Friday, November 30, 2012

Two Women of Edo Japan

By Grey Lupindo

Last week I time-traveled to historic Japan at Japan Chubu (57, 253, 23).   It is a perfect place to learn about Japanese history and have fun, too.    The sim is set in the Edo era, approximately 1600 to 1800 A.D., when shoguns and samurai flourished.     Japan Chubu is a role play sim, but residents who aren’t into RP can visit to simply relax in a beautiful, tranquil setting.   The area includes a Japanese castle, temple, village, and other structures, many of which are replicas of real-life Japanese architecture.  
      Upon arrival I found a box of free items, including traditional clothes for both men and women.   In order to keep the authentic feel of the sim, everyone is asked to dress in traditional outfits.  I quickly changed clothes and returned.
       At the landing point is the Edo Bridge.  Festive Japanese lanterns float in the river and made me feel calm and serene.   I decided to walk into the village and explore it first.  As in real-life, geisha houses (Okiya), rickshaws, and samurai can be found here.   There are sampans available, too, so that the sim can be explored by water. 
         In the village there are lots of walkways and alleys to explore.   Many of the shops were empty, but the sim is actively recruiting merchants who can offer items that will fit in with the time and history of this era. 
      I walked into what I thought was a traditional tea house and had a cup of Tao red tea.   Later I found that I had wandered into the in Shiraito-no-Taki Hanamachi Geisha district.   The group is named for a real life waterfall, White Treads Waterfalls, located near Mount Fuji in one of Japan’s national parks.
         There are two Geisha houses which both perform and teach classes relating to Japan.  The Otonashi Okiya is set in the Edo period, while the Otodome Okiya is located on a different sim and set in modern time.     Some of the classes offered are Japanese history, Kitsuke (kimonos), Hogaku (Japanese music), Shodō (calligraphy), Ikebana (flower arrangement), and many others.   One can also learn to be a Geisha, and information is available at the sim.
         As with many Japanese sites, much of the attention is focused on the Samurai.  At one point I received a notecard asking if I was interested in joining the Keibatsu Samurai Clan.   According to their notecard, the Keibatsu Samurai practice Bushidō, "Way of the Warrior".    Although Samurai are interesting, they are only part of the culture of the era.   During my visits I met two women who are representative different classes that existed within Edo Japan.  
       I met 真由美 (mayumi.juriya), who is a maid in a Samurai’s house.    Mayumi was very polite and bowed humbly when we met.    I was very interested in her life, and she graciously answered my questions.  She described the Samurai that she works for as “a kind, honorable man” who has “high standards”.   She said the work was hard, but she has a place to live and is grateful for that.  I asked her whether she planned to stay as a maid or move into a different position.   真由美 (mayumi.juriya) said, “Well, I'm not sure at the moment. Of course, I'd like to be independent someday.   Maybe work in a shop or a tea house.  Have my own machiya.”     A machiya, I learned, is a traditional townhouse.  Unfortunately  we were interrupted by another visitor before I could ask her any more questions.          
        The other woman I met was Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno).  Misaki is the head Oiran at Yukaku Utsukushi Hana.    Unlike the shy maid, Misaki was very outgoing.  She wears beautiful gowns, her hair and make-up look perfect, and she lives and works in a beautiful home, located at Yukaku Utsukushi Hana, Aosagi (96, 77, 22).    We met in one of the shops.  Although she doesn’t live at Chubu Japan, she visits it often.   
       Misaki invited me to her home where we could talk.   Her lands are public, and she invites residents to visit and enjoy her garden and surroundings.     She graciously invited me to have tea or sake, but since I was working, I politely refused.   Below are some of the highlights of our discussion.   
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Welcome to Yukaku Utsukushi Hana.
Grey Lupindo:   This is lovely.
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Arigatou/ Thank you
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Please take off shoes if you have any on.
Grey Lupindo:   I have sandals that I got at Edo.  Should those come off?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Hai/Yes.  Yes, if you can.
Grey Lupindo:   Can you tell me a little about what you do here in SL? How you got involved?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno): Hai/yes.   Well, here in SL, I am the head Oiran at Yukaku Utsukushi Hana.  As head Oiran I go out and tell people about my Yukaku.   I also try to find girls who would like to train here, and I entertain patrons. 
Grey Lupindo:   How is this connected to Edo?
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):    Oiran are from the Edo period and were around way before geisha even existed.   People would come from far and wide to get pleasured by an Oiran and to see their arts, such as playing music and doing traditional  Japanese dancing.  ... Oiran were trained in how to dance, talk, and play Japanese instruments.  They wore the finest clothing from the time.   Oiran lived in big, beautifully designed houses called Yukaku.
