it comes to girlfriends, perhaps people will soon need to add the
clarification "in real life" (IRL). Japan is blazing
bravely into undiscovered territory, pioneering
the world of digital relationships.While the nation still
hasn't perfected an android "lovebot", its video game
companies have launched a deluge of romance simulators aimed at young
men. The most popular of these games is "Love Plus"
which is produced by Konami.Now a special resort experience
has been created, offering fans of these digital romances a virtual
getaway with their "sweetie". The new getaways
are staged at the resort town of Atami, within a quick bus ride
southwest of Tokyo.While the town's sun-drenched beaches are
home to real females, many of the Japanese men arriving aboard tour
buses aren't interested in those livebloods. They scamper off
to various locations about town that feature special 2D barcodes,
compatible with the"augmented
reality" (AR) software on their iPhones.When
they take a picture with the barcode, they get to feast their eyes on
a generated image of them with their Love Plus sweetheart. Shu
Watanabe, 23, is in love with Rinko, an attractive girl who attends a
local high school. But Rinko only exists in the digital
world."Look, it's like I'm in a snapshot with her,"
Watanabe elates showing off the iPhone image created using the
augment reality software.There are 13 locations in which
Watanabe and others can get shots of their digital sweetheart.
They can also buy a variety of Love Plus-themed souvenirs, from
good-luck charms to steamed buns and fish sausages -- and even
special Love Plus towels. They even have special hotel rooms
with two futons, one of which has a barcode on it. When the
young men snap a picture, they see their virtual lover sprawled
sensuously across the bed in a "flattering" summer
kimono.Konami spokesman Kunio Ishihara says that the game
isn't just about one-liners and easy romance -- like real life
romance, it takes work.
He states, "In conventional love games, you went up stages to
make a virtual girl fall in love with you, so that she would accept
you as a boyfriend or express her love for you. But players of
Love Plus are in a scenario where they are a high school boy who is
already dating one of the virtual girls. The goal is to see how good
you can be to her and to build a relationship."Naoyuki
Sakazaki is enamored with the game and was among the love tourists in
Atami. He describes, "With earlier love simulation games,
we only scored girls, as bad as that sounds, and that was it.
Love Plus is fun because the relationship continues forever."So
far the hotel has received 200 guests, and over 2,000 Love Plus
visitors have made the pilgrimage to the town this summer alone.
That's great news for the resort, which has seen business traffic
decline by 40 percent since the 1970s.At least one Japanese
man has even married his digital sweetheart in a formal ceremony.
Konami's Ishihara, though, stresses that the company has no
plans to allow users to "go all the way" with their virtual
hotties. He states, "The virtual girls can kiss you as a
way of communication, but nothing happens when she sleeps next to you
at the hotel. We have no intention of trying to sell a product
with pornographic elements. I think Love Plus fans would get
offended if somebody tried to disrespect his girlfriend like
that."While the virtual romance craze sweeping Japan,
South Korea, and even Taiwan may seem a bit strange, perhaps it's
just another form of sexuality in a growingly permissive era.
Freed from the confines of acceptability and morality, Japanese men
are finding themselves free to find their own version of happiness
and romance. And for some, that happens to be on a digital
quote: How hard is it to find a woman in real life? Not hard at all!
quote: Do they:Make you do the dishes.Nag you about taking out the trash and other chores?All of a sudden want your attention after ignoring you all day when you decide you want to play a videogame?Constantly keep tabs on you?Have self-esteem issues?Bleed once a month and get crazy-emotional?Are they completely illogical?... and more.I doubt it.
quote: Ironically, I think you just explained why there's a market for these games. :)
quote: All of a sudden want your attention after ignoring you all day when you decide you want to play a videogame?
quote: Do they: Make you do the dishes. Nag you about taking out the trash and other chores? All of a sudden want your attention after ignoring you all day when you decide you want to play a videogame? Constantly keep tabs on you? Have self-esteem issues? Bleed once a month and get crazy-emotional? Are they completely illogical? ... and more. I doubt it.
quote: However, Japanese women are among the least attractive of all Asian women
quote: However, Japanese women are among the least attractive of all Asian women - the Koreans, Thais, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, and Chinese all have a far higher percentage of knockout women.
quote: Shu Watanabe, 23, is in love with Rinko, an attractive girl who attends a local high school.
quote: But Rinko only exists in the digital world.
quote: I need some sort of explaination because I just don't get it!
quote: The latest data on that most fraught of Japanese economic institutions, marriage, indicates a woman’s preferred salary for their husband is in the region of at least ¥6,000,000 annually, even though actual husbands generally earned as little as half that.
quote: Japanese women were asked how much of their husband’s money he should be allowed as “pocket money” for covering expenses such as food, entertainment, hobbies and similar, and nearly half felt he should only be allowed a mere ¥1,000 a day. Japanese wives have traditionally controlled the finances of the household, and it seems even in the era of “gender equality” the expectation is that this arrangement continues. Household expenses and saving (relatively high in Japan) are in these cases determined by the wife, with husbands relegated to the status of yoked oxen.
quote: 53% of Japanese women surveyed reveal once again they have no confidence that they could win their boyfriend back from the non-existent clutches of a 2D girl.When asked whether they thought they could win against a 2D game character their boyfriend was besotted with, 53% thought they had “no chance” whist 47% had confidence they could defeat the pixelised challenger.Placed in such a situation, 20% “wouldn’t really mind,” 45% “would like him to stop” and 28% would just like him not to do it in front of them. Only 7% would respond by dumping the offending male.The threat from Nene appears great indeed, to these women at least.Defeated women report their feelings of inadequacy: “There’s no way I can beat that level of cuteness.” “Their personalities are nice and they have no flaws. Complete perfection.” “They’re made to be the ideal girlfriend after all.” “Because he has a manual any man can enjoy a game as much as he likes.”Some women are irrationally optimistic all the same: “A game can only play out as it is programmed to.” “The girl in a game can’t offer the human warmth a real woman can.” “The unpredictability of reality is a charm unto itself.” “There’s no way a mere game could win against a real woman like me!”
quote: Several Japanese ladies in their thirties were interviewed about their thoughts on the matter:“If my boyfriend fell for a 2D girl it would be absolutely gross.”“If he went with 2D I’d really feel there’s a problem with me, as a real woman.”“I’d be totally shocked. I think I’d think the problem was with me and I was lacking something. It’s just like a man with a girlfriend pursuing a fake romance with a hostess or going with a prostitute, isn’t it?”“If he is going to fall for someone else, at least make it an idol. You just can’t compete against a 2D character.”
quote: A man whose marriage all but ended, thanks in part to hit virtual schoolgirl sim Love Plus, has explained the devastating effect Nene had on his relationship with his wife. He describes how his marriage collapsed under the weight of Nene’s charms: I did write that I divorced, but we haven’t actually filed the papers, rather I just returned to my family home. I’m a 29-year-old systems engineer, with no children and a 28-year-old wife. It seems exaggerated to say Love Plus is to blame, but still it went like this:* I kept coming home late every night.* My wife became enraged.* I said “Rather than you I think I’d much rather be welcomed home kindly by Nene-san (Game character of Love Plus)!”* Marriage ends. After I said it, I thought “I’ve done it now,” but my wife was already looking at me like I was dirt, with a “this guy’s no good” look in her eyes.
quote: Shu Watanabe, 23, is in love with Rinko, an attractive girl who attends a local high school. But Rinko only exists in the digital world.