Monday, June 30, 2008

Return to Niigata

Earlier in the week I received an unexpected email from Gahaku, the Testament player that I had teamed up with the last time I went to Niigata. Turns out he was planning on entering the tougeki qualifier this weekend and he asked if I would join his team. This made my decision whether to go to Tokyo or Niigata much easier. However, he didn’t have a 3rd person for the team lined up yet, so I emailed just about everyone I knew to see if they were willing to travel to Niigata. Since most of the players I know are from Tokyo or other places near Tokyo, Niigata is pretty damn far. I live basically right in the middle of Niigata city and Tokyo, 3 hours each way on the train, so for me its no big deal. Throughout the week, basically everyone told me that they couldn’t do it, or just never replied. For most of the week I actually was sorta sick. I had a pretty bad cold and an annoyingly consistent cough. The trains to Niigata are also pretty scarce and if I wanted to leave after work on Friday, I would have gotten there at like 10 pm and would have had to wait a long time during a transfer and as a result, the trip would have taken like 4 and a half hours. Because of that and the fact that I was kinda sick, I figured I might as well just spend Friday night just chilling at home.
On Saturday morning I got up early and took the first train to Niigata. I arrived at about noon. I emailed Gahaku to see where he was at. He said that he wanted to meet up with me later at around 5 because he said he had plans to play with a friend. I didn’t really quite get what he meant, I was assuming he meant that he was going to play Guilty Gear with a friend… which I found a bit odd that he wouldn’t want me to play too. I figured I would just go find a place to play until then. I went to Long Run Game Center, the very first game center I had found the first time I was in Niigata, which is actually the place where I had originally met Gahaku in the first place. When I got there, I was surprised to see that Gahaku was actually there! Not only that, but sitting next to him was a girl! It all made sense to me now. By play with a friend he meant spend time with a girl. We waved hello and I just got on the other side of the cab and we started to battle. We played a ton of games, and for maybe about 10 games in a row, we went back and forth with one of us winning and then the other winning. Then I broke away and got like 4 wins in a row. Then I think he won like 2 in a row, it went back and forth again, and then he said that he was gonna go spend some time with the girl. I told him that’s totally cool and said we would meet up later. I stayed at Long Run for a bit longer but there wasn’t really anyone there. Some Baiken scrub and some Potemkin scrub challenged me but I made short work of them fast. I figured I should just get out of there and find Chance game center, the other place that Gahaku and I played at last time. The comp at that place tends to be better. I could have gone to POPY but its pretty far from Niigata station actually. You have to go to Kameda station which is 2 stops away and then walk about a half hour. Chance game center was only like a 5 minute walk from the other side of Niigata station.
At first I didn’t really remember exactly how to get there but it actually didn’t take me too long to find the place. I was rather surprised since my sense of direction is usually rather shitty. When I got there, they had one AC cab just like last time, but sure enough, there were some people there playing. There was this one Venom player there who had a good amount of wins. This cab was set up on 100 yen is 2 credits. I got on the cab and lost to him twice in 2 close games. I went again and was able to beat him. For a while we went back and forth. There was also some random May player there. After playing for a bit, it was about 4 pm. All of a sudden Gahaku shows up with the girl he was with earlier! I didn’t even tell him I was gonna go to Chance haha! From this point on we spent a good while playing casuals at Chance. This one other girl showed up too. She came over to me and said hello. She was the same Dizzy player that was on the ladies team that we played against last time in the tournament at POPY. She seemed pretty happy and surprised to see me. I asked her if she was entering the tournament tomorrow and she said she didn’t really have plans to. I told her that we needed a 3rd player and asked her if she might want to join us. I remembered her having a solid Dizzy. She said that she wasn’t sure if she could make it, but she said that if she does go, that she would like to join our team. At some point the Venom player had like 9 wins in a row and eventually Gahaku took him out. Gahaku said hes the best Venom in Niigata. At some point, I played a match against the female Dizzy player (her name is Junya btw). I pretty much beat her down pretty hard. I was surprised because I remembered her being much better than that. Either my Dizzy matchup skills have improved a lot or she wasn’t as good as I remembered. I was suddenly a bit weary about asking her to join us but I didn’t say anything, I wasn’t even sure if she was going to make it tomorrow. There was also this one Jam player that showed up. He was pretty solid and was beating us for a while. The most notable thing about him was that he was extremely noisy and sorta obnoxious. Whenever he would get hit by a huge combo he would start yelling shit from the other side of the cab really loud. I shall refer to him as Loudmouth Jam. During one of my matches with Loudmouth Jam, Junya said she had to go and said goodbye and left. Gahaku and I played for a bit longer against eachother for a bit after Loudmouth Jam went off somewhere else for a while. It started off going back and forth but I think at one point I broke away and had about 7 wins in a row. At around 8 pm, while still in the middle of a match, I got a call from my friend Sean. I talked to him on the phone while still playing cuz I didn’t wanna make Gahaku wait. Sean is an ex-Nova employee living in Niigata. He is originally from Chicago and is an old friend among many of the Chicago Guilty Gear players, though he doesn’t play Gear himself. His thing is DJing and he used to DJ at some of the parties we through at my apartment back in the day. I made plans with him to meet up and go drinking. He was supposed to be DJing at a bar tonight. He said he wanted to meet up soon so I told him I would leave in about 10 minutes. I told Gahaku after the match that I would have time for one more and that I was gonna meet up with a friend soon. We played one more game and I won. Then Loudmouth Jam comes back and picks Testament on me for some reason. I ended up beating him 3 rounds straight. After that I told him I had to leave and good games and shit. I told Gahaku that I would meet him at POPY tomorrow at around noon. I left with about 10 wins on the machine.
