A topic I hope to cover eventually is weeaboos, a phenomenon encountered almost exclusively when studying Japanese in the context of American universities.
I’m not a regular Reddit user, so I don’t particularly have favorite subreddits, but I found one hilarious subreddit called r/weeabootales where Reddit users complain about people who over-romanticize Japan (one classic attribute of a weeaboo, though that’s not their defining characteristic).
Here’s excerpt from a post from jmoney777, who says they’re multiracial:
“So how long have you been studying Japanese?” Oh gosh, I hate this question. People look at me and think I’m some white dude that studied for years and years just because I sound native to non-native speakers. As of this current school year I am actually studying it simply because I need a language class for my major, so if I get asked this question now then I can reply “since October” (lololol).
I feel the same! (Albeit in a different context from Japanese people who think non-Japanese speakers cannot be fluent in Japanese despite millions of immigrants in Japan across the world and across the Japanese nation in thousands of workplaces, schools, and cultural institutions and in the mass media who are evidence to the contrary!)
So I’m involved in the Asian heritage clubs at my school and have met a lot of cool people at them, but unfortunately the Japanese club attracts some… weeaboos. I joined these API clubs because I was interested in meeting people who have had similar experiences to me (moving countries at a young age, different languages spoken between home and school, being able to talk about our cultures as if it’s normal as opposed to an outside romanticized version of it, etc.), and I wish they would understand that I have no interest whatsoever in meeting the weeaboo/Japanophile type of people.
In my senior year at Georgetown University, our student union (the Student Activities Commission) decided to place Japan Network and the Anime Club together for no reason and the exact same phenomenon happened. We (Japan Network) expressed no interest in them; they (with their pink hair) expressed no interest in us. It was awkward.
People that walk up to Asian people and start speaking Japanese. […] Just because someone is Asian does not mean they can speak Japanese!
This also happens in tourist trap cities where restaurant proprietors attempt to ‘connect’ to you by speaking your language. One summer in Rome, a man tried to appeal to me on the attractiveness of his pizza by clasping his hands together (Thai?), bowing (Japanese? not really), and saying 안녕하세요.
There’s more in the post and in the comments of the post which is worth reading in full.