Airports are rooms filled with portals. I imagine getting out of the portal and being somewhere completely different. From a terminal that neighbors four lane streets to the middle of a drunken carnival while a guy throws water at the crowd from a diesel truck. From summer carnival to a lab where Japanese engineers with eye protectors figure how to build a new cochlear implant.
There are certain scenarios I associate with different countries.
USA – Disney World!
Brazil – half naked ladies dancing on top of carnival cars
South Korea – a LAN party or a room full of people playing Starcraft.
People have different perceptions of countries and it is very important that countries learn how to tweak these mental scenarios to attract tourism. I’ll talk more about this in later posts, but for now I want to focus on a particular island that in my head has the weirdest scenario: Ha! you’ll have to read a bit more to find out what it is about. Perhaps the Mayans weren’t too far away from the truth and the world will, in fact, end in 2012.
A Japanese gamer married Nene Anegasaki in 2009. Nene has silky brown hair, thin lips, will never get jealous of other girls, and will always please your wishes. Sal has taken her out for dates, bought her flowers and courted her like a true gentleman. So how can we blame him if fell in love and married her? It would seem like the perfectly logic thing to do.
Except Nene is a video game character.
Our eccentric gamer, who goes by Sal9000, took his love too far when he decided to marry the girl in the Nintendo DS game “Love Plus.” The ceremony conducted by a priest and watched online by thousands took place in Guam. After the couple enjoyed their honeymoon swimming in the beach and basking in the sun, the mayor declared Guam as THE place for virtual marriages. See, the guy wanted to marry Nene in Tokyo, but Japan has more severe marriage laws–like, say, for example, you can’t marry an animal or a vampire or a video game character.
This brings me to two questions:
1. Does the mayor really think that “marry your video-game” will attract more tourists or will make Guam a more respectable country?
2. How crazy can a gamer be about gaming? What could possibly be so wrong about real women that a guy would rather be in a relationship with a machine? Perhaps nowadays people don’t know how to communicate effectively across genders?
See, at least Korea is also known for its rich culture, advanced educational system and spicy food. Of course, as someone once said, their national sport is still Starcraft, but they have so much more than that. On Guam’s tourism website, you’ll someday scroll down Things To Do and it will say : Sight see Guam, Enjoy the Crystal Beaches of Guam, Try Our Exotic Cuisine, Get Married to your Virtual Partner, and Drop your Nintendo Ds on your drink at a Sketchy Nightclub When You Realize That Your Fantasy of Marrying a Machine Sucks.
Don’t get me wrong, I am cool with gamers. Video games can be challenging and I understand they are rewarded for their performance by Operant Conditioning and are at the mercy of the release of chemicals that make them addicted to the game. But to me, this is just a sign that personal contact is becoming increasingly underrated.
I traveled twelve hours yesterday… was stuck in airports, as I jumped from portal to portal to get back to Panama for the Summer. I sketched while I thought about our Delta Airlines project and also how countries are so different from one another. I have now come up with news scenarios:
Guam – Place where you can marry Pac Man if you want.