Internet love, Japanese style
December 11, 2005 4:39 PM   Subscribe

Densha Otoko (Train Man) is the true story of a japanese otaku who finds love. After saving a beautiful woman on a train from the unwanted attentions of a drunken groper, an anonymous poster writes about the incident on the the Japanese mega messageboard 2ch. With the encouragement of his fellow internet geeks, he pursues her romantically and posts every detail to 2ch. Japanese media has been obsessed with the story all year, and the original postings were adapted into a best selling book, a major motion picture, an enormously popular TV show, and even a stage play. Of course, it may not be real.
posted by JZig (31 comments total)
I was inspired to post after watching a few fansubbed episodes of the TV series. The TV series is really very amusing, with the message board posting scenes being particularly hilarious. Yes, someone managed to turn forum posting into compelling entertainment. ASCII art (well, SHIFT_JIS art) also works much better on TV than one might think.

So, where's Metafilter: The Movie?
posted by JZig at 4:43 PM on December 11, 2005

JZig: "So, where's Metafilter: The Movie?"

It turns out to be a lot more challenging than anticipated to replace Woody Allen with Matt Haughley in every scene of the movie "Sleeper".
posted by mystyk at 4:50 PM on December 11, 2005

This is awesome!

Hey, in Metafilter: The Movie what character should I play?

Just kidding, I know I'm a bit part like "Subway woman #31"
posted by arcticwoman at 4:50 PM on December 11, 2005

Real shame they release the DVD without English subs..
posted by lundman at 4:56 PM on December 11, 2005

On a more serious note, both people that happen to be good friends of mine and Japanese tell me that they watch this show and enjoy it immensely, but don't believe it to be true.

おたく の 日本 は、とても ばか です。
posted by mystyk at 4:57 PM on December 11, 2005

Imo, this is all just Dentsu/movie compnies/tv companies/etc. raking in the money off the backs of otaku. Real otaku in Japan generally pooh-pooh the movie becase a) there's no way to prove the reality, b) there's a ton of commercialism around it.

It's an interesting look into otaku culture, but the reality is nowhere near what you see on TV or DVD.
posted by gen at 6:45 PM on December 11, 2005

mystyk's comment in english:

otaku no nihon wa, totemo baku des.

As for the otaku of japan, in my opinion, they are crazy
posted by blasdelf at 6:59 PM on December 11, 2005

I highly recommend the show. It is funny and if you like to discuss anything on the internet. The resonance in the portrayal of the myriad of internet posters that help Densha appeals to me.
posted by andendau at 7:54 PM on December 11, 2005

Yeah, the show focuses on the hope that the general mishmash that comes out of Internet boards (like this one!) can have a positive effect on peoples' lives. That can be a little hard to swallow after surviving a particularly bad flamewar, but I think any longtime internet user has, at some point, felt that potential.

That's why I find it hard to throw the whole thing out as a sham: enough people try to help each other out on these boards, so it just might happen.
posted by Maxson at 8:25 PM on December 11, 2005

I watched the movie on Thai airways or something, and it was sort of depressing how big of a nerd the guy was... but it it had that great sense of naive Japanese optimism.

By the way, mystyk's comment actually says "otaku no nihon wa, totemo baka desu." And it means "Otaku's Japan is very crazy/stupid," if anything at all.

Learn Japanese before posting in it, dudes.
posted by borkingchikapa at 8:41 PM on December 11, 2005

oh Snap!
posted by Dantien at 8:59 PM on December 11, 2005

I've seen several of the episodes here in Japan and it's a really entertaining show, even if I can't understand much of the Japanese. And it stars Misaki Itoh, who may be the most beautiful woman in Japan...which is a plus.

My girlfriend contends the story is indeed true, but the real life woman (who's supposed to be a real beauty) is acutally rather frumpy-looking.
posted by zardoz at 9:02 PM on December 11, 2005

posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 9:22 PM on December 11, 2005

...does it really matter if it's true or not? I watched the whole drama series and read the original 2ch threads, both in Japanese (which basically makes up the entire book -- partial english translation) and I was entertained by the idea and the execution. Even if it is too good to be true, the possibility of truth was interesting enough.