I met up with Sean at the train station. We walked over to the bar called Northern Lights. It turns out it’s the same bar we went to last time that was owned by that one Canadian dude. I noticed that they had remodeled it slightly and now had a DJ booth area that they didn’t have before which looked pretty nice. I guess today was some sorta national Canadian holiday called Canada Day, so everyone was wearing Canadian flags and colors and shit. I was still feeling pretty sick at this point but im a dumbass so I decided I would just drink anyway. After being there for about an hour, the cleared out all the tables and stools and the whole floor area was opened. The place filled up fast. I would say it was actually like 2/5ths foreigners and 3/5ths Japanese people. Sean introduced me to a few various people he knew, we had some beers and talked a bit. At one point I ducked out to grab some food, since they had already closed the kitchen. I hadn’t really eaten since I arrived in Niigata. I was looking for a conbini but walked too far and ended up find a McDonalds, so I figured I would just eat there and get some more 100 yen Fillet-o-fish action! I was very disappointed to find that they had already ended the 100 fish deal. I guess it was only for one week. Bummer. I just got some McPorks, ate em really fast, and headed back to the bar. Sean was DJing at this point. I was sitting down on a bench and this one girl just sat next to me and started talking to me. She said it was her first time at this place. I don’t remember most of the conversation but I told her that I had a cold. She told me that the last time she had a cold and got really drunk, she actually felt much better the next day, saying how beer cured her cold haha. I wasn’t really expecting that to happen but it certainly would kick ass if it did. Eventually as the night went on and it got late, they closed the place down. Sean was kinda pissed cuz he only got to DJ for like a half hour and was supposed to be on longer, but instead some other douche was taking up all the time and the guy didn’t even know what he was doing. On top of that, it was Sean’s turntables and equipment that they were using. But hey at least he got free beer all night (and I got hooked up a with a little of it).
By the time we left the bar, I was already pretty drunk, probably had like at least 9 or 10 beers. Everyone was pretty much going to this club/bar place after that called Shame. Shame was the same place we went to last time after Northern Lights as well. I totally didn’t notice it last time, but Shame was actually in the exact same building as Long Run game center, it was just on the floor above the arcade, lol! Sean and I walked there with these 3 other Japanese girls that actually were his ex-Nova students. When we arrived there, the place was pretty crappy. It was full of people but some dude was like singing and doing a really shitty job of it, though he totally thought he was the shit and was dressed all ghetto and thugged out. We were probably only there for about 5 or 10 minutes and already everyone in our group wanted to leave. I had no problem with leaving since the place was pretty crappy anyway. We decided to try another place across the street but they were having a private party. In the end, we all decided on just going to do Karaoke. We stayed for about 2 hours, didn’t pay for drinks but instead they decided to sneak in a bottle of shochu, and I didn’t touch much of it cuz if you have been reading my blog often you know what happens when I drink shit tons of beer and then switch to shochu. Sean was bustin out all the oldschool shit like Marvin Gaye and Lionel Richie. I provided some low end back vocals. My voice was pretty fucked up from coughing all week so I didn’t get too nuts with the singing, couldn’t get any high notes at all. After that we said bye to the girls and I went back to Sean’s and crashed on his couch. Much nicer than a manga kissa haha.
