Sanshin Kawa

Formerly, Ainaga, Hakata. Capital city of Empire of Tai Pan on the planet Liang.

The Imperial Palace and Mesa
Sanshin Kawa by Nicoy

Often known simply as Sanshin, the capital city of the Tai Pan Empire and seat of its emperor, Sanshin Kawa is a sprawling neon metropolis where the orderly castes congregate and work in peace and happiness. While an underclass of kammee toil, and whatever remains of the old elf and human inhabitants struggle to survive in. Old elven architecture is deconstructed as fast as new buildings can be put up.

The city has a blend of architectural styles, post-colonial concrete blocks squat next to advanced multipurpose skyscrapers embracing retail, housing, business, and utility in one. Greenhouse blocks stand level with roof-top sports grounds, and in the ground floor streets shopping and food vendors vie to entertain and feed the masses of all castes and classes that dwell within the subdued heart of the city. There is always a building, or a monument, or a bridge being built in the city somewhere, and feeding, housing and catering for the kammee construction workers sustains a large free-trader economy. On the outskirts of the city are the remains of old elven ruins, and a few barely habitable blocks held onto by die-hard inhabitants who've seen far too much.

The occasional watercraft decorates the city's waterways, a strangely archaic sight among the cars and air vehicles that roam the city, with extensive marinas water taxis are an indulgent option for travelling about the city.

Sitting square in the center the Imperial Mesa, the Palace is the hub of Taianese power in the empire. The three wings of the palace are array around the edges of the mesa, while the palace itself sits in the middle like a white circular pyramid, tapering to a flat platform at the top. Recessed balconies and glass windows speckle around the outside and at night the place is lit like a beacon for the city around.

The centrepoint of the city, the Mesa's white shining walls of stark white concrete stand tall, under the surface its bare circular exterior the halls of power and life move, and sometimes end. The Mess stands roughly 30 meters tall and almost alone bare that few buildings permitted around it, none matching its height. The Mesa makes up the inner core of the Central district, and between it and its gaggle of small buildings lays an outer layer that separates it from the rest of the city.

A casual bar for the high-end customer stuck out in the Downtown district. You'll pay premium for the drinks and atmosphere here, and you'll like it. Smooth jazz, elegant cocktails, and beautiful people are never far from this hidden gem.

This land-based starport based on the shore as part of a larger complex known locally as the Docks, with multiple landing pads and ramps for starships that prefer water landings. Its semi-circular shape starfishes out into the bay as traffic flows in and out above the water.

Sometimes known as Sukaiden, or Sky Garden, the Highgarden platform may be hundreds of kilometers above the city, but is considered an integral part of it through the fantastic shuttle service that will whisk residents away to all corners of the star system, and empire. Traffic too and from Highgarden is strictly controlled and the station provides an entry point for foreigners to the rest of the star system.

The city is made up of several areas, including the coastal Bay area, the Bridge districts that straddle the rivers winding through the city, and the enforced quiet and peace of Central. The Core districts is what most people think of when they think of Sanshin Kawa, with its corporate imagery, high-power executive classes walking the streets with sleek outfits and augments. The city itself has a functional monorail system from overhead stations, as well as roads and wide walkways. Much of the city is housed in Block houses, massive multi-story buildings that merge shopping, business, and apartments into the same footprint, even greenhouses.

Wherever one walks it seems too clean, as kammee are constantly scrubbing and buffing the streets and walls to elegant perfection, and can be seen scurrying around if one looks closely. Private cars are rare in the city, many prefer to take public transport or walk as the wide streets permit unfettered movement around the districts, few in the city would be able to own such a luxury regardless.

Central is a quiet district in the eye of the storm, kind of sleepy in the wide shadow of the Mesa. The outside perception of Central is of large lifestyle buildings and financial squares, but all the movies set in Central are actually filmed in the Core districts. Inside the Core is another even more solid security donut. Over 100 meters of empty space, no cover, no concealment, just roads and monorail lines and flat pavement. Tastefully decorated watchtowers watch over the gap with their shutters closed to hide the automated weapons inside, panic walls lie in wait below the surface to snap shut the entrances, and hawkish scanners observe all that come and go. It looks like you're approaching a prison.

