Japanese Virtual Girl Friends Get Real Vacations!

Yup, this is another story highlighting the bizarre activities of players of Konami’s dating simulation game LovePlus+.   But this story points out not only the odd behavior of the players of this game, but the way a small resort town is catering to them.

The town is Atami, located on the eastern end of the Shizuoka Prefecture.  It was once a popular tourist spot.  Renowned for its hot springs.  But these days it seems tourists are more interested in trips overseas than visiting the natural wonders of Atami.  However, they became aware that Atami is one of the locations feature in the game LovePlus+, and that gave local business people an idea.  Why not create real vacation packages based on the virtual ones in the game.

More after the jump.

A game character from Love Plus is superimposed over a cellphone photo of Kanji Nagasawa, the owner of a Korean barbecue restaurant in Atami, Japan, holding a specialty dish created for the game's fans.

The Wall Street Journal goes on to say this of the activity:

The city is going all-out to indulge ardent Love Plus+ fans.

At the real Hotel Ohnoya, which opened its doors in 1937, the staff is trained to check in Love Plus+ customers as couples even if there is only one actual guest. Says Atsurou Ohno, the hotel’s managing director, “We try not to ask too many questions because we want them to be able to remain immersed in that game world.”

Some devoted fans will go so far as to pay twice the rate—most hotels in Japan charge per guest not per room—to indulge the fantasy that they are not there alone. A night’s stay, at most, can cost $500 though many rooms are cheaper.

So is this just more bizarre behavior from our brothers  in the land of the rising sun?  Or, in this increasingly fractured world, is this the wave of the future?  Konami has no plans to release the game in the United States.  An online petition has appeared to convince the company to rethink this, but so far it’s received very few signatures.

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