> I was curious since, for instance, I consider myself a beer enthusiast but have no inclination to live near a brewery. :-)
Interesting analogy; however, I am not sure if this comparison is equivalent because although many people enjoy beer, beer is not so closely identified with a particular subculture as Akihabara (see the related Wikipedia article on otaku
The aspect of Akihabara that sets it apart from many other locations is its design, from the ground up, to support a particular type of personality. For example, most buildings in Akihabara (except for a number of skyscrapers that have been recently constructed) are designed with few windows and many narrow aisles, in order to encourage shy hikikomori
-type people, many of whom feel uncomfortable with eye contact, to browse media and publications without having to deal with other people. This design is in direct contrast with that of many buildings in Shibuya, another area of Tokyo, which is designed for teenagers who like to socialize, by providing see-through building exteriors, spacious aisles, and many clothing stores (although Akihabara, by contrast, has many game, anime, and manga stores, it apparently has no almost clothing stores, except for those related to anime characters).
Akihabara is unique in being specifically designed, from the ground up, to support a specific personality and subculture: the otaku
personality and subculture.
One of my dreams is eventually potentially to design a virtual world in which otaku
can work, study, play, trade, socialize, adventure, perform banking, and take care of assorted bill payments in a virtual world in which they can dictate the appearance of their own avatars, independently of how they many actually appear in real life, and without having to feel uncomfortable with direct eye contact, which is an aspect of most "real" life elsewhere that is often oppressive to otaku
, and NEETs.
have extremely focused, narrow, intense interests that are shared by only a small minority of other people, and that tend to be disdained or ridiculed by the majority of the general population; as a result, when otaku
are forced to interact with non-otaku
who are critical of their values in everyday life, this experience can be extremely stressful and painful. Most non-otaku
people in Japan regard otaku
as an intellectual curiosity at best, and as a kind of social disease at worst; one of my goals is to provide an environment in which otaku
can utilize their specialization to its full capacity without being forced to feel uncomfortable.
Living in Akihabara, I feel, would help me to understand otaku
better, and to provide additional motivation for eventually potentially creating such a virtual environment, or at least finding others who might be able to create such an environment together.