Monday, November 26, 2007

DF2 2007 Weekend

Due to the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving I had no work on Friday, which means 3 day weekend. After work on Thursday, all of the Gunma prefecture ALTs were meeting up in Maebashi, the capital of Gunma, for a Thanksgiving feast at a resturaunt. I headed for the train station and stopped at 7-11 on the way to buy a drink, we were allowed to bring 1 500 ml alcoholic drink to the resturaunt. Since I wanted to get hammered I decided to go with hard liquer instead of beer this time. I bought a 500 ml melon soda bottle and a bottle of whiskey and proceeded to drink half the bottle of melon soda and then poored the whisky in to fill up the rest of the bottle. It didnt end up tasting very good but I figured it was worth a shot. So anyway, I got on the train and 3 other ALTs that lived in nearby towns on the way to Maebashi got on and we sat together. Theyre names are Liz, Breanne, and Laura. Liz is a friend of mine and we hang out from time to time. Breanne I met once or twice before and Laura I met for the first time. After the dinner everyone was pretty much planning to spend the rest of the weekend in Tokyo. However, the dinner ends at like 9:30 and the last train out of Maebashi is at like 11 something, and people were planning to go drinking around Maebashi after the dinner. Liz and Breanne were gonna split a hotel room for cheap, its only like 4000 yen at Toyoko inn if you check in after 12. Laura needed someone to split a room with and asked if I wanted to, so I figured it would be the best alternative since theres no manga cafes in Maebashi and going to Tokyo so late on a Thursday night after all the arcades closed seems like a lesser alternative to drinking with these people so I agreed. We got to the dinner and there was tons of great food, 4 turkeys, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, carrots, peas, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. I had like 5 plates or something and got a nice buzz from my drink, I ended up having an extra beer too that I had in my backpack, no one noticed so it was all good. After the dinner we took a cab to a bar in the area called Dickens and had a few beers. Eventually we ended up going to Takasaki instead of Maebashi (its extremely close) to stay at the hotel there since they had more rooms avaliable. We checked in and went to our rooms, and went to sleep (there were seperate single beds, nothing happened for all of you with dirty minds, I have a girlfriend after all). Next morning I woke up and brought all my clothes into the bathroom to go take a shower, Laura was still sleeping. I put my pants on the sink, they were the same pair i wore the day before so there was still all my stuff in the pockets. Suddenly... my camera fell out of my pants pocket....... and into the toilet..... and now its fucking broken. I was pretty bummed since I just go the camera and got a lot of use out of it (as you can see from my photo page) but now I pretty much cant take pictures anymore which totally sucks. So anyway, eventually we both finish taking our showers and getting dressed and go down to get free hotel breakfast. Liz and Breanne werent down there so we figured they left early. Me and Laura went our seperate ways since she was going somwhere else and meeting up with a friend to go hiking. I got on the train and finished the last 2 hours of my 3 hour train ride to Tokyo.

I decided to go to Akihabara first since it was still early in the day (about 1 pm when I arrived) and was the only place I knew there would be comp. There was a decent crowd there but most people were there for a melty blood tournament that was going on. I emailed Matt (Hintalove) on my phone to see if he would be going to any tournaments this weekend but he said he was pretty much busy the whole weekend. I stayed at Akihabara for several hours and then it was time for me to go to Tachikawa since there was a ranbats tournament going on at OSLO game center. On my way out of Club Sega I noticed a large group crowded around the UFO catcher machines in the front. I was pretty shocked to see what actually turned out to be a fucking UFO catcher TOURNAMENT in progress. There were brackets posted on the wall and a guy even announcing shit on the mic. It seemed like 2 people just went head to head at the same time on different machines and whoever got the most items from the machine before time ran out was the winner. I watched for like a few mins and then that was enough so I took the train for a 45 min train ride to Tachikawa and played some casuals for a while when I got there. The tournament was a 2 on 2 and I got randomly paired with a Sol player named Sekido. We ended up playing against a team of Johnny/Dizzy first. Sekido went first and lost, then I went and lost as well. It was close but I felt like I should have won. Oh well. So I stayed for a bit longer and played some more casuals till about 11 pm and then I figured it was about time to head to Shinjuku for some drinking.

I got some food and then I arrived at Current (my usual bar) a little bit after 12 and was surprised to see that the place was packed. Usually Friday is a bit dead compared to Saturday but this time it was the opposite. Chip was there with a couple of his friends as well as a few of the other regulars. Chip said that Mayuko (the girl we drank with last time) was at this other bar right around the corner from Current called Gravity. After a few drinks we all headed Gravity for a beer for a change of environment. This place was pretty empty, it was nice but much smaller and not as good as current. It was another rock bar. We had a beer and all talked for a bit. One of Chip's friends was an old friend from back in Osaka who was visiting for the weekend and was going back tomorrow. After a beer we all headed back to current for some more beers. Mayuko stayed at Gravity and said she would meet up with everyone at current later. Last time me and Chip hung out he had mentioned the video game bar called 16 shots. I tried to find it earlier before heading to Current because I wanted to check it out but I couldnt find it, so I asked him where it was. He offered to take me there so I said sure why not. So after some more beers at Current, me, Chip, and this one other guy who was into video games took a cab over to 16 shots, which is about a 15 minute walk from where Current was. We got to the bar pretty fast and it ended up being a very small place, the capacity was probably like 15 people total. All the seats were used up but we went in and stood. There was a large projector on the wall displaying various footage from oldschool 8-bit games, and next to the bar there wsa a sit down oldschool table top arcade cabinet, they were drinking and playing on the cab. They played video game music and there was pretty much game stuff all over the bar. It was pretty sweet. Everyone that goes to the bar is someone who works for the video game industry to some degree. Everyone seemed to recognize Chip, I suppose he goes there quite often and im sure some of them knew him from back when he worked for Capcom. The manager of club sega, MIU's boss, was also there and said he reocgnized me from when I would sometimes go to the arcade. I talked for a while with these 2 guys who worked as game music composers. Their names were Jumpei Isshiki and Toshiaki Fujino. One of them told me that he was also a Dream Theater fan and often would listen to Dream Theater for inspiration when he wrote game music. We talked for a while about various things like what our favorite games were and consoles they liked. They said that their favorite console to develop for was the Dreamcast because it was very easy and cheap to do so. They all seemed to dislike the PS3 saying its too expensive and difficult to make games for. They like the Xbox 360 actually. One of them told me he currently works on DS games and wishes his company would do more work on the 360. They also asked if I was going to DF2 and I said that I was, they wished me luck in the tournament. (I had forgotten to mention earlier that there is one more last chance qualifier that takes place before the DF2 main event starts, I decided I would enter). So after chilling there for a bit we said goodbye and they gave me their business cards and then me and Chip and the other guy who went with took a cab back to Current. When we got back Mayuko was there and the place was still packed. We stayed till closing time at 5 am and then decided we would all go to Roppongi for some more drinking. Me, Chip, Mayuko, and the other guy who went with us to 16 shots all took a cab to Roppongi and went to get some food and then to a bar called Bar Milwaukee. It was a fairly average bar, but they had Sam Adams and I was pretty happy since I used to drink it a lot and its been a long time. It was 1000 yen a bottle but I bought one anyway cuz I was too drunk to give a shit. One of the guys who worked there seemed to know Chip so I got hooked up with another free Sam Adams after I finished the first one. We chilled for a bit there and eventually it was like around 7 am so we all went our seperate ways. I headed back to Shinjuku to stay at my usual manga cafe there.