Next day I woke up after getting more sleep than I usually would on the weekend. I wasn’t hung over at all and surprisingly my cold didn’t get any worse! I certainly didn’t feel any better, but the drinking seemed to have absolutely no effect on my condition. I was ready to play some fuckin Gear! I headed over to POPY and decided to take a cab from Kameda station since I didn’t feel like walking for a half hour in the rain with no umbrella. When I got there, it was already packed full of people, they had 4 cabs set up. 3 were lined up in the middle and one was against the wall with like 2 huge monitors in between them. It was one of the sweetest tournament finals setups ive ever seen. They also had tons of random TVs all along the walls hooked up to the main cabs. I cant say I was really surprised, but as soon as I walked in, I saw several top Tokyo players that had decided to do the same thing I did and traveled out here for this one. Sharon, HH, and Inoue were there and had formed a team for the day. I was also very surprised to see MIU had come to this! I emailed him earlier in the week but he never even replied. He was there teamed up with a Potemkin and Chipp player but I don’t know their names. I didn’t write it down, but I don’t remember recognizing them when I checked the tournament team list anyway. Loudmouth Jam was there as well. Most of the other players I didn’t really recognize, at least not from the Tokyo area. In addition, of course all of the teams that had already qualified to play in the finals today were there playing casuals there as well, such as Osaka B, Keba, Shuumatsu, and others. I knew today wasn’t going to be easy. In addition to their being some really strong players there, every single team that was already qualified to play in the finals today had a May player on it (and you all know how much I LOVE May!). I said hi to Gahaku and asked him if Junya had showed up yet. He said no, but he found another player who needed a team. Some dude who played as I-no. He asked what we should do since we weren’t sure if Junya was going to show or not. Turns out some guy there knew her email so he got a hold of her and she said she was actually coming, so we ended up deciding on playing with her on the team. Eventually the I-no player found a different team so it worked out I guess. I arrived at about 12 and the tournament was scheduled to start at about 2:00 (but it didn’t start till 2:30), so I was able to get lots of casuals in. I mostly was playing extremely well and got a lot of wins. I played MIU twice, he won once, I won once. Same with Osaka B, we played twice and both one once. I got raped by Sharon haha. Most of the other people I played I didn’t really know but I did well against most of them and had an 11 win streak before the tourney started. Eventually Junya showed up so we signed up our team. Gahaku asked me to name the team, so I decided on the name Heavy Metal, because well… its Heavy fuckin Metal, no need to explain!
And so thus the tournament had begun. For the entire time prior to the tournament, they had the same damn punk rock song on endless loop for like 2 hours straight. Im not even exadurating. I have no idea who they were, and it wasnt even a bad song (it even had a wicked bass solo) but they just kept it on for so long it was getting a bit redundant. However, once the tournament started, the song was quickly replaced by the sound from the main cabinet and it fucking BOOMED through the entire arcade. This shit was intense. Great atmosphere and huge props to the tourny organizers. There were a total of 18 teams. One of the first matches was HH team vs some team of BA MA RO. HH OCVed them in that order. I didn’t see most of it but MIU’s team won their first match as well. Our first match was called shortly after that. We were to fight a team of BA DI RO. My team decided to have me play RPS to see who chooses sides. This was a pretty epic RPS match, we were locked into a RPS clash match for a long time. I think we both chose rock 5 times in a row and neither of us would budge. Then we BOTH switched to paper twice in a row. Eventually I went back to rock but the bastard stayed with paper and I lost. But they chose the player 1 side and I wanted 2p anyway so it was all good! We decided to have Junya go first. To be quite honest, I was having some doubts about her at this point, since the only time I saw her play was the one match I beat her in pretty badly the day before. However, I was certainly wrong to ever doubt her because she fucking OCVed the entire opposing team without losing a single round! I was like, holy shit, my team is beastly! I gave her major props for her victory. While we waited for our next match, Loudmouth Jam lost in an extremely close clutch match against a white Dizzy player, and his team was eliminated from the tournament (this tournament was infested with Dizzy players btw). Meanwhile, Inoue picked up another OCV for his team, putting them in the semi finals. Our next match was called and we were to fight a team of JA TE DI. This was the same team that just took out Loudmouth Jam’s team, so I figured they were gonna be no easy victory. I won our RPS match and chose the 2nd player side again. We put Junya up first again since she was on fire. She faced the other team’s Jam player and put up a good fight but lost in a very close match. Up next Gahaku said he wanted to have a shot at Jam so I told him to go for it. He played well and took Jam out. Up next Gahaku had to fight the other Testament in a mirror match. Unfortunately the other Testament player was victorious. It was now up to me to pick up the slack. I went up there and pretty much just annihilated the Testament player. He barely touched me and I dizzied him one round. Finally I had to face white Dizzy. It started off completely terrible and I fucking got perfected round 1. I don’t even remember what happened, I just got hit with a combo early on in the match and I just couldn’t get him off me the whole time. I