Monday, December 17, 2007

Victory Through Failure!?

This will be my last entree for this year since next weekend I will leave for Chicago and stay for about 2 weeks.

After work on Friday I headed to Tokyo as usual. I went right to Akihabara for casuals as I often do on Friday nights. Place was packed as ussual. I started off by playing against some Slayer player, I kept beating him and he kept trying to play me again, after 5 wins he gave up and then I played like a Johnny, a Potemkin, a Ky, and a Robo-ky and beat them all. Then this one testament played me and beat me in a close match. Then I rematched him and won like 3 in a row and then we started going back and forth. After some more matches, an I-no eventually played me. I came extremely close to beating him but then I tried to play him a few more times but I couldnt beat him. He was good as hell so I suspected it might have been KO1 (Koichi). I went around to the other side and told him his I-no was very strong and asked who he was, and he was indeed KO1. I didnt feel so bad for losing to him after that. I stayed for a little while longer and played a bunch more. I was going to leave soon but decided to play against this one female HOS player that I sometimes see. I beat her, but she was extremely determined and kept playing me over and over again. Eventually I think she started to get pissed because I coul feel her pounding on the cab and hitting the buttons really hard every time I beat her. After 13 wins against her in a row it was getting late and I had to leave before the trains stopped running. I went around to the other side to tell her not to put another credit in the machine but she already did so I told her it would be the last game cuz I had to go. We played one more and I won again. Then I went to her and politely said sorry, excuse me, see you later, but I could tell she was very pissed that I beat her so many times because she just gave me a dirty look and didnt say anything. I felt sorta bad but its not like im just gonna let her win, that wont do anyone any good. She wasnt bad either, she has a pretty good HOS but... well she just couldnt beat me. I think I had about 45 wins and 22 loses overall that night. I took the train and headed to Shinjuku to go to Current.

Current was pretty dead, only a few people there. Masami was there with Heidi (the girl from Norway) so I sat with them and had a beer. Then they said they were gonna go to GODZ and invited me to come along so I went with them. We went there, had another beer (I had 2 cuz they drank theirs too slow), and then we went to PSY. GODZ was playing great music but tonight PSY wasnt playing too much stuff that I dig. Heidi likes PSY best so we stayed there for a bit, but eventually I wanted to go back to Current. Heidi said she wanted to stay at PSY but Masami went with me to Current. When we got there, a few more people had arrived so it wasnt quite so dead. This one Greek dude named Nicos was there and he was trying to pick this one chick up but she and her friend left to go to another bar. He was pretty persistant. He was slamming the vodka pretty hard and claimed he wasnt drunk but he totally was haha. There were also these 3 foreigners there that managed some underground band that ive never heard of.... something Dog or something... I forgot the name. They were at some bar earlier and came with these 3 Japanese chicks I guess they picked up. Nicos worked his way over there and started talking to them and then one of the guys saw my Rush hoodie and was all impressed cuz he says im the first person in Japan hes seen with a Rush shirt. Then the girls they were with were asking me questions and stuff and I was talking with them and the guys were all jealous cuz I could speak Japanese. They seemed like they were insecure cuz this one chick was talking to me and then in mid conversation the guy just like pulls her towards him and gives me this look like "shes mine", im just thinking... ok whatever I wasnt even trying to pick her up haha. Kinda rude of him. Blablabla, so anyway, eventually the bar closed so i went to the manga cafe for some sleep.

