Translation:My friend and I are otakus.
Literally every Japanese person I have ever asked has told me this is not a thing you want to admit to. I'd be happy to corrected if this has changed in the last ten years, but unless it has, be aware that this doesn't have the same acceptability as nerd or geek in English, 電車男 notwithstanding.
This is the way i've always been told, with 友達 being friend, and と translating to 'with' basically. Therefore, saying 友達と... Means with my friend I... For example, i would use it in sentences such as: 友達と漫画(まんが)を読みます。 I read manga with my friend. Or, 友達とイングランドにひこうきで行きます。 I go to england with my friend by plane. (I believe these sentences are correct, but feel free to point out mistakes if ive made them) But, this is just my understanding of the point. :)
Otaku in Japan and Otaku in America are two different things. Saying this sentence outside of Japan would be fine. Here it just means someone who really likes anime. In japan it's more like what nerd was in the past. And it's not just anime, you can be a ディズニーオタクor the worst 電車オタク。Geek and nerd culture has really become accepted in America. But オタクand 腐女子 are negative there.
As far as I know there are also people who consider others naive or mentally weak who just judge by what is popular.
And I'm sure even in Japan there are individuals.
Always be yourself, if you think you are an Otaku. Seriously how crazy would it be to not say it.
It's not like every brain is wired the same, and there is a gene that says That person is so bad I can never see him again or I have to vomit.
Not to mention otakus are still humans
「電車男」is a well-known Japanese novel about a man on a train who intervenes when a drunk man starts to harass several women on a train. He ultimately begins dating one of the women. A primary part of the plot is that he is an otaku.
"Densha Otoko is a popular example of the 'nice guy' class of Japanese geeks who wish to lead normal lives, but are too shy to find a girlfriend, or speak openly anywhere but online."
"... but unless it has, be aware that this doesn't have the same acceptability as nerd or geek in English, 電車男 notwithstanding."
(Sorry this is not a question about Japanese.) I'm not a native English speaker; what does 'notwithstanding' mean here? I've come to understand that it means 'in spite of', but "in spite of 電車男" doesn't seem to fit here. Does it mean that: 1) except 電車男, which is a more acceptable term, OR 2) not even 電車男 (though maybe cuter but still not acceptable)
Don't worry. As a native English speaker, I also had to think about this sentence for a moment.
Your original understanding is correct. "in spite of" is the correct meaning. The novel「電車男」captured the Japanese public's imagination with a positive, sympathetic depiction of an otaku. It was remade several times as a manga, live-action film and TV drama. Sprkr says that despite 「電車男」, the acceptability of otaku in society remains low.
I feel like they really just took the stereotype of "otaku" rather than trying to find/explain the original word. In my class, my professor (a native Japanese speaker) explained to us that "otaku" didn't originally mean to be a nerd or geek or anything of that type. It means something more akin to a recluse. 'o' is the honorific, and 'taku' is house/home. Just a little disappointed.
You can be "otaku" for anything (anime, trains, cars, robots, etc)
"Enthusiast" would be the closest nuance to the neutral meaning of it in Japanese, but since the idol boom from 2010, otaku as we know them anime/manga wise have become mainstream and support that industry by the billions.
So there's less stigma about it now but it's not something you'd fully admit, no :)
Instead of otaku, you can also use マニアック
It's much more commonly used by average, middle-age Japanese people and has less of a negative perception. You'll hear this in Japanese English as well.
'Are you a maniac?'
It sounds hilarious, but actually they're just asking if you are an enthusiast of something.
'Yes, I am an antique maniac.'
"I and my friends are otaku". Nobody ever says "Me is smth" therefore when you talk about yourself and co in this context it will always be "I and smbd are". Of course, if it is smth like "let's talk about me and my friends", then you won't say "about I and smbd". Well, at least I think so)). There is always more context)). Pretty strange that there is such a wrong use of an English phrase when one gets used to always see right English grammar on Duolingo.