Ashemi: an Oriental reprise in Second Life

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise – click any image for full size

Almost two years ago, we visited Ashemi, the second Oriental-themed region we’d explored that has been designed by the team of Ime Poplin and Jay Poplin (Jayshamime) and Shaman Nitely. Along with Imesha, it offered a gorgeous setting which quite captivated me on visiting both. Sadly, Ashemi disappeared from the grid a while ago – so when I heard via Shakespeare and Max it is now back, we had to jump over and take a look.

Now located on a full region and taking the form of Ashemi Reprise, this cityscape environment is once again an absolute delight to witness. As with Ashemi (which you can read about here), the new region – open just four days at the time of our visit, presents a dusk setting (although given the Sun is in the east, it could be early morning, depending on your preference). I did opt to go with a late afternoon windlight setting for some of the images here, just to offer a little contrast, but I do recommend seeing the region under its default, as a lot of effort has gone into creating an atmospheric experience. Good use is made of projected lighting, so having Advanced Lighting Model (Preferences > Graphics) enabled is an essential part of a visit.

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

Several motifs from Ashemi’s previous incarnation are apparent in the build: the use of water in a central open area, the smooth merging of region with its surrounding backdrop, some of the statues and decoration, the placement of quiet little places, and the attention to detail. But make no mistake, this is a new design, offering a lot of extra detail and a rich mix of settings, the design sufficiently different to the original that it is easy to imagine that this is another district within the same city as the original Ashemi.

Broadly Japanese in its overall styling, Ashemi Repise includes touches from all over the orient and Asia. Those who remember the original will instantly recognise the tall Indonesian style statue watching over the central park / water area, while in the south-east corner, Ganesh sits in a smaller park, while tuk-tuks are to be found throughout.

We’re not afraid of mixing things. I think that makes it a bit more personal. Some small items scattered around that you wouldn’t expect.

– Ime Poplin, discussing Ashemi Reprise

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

From the landing point, a wooden deck just off the centre of the region in the parkland / open water area, visitors are immediately faced with a choice of routes: explore the park and water front and work out to the surrounding streets, or follow the multiple paths through the park and over the water to see what they might find? Personally, I suggest the latter, as this – to me – shows the depth of the region’s design, and allows the details to become more apparent. Dragons guard a Torii gate marking the way from the landing point to the park – and thence to the rest of the region.

To the south, a grassy route under trees rich in blossom leads to the water’s edge where a small pavilion sits at the end of the wooden walkway, candle-lit lanterns floating on the water around it. Another path points west, to where a series of small traditionally styled Japanese houses sit with little gardens, before connecting with the western side of the region. Also to the west, and connected to the houses and their gardens, is a larger pavilion, reached by a stone bridge. But really, to describe all of this area would be to spoil it: this is a place deserving of eyes-on exploration, following the paths and bridges and discovering all seating areas, platforms, shrines little market stalls and more, broken up into little islets under trees and edged by rocks.

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

Surrounding the central space is a square of roads mixed with low-rise buildings whose looks are suggestive of age, giving the setting a feeling of being an outlying, older district of a city, perhaps almost forgotten by the more distant skyscrapers and high-rise blocks, with their glowing windows and promise of big city life. The fact that this is a careworn place, lacking in attention is perhaps indicated on the southern side of the region, where a partially collapsed overpass can be found. Possibly the result of an earthquake, it has remained without repair long enough for an open-air theatre company to set themselves up amidst the remnants of the elevated road, which itself has become a place for advertising hoardings.

A market environment curls around the east and south sides of the region, sitting between water and the tired buildings lining the streets. It passes Ganesh in his little park, passing from under the flashing sign for China’s famous Tsingtao beer (fun fact: the Tsingtao brewery was founded by a group of German brewers in 1903, whilst under the ownership The Anglo-German Brewery Co. Ltd, but passed to Japanese ownership in 1916 before becoming wholly owned by the Chinese), to a construction site over on the west side, where a broad road points a straight finer to the fun fair that has shouldered its way into the setting.

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

The attention to detail in several forms, not just visually (although do keep an eye out for the fat little Kermit taking a break in his explorations to a café, for example 🙂 ); extraordinary care has been taken with local sounds. In the market place are the sounds of commerce, for example, and around the warehouses are the sounds of people at work; while music plays in the fun fair and, if you pass a caravan on the back streets you might hear Jan Hammer’s Crocket’s Theme fade in and out as you walk by.

These back streets and alleys are another reason for the region’s sheer depth. They allow the seamless blending with off-sim buildings and scenes which in turn help blend the setting with the sim surround. So well done is this blending, it is very easy to find yourself bouncing off the region boundary and you explore, as the off-region areas look so natural.

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

It is a delight to see Ashemi return to Second Life and take advantage of a full region, complete with the additional 10K LI. Due to appear in the Destination Guide soon, this is definitely not a region to be missed – and I strongly recommend allowing a good amount of time to explore it fully. Should you appreciate your visit, do please consider offering a donation towards Ashemi Reprise continued presence in Second Life.

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