Densha Otoko

Now I know I read this late, two years later (if you don’t count the first few days of 2007) than the date of occurence of the original incident in fact. But still I think this read is worth mentioning though it’s not exactly what one calls “great literature.”

the story of the train man who fell in love with a girl

Densha Otoko (literal translation is The Train Man) tells the true story of a 22 year-old otaku who saves the womenfolk during a train ride from the advances of a leery old man. Otaku is generally a term that refers to people who are obssessed with anime or manga. In other words, a nerd/geek or a fanboy.

The heroic/considerate? act of saving the women thus acts as the trigger, without which the plot will surely sputter and flutter. And in response to the trigger, the womenfolk who were on the train asked our protagonist (henceforth termed as the Train Man) for his contact details so that they could properly thank you. Now these women are none of our concern save one: the 22-25 year-old female homo (henceforth termed as Hermes) sapien sitting beside our otaku throughout the whole incident. The Train Man then proceeds in good old storybook fashion to fall in love with Hermes when she sends him a set of Hermes teacups as a gift.

uniquely yours…

The plot appears nondescript at first, appearing to employ yet another “true love story” tactic to lure in the readers which apparently works. It’s not a bestseller in Japan for nothing, you know. No doubt it is probably because readers have identified themselves with the Train Man. The concept of love in a story is the best bait and perhaps one that has consistently appeared in every form of medium known to Man for who wouldn’t wish to lead a fairy tale life and find their true love?Movie tie-in of Densha Otoko

That say, the book does have its strong points as well. The book first took the form of a thread in 2ch (a major Japanese forum not to be confused with Futaba Channel, also called 2chan) and gradually cooked up a furor with the residents in 2ch. These residents play a major role in the plot as they are the ones who encourage and give advice to the Train Man on how to woo the girl of his dreams. And as illustrations are staple to fairy tales, so is ASCII art a staple in Densha Otoko. I find the art in it tremendously amusing and sometimes marvel at the creativity of these people. They aren’t called otakus for nothin, it seems.

Yes, I’ve got you. *laughs*

Now if you are looking for some serious literature, this isn’t one book you should be reading at all. But if you have the time to spare, say an hour or two, then perhaps Densha Otoko might help you to rediscover the feeling of falling in love for the first time and how the feelings were like throughout that period. Regardless of whether Densha Otoko is true or not, the feeling of the first love is still something to remember for, でしょ?

And if you are still hesitant to part with your hard-earned dollars for a book, I have the perfect source for you. Just read on.


Title: Densha Otoko
Editor: Hitori Nakano
Publisher: Unknown
Pages: Unknown
Genre: Fiction – Romance
Buy @ Kinokuniya(SG) Asian Literature Section

Useful Links for Densha Otoko
Densha Otoko@Wikipedia
Project Densha – The ‘Densha Otoko’ Translation Project (must read!)

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