Saturday, March 17, 2012

Nowaki Notes – Another Walk in the Neighborhood

                                   Don’t buy the house, buy the neighborhood.

Russian Proverb

After my excursion to a nudist pool party last week, I thought I’d try something a little tamer this week.  So, I decided to return to my Second Life (SL) neighborhood, Nowaki, for another look around. 

This will be part of my ongoing series, Nowaki Notes, which I decided to do after my last walkabout in the neighborhood.  I want to see if I can discover a sense of community where I reside in SL.  The mini-map shows green dots out there all the time when I’m home.  Why not go out and meet the neighbors?  (Assuming, of course, they want to meet me.)

Now, for whatever reason I don’t know, the night I decide to walk around Nowaki, no green dots, er, excuse me, neighbors are about.  I don’t let this deter me.  (I can’t afford to, I don’t have any other stories ready to be posted.) 

I leave my home and step out into Nowaki. At first glance, several stylized trees are right outside.  The original scripter seems to have been influenced by Japanese themes.  One tree has bonsai influences and another is a cherry blossom tree which is always in bloom.  (One of these days, Linden Lab (LL) is going to have to do something about making seasonality easier.) 

The problem becomes as I walk away from my residence is that the entire neighborhood is just a recursive rendering of itself almost like a fractal.  Nothing wrong with this, the effect is like a Hanna-Barbera cartoon where the background continuously repeats in an endless loop. (Anyone remember the Flintstones’ never ending living room?)

However, my becoming lost in Nowaki is a fairly common occurrence.  There are no street signs and the buildings are not numbered.  Some of my neighbors have added their own personalized touches to their homes a la Ikea.  This clashes with the Japanese design motif but does provide me with some landmarks.  I’d rather not think about what’s inside those homes.  But, who am I to talk, my place is still empty.  Still, maybe I should talk with the neighbors about a homeowners association. (The guy growing grass on his wooden deck deserves some sort of prize.) 

There are no streets or roads in Nowaki, only park like paths that wander among the groups of houses.  As usual, I get lost and have to TP back to my house and start out again. 

Ahead of me on the mini-map appears a green dot, sorry, neighbor.  I walk over and announce myself and ask if I could ask a few questions.  Green dot (neighbor) promptly blinks out.  Maybe it’s my tone of voice?  I think SL would be a lot better of all homes had either door bells or knockers.  (Glorf Bulmer builds and sells the former, check them out!) 

Finally, I come across a neighbor, Iasan OKelly, who besides being home will actually talk to me.  (Although, the truth be told, I crossed over into the next neighborhood, Inazuma.)  I ask why he chose this home in this neighborhood.  Iasan replies he liked the look of the Japanese themed home.  The neighborhood just came with the package. 

Iasan doesn’t go out much in the neighborhood or have dealings with his neighbors.  He has the home for the privacy it affords and for a place to entertain. I thank Iasan for his time and move on. 

Actually, I return home.  Without neighbors around, I found myself just walking in circles around Nowaki and sometimes wandering into the next neighborhood.  But, to what purpose? 

Unlike some sims, where even without residents, there’s a lot to do and see, Nowaki is essentially a bedroom suburb within SL.  As in most major cities in Real Life (RL), SL has communities where people retire to recharge, be alone, entertain friends, and do whatever it is people do in the privacy of their homes.  Nowaki is one of these. 

I’m still looking for the Nowaki “community”.  I’m not sure it’s aware of itself yet. I’ve met wonderful individuals here but I don’t see the block party being organized yet. 

My reasons for coming to Nowaki are similar to Iasan’s and I suspect to other residents there.  I liked the house so the neighborhood followed.  Why did I need a house?  I needed privacy for my work.  (Changing clothes and experimenting with body parts in the bushes gets old fast.)  Finally, someday I hope to entertain in my SL home.  (Which means I have to decorate it this one may take a while.)

I’ve been to RL cities where the residents withdraw into their apartments at the end of the workday and as we say in this country, they pull the sidewalks in at night.  Other RL cities just never stop.  SL is like that in many respects.  I’m not sure yet why some places inworld are popular and active and others aren’t.

I’ll write Nowaki Notes from time to time as I wander about and meet the neighbors.  (Or, until the neighbors get tired of me and vote me off the island.) 

This walk around Nowaki keeps bringing me back to my hunch that SL is all about the people.  Sims and prims are all well and good but people are necessary to build a community and to enjoy that community.

I’d like to thank Iasan Kelly for stopping what he was doing when a stranger called out to him from outside his home.  I appreciate his time and candor.

As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 1: My Neighborhood

Photo No. 2: The Neighbor’s Place I

Photo No. 3: The Neighbor’s Place II

Photo No. 4: Nowaki Seashore at Night

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