Monday, October 22, 2007

Niigata

Damn, everyone seems to be taking Arcana pretty hardcore, did Guilty Gear completely die out in Chicago now? So my weekend was pretty sweet, heres a really long post! So this weekend there was a DF2 qual in Niigata. Niigata is the prefecture north of my prefecture (Gunma). It takes about the same distance to get to Niigata city to get to Tokyo (about 3 or 3 and a half hour on train). I also went because Sean (DJ Sean from back in Chicago) lives in Niigata city as well. So I was originally going to head out Friday night, the train schedule for the trains going to Niigata from Minakami, however, are very limited and the last train leaves Minakami at about 5:38 pm. I ussually get off work at 4:30 so it was doable, but last minute I was asked to stay later to monitor the students taking a standardized test after school. So as a result I wasnt able to leave Friday night and my girlfriend was asked to work late at Fujiya (its a cake store) because they had to bake a shit ton of cakes for the next day, she didnt get off work till 12. So I sat at home and played Suikoden V and got drunk! yay! However, since my girlfriend wanted to see me so bad she said she would go with me to Niigata. Sean told me his apartment wasnt very big and he also has a room mate, so if I wanted to bring Ryoko we wouldnt have enough room to both stay there. However, Ryoko had to work on Sunday anyway so she couldnt spend Saturday night out there anyway.
So Ryoko shows up to my place Saturday morning and we ride the train out there together. We were both tired since I decided to take the earliest train out there to make up for lost time (8:17 AM train). We pretty much just slept the whole 3 hour train ride haha. When we got near Niigata city, we first stopped off at Kameda, which is the stop where Niigata POPY is located, this is the arcade where the qualifier would be held on Sunday. At first we were having a hard time finding the place, it was about a half hour walk from the train station and we didnt have a map. We decided to get some lunch at a resturaunt and afterwords we found some guy who was riding his bike on the street and asked him where POPY was and he pointed us in the right direction. We eventually found the arcade but since it was about 1:30 pm it was pretty dead, no guilty gear players there at the moment. They had 3 cabs and the arcade was nice. And this is the first time at an arcade that they had a BEER VENDING MACHINE in the arcade! I guess it ISNT illeagal to drink in the arcades. I asked Ryoko and she said that its probably just up to the arcade management if they want to allow drinking in the arcade. So since it was dead we decided to go head to Niigata city station. Ryoko has an old friend who lives in Niigata, she works at a hair salon at a shopping mall not far from the station. Ryoko was going to visit her and get her hair done. So on our way to the mall I found another arcade, I dont know what the name was, it just had a sign that said "game", it wasnt huge but it was decent, had 2 AC cabs. So then we left and walked to the mall which was only like 2 mins from the arcade, Ryoko had her hair appointment so we parted ways and I said goodbye.
Then I went back to the arcade and played against a bunch of people, no one there could beat me except for this one Testament player, we went back and forth, he was a smart player. So I asked him if he was going to the DF2 qual and had a team mate and he said no. So I asked him to team up and he said maybe. Then we played some more and I was winning a lot so he came up to me and said he wanted to team up. He told me there were stronger players at another arcade not far from there so we walked together to the other arcade, it was called Last Chance or something like that. Inside they only had one AC cab but there was this really good player there, he was playing Po Slayer and Sol. We got some good matches in against him and then this one Chipp player who played at SBO was there too but I dont know his name. We played him too and some other random people. Ryoko sent me a message saying that her friend was too busy to hang out so after her hair appointment she took the Shinkansen back to Minakami, I feel bad because I think she only went out there mostly because she wanted to spend time with me and see me, she could have gotten her hair done somewhere else. She had to go back though because there were no later trains that ran back to Minakami and she had work. So I played a bit more gear and then I called Sean since it was getting late. I walked with my team mate (his name is Gahaku btw) to the station to meet Sean. We were gonna go to a bar to get wasted, I asked Gahaku to join us but he doesnt drink so we parted ways and said we would meet up tomorrow at POPY.
So me and Sean head to this one bar owned by a Canadian dude, it was a nice atmosphere and we drank tons of beers and shots and I had the best Burger that ive had so far in Japan there. We talked and chilled for a bit and then eventually went to another bar that was more of a dance setting and had another beer and said hi to some people sean knows. Eventually we went back to his place and passed out, he had a job interview the next morning since NOVA sucks and wasnt paying him on time so he quit. He got the job btw so hes going to be ok.