shook it off and told me team mates not to worry cuz I got this shit. I went into the next round with a fresh mindset and convincingly won the next 2 rounds, pulling out a win for our team! Gahaku and Junya were really happy that I won and gave me tons of props. We were now set to play in the semi finals! MIU’s team had also won their next game and would be in the semi finals as well. The last team to make it to semis was a red and black Bridget player, black Anji player, and light blue Potemkin player. Im pretty positive these guys were also from Kanto since Ive played against the black Anji a zillion times, and the red and black Bridget was this one dude who I mistook for Mugen once at a different qual a while back. They were another solid team. For the best 4, they cleared out all the regular cabs and everyone sat around on the floor and watched as the semi finals were played on the huge badass setup. The first match called for the semis was my team vs HH’s team. My biggest worry was fighting Sharon since Baiken is the hardest matchup for me among their 3 characters. We figured that they would save Sharon for last since he hasn’t even played yet. Junya handled the Baiken player in our first match pretty damn well so I figured if all else failed she would be best to face Sharon. We weren’t sure who was gonna go first though, so we just decided to let Gahaku play first and see how he does. Sharon beat me in RPS but they chose player 1 side so it didn’t matter. First match was Gahaku’s Testament vs HH’s Dizzy. Gahaku did his best and it wasn’t completely one sided but HH took both rounds. It was now my turn to face him. The first round started out in HH’s favor as he got in an early combo. I blocked a bunch of his shit and actually got him off me and we danced around for a bit. It was a really close round but in the end he took it. For round 2, I stared off with a decent lead. He answered with a big combo and it was getting pretty even. However, at one point I managed to drive him into the corner and he was on defensive. I kept poked him with far slash and kept him on the defensive. At one point, I did pogo after the far slash to keep the pressure going. I thought I was close enough for the pogo to hit so I could RC but it JUST whiffed. HH stayed patient and just kept in the corner, crouch blocking. I was expecting him to ice spike me or make some sorta move. I ended up doing a going my way in anticipation that he would try something and it would counter it. From the distance I was at, it looked like the going my way would at least touch him so that even if he blocked it, I could RC it into a quick overhead and continue the pressure. However, once again I misjudged the distance and when I went for the RC, it didn’t come out because the going my way didn’t hit. As a result I landed and got thrown and he ended up pressuring me in the corner for a very long time. I kept blocking and eventually he snuck in a standing dust. I actually saw it and stood up but for some reason I crouched again at the last second and ate it, resulting in an air combo and death. In retrospect I really should have just did a ground flower on pogo and just RCed THAT in order to keep him pressured in the corner. Basically I just chalk it up to nervousness and a slightly bad judgment call. I was pretty upset since I was really feeling like I was playing generally well most of the day. My execution was spot on and I had the right mentality, but HH simply was more patient and out played me I guess. Junya was last. She beat a Dizzy in a mirror match before but I wasn’t having extremely high hopes for her OCVing their whole team. Much to my surprise she put up a VERY close fight against HH (round 1 was lost by a pixel) but she ended up losing to him as well. HH ‘s team advanced to the finals. Up next was MIU’s team vs black Anji team. The Chipp on MIU’s team went first against the Bridget player and beat him both rounds, with round 2 being very close. Up next Chipp fights black Anji losing the first round, but then winning the next 2. Up next was Po vs Chipp. As most would probably expect given the matchup, Po pretty much layed the smack down and made Chipp his bitch. MIU went next with his flashy Sol. He played extremely careful and took round 1. Round 2 was almost the same but right as Po was about to die he came out with this huge comeback and almost killed MIU, but MIU prevailed and got his shit together for the win. Right after that, the finals began. First match was Inoue’s Testament vs MIU’s Sol. MIU almost won the first round but he got hit out of grand viper by a giant tree for the lose. Inoue proceeded to win the 2nd round as well. Up next was Inoue vs Chipp. Inoue takes round 1, and proceeds to take round 2 as well after Chipp teleports into another big poison tree. Next match was Inoue vs Po. Po takes round 1, Inoue wins the 2nd round, and Po finishes him off in round 3. Up next was HH (which was the logical choice to put Dizzy against Po). Po was actually beasting on him extremely hard right from the start of the first round. He got HH down to about 5 percent health until HH was actually even able to move for the first time in the round after getting knocked down initially. HH proceeded to beast his way to victory with a very impressive comeback, not getting hit a single time after the initial damage. However, round 2 was almost the same thing, but this time it was Potemkin who came with the comeback action. Finally, HH was just like… ok fuck this guy, and perfected Potemkin. HH/Inoue/Sharon had now made it to the final tournament (and Sharon didn’t even play yet! LOL).
There was a brief intermission between before the finals. The 4 teams to play in the D-4 series block finals were:
Osaka B(FA)/Nanari(MA)/ 紅月カレン(DI
Keba(AB)/Shuumatsu(TE)/ 禁書目録(MA)
Unlike most of the block finals I have been to, this one wasn’t round robin. I guess it was because they had an even number of teams. They had it set up as a regular bracket, so if you lose once you are out.
