The Tranquil Beauty of Oshu in Second Life

Oshu, November 2022 – click any image for full size

It’s fairly well established through the pages of this blog that I have a thing for regions with a Far Eastern design, whether they are intended to offer a Japanese setting, a Chinese setting or a fusion of the two. Learning about such places (particularly if they are intended for public visits, rather than focused on residential settings!) tends to have me reaching for my camera and then mashing the teleport button.

So when Ryū Ojo (Sosaki) sent me an invite to visit her Full region design of Oshu, it moved pretty much to the top of my list of places to visit and start prepping a post about. However, on my arrival I quickly realised that rather than following my usual practice of visiting a region, exploring and writing notes, then returning to later to photograph and blog, this was a place I had to write about immediately – although in fairness to Ryū, she is still working on the final details within the region, so if you do drop in on reading the post around the time it is published and see some unfinished elements – blame me for being too keen to write about it, not Ryū!

Oshu, November 2022

Oshu is Ryū’s first full region build, and she has gone all out with it, opting to use the additional Land Capacity option available to Full private regions. In doing so, she has created what is effectively a tranquil setting cast with a Japanese theme that is completely timeless in nature. When exploring, you feel you could just as easily be in a remote part of modern-day Japan, far removed from the hustle, noise and heat of city life in the modern era as you could setting foot into a feudal province in the country’s Edo period. However, also awaiting discovery are elements which offer visitors a touch of fantasy and of futurism.

No formal landing point hand been set at the time of my visit, although Ryū indicated to me one would eventually be set, complete with a welcome area, so things many change in this regard when you visit when compared to the description of  my explorations below. That said, my wanderings commenced in the north-east uplands of the setting, where a board meadow backs itself against the off-region surround.

Oshu, November 2022

This is the first indication of the care Ryū has been taking in designing the region, carefully blending it along the northern edge and to the west and east with the surround, giving the impression that the region is part of a greater landscape, one rising to high mountain peaks as can be found throughout the islands of Japan, their foothills blanket in rich woodlands.

This meadow is itself a place of mystery; great standing stones lie within the shade of autumnal Japanese maples, their general colour and look suggesting then have been hewn from the rock strata running through the region (including thrusting up through the grasslands of the meadow), but who may have roughly formed and erected them is a mystery. Upslope from the meadow, and backed by a ridge of rock, is a stone arch. Perhaps it may have once been part of a larger structure with some connection with the standing stones, although its carved nature suggests that it is of later origins than the standing stones. Lit by a shimmering green light, it is in fact an experience-based portal offering a connection with Naruru Bay, a modern-era role-play-focused Homestead region.

Oshu, November 2022

The core of the region is focused on a small settlement surrounded by trees. At the time of my visit, these were still being furnished, with the largest being built over a pond, falls to one side allowing the water to tumble to a smaller pond and thence over larger falls which step there way down over southern cliffs to where a channel meanders out to the south-side bay.

This settlement is an utterly tranquil location, the trees shading it from the Sun (and hiding it from view), the paths and terraces linking the houses to Zen gardens,  and bridges spanning the waters, all watched over by dragons either made of bronze or flying free. As well as its sense of serenity, the settlement contains the greatest sense of timelessness within the region, while a long stone stairway descends the slope below the west side Zen garden, pointing the way down to the southern bay and a temple of light built out over the waters.

Oshu, November 2022

Time should be spent exploring the region, as it offers many points of interest and detail. Wildlife and domestic animals can be found throughout, as well as elements of fantasy – the aforementioned dragon, a kitsune statue and, for those who seek it out, a hidden secret.

The latter is not easy to find, but it lies beneath the settlement: a series of tunnels winding down to a series of caverns where huge fungi grow, and a path might be found passing from cavern to cavern to eventually come to two pairs of doors. At the time of my visit, the entrance to these tunnels came by way of passing through a tall curtain of water and then carefully treading between it and another; however, Ryū noted to me this may change.

Oshu, November 2022

However, these tunnels further contain another aspect of the timeless mix within the region: the tunnels leading down to the caverns appear to have been cut suing modern tools and are lit by electric lights, suggesting they were made using tools of a later era than the Edo looks of the settlement. The caverns, meanwhile have that sense of fantasy, whilst the pairs of double doors take visitors into a sci-fi like set of rooms of unknown purpose (again, at least at the time of my visit).

For a first-time Full region build, Oshu is engaging and richly detailed and something for which Ryū should be justifiably proud. Primarily designed for photographer / explorers, Ryū also indicated to me it might also offer some degree of role-play (possibly connected to Naruru Bay  given the presence of the portal), although time will likely tell on this. In the meantime, this is a destination well worth visiting, and which I hope Ryū will submit to the Destination Guide when she is happy with the design, so that it might be appreciated by folk from across SL.

Oshu, November 2022

SLurl Details

  • Oshu (rated: Moderate)

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