On being an International Wota…

When I was a freshman in college, I lived with a roommate that I hadn’t met before. She was nice, and we got along very well, but we weren’t really close friends ever. One day, I got my first photobook in the mail. It was Tokunaga Chinami’s photobook, and I was very excited to get it. However, it prompted an awkward exchange, with my roommate asking me “How old is she?” and my mumbled “Seventeen…” as a response. I explained that she was a singer in Japan and that I was her fan, but it was still awkward.

The reason I mention this is because of a post HERE on New School Kaidan, where NSK’s Yoshi describes keeping his idol fandom a secret, to the point where it affects how he interacts with people. It’s an interesting read, and I’m sure  many can relate.

When I first saw this, at first I thought I couldn’t relate much at all. I’m fairly open about my interests with my family and close friends, and the people who know me well know about idols. I have idol-related things lying around my house, where I still live with my parents and sister, for example, and my room has idol posters up too.

However, the more I thought, the more I realized I could relate. One thing I’ve been glad about with my idol fandom is that I’m female. While male idol fans are the norm in Japan, the connotation is different in the US. While I think this is wholely unfair, and there’s nothing wrong about being an idol fan, regardless of your gender or age, it’s the truth.

Further, in a weird way a big part of why I blog and why I’ve done academics with idols is that it makes it easier to justify. Oh, I just spent a lot of money and time on idols? Don’t worry, I think about this stuff critically. I legitimately love blogging and I’m glad I spend my time on Happy Disco, Idolminded and now Pure Idol Heart, but I’d be lying to say it hasn’t helped me in this way. I also wonder, as I age, if this rationalization will become a bigger part of my explanation to people I meet. “I really like Japanese girl groups…. but it’s OK, I blog about them.”

Ideally, I want to say that people should like what they like. While being an idol fan has affected me in this way, I don’t regret loving idol singers, and I can’t see that changing any time soon, no matter what people think of my interests and my hobby. However, people do look at it differently, and so you might find yourself having to justify your hobby. It’s frustrating, but that’s the way it is, and I can’t see it changing any time soon.