for nerds. that's 「おたく」, right?

if you're studying Japanese, you've probably come across the term 「おたく」. most places translate this as "nerd", but if you're looking to tell someone you're a nerd 「おたく」 might not always be the term you want. 「おたく」 is derived from 「お宅」, which usually means "house" or "home". irrespective of positive or negative connotations, 「おたく」 doesn't specifically suggest intelligence; it is used for people who are so consumed by their hobbies that they spend all their time at home. so if you want to tell someone that you live with your parents and spend all your time in your room reading comics and playing with plastic figurines, then 「おたく」 is probably the term for you. most nerds i know appreciate the suggestion of smarts that comes with nerd.「インテリ」, while not as widely used, is specifically the term for a nerd who is a smart nerd, as opposed to someone who lacks social skills and may or may not be intelligent.

so if you want a Japanese translation for "nerd", you've got two choices: 「おたく」 or 「インテリ」. i prefer 「インテリ」.

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