I woke up the next day and got some McDonalds. They have 2 new versions of the Megamac for a limited time and it started this week. One is a Megamac with bacon and tomato and the other is bacon and egg. I got the one with tomato. I was surprised to find out that they used a different sauce, it was sorta likea mix of cesar dressing and mayo. It tasted OK but the original mac sauce still owns it for free. After that I walked around to some various stores in Shinjuku because I needed to buy my dad a xmas gift. He said he wanted some sorta shirt or something that said "Japan" or "Tokyo" or whatever one it, a typical touristy sorta thing but he wanted it so I looked for it. I went to lots of stores in Shinjuku but couldnt find a single shirt like that. I suppose its not very trendy for Japanese people to be walking around wearing shirts that say Japan on them, but I found tons of other countries hah. So after a few hours of shopping with no success it was getting late so I had to head over to Las Vegas game center for the 2 on 2 tournament that would be held today. I got there and a few people were playing. Played some casuals and won most of the games I played. Then I needed to find a partner cuz the guy running the tournament wouldnt help me find one so I randomly asked a bunch of people and after like mostly everyone saying they already had a team mate or sucked and werent going to enter, this one guy who I asked before changed his mind and said he would team up with me but he said he was weak. He was a Sol player named Kojima. So there were only 6 teams so they did round robin format. They also had the rounds set on first to 3 instead of 2 like ussual. Gin, the Slayer player who I had teamed up with in the past was there. We played against his team first. Kojima went first against Gin and lost all 3 rounds in a row. Then I went and lost the 1st round, won the 2nd and 3rd rounds, but then lost the 4th round. 5th round was going fine but then I did standing slash and he did that damn cheap ass Slayer force break and went through it and killed me. I swear thats one of my most hated moves in the whole game. Anyway, so next we are about to play the next team, Kojima does RPS and loses so we have to declare our first player. He says it will be Axl/Sol. I say I will go first, but then after I already pick my character hes like... oh wait its actually Chipp/testament or something. Had I known that Id have him go first since I suck vs Chipp, so I had to play the Chipp player. I actaully won the first 2 rounds but then I lost the next 3... bummer. Then Kojima goes and Chipp beats him as well. Next match was a Dizzy/Eddie team I think. I go first again this time and win the first 2 rounds, lose 3rd round, win 4th round and defeat Dizzy. Then I forgot the rounds but I lost to the Eddie and Kojima loses as well without taking any rounds. There was another team and I cant remember who they were right now but we lost again. Finally we played against the Axl/Sol team and I go first. I lose to Axl in a very close match, goes down to the last round. Kojima also loses to Axl. After we had lost our first 2 matches I sorta just didnt even care anymore since we basically already had lost the tournament. I didnt realize they were taping the whole tournament until it was over, otherwise I would have maybe cared more. I dont know if they are gonna put all the vids up, but I hope not since they arnt exactly my best matches ever. I didnt pay attention to who won the tournament. I played more casuals for a few hours. Eventually Shoudji (the Testament who was on the winning SBO team) shows up and sits next to me. I didnt see him cuz I was playing a match, then he taps me on the shoulder and says hi. Hes a really nice guy, I met him a few times while playing casuals at Akihabara. I last saw him at DF2 where I briefly chatted with him and he wished me luck in the quals, I wished him luck as well. So this time he showed up with his girlfriend who stood behind him and watched him play. He looked at my screen and commented how it was impressive how I had 14 wins, I was like.... naa... thats not that many. I asked him why he didnt play in the tournament today, he said he was home sleeping. Im sure he probly was spending quality time with his girl. I asked him if he would go to the Akihabara tournament tomorrow and he said he wasnt gonna go cuz he had stuff to do. I played a few more games and eventually I got beat by a good Potemkin. It was getting late and I had been playing for a long time so I was gonna head out but I told Shoudji I would play him in a quick game. We played and he won. I said goodbye to him and he wished me luck in the tournament tomorrow. I headed out, got some food and headed to Current again.