First match was Shuumatsu team vs HH team. Shuumatsu and HH face off first. HH wins the first round by raping Shuumatsu pretty hard. Shuumatsu comes back to take round 2, and also wins round 3 by a pixel! Up next was Shuumatsu vs Sharon. Shuumatsu takes round 1, Sharon wins round 2, Shuumatsu pulls out the win in round 3. It was now up to Inoue to OCV their whole team if they wanted to stay in this thing. Shuumatsu starts off strong, annihilating Inoue in the mirror match first round. However, Inoue was like… fuck this shit, and perfects Shuumatsu in round 2. He follows it up with a strong with in round 3. Up next was 禁書目録, the May player. Inoue puts up a good fight and wins both rounds consecutively. The final match was Keba vs Inoue. Both rounds were fairly close, but Keba’s ABA proved to be too mighty for Inoue to take down, and Keba’s team thus had advanced to the finals of the entire tournament. Sharon looked like he was sorta holding back tears at this point. He wasn’t actually crying but he looked pretty upset. Next up was Osaka B team vs ASO team. First match was Dizzy vs Nanari’s May. Dizzy pulls out the double rape on May with a very strong victory. Up next was ASO’s Millia. Dizzy pretty much went ahead and did the same thing here, I was actually surprised how quickly it was over. Finally, Dizzy goes against Zenoa’s Axl. Dizzy dominates round 1 once again. However, for round 2, Dizzy dropped a combo that could have ended it right there, and Axl comes back with a mighty bomber loop for the win. Round 3, Axl once again pulls out a last minute bomber loop with a pixel of health left and takes Dizzy down. Next was Nanari’s May. AX wins round 1, MA wins round 2, AX takes it in round 3. Final match was Osaka B vs Zenoa. Osaka B comes out strong and wins both rounds in a fairly close matches. LAST GAME… Nanari vs Shuumatsu. May takes round 1 by a pixel, Shuumatsu answers with a win in round 2. Nanari finishes it up in round 3. Up next vs Keba, Nanari squeezes in another close win in round 1. Keba takes the 2nd round, but Nanari wins by a pixel in round 3. The last was a May vs May mirror match. However, Nanari keeps his momentum strong and proves to be better at the mirror match than his opponent, sealing a victory and the final SBO spot for Osaka B(FA)/Nanari(MA)/ 紅月カレン(DI). To be completely honest, if my team wasnt going to be the winning team, I wanted Osaka B to make it. Hes always been a really nice guy towards me and he reps our character damn well, so a big congrats to him and his team.
After that, there was about maybe 2 hours until I had leave. They set the cabinets back up for casuals and I spent the entire rest of the time there just playing against various people. I did well in general. At one point there was like this army of Slayers that challenged me. I beat 5 Slayer players in a row until I finally lost in a very close match. I also took out Loudmouth Jam in a game of casuals. As it was getting close to the time when I had to leave, I went over to the desk to see if someone could call me a cab. Unfortunately, the entire POPY staff was busy playing various games so no one was there to help me. I asked Gahaku if he knew the number of a taxi company in the area. He didnt know, but he told me that his friend would be willing to just drive me to Niigata station. I didnt want to be a burden but they insisted it was no big deal. So me, Gahaku, and these 2 other dudes all went in this one guys car to the station. On the way, we had a brief chat and one of the dudes was all hyper and kept like making these funny hand slapping fist motions and shouting stuff. If I didnt know any better, I would say he was drunk haha. We had a conversation about our favorite beers and he told me next time I go to Niigata he wants to do some heavy drinking with me heheh. Both Gahaku and Junya both said they would love to team with me again sometime and told me to come back to Niigata again soon. So its nice to know that the next time I go back there, I have a reliable and strong team to play with. I have a group photo of our team that I took at POPY that ill upload to my photo gallery.
After they dropped me off at the station and I said goodbye and thank you, I headed for the Shinkansen. This would be the very first time I would take the Shinkansen after the 10+ months that I have lived in Japan. I always avoided it due to high fares but it was unavoidable at this point since the regular trains that run between Niigata and my town pretty much suck balls. It was a quick hour and a half trip home. When I got to the Shinkansen station (which is separate than the regular train stations in my town), I needed to figure out how I was going to get home. I had emailed my girlfriend to see if she could pick me up and then I tried calling her. She was busy at a volunteer group that she often goes to and was unable to come pick me up. Its my fault for asking her like an hour before I got there heh. I ended up taking a cab to the closest regular station, and then took the regular train back to the station closest to my apartment and walked from there. I was still feeling pretty sick, and still have a bad cold at the time of writing this but hopefully it will be gone by next weekend.
Next weekend is it folks. The very last SBO qualifier (outside of the last chance quals the actual day of SBO). I have no idea who im teaming with or anything at this point. All I know is that just about EVERYONE that has not yet qualified is going to show up to this thing, and winning also means going through Ogawas team in the finals. It more or less seems rather impossible but im still gonna enter of course. The tournament will be on Sunday at Shinjuku Sportsland. As far as Saturday goes, well I have a ticket to see Children of Bodom live, so I think im just gonna go ahead and go to that. I think the only way I would consider passing that up is if I somehow found a fucking AMAZING team for Saturday, but since I doubt thats gonna happen, I might as well just enjoy the concert. Im not really expecting much on Sunday but in any case it should be a great tournament to be a part of, and im gonna do my damn best despite the odds! Get ready for the end folks...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tournament Hopping

I had no team lined up for this weekend so earlier in the week, I emailed everyone who I have teamed with before. ABEGEN replied saying he already had a team... and that was the only reply I got. Friday, on my way to Tokyo on the train, I got an email from Gin (Slayer Gin). He said he would be intrested in teaming up but we needed one more person. After a series of emails back and forth and not thinking of a better solution, I told him we could just show up and try to find one more person at the tournament. He didnt reply after that but I assumed he understood.