I woke up the next day at around 2 pm. Today there would be a 3 on 3 at Club Sega Shinjuku so I took a short walk and headed right over there since the tournament was scheduled to start around 3 pm. I arrived and there were already a lot of people there. MIU was working as ussual and would run the tournament. I played casuals for a bit and then eventually MIU gathered all the extra people and helped everyone form teams. I was put with a Ky player named Ai (even though Ai is a girls name, he was not a girl, in fact he sort of looked like a Japanese version of Floe. Of course Kindebu is the original Japanese Ari but this guy comes damn close). The other team mate was a Jam player. This tournament was pretty hardcore, there were people from all over Japan since they had come for the weekend to play at DF2. Ogawa was not present. Tournament starts and first match we fight ABEGENs team. It was a team of Po, Zappa, and I was told they had an Axl player by my team mates. We win RPS so they put Zappa first. Our Jam decides to take on Zappa so we let him go first. He loses in a close game. I decide I can take him out so I go next and beat him, finishing him off with a teleport back door. Next up is ABEGEN but this time he got his revenge from last time and beat me. Once Po knocks you down it can be very hard to come back. Ai goes next and beasts with his Ky, he turned out to be a very good Ky player actually. He slays ABEGEN and then for some reason the Axl player on their team didnt play, I have no idea why but I guess they ended up being a 2 man team, so we won the first match. Up next we had to fight a broken ass fucking team consisting of NO, Dogura, and Machaboo. We lose RPS this time, but the Jam player decides he wants to go first again so he picks Jam and the first character selected by the other team is Venom. Jam put up an ok fight but proves to be no match for NO. I go next again figuring Ai made a great anchor last time. We battle for a bit but NO is too much of a beast for me to take out. Up next is Ai who also fails to defeat Venom, leading to our team getting OCVed by Mr. N-Otoko. Dogura and Machaboo just chilled. So I decided to watch the rest of the tournament since there were some great matches. The top 3 teams that made it to the semi finals were Osaka B/012/Niga team, NO/Dogura/Machaboo team, and Nemo/Asabasu/and a good Potemkin player but I cant think of his name at the moment, he used the blue color Po. The whole tournament was single elim but for the top 3 teams they had it be double elim. I forgot exactly what happened but the 2nd/3rd place battle was between OsakaB team and NO team. I dont remember exactly how this went down but I do remember that NO and Dogura lost and Machaboo beasted with his Ky ftw. Finals were Nemo team vs NO team. Nemo went first vs NO and defeated him with his Testament. After he won he stood up and raised his arms all dramatic and starting getting all hype, and then people were just all getting really into it. Then Nemo goes next against Machaboo, I believe, and beats him as well. Dogura goes last and this time Nemo is defeated. Asabasu also falls to Dogura, and the Potemkin player goes last and takes out Dogura. Nemo team wins the tournament. After the tournament people played casuals there for a bit but then everyone started to clear out after maybe an hour. Osaka B told me they were all going to Las Vegas game center because its 50 yen per play and Club Sega is 100 yen. So I said goodbye to MIU and asked him if he was going to play in the last chance qualifier before DF2, he said he was actually going to be running the tournament so he wouldnt play. He gave me a hearty long ass hand shake and I headed out with Osaka B and a few other people and we walked over to Vegas. Normally Vegas has 4 cabs but one of them was going to be used for DF2 so they only had 3. It was packed and took a while to get games in. I stayed and played casuals for several hours until about 11:30, but then I just got too hungry and had to get some food. I ate and then went back to Vegas and played for a little bit longer and then decided it was time to go drinking again!

I went to Current again to see what was up. I was surprised to see that the place wasnt that packed tonight. I suppose it was becuase Friday was so busy instead this time. The guy who took me to GODZ last time was there (his name is Taka) and we talked and chilled for a bit. We decided we would go to some other bars since Current wasnt very lively that night. We walked around Shinjuku and he took me to this area called the Golden district which is basically like a block or 2 of a bunch of small ally like side streets and every single building is a bunch of small bars. The entire area has nothing but bars and there were probably over 200 of them. We walked around and just sorta checked out the different variety of bars there but didnt go inside any of them. Then we grabbed some Takoyaki from a small stand and headed to this one bar called PSY that he sometimes goes to. PSY was alright, sorta small but not extremely small. There were a few people there, one of them was a guy he knew. There was also this foreigner from New York that started talked to me, he said he was in Japan since 5 weeks ago and would go back in about a week. We just talked about our experiences in Japan and how it was great how safe everything feels here. I said bye to the NY guy and then headed back to Current. I had a few more beers and left at around closing time. Headed for the manga cafe as usual and passed out.

