spent a fair bit of time in Japan in Real Life (RL) for a variety of reasons,
(Significant Other is still impressed that I neither got lost nor impaired
Japanese-American relations.Truth be
told, I’m kinda impressed myself!)I had
something to compare this sim to and I must say I came away very impressed by
its lifelike feel.
story, I’ll take you to this sim and describe it to you.Those of you who are also familiar with Japan
can keep me honest and, hopefully all of you my dear readers will take some
time to visit.
The sim is
called Miyagawacho and can be reached by rezzing
here.It is based on a section of RL Kyoto the
ancient capital of Japan prior to Tokyo and is considered to be the heart and
soul of Japanese culture by many.
RL, I haven’t been to Kyoto but I’ve been to much of Tokyo and the northern
part of the main island Honshu.(Long
story about my wanderings across Japan and meet me inworld sometime and I’ll
give you the lowdown.)
into town leaves me in front of the geisha house on a typical street in a
Japanese small town.Low storied
buildings line both sides of the street.Looking down one end a large temple looms.Looking the other way I see a T-intersection
and head that way.(Maybe it’s Robert Frost’s
influence but I’ve always been attracted to forks in the road.)
down the street, the building style is what one sees away from Tokyo or in its
outlying districts.Sliding panels serve
as entrances to buildings.Signs are in
Japanese characters (naturally).Lanterns hang from buildings.Colorful
hang in doorways.
is incredible as is the color.Bus
stops, mail boxes, and vending machines line the streets.Street signs are authentic and right where I
expect them to be.The effect is almost
photographic but it’s not.Somebody very
skilled scripted all this.
layout is not one of those typical SL bland street scenes.Streets are narrow as in RL.The pavement brings back memories of strolls
around Japan.I can’t even read the
posters on the walls as when I was there!(I really appreciate it when folks go out of their way to make me feel
at home!)Bicycles are parked
realism extends to the small shops along the street.These are not the usual SL fare peddling
cyber-stuff but attempts at RL businesses like the shaved ice store across from
the geisha house. Other shops offer typical merchandise.
off the main street that I’m on are smaller ones and alleyways.One leads to the countryside and then to a
river bank where floating lanterns drift by.The folks behind this sim have definitely done their homework!
to the main street, I reach the intersection and turn left.
me to an onsen, or
hot spring. Going inside, I’m in the common area which leads to the men’s and
women’s sections.(This isn’t another
type of sim so get your mind out of the gutter.)The men’s has the traditional layout. A
preparation outside of the baths.The
actual hot springs are in the rear of the building.
walk along the street leading from the onsen.I pass a small street shrine and enter a Zen garden at the end of the
street.(This looks like a good
candidate for my Great
Gardens of Second Life series.)
I return to the main street and stroll down to the large temple at the
end.I go inside and am reminded of
similar visits to temples in Japan and Asia that I made in RL.(Not to worry, I respect all places of
worship not only my own churches and have not been thrown out.I know a few clergy who are going to breathe
a collective sigh of relief with this one.Significant Other doesn’t worry on this score, knowing my respect for
anything bigger than me especially when I don’t understand it.)
brings me to the end of my tour for now. There’s a lot more to see.
impresses me most about Miyagawacho is the faithfulness to detail including
scale.There is a closeness about the
sim which can only be appreciated if one has walked the highways and byways of
outlying districts, small towns and villages of Japan.
that is haunting about this sim is that I never meet anyone on its
streets.There is a ghost town
affect.Sadly, I’m reminded of the
images of the area surrounding the Fukushima disaster site.(I don’t say this to be flip.In RL, I have many Japanese friends and have
spent too many hours with them watching the aftereffects of the 3/11
tragedy on NHK.)
completeness is another example of its high quality.There are no unused open spaces as in other
sims.What one would expect to see in a
small Japanese town is there.A good
Japanese friend of mine shouldered surfed for part of my walkabout and was very
impressed by the quality and attention to detail.
I can give
a strong recommendation to visit Miyagawacho to anyone interested in seeing a
snapshot of Japanese life or what a highly realistic sim can be inworld.
residents who live the geisha lifestyle there have a very high standard of behavior
and do not consider themselves to be roleplayers.
yourselves, and maybe you’ll see me wandering about!
like to thank my friend and maiko, Kikuyumi
(“Yumi” for short.) for taking me on my first tour of the town.
I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk
with a stranger who was passing through their lives.
included some pictures from walk through Miyagawacho.However, these do not do the originals
justice.Please go and see this sim for
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