This time the place was packed since they had some special event going on. I guess 2 people were getting married but I didnt know them. They had a poster behind the bar of them together and people were eating cake. This one girl recognized me from the last time they had a big event 2 weeks ago. I sorta remember her but not so much, I hardly talked to her. I sat with her and talked a bit and talked with lots of people and drank lots of beer. They were mostly playing cheesy powermetal bands. I like cheese metal on occasion but sometimes too much of it can get excessive. Eventaully Chip showed up. I sat with him at the bar and we chatted for a bit. He said Mayuko wasnt going to come tonight because her friend had just died in a motorcycle accident and she was pretty bummed, I guess her friend was only 24... its pretty sad. Eventually this one chick that Chip knows started talking to him so I let her have my seat so Chip have a conversation with her and went to sit with some other people for a bit. After a while, Chip said he was going to go to Gravity (the other rock bar thats like a 30 second walk from Current, with the girl and her other female friend. He asked me to come along. I hadnt been to Gravity in a long time so I figured why not. We all went to Gravity and just like last time the place was pretty empty. Chip said the place is only a few months old and hasnt really gotten popular yet but the guy who owns it is a cool guy and is really good at Guitar. The 4 of us got a table and sat for a bit and had some drinks, and then the owner noticed my Symphony X hat and it turns out he was a big fan of them. We talked about Symphony X for a bit and then he said he wanted to play a Symphony X song. Gravity has a ton of instrements just sitting around. He picked up a guitar that wasnt plugged in and practiced for like a few mins and then he plugged it in. Suddently Out of the Ashes comes on and he played along with the entire song fucking flawlessly! I was totally impressed because thats a fucking hard song to play on guitar. For anyone that isnt familiar with Symphony X, please listen to the song Out of the Ashes. Chip said he keeps trying to get the owner to join a band or something but the guy just wants to bar tend instead. Its a shame because hes very talented. Then this one other guy who was there played a Scorpions song, I cant remember what it was cuz by this point I was pretty drunk. Then the owner wanted to play another song and wanted me to sing with him. I dont think im a good singer by any means but the guy wanted me to and I was wasted enough to not give a shit. So he played You Can Still Rock in America by Night Ranger and I sang along. Thankfully he forgot to turn the mic on so my voice sorta blended in haha. I had considered playing something on bass but since I didnt have enough room to bring my bass with me on the plane when I came to Japan, its been almost 6 months since ive played and I didnt wanna fuck up. Im gonna try to bring it with me when I come back after visiting home next week so maybe if I practice a bit ill try next time if I go back there. So I was talking to the girls friend while Chip was talking to his friend and she was telling me how she was married and stuff and showed me a picture of her 2 daughters. Then she was like telling me how her husband would sometimes hit her and stuff and it was kinda sad. That shit pisses me off, she seemed like a nice girl too. The bar ussually closes at 5 but I guess they decided to stay open later, it was about 20 mins after 5 and I needed to do some shopping before the tournament tomorrow so I said goodbye to everyone and left.

Next morning I needed to do some shopping. I had asked Chip the night before where I could possibly find a touristy shirt like the one my dad wants for xmas. He suggested Ueno. I headed for Ueno, its only 2 stops away from Akihabara so it worked out fine. Though while I had been to Ueno a zillion times to transfer trains, this is the first time I actaully left the station and walked around the area there. I found a hardrock cafe in the station but they wanted some rediculous like 7000 yen for a sweatshirt. Plus hardrock cafe is lame so I figured id walk around some more. After going to a bunch of stores with no luck I decided I would just say fuck it and go get the hardrock cafe shirt. However, on my way back to the station I found this one store that had all these shirts with kanji on them that was basically the kinda thing my dad wanted. I picked him up one that said "ichi ban" in kanji. Then as I was walked down the street I found a little table outside where some dude was selling TONS of shirts just like the kind my dad wanted. I found one that had a map of Japan on it and said Japan in Kanji with the big red "rising sun" like on the flag behind the map. It actually looks pretty cool. Then I also got him a shirt with the painting "The Great Wave" by Hokusai. A very famous painting that im sure pretty much everyone has seen. We used to have it on the wall in my apartment in Chicago. So I figured hed like these shirts so my work in Ueno was done. I headed back to Akihabara since I still had a few more things I needed to pick up. I went to a few stores cuz Andy (capps indigo) wanted me to pick him up a import PS2 in a crazy color, but they only had white, silver, and black. I got him a silver one. Then Rob (Heartnana) wanted me to get him a used copy of VF5 but I couldnt find it anywhere, sorry dude. Eventually my time was up and I had to go to Club Sega for the tournament.