Central itself is kind of a letdown after all the trouble to get there. The Imperial Mesa itself is ringed by more sentry and orbital guns than the rest of the city and it towers over the surrounding buildings, shading is a big problem in the outdoor areas. Finely dressed folk move purposefully from their duties in the palace or the Mesa, and servant kammee scurry fervently on whatever errand is required of them. Many of the residents entitled to live in Central commute everyday despite the pain in the ass. Most people, not even taianese, don't actually like living in Central. Brutalist white concrete on the outside, surreal in-door skyscapes on the inside and a locked down living scene makes one feel like a mouse in a very large maze. Although the cafes along the artificial canals coursing through the Mesa are a nice place to take your grandparents.

The Core districts are the hustle and bustle of the city where everyone struggles to get into in the mornings, and everyone struggles to get out of in the evenings. City management have been trying to ease the problems for years by slowly repurposing each of the massive block buildings into mixed use buildings, but being one of the oldest and most built up areas of the city people still want to squeeze in and businesses want to rub shoulders. Corp logos flash on walls, advertisements blare from each square foot of space, and even your table is listening to your conversation for keywords to display what you might want.

This is where the merchants, the executives, and other first and second classes go to play with the big money and power of corporate Tai Pan, all on top of a servile Kammee population there to run the cafes, clean the sidewalks, and make sure the advertisement screens are working properly. There's very little green things in the Core districts, even the overgrown greenhouse sections of the block buildings, common enough in other districts, are rare to find here. The coffee is quick but not cheap, and even the Taianese can't hide the bags under their eyes.

Police hover around corners and in the alleyways where one would have thought criminals would lurk, out of sight, out of earshot. But always just around the corner in case of trouble.

The Bay of Sanshin curls protectively around the harbor and provides prime beachside living since the removal of the ancient elven fishing village on the coast, the area is inhabited by many of the more powerful figures in Taianese society as either a second house or to work remotely from. While being on the beach, the routine ocean merchant traffic and lack of surf means swimming is kept close to the beach bar the occasional diver looking for lost treasures from the ancient elven kingdoms sunk beneath the waves.

The streets are wide and the buildings are mostly mixed-use housing and agriculture giving the place a homely feel, with plenty of bars along the cliffside. This part of the city has become so affluent that shield generators are used to buffer the wind over the streets, lets the residents wear summer dresses and shorts all year round, and the local kammee too. The walkways are charming red and white brick patterns that make walkers nostalgic for a past that never existed, while the shops and cafes huddle under canvas shade sails to cool any customer that might visit.

The Docks is the colloquial name for the local star port district, set against the sea at the very back of the Sanshin harbor. The lights from the bars on the Bay district cliffside mark out the night sky from the Docks whenever the kammee stevedores look out across the water to towards the upper class during their long shifts. The Docks are kept busy providing not only landing and services to spacecraft, but also to the large-scale transport ships that cruise the oceans of Liang. Trucks, trains, and cranes are constantly in motion within the docks to effect this perpetual logistic nightmare.

Kammee and other troubled 3rd class citizens live in housing/shopping blocks in the back of the docks, away from the water, and away from the main transport links in and out of city. They put the pretty buildings along those for the visitors. It's amazing there hasn't been more trouble from the Docks, but the windy streets provide plenty of distractions from the daily grind, and the effective lack of visible police has made the back area wilder than the rest of the city. Being cluttered with eateries, synthcoffee shops, and cheap meat, as well as other delights if one is brave enough to venture into dark holes in walls.

The River or Bridge Districts naturally follow the three rivers through the city, these are built over the canals of the city on mighty concrete supports, while the buildings on top are kept comparatively short compared to the more terrestrial parts of the city. This reduced density makes these areas popular with certain personalities, while the underground canal system provides plenty with an easy way to dispose of their own problems.

The River Districts are often the demarcation point between other districts of the city, and so River District residents have a reputation for floating around. Sometimes literally, as boat traffic is a popular way to travel in some of the larger tunnels and open-air areas. Occasionally Yazatan wooden boats will grace the rivers from upstream, long since powered by engines instead of paddles, to trade, perform, or do other business within the city. Pulling up to one of the open-air sections of the canals and tying it ashore. Makes for a great party scene if you don't mind your energy being tapped for some Yazatan scheme.

