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.

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