

I’d like to hear how you guys deal with your fandom and how open you are with it.

Those of you here to ridicule me, go ahead and do so, if it makes you feel better. Thanks for reading.

26 thoughts on “Hide Yo’ Oshi, Hide Yo’ Fandom”

  1. At least he didn’t see Kataomoi Finally’s CD cover on there. That would turn awkward…at best.

  2. To tell the truth you’re braver than me, at least you’re putting some posters in the wall and expressing your love for idols, I’m surrounded by people who don’t understand why I’m listening to asian songs in general even the folklore types like Enka and some people think I’m a weird man to listen to songs that I don’t understand, I understand your feeling and reaction when you don’t like anyone to enter your room, because of the the denial questions that they will give you & how much of a deep answers you need to give to them, Japanese culture (Manga, Anime, idols…) cannot be explained by words, but through experience, before I became a fan of AKB48 I went through many denial & WTF moments even though I know the Japanese culture very well and the idols world & whatsoever, so I can’t expect people to understand what I’m doing & listening to, even with my family members I am having a hard time trying to make them understand my love & hobbies. The biggest struggle for me is that I am guy who love to share his interest in music, I like people around me to listen to AKS songs, but I hope someday I can break those chains, because when I see some Korean song like Gangnam Style made a huge success in the world without anyone understand the language, it gives me hope that people will be more understanding & more open in the future.

    Sorry for putting my frustration in a random way, and I hope that I didn’t go astray from your point

  3. I don’t see myself telling my parents. But living 10000 km from them and with my gf not letting me have any AKB stuff standing out in the appartment, it should be safe. My sisters know as they spent a couple weeks in my appartment and talked with my gf and my friends, but I’m not sure I would ever show them a photobook. My cousins have no idea.

    I don’t hide it from my friends in France but I don’t advertise it either. I have posted some videos on Facebook and a couple statuses, but I post mostly hip-hop videos, and as I post other japanese videos from time to time they probably didn’t even notice. So unless there is something like C-ute’s concert in Paris last week (I went to meet friends right after it), there is usually no reason to talk about it. Even the few who know that I am into idols don’t know how deep I am and think that’s something I find funny and loosely follows. It is not really difficult as I am there only a few weeks each year, and I am not sure they would really understand, so I would rather keep it that way.

    Now in Asia … quite the opposite. Everyone knows. Friends and workmates (being an expat they are largely the same persons), even my girlfriend’s parents (her father is watching Majisuka Gakuen and really liked Yui in the second season). I don’t see myself spending a full day at work (12h, sandwich on the desk, lots of pressure) without taking some idol breaks to relax, like checking G+, blogs or other websites. I though that if I check on my phone and hide whenever someone comes close, they will eventually notice and it will look creepy as hell. So I decided to go all out and pretend everything is normal. I have 4 desk calendars in front of me, an uchiwa next to my phone, I look at websites on my computer screen, receive my Amazon packages at the office and play Idol to koi shitara when I work on public holidays.

    I could definitely not do that in an American company, but French ones are a lot more lenient, i have a good realtionship with my boss and his boss (meaning we often get drunk together) and I perform well in my work so they give me a lot of leeway.

    It worked well as people now think I am crazy in a funny way rather than creepy. My boss can tell who is Mayuyu in group pictures, sent me a picture of Yasusu-sensei when he saw him in the airport (his japanese girlfriend recognised him) and went up to have a look at the theater last time he went to Akihabara to buy electronics. My N+2 always plays with my uchiwa and asks me whether another one finally turned to porn movies. Japanese workmates ask me about the election, and all my friends sing Heavy Rotation with me in karaokes and some ask me news about Mayuyu.

    A big help comes from my background, I was in the top school for maths in France, most students become university teachers and only a few every year end up in private companies, so noone there really knows any of us and as the biggest maths geeks, we are expected to be like The Big Bang Theory characters : socially awkward with eccentric (that’s a euphemism) leisures, and they believe they should be understanding and treat us nicely in order to get the better out of us at work. The other big help is that most people have lived in Japan (everyone was in Japan until 2009-2010, when all companies moved ot HK) so they are used to everything weird, and many have Japanese girlfriends who find it omoshiroi rather than kimoi when they meet me and ask me who is my oshimen and all.

    So yeah, basically, closet wota in France and public wota in Asia has been working well for me, and there is no plan to change.

  4. Very nice article Yoshi! I can really relate to this!

    I can never explain to someone my fandom if they are not in a fandom to begin with. Just a couple of weeks ago I met a girl who was in the “One Direction” fandom. She knew what fangirling was and having a number one favorite so it was really easy to explain what my fandom was.

