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.
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.
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.
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
Misaki (princesschaos.xenno): Welcome to Yukaku Utsukushi Hana.
Grey Lupindo: This
(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?
(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?
(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.
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)
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?
(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
Grey Lupindo: Oh, I
see. Do you have clients here in SL?
(princesschaos.xenno): Hai/yes. Yes, but they are called patrons.
Grey Lupindo: Do Oiran have only one patron or more than
(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)
Yukaku has 27 patrons.
Grey Lupindo: How many Oiran live here?
(princesschaos.xenno): Right now
I am the only Oiran, and I have 1 kamuro named Chieko Chan.
Grey Lupindo: What
does kamuro mean?
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
(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.
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.
Grey Lupindo: Do you go to Edo a lot?
(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?
(princesschaos.xenno): No, I am
not part of RP there.
Grey Lupindo: Would
you train other Oiran?
(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?
(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?
(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?
(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
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.