Shawn Shakespeare recently passed on a landmark to me for a Homestead region design by Maasya entitled Wo Qui Non Coin. Given my interest in the orient (and parts of Asia!), the region’s About Land description – simply “Japan” – had me intrigued enough to hop over and take a look to get a start to the week – although admittedly, I was already curious about the name given to the setting.
While I’m very far from an expert in should matters, I gather the name Wo Qui Non Coin belongs to song from Cowboy Bebop, and animated Japanese franchise covering television, movies and assorted media cantered on the adventures of a gang of bounty hunters in space. In particular, the song is sung by Radical Edward (aka Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivruski IV as she likes to call herself), originally from Earth and who hacked her way aboard the show’s titular spaceship, the Bebop.
Whether or not the setting is designed as a reflection of the song or Edward’s earthbound origins or because Maasya is a fan of the series or simply likes the term, I have no idea – but the name is certainly catches one’s attention!
Although it sits within its own Homestead region, the setting actually takes up perhaps half of the available landmass, forming a central island separated from a surrounding ring of off-region mountains by water. Caught under a default night-time sky, the island forms a long finger pointing west to east, with the landing point – although not enforced – sitting at the western end.
Two routes across the island extend outwards from the landing point. The first runs pretty much due east along a busy street lit by lamps and signs; the second arcs around the northern coast, a paved footpath that follows the line of the land under lights that float in the air like drifting pollen, its waterside edge marked by vertical light posts formed from hollow bamboo.
The latter ends in a small shrine – although reaching it to light incense might need a little care, as a small field of katana has been planets on the path and just to either side of it, and a couple of stone cats look like they might make an objection or two should you try to move the blades!
The path though the rows of shops and businesses, however, has no such obstacle blocking it as it proceeds eastward, lit by more of the bamboo posts as well as the lanterns strung overhead and the neon signs on walls and over doorways. Most of the buildings are simple façades, but they do carry a sense of place: seats stand or are folded outside of some, suggesting that when business is slack during the day, the owners might take to sitting outdoors. Others remain tightly shuttered or gated – which is not surprising, given the setting is caught under a night-time sky, suggesting business hours are over for the day.
Towards the eastern end of the street the path rises by way of steps to pass between two businesses one might reasonably expect to be open at night. The first of these is a small open-air bar which faces the, second, the local cinema. Going by the posters outside and the wording on the awning over the entrance, the latter is showing a series of films showcasing action movie stars, although the most notable film on offer (or at least featured on a poster) is 1983’s Blow the Night! (more fully: Blow the Night! Let’s Spend the Night Together), a docu-drama exploring the youth street gang culture of Japan in the late 1970s / early 1980s.
Beyond the bar and cinema, further steps lead up to a walled garden, the way barred by a gate (touch the left side to slide it open). The garden is caught in the colours of autumn (colours that can be found beyond the garden walls as well), the ground carpeted in fallen leaves. A small, lightly-furnished house sits within this garden to offer a reasonably comfortable living space, although the cats in residence might have a say in where you sit and what you do when visiting :). Behind the house, the garden drops quickly to a small beach.
The island is a cosy, inviting setting that encourages exploration, and while it is by default sitting under a night sky, it does allow itself to be imaged under different environment settings – as I hope one of the images here shows. There is also a a local sound scape, but it is not the usual sounds of birds, waves and the like. Rather, it is a low hum mixed with a repeatedly whistling sound that fades in and out of hearing. It’s an unnatural sound that sits at odds with the rest of the setting. Whether it is intended to represent power humming along the overhead power lines or give a sense of alienness to the setting (or indeed has something to do with Cowboy Bebop, I’ve no idea; what I will say is that for me, it was the one distraction in a setting I enjoyed visiting – but one easily solved by turning off local sounds, and not something that should deter a visit.
- Wo Qui Non Coin (Moonlight Isle, rated: Adult)