    I am sort of a closet wota. I don’t dig a hole and hide every last of my idol goods nor do I put up a bill board saying i’m into this stuff. If they come across it then i’ll let it be. If they ask questions about who they are then i’ll just say a “Japanese group”. If they ask why i’m into this, well that is where I can get into detail. I won’t feel ashamed for what I like, but maybe just a little uncomfortable when confronted about it. Now, will I let friends come over to my room? NOPE, but if they found my house and are at my doorstep then yes. . .

  5. Hey Yoshi, you’re not alone, I feel exactly the same way you do. I only tell people whats necessary because my expectation that they won’t understand similarly in a way that another fan would, and that I get treated as “that weird guy”. It also doesn’t help that I have very little interests aside from idols and the entire Japanese culture in general so its hard for me to connect with a larger range of people.

    I digress a little, but one thing I noticed about myself is that I call myself an wota(ku) not because I like it, but because when I look at myself objectively, there’s no other way in trying to explain it any other way. It’s weird cause its like embracing your hobby without embracing it, na’ mean?

  6. Well – lets see. I am an over 30 year old white girl (east coast) and I PROUDLY have been proclaiming my love of Anime since 2005? Only in the last year have I been “pushing” my Idol lovelies into my friends, co-workers, families faces- No really. The same way I brazenly talk about webcam models (in the Podcast chat & on my Twitter/Tumblr) – I am more open about my love of Idols. I actually have videos & songs on my Iphone of AKB related stuff that I show people…ya know the KojiHaru cat outfit video of her cat climbing into a box…yeah, I showed that to a whole breakroom of people (mostly women) for like a weekend. Hell, I’ve watched Half-Assed Subs of HKT’s show on Lunch Breaks in full view of anyone on my laptop (I usually watch Anime).

    What are you afraid of?…dude, YOU’RE Asian!, Japanese, and college male- why wouldn’t you be into Idols? Shit, you’d be royalty in my Anime circles. How ironic – I’d kill to know some someone with 1/4 of your Idol/Japanese culture pedigree in my daily life (to educate me & share the fandom) but it’s just me! – It one of the interesting things about me to Others – That I love Japanese culture so much. I get asked questions & it makes me seem “interesting” because I imagine others must think it’s very difficult to be a Fan of “Idol Culture” & Japan – given that I’m a white guy w/ almost NO outlet. Seriously I know 1 Japanese women (who is my age) and she’s live in America for like 12 years & even she finds me fascinating that I love what she “escaped”- lol.

    The fact that you are a recognizable voice on a respectful web outlet for Japanese Idols already makes you a “Interesting”- Trust me dude, I’ve been around the White American Anime, Cosplay, Gaming, & now Idol culture for years – You’re the REAL deal – Why Hide it! The guy who runs Stage48 is a white dude in Japan – You’re a Japanese guy in USA – he’s not ashamed why are you? Do you really care “that much” what others think?…I don’t even think it’s that- You’re Assuming people will find this hobby repulsive? Why? It’s what you’re Good at. This is like Mayuyu being ashamed at how cute she is- is this some weird complex the “cool white kids” (I’m reaching I know) gave you- YOU’RE Good at THIS & they are your people from your parents homeland (presumably)- why is it strange to have this as a Hobby to any sane person. If you were into being a cowboy & wore western clothes (living in Florida?) that would be weird given that you’re parents are Asian.

    Lastly- You’re afraid of being accused of liking ‘Young Girls’ (Loli’s?) because you like Idol music? You mocked me on twitter for NOT being into certain groups because I don’t find them “interesting”(it’s a quirk- All kids look the same- boring! & unseasoned by life) – You know what I tell people if they ask me: Are you into that young stuff? I simply say “No, but the Japanese culture is different than America & having a 14 yr old lead character (or Idol ) isn’t strange because they’re more mature about responsibilties & doing your duty to family & country so being young in Japan doesn’t mean what it means in America” (they generally buy this & shrug) – Sides YOU are Japanese tell any critic whatever about Japan tastes & cultural norms – who is going to argue with you? YOU control the message about your Hobby.

    I can talk about Movies, Indie films, Philosophy, the Occult, Anime, TV critics, Pin-Up models, Theater, Politics, and other things with the same openness I just did here. I control my hobbies & they effect they have on me & the culture at large…Why? because IT matters to me! It’s a piece of myself that I can’t wait to show off to anyone- I want them to see what I see & if they don’t “oh, well” – I can atleast educate them so maybe they won’t be so judgemental with the next person right?

