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Koishi, At the Park by TujoThePanda Koishi, At the Park by TujoThePanda

Meeting Koishi, At the Park

     Effervescent rays of light danced enchantedly against the thousand-fold blades of grass and leaves, all swaying in gentle harmony to the gust of the winds. Filtering through the cracks of an outstretched veil of foliage, the day glow of the afternoon sun glimmered bright in the otherwise cloudless sky. Trees grew freely amidst the grassy plains of emerald green, matched well with the deep browns of bark and soil in all places natural. The choice décor in red-stone pathways crossed through the grassy soil on occasion, the likes of which were centered by a pearly orange fountain. With a cascade of shimmering water that trickled down into the wide expanse of its bowl shaped base, the show in décor only seemed to add to the beauteous ambiance shown in the parks fixtures. A place of sanctuary where the display in scenery was emphasized by those things natural in living greenery and flora, in contrast to the burgeoning urban sprawl that had encompassed its boundaries well beyond the parks modest reach.

     Tacoma Park had always been a choice place to visit for the district of Trenton and its surrounding neighborhoods. It was a temporal sanctuary for those wishing to take in the scenic vista of rolling hills grown over with the vibrant greens of grass, shrubbery, and full grown trees. It was akin to a breath of fresh air in the country side, seemingly isolate from a city that engulfed its many boundaries. It was not without the satisfaction of natural greenery to offset the sense of urban sprawl. On those bright lit sunny days, the sounds of childrens laughter could be heard against the distant sounds of traffic, prattling down the winding streets and overpass highways. Business men clad in formal wear discussed such matters as monthly reports and sales figures, vested in their work outside of the office. Others tended to take a momentary respite along the park benches in their casuals, talking of their daily events to the day. There was the occasional ringing of a bicycles bell that echoed throughout the park as a group of riders rode through, catching a short-cut and a diversion at once. All in all, it had the look of a typical city park, the likes of which could be appreciated by the illustrious locale and visitors from afar.

     It just so happened that Tacoma park was a little more sparse of people today than was usual, being well into the mid-afternoon hours. Most working adults remained at their posts in their respective lines of work, while school had let out a little more than half an hour ago. With most elementary and middle schoolers having likely gone home for an afternoon snack, various high schoolers were left free to wander the streets and pursue their own avenues of entertainment. Tacoma park was as good a place as any to link up for a get-together, to prelude a lengthy night of r & r and choice recreation. Among the few that could be seen stood just outside of one of the parks many “vista's” dotting the park-grounds, right along the edge of where the fountain stood in the walkway circle.

     Standing tall and firm with a rather stocky build, the creature had the distinctive look of an ursine in both form and appearance. With an overbearingly thick figure, his build vaguely matched that a pear's in shape, with the great expanse of his round belly curving outwards just beneath the flat tones of his chest. Standing straight, he easily fit the respectable stature of six feet and five inches, a well desired height amongst most mortal-kind. The natural-borne coat of fur covering the entire length of his body displayed the deep contrasts between that of white and black, the white highlights matching the color of snow against the blacks which matched the color of the blackest night. At either side of his person hung thick and burly arms, each ended in chubby paws with sets of thick fingers. As he stared out against the scenic plane of view, his eyes shown brightly in a deep azure blue within those splotches of black comprised in the patterns of fur. With an ostensibly wide face, the bears chubby cheeks were ended in lengthy tufts of soft fur, a thick black nose set towards the center of his thick muzzle. Poking out from where his head-fur formed some semblance of hair were his ears, round and scruffy in black against an interior of white.

     His choice in attire was rather casual, the bright blues of a hooded shirt-jacket clinging snugly to his thick form. The sleeves had been rolled up past the elbows, hugging at the chubby expanse of his upper arms. Along his thick thighs hung canvas blue shorts in the color of navy, a bit worn and fraying at the knees. The creases were evident in the worn and weathered look of several years of use, giving them an almost vintage quality. At his feet were a simple pair of waraji sandals comprised of rope, with no socks to speak of covering his foot-paws. Interestingly enough, a pair of goggles were securely fastened to his forehead by means of a leather strap, trailing the full length to the back of his head. The construct was of fairly high quality in the light metal alloys reinforcing the round-cut glass lenses, the reflective gleam evident against the sunny skies overhead. One could assume he wore it more for fashion than function, though.

     There was a sense of familiarity as another approached him, the likes of whom the panda instantly came to recognize in passing fancy. The bears lips soon creased into a grin as he copped a smile, raising a paw and dipping his head forward in a greet. His chubby paw rose chest high in a passing gesture, middle-most fingers and thumb tucked inwards, as his end fingers remained straight in completing the motion. It was a fairly goofy way of greeting another, all in all, but there was a significance to the motion that the two could truly appreciate. That, or it just looked cool enough to repeat on those separate occasions.