The place was packed again. It was a 3 on 3, I told the club sega staff guy that I didnt have a team but he said its ok and they would team up the extra people later. Club sega staff is always cool about that, I wish Vegas staff was more like that. One of the staff members asked me where I was from and I told him Gunma and that I was a teacher and stuff and he was shocked just like everyone always is that I travel so far for these tournaments. By US standards, 3 hours travel time to go to a big tournament (this one had maybe over 60 people) is not that big of a deal but I guess since the Japanese are so used to having so many large tournaments so close to them all the time, 3 hours seems like a lot for them. So eventually we all do RPS and stuff to determine teams and I get paired up with this one Testmament player named Sushi. He says hes mostly a melty blood player so he isnt very good. He told me he already knew who I was because he heard about me from Osaka B. He tells me to make up the team name so I just pick Japanese Team Chicago. I ask him if we are just a 2 person team and he says.. no.... because his friend 012 will be playing on our team when he arrives shortly. Thats right... 01 fuckin 2. Then this other guy end up being on our team, so I thought 012 wasnt going to be on our team, but it turns out the other guy, who was a venom player, ended up taking Sushi's place since I guess he didnt really want to play. I said hi to the venom and asked him if he was on my team now and he said yes and nice to meet you but he walked away before I could get his name, I guess he had something to take care of. I figured id get his name later. So 012 shows up and I say hi to him and now Ive got this super elite team. Tournament starts and first match we go against Gin's team... again. I wanted my revenge so I decide to go first. I win the first round. Lose the 2nd round. 3rd round is going fine but then I do a quick air down kick but he hits me out of it for a 70% combo and I lose. Bummer. Then venom goes and he also comes close but loses. 012 proceeds to OCV their team. Up next, another team starting with a slayer player. Venom goes first, loses to Slayer. I got next, I also lose to Slayer. 012 again busts out another OCV. Up next was a Sol/Eddie/something forgot... team. Venom goes first and this time he gets the OCV. His venom was actually very good. Up next was a Jam team, I go first and lose to Jam. I was doing alright, baited a burst and got a few good combos and stuff but in the end I got pressured in the corner and tried to dust through her like an idiot and got hit and lost. I think venom lost to her too and then 012 beat everyone again. So the next match was the finals. It was us vs Haken (po)/Zero (HOS)/Hakutoryou (FA). I go first again... this time against Haken. I did ok but I got knocked down and after that I pretty much couldnt move and died. Then venom beats Haken and loses to Zero. Zero vs 012 was really close, I thought he was gonna lose but 012 pulled ahaed and took it. 012 beat Hakutoryou pretty convincingly. And there you have it. I just won my first Japanese guilty gear tournament without even doing anything all thanks to 012. It wasnt really a great feeling considering I was deadweight. Even if I had won lots of matches it wouldnt matter since 012 being on my team means I win for free. Its like playing a game with unlimited lives, you dont really feel like you accomplished much when you die a bunch of times and just win because you cant actaully lose. After we won everyone was sorta like sarcasticly cheering since no one was the least bit surprised that 012 won haha. He seriously is amazing though, watching him play was great. After the tournament they took our picture and gave us these laminated cards that said we won and stuff, ill take a picture of it and put it up. Then I stayed and played casuals for a bit. 012 got on an empty cab and picked Faust so I played him in a mirror match and won. Faust is his 2ndary and his Faust is very good, ive known this since I saw him play Faust months ago at that one Game Newton tournament. After I beat a few other people I asked 012 to play me again but to use Sol. I came so close to beating him, went down to the last round and lost by just small amount. I tried to find the venom player to see if he wanted to play and ask his name but he was gone so I dont even know who he was haha,. Ive seen him before though. After a few more games I thanked 012 for winning the tournament and headed home. Overall it was a fun weekend and I did really well in casuals and did really bad in tournament matches, and yet I still got 1st place due to random luck of being on 012's team. Thats it for this year. Gonna have a fuckin blast back in Chicago for 2 weeks. Everyone have a good holiday and new years. Make sure to get wasted and play lots of gear. If you dont play gear, then just get extra wasted.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Game Chariot G3 Ranbats

After work on Friday I headed for Tokyo as usual. When I arrived at Takasaki to transfer trains I ran into Amy, another one of the ALTs who lives in my town. We talked for a bit on the train about various things like work and stuff. She also told me about how she was just chilling out on her couch like last week or something and she felt something tickle her leg. She looks down to find a big nasty mukade sitting on her leg. For those of you who don't know, a mukade is an ugly ass centepede about the size of a finger, and they are poisonous. They are found everywhere in Japan. She showed me a picture of it on her camera and it was pretty nasty. Luckely for her she didn't get stung. I have been fortunate enough to not have seen one... yet... but I live on the second floor of my building so the chances of seeing one in my apartment are much more rare compared to Amy who was on the first floor of her place.

So eventually I arrive at Akihabara and we parted ways since she was on her way to visit her boyfriend in Yokohama. I arrived at Club Sega and played casuals for a while. Machaboo was there and I played him twice, won a round each time but didnt beat him. I played various other people, at one point I had like 15 wins or something in a row. Eventually it got a bit dead so I headed to Shinjuku to go drinking at current.

