Translation:What does an otaku like to do?
Yeah, that's clear from the context after you finish the lesson. The point is that you can't learn the meaning of the Chinese word if no one knows the meaning of the "English" translation. If it were a a transliteration from Chinese to English (e.g. youtiao) that would be one thing, but neither English-speakers nor Chinese speakers say "otaku."
And your social circles likely have slang that I've never heard of. However, there are easily tens of thousands of people in the US who call themselves otaku. If you'd like to get a feel for what the word otaku means in the US, I invite you to look here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otakon Note the slogan in the logo, and also the attendance stats for the last 15 years.
An otaku doesn't have to stay in a lot and doesn't have to watch cartoons. It's basically anybody who's deeply into any kind of interest or hobby. They should have gone with nerd or geek or maybe even fanatic or boffin.
In English I guess otaku tends to be used for people who are specifically into Japanese influenced hobbies and interests.
It can be any interest. When I first learned this word the main interest was computers and electronics and at the time the word came into English one of the most famous quirky kinds of otaku was the trainspotter. But they can be into anything. Could be a photography or blacksmithing or whatever.
I would say it is widespread. I've known it for at least quarter of a century. But to compare it to other words in this unit it's a lot less widespread than "foodie", even though that's a more recent word. It is a ton more widespread though than "provincial tycoon" which seems like it was just made up for this course.
I looked up three Chinese dictionaries on this word - two didn't have it and the third was 'A guy who stays at home all the time, typically spending a lot of time playing online games.' This is a phenomenon that has only been around for twenty years or so, and there isn't really an English word or phrase which covers this, at least one which has come into widespread use. Otaku which 宅男 is derived from, is not widespread but it is the closest term and seems now to have become the main English word for this kind of phenomenon. 'Nerd' and 'geek' have more a sense of someone who is heavily into computers and technology, although nerd can segue over into anyone who is socially awkward and interested in intellectual pursuits. Nerds and Geeks are often quite happy to socialise, at least amongst themselves.
I'm not sure that geek has such a specific connotation as nerd in English. You can be a comic book geek, a computer geek, a music geek, a film geek, or even a football geek. Nerd tends to be more associated with "less obviously social" and intellectual pursuits. Would geek be a better fit to otaku?
Now this is hella funny. I agree with most everyone else that it's not commonplace enough to use in this course, though. Only reason I'm unfortunate enough to understand is because I watch and read up on news from all over the world, and I've come across this evolutionary failure on occasion.
Otaku is a word taken from Japanese that basically means someone who stays at home and doesnt go out. if you look at the japanese translation, "taku otoko" it literally translates to "man at home" Agree that it doesnt necessarily have to be someone who has an interest in anime although many otakus do. Despite it being a japanese word it has become used here in the west to mean much the same thing. I think it is very intersting and useful to know how to write the characters and it definitely fits well into the "net slang" duolingo category, as its a word that many people now use to describe a particular characteristic whether they are Japanese or not.
Hippietrail, your replies in these comments are correct. :) ~
Regardless of whether or not you are an otaku I definitely think its useful word to know and be aware of in the internet world. And also its one of these cases where a word from another culture has been "borrowed" and started being used in other languages which is interesting in itself. I know at least that in English I have seen the term around a lot. :)
Some otakus go out a lot, at least to otaku places. Densha otaku (trainspotters) travel around a lot to different train stations sometimes in different cities and prefectures. That doesn't mean they're sociable. The local Denden Town here in Osaka is full of otaku both Japanese and gaijin going out every night.
There is another Japanese term for the ones that don't go out at all: hikikomori (引きこもり). English "shut-in".
But just like the English words "nerd" and "geek", the Japanese word "otaku" is fuzzy. It means different things to different people and changes over the decades. Also, in English "otaku" is mostly used to refer to nerds/geeks who are into specifically Japanese hobbies, and anime is certainly one of the biggest.
"Otaku" has much a much broader range of meaning in Japanese than it does in English, which should be careful to distinguish when we're using it in those two contexts.
Yes I've heard of the term hikkikomori which i find very interesting also, the way I saw it was otaku was having strong interests in nerdy things and perhaps not socialising as often as a lot of people do and hikkikomori was more extreme in not leavng the house, some not even leaving their bedroom. I have seen a lot of documentaries and shows on it. There is a very good anime series called "welcome to the nhk" where the main character is supposed to be a hikkikomori and it is a very good and interesting show. :)
Yes I wonder this myself. I've now spent more time in China than in Japan but while in Japan I hear "otaku" all the time whereas I had no idea there was even an equivalent Chinese word since I never heard anyone use it during my visits...
My hunch is that it's somewhere between nerd or geek and otaku but I'd love to here from a Chinese native speaker who has experience with the English and Japanese words or cultures as well to be able to put it in perspective.
A couch potato is usually a lazy person with few interests. In Japan few otakus are even overweight and have one or more fanatical interests.
A homebody is somebody who prefers to stay home than go out, but is not necessarily asocial. An English word for somebody with a pathological aversion to ever going outside the home is a "shut in", and Japanese has a special word for that: hikikomori.
If you are referring to the Latin "us"→"i" pluralization, the word "otaku" does not end in "us", therefore making it unsuitable for this rule in the first place.
Also, I don't believe that would otherwise be true. You'll see that even the plural of the relatively common word "octopus" is disputed. Many refute the Latinate "octopi" for the English "octopuses" or even the (frankly pedantic) Greek "octopodes".