This otaku has no time for love or dates

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By Elias Tan

Japanese language translator Jonathan Wong, 33, says he has never been in love. And he does not feel lonely. A fan of all things Japanese, he occupies his free time by watching Japanese animation and sentimental dramas, reading manga comics and collecting pictures of sexy car-show models. He is an otaku.

An otaku is someone with an obsessive interest in Japanese animation and manga. Otakus are generally single because they are “nerdy” and “not attractive”.

But Jonathan’s almost anti-social character is not the reason why he is single.

Going back to when he was in secondary school, he said he did not want to get involved in a relationship because it is easy to get hurt and lose interest in one’s studies.

He had a couple of female friends but was, however, never close to any one of them. He was also clueless about women and how they think. “It was like there’s an invisible wall between me and my female friends. I struggled and made a fool of myself many, many times until I managed to turn things around.”

Up till university, he had problems understanding women. “It’s like there’s some distance between me and them, and their body language would become somewhat defensive when I talk to them,” said Jonathan.

“So I didn’t dare chase anyone. I just admired them from a distance.”

Two years’ ago, his company, CLS Communication, underwent major restructuring to tighten its belt and that left him without a job. Without a stable job, Jonathan would not be able to have any income – and he would not be able to sustain a relationship, let alone put food on the table.

“No money, no honey,” said Jonathan.

“Why have a girlfriend when I don’t even have a stable job and money?” It is a wise choice few would make because people generally are needy of love. Also, “why get married when life is already complicated?”

Jonathan does not fear being left on the shelf. He is not alone. Relationship expert Violet Lim said most of them are professionals.

Being single has its benefits. Jonathan is free to do whatever he likes. From attending racy photo-shoots, chasing cosplay idols, anime singers and Korean and Japanese-pop stars for their autographs to looking at girls on the streets. “It’s freedom…” chimed in Jonathan.

He is also free to go on trips whenever he wants. “I love travelling a great deal. But if I’m attached, I probably won’t get to go to all these nice places.” He said that the girlfriend would insist on him taking her along and during peak season.

There are times when he felt like he is all alone in this world. And with White Valentine’s Day coming up next month, he said that the feeling of loneliness has already crept into him that, at times, he does not feel like going out, especially to the malls where couples are in abundance. White Valentine’s Day (also known as White Day in Japan) falls on 14 March.

“Seeing couples brush past me does make me feel sad. But I brush it off by focusing my thoughts on other things, like when’s the next anime series airing and my next big project.”

His next big project? He plans to write an anime-inspired fantasy novel which features the girls he has always admired. At least he does not have to worry about a jealous partner ripping his novels apart and or secretly deleting his files.