So next morning I wake up with a slight headache, pop a few headache pills and im good to go. I arrive a Kameda station and after walking for about 2 mins I accidently run into Gahaku. So we walk to POPY together. When we get there, theres a lot of people and they had another cabinet set up for the tournament with a flat screen above it for people to watch, you can see it in the pictures. I also notice theres these 2 girls there, they looked pretty good, I was thinking they were girlfriends of some of the players, then I notice them looking at the brackets and actually seeming to know who people are. I ask Gahaku if they play and he says, yes thats the ladies team. So we play some casuals till the tournament starts, I do pretty well in general but there are some beastly players. There was a pink Faust who played in SBO there and I managed to beat him in a few mirror matches. There was also a really strong ABA. So tournament eventually starts and theres about 20 teams, they divide us into 4 pools of 5 teams each and do round robin format. First match we fight a Venom and Potemkin team and I OCV them, Gahaku doesnt play. (Thanks prucha!) Next we play against a Slayer/Eddie team. Gahaku goes first this time, beats slayer, loses to eddie, I beat eddie. Next we play Millia/Axl team, I go first, beat Millia, lost to Axl, Gahaku beats Axl. Last but certainly not least we end up fighting the ladies team! The first girl played Dizzy and was very very good, Gahaku goes frist and loses, I go next and beat her in a close match, then her team mate who played Ky goes and I beat her as well. We win our pool undefeated. Top 2 from each pool advance to semi finals regular bracket single elim. The ladies team got 2nd in our pool. In semi finals first match we play against a Eddie/Jam team but me and Gahaku both lose to Eddie... we both lose first round, both win 2nd round and then last round we BOTH got perfected. I tried to throw up standing kick at the start of the match but then it whiffed and I got hit by a poke and was forced to block the entire round due to perfectly executed eddie strings, there were no holes and I was doomed (yay for eddie!). So we watch the finals and a really solid ABA player who teamed up with a Zappa player end up winning (it was Raoh spammage ftw last match). After the tournament a special guest shows up, none other than the legendary Kaqn! He didnt play in the tourny because he already qualified at another tournament before. They had a special event called "Kaqn Final Fight" where he played on the main cab with the TV and everyone just took turns challenging him and they even announced all the matches. This event was held because Kaqn would retire his HOS after this. I played him twice, the first time I did ok but not spectacular. The 2nd time I was ONE PIXEL away from beating him but he came back, I was blocking him for like 5 seconds straight and eventually he got in on me, everyone was going crazy when I almost beat him haha, hes seriously a beast. Eventually he had like 34 wins and they ended the event, no one could beat him even once. So then the owner of the arcade came up to me, his name is Gushikem. He and a bunch of people were all curious where I was from and stuff and Gushikem offered to buy me a coffee from the vending machine, so we went in his office and just chilled and talked for a while about games and the scene in Japan and stuff in general, hes totally a cool guy. He said Kaqn actually lives in Chiba and works at Game Chariot but he came out here to chill because they are good friends. After our chat I played more casuals and got like a 19 win streak and eventually lost to a Robo Ky who was pretty persistant at trying to beat me and eventually adapted.
After that Gushikem took a large group of us out, including Kaqn, to a resturaunt in the area. This place had this meal called "The Challenge" and i was serious. It was 2 huge full bowls of rice and 8 pork katsu (fried pork patties about the size of a hamburger patty). You had to try to finish it in under 10 mins. Me, Kaqn, Gushikem and this other guy all took the challenge but only the other guy was able to finish it in 10 mins, the rest of us eventually managed to finish it but it took a while, me espessially since I had a sandwich from the arcade vending machine not long before going out to dinner. Kaqn kept messing with me asking if I wanted some more and trying to give me some of his rice cuz he saw me slowing down haha. Kaqn was a nice guy, I asked him why he originally switched from Jam to HOS and he just said because HOS is cool haha. After the resturaunt we all went back to the arcade but it was getting late so I had to get ready to leave, I took a big group photo of us in front of POPY and said goodbye to everyone. Kaqn said he was going to go to the DF2 qualifier next weekend at Shinjuku at Mikado game center so I will see him again next weekend. I need to find another partner though because Gahaku has no money and cant make it out that far (6 hour train ride for him...) so I will find another partner in Tokyo next weekend, shame cuz Gahaku was cool and we made a solid team. So some of the guys were super cool and gave me a ride back to Niigata station and I walked to seans, we chilled with some of his neighbors and then I went to sleep.I woke up the next morning at 4:30 am and cought the train super early since I had work that morning. Slept on the train and arrived in Minakami 35 minutes before work started and made it on time! So yea.... good weekend... good times, oh yea and Ryokos hair stylist did a great job.
the end

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