Not a whole lot of regulars were there, but in the back by the tables area the place was packed with gaijin. I was quite surprised since usually im the only foreigner there aside from maybe one or sometimes 2 other people. There were probably about 25 gaijin. The DJ was playing a lot of crappy music, I guess because he felt it would cater to the gaijin's tastes since they didnt look very "metal", but I think he was mistaken since this one French chick told me she was into black metal. So since the music was pretty shitty I decided to just go to GODZ after I had a few beers at Current. I arrived at GODZ and I ran into the guy who drank with me and Chip and Maiyuko in Roppingi 2 weeks ago and who drank with me and Masami and the 2 Swedish people at GODZ and PSY last weekend. His name is Yago. He was there by himself but he was sitting with these 2 other chicks at the bar. I said hi to him and then sat at a table since the bar was full. They played a lot of great music there that night so I didnt mind going there for a change of pace. I got a beer and was chilling and then one of the girls he was sitting with started looking at me and smiled so I figured id just go talk to them. We chatted for a bit, just random small talk about stuff. She told me she was going to move to England to visit her brother next week and would stay for a few months. Eventually the other girl was like falling asleep at the bar and so was Yago. About 10 minutes before the bar was about to close I decided to head out since I wanted to wake up the next day with enough time to make it to Chiba. I said goodbye to them and headed to the ussual manga cafe.

I woke up, got some breakfast (more like lunch but whatever), and took about an hour train ride to Chiba. Today would be the G3 (Guilty Gear Generations cup) ranbats tournament at Game Chariot, the same Game Chariot where Kaqn works and where I went last time. When I arrived at the arcade there were a lot of players playing casuals. I once again talked to a few people before the tournament who asked where im from and as ussual they were very shocked to hear I came all the way from Gunma, espessially since its over a 4 hour train ride from Game Chariot. He asked why I came all the way to Chiba since there was a tournament at Shinjuku sportsland going on today as well. I had no idea about it since it wasnt in the back of Arcadia and didnt hear about it from anyone. Though it would have been much more convenient to go to the other tournament, I dont regret going to Game Chariot since its nice to switch it up, and Game Chariot is the shit and there were lots of good players so it was worth coming out. Isa was there and I played his Eddie a few times and was able to get a few rounds but couldnt beat him. He stayed on the machine till the tournament started and I think he had like 30 wins or something by the time it was ready to start. The brackets were made by this one sexy Millia player. She was cosplaying as Millia in her red costume. Kaqn was pimped out in a suit. He ran the tournament so he wasnt able to play. This tournament was single elim and there were a lot of players. Standard bracket with the standard Japanese tournament rules. My first match was against an Eddie player named Ore. I asked one of the guys I was talking to earlier if Ore was good, he told me he wasnt famous so he wasnt sure. Before the match Kaqn had announced that I had come all the way from Gunma and that I was an English teacher and stuff. So the match begins. I win the first round fairly well. 2nd round he gets an early lead on me, I was pinned down by usual Eddie BS and got hit with a huge combo for big damage. I had about one hit worth of life left. I stuck in there and made a huge come back and eventually got him into the corner and finished him off with a well placed forward hardslash. People were like clapping and stuff after I won. So then I chilled for a bit. My next match would be vs a Millia player named Maseki. I asked the same guy about Maseki and if he was good. He told me it would be a tough match and wished me goodluck. The match begins and the first round was super close but I pulled ahead and took round 1. Round 2 was also very close but I lost. Round 3 was going well for a but eventually I got put in the corner and just couldnt block all the Millia mixup. After the match the guy shook my hand and said it was a good match and that I played well. I went and played casuals for a long time after I lost. Eventually the tournament ended and Isa ended up winning with his Eddie, which was absoloutly no surprise to me given how he was beasting before the tournament started. I stuck around for a few more hours and played casuals some more. I got really hungry so I asked Kaqn if there was a good resturaunt in the area, he took me outside and pointed me to a good place, so I thanked him and got some food and then went back to Game Chariot for more games. I noticed the female Millia player was now dressed in her normal clothes again, I was disapointed because I wanted to get a picture of her in her costume since it was very well made, but I was waiting because I didnt want to bug her while she was helping run the tournament, guess I waited to long.. bummer. I did play her a bit though and her Millia was really good, I beat her lots of times and she beat me a few as well. She played the same red color Millia too which was cool. At one point I had a small win streak of about 10 wins but it was vs this fucking onslaught of Axl players. I have no idea where they came from but there were like 4 different Axls that just kept playing me over and over. I ussually dont do so fantastic against Axl so getting all those wins vs Axl felt kinda good. I eventually lost in a really close match. I stuck around and played some more. I was in the middle of another long win streak. Eventually it started to get dead sorta, it was taking a long time for someone to play me. There was this one female Ky player who was standing around so I asked her to play me. She played me for about 3 matches and then came around to the other side and said I was very strong and thanked me for the matches. I played a few more against this one Jam player who was quite determined to beat me. In the end it was getting late and I wanted to head back to Shinjuku before the trains stopped so I went around and told the Jam player to not put another credit into the machine because I was leaving. I left the arcade with a 30 win streak still on the machine.

