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The Revenge of the Otaku: Can a Nerd Get the Girl?

(this article first appeared in the february 28, 2005 issue of newsweek international)

Pity the poor otaku. Obsessive-compulsive recluses, they are the diehard fans of Japan's world-famous subculture hobbies -- anime (animated films), manga (cartoons) and videogames. More comfortable in a virtual world than the real one, they are notorious for their lack of social skills and even less fashion sense. The general rule is that otaku can't get dates.

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Bucking the Baby Bust

Japan's birthrate is down, but older moms are on the rise

(this article first appeared in the february 14, 2005 issue of newsweek international)

After 12 years of marriage, Ikuko Osada had all but resigned herself to oblique but endless questions about when she was going to have a baby. Then, at the age of 40,she unexpectedly became pregnant, and gave birth to a boy, Keitaro, last March. ``My world has completely changed,'' says the financial planner in Kawasaki, a Tokyo suburb. So changed that she now preaches the joy of raising a child to her childless girlfriends.

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