I went to Vegas for some Friday night casuals. Shortly after I arrived I tried calling Kyle to see what he was up to but he didnt answer his phone. First match I played, I came extremely close to beating Sharon's Baiken. After that I beat some Chipp but then lost to another Chipp. This lead to an 8 win streak in which I defeated May, Chipp, Johnny, ABA, and Axl players. Around this time, Hot Zappa and powerful female Dizzy arrived. Eventually my streak was ended by May but then I ended up getting another 6 win streak, 5 of which were against the same determined Sol player and one vs a Zappa. I then lost to HH's Dizzy in a very close game. There was a really good blue Johnny that kept trying to beat HH as well. I lost to HH twice more but then I defeated his Dizzy. I then played against a Sol player who had sort of an unorthadox style. While I was playing him, Matt tried calling me like 3 times or something so I was a bit distracted. I lost to him by a small ammount. I was surprised to look on the other side and see that it was Sharon playing Sol! I was like... fuck that im not gonna lose to Sharon's Sol, so I played him again and raped him pretty hard 3 rounds in a row. Then I was defeated by HH's Ky but rematched him and won. Then he came back at me with Dizzy and I lost, but I rematched him again and this time I beat his Dizzy 3 rounds straight. I then beat a Jam, lost to Sol, beat the Sol in a rematch, beat Jam 3 times in a row, raped some Eddie, raped the Jam again, and then it was getting late and people stopped playing against me so I took a leak and headed to Current.

BUT FIRST! On my way to Current, I saw something that was absoloutly AMAZING! McDonalds had a special going and had added Fillet-o-Fish sandwiches to their 100 yen menu! (Good thing Juicy G wasnt with me, cuz he would have probably had an orgasmic seizure at the mere thought of 100 yen Filet-o-fish, or he would have had a fucking heart attack from eating too many of them.) Without hesitation I slammed 3 of those motherfuckers down and chased them with a Redbull and was off to Current.

When I got to Current, Matt was already there, as well as several other regulars. It was pretty chill and not overly packed but there was a good ammount of people for fun times. Matt was still rocking his black fingernail polish haha! Megu was there with him as well. Once again, Megu had plans the next day to go travel to some far away places in Japan on the Shinkansen to see the same band (Dust and Bones) that she always seems to go travel around Japan to see. At some point, Chip showed up too. For most of the night, nothing extremely crazy or noteworthy happened. As it was getting near closing time, Chip said he had to go. I offered to buy him a shot of whiskey before he left. Matt said to get one for him and Megu too so I was like... sure why not. So I got all 4 of us a round of shots. About 30 seconds after we did our shots, Matt suddenly bolts for the bathroom door. Much to his dismay, the door was locked, and it resulted in him throwing up all over the floor in front of the bathroom. Sushi quickly cleaned it up and it was no big deal, but Matt seemed a bit embarrassed. Had I known he was already that drunk I wouldnt have bought him one. He only asked because he assumed I was buying a round for everyone when I offered one for Chip. A simple misunderstanding. Not really a huge deal. He had been drinking earlier in the day so I guess it finally caught up with him. Not long after that it was closing time so I said goodbye to everyone and headed out to get some sleep.

