Why is liking the Japanese culture such a problem?

Everyone gets made fun of for something, even if that something is precious. You can't please everyone because someone will always have a problem with what you do. The Japanese culture interests me. I don't understand why people have a problem with my taste, it has nothing to do with them.I don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why I love the Japanese culture. Anyone can make fun of me as much as they wish, but my love for the culture will never change.

Ever since people in middle school found out I had a thing for the Japanese culture, I've been teased for it. Non-anime lovers somehow found out about the word weeaboo, and started labeling me as such. That...is not a good thing.  A weeaboo is a person who has a serious mental condition. They think they are characters in an anime living in japan, etc.This term was coined  in Japan to make fun of manga and anime lovers. It is considered to be an insult. Weeaboos in Japan are highly frowned upon. In the past, if you were considered a weeaboo, you were even disowned!

All that being said, I think it’s safe to say that I am NOT a weeaboo. I am simply a big fan of the japanese culture, and strive to immerse myself in the language. One day I hope to become fluent in Japanese. One day, I hope to learn the language, and become fluent in it. I also want my house to be rich in cultural artifacts and encourage  my children to  explore cultures other than their own.

They say high school can be a pain.  This past summer, a girl who goes to school with me went to the same girl scout camp. We are in her tent reading a letter that her boyfriend sent her.  At some point during our letter reading, she read out loud, “Oh yeah, tell your weeb friend I said hi.”

I look at her puzzled. “What? Who's he talking about?”

She smiled at me and said, “Yeah he knows that you like anime, but he couldn't remember your name.”

I folded my arms with a curious expression and said “Well, does he even know what a weeb is? Do you? That's totally not what it means.”

She made a defensive and worried face. “Well yeah I know a weeb is suppose to be a bad thing, but you do love anime a lot, not that there's anything wrong with that,” she said.

“According to the Japanese it's an insult!” My face become flushed from anger.“It’s a big deal to people like me. It’s an insult in Japan. It means I’m mental and think that I live in an anime world. I’m not that crazy, or am I?” I smirk to try and play off my anger and she playfully smacks me.

I’ve had many experiences with this, and it’s the same thing over and over again. People really don’t know the meaning of the word, and how hurtful it can be. It’s very hard sometimes telling people I am in to the Japanese culture. If someone brings it up I will admit to liking it, but I will never bring it up on my own. Being weighed down by the insult, I am too shy to admit my love for the culture. My friends in middle school didn't know I liked anime and manga until years after I met them . I've known my best friend for 5 years, and she didn't find out till last year. It’s a shame that insults hide people. I feel like I need to lock my thoughts up in a cage and throw them in a dark room so nobody can find them.

The thing you love to do is personal to you and no one can come between that. I love anime and manga because it makes me happy. It saved me from being alone when I had nobody to stand by me. It will always be my savior, and I will never stop loving it. The Japanese culture will always stay in my heart. Don’t let anyone make you feel small because of your interests. At the end of the day it’s your happiness that matters, not what other people think.