A Japanese Tea Garden in Second Life

Shareta Osumai Tea Gardens - links in article; click any image for full size

Shareta Osumai Tea Gardens – links in article; click any image for full size

As we all know, the Moles are the resident builders of Second Life who form the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW). They take care of all the major Mainland infrastructure projects, up to and including activity locations such as PaleoQuest, The Horizons Experience, and other reached via the Portal Parks.

February tends to be Mole Month, with the annual Mole Day taking place in Bay City, celebrating the work of the Moles. 2017 has also been especially poignant for the Moles, as their long-term Mole-In-Chief, Linden Lab’s own Michael Linden, departed the company for pastures new. This being the case, I thought I’d take a little time out occasionally to visit some of the more notable Mole builds in Second Life which may not be as obvious as the “big” places like the Horizons Experience – and a good place to start, thanks to an indirect nudge from Kinnaird Flachra, seemed to be the Shareta Osumai Tea Gardens.

Shareta Osumai Tea Gardens - links in article; click any image for full size

Shareta Osumai Tea Gardens

The Tea Gardens can be found in three locations in Second Life: in the Premium East continent (which also includes Cape Ekim, and the mystery of dragons and Professor Linden, which I first visited far back in 2013), and at Premium South 2 and Premium South 3. All three locations, unsurprisingly, are identical, and form part of the hub for the Japanese themed Linden Homes.

The major feature of the gardens is the pagoda tea house which sits alongside and ornamental pond fed by a stream which tumbles and meanders down from nearby uplands. The tea house is set within a fenced garden, filled with autumnal trees and offering cobbled paths for wandering, the stream cross by delicately arched bridges, and with a small sand garden or meditation.  Those not wishing to walk can catch a ride around the garden on a mole-pulled ricksaw.

Shareta Osumai Tea Gardens - links in article; click any image for full size

Shareta Osumai Tea Gardens

Beyond the garden is a broader area of trees and cobbled walks to be enjoyed and, northwards, lies a path winding up into the hills to the local Info Hub, where various freebies can be obtained and people can learn about Linden Homes. This path, winding via stone steps, also leads the way via  Mole Temple – which (and while it didn’t contain anywhere near as many statues) reminded me a little of the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas, Shatin, Hong Kong.

It’s easy to be dismissive of the Linden Home continents – I’m not a great fan of many of the house styles myself, and do find myself wishing more was done to blend the edges of some more naturally into the sea where they form the edge of the grid – but areas such as the Shareta Osumai Tea Gardens, Cape Ekim and others scattered across these regions offer little gems awaiting discovery.

Mole Temple close to the Tea Gardens

Mole Temple close to the Tea Gardens

SLurls and Links

All the tea garden areas are rated Moderate


SL project updates 2017-8/1: server, viewer

Server Deployments

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for updates.

  • There was no deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, February 21st, again leaving it on release 17#  However, all regions on the channel were restarted in keeping with the Lab’s policy of restarting a channel every other week, regardless as to whether or not it has received a deployment update.
  • On Wednesday, February 22nd, all thee RC channels should receive a new server maintenance package. The release notes had not be published at the time of going to press, however the changes are said to be “minor”.

SL Viewer

There are currently no changes to the SL viewer pipelines from the Lab, with the currently available viewer remaining thus:

  • Current Release version:, dated January 25, promoted February 3 – formerly the Maintenance RC viewer.
  • RC viewers:
    • Maintenance RC viewer version dated February 14th – a range of improvements and features – overview here (initial release version number)
    • Love Me Render RC viewer version Version, dated February 9th – rendering pipeline fixes and improvements
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Alex Ivy (LXIV), 64-bit project viewer version for Windows and Mac, dated January 10th
    • 360-degree snapshot viewer, version, dated November 23, 2016 – ability to take 360-degree panoramic images – hands-on review.
  • Obsolete platform viewer version dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

SL14B: call for infrastructure builders

L12B Community Celebration; Inara Pey, June 2015, on FlickrSL12B (2015) Welcome area by Walton F. Wainwright (Faust Steamer): would like to design and build one of the core infrastructure builds for 2017’s SL14B?

Celebrations for Second Life’s anniversary will once again be taking place in June 2017, when the platform celebrates its 14th “official” birthday with SL14B.

While there’s still a lot in the process of being decided, the SL14B team have put out a call for builders and designers interested in develop the core infrastructure for the regions, either full regions or multiple regions.  In particular interest is being sought from those would would like to design and build the Welcome Area, Performance Stage and Auditorium.

“We’re still working on many details for the celebrations, but we decided to put a call out to builders since we have more regions – eighteen in all – and plan for larger performance venues,” Diana Renoir, one of the coordinators for the event informed me.

Those interested in applying should complete and submit the SL14B Infrastructure Build Application form no later than Saturday, April 1st, 2017.

If you would like to apply, but have specific questions concerning the builds and their requirements, please contact either Diana Renoir (diana.renoir-at-gmail.com ) or Doc Gascoigne (doctor.gascoigne-at-gmail.com)  via e-mail or in-world.

The Auditorium build from SL12B, 2015

The Auditorium build by Anthony (ADudeNamedAnthony) from SL12B, 2015

I’ll be providing updates, etc., on SL14B as usual during the run-up to the event – including a full list of dates, once they are available, and also coverage of the regions and keynotes events which may be planned as a part of the celebrations.

Holly Kai Park: supporting Feed A Smile in Second Life

Brique Zeiner (Brique Topaz in SL), the driving force bethind Feed A Smile and some of the Kenya children from poor families for whom the programme provides daily warm meals

Brique Zeiner (Brique Topaz in SL), the driving force behind Feed A Smile and some of the Kenya children from poor families for whom the programme provides daily warm meals

We’ve made another small but important change at Holly Kai Park. Following discussions with Brique Topaz of Feed A Smile, we’re very pleased to announce that from February 2017 onwards, Holly Kai Park is an official supporter of Feed A Smile.

Feed A Smile is a programme run by Live and Learn Kenya (LLK) to provide nutritious warm lunches for over 400 children every day, paid for entirely from donations to the project – and over a third of the money comes from donations made by Second Life users. It is part of a broader programme managed by LLK, which includes finding sponsors to finance the education of children in Kenya, helping to provide them with everything they need: uniforms, shoes, text books, school supplies, etc., and even building a school in Nakuru, Kenya.

In addition, the organisation also provides medical and dental care for children, including check-ups and vaccinations. 100% of the donations received by LLK are transferred directly to Kenya to care for children, provide education, medicine, food, shelter and foster care. Nothing is lost to salaries, fees or administrative costs at LLK.

The Feed A Smile kiosk just inside the entrance to Caitinara Bar

The Feed A Smile kiosk just inside the entrance to Caitinara Bar

To mark this modest collaboration, we have located a number of Feed A Smile donation kiosks around the key venues and locations in the park: the landing point, at the stage area on the Art Hill, at the Pavilion live events venue and, of course, in Caitinara Bar. We very much hope that when visiting the park, should you enjoy your time, you will consider making a donation to Feed A Smile in lieu of the more usual venue tips (we prefer not to take venue tips at the park).

Also, as we do not charge for the use of our venue spaces, we also ask that anyone booking and using them to please consider a donation to Feed A Smile / advertising the boards during their event.