     The bears name, Koishi Akamoto, otherwise known as “Koi” to friends and acquaintances. He was a fairly ordinary teenager held in moderately high regard, still attending Milwest High School in the Trenton District. As a senior, his days were often filled with the day long rigors of educational enrichment, offset by thoughts of prospective tenure at the University in coming days. Managing to find modest employment as a part time programmer at Hurst & Keyes, the ursine found himself proficient in the contemporary line of work, with hours spent poring over endless lines of code in front of a brightly lit computer screen. Working on a contractual basis in lieu of a few odd jobs around town allowed him to remain afloat financially, balanced carefully against the weekdays spent in the classroom. It was enough that he could afford a modestly sized apartment along the busy street of Irvingston Avenue in the city, the economy having improved just enough in the post-war years to allow for such opportunities to be available to him. Free time and leisure became that much more valuable to the bear, savored at every interval of the day when the cost wasn't too great.

    An affable sort, Koi always presented himself as a loose and friendly kind of person, always quick to crack a grin and a joke whenever and wherever opportunity presented itself. He took next to nothing seriously, his mind taken to the idea of a far more laid back approach to life as a whole than with any organized or structured routine in lifestyle. While he resigned himself to a far more casual existence, people took notice of his outgoing character. His jokes, his jests, and his playful antics as he'd put on an act in public or in private were readily noticeable, which left people talking about him from time to time. He was seen as acceptably quirky, given the playful front that he put on in most encounters with the people he knew. There was no question of his more immature tendencies or lapses in judgment, or even a sense of responsibility, but it all seemed to add to the fun factor surrounding his person. His peers in the class room could certainly appreciate his wise cracks in school in light of the ridiculous answers or commentary he'd direct towards a teachers inquiry. It was something that earned him the seemingly perpetual title of class-clown, a reputation that would likely follow through to his graduation. He'd often pass a string of exaggerated stories at parties, touching on over-the-top exploits or experiences over food and drink at the dinner tables, or around the punch bowl. Friends and acquaintances could easily look pass the succession of bad jokes that came to pass from his lips from time to time, in light of the manner by which he carried himself. It was perhaps best characterized by a certain frat-boy charisma that perpetuated about his being, which people came to most recognize about him. There wasn't anything to bring him down from his life's high, really. Nothing that could be seen at first glance, at least..

     Except..what if there was something about him that might have changed the way a person might look at him? A deep dark secret at play far behind the seemingly carefree demeanor? Good intentions crossed where mistakes had been made long in the past, overlapped with regret and dismay. Dismay that had continued to fester at the very back of his mind, remaining more of an after thought than a fixation in the here and now. Suppressed memories, forced deep into the recesses of his mind, and kept there by the blind hope of eventual redemption. That he may find deliverance from the cardinal sin he had committed in the tender years of his youth, one that served to chill the relationship with him and his now disenfranchised parents. It was the deepest and darkest secret he carried, and something that he did well not to think about, lest he succumb to despair and anguish in light of the fact. He had done well to hide the fact, as many around him had seemingly forgotten over the years, Though, on those long and lonely nights, just before easing into the enduring solace of sleep, the thought sometimes rises up.. And Koi is left hoping that it will be a secret that he'll carry to the grave. Everyone else seemed to have forgotten..but not Koi. He'd never forget.. ever.


Commentary: Thankfully, I'm not dead. But I have dropped off the radar for a few good yonks, and have been itching to make a sort of come back in art and progress. And so, here I am. Hope some of you missed me.

During the month of December last year, I had received the most remarkable gift I could imagine receiving during the holiday season, and you'd never guess what it was. A Cintiq Companion, made by the fellows over at Wacom. I had my doubts at first, having seen next to no reviews other than those listed on the Wacom site, but I have to say. I managed to chat it up briefly with a few of the upstanding artists around DA and elsewhere, who gave me some insight on what to expect. All in all, I'm remarkably impressed with the device. This will definitely be a fall-back “laptop-esque” back up PC, in lieu of its artistic capabilities. For once, I have a digital art studio on the go, fully powered with Windows 8 and a solid state hard drive, including 8 gigabytes of ram. Might make a full journal entry to offer a run down of the device, reviewing it in greater detail sometime.

Anyway, this was the first picture I managed to draw and paint using the Cintiq Companion thus far, with others in my digital portfolio currently in the works. This is also the first piece of artwork I managed to finish during the new year of 2014. I figured Koishi was long overdue for an updated pic, and I wanted something of greater quality than what I had done in Corel years (has it really been that long?) ago. Apart from some minor gripes, I think it came out pretty well, and fairly close to what I imagined going in. Drawn in Paint-Tool Sai, it's a good pictorial representation of the chubby panda, and one that I'm sure to look upon fondly in the coming months. Koishi's just one of several of my more choice characters that I hold in high regard. Hope you like the picture, either way.

Ah, Koishi. Your playful grin is an inspiration to us all in these dark times.

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