Woke up the next day at around 11. I decided to go look for the Code Club Complex where DF2 would be held today. It turned out to be extremely easy to find and was basically just down the street from the Manga cafe I just slept at, how convenient. So I headed to Vegas which is also right on that same street and there were already some people there playing. I played there for a while I needed to find a team mate so I started asking around. A bunch of people already had team mates, but then I played against this one Dizzy player. I beat him but I could tell he was good and knew what he was doing so I asked him if he wanted to team up. He was happy to join me so now I was set for DF2. We played for a big longer and then headed to the Code Club Complex at about 10 minutes before 3 pm, which was the official start time listed for the event. When we got there, there was a huge line of people the stretched around the corner of the building into like this hallway area. We waited for a long time, maybe like 45 minutes to an hour. While we were in line I asked my team mate and some of his friends who Ogawa was teaming up with since I heard different rumors online. He told me that it turns out that Ogawa would not be playing in DF2 all since his parents forbid him from participating due to his epilepsy. From what it sounded like, he might not be allowed to play in any tournaments anymore, though I guess he is still allowed to go to Club Sega Akihabara for casuals. I dont know if this is permanent or temporary but I guess we will find out in due time. Eventually they let everyone in and it took a while for everyone to register and get their badges and program guides and sign up for the tournaments. I was told by my team mate that we might not get to play due to the large ammount of teams that were going to try to enter the last chance, and only 28 spots existed. The venue was pretty packed and there were TONS of people. I recognized teams from all sorts of quals I went to, and pretty much every ladies team that ive seen were there, including the one from Niigata. The venue was actually a night club from what it looked like. There was a small stage area but aside from that there were some clusters of a few cabs and some lounge areas for sitting, and they also had a full bar and some vending machines and tables. I tried to take pictures on my cellphone but I dont think it even has a flash, I tried to find it but its not there, and the lighting at the venue was dim so the pictures came out pretty hard to see. There were also booths where they were selling stuff. One of the booths was selling the SBO DVDs, I bought the GGAC DVD. There were also a few cosplayers, a girl dressed as Heart, and girl dressed as that chick with the whip and purple hair from Melty Blood (sorry I hardly play that game) and there was this one dude dressed as Slayer. I saw a Bridget too. Osaka B also was there with a paper bag on his head, not a full Faust costume, just the paper bag. Eventually after tons of waiting they started the Arcana tournament. People sorta chilled and watched it for a while and then after hours of waiting they finally got Guilty set up.... and the last chance qual which was scheduled in the program guide to start at 3 pm ended up starting at like 6. So we checked the backets and our team was selected to play after all. First match we were put against a team of Sol/Po. We won RPS and they picked PO first, so my team mate told me he was better vs Sol than PO so I just went first. I beat Po and Sol as well for the OCV. My team mate was pretty excited. Up next we had to fight Testament/Chipp team. This time we lost RPS and my team mate decided he wanted to go first this time. He fougt in a close match vs Testament and I thought he was going to win but Testament pulled ahead and won. After that I went but I also fell to the Testament player. I kept guessing wrong at the start of the round and was just never really able to regain solid control of the match. This offically ended my DF2 experience for 2007. I watched the rest of the matches for the qual. Nakamura's team got far but eventually lost and I didnt see it happen since there were like 3 matches going on at once and tons of people crowded around so it was hard to see. I also saw ABEGEN and Kishitaka's team (the one I played against in the game chariot videos) lose to this one Johnny player who was beasting earlier that day at Vegas, he had like 20 something wins and no one could beat him.. not sure who he was. Eventually in the end Roo's team ended up taking the last qualifiying spot, his Bridget was on fire. I forgot who the other team was that he defeated, it had a Jam on it. So by now it was about 8 pm... the regular DF2 bracket tournament hadnt even started yet, and I had to catch a train that leaves at 8:38 to head back home to Gunma since I had work the next morning. So basically I had to leave before the tournament even started, I was pretty upset because the original schedule in had the top 4 starting at 7:15, which would easily end with enough time for me to watch the whole thing and catch my train, but it didnt work out that way so I had to head out. I said goodbye to MIU and he gave me another 20 minute long handshake. Then I headed back to the train station and took the train home. On the way back when I arrived at Takasaki to transfer trains I ran into Liz, she was on the same train as me the whole time but she got on at Ueno and was on a different car. We took the same train back from Takasaki to go home and talked for a bit about our weekends. She told me that the trains on the Takasaki line were delayed earlier that day due to a "human accident", or in other words some dude offed himself by jumping in front of a train. Appearently this is not that rare in Japan. Kind of a depressing thing to hear about but I guess thats life. Liz got off at Numata and I got off at the next stop and made it home. Overall it was a long and busy weekend and I had a lot of fun, but i was upset that I didnt get to watch DF2. I checked online and I guess Koichi(IN)/Haaken(PO) won. Im also still pretty bummed about my camera being broken. I wanted to take so many pictures this weekend but I missed the chance. So now there might not be any more new Japan pictures on my page for a while. I may get a new camera but I dont know if I want to put out the cash for it just yet. I guess Ill see what happens.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'll get you next time HOS... next time...

