Sakura Tales in Second Life

Neverending – Sakura Tales

One of the most familiar symbols associated with springtime is the cherry blossom, or sakura. In Japan, it is seen as both a sign of the end of the bleaker times of winter and also – in China at least – a time of renewal and also a life’s ephemerality.

I mention this because I recently took the opportunity to visit Neverending – Sakura Tales, the latest setting designed by Jayden Mercury and Valarie (Zalindah), a multi-faceted setting occupying a Homestead region that stands as a celebration of the sakura.

Neverending – Sakura Tales

Both Jayden and Valarie have a talent for designing settings that wrap a story within them – as can be seen with Adventures In Mad Wonderland, a location I wrote about at the beginning of 2021. Similarly, Valarie has been responsible for regions that both rich in narrative (see: Kintsugi: spiritual beauty and renewal in Second Life) and also with whimsy and nature (see: The charming whimsy of a Lightning Bolt in Second Life).

The story of the lost artist and poet Jay continued. He sat in front of his trailer at Mad Wonderland, thinking again of his life, grabbing his magical paper and pen, and started to draw again and a phoenix appeared. He knew he had to go and leave Mad Wonderland. He packed his stuff, his magical pen, and papers, went to say goodbye to his new friend, the Mad Hatter, who hugged him tight whispering: ´We will meet again in the future, my friend.’

– from the landing point at Neverending – Sakura Tales

Neverending – Sakura Tales

Within Neverending – Sakura Tales, Valarie and Jayden once again present an engaging setting that both embraces the full symbolism of the cherry blossom – renewal and  the celebration of life – together with elements than offer reflections of both Kintsugi and Lightning Bolt whilst also presenting a continuing of the narrative found within Adventures of a Mad Wonderland – just follow the clues for the story unfold.

The artist nodded, sighed, and joined the little boat. Excited to find out where the phoenix would guide him through the sea of Neverending, he sat and started to draw on his papers. Some flowers and trees popped up in his mind and on the horizon, he could see Sakura Tales – the new adventure of his story began….

– from the landing point at Neverending – Sakura Tales

Neverending – Sakura Tales

From the landing point, visitors are encouraged to seek out these clues whilst exploring land cut through by water, heavy with cherry blossom that shade grasslands awash with the colour of flowers. This is land with a distinctly Japanese in tone – not just because of the sakura, but in details large and small: from pagodas and Shinto shrines to lanterns, torii gates dragons and more.

The echoes of Kintsugi and Lightning Bolt can be found through a variety of touches- the mix of distinct highlands and lowlands, the use of water, and so on, whilst the cabin at the landing point carries a neat reference to Mad Wonderland. There are also numerous places across the region where visitors can sit and spend time, some of which are the stuff of dreams  – lying among the clouds.

Neverending – Sakura Tales

Whether it is by accident or design – I have no idea which it might be, but I suspect the former – Neverending – Sakura Tales also put me in mind of an iteration of the region, back when it was held by Amelie Knelstrom.

Back then it was called Neverending – Pigeon Island, and whilst it did not have any overt Japanese elements, it offered a spring-like setting rich in colour and cut by water in much the same way as Sakura Tales (see: Of pigeons and a Meaningless wander for more on that design). Thus, I couldn’t help but see something of a spiritual connection between these two very different designs.

Neverending – Sakura Tales

Restful, rich in detail and with plenty to discover, Neverending – Sakura Tales makes for a rewarding visit.

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