After a little over an hour train ride back I eventually arrived in Shinjuku. I went back to Current again and this time it was full of regulars. I felt like getting wasted so I was pounding beers pretty fast. I think I had like 4 beers in the first hour after I arrived. I talked with various people for a bit and had a great time, this time they played plenty of great music. Eventually after closing I went with Chip and Maiyuko to Roppongi again and we had another beer at Geronimo shot bar. Then I headed back to Shinjuku for some sleep at the usual place.

Next day I woke up pretty late at around 1:30 pm. There was not tournament today so I decided to just go to Akihabara, for casuals of course, but mostly because I needed to do some Xmas shopping. On the way to Akihabara I stopped at Ochanomizu Disk Union and picked up an AC/DC patch that im gonna put on a cheap plain black hoodie I got for 1000 yen at the store in my town. I got to Akihabara and went into tons of different shops. Ussually I just go right to Club Sega since its right accross from the station, so there are many places in Akihabara I still hadnt even seen yet. I went into a few random electronics stores. I also went into this awsome store called Aso Bit City. It was full of anime and game merchandise. It was like 5 floors and each floor had different stuff on it, the top floor was all cosplay costumes haha. One of the floors was playing the FFIV soundtrack which was pretty sweet. I picked up a few souvineers for my friends back home. I also found this awsome store called Super Potato. This place was just straight up top tier. Probably the coolest game store ive ever been in. They had everything from the oldest of the oldschool to new stuff. They had tons of rare shit like virtual boy and sega nomad. They also had tons of game merchandise and stuff ive never even seen before. There were TVs all over with classic consoles hooked up that you could just go ahead and play. The place was 3 floors, the first 2 had tons of game and merchandise. The 3rd floor was an old school retro arcade. It had all old classic games and there was a chair made completely out of famicom cartridges glued together as well as a lifesize statue of Solid Snake (I took pictures of both). I picked up a few more things for people at this place too and then headed out. The KFC in the area has a large statue of Colonel Sanders but they put a Santa suit on him, it looked pretty sweet so I took a pic of it as well. I went to a few more stores but after about 4 hours of shopping the urge to play casuals grew too strong and I gave into my GG addiction and headed back to Club Sega. Place was packed as ussual and I got a lot of games in. I ended up with another 20 something win streak at one point as well and once again left the arcade with the streak still on the machine. I would have played longer but I had to head back to catch the last train. Thats about it. Next weekend will be my last weekend in Japan until next year. The following weekend I will be taking a flight back to Chicago to visit my family and friends for about 2 weeks. There will be 2 tournaments next weekend, one at Las Vegas and one in at Club Sega Akihabara. I also have more Xmas shopping to do so it should be a busy weekend.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Casuals... drinking.... more casuals.... more drinking... and... more casuals...

I went into this weekend without any solid plans since I hadn't purchased the latest arcadia yet. I figured I would just pick one up when I got there and then check the back for the tournament schedule. So Friday after work I left for Tokyo as usual and went to Akihabara first for casuals and to buy the arcadia at a shop there. When I got the magazine I was disapointed to see that there were no tournaments listed for this weekend. I headed for Club Sega and played some casuals for a while. One of my first matches was vs an Eddie player, first round I was winning and then he made a come back and we got a double KO. The next 2 rounds were very close but I lost. I tried to play against him a few more times but I couldnt beat him. At first I didnt think it was Ogawa since he ussually uses default and this guy was using the green eddie, but after analyzing his play style it seemed like Ogawa after all and sure enough when I went around to the other side of the cab it was indeed him. I played some casuals vs some other people and me and Ogawa sorta just waved to eachother. I wanted to ask him what was up with him and tournaments in the future since he couldnt go to DF2 but I never got the chance since he was busy talking to someone and then he left while I was in the middle of a match. I had emailed Matt (Hintalove) on the train telling him I was going to Akihabara, so eventually he showed up for some casuals as well. I asked him if he was gonna go drinking tonight and he said he was going clubbing later. Since clubbing isnt my thing and im probably the worst dancer ever I decided I would just go drinking in Shinjuku at my ussual spots instead. Before me and Matt left Club Sega, I asked this one Millia player who I often see around if he knew of any tournaments this weekend. He said there were none in Tokyo but there was one in Saitama (the prefecture north of Tokyo which is between my prefecture and Tokyo). The tournament was somewhere in Minami Koshigaya on Saturday. He didnt know what time it started but estimated around 3 pm. Then he asked me how many players we have in Chicago, I didnt tell him I was from Chicago so I guess by now pretty much everyone just knows who I am hah. I told him maybe about 15 or so but of course the number fluctuates. When I told him we dont have an arcade with an AC machine and we play on console he seemed rather surprised and thought it was strange. So I thanked him and said bye and me and Matt headed to the station. Matt said that he would not go to the tournament since he had plans to just go joy riding around Tokyo in his friend's car or something. We parted ways and I headed for Shinjuku.