During the week I was asked by my base school to go to a sports day on Saturday morning, which basically means no Tokyo on Friday night. So I stayed home and watched Grind House (yea George that was pretty sweet) for the first time and a couple X-files episodes on DVD until my girlfriend got off work. Just stayed in with her Friday night. Saturday morning I went to the sports day. It started at 8:30 am, and the entire gym was freezing thanks to Japan's lack of central heating. This event was organized by the PTA so there was a good ammount of parents there. There were 2 choices, you could play in the vollyball tournament or the ping pong tournament. I chose ping pong. It was a 2 on 2 format, best 2 out of 3. I was paired with one of the other teachers, he was good. I can't remember the last time I played ping pong so I was a bit rusty. Started out as round robin pools, we lost our first match to a team of 2 2nd year students, they were both pretty good. Next we played against a team of 2 parents. The one dude was very good and his partner, some mom, was pretty bad. We beat them 2-0. Then we played our final pool match against another team of 2 students and we won. We advanced to the final bracket and played another student team, winning again. We then made it to the finals against a team of 2 teachers, one of which was one of my Japanese English Teachers. These guys were all about going for the power hits and just slamming the ball hoping we wouldnt be able to return it. My strategy was the opposite, I just concentrated on getting the ball over the net and relied on them to make mistakes to get points rather than trying to get it past them. This generally worked since half the time they just power slamed the ball into the net or sometimes outright whiffed. We lost the first game won the 2nd game, and the final game was like down to the last point but in the end we failed and got 2nd place. Bummer, but whatever its not like you get anything for winning. So after the tournaments were over they served everyone Pocari Sweat (energy drink) and rice balls. Then as we were leaving everyone was like crowded around the entrance outside and they start like unloading this truck full of brooms and rakes and shit, and Im thinking.... oh shit dont tell me I have to stay longer and do something else. So I ask one of my JTEs whats going on and he says the students will now clean the streets of the town but he tells me to please go home.... i was thinking "fuck yea!" so I gladly stopped at my apartment and grabbed my stuff and headed for the train station. 3 hours later after playing the soul shrine in FFVI advance on my DS on the train, I finally arrived in Shinjuku.

Today there was going to be a tournament at Las Vegas. So arrive at Vegas and theres a few people there playing, but I notice the signs posted say 2 on 2 which I was surprised since Arcadia didnt mention it being a 2 on 2. I emailed Matt (Hintalove) and asked him if he wanted to team up, so he said he was down for it. I played casuals for a bit and eventually I went to meet Matt at the station since he forgot how to get to Vegas. So we eventually get back to the arcade and play casuals for a while, by now the place was pretty packed. Not all of the big names that I recognize were at this one but a few noteworthy players like Nakamura and Zero were there. Zero's HOS always beasts in casuals but I managed to beat him and get a perfect the last round. So we go to sign up and I tell Matt we should use a team name with Gaijin in it, so he suggest Gaijin Smash, so we just went with that (a bit unoriginal but good enough). Tournament had 12 teams, divided into 3 pools of 4 teams, round robin. Also, for some reason they didnt set the rounds on 2 our of 3, it was on 3 out of 5... I dont know if this is because they were lazy or if it was intentional but it the first time ive seen it in a tournament out here. They also allowed same character teams, one of the teams in our pool was a duel Slayer team. I guess since this isnt some major big deal of a tournament they just didnt give a shit or something. Tournament starts and our first match we fight a team of HOS/Baiken. Matt goes first and loses to HOS 3 straight rounds, then I go next and win first round, lose second round, win 3rd round, then lose the 4th and 5th round... it was damn close too, I should have won.... but I didnt so fuck it. Next match we played against a team of Chipp and Slayer. Matt goes first and loses to Chipp. Then I beat Chipp and fight slayer and once again just like vs HOS I win first round, he wins 2nd round, I win 3rd round, I lost last 2 rounds. Once again too close... fuck. At this point we were pretty much done for but we still had to play our last match and it was vs the double Slayer team. Matt goes first and almost beats the first Slayer but loses by a little bit. I go next and beat both of them. So we were out at this point so we just played a ton of casuals. I think the HOS/Baiken team that beat us first match ended up winning the whole thing. Eventually FAB showed up for casuals.

Matt left after a while to go meet up with his friend Casey because he was going to go drinking with us tonight. Casey is a friend of Matt's from back in Oregan who is now living in Yokohama, also studying Japanese, but he doesnt play fighting games. About 45 mins later Matt returns with Casey and by this time it was like maybe 10 pm, we were hungry so we left to get some food. After a good Curry meal we decided to head to Current for some drinking. When we got there the place was fairly busy and I saw some of the regulars. We did some drinking, beers, shots, etc, but after about an hour, Matt said another friend of his was going to go clubbing in Roppongi so him and Casey left. I'm much more of a bar guy than a club guy so I stayed at Current. After a while, one of the regulars there said he was going to another rock bar in the area for a bit called GODZ and asked if I wanted to come check it out. I had never gone so I figured it was worth a look. It was actually pretty close to where Las Vegas was. We go there and it was a nice atmosphere but much smaller and less people than Current. They played some great music such as Symphony X, but the drinks were like way more expensive than current and the beer wasnt even on tap.... boo. So some people there were asking me the typical questions people often ask foreigners when they are surprised to see them. We had a beer and eventually headed back to Current. I stayed till closing at 5 AM again and headed out. On the way to the Manga cafe and passed by MOS burger and decided to get a 5 AM wasted chicken sandwich.. cuz thats always the best kind of Chicken Sandwich. Some of the regulars that had left the bar a bit before I did were there so I sat with them and chilled for a bit and ate, eventually I left and passed out at the ussual Manga cafe.

Next day I woke up, got some kickass Japanese Wendy's 100 yen menu food and then I headed to Club Sega Shinjuku to see if MIU was in since it was right near the Wendy's. He wasnt working, they said he would be working the evening shift running a 3S tournament later in the day. However I did notice that there was going to be a GGAC tournament there next Saturday, so I will most likely be hitting that up next weekend. So no one was playing Guilty there so I headed go Akihabara for a nice long day of casuals. Before I entered the arcade I stopped at the sex shop which is right next to Club Sega because I ran out of US condoms and it was about time to buy some more. I never bought Japanese condoms before but I was pretty surprised to see many of the boxes had slutty naked anime chicks with orgasmic expressions on their faces, it was rather amusing. Naturally I decided to buy one of the ones with the slutty anime chick on the box. Ill try to post a picture of it since its pretty funny but I think I have to censor it because flickr will suspend my account if I post porn (even though its anime porn). I was also quite surprised that the bag they put the condoms in had a picture of puppies and little story about how they like to play on their grandpa's sofa on it. Ill post a pic of this as well.

