And also to avoid becoming the reason for someone else’s burnout.

One of the big differences between being an otaku and just an ordinary fan is that the former implies a significantly higher level of interest. But while that intense passion can make being an otaku emotionally rewarding in the short-term, it’s not always a lifestyle that you can keep on living indefinitely, with burnout, collapse of enthusiast communities, or other problems having the potential to spoil the fun and cause otaku to walk away from their hobby.

To prevent that sad turn of events, Japanese Twitter user @t_shigeno has created a list of 17 SOGs, or Sustainable Otaku Goals. The purpose of the SOGs is to outline what otaku need to do, both for themselves and others, to keep their fandom viable.

And with otaku-ism no longer confined to just Japan, @t_shigeno has also posted an English version of the Sustainable Otaku Goals.

The list starts off with three objectives that aren’t direct parts of being a fan, but are still critical life functions some otaku forget to observe, “No health, no life” is a call to take care of your physical health, since while you might be spending a lot of time watching anime or playing games in a 2-D realm, you need to look after your real-world body. “Compatible with social life” is a reminder to be a responsible and active member of society as a whole, not just within the microcosm fan society. “Take a bath,” of course, is self-explanatory, so its inclusion is less of an eye-opener and more of plea to not force others to pinch their noses when you’re around.

Next up are three spending-habit SOGs. If you like consuming entertainment media, it’s important to economically contribute to its creation, but also to do so to an extent that’s appropriate to your financial situation, and not blowing your grocery money on limited-edition merch, no matter how cool those special items may be. We’ve also got a mention supporting your oshi, used here in the sense of one’s favorite idol, voice actor, or other performer. The “while you can” is critical to keep in mind, since a lot of otaku-oriented performers have very short careers, which can be cut down to even less if they’re not receiving fan support.

SOG 7 seems like it should be obvious, but sometimes the amount of time and emotion that otaku invest in their hobby can cause them to lose sight of the fact that hobbies are supposed to be fun, and once they stop being fun, it’s only a matter of time until burnout sets in. It’s not only your own personal enjoyment you need to look out for, though. Doing your best to friendly and polite to fellow fans, and cordially agreeing to disagree about things like your preferred character couplings, will go a long way towards making sure other enthusiasts can continue to be otaku too.

We come to some more modern aspects of otaku-ism here. While the vast amount of knowledge available to anyone with an internet connection can help encourage engaging and lively discussions, inaccurate information can lead to all sorts of problems, especially if it’s used to mount a both-guns-blazing flame war with someone who isn’t actually in the wrong at all. Point 11 relates to otaku-ism now being much more of an outside-the-home thing than it used to be, with an unprecedented number of conventions, fan events, and location pilgrimages, refraining from encroaching on others’ personal space and private property are points of etiquette otaku need to be mindful of, lest such events and gatherings start being cancelled or banned. And with there now being decades’ worth of otaku media, preserving older items in good condition becomes increasingly important, since some of those relics of the otaku legacy can no longer be replaced.

“Not only consume, but provide” might seem like it’s already been covered under SOG 4, “Circulate the economy.” As evidenced by the Wi-Fi-like lines radiating out from the otaku silhouette, though, this is about the input and output of ideas, with the implication being that fandom thrives on such exchanges. Since such exchanges also carry the possibility of disagreements, though, it’s important to be able to think about both yourself and others in a calm and composed manner.

Wrapping things up, similar to SOG 1’s advice to take care of yourself, don’t forget that sometimes the best course of action is to take a step back and take a nap, or do whatever else is necessary for your body and mind to rest and recharge. Finally, and this is actually sound advice for building any sort of sustainable system, make sure to have some backup plans in place in case things don’t go exactly as you thought they were going to, plus give yourself enough leeway to see your personal Plan B (or C or D) through.

The Sustainable Otaku Goals sound like a smart plan to Japanese Twitter commenters, who’ve responded to the list and pictographs with:

“A wonderful set of guidelines.”
“Can’t disagree with any of these.”
“I can only hit the ‘like’ button once, but I’d really like to do it a hundred times.”
“As an otaku, I hope to achieve all of these goals.”
“Saving this, and making them my family mottos.”
“These aren’t just necessary for otaku to follow, but for all people in modern society.”

As mentioned by the last commenter, many of the Sustainable Otaku Goals are applicable to a lot of other lifestyles as well, but they’re especially pertinent for otaku. With Comiket just around the corner, the list makes for a nice refresher too, and those looking for a little extra help in good otaku citizenship might also want to consider picking up an anti-embarrassment bag while at the event.

Source: Twitter/@t_shigeno via IT Media
Top image: Twitter/@t_shigeno
Insert images: Twitter/@t_shigeno
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