A safe side of the wild side of the city, where well-do-to citizens go to rub shoulders with the lower classes, spend credit on experiences and enjoy life a little. Despite rough pretenses the district maintains a low actual crime rate, maintaining a reputation of mild danger to attract the thrill-seeking side of Taianese culture. Many free-agent kammee also ply whatever trade they have chosen in the district, adding just a little bit more authenticity to their anxious service to the well-heeled. If you stay long enough you can watch the dancers leave for the morning for free, many do.

Downtown has the most diverse mix of urban/industry blocks in the city, with thousands of smaller workshops producing consumer goods in an endless competition to break out of Downtown and get into the Core districts. Despite the low number of international tourists, the district also has a high number of hotels along with bars, and other establishments where one can spend plenty of credit to live another life for a little while.

The name of Sanshin Kawa roughly means Meeting of Rivers, which explains its basic geography. Three large rivers merging into the sea. Over the centuries the rivers themselves have been confined to canals and then concrete riverbeds with overflows in case of floods. Bridges span across the lazily flowing waters frequently and sometimes the rivers are entirely subterranean as the houses and blocks were built right over them.

In the center of the city is the Imperial Mesa, what was once a hill with an elvish caste has been built out into a monolith of metal and building upon which the Imperial Palace rests. Surrounding the Mesa are the Post-Colonial buildings of drab barren concrete, some of which have been redecorated with Vineyard greenhouses and botany areas despite much of the area being shaded for much of the day by the overbearing presence of the Mesa and Palace.

Between the Mesa and the Starport is a corridor of the latest architecture, set up to impress any traveler on the high speed rail from the starport, these buildings are elegant, with extensive ground level shopping, entertainment, and eateries. Nearly all of them display the Taianese proclivity for multi-purpose buildings, with hanging gardens erupting from botanical sections.

The surrounding city is a mix of styles that is carefully spread across what was once a plain, its districts drift between different periods. Many areas are dotted with active construction as teams of Kammee hustle to build the future of the empire. It is only on the very outskirts of the city that the broken districts of elvish ruins are visible hiding among the concrete, and the roads, in the shade of the skyscrapers.

Sanshin Kawa enjoys a mild climate with wet springs and falls, dry winters, and mild summers with just a few weeks of high humidity. It sits south of the equator facing the sea to the East, across the waters lie multiple archipelagos, and stretching over is the next largest continent. On its landward side sits a mountain range to its back, and the curve of the coast to the north and south. Onshore winds keep the agriculture blocks well supplied, and the lands gone to seed green and verdant.

Sanshin Kawa is built upon an ancient elf city, the ruins of which are occasionally uncovered and reburied as the constant construction and upgrades to the city take place. Utilizing the three rivers and harbor for trade, the ancient city of Ainaga was a thriving port city with industry and goods flowing out of it to other elven empires.

When the humans from the UESS Pioneer first settled into the sector Ainaga was an attractive place to set up shop with its access to broad markets across the planet and naturally friendly population of elves, eager to see what new things these settlers had to offer them in trade. For a time Ainaga was so possessive of these new arrivals that it also became a military powerhouse as its magic users also became armed with laser weapons. In time this advantage was watered down as the Alliance began to formulate and its policy of non-intervention curtailed the city’s monopoly on foreign arms as legitimate trade switched to consumer goods and was replaced by buccaneers and smugglers willing to take the risk.

The site of the current Imperial Mesa was once a natural hill with a commanding view over the city and rivers called Castle Silkan Baille’e (Sil-Khan Bail-lee-eh) which was utterly destroyed in the wars for Liang as a major target by the Taianese. The hill probably still exists somewhere under the Mesa, which has gradually grown and expanded around it with the needs of the Imperial Palace atop it. The palace was established here due to the city's mild climate, commanding location, and the relative depopulation of the original residents from wars, plagues and famine.

OOC Notes

Jimmy's Notes: Still trying to decide if all these locations should be on the page directly or given their own sub-pages. Will decide as development continues. Name is still a working title, might try to find something prettier. The Imperial Mesa acts as a fortress, logistic and political center for the Empire and Liang, much of its machinery contained within the Mesa itself.

Ideas of sections to add:

  • Aesthetics?
  • Notable People (characters that live here)/Populations that live here?
  • District System?
  • Wildlife?
  • Economy?
  • Sanshin Kawa by Nicoy
  • planets/liang/sanshin_kawa.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/02/12 10:09
  • by jimmy