Those wishing to see it with English subtitles might want to try Googling for "d-addicts" -- you can find unsubtitled videos and subtitle files if you're patient.
posted by armage at 9:45 PM on December 11, 2005

This is a great show... I had heard about it somewhere researching one of my favorite JP.TV characters, Nasubi and I decided to check it out... I downloaded the whole thing via BitTorrent (you can find the torrents on and couldn't stop until I had watched the whole series. Big ups to fan-subbers, bringing great japanese TV to the gaijin masses.
posted by eecue at 10:36 PM on December 11, 2005

Here is a link to the actual fan-subbed torrents. Also here is what I wrote about it a few months ago.
posted by eecue at 10:37 PM on December 11, 2005

I guess I am suspicious, if the media aren't aggressively seeking out the original couple. In the US, they'd be all over morning TV, from Today to Oprah.

On the other hand, I've had plenty of online experience with "date coaching" threads and chats. They have an oddly participatory entertainment quality all their own.
posted by dhartung at 11:03 PM on December 11, 2005

Take it to Fark, GooseOnTheLoose. :P
posted by Maxson at 11:53 PM on December 11, 2005

posted by donkeymon at 3:14 AM on December 12, 2005

I watched this entire series, fansubbed... I loved it. Being in love with Akihabara, and my short time in Japan... It just makes me so happy...
posted by quibx at 5:48 AM on December 12, 2005

borkingchikapa: "By the way, mystyk's comment actually says "otaku no nihon wa, totemo baka desu." And it means "Otaku's Japan is very crazy/stupid," if anything at all."

Correct on the translations. I accidentally reversed the two parts of the subject. It was supposed to be "Japan's otakus are..." but I messed it up.

Perhaps みなさん は とても ばか です would be more appropriate, since you seem to have a bone to pick on this.
posted by mystyk at 9:32 AM on December 12, 2005

My wife and I watched this show recently, here in the states. I had no idea of the claims to veracity, but it was a really enjoyable series.
I'm going to ask my wife about whether she believes it's real or not.

I'm also going to refrain from posting in kanji/kana. Except to say that for some reason "ミファイ" makes me giggle while "MeFi" doesn't.
posted by bashos_frog at 11:06 AM on December 12, 2005

Except to say that for some reason "ミファイ" makes me giggle while "MeFi" doesn't.

Right on, bf. Sounds almost like a Dick Bruna character.
Wonder when they'll turn it into a verb: 今日もず~っとミファイってしまったので、仕事はぜんぜんすすんでないな。
posted by sour cream at 11:18 AM on December 12, 2005

Now you've gone and made me feel guilty - back to the salt mines with me.
posted by bashos_frog at 11:23 AM on December 12, 2005

In the summer of 2005, my roommate and I only cared about flying, and falling... In love with Misaki Ito. We were extremely bored one Sunday evening in July and started watching a Japanese programming feed on WMBC (channel 63 on NYC Time Warner). A game show was airing (which we know now to be called IQ: Food for the Brain); it was, stereotypically, wacky enough to keep us engaged for a full forty-five minutes.

And then the next show started, which we would later discover was called Densha Otoko, and Misaki Ito entered our lives. Perhaps the most beautiful woman in the world, she enjoyed our rapt attention throughout the entire summer. We watched each episode, without subtitles, and certainly without understanding a single fucking thing that was happening, only because she's so extremely pretty.

Now Densha Otoko has left our lives, and we are left with Dangerous Beauty, or as it's also known, My Dangerous Sister, a show that isn't nearly as appealing, despite her eating a banana in nearly every scene. Though we no longer watch the weekly Japanese programming block, we will never forget the beautiful summer of 2005.
posted by incomple at 1:34 PM on December 12, 2005

Hear hear, incomple. ::swoon::
posted by armage at 3:06 PM on December 12, 2005

Oh my god, are you guys for real? You should come to Japan. You would fit right in in Akihabara.
posted by donkeymon at 11:49 PM on December 12, 2005

Is this the thread where people who cannot write Japanese show off how crap their Japanese is? wtf is "メファイ"?
posted by dydecker at 3:20 AM on December 13, 2005

ミファイis MeFi, I guess. メファイ, I don't know. I don't like either one, because they make you think about how "MeFi" should be said aloud. And I think that we all know the first (and second) rules of MeFi.
posted by donkeymon at 6:37 AM on December 13, 2005

Weird. I never thought of pronouncing it that way. In my brain it's always been "メフィ”!
posted by dydecker at 9:36 AM on December 13, 2005

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