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Resort Attracts Men With Virtual Girlfriends 226

disco_tracy writes "Long a favorite of lovers and honeymooners, a Japanese beach town with fading sparkle has found a new tourism niche in the wired age. A resort based on a game called 'Love Plus,' encourages players to develop long-term relationships with virtual women. From the article: 'Local souvenir shops in the resort town have caught on and capitalized on the love-struck new clientele, selling Love Plus-themed souvenirs, from good-luck charms to steamed buns and fish sausages. The local Ohnoya hotel even offers traditional rooms to the unusual couples, which feature two sets of futon beds and another barcode panel that allows the men to visualize their girlfriends in a flattering summer kimono.'"
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Resort Attracts Men With Virtual Girlfriends

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  • by alphatel ( 1450715 ) * on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @01:49PM (#33427610)
    What happens when the AR wears off and rogue LovePlus boys start kissing real girls by mistake? Find out tonight on VR-Smackdown.
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @01:50PM (#33427624) Journal

    Oh no, they must have never seen the film:


  • Are those steamed buns real, or just virtual. I'm guessing they'll be a popular room-service item.
  • by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @01:53PM (#33427648)
    Please tell me about the CAN'T EAT MORE. (Would you like to take 5 minutes to register me?)
  • by Iamthecheese ( 1264298 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @01:55PM (#33427698)
    is WTF. Large quantities of WTF
    • Don't forget cars that drive themselves at expeditious velocity. Unfortunately, they still haven't figured out how to get them to steer themselves.
    • by Blue Stone ( 582566 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @02:02PM (#33427772) Homepage Journal

      Speaking as someone from a land that has a surplus of FFS and a deficit of WTF, I can say in no uncertain terms, thank you Japan for your wonderful, ludicrous exports.

    • yeah, you know it's japan when " selling Love Plus-themed souvenirs, from good-luck charms to steamed buns and fish sausages" is the sanest part of the story.

      • I'm not sure I have ever head of a fish sausage before, but the very idea of it makes me feel ill...

        • by oatworm ( 969674 )
          Do you like fish sticks?
        • by sznupi ( 719324 )

          Could you even know there were no fish byproducts in any of the typical modern sausages you have eaten?

          • Yea. For one, I actually look at the ingredients. While Mechanically Separated Pork & Chicken isn't terribly specific, it does at least exclude fish. ... humour aside, trace amounts, no. But generally the way sausage is both made and kept, any significant amount of fish would taste, er, rather fishy. Think sardines.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by couchslug ( 175151 )

      They live in a boring, conformist hive culture so when they blow off steam, they REALLY need to blow off steam. An accepted social outlet is a non-disruptive way to do that.
      The old way to vent was upon the neighbors, and we've seen (Nanjing) what that leads to. Better they watch that stuff as a cartoon, fap, and go about their day. Every culture does this to some extent, but the Nips are less prudish than USians.

      • This isn't about blowing off steam; it's about filling the void for men who don't have a woman for whatever reason, be it gender disparity, social ineptitude, a schedule that doesn't permit a normal social life, or a distaste for relationships.

        The "old way" to cope was to get a hooker, but apparently Japan's become too prudish for that.

      • by sznupi ( 719324 )

        Who doesn't live in one roughly like that? (I'm not asking for "but mine is obviously special!")

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by korean.ian ( 1264578 )

        Who mods this crap up? Japan's colonization of neighbouring countries and wars of aggression were not about venting - what they were about is far too long to get into in a slashdot post. Japanese culture is no more boring or hive-like than American culture.

        • Agreed. In fact, the closest analogue to Japanese imperialism in American history was Manifest Destiny. Was that a product of boredom too?
    • ...wrapped in a Hello Kitty tortilla.

  • Would a power outage result in a scene that was sad, or genuinely horrifying?
  • Love Plus [something =] fish sausages

    Where have I seen this equation before? Oh yeah, in my pants! I love you, Japan! Keep up the weird work!

  • ...but I have to believe the rooms come with a large, king-size box of tissues in every room.

  • Virtual babies? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twoallbeefpatties ( 615632 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @02:13PM (#33427886)
    I can't imagine why Japan is having a population problem with low birth rates.
  • Eh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @02:17PM (#33427952) Homepage

    What's the matter, Japanese men? Japanese women not good enough for you? They are widely held by many cultures as the best women in the world. It reminds me of that ancient joke that goes:

    Heaven is:
    an American salary,
    a Chinese Cook,
    a British Home,
    and a Japanese Wife.

    Hell is:
    a Chinese salary,
    a British Cook,
    a Japanese House,
    and an American Wife.

    • Re:Eh? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @02:49PM (#33428350)

      Originally it was this one:

      Heaven is a place where the police are English; the chefs are Italian; the car mechanics are German; the lovers are French and it's all organized by the Swiss.

      Hell is a place where the police are German; the chefs are English; the car mechanics are French; the lovers are Swiss and it's all organized by the Italians.

      • I've heard this variation:

        Canada should have been the perfect blend of French cuisine, British culture, and American industry. But what they got instead was British cuisine, American culture and French industry.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BitwizeGHC ( 145393 )

      That's just the problem. A Japanese wife is too good for the target audience of this game. Just like us, Japan has no shortage of pudgy, sweaty, repugnant turbo nerds who repel any decent girl with their offensive BO and even more offensive sexual proclivities. Hence the need for a virtual girlfriend, a computer entity which always reacts in the same sweet way and doesn't care what kind of pig you are.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @03:13PM (#33428658)

      Japan is undergoing a huge cultural shift. In the past corporate loyalty was a big concept in Japan; workers expected to work long hours for their entire lives for a single employer, and in return they would get paid well and never get laid off. The economic problems of Japan have led to this culture going away. For most older workers it is still in place (although some have been laid off), but for most young people the situation is pretty awful. There is huge unemployment among young people, and the jobs available are mostly contract positions that don't pay well and may end with little notice. A particularly harsh problem for a country that puts a large emphasis on employment as a basis for personal success and has relied on the corporate benevolance that was present in the past instead of creating extensive social safety net programs.