Grey Lupindo:   Ah, like this one.
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   The Yukaku were inside of places called Pleasure Quarters.   The Oiran could not leave these places unless brought out by a client.    Because this is SL, we do not make you stay here 24/7.
Grey Lupindo: That's good. (smile)
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Geisha lived in houses called Okiya.   They were allowed to leave and come back to live.  The Okiya also were not in places of pleasure.
Grey Lupindo: Were they both during the same time period?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):  No and Yes.   When Geisha first emerged, the main thing that they did was perform for the Oiran's clients.   But... (later)... the Oiran learned the arts as well.
Grey Lupindo:   Oh, I see.    Do you have clients here in SL?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Hai/yes.   Yes, but they are called patrons.
 Grey Lupindo:   Do Oiran have only one patron or more than that?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Well, patrons are just people who come to the yukaku for services or they come for events and to support the yukaku.  So I have something like 30 patrons, I think.
Grey Lupindo:  It sounds like you are very popular.  (smile)
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):  This Yukaku has 27 patrons.
Grey Lupindo: How many Oiran live here?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):  Right now I am the only Oiran, and I have 1 kamuro named Chieko Chan.
Grey Lupindo:  What does kamuro mean?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Kamuro are child attendants here at the Yukaku.    They learn the arts and other things that they need to know. 
Grey Lupindo:   I see. Do you play musical instruments here or sing? You mentioned the arts.
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   I play musical instruments and talk to patrons.  I pour them sake and tea.   I dance for them, and if they want sexual services I do that as well.
Grey Lupindo: How long have you been an Oiran here in SL?
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   A  couple of months.   I trained at 2 Yukaku before I opened my own.   
Grey Lupindo: What do you like best about being an Oiran?
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Hmmm.  That is a hard question.   I would have to say entertaining patrons and, of course, the fashions.
Grey Lupindo: Can you tell me a little about your beautiful outfit?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):  Hai/yes.   My hair style is the traditional Japanese hairstyle called Yokohyogo.   Yokohyogo is mainly only worn by oiran.  My skin is the Ukiyo Nightingale Oiran skin.
Grey Lupindo: Very nice.
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   My kimono is from a dear friend.   She owns a store called Sugary Burikko.   The kimono is called Oiran Shirotsuki kimono.
Grey Lupindo: It is lovely.
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   The shoes I always wear are called Koma geta or Taka geta.  They are 5 inches high.   Geta are worn by oiran and never worn with tabi.  Oiran do not wear tabi.
       At this point I looked to see if the socks I had received at Edo were Tabi, the traditional Japanese socks that are ankle-high, with a separation between the big toe and other toes.   Tabi are worn by both men and women, but I’m not sure they fit foxettes.  I couldn’t see my toes, but I nevertheless tucked them further under my kimono.     
       While I was checking my clothing, Misaki was looking in her inventory.
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   I gave you a picture of a RL Oiran.
Grey Lupindo: Thank you.   Reminds me of Shogun.
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno): Hai/yes.  You’re welcome.
Grey Lupindo: Do you go to Edo a lot?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):  Yes, I do go to Hosai Mura a lot.   I like it there, and the people are very nice.
Grey Lupindo:   Are you part of the RP there?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   No, I am not part of RP there.
Grey Lupindo:   Would you train other Oiran?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Hai/yes.  I do now.  I have a kamuro.    The ranks go kamuro, shinzo, oiran.
Grey Lupindo:   How long will it take your kamuro to move to shinzo?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   It is all about the girls.   The sooner they train and catch on and learn, the sooner they move up.
Grey Lupindo:   Does she live here?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Well, she comes here to train so she kind of lives here.   I am not here a lot myself.
Grey Lupindo: Have you ever had any problem with a patron getting mean or abusive?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   No, not patrons.  But I have had issues with people calling me a whore, telling me oiran means whore.   But Oiran-- the word itself means first flower.   And this is SL so I do not know where people get these things from.
Grey Lupindo: Yes, most people are nice, but there are a few...
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):  Hai/yes.
         Unfortunately I soon had to leave SL and the historic Edo period.    I found both Misaki and Mayumi to be interesting women who represent different lifestyles within historic Japanese culture.        