So after that I enter the arcade. Much to my surprise, upon arriving at Club Sega there was a 3 on 3 tournament already in progress! It appearently started at 1 pm and it was just a little bit past 1:30 when I arrived. I asked if there was some way I could still play and it turned out that there were a few teams that only had 2 people, so I was put with a team of a Baiken player named Autaku, and a HOS player named Gusan. They already had won their first match which was pretty sweet. So eventually we play a match and it was against Inoue (HOS) and his team mates were a Slayer player who im not sure who it was, and a Dizzy. We lost RPS so we had to choose our first person before hey did. I vaulenteered to go first. First match I fight the Slayer player, first round I lose, 2nd round was close but I win, 3rd round I perfect him ftw. Up next is Inoue... and despite it being a close match, I once again lose to HOS... boo. I apolagize to them but they say its OK and that I did a great job vs Slayer. Gusan goes next for a HOS mirror match but Inoue proves to know the matchup better. Autaku goes last and he too falls to Inoue's HOS. Bummer. I didnt really pay attention to the rest of the tournament, I was too busy playing casuals. Eventually Ogawa showed up, he didnt play in the tournament, maybe he wanted to be nice and give other people a chance heh. I played him in a few matches but couldnt get a win, hes just too powerful. Zero was there too and had like a 45 win streak, this guy ALWAYS has huge win streaks... now that Kaqn quit HOS, I guess the best HOS title is a toss up between Zero and Inoue but I really dont know, they both have different styles of play. I also played a few casuals vs Kazuki and FAB. I beat Kazuki one time and ALMOST beat FAB. In general I did very well in casuals and at one point I had a 19 win streak. I stayed till about 8:00 and then I had to head out and catch my train. They told me there was going to be a ranbats at Tachikawa OSLO next Friday so it looks like next weekend should be pretty packed with tournament action. In addition to this, the DF2 finals are on Sunday.... however... it is from 3pm to 11pm. I have no idea why it is running so late, but if Guilty Gear goes past 8 pm I cant stay to watch it since I have to catch the last train back in order to make it to work on Monday morning. I will ask around and see if maybe Guilty will be one of the first games, if I can watch it I will go... if not... there is a tournament at alpha station near Shin Okubo on the same day that I will just go to instead. I dont know how good it will be since almost everyone will be at the DF2 tournament but I will just have to see what happens. Whatever happens, I need to stop losing to HOS, I hate losing matchups I know well.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll...

Friday, got on an early train right after work and headed for Tokyo. There wasn't anything in particular going on Friday so I just headed to Akihabara for casuals. Some of the regulars were there including FAB. I played till about 12 and it was pretty dead so I headed for Shinjuku. I went to club sega to see if MIU was working but he wasnt there, they said he would be working the morning/afternoon shift on Saturday so I knew he wouldnt be able to team up with me. So after that I headed to rock bar Current and had some beers and chatted with some Finish dudes about metal hah, got pretty drunk, stayed till about 4:30 and got some drunken MOS burger on the way back to the Manga cafe.

I woke up the next day at around 11:30. Today's DF2 qual was in Syakujiikoen which is off another private train line that runs out of Ikebukoro. Took me a bit but I eventually found the arcade, the sign was sorta discrete and it was on the 2nd floor of a building right near the station. Small but nice arcade, they had 5 AC cabs for the tournament. Played some casuals and then I figured I should find a team mate, I asked the guy running the tournament if there was anyone else who said they needed one so he asked over the mic if there was anyone but no one said anything. So getting desperate I just started asking around and this one Eddie player named CRN said he needed a team mate so we paired up. Tournament starts and we both scrub out to an ABA player. I went first and l was doing ok, won a round, but the last around I block for a long time and get pushed in the corner and eventually he busts out that kick move that looks like an overhead, I block it high and get hit for the lose... then later I find out from CRN that its an unblockable.... I need more ABA experience obviously if I dont even know the properties of all her moves. CRN goes next and loses to ABA as well. I go play more casuals on one of the other cabs and eventually I look over and see the final match which is a Jam mirror match consisting of Karun vs some other Jam, Karun loses. I dont know who the qualifiying team was, didnt care so much at the time, it will eventually be posted on the DF2 site. This one Slayer player named Gin kept playing me a bunch of times, he couldnt beat me but he got pretty close so I asked him if he wanted to team up tomorrow for the last tournament, he said he wasnt sure if he was going to go but he said if I could make it out he would probably team with me. From the way he said it I wasnt very confident he was going to show up.

So I keep playing casuals and eventually a Jam player plays against me, couldnt see who it was. After the match im sitting at the cab waiting for another person to play me and all of a sudden this white guy shows up. He tells me his name is Matt and that he is Hintalove on dustloop. He is from Oregon and is living in the area going to school here to study Japanese. Appearently this is his local arcade that he goes to all the time and he didnt even know there was a tournament today. I had no idea there were any other foreign gear players living in the area. So we have a small chat and then I ask him if he wants to play, he says we just did and he was that Jam. So we play a few more and I stick around for a bit and we both play some casuals for a while. Eventually after a few hours, Matt says hes gonna go to an Izakaya for some drinking with some friends of his. It was still pretty early in the day, maybe 6 pm and I was still recovering from the night before and was planning on playing some more and drinking later so I didnt want to get drunk yet. So we exchanged emails and I asked him if he wanted to team up for the tournament tomorrow and he says sure. So he leaves and I stick around for a little longer playing casuals, eventually most of the good players leave and I get a bunch of wins and then people stop playing me and i get sick of waiting around playing the computer so I just leave and head to Akihabara again.

