The beginner's guide to Japanese drama
Japanese actor Takuya Kimura, who is also part of the popular Japanese boy-band SMAP, is a frequent star of J-dramas.
January 23rd, 2012
05:49 PM ET

The beginner's guide to Japanese drama

Often the key that opens the door to otaku culture is anime. Anime is a pervasive medium, and even those outside the fandom of Japanese culture and media can recognize the hallmarks of anime at fan conventions -  DragonBall Z or Bleach costumes are ever-present. (We saw a cute InuYasha at last year's Dragon*Con. His brother Sesshomaru was also milling about.)

Some fans remain firmly rooted in their love of anime for years. But more and more in America, otakus are discovering a form of Japanese television because of its sheer wackiness and anime-like humor. It's called J-drama (Japanese drama,) and it inspires obsessive dedication.

J-dramas are daily or weekly broadcasts that make up a great deal of Japanese television programming. These are comparable to sitcoms and dramas that run in America, but they have their own distinct flavor. J-drama incorporates many different genres, from medical dramas to romantic dramas, and frequently feature Japan's most prominent stars in key roles.

It's lovingly dubbed "J-Dorama," due to the way the Japanese pronounce the word. Since the Japanese syllabary consists of specific character sets, certain English words pose a challenge for them to pronounce. For example, Americans often notice something like a "U" sound added to the end of English words as spoken by Japanese (something fans often adoringly poke fun at). There is no character in Japanese for just the letter "D," but there is "DO," hence "Dorama."

The U.S.-based fandom that revolves around J-drama is strong and well-organized online. Many websites cater to fans through extensive forums, offering outlets for fans to talk about their favorites actors, actresses and shows, as well as upcoming dramas to look forward to. There are multiple wikis cataloging J-drama releases each season, making it easy for a new fan to discover what they might like or make friends who can point them in the right direction. Other sites offer a guide to dramas by season that allows fans to keep an eye on what's up and coming all in one place.

There's also "The Dorama Encyclopedia," which covers drama series that aired up until 2003 and lists hundreds of productions across all different genres. Whether you find you've been recently infected with the J-drama bug or have advanced addiction and need more, this book presents a fun read that is sure to bring your knowledge of this popular subset of otaku interest to the next level. FULL POST

Welcome to 'Geek Therapy'
January 23rd, 2012
03:02 PM ET

Welcome to 'Geek Therapy'

It's not unusual for a therapist to quiz their patients in order to find out more about them. But this isn't your average therapy session.

The therapist is a geek therapist, and she wants to measure her patient's GQ, or Geek Quotient. Once the patient answers a question about the "Transformers" character Unicron by saying, "There were no unicorns in 'Transformers," things start to look bleak for her GQ score.

Actress/comedian America Young, of Comediva.com, has played the Geek Therapist in three episodes of "Geek Therapy," posted to YouTube. She has taken a wannabe geek as a patient and discussed the difference between geeks and nerds with a married couple.

CNN Geek Out spoke with Young about the new Web series.
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