All About Japan

36 Japanese Words to Describe Train Otaku

Trains Learning Japanese Otaku

20. Ekiben-tetsu: station lunch box aficionados
Ekiben are the lunch box sets only available for purchase at particular stations, and these otaku are determined to eat them all.

21. Chibi-tetsu: mini train nerds
This is a special term for the underage densha otaku-in-training.

22. Mama-tetsu: chibi-tetsu’s mom
Whether she is going along to please her kid or has an interest in trains herself, this lady is neck deep in the otaku world.

23. Kaisha-tetsu: an expert on train companies
They know the business end of things. Buying stock in companies that they like is said to be a hobby.

24. Kaigai-tetsu: overseas train nerd
This doesn’t mean a non-Japanese train nerd, but rather a Japanese train nerd interested in trains in other countries.

25. Hoki-tetsu: legal beagles
These otaku know the legal ins and outs when it comes to trains.

26. Soshiki-tetsu: literally “funeral otaku,” fans of final runs
These fellas like to be on the last train before a line is closed or model decommissioned.

27. Gunji-tetsu: military experts
Did you know there are armored train cars and train-mounted weapons? These guys did.

28. Tetsugaku-tetsu: train philosophers
These otaku like to look at older trains and philosophize about what their design has to say about society of that era. Deep.

29. Reikishi-tetsu: history buffs
They study the history of rail travel.

30. Tetsukei-tetsu: rail police fanboys
Perhaps they are into the uniforms?

31. SL-tetsu: steam locomotive experts
These otaku only have eyes for the old-school steam engine trains.

32. Game-tetsu: train gamers
Apparently there are train-related games in Japan, like Let’s go by train! and Let’s take the A line.

33. Ne-tetsu: train sleepers
Wait, this is a hobby?

34. Ekine-tetsu: station sleepers

35. Tori-tetsu: thieves
Not to be confused with #1, this tori-tetsu uses a different Chinese character meaning steal. They like to lift the number plates off trains or steal branded goods from sleeper trains.

36. Kuzu-tetsu: jerks
Apparently, they enjoy riding trains just to be rude and make a nuisance of themselves.

Wow, that was quite a list. We never knew there were so many types of train nerds. Have you ever seen any while riding the rails? Just be sure to watch out for #36!

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