I arrived at Current and there were a few regulars and a few new faces but the place wasnt very active. The same guy who went drinking with me, Chip, and Mayuko last weekend were there. One of the bartenders who works there was there but it was his day off, his name is Masami, hes a younger guy, 21 years old, he plays guitar in a band. Hes a cool dude. He is friends with this one chick from Norway who was there and she was also there with this one other young Norway dude that she was friends with. This guy was a character, he said he was in Japan to study Japanese and was a big Otaku and kept naming all this obscure manga ive never fucking heard of. I asked him if the girl was his girlfriend and he proceeded to say "no she looks like a man" which was not true, he was just being a dick I guess haha. The other guy was just her friend. So since Current was dead they were all planning on going to GODZ so I went with them, and the other guy from last week came with us as well. So the 5 of us walked to GODZ and got a table. The Swedish dude then started to write all these random haikus in Swedish and then he translated them for me, they were pretty random and shitty haha. This dude was also one of those guys that spits a lot when he talks, and I was the lucky one to end up sitting next to him. So after a few beers we left GODZ and went to PSY bar. It was pretty packed (which means 15 people were there since thats about all that can fit). After a while everyone was kinda getting sluggish and I was getting sick of PSY so I decided to head back to Current for about a half hour before they closed. When I got there, there were only a few people. Mogi and Sushi, the staff, wanted me to sit with them at the bar and pointed to a specific stool, so I sat there. Then I realized the person sitting next to me was this drunk chick who was like in her late 30s. She was requesting all this really bad music and wanted me to dance with her. She was persistant and I didnt want to be a jerk so I figured I was drunk enough to go shuffle my body around for a few minutes for one song. So then we sat back down and she is like trying to get me to dance with her again so I did one more song. Then she like starts resting her head on the bar and looks like shes about to pass out and is like asking me questions about myself. Eventually the bar was ready to close and everyone left at the same time. The guy who was DJing (who maybe knew her but im not sure) helped the wasted chick to get on her bycicle which she appearently rode there, she said she lived close by so hopefully she made it home OK. It was pretty random, and she didnt even like rock/metal really so I dont know why the hell she was even there, seemed very out of place haha. I said bye to everyone and went to my usual spot at the manga cafe and slept.

Next morning I woke up around 11:00 and grabbed some food and checked out this one music store which is near Current. I had been meaning to go there for a while but never did cuz they are always closed at night. They had a good selection of stuff and were playing Circus Maximus - Isolate when I walked in so that was pretty sweet. So after that I decided to head to Saitama for the tournament. On the way there the damn Saikyo line got delayed for almost a half hour, I have no idea why but first we sat on the train for a long time, then we got to the next station and had to get off and wait for the next train, I dont think it was due to a "human accident" this time though, I didnt see any human remains on the tracks or the front of the train. So eventually I arrive in Minami Koshigaya station a little before 2 pm. Right away I found 2 game centers that were right next to eachother next to the station. However, much to my dismay only one of them had one single AC cab and was certainly not the place where the tournamet would be held. I asked the guy who worked there if there were other arcades in the area and he pointed in a direction and said it was about a 5 minute walk. So I walked around for a bit and eventually I found this one other game center called Solaris. It was sorta big but they didnt have many fighter, they had one Arcana cab and some KOF and thats was about it. I asked the chick who worked there if they had AC and she didnt know wtf it was hah. So I had about 45 minutes left at this point and I just kept walking around sorta circling the station and going down all the streets but I just couldnt find the damn arcade. So at this point it was like 3pm and I figured the tournament would have already started even if I did find it so I just said fuck it and left and headed back to Akihabara. It was sorta a waste of time but the area was nice and so was the weather so at least it was a nice walk. On my way to Akihabara, when I got off the train I noticed that there was a wet puddle under my backpack where I had set it on the floor. It didnt rain so I was wondering wtf was going on. I checked out my bag and noticed that my saline solution bottle for my contact lenses had somehow openened and leaked all over. On top of that, I had some TUMS in the same pouch and when the saline and TUMS mixed, it made this pasty goo that got all over everything. It was a pain in the ass to clean up but eventually I got most of it cleaned off. Unfortunately both my DF2 and SBO program guides were in the bag and suffered water damage. They are still readable but the ink ran and the pages got stuck together. Bummer since I wanted to keep them in good condition. After dealing with that BS, I played more casuals at Club Sega till late and then headed back to Shinjuku for more drinking.

