Before wedding, groom takes his virtual bride-to-be on a dream trip to Guam
When people talk about turning on their significant other, they aren't usually referring to a power switch. But that's exactly how one lonely Japanese man found love.
The Japanese man, who goes by the gaming nickname SAL9000, found himself falling in love at first sight when he saw the pixellated image of Nene Anegasaki in the Nintendo DS "love simulator" Love Plus. Like many other Japanese men playing the popular title, he wooed his sweetheart of choice, taking her out on dates (virtual of course) and softly whispering that he loved her into the Nintendo DS microphone.
He even was able to kiss his virtual sweetheart, once he was in her good graces. In the game this feature literally involved kissing the screen of the Nintendo DS.
However, he took what most players consider digital fauxmance a bit more seriously than most. In a story not unlike that of the indie movie Lars and the Real Girl (which sees the protagonist fall in love with a anatomically-correct doll he ordered online), SAL9000 actually married Nene at a Tokyo marriage pseudoceremony.
While not legally binding by any means, the ceremony proceeded much like a normal wedding, and was broadcast on the internet. Breaking further with tradition, he took his bride on a honeymoon to Guam before the "wedding".
The wedding itself was an elaborate affair with an MC, a DJ, speeches from friends and family members, nostalgic slideshows, wedding music and even a tossed bouquet. The entire affair was broadcast on a video sharing site that SAL9000 is a prominent member of.
SAL9000 personally contacted news site BoingBoing.net, writing, "I'm so happy so many people were able to witness this. Some people have expressed doubts about my actions, but at the end of the day, this is really just about us as husband and wife. As long as the two of us can go on to create a happy household, I'm sure any misgivings about us will be resolved. The two of us hope to continue to let our love for each other grow as time goes on."
Lisa Katayama, a US freelance journalist who has studied the Japanese tech culture says that virtual romance is a growing trend in Japan and isn't just for weirdos. She points to real life couple Koh and Yurie; Koh has began a digital affair in Love Plus, which his wife Yurie has begrudgingly accepted. Ms. Katayama also points to 37-year-old Tokyo resident Nisan who fell in love with a pillowcase with the image of a teenage anime character on it. Nisan carries the pillow around with him when he goes out and comments adoringly, "When I die, I want to be buried with her in my arms."
Ms. Katayama says such romantic attachments to anime or videogame characters may seem foreign to us, but they're really not that different. She explains, "Here [in the US] it's OK to love your dog, it's OK to even love your car, but it's not OK to love an anime character. We draw the line there in Western culture but in Japan some people still draw the line at cars and some people draw it a little further. I don't know if it's a good thing for society but we're always replacing things that humans used to do with technology, so it's not too far off to think that things like romance and sex can be replaced by technology."
No matter how strange it seems, Ms. Katayama is right -- its hard to begrudge this unusual couple their happiness. SAL9000's next planned move is to break the news of his digital marriage to his parents. Here's hoping that goes smoothly and that the groom's love (or DS battery, perhaps) never dies.
SAL9000 takes a honeymoon in Guam with his Nintendo DS virtual sweetheart Nene Anegasaki before the wedding. (Source: Sal9000, via BoingBoing.net)
SAL9000 spends some quality time with his new bride back home in Tokyo (Source: Sal9000, via BoingBoing.net)
SAL9000 still has to find a way to break the news of his "marriage" to his parents. (Source: Sal9000, via BoingBoing.net)
---------- Post added at 21:59 ---------- Previous post was at 21:58 ----------
if someone steals his DS and play some games on it..will it be considered "cheating"?
---------- Post added at 22:02 ---------- Previous post was at 21:59 ----------
what a moron
---------- Post added at 22:02 ---------- Previous post was at 22:02 ----------
what a moron