That same day, Wheeler and Buster also visited the Moai Shinto shrine next door to the tea house, complete with its own station along the SLRR. Wheeler didn’t understand what was going on inside, however. Easter Island head? What’s that got to do with Japanese culture? The fronting terra-cotta warrior statue was no good for information.
I tried to help her out by googling “Moai Shinto”, but only came up with links about this same virtual temple. I narrowed the search down to Shinto, and understood now, through the associated wikipedia article, this is, “the ethnic religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past.” It is actually the largest religion of Japan, practiced by 80 percent of its population according to the article. I’d just forgotten this well known fact, and Wheeler through me. But what of the Easter Island head? I didn’t find a direct connection, but turns out that the word “moai” means statue.
The hypersensitive Buster, already rattled by leaf spectres, fainted upon seeing the incongruous giant yellow head. Poor Buster.
Tea house and shrine.
“Hmm, some kind of randomly lit alcove wall Buster. Stop playing in the leaves!”
The tea house.
Perhaps an ancient map of Olde Lapara Towne, Wheeler thought.
… the scrapbook again. “Nifty!”
“Buster, get your dead ass in here!!”
Olde Lapara Towne below him lay just beyond his draw distance from this perch. He was admittedly glad of the pause. “What to do with this place?” Baker mumbled to himself. He asked Hucka Doobie to join him here on the High Mountain Road (aka Route 6) for a thinking session. But Hucka im-ed back, saying he was currently tied up helping an old friend prepare for a bar mitzvah over in East Farmington. Shucks. Baker Blinker and Karoz Blogger remained out of communication, having returned to Chilbo just after Mary’s launch into one of the distant corners of space (aka Muff-Bermingham). Wheeler Wilson was part of the current story, so that probably wouldn’t work. Heck, let’s just bring her up here, along with new bestest pal Buster Damm, he then thought. Let’s get them at least to that house just down the hill and see what happens.
Summoned, Wheeler decided on a lark to teleport into the exact center of the Lapara sim to see what was there. A fence barred her from the house Baker Bloch just referenced. She took it as a sign that there would be no meeting between core Baker family members tonight. So on to her and Buster’s continuing adventures…
Having managed to break away from the throng of protesters, thanks to the distraction of a huge popping noise in the southeast part of town (the aforementioned mushroom shaped explosion, quickly sucked in on itself due to the heroic action of All Nancy’s), Wheeler and Buster made their way across the tracks of the SLRR to the town’s northern suburbs. First up on their visiting list…
… was the Lapara TEA house owned by the real Clare Nova, a must see attraction for them.
They walked through a small but beautiful woods to get to the main structure of the compound. As we already knew from her PCH Forest featured in “Collagesity 2017 Middle”, the real Clare is a landscape designer of note.
In the center of the woods, Buster became afraid because of what he perceived to be flying fish, perhaps piranhas, but which turned out to be just falling leaves.
Reaching the main gate of the house alone, Wheeler turned around. “Come on Buster! Stop playing in those leaves!”