Monday, August 03, 2009

Phenomenon - Love in 2-D -

Nisan told me that not long ago he had a real girlfriend, but that she dumped him. He carries Nemutan almost everywhere he goes, though he is more self-conscious about it than he may seem at first. “Some people don’t find this funny,” he said, “and it also takes up a lot of room.” He treats her the way any decent man would treat a girlfriend — he takes her out on the weekends to sing karaoke or take purikura, photo-booth pictures imprinted on a sheet of tiny stickers. In the few hours we spent together, I watched him position her gently in the restaurant booth and later in the back seat of his car, making sure to keep her upright and not to touch her private parts. He doesn’t take her to work, but he has a backup body pillow with the same Nemutan cover inside his desk drawer in case he has to work late at his tech-support job. “She’s great for falling asleep with on an office chair.” Nisan has seven Nemutan covers in total — he buys them at Internet auctions and at fan conventions whenever he finds a good deal (he paid $70 for the original). If one gets too faded and dirty from overuse, he layers a new one over it. On the day that I first met Nisan and Nemutan, Nisan was carrying a new Nemutan cover in his bag in case she needed to look fresh for a photograph. He knows it’s weird for a grown man to be so obsessed with a video-game character, but he just can’t imagine life without Nemutan. “When I die, I want to be buried with her in my arms.”