Dateline Halloween 1989 at the university of Illinois anime club. My first exposure to anime was a showing of Vampire Hunter D and Dirty Pair Halloween Special. I was instantly hooked. I bought a VCR and a load of blank tapes and immediately started bugging people for copies. From there I discovered rec.arts.anime on usnet and a whole world of otaku I could trade with. It didn't seem to matter that I was a college graduate working a series of minimum wage jobs, all that mattered was my little world that most of my friends and family didn't understand. I attended cons, cursed Carl Macek (Robotech), spent money that I really couldn't afford to spend and even made a god awful fan dub of Otaku Generation X. To add to the drain of money and time I also started collecting comic books buying at least 4-10 issues per week of mostly manga translations.
This phase of my life lasted around 4 years. it didn't just suddenly end but I remember the events that led to it more clearly that anything I did during that time. First came the disillusionment with the fan scene. The great "Ah My Goddess" schism in which violent arguments broke out over a single letter of the alphabet showed just how petty my fellow fans could be. The second was watching other mega otaku suddenly give up their 1000 tape collections saying they were no longer interested. I was beginning to feel the same way. The third was a nearly crippling depression brought about by a bitter end to a relationship and the realization that many people my age had good jobs, were buying their first houses and having their first children. I just couldn't bear watching anime anymore and threw out my 400+ tapes.
1995 I was 30 years old with a mountain of debt and had only a shitty part time job. At the time I was bitter and looked back at the previous years and wondered why I had been so foolish. What had I accomplished? Now in retrospect the hobby wasn't responsible for my predicament- I probably would have wasted my time and money on something else. The good thing was that I gained an appreciation for Japan and when I saw an ad for teaching English, I did not hesitate to jump at the opportunity.
My spawn needs to use my laptop so I'll just say "To Be Continued..."