I played at Akihabara for a good while, as it got later and less people were there, I ended up playing against this one Faust player whos there all the time for like 20 matches in a row or something, getting mirror match experience is very good for me since I lacked knowledge of the matchup back in the US due to having no other good fausts in the area. We start off going back and forth, I win, he wins, I win, he wins... in this fasion for about 10 matches in a row. Then he starts to break away and gets 6 in a row on me.... ouch. But I was like, fuck that im not losing to this dude, so then I proceed to win the next 4 in a row without losing a single round (and its set on 3 rounds to win). Eventually he comes around to the other side of the cab and says im strong and then he just leaves. At this point it was pretty dead and late... maybe like 11:30 or so, so I headed back to Shinjuku again. I went to Las Vegas and Mikado and Shinjuku sportsland real quick since they are all really close to eachother to see if any comp was there but it was all dead so I got some food and headed to Current again.

Tonight at Current it was the owner of the bar's birthday party so the place was fairly packed. Lots of the same people that were at the Halloween party 2 weeks ago. I drank and drank, and after that I had some drinks. Chatted with lots of people and stuff. There was this one dude there and he said his name was Chip (nickname) and when he found out that I played in video game tournaments he told me that he used to work for Capcom. He was one of the developers of SF alpha 2, SF3 3rd strike, and some other games like Devil May Cry 3 and he did some work on Biohazzard. He told me he also often goes to a bar called 16 shots which is a video game themed bar where many people from the industry often go. He says that now he works for the movie inudustry which is why he moved to Tokyo since Capcom is based in Osaka where he used to live. There was this other girl too that was his friend that I was talking to, I forgot her name though... good ol beer. So at about 4:45, 15 mins before the bar closes, I had already finished my beer. The girl asks me why im not drinking and I said because the bar is closing soon. She challenges me saying, oh I guess americans are weak when it comes to drinking and claims she never stops drinking. So im like... fuck that and order us some shots of Jagermiester. Then she said that Chip and her were gonna go to Ropongi to another bar called Geronimo for more drinking, I was like, sure Ill go with. So we take a cab to Ropongi. On the way there the girl is like all passing out and having trouble staying awake. I was chatting with Chip and I asked him what he knows about SF4. He says that the game is actually being developed by another company called Spike or something and that Capcom is just distributing it. He says pretty much all the original SF developers have left the company and work for different companies now. He says he isnt sure if the game will be good or not since he isnt working on it himself haha, but who knows. He also said it will be 3d graphics with 2d gameplay which is what I was expecting anyway. Other than that he didnt really know much else. So eventually we get to the bar and now the girl seems ok. We head up there and have another beer and the place is packed with foreigners, Chip tells me that in this bar HE is the gaijin. Eventually its super fucking late, like 7 am or something so we leave and head our seperate ways, Chip goes home (he lives in Ropongi) and the girl heads to her home in Ikebukoro. I take the subway back to Shinjuku to sleep since thats where tomorrows tournament will be. I fall asleep on the train, miss my stop, get back on heading the other way and eventually arrive in shinjuku and get to sleep at around 8:30 am.

I didnt want to be late for the tournament, wanted to get lots of practice in so I woke up at around 12:45, wasnt much sleep but I had like 2 coffees and a bunch of cola so I was alright. Today's tournament at Shinjuku Sportsland would be the last chance I have to qualify for DF2. I get to sportsland and its dead, theres just one venom player there playing the cpu, I beat him and then he goes to another empty cab to play the computer again... i was pretty confused since the guy was pretty good so I dont know why he wouldnt want to play again. Then I go to the bathroom and when i come out i bump into Gin. To my surprise he showed up afterall. So I tell him that I fucked up and sorta promised 2 different people id team with them but I tell him that Ill team up with him since I asked him first. So then he tells me theres people playing at Las Vegas since its half the price so we head over there and theres a few people there. Play a few games and then I get a mail from Matt saying hes at the station and needs me to meet him there to show him the way since hes never been around here much. So I meet Matt at the station and tell him how I fucked up and apolagize and he says its cool, I tell him he can still enter and find another team mate so its all good. We head back to Vegas and play a few more and then its getting late so we head to Sportsland again. By now theres people at sportsland playing. We played some casuals for a while. Matt found a team mate, it was a testament player who was pretty good. Tournament starts. First match my team plays against Dizzy/Chipp team, I go first and lose to Dizzy and then Gin loses to Dizzy as well. The match was close but not good enough... looks like I still have a long way to go until I am qualifier winner material. Matt plays his match and beats the first guy on the team but then loses to the 2nd guy, his partner beats the 2nd guy and they advance to the next round. Eventually they play the next match and they both lose, I think it was to a Slayer player. We played casuals for a little while longer, a bunch of big names start showing up like Nanashi, FAB, Nakamura was there, and a bunch of other guys. There were also a large ammount of female players there, maybe like 6 or 7. Matt was hungry so we went to Yoshinoya and got some food. Headed back and played more casuals, but eventually we both were feeling pretty tired, my caffiene buzz was wearing off and I kept playing matches where I was a pixel away from winning every round and couldnt finish people off. I didnt see who won the tournament this time either, I didnt really care. Eventually it was about time to go so we headed to the station. I told Matt that next time we will team up and form Japanese team USA.

According to Arcadia theres another tournament next weekend at Las Vegas in Shinjuku, though I think its just a singles tournament so no teaming up this time. DF2 quals are officially over now and the finals will be held in 2 weeks in Tokyo, I plan to go watch since it should be pretty hype and there will probly be tons of casuals and ill get to play people from all over Japan instead of just the usual Tokyo scene. So yea.... I still have a long way to go till I can be on the same level as the top Japanese, but ill probly be here for a while so its cool. I honestly do feel like I am at least getting better, I just need to start winning when it counts... one match single elim is just rough... I think US tournaments kinda pamper us in a way, having so many outs changes things a lot. Oh well, im not in America anymore, time to man up and deal with it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

DF2 Overview

So perhaps not everyone knows exactly what DF2 is so I will briefly explain. Basically, DF2 (Dream Fighters Festival) is sort of like Tougeki SBO. It is an annual tournament that features several games (Guilty Gear XX AC, Arcana Heart Full!, Melty Blood Act Cadenza, and Hotoko no Ken). Just like SBO, there is a 32 team bracket for each game and in order to play in the final tournament you must first qualify at one of the qualifier tournaments. In order to qualify you must get 1st place at a qualifier. Instead of 3 person teams like SBO, DF2 is a 2 on 2. The final event will take place at the Code Club Complex in Tokyo on November 25th. All matches are single elimination. The DF2 website can be found here...