The next day I had 2 options. There was a tournament for the Tokyo C-3 block finals at Sega World Arcas. There was also the first preliminary to kick off the Kanagawa/Saitama B-7 block in Kanagawa at Oalo game center. I originally was planning to go to the one in Kangawa since I knew that the Tokyo one would be much harder since both Ogawa's team and FAB's team were both going to be playing in the finals. However, Gin said he wanted to go to the Tokyo tournament so I agreed to give it a shot. I got to the station and there were 2 players that recognized me and said hi. I asked them if they were heading to the tournament and they said yes, but that they didnt know exactly how to get there. I had a map that I had printed out in advance and showed them and they were pretty happy about that, so we walked there together. It wasnt very far from the station. I asked them if they had a full team for today and they said yes and that one more guy would be coming to join their team. However, one of the guys, an Axl player who goes by the handle Deno, said that he would like to team up with me sometime another weekend. I told him I would be glad to team with him sometime so we exchanged cellphone email. When I arrived at Sega World, they had 3 cabs set up for casuals, and there werent a ton of people there yet. I got there at about 12 and the tournament was to start at 1. Gin was not there yet. I emailed him to see where he was at and he replied saying that because of the fact that we only had a 2 person team, he decided to just stay home. WTF, thanks for telling me AN HOUR BEFORE THE TOURNAMENT dude... bogus. Anyway, I went to the desk to inquire about whether any 2 person teams had registered. Much to my surprise, Mugen was the guy working at the desk! I had no idea he worked at this game center. He said hi and stuff and told me that, unfortunately, there were no 2 man teams signed up yet, but he said to wait a bit and maybe someone would show up. I played like maybe only 2 games of casuals becuase lots of people started to show up and the wait to play was getting longer. Tons of big name players were there like Kaqn, Sharon, Kishitaka, Basara, Kazuki, Kifa, and others. In addition to them, Masutani was there! I said hello to him and asked him who his team was, and he acted surprisingly polite, said hello and gave me a nice clear answer without any awkward manerisms or rude attitude. He said he was teaming with some guys from Tachikawa. I wished him luck in the tournament. It was about 1 pm and I checked again with Mugen if any 2 man teams showed up, but he said that all the teams were full teams. It seemed like I would have to enter the tournament by myself if I wanted to play this one. The idea of OCVing my way through this entire prelim and then OCVing both Ogawa and FAB's teams in addition to the other 2 teams in the finals seemed rather rediculous. Luckily I had another option! The Kanagawa tournament wasnt scheduled to start until 4 pm, so I still had time to take the train over there and try to find a last minute team at that one instead. I wished Deno luck in the tournament and headed out on my way to Kanagawa.

It only took about an hour to get there, so I arrived at the station a little after 2 pm. I rocked some more Filet-o-fish sandwiches on my way there since I hadnt eaten yet. I once again had printed out a map of how to get to this game center, but unfortunately the map didnt prove to be too helpful. I walked around for a while and eventually it seemed like it was taking way too long so I asked some random dude where I was on the map and showed him. He pointed to some area off of the map, meaning I walked way too far. I followed the map back to where it said the game center was. I had already been in this exact area. I was standing on the exact spot on the map it said it was at. Obviously the map was pretty fucking wrong. I then asked some other random dude if he knew where the place was. He was extremely helpfull and actually walked me to the place which was about a 2 minute walk away. However, it was totally not where the map said it was supposed to be, and I printed this map off of the Tougeki website >_<; In any case, when I arrived at the game center, the had one cab going and lots of people crowded around it. Lots of players there I didnt recognize, one team had ASA on it (the Potemkin player that was teaming with Osaka B and Shuumatsu before, but he was with different people today). There was also a team of Roopa (the May I teamed up with a few weeks ago with MIU) with ABEGEN and Ain (the chubby Ky player I teamed up with a looong time ago at Club Sega Shinjuku for some random tourny. He basically looks like the Japanese version of Ari (FLOE) from Chicago). In addition to that, Kami-chan, Yossan, and Karun had formed a team. I went to go register for the tournament and much to my surprise, there WAS a 2 man team signed up! I checked their names and one of the guys was an Axl player named Yukifist. I went over by the cab and asked around if anyone was or knew Yukifist. One of the guys said he was Yukifist so I asked if I could join his team and he was totally cool with it. He said the other player on our team, a May player named Yarisuma, would be arriving shortly. I signed up, got to play ASA in one game of casuals where I lost in a very close game, and then shortly after that, they told everyone to get off the cab and they started to set it up. However, they took FOREVER to get it ready, I guess one of the sticks needed tweaking. The tournament was running behind schedule and there was lots of time to kill. Eventually Yarisuma arrived. I asked them where they were from and how long they have been playing and other stuff like that. They are both college students who live in Kanagawa and are studying computer science. Yukifist has been playing since XX and Yarisuma started at #reload but sorta stopping playing for a while during Slash. They said this was their first time entering a Tougeki qualifier for this year. During the time we had to wait for the tournament to start, I decided to play some random games to kill time. I played a game of 3rd Strike against some Yun player and actually beat him with my scrubby Ken! LOL! Then some other Ken player got on and beat me. Yukifist tried to play against him with his Urien but also got owned. I then decided to play KOF 98 against Yarisuma. I picked Mai/Terry/Yuri and OCVed his entire team with Mai! I havnt played KOF in years, it was actually really fun! I was about to play another game against someone but then Yukifist told me the tournament was about to start. I checked the brackets and they were some of the nicest brackets ive seen. They like printed them out all neat on the computer and had the character pictures next to each players name for each team. Maybe thats why they took so long. However, I was pretty dissapointed to see that our first match was to be against Kami-chan's team... basically the best team there. I also noticed that they spelled my name wrong, and that today I would be entering the tournament under the name "ElvenShadon."