    I can’t shut up about to people I know about my Hobbies, That Bedroom is Mecca of Idol AWESOMEness!! Why hide it? You just say “Yeah, I run a Japanese Idol news site for english speakers & global fans”- what is so shameful about that? I know you keep me at arms length & probably wish I wasn’t an Idol fan (or NSK fan) and I probably scare you on some level and here YOUR hobby has helped me enjoy & educate me about MY Hobby – You have made me a better Idol fan (all of NSK & Stage & tokyoHive, ect) – Your passion has already touched lives – it’s time to stop being ashamed of it & Own IT.

    (*** when I meet Japanese girls online- guess what we talk about first: AKB, Anime, Japanese TV – They love that I’m into them & their world – You could be the DannyChoo of Idol news if you wanted – make connections & get a rep with ALL your knowledge- what’s there to be ashamed of – I got less ability to than you & it didn’t stop me from enjoying Idol fandom)

  7. LOLOL- BTW- I’m NOT a white girl- lol. (Got girls on the brain thou) – I think I started one sentence & editted into another – I think it’s obvious I’m a guy. My twitter proves it – sorry I wanted to edit it but it’s too late. My apologies for any confusion & typos & piss-poor grammer

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  9. I’m also like that
    I’m a H!P fans and the one who know this fact are only my 2 brothers who are snsd & AKB fans
    outside the internet no one [must] know my hobby

  10. Love the article, and wrote one of my own on this. I think it’s a common thing for we idol fans to hide our fandom, at least to some extent, due to being afraid of others’ reactions. I’ve dealt with experiences like what you’ve described many a time!

  11. Good post. I don’t really hide it. Pretty much everyone in my family and friends knows I like AKB and some have asked who some of the girls are or have made comments about Sayaka. I’ve watched concerts in the living room, sometimes PVs. They know I like Japanese stuff so they try and get me Japanese related things in general whenever they can. I don’t have many idol posters (yet) and they aren’t up at the moment (until I get frames for them heh). The fact that I’m female probably helps some too. I try and tone it down some around people I don’t know. I can understand if you or other people feel like you need to hide it. Whatever works for you.

  12. I try not to reveal my hobby, but nonetheless quite a lot of my acquaintances know about it.

    When I was still on high school (I started this hobby when I was on high school) I have some friends in my own class who are also into idols, so we often talked about idols at school. But outside I keep it a secret. I rarely listen to idol songs outside my house (Even with earphones since I’m afraid the sound will leak).

    I also tried to keep it a secret from my parents, never telling them about my hobby, yet they seem to know about it.

    I think most people will readily understand our interest in idols. It’s our own worry that makes us feel uncomfortable talking about it.

  13. Back when I first got into AKB48 I was actively looking for people to tell. I’m not quite as eager as I use to be. But I’ll talk about it with anyone who asks. However, I have been reluctant to use those AKB48 file folders when applying for work.

  14. I only discuss it with friends, not co-workers, etc. It’s not anything I am ashamed of, but I know the chances of it being a point in common is small.

    Some of my friends roll their eyes when I bring it up, and I am sure one or two comments about me being into young girls has been made, but screw ’em. I guess you just have to be in the fandom to truly get it.

  15. I don’t care what people think about my music taste. I will play loud classical to jazz to hardcore, to jpop.

  16. I really think you’re worrying about something that doesn’t matter. If you haven’t come to terms with it in a way that you can discuss it with other people in a civil manner, you may also want to consider other hobbies maybe? Dunno.

    I’m an almost-30 white guy with an office job and I’ve follwed idols since the late 90s, and show it at every possible chance I have. I wear idol t-shirts almost every day, my desk at work is covered in idol stuff, my entire apartment is full with idol stuff wall-to-wall and I bring it up in pretty much any conversation I can. Even funnier, to play on your story, the last 2 Comcast guys that have come over to set up stuff in my apartment just talked to me about how they really liked all the idol pictures in my room and we had a conversation about it. If you’re not comfortable with showing you like something, then you may not really care about it deeply enough, or you’re worrying WAY too much about what other people think.

    I talk about and flaunt my interest in idols and Japanese music to friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers, and have never given a shit. My conviction in my beliefs and interests is strong enough that I don’t give a shit what other people think when it makes my life better on a personal level. Everyone is different and different things suit different people better than others, and if someone you’re interacting with can’t accept that other people enjoy things they don’t, you probably shouldn’t be talking to them.

  17. Try being a closeted queer woman who lives with her family and then come back and complain. I’m not lessening your embarrassment but I’ve had to skip putting up certain posters because I didn’t want to raise eyebrows. I totally feel your pain.

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