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!

(also... pictures section has been updated)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Oyama and Tachikawa

I spent most of my week getting a lot of sleep and not going out much, though by Friday I was pretty much fully recoverd from being sick from the previous weekend. I decided to just stay home on Friday night and spend time with my girlfriend since I knew if I left for Tokyo Friday night Id get no sleep and I didnt want to get sick again. So Saturday morning I headed out for Oyama. When I arrived in Takasaki to transfer trains I noticed there was another line that went directly to Oyama rather than trasnfering and taking the route I took last time, one of the guys who worked at the station told me it would be faster so I took the Ryomo line to Oyama. However, my dumbass failed to realize that THIS Oyama was actually the Tochigi prefecture Oyama..... not the Tokyo Oyama. So after having wasted some time and money I took another train and eventually made it to the correct Oyama. The Game Newton tournament didnt start till 6 pm and I arrived at about 3 pm. When I got there, there was no one there. So I walked around a bit, looked at some game store and went to "Konami sports club" thinking it might be another arcade but it was actually a fitness center/gym hah. So then I went back to Game Newton but no one was there yet so I said fuck it and just decided I would go to Akihabara for a bit. I arrived in Ikebukoro since you have to go there on the way since Oyama station is only a private line and theres no JR trains that go there. I decided that maybe I should just go check out Ikebukoro GIGO since Akihabara was a bit far and id have more time to play if I just went there. After walking around for a bit I couldnt find the place cuz I forgot where it was and its been a while since Ive been there (not since SBO weekend). So eventually I just went to some generic random arcade called "Game" where they had one AC cab. There was a few guys playing there. I got on the cab and stayed on for 18 wins in a row until this one guy who was playing Bridget and Johnny against me a bunch of times finally squeezed in a win with his Johnny. I needed a partner and didnt want to take the chance of going back to Game Newton to find that there was no extra people so I asked the guy if he wanted to go to the tournament and team up. He was very shocked since he said I was very strong and he said he was very weak but he said he wanted to try. He said his name was Shunsuke. When we arrived at Ikebukoro station his friend (whos name also happened to be Shunsuke) was waiting for us there and said he wanted to come watch.

So we eventually arrive at Game Newton. By now there were plenty of players since the tournament was going to start in about a half hour. We started playing casuals against this one potemkin player who was very very good. After a few trys both me and Shunsuke couldnt get a win on him though all of my matches were extremely close. I recognized him from previous tournaments, he had spikey hair sorta like in a mohawk. His name is Yoshio. So anyway, tournament eventually starts and I name our team "Game" after the generic arcade I met my team mate at. First match we play against a Potemkin/Sol team. Shunsuke goes first with his Bridget and loses to Potemkin. I go next and defeat both of them. Next match is Nanashi and his team mate is that spikey haired Potemkin, Yoshio. Shunsuke goes first and loses to Nanashi. I go next and once again... lose to Nanashi. I was pretty bummed. Nanashi's team go on to eventually win the entire tournament and qualify. So I stuck around and played casuals for a few hours. There were a lot of good players in this tournament, and one of the teams was Nemo playing his Testament. I didnt realize that it was him at first until I was playing against a red colored testament in casuals who had a good win streak and I managed to beat him. This one guy who was watching told me I was very strong and I was like naaa... and he told me that I just beat Nemo. I was pretty surprised. I went around to the other side of the cab and sure enough it was indeed Nemo. I went and talked to him and asked him if he remembered me from when I briefly met him over Tougeki weekend at Ikebukoro GIGO tournament. He remembered and we talked for a bit. I asked him why he dropped Faust and the answer was as simple as Testament is stronger in AC. Seems character loyalty isnt very big these days hah. Eventually Osaka B showed up to just hang out and play some casuals and I shook his hand and said hi and shit. Played casuals for a while. Eventually all of a sudden a huge group of people just get up and leave. At this point there were only a few people left. Then Osaka B comes up to me and says that him and his friends are going to get some food and asks me if I would like to come along so I say ok.

Every time I meet new players in Japan and they find out i'm from the Gunma prefecture they are always shocked that I travel so far to go there. It is, afterall, a little over a 3 hour train ride each way. I could take the Shinkansen but the station is located in an inconvenient place for me and parking isnt free as opposed to the regular train where I can park at the town office across the street for free (or I can walk to the other station near my place). In addition to that, the Shinkansen costs double the price of the regular train, so id be paying 5,000 yen for a one way trip as opposed to the regular train where I only pay about 2,500 yen for one way. Even with the Shinkansen it still takes about an hour and a half to 2 hours.

