It’s so simple, this just means to stop being an otaku. That’s 脱オタク[datsu-otaku]. 脱[datsu] means to stop doing sth. For example, there is a typcial saying, 脱サラ[datsu-sara] or stop being a salaryman. It’s an abbreviation of 脱サラリーマン. If you are a salaryman, and stepping down to start a new business, you can say 脱サラする[datsu-sara suru].
But 脱オタク doesn’t go that way, I mean, it seems like it means to stop being so geeky, and try to be neat. Sounds like you should not carry such an otakish goods(like a T-shirt printed an anime character) with you, and be more like a general person. I don’t want to say like this, though…あんまりこういう事は言いたくないのだけれど。To be honest, I don’t like the way people regard otakus as an otaku. What’s wrong with carrying a keychain of Lelouch with me?
We have to know how a word, otaku[おたく] was considered when it was born. In 1980’s, this word was born and at that time, there was a famous nerd 宅八郎[Hachiro Taku] who used to carry a figure with him. His looking was really otaku-like, so that is why people think about him or a looking like him when it comes to otaku(please find his picture yourself if you want to see). And then otaku became a kind of negative label, so people even used to be scared of being an otaku.
Even if you like to play tennis, but you have to stop, we don’t seem to say 脱テニス[datsu-tennis]. Because tennis is just an outdoor sport, and doesn’t have such a negative image. But you can use 脱 for such a bad habit such as smoking, gambling, playing around women or something like that. So being an otaku is something you shouldn’t follow forever, that’s how people interpret. But why?
Tennis, golf, or whatever, people can enjoy it as a hobby while they are having a steady life. Comparing to it, otaku people are really enthusiastic to follow what they love. Sometimes they go too far, leaving such a steady life. うっ、それって俺の事じゃん（苦笑）They don’t love somebody, don’t marry, and purchase weird stuff(looks that way from people) or follow a 2D girl. There are really otakus who are in a strong obssession like me.
Besides, there was a landmark incident called M事件[M-jiken] which a geeky man kidnapped four little girls and killed in 1988. He turned out to be a figure otaku, and was obssessed with a little girl. Because of this, the press strictly insulted otaku people, so that more and more otakus couldn’t come out of the closet. So 脱オタク was actually born in the otaku society. To leave what they love behind and have a steady life, or to go on being an otaku and try to be neat, that was a desperate decision…To be an otaku, or not to be an otaku, that’s the question.
Don’t take it so seriously, please. The meaning of 脱オタク has changed since the hit movie 電車男[densha otoko] in 2004. This is a love story between a geeky man and a young lady. The otaku acted by Takayuki Yamada shows in a geeky fashion first, but he tries to change his looking, like buying neat clothes and going to the hairdresser’s. Because of this scene, 脱オタク seems to mean to improve your looking so that no one thinks you are an otaku.
If you have watched 電車男, you would know how the hero looked in the movie. That is a typical image we have towards otakus. I don’t think someone like him still exists in this world even now, but there are…still, but few.
There is nothing wrong to be an otaku, but if you are an adult with a common sense, you should be neat so that people don’t feel uncomfortable. It’s not difficult at all. Keep your hair tidy, shave, and wear a clean shirt and shoes. That’s it.
Me? When I was a student at school, I looked like a densha otoko. So I don’t want to look back then. Maybe only my old friends know how I looked. I am a cosplayer now, so I have to try to make myself look like a character I cosplay as much as possible. To do so, I mustn’t be like a nerd…oh I don’t know. I know my place, I mean, whatever I do, I can’t do 脱オタク. Because…I enjoy my cosplay life! When I do 脱オタク, I would have to close this blog and say good-bye to you.