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Off the Beaten Track – Two Places to Go to Talk or Meditate

By DrFran Babcock

We all know that being in Second Life is like pouring "Miracle-Gro" ® on your emotions. Things can get intense very quickly. Where do you go when you need to be alone, or to talk it out with someone?

I am going to share two less known places with you. Everyone knows the top romance spots, such as those listed in the Destination Guide ( There are 59 listings in the Romantic Places section, and if you go to most of them, you will not be alone. If you want an environment that supports dialogue or solitude, come with me. My bias for original mainland will be apparent in this article, but I write so that I can share my bias.

Solitude Bluff ( ) – an ideal place for two to talk.

One of my oldest friends in Second Life introduced me to Solitude Bluff in 2007. This is not a place with the bells and whistles most of us expect in a virtual world. Instead, you will find two deck chairs, a deck, views of the water in front and in back (it is a bluff), and remarkably not a sculpt or mesh in sight. A few Library plants dot the horizon. This is not a very promising set-up until you need to use it. If you have to have a heart-to-heart, or you want to sit with a friend and console him or her, this is the place to go. Take a deck chair, have your companion take the other, and let the conversation begin. Slowly, subtly, as the sun rises or sets, and you begin to notice the sound of the waves crashing on the shore and the birds chirping, your heartbeat will slow. You will be free to concentrate on typing or talking, and your problems will start to be sorted out.

Solitude Bluff is the work of Lazarus Marat, a resident who joined SL on October 8th, 2005. I have never seen him around in world, nor have I ever gone to Solitude Bluff and found that there were others about. It is where I go when I need to think, to talk to a friend, or just to let the sound of the waves calm me down. Check it out when you need a place where the words you are saying are more important than anything else.

The Caves on Ethereal Teal ( )

The Second Life color sims came online in 2003, on the original continent of Sansara. Over the past nine years, they have experienced a lot of change. The sim of Teal was originally the site of a large amphitheater where Philip Linden would hold crash-inducing Town Hall meetings that were starting to be phased out when I was rezzed. A resident who has been around since 2004 now administers most of Teal: Jopsy Pendragon. Jopsy oversees the famous Particle Laboratory, and breathtaking Cloud Chateau—a stunning demonstration of what the particle system can do.

In my opinion, the best part about Jopsy is his continued enthusiasm for Second Life demonstrated by his response to my query about the caves on Teal: “…I keep thinking of all the things I still want to do with them.”

I use the caves when I have deep thinking to do. Generally, I go to a portion of the huge caverns from which I can see the waterfall, and sit along the edge of the underground stream. The caves are quite extensive, with lots of glowing crystal-like surprises, and hidden nooks. Of course, exploring with a companion is a great idea as well, but I love the dark and comforting feeling of the caves, the knowledge that I am sitting in the earliest parts of Second Life, and the safety that comes with my belief that they will be around for the years to come.

I realize that there are at least hundreds of thousands of hidden-away spots in Second Life, but I have shared with you two that I know and use. The SL Newser is always interested in your input. If you know of a hidden place (especially on the Mainland) that deserves a mention, please contact me: DrFran Babcock.

Happy exploring, and may you find peace of mind. Visit the Cloud Chateau: A demonstration of the things that particles can do: ( .

DrFran Babcock

Monday, November 26, 2012

Palestinian Propaganda Sim

By Bixyl Shuftan

 This month, events took a turn for the worst in the Middle East when rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Israel soon responded with air strikes, taking out military targets and a noted leader of the Hamas terrorist organization that effectively rules Gaza, while relying on the "Iron Dome" missile defense system to take out rockets headed to population centers. Eventually, a cease-fired was declared, with Hamas declaring victory despite Gaza taking most of the damage and casualties.
As it turns out, there's a sim in Second Life built to support the cause of militant Palestinians. Jordan River, named for the water that flows next to Israel, hosts a mosque, and a number of Palestinian flags and propaganda exhibits. Among the first things I saw after I ported in was over the wall was a prim fist in the air, black, white, green, and red, with wire around it and with the words "Third Palestinian Intifada." Much of the language was in Arabic script, but there was no shortage of English.

