It’s Cool to be Uncool

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Hey guys! Happy Thursday!

Do you remember back in the day when being a “geek” or a “nerd” was a bad thing? I mean, remember Screech from Saved By The Bell? Toby Isaacs from Degrassi? Umino from Sailor Moon?! Nerds in mainstream media have always been portrayed as unattractive, unpopular, and uncool. But now I’d like to argue that here in the year 2013, geeks and nerds have become the coolest kids on the block.

For the sake of clarity, I will be using the term “nerd” and “geek” interchangeably because there’s a difference between the two. Check out Burr Settle’s article on this topic by clicking here.

Flashback to 10 years ago. In elementary school, I had an obsession with Hello Kitty and anime. (Still do, lol.) This was the year I started attending anime conventions with all my older friends. I was one of the “smart” kids (which is ironic now because my IQ is totally average.) To put it bluntly, my interests were a lot different than most of my friends my age. Don’t get me wrong, I also loved the mainstream music and pop culture at the time (Spice Girls anyone?) but whenever I would start talking about Dragonball Z or Pokemon in very deep detail, people would look at me funny. And then I’d realize only a handful of the other kids were just as enthusiastic as I was. That’s when I realized… people dubbed us as “geeks.”

The point I’m trying to make is that being a geek was seen as weird and different… and not in a good way. I mean, when I would try to talk to the other kids about anime and video games, I always got mixed reactions. The boys in my class would understand whenever I’d talk about Gundams or DBZ, and the girls would kind of have a general idea if I talked about Sailor Moon. But there was never any moment I can full on geek out with anyone over these things. To avoid being an outcast, I always changed the subject to a topic everyone would know about, just so I can fit in and not be different. Has this ever happened to you? I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

It didn’t help that I started cosplaying the year after. Now MOST kids definitely didn’t understand this shit. They couldn’t even comprehend why I loved these Japanese cartoons so much, and now I’m dressing up as the characters and attending conventions? I was always pretty sad that none of my school friends could relate to what I loved.

Now here we are in present time. The reason why I argue that it’s cool to be uncool is because the mainstream media has made the “nerd” or “geek” likable to people. No longer are the days of awkward, isolated social skills, but now we’re put to the forefront and are admired by many. I mean, Big Bang Theory anyone? One of my sorority sisters told me she loved that show and I was beyond shocked when she told me that it was basically about these group of nerdy friends just being nerdy. I kept thinking, “Wtf… Hollywood actually finds this amusing now? Whatever happened to us being so weird and different?!”

And I think that’s just it. Being a nerd or a geek is about being different. It’s about separating yourself from the “norm” and to people nowadays, that’s cool because we all want to stand out somehow. It’s seen as people having so much depth and knowledge about different things and it makes them cool. It’s crazy to think the day has come where my vast knowledge of the first season of Pokemon is actually valuable to people.

I can distinctly remember a time when the manga section of Barnes and Noble was literally just one shelf. Now if you go to a bookstore, the manga section takes up a whole aisle. The proof is in the pudding, you guys. Just look at how Hollywood has infiltrated Comic Con. I remember when I was younger, there wasn’t any big shot Hollywood actors and directors there, and if there were, it wasn’t really emphasized on different news outlets. Now Comic Con has become one of the most anticipated events in the entertainment industry.

I’m not saying any of this is bad. In fact, I welcome the attention! It’s about time cool stuff like anime, manga, video games, and comic books are getting their chance to shine in the spotlight. Look how well all the comic book movies are doing in the box office.

Therefore, I’d like to end on a positive note. This goes out to all the kids who always felt like no one understood their obsession with their favorite anime, comic book, or video game. We’re the shit. Embrace your geeky and nerdy knowledge. Because people wanna be like us now.

-Alice

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The Art of Fangirling

If you know me, then it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m a huge fangirl of everything awesome. I have different fandoms and I love them all equally. Sometimes I’ll have a phase where I’ll be obsessed with one fandom for a couple of months or years, and then I’ll switch it up. I guess I do it just to keep things interesting and spice it up a bit.

So you’re probably wondering: what the hell is a fangirl and what is a fandom? Well first of all, if you’re on the internet and don’t know the answer to at least one of the questions, then shame on you. But it’s ok – once you’re done reading this post, you might find out that you, too, have an inner fangirl/fanboy just waiting to come out.

Fangirl – noun
1. A rabid breed of human female who is obsessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy. Fangirls congregate at anime conventions and livejournal. Have been known to glomp, grope, and tackle when encountering said obsessions.
-Credit: Urban Dictionary

First of all, that definition is a little outdated. I mean, who still uses Livejournal? (I haven’t signed onto mine in almost 6 years now.) If you used Livejournal, you were most likely writing fanfiction (like I was). Livejournal, in my opinion, was used for people in different fandoms to connect and share their love for the fandom. I’m not sure if people still use it though… It’s kinda like a Xanga now. Like, who uses Xanga anymore? That’s like using a midi file for your website in 2013.

And you know you’re a fangirl/fanboy if you’ve ever used the word “glomp” in a sentence. Remember those good ol’ times when you saw that word on t-shirts at almost any convention?! Ahh… those were the days.

But now “glomp” is so 2003.

In case you don’t know what “glomp” means, glomp is basically a tackle hug. Only anime fans would know what this means because most anime always has a character glomping another character. You know how some people act out what they see on TV? Yeah, kinda applies here. If you still don’t really understand what glomping is, here’s an image I found on google on how to do it right.