When I arrived at Current it was fucking PACKED. Like, the most packed ive ever seen it, you could hardly walk. Most of the people there I didnt even recognize, most of the regulars werent present. It turns out there was some event and they had like 4 guest DJs. They were playing all sorts of great music. I talked with some people and had tons of beers and it was good times. Eventally Chip showed up and we sat at the bar and talked for a bit. He told me that when Current has these big events and all these random people show up, most of the regulars dont like to come because they think of Current as "their" bar and dont want all the randoms there. He told me Mayuko was in Hodaiko visiting family for the weekend. Eventually Chip left saying he was going to some other bar to meet up with a girl, but said he would come back next weekend and we might go to 16 shots again or something. Eventually they ended the night by playing Dream Theater - One Last Time, Finally Free, The Spirit Carries On, and everyone proceeded to head out. As I was stumbling back to the Manga Cafe I somehow ended up talking to a group of people that also left the bar that were going the same way, they went to McDonalds so I went with since I had the drunken munchies. I got a Fillet o Fish combo (which they sold on the breakfast menu, I was surprised) and harldy even remember what we talked about at all, I was pretty sauced. I eventually headed back and passed out.

I woke up Sunday finding myself with no plans. I left the Manga Cafe and decided to go check out Las Vegas game center since its right across the street. There was one guy there playing Slayer against the AI, he had 2 wins so I figured he was probly decent. I played beat him a few times but he was good, then a few other people started coming in and we had a little gear session going for maybe like an hour. Then I got hungry and left to get some food. I decided I wanted to check somewhere new out and my friend Liz had told me how she was in Harajuku the previous weekend so I decided to go check it out. I got there and walked down this street that was packed with people and shops. I looked around for a bit and found some ties at the 100 yen store which are actually pretty decent. Its good cuz ive been wearing the same 4 fucking ties to work since I got to Japan. I got some food and then walked around for a long time. I eventually found myself in an area that looked familiar and I realized that I had been there once before at night during the weekend when I walked around Shibuya by myself a long time ago. Shibuya is the next station after Harajuku so it makes sense, but I walked far appearently. I decided to head back near the station and I found this area where lots of people were gathered. There were lots of people dressed in gothic lolita clothes and a few people carying signs that said "free hugs." This one really scary older guy was dressed in this pink furry animal suit and it was rather fightening. Im not gonna waste my time describing it too much so just go ahead and take a look at the picture of him in my gallery that I will add shortly. There was also this crazy old man with a very strange outfit as well, he had like earings with live goldfish inside of them and a wacky-ass hat. There were also lots of live bands just playing on the sidewalk and stuff and a realy nice forest area that I walked around in for a bit. I really wish my good camera still worked since I could have taken way better pictures. After a while my addiction to Guilty Gear creeped up again and I started fiending so I headed back to Akihabara and played casuals for the rest of the day. Osaka B and FAB were there among some other really good players. I didnt get a chance to play Osaka B. He came and said hi to me while I was playing but he had to leave, bummer. I played FAB a bunch and kept winning 2 rounds but then losing the last round. He had like a 30 something win streak in general, blargh. Eventaully I left and headed home. Not exactly the most exciting weekend in terms of Guilty Gear due to the lack of tournaments but I guess thats to be expected since everyone is probably recovering from DF2 and stuff. According to Arcadia, theres a ranbats at Game Chariot next weekend so I will probably hit that up, should be good times.