      This has led to poverty and disillusionment, with many younger people reacting by withdrawing from society to various degrees. This is presumably why Japan has some of the lowest numbers in the world for children born per capita and frequency of sexual contact. The virtual girlfriend is an attempt to capitalize on those withdrawn young men who are still active in society but do not have the interest or self-confidence necessary to pursue a human female. It isn't so much a rejection of Japanese women as a reaction of despair to a society that treats them as if they have no value. It's a cautionary note for the United States too. The fact that the corporate loyalty culture here is much weaker probably means that the impact won't be as bad, but the potential for a generation that is poorer, less motivated, and less active socially is definitely present.

      BTW, make sure your Chinese cook is a gourmet--a great Chinese cook can make lots of great food, but an ok Chinese cook makes food that is very greasy and salty, which tastes great once in a while but is monotonous (not to mention very unhealthy) if eaten regularly. Contrast that to an ok French or Italian cook, who makes food that isn't inspired but is still good to eat any or every day.

      • Greasy and salty is some sort of bizarre regional variation. China is a huge place. The cooking styles are not even the same from region to region. It's not unknown for a happy couple to break up before marriage because she likes to cook sweet food and he can only eat spicy. Actually I find the basic Chinese diet to be quite healthy, as it is vegetables, rice (or other grain in such form as noodles), and a little bit of meat. You'll lose weight eating it every day, that's for sure.
        • Greasy and salty is some sort of bizarre regional variation.

          Yeah... American Chinese.

          Of course, that’s no different from American Mexican (greasy and salty), American Italian (greasy and salty), ... I think “gourmet” in his post could pretty easily be replaced with “authentic” without changing the meaning of his statement.

          • why I don't go to restaurants anymore.

            The choice is extremely expensive or FDA approved. (Greasy, salty preservative laden crap filled with unpronounceable components [I don't dare call them ingredients.])

            I'll stick to my organic veggies.

    • by volpe ( 58112 )

      Hell is:
      a British Cook,

      Hmmm. I think there's some truth here. What's Gordon Ramsay's nationality? And what's the name of his show?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Heaven is: an American salary, a Chinese Cook, a British Home, and a Japanese Wife.

      ...and a virtual girlfriend.

    • I think by this you mean "most tolerant of male bad behaviour." This is not a feminist definition of "best". In terms of overall national achievement, I think the French might want to make some claims.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        You can leave now

    • I'm not sure I like the idea of a British home, when you put the sewage pipes on the outside of your house so "it'll be easier to fix them when they freeze" in a country where the temperature rarely drops below 0C you should be able to spot your error (putting them inside the house and deep enough in the ground means they won't freeze even if the temperature stays at -25C for a month or two, so no need to have them easily accessible "just in case").

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Re: American wives

      American wives are awesome. Kinky, daring, willing to be a sugar mamma.

      You just got to watch out for their husbands.

      I kid.. I kid.

  • I mean, really. Words aren't enough to describe how sad (and pathetic) this is.
  • Creepy much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sabs ( 255763 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @02:24PM (#33428034)

    Cause that's not creepy at all...

    Though I would expect it to appeal to the average /. poster

  • by joelsanda ( 619660 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @02:28PM (#33428084) Homepage
    "Resort ATTACKS Men With Virtual Girlfriends".
  • by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @02:33PM (#33428136) Homepage

    I'm just guessing, here, no research done (hey, a /. tradition) but I suspect that if your culture continues to have a deeply-embedded prejudice for treating women like crap, and wives in particular as servants for yourself and her mother-in-law, it could be tough finding a wife.

    This problem exists to varying degrees in Asia, and is already being hugely exacerbated by a plummeting female/male ratio in some countries due to selective abortion and even (quiet) infanticide.

    A whole generation of men the size of the whole US population won't be able to find women in the coming generation.

    And if you aren't sympathetic, maybe you will be later. Because that's also the generation that's going to enjoy a whole new level of industrialized prosperity - enough to basically come bidding for women from other countries.

    Women from America's growing underclass, as rich and poor grow further apart might find a nice condo in Bangalore and a (pathetically) grateful south Asian hubby more attractive than a trailer park...

    • American women? Women from the hive mind of christian feminism traipsing off to live in a culture where women are treated as possessions?

      More likely Chinese, which are right next door, will end up fitting this bill.

    • by rbrander ( 73222 )

      I know that Japan is practically the only south-east Asian nation that *doesn't* have the selective abortion issue. If they all have it, there won't be any place in SE Asia with an excess of women dropping from the trees.

      Granted, the "Asia Needs Women" (so much for Mars) scenario does involve a dramatic attitude change on the part of the husbands.

      A dramatic attitude change in Japan might work wonders, as their ratio is still about even, but it won't help in China which now has a 1.19 male/female at birth

  • Did anyone else misread "wired age" as "weird age"? :)
  • ...we'll get Kingdom Hearts III soon?
  • Love Plus hand lotion and tissues are the biggest sellers at the gift shop.
  • by secolactico ( 519805 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @03:25PM (#33428784) Journal

    Judgind by the picture, the resort is located in the picturesque Uncanny Valley.

  • They should create "virtual" people based on their customers, have them date each other's avatars while communicating with each other - and if they like each other, hook them up in real life...

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.