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Scary, right? Especially if you’re the victim.

I always found it weird that not many of my friends really understood why I had so many obsessions and why I was so infatuated with the fandoms. I mean, if you find something you really love, like a sport, a book, a movie, etc., don’t you want to find out everything about it? For example, if you love basketball, don’t you want to watch ESPN and watch every highlight of everyday? Buy the games, wear the jerseys, tweet about it, tweet to your favorite player!? If you’ve done this, you can consider yourself a fangirl/fanboy. Because this is what fangirling is at the very core.

But I’d like to point out that there are different levels of fangirling. You have your extreme fangirls who sleep, breathe, eat their fandoms, and you have your mildly obsessed fangirls who don’t mind watching the series or movie over and over in the privacy of their own home but wouldn’t be caught DEAD at an event with other geeks in the fandom.

As you can see, there’s a spectrum and depending on how proud you are of your fandom, you may land differently on the spectrum than your friends.

As for me, I consider myself pretty extreme. I’m pretty vocal about what I love and I have no shame in telling people so. I go to anime conventions, I’ve cosplayed, I used to write fanfiction, I still READ fanfiction (both anime and Hunger Games), I’ve been to plenty of midnight premieres, I have a freakin’ Hunger Games tattoo, one of my sorority paddles is a Pikachu, and I follow all my idols on Twitter and tweet to them. And sometimes they tweet back! 😀

OH and I can probably quote some of my favorite Youtubers. Because I’ve watched their videos THAT much.

You can call me creepy all you want, but if you’ve already met me, I bet you didn’t know half these things that I do. I’m just good at integrating myself with society so that I don’t look like that awkward kid in the corner with no social skills. It’s definitely something I’ve had to perfect over the years. When I was a kid, I used to sing all the songs in my Rurouni Kenshin: Best Collection CD out loud to all my friends during recess.

Yeah, as if I wasn’t teased enough for being the asian kid.

So now that you know the art of fangirling, you may unleash your inner fangirl/fanboy out to the world. Let that fangirl converse with me sometime. Trust me, you’re not weird and you’re definitely not alone.

Hope everyone has had a great weekend! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and moms out there!

-Alice

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I Work at a Maid Cafe

Photo from lovelycomplex.net

Photo from lovelycomplex.net

Hey guys!

So I’ve been really excited to write about this topic because it hits close to home for me. I finally wanted to write about my life as a maid… in a maid cafe.

It should come as no surprise to you that I’m pretty vocal about the fact that I work and manage a Maid Cafe. But let’s backtrack a little. I get asked all the time, “What is a Maid Cafe?” Well, I’m about to school you on Maid Cafe 101.

Maid Cafes originated from Akihabara, Japan and it’s basically an actual cafe, but with a fun role play twist. The waitresses are dressed in maid uniforms and act as “servants” (to a degree) and the guests are their “masters” or “mistresses.”

So what do you do in a Maid Cafe? Well in the authentic ones, since it’s an actual cafe, you can order food. The maids will usually decorate your plate in a very cutesy manner and power up your food. And by power up, I don’t mean any weird Dragonball Z or Street Fighter reference. They do it in a very “moe” fashion. Moe (pronounced mo-eh) refers to the adoration of young or innocent-looking female characters. So as you can see, a lot of this culture is derived from anime.

Aside from eating, your maids will usually entertain you by playing various games with you. At my maid cafe, we love to play jenga. We’ve all played so much jenga that we’re pretty much jenga masters.

(Ok, not really, but that game is the shit. Just saying.)

Last but not least, my most favorite aspect of the cafe are the performances. The maids usually dance or sing for the guests, making it like a dinner and show kind of feel.

Group pic! :D

Group pic! 😀

I’ve been doing this for 3 years now and I absolutely love it. It’s fun to play a character and basically make people smile all day. And now as a manager, I get to coordinate the shows and hire all the wonderful staff. It’s a pretty good gig, if I say so myself.

But most importantly, working in maid cafe made me realize a lot about myself. You see, through college, I always felt I needed to have this professional face on all the time. When my friends would ask me what I wanted to do in the future, I always said the typical answer of any Comm major or Journalism major… “OH I want to work in PR.” or “Oh, I want to do something in entertainment… like work in E! or Entertainment Tonight.” I started to feel my professional self was so void of anything I truly loved, which was my geeky side. I’ve been attending anime conventions for over 11 years now and even if I wasn’t working for one, I’d still be an attendee.

Anime conventions to me are a place where I can just be myself. Growing up, people always made fun of me for liking this “Asian stuff,” but at the conventions, I feel like I can be myself and no one will judge me. (Well, almost. But you get my point.)

I think the best part of working at a Maid Cafe is the people you work with. I would not be having as much fun as I am if it weren’t for the other maids and hosts (the guys). I’ve learned a lot from them and we’ve become a happy, dysfunctional family.

If you want to understand more and see all of this for yourself, go to one! Maid Cafes are very popular nowadays and they’re not only in Japan anymore. Just from experience, a lot of anime conventions or anime clubs here in the U.S. have their own Maid Cafe. I encourage you to see this for yourself.

Have you ever visited a Maid Cafe? Do you work at one too?! Let me know by leaving a comment. 🙂

-Alice