 The exhibitions offered a near-constant berating of the Israelis, or the "Zionists" as they called them. There were pictures showing scenes of Palestinians protesting, and some exhibits accusing the Israelis of brutality, calling them gangsters and terrorists, and one openly comparing them to Nazis. One exhibit showed and Israeli solder captive in a cage (Gilad Shalit), next to another showing various Western personalities making anti-Israeli statements, including White House Press Corp reporter Helen Thomas who was once caught on film saying that the Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine and go back to Germany, Poland,"Another showed several bodies shrouded in Palestinian flags. One exhibit appeared to be of the first Gaza comflict, in which case the Israelis quickly responded to rocket attacks by sending in ground troops. The goal listed by the place was shown on maps: the end of the Israeli state by 2025.

Jordan River is not a new sim. "New World Notes" and "In a Strange Land" wrote on the place in July 2010. In the later, writer Iggy O had a few words with one of the men behind the sim, Lord Ansar. Ansar defended his actions, "I like Mojaideen, I support them even with my look." He stated then "if Lindens ask me to remove a specific thing, I will do." Hamlet called it a sim with "most extreme forms of expression."

Next to Jordan River is another Arabic sim, but this one didn't seem to have any propaganda on it. What it did have was a few games, a dance floor, and a number of pet breedable fennecs.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving at Areo Pines Park

By Bixyl Shuftan

Areo Pines Park and Recreation Area has been holding special events every month this fall. September had a somber event, a Stairclimb tribute to the New York firefighters of Sept. 11th. For October, it was Halloween, with a number of spooky happenings across the several sims. And this November, it's Thanksgiving's turn, with the Areo Pines Sixth Annual Thanksgiving Pow Wow.

"All Nations and Tribes Welcome!" proclaimed a notecard passed around before the event, "Suggested Attire: Colonial, Pilgrim, Native American, North American Wildlife Avatar, etc. Turkeys and other fowl attend at their own risk! Warning:   This party has been too much fun in the past, so please celebrate and party responsibly!"

The Pow Wow began with a big party on Friday November 16th. Arriving on the scene, most everyone was dressed up either in Indian or Pilgrim outfits, and dancing around a large bonfire. People were having a good time, cracking "paleface" jokes, with the DJ in a chief's headdress. All around, a number of teepees and Indian lodges had been set up. There were also vendors nearby where one could get an Indian or Pilgrim outfit. And of course a table set up with a huge Thanksgiving feast for anyone seated.

Besides the dancing around, there were birchbark canoes at the riverbank. One could board one and take it around the rivers of the park. The part itself has been given an autumn look, with trees leaves having yellowed and reddened, patches of grass and stretches of trails covered with the leaves, and of course the sign of the leaves fluttering down to the ground. The natural scenery was quite beautiful.

For covering the trails, one could do it on foot, or on horseback. Not too far away was a horse rezzer. By mounting it, one received a HUD and a horse. To ride, one detaches one's AO, then wears (or adds) the HUD and steed. After pressing the synchronize button, you're ready to trot. But if you already have your own mount, such as an Amaretto, that's fine too.

The Pow Wow itself is scheduled to go on until the 25th, with Areo Pine's Annual Turkey Shoot sometime during the event. Cindy Bolero, the park's director, told me that it would be a good idea for people to come by and enjoy the autumn colors while they can. After the Pow Wow, a cold front's scheduled to arrive, and bringing snow just in time for the Christmas season.

Equus (18, 241, 22)

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Racers Island Raceways

By Grease Coakes

Chances are you may have seen one of the Fast and Furious movies starring Vin Diesel with those sports cars going hundreds of miles per hour in those breath taking races and car chase scenes. Well in Second Life you may not be able to physically touch one of those epic sports cars. However you can come close by checking out Racers Island and drive around one of their 15 raceways. When I bought my retro car from the Bay City car show, I found Racers Island through a Second Life search under raceways.  One of the first things they struck me when I teleported to the sim for the first time was the radio stream was a drum and bass station always playing drum and bass. It certainly pumps your blood to get your mind and body in a racing mood. The website plays a variety of all genres of drum and bass from jazz to scary.

