Taking a break from yesterday's long post, here's a quick and fun followup.
Two guys, Rahman and Jeshii, have created their own weekly show called "Yamato Damacy" where they wander around and talk to people in Japan. In episodes 5 and 6 (dated January 13th and 20th respectively) they are in Akihabara asking people there about 'Akiba-kei' and 'otaku'. I love the range of responses. They really highlight how, even in Japan, the meanings of those terms are not set in stone.
Episode #6, Akihabara, Part 2
NPR also recently mentioned otaku culture in its review of Katamari Damacy. The review by John Powers is a bit late, but it's pretty interesting. Amongst other things, he mentions how the game represents otaku sensibilities with its emphasis on collection and cataloging. He also discusses how the game negotiates the tension between apocalyptic imagery and cuteness, which reminds of Takashi Murakami's recent "Little Boy" exhibition in New York which dealt with very similar themes.