So we all leave, a group of about 10 people or so consisting of Osaka B, Nanashi, Yoshio, and a few other really good players. Osaka B tells me they were gonna go get ramen and that the place is kinda far but I say thats fine. So we walk for a long time.... maybe like a half hour, and eventually we stop at this one corner and some of the guys start making some phone calls. We then finally arrive at this one ramen place but its packed and after standing around for like another 5 minutes I guess they all decided that they didnt want to eat there... so we head back to the corner again. Suddenly FAB shows up and everyone sorta chils for a bit. The guys were asking me where I was going to sleep tonight and I told them I would go to a Manga cafe as ussual. Yoshio tells me that he has a friend who lives in Tachikawa and that a few of them are going to crash at his place tonight, he says that I can come along and he will ask his friend if I can stay there too, he says if not, theres a manga cafe near by. So we start heading to the subway station and at this point I suddenly realize that theres only like 6 of us now, Osaka B and FAB and a few of the others must have gone another way though I didnt notice them leave. So we get on the subway and transfer to a JR train at Shinjuku. While we are waiting for the JR train some random white guy comes up to me asking for directions, I help him out and he apologizes saying hes drunk, it was random. So after waiting a while we finally get on the train, it was like a 40 minute ride to Tachikawa from Shinjuku and the train was packed full, it was the saturday night rush since this was like the last train, it was about midnight at this point. Nanashi was really tired and was like sleeping standing up. Eventually we arrive in Tachikawa and head over to OSLO game center where the tournament would be held. It was a nice arcade and had 5 GG cabs. The arcade was going to close soon but we played a few games of casuals. We met up with their friend there whos name was Toru Kawazoe. He was a Dizzy player, I asked him if he was going to play tomorrow but he said no. They asked him if it was ok for me to stay at his place tonight and he said it was cool. So we stayed for a little after the place was supposed to be closed, they turned off all the machines but the AC machines were still on. The change machine was turned off though so in order to keep playing we had to buy a drink from the vending machine to get change, Kawazoe had like 3 drinks in front of him haha. Eventually the arcade staff tells us to leave so we FINALLY head to a resturaunt, at this point i was starving. We ate a nice big meal and headed to Kawazoe's apartment. He warned me it would be a bit messy but I told him I didnt care and that I was pretty used to going to messy apartments. When we get there he starts busting out all these random funny videos he has saved on his computer. Montages of stuff like people getting hit in the nuts and various sports follys. They were also watching some Mike Z potemkin combo video called Poteman which was like a Megaman parody Potemkin combo video, it was amusing. Eventually they turn on AC and me and this one slayer player (his handle is Basara) whos really good (he often teams up with Nakamura) played a bunch of casuals. Finally at about 4:30 we all go to sleep. I wake up the next morning to Mugen, the bridget player, showing up. We then proceed to spend the next couple hours watching the Tougeki 07 DVD that they apearently barrowed from Domi. They also watched some random anime style quiz game video.... like a combo video except it was like just someone playing some quiz game and getting all the answers right... I had no idea what the hell was going on though cuz I didnt understand the questions, too much difficult kanji that I didn't know. Anyway bla bla bla we eventually go to the arcade.

So we arrive and theres lots of people there playing casuals. The yellow colored Faust player from the Mikado tournament was there (his name is Kiro according to Osaka B) as well as several other good players such as Nakamura and that same purple May player who beat me a few weeks back at the Hachioji tournament. Nemo had told me that previous day that he wouldnt attend this tournament due to work. I signed up without a partner but there were a few other people without partners so it was ok. Through random select I was paired up with a Sol player from the Saitama prefecture named Sakuma. I introduced myself and he was like "chicago right?" and I was surprised but I guess he knew who I was. The level of comp here was just rediculous, everyone was playing serious as hell and everyone was fucking hungry to win. On our way to the arcade, Mugen informed me that OSLO was a very famous arcade among the Japanese Guilty Gear scene and there would be a lot of tough players, he wasnt kidding. Eventually tournament starts and we fight a team of eddie/venom. Sakuma goes first and loses to eddie, I go next and beat eddie....... but then I lose to venom........ (SORRY PRUCHA!! you can hate on me about it later, i deserve it since I should have won, it was really close though....). After the match I was pretty bummed and shit. I kinda felt like I was pretty behind afterall. I went to get some food since i was starving and when I came back the tournament was already over. Some venom/may team won, I dont know their names because the names were written in kanji and I suck at kanji. I played some more casuals and won a few here and there but the overall level of comp at this tournament was just pretty insane. I, of course, wont give up but I think its going to take some time until im on the level that top Japanese players are on. I am capable of beating most top Japanese players but not consistantly enough... its very very hard to do. So after a few hours of casuals it was about time for me to go, I said goodbye to all the dudes I chilled with and headed out and went home. The very last DF2 qualifiers are next weekend, and theres one in Tokyo on Saturday.... this will be my last chance. Chances are I probably wont qualify but im sure as hell gonna go try anyway. Mugen also told me that theres another tournament at Shinjuku Sportsland next sunday that I will go to as well. I just checked the DF2 website and it seems that the Shinjuku tournament IS a qualifier after all! sweet...

On an unrelated note, today I am at work at the elementary school and I ate lunch with the 3rd graders. They were all asking for my autograph and then I asked for theirs to be nice. Then this one kid draws a heaping pile of poo with stink lines and everything. Then this other kids proceeds to draw a hairy ass over the pile of poo. Random...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

DF2 qualified teams

All previous posts on this blog were originally posted on the Chicago thread on SRK and have been moved here. From here on out all posts will be made directly on this blog.

So just to make things easier to follow, here is the complete list of qualified teams up to this point

Auto qualified teams:
MF2 Team
MF2覇者 つばさ(AX) / タク(SL)

SBO'07 Teams
闘劇07覇者1 Ogawa(ED) / undecided team mate
闘劇07覇者2 Niga(SL) / 012(SO)
闘劇07覇者3 肉Q(TE) / Die-chan(AB)

Qualified Teams through preliminaries:
[神々]mike(JA) / kami-chan(SL)
[イノウエにおまかせ♪]ケバ(AB) / イノウエ(OR)
[0頭領]白頭領(FA) / 0(HOS)
[レジェンド・オブ・TTM]サミット(CH) / かずな(BA)
[中国産キムチ]エン(SL) / ライムキー(AN)
[ヤリケンBASARA X]ヤリケン(PO) / BASARA X(SL)
ハラキリ(OS) / maruken(BA)
kaqn(MI) / isa(ED)
赤点(ED) / シロザキ(TE)
[犬と鏡は使いよう]FAB(PO) / 阿部(ZA)
N男(VE) / Dogura(RO)
koichi(IN) / ハーケン(PO)
kik (AB) / はまー(ZA)
はた棒(ZA) / ネコミミ(AX)
ドミー(AN) / カズキ(DI)
ラーク(BA) / 大阪B(FA)

this coming weekend I will be going to 2 more qualifiers, both are in Tokyo, one in Oyama and the other in Tachikawa

hopefully I will do well