15 raceways? That’s a lot! Eddie Mathieson the creator and owner of Racers Island might agree with you. But his passion for cars and racing inspired him to over time buy and rent a sim totally dedicated to racing. Not just for stock cars, but motorcycles and even a human race too! The 15 raceways are skyline, Sunset short and long, Stock car Oval, Nitro, Streamline, Oasis, Garage, Timberline, a demolition Derby area. The other tracks are Yuni wacky world which looks a lot like a Mario kart raceway. Yuni Battle Royal, Sunrise, and my favorite track the Tokyo Drift. Each of the racing tracks are built very well and crafted after real life racing tracks.
Eddie who has experience in real life with 3d graphics on computers came to Second Life and created Racers Island in the spring of 2007 a little before my newbie self was born in SL. His Racers Island has been around a long time. Over time he has developed new cars and new raceways. As part of the raceways, he has professional stock car races on his sim. Anyone can enter so long as they have the right stock car costing 1,500L. There’s also a demolition derby if you want to destroy instead of drive around. The scripted junk car is all of a mere 100L. The demolition derby is held 6pm SL every Saturday and hosted by Racers Island’s manager Nella Boccara.  There’s a pot where everyone who wants to participate chips in 20L. Then as she announces over voice chat 3…2…1! Smash 'em Bash 'em! Do as she exclaims and destroy the other cars by driving and ramming the other cars.
Thinking like a fox I thought it would be best to avoid damage if possible and let the other cars kill each other. This backfired against me however. When I don’t take damage or hit another car in a set period of time, my car will overheat and then I take double damage when I get hit. I then realized it’s better to seek and destroy and quickly as possible instead. Racers Island added that script to the demolition derby cars after realizing someone was always winning by avoiding damage.  I played 10 or more times and won twice winning the pot. Being competitive I grumbled when I lost but I still had good natured fun playing over and over again. It was fun to see my fox avatar jump out from a wrecked car. At and towards the end of each demo derby car parts were strewn all over the area. They slowed down your car getting in your way adding realism to the mayhem. 
When I talked to Eddie himself he said that Nella was his favorite manager. Using the TV show “Star Trek the Next Generation” I said Nella was Commander Riker and Eddie was Captain Picard. In fact Nella was voted “Best Race Manager of the Year: Nella Boccarra” as posted on the Racers Island website. Eddie laughed and agreed that I said a good analogy to the management relationship between himself and Nella.
I asked what stood out about the stock created for their races. David Wetherby named Rookie of the year suggested I try out one of the demo stock cars. I found one on the sunset track. The Maximum speed was higher and the demo stock car was much easier to control. Instead of crashing into the walls I was making smooth turns. The car I purchased is an excellent car make no mistake. But the stock car demo I tried out is much better suited for a professional race.
One of the things Eddie mentioned was that his racing sim was welcoming to lady drivers. He didn’t point a finger at any racing sim in particular, but he mentioned other racing Sims didn’t give lady drivers a warm welcome. In fact he mentioned a lot of the people who hang out at Racers Island were women.
On Monday evening I was invited to come practice with David Wetherby and Wildrose Bijuox. David was very skilled indeed as Eddie said next year he might be champ. Using the demo car David was way ahead of me and same with Wildrose as they were veteran drivers. I got a good feel of what a race would be like. It seemed like a real life race like you would see on TV or live at a race track.
It’s always fun to experience something new in Second Life land. The Racers Island raceway that I stumbled on a couple months ago was certainly a fun place. It’s filled with lively people and great tracks just let loose and drive around. One thing about this sim is that it costs zero gas. Anytime I bump into a wall by accident I don’t risk a life threatening injury. Just using the demo car or any vehicle you may have bought from their mall or elsewhere I highly recommend cruising around on one their raceways.
If you want a new place to explore and experience check out Racers Island Raceways. Who knows you could become the new champ or rookie of the year.
Racers Island Raceways is located at Racers Island (24, 41, 811). There's also a Racers Island Raceway blog at
Grease Coakes

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Burn2 Thoughts and Pictures

By Gemma Cleanslate

 Well it is over.

 The builds were great.

 The performers and parties were terrific.

 The builds will remain until 11:59 the 8th of November so you can still visit. 

 Some parcels will be hosting parties also.

Gemma Cleanslate