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bakery_001Fried nian gao. Lu rou fan. Ramune and Blueberry cheesecake. I knew what blueberry cheesecake was but not the other meal items before I was treated to a meal for the Lunar New Year over a week ago in Second Life.

I’ve gradually made my own holiday traditions and I like to mark the Lunar New Year in real life but I wasn’t expecting the delightful roleplay I became engaged in. Many of the players on this particular sim have businesses as a sort of front and also for a sense of living in a community while most of our nuyen or credits are obtained through Shadowrunning. I manage the Golden Dragon Tea and Bath House. There’s a diner, a strip club, a pawn shop and also a bakery which usually just sells pastries. Most of the food is of synthetic ingredients in the year 2080.

But on this day when I went into the bakery, the manager made me a virtual meal of traditional Taiwanese food made of “real”, not synthetic ingredients. It came complete with Wikipedia and google links for info and photos of the fried nian gao and Lu rou fan. She described the textures to me and I very much enjoyed the roleplay.

I actually learned about ramune, which is a Japanese soda,  a few weeks ago when  the bakery manager requested it in the Golden Dragon.  It comes in lots of flavors and she requested kiwi. The internet is overwhelmingly full of information and this was a more memorable way to learn something new. It reminded me of the treet tv show about Arcachon which I viewed recently, having visited Arcachon myself several weeks before.

I’ve only recently discovered treet tv when one of the blogs mentioned the show about griefing. The sim Arcachon, like others, is in trouble. I found my visit there to be delightful with many activities to explore and the show really demonstrated the wonderful ways the sim is available to be used as a learning tool regarding language and the culture of the lovely French region.

I eat a very healthy diet and have been experimenting with ways to add a few more Asian foods into my cooking. It’s easier when something gently arrives unexpectedly on my radar instead of my trying to take in a bulk of information.

For me, it’s heartwarming when someone has the time and patience to share what they know in Second Life, which is oh-so-much-more than a game. When you do that, when you can, you might never know what that sort of kindness means to another human being behind a pixel avatar.