I've always suspected the Japanese were a little odd and took electronics to the extreme; but I never thought it was possible to take it to this level.
Seems normal, right? Well, maybe I didn't mention that Nene is actually a character in a Nintendo DS game called "Love Plus".
Sal appears to be relatively normal. He dresses nicely, has nice teeth, and is even fairly attractive. According to the interview on CNN.com, he claims Nene is better than a human girlfriend. He says, "She doesn't get angry if I'm late in replying to her. Well, she gets angry, but she forgives me quickly."
CNN.com's article quotes, "Japan's Internet community has witnessed relationships and marriages to avatars, though it's typically been within the confines of the virtual world. Last month, Sal decided to be the first human-to-avatar union. Clad in a white tux, Sal married Nene in front of some friends and Web users watching the ceremony live online."
My first reaction was who was going to stage an intervention and get this guy to a shrink? But it appears he knows that the marriage is not legal, physical, and he understands 100% that it is only a game. He says, "I love this character, not a machine."
A man named Hiroshi Ashizaki, who writes about game addictions, doesn't think Sal 9000 is an extreme case. He says, "what is healthy about Sal is that he can communicate with people enough to do an interview on CNN and webcast a half-serious wedding." Great. So now we have someone validating this cyber marriage/relationship. It's one thing to be personally invested in a video game, but it's another to be "personally" invested in a video game character!
Ashizaki also states, "Today's Japanese youth can't express their true feelings in reality. They can only do it in the virtual world...It's the reverse of reality that they can only talk about what they feel to a friend in the virtual world." Maybe that's because the entire country of Japan is the computer and electronics mecca of the world and because the rest of the world is hungry for the Japanese inventions, future generations will never know how to communicate without saying things like "OMG", "LOL", or texting 1,000 words per minute?
The world is coming to an end. Gone is the beauty of human interaction; in its place is a virtual world where everyone communicates through electronics only. I think I'll stick to my human girlfriend.