Wherever Jac Mornington builds, I follow. It’s an immutable law of Second Life. True, I may not be right behind him (fortunately for him!), and in following him, I may well be treading where others have trod ahead of me (because his builds are to SL photographers as magnets are to iron filings: an irresistible force). Nevertheless, wherever he builds, I will surely gravitate.
Now comes Yuki No Yume – A Dream of Snow. A homestead region, it presents to the visitor a winter scene of rural Japan, which is both simple in style and stunning in execution, with some marvellous attention to detail and lots of opportunities for the SL photographer.
The arrival point is located in the north-east corner of the region, atop a rocky outcrop, upon which sits the ruins of an old temple. with a forlorn bell, the rafters from which it was once suspended having long since split and collapsed, walls holed and partially boarded-up and with doors broken , one might think the temple deserted but for the lamp burning outside and the game of ban-sugoroku apparently in progress inside the temple shell.
A path winds its way down the side of the rock face and past a small shine, down a snow-covered slope to the temple gate. Here sits a small spring, doubtless a place where pilgrims travelling up to the temple would have once stopped to refresh themselves in warmer days before starting on the steep climb. Now the water is frozen, and the gate stands as the entrance to the rest of the region.
Three other buildings occupy the land; a hot spring bathhouse and two small, traditional houses, neither of which is used as a residence so visitors need have no fear of invading anyone’s privacy. All three sit amidst a snow-covered landscape of trees, rocky outcrops, winding paths, streams, waterfalls and lakes (both frozen and with open water), all arranged to create a very natural environment surrounded by tall mountains, so suggestive of a highland rural region in Japan.
Where the visitor goes from the temple gate is entirely up to their own muse; paths are available, but most of the region is open land, inviting people to wander where they will. There is plenty to occupy the eye here, both indoors and out, so it’s worth taking time in any exploratory and picture-snapping forays into Yuki No Yumi.
If you follow the stream up towards the waterfall, you’ll likely come across a group of Japanese macaques, otherwise known as snow monkeys, doing what they do best: sitting in a hot spring bath as the snow falls around them. Elsewhere, deer take advantage of an overturned crate of apples, seals sit on a snow-covered sand bank, apparently wondering who the hell has been messing the with water to make it solid, and red-crown cranes dance upon the partially frozen lake; all of which make for some excellent photograph opportunities.
Step into one of the houses, and you’ll find an opportunity to play a hand of Hanafuda (koi koi), listen to music on an old gramophone, sit and warm yourself by an open fire, enjoy a cup of tea or rest for a while on a bed – assume the fox and rabbit will allow you!
This really is another wonderful build from Jac and his partner, Rie Silverfall, one which is every bit worth the time taken to visit as his other in-world creations. For those who like taking photographs of the places they visit, there is also a Flickr group where images of Yuki No Yumi can be shared.
And as I mentioned Japanese macaques earlier, here’s little film of them in real life :).