It must be strange, having a professional otaku for a dad. Just by living in Japan, my kids (daughter aged 14 and son aged 16) naturally consume a certain amount of anime, manga and related popular culture, playing games like Monster Hunter or reading the Haruhi Suzumiya light novels, and it’s got to be odd for them to have a father that can follow their interests so closely. I regularly freak my daughter out by knowing the name of the artist of the manga she’s reading, or by showing more knowledge of the individual Hetalia characters than most fathers probably should be able to, and when my son sends me a link to the newest Miku Hatsune song I’ve probably already got it ripped on my iPhone. It’s convenient having kids who are plugged into Japan’s pop culture world, since I can find out what’s happening in Japan’s online world through them, and report it to you. For example, recently my daughter has been reading websites on her iPod touch (and reading, and reading — if anyone at Apple is a fan of J-List, please add some parental control options to iOS, m’kay?) — giggling to herself while she read. I asked her what was so interesting and she said, “I’m reading a yume shosetsu…a ‘dream novel.'” This is an online phenomenon where a website will ask a reader their name and insert it into a story, allowing visitors to read a fascinating adventure story about themselves. The other day my son turned on the TV and sat down at his computer, telling me, “I’m going to do jikkyo on Nico Douga.” This refers to the new trend of watching an anime on TV while typing live comments which are visible to other users of video sharing site Nico Douga, allowing you to bat comments around with other anonymous users, which adds a layer of fun to what you’re watching.
My kids help me keep up with the latest trends in Japan.