Via Crunchyroll, a translation of a 2chan chart which shows which kinds of otaku are the craziest and cause the most trouble.

In case you’re wondering about the “train” part that occupies the Michele Bachmann spot on the chart, it does not refer to various colloquial meanings of the word “train.” It means fans who like…trains.

You know, toot toots.


Just what is it that makes them so crazy? Known as tetsudo otaku, train fans have long been looked on with suspicion by the Ahakibara crowd — Irvine Welsh is universal, it seems — but a band of younger, more energetic trainspotters has revitalized the subculture:

…a new “Train Boom” started in 2007, when events such as the Great Railway Expo began to capture the popular imagination, and famous folk started to openly gush about love for trains. The Nomura Research Institute has suggested the number of train otaku today might be closer to 140,000. At any station in the Tokyo metropolitan area, there is inevitably a young man (or woman or family) at the end of the platform openly snapping shots of incoming trains.

The charismatic “train talent” Masumi Toyoka was among the first to embrace this trend, lending her voice to the wildly popular anime Tekko no Tabi (“Train Girl’s Journey”), which helped legitimize and bring train otaku into the mainstream in fall 2007. In fact, no longer are these fans included in the dark ranks of “otaku,” but rather as the much cuter tecchan (for males) and tekko (for females). Following Toyoka’s lead, Yuko Kimura based her entire idol persona on her love of trains, inventing her own category of tetsudoru, or “train idol.”

After digging around a little, we even found links to videos of hot girls crushing tiny train villages. The Japanese know how to do everything the best.


Confidentially, we’re big train fans here at Stately Beat Manor. It’s our favorite mode of transportation and a viewing of RUNAWAY TRAIN or EMPEROR OF THE NORTH is a great way to relax. But even so, we’re not quite sure why so many people in so many cultures get so darned excited about keeping their train journals.


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railfan

    Otaku railfans are known as “Foamers” by railroad employees.

    Ferroequinologist exist wherever trains exist, and, like any fandom, occupy a wide spectrum of fascinations and expertise.

    It does even extend to the New York City subway. There have been reports of at least one person pretending to be a conductor (and driving a train), and there is a world record of the shortest time it takes to ride the complete system (line bashing, or in this specific case, “subway challenge”). See also: Tube Challenge. MORNINGTON CRESCENT!

    There is a variation of trainspotting in the subway: some fans make note of every train car they ride in.

    For those here whose Venns intersect to cover rails and graphics (Harry Beck!), I recommend two titles:
    Transit Maps of the World
    Railway Maps of the World
    both by Mark Ovenden.

    If you want to know more about the NYC subway (such as where the #8 train ran, and what color it was), drop me a line.

  2. Just because I act normal doesn’t mean I am normal!

    I get a hankering for a topic, like Celebration Florida, or the New York City subway, sate my appetite, and move on to something else which catches my eye. For some, that might be borderline autistic, for others, it might be polymathic.

    That’s partly why I am a librarian… I like to answer questions, and help people. Usually that person’s curiosity fuels my own, and thus I learn about “foamers” and “subway challenges”.

    That’s also why I hang out here, so I can tap into the unusual. Like:
    and PC-98 computers…

  3. “After digging around a little, we even found links to videos of hot girls crushing tiny train villages.”

    So, where are they?