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Japan Travel Guide

Pop Culture in Japan: Otaku and OLs

Nerdish characters who become obsessive about a particular subject are known as otaku and Japan has millions of them, highly knowledgeable about their chosen field, be it a particular cartoon character or computer game. Mostly harmless, otaku were tarnished by the brutal child murders perpetrated in 1988 by Miyazaki Tsutomu, a young printer whose cruel behaviour had been fed by his vast collection of porn manga and videos.

OL is short for office lady, the female clerical workers considered "flowers of the workplace" by their sexist bosses, who need them around to make tea and generally brighten the place up for dull salarymen. If unmarried by the age of 25 and not safely tucked up at home, then an OL is like a Christmas cake, useless after the holiday. It's not quite as grim as this for career-minded women today, but the recession has not helped increase their chances of promotion as businesses have chopped back on hiring females in the first place.

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