One of the first matches of the tournament was ASA team vs ABEGEN team. ASA OCVed ABEGEN's whole team! After a few more matches, it was our turn. Yarisuma went first with his May against Yossan's I-no. It was pretty ugly to say the least. Yarisuma pretty much got raped unfortunately. The plan was originally for me to anchor, but Yukifist said he cant beat I-no so I went next. The first match started out with me getting hit by a dive into a big combo. However, I blocked a bunch of shit and got away and made a big comeback. I hit him with a fdc crossover air dust into going my way and I thought he was dead. He had no life bar left but was still alive. I forgot what happened exactly but he managed to squeeze in a hit into a combo and killed me, taking round 1. For round 2, I started off by doing a nice high jump into down kick which was able to get over his head and counter hit him out of another air dive move. I hit him with a nice combo. At some point he got me in the corner and did a big damage combo on me. He didnt knock me down and instead I tried to tech, and I was expecting him to go for an airthrow reset, but when I tried to throw him, nothing happened, and he ended up hitting me with something and then reset into a whole nother huge combo! At this point I had like 5% life left just after 2 combos and, I blocked a few mixups but he eventually got a hit in and that was the end of that. Yukifist was up next. I dont remember the exact sequence of events, but Yukifist managed to squeeze in a very close victory over Yossan! Up next was Karun, the Jam player. Unfortunately he took Yukifist down 2 rounds in a row. That was the end of that.

A bit after that, ASA's team was OCVed by an Axl player named Tsubasa-chan. There was also some loan Dizzy player named Nishizawa who entered the tournament all by himself. He actually won his first match too! However, he had to face Kami-chan next and was beasted on by Slayer. Poor guy... I can sympathize with him. I decided I might as well just stick around and see the rest of the tournament, even though I was itching to play casuals and it was getting late. Eventually it was time for the finals. It was Tsubasa-chan's team vs Kami-chan's team. Tsubasa-chan goes first with his AX vs Karun's JA. AX wins round 1 but JA takes around 2 with a nice comeback. AX finishes it off by taking round 3. Up next Kami-chan loses round 1 to AX. Then he proceeds to go into Slayer-is-a-broken-asshole mode and double perfects Tsubasa-chan! Ouch! Up next, a Millia player named Ina faces Kami-chan but loses both rounds to him. Finally, the Anji player named Sin gives it one final effort. He manages to take round 1 since Kami-chan fucked up the timing on one of his combos. He tried to link a super off of a connected standing kick but his timing was late and Sin was able to block the super and punished him accordingly to take the round. However, Kami-chan wasnt going to make the same mistake again, and dominated the next 2 rounds, winning the tournament for his team. His team would now be the first team to make it to the finals of the B-7 block. After the tournament ended, I thanked my team for letting me join them and got Yukifists email so that we could perhaps team up again sometime in the future. After that I headed back to Shinjuku to play some more casuals at Vegas.

When I got to Vegas, it was already passed 8 pm. It was pretty packed with people and a lot of them were the people who were at the Sega World Arcas tournament earlier in the day. Deno was there tearing it up with his Axl. I said hi to him and asked how the tournament went. Much to my surprise, he told me that FAB/Nakamura/Shoot had won the tournament and defeated Ogawa's team! They would now be playing in SBO! Nakamura was the one to take down Ogawa with his beastly Millia. I wish I could have been there to see it but oh well. After that, Deno busted out a certificate showing that his team had won the preliminary before the finals! I congratulated him on his good showing. Matt showed up shortly after to play casuals as well. He seemed rather under the weather and I could tell the vomitting incident the night before was bugging him. He didnt play much and watched most of the time. After that I saw Nakamura show up and congratulated him as well. FAB was there and had racked up a huge win streak that lasted the entire night until he eventually left. I didnt play him at all. I had a small 8 win streak myself. I kept beasting on this one Chipp player who was really determined to beat me but then I eventually lost to Roopa's May (did I ever mention I hate May!?). Throughout the course of the evening there, I asked a few random people if they would be willing to team up with me for tomorrow, but they all had teams already. I even asked the Chipp player I was beasting on but he already had a team too! I recieved an email from my friend Liz. She was also in Tokyo and asked if we would be going to Current soon since she wanted to meet up for a drink, but it was only like 10 and I didnt want to go so early so she decided to just go to her hotel (she couldnt stay out all night since she had a date again the next day). Eventually FAB got up and left without losing the whole time we were there and shortly after, tons of other people cleared out. I got on the cab and played his Potemkin against some Sol player and actually won a round somehow but lost (which is no surprise since I dont play Potemkin at all). We played a few more games and then we decided to head to Current. Got some top tier Sukiya Taco Rice on the way there.

I didnt know before hand, but Current had a metal event going on tonight, so the place was pretty packed with many of the ussual metal event night crowd. As always, they were all headbanging furiously while playing inflatable toy guitars LOL! Antii was there and was happy to see me but he was also with some of his other Finish friends. One of the dudes was already completely wasted so I guess he decided to help him get home and then he was gonna go to GODZ, so he didnt stay long. Some of the metal event night regulars were getting on my case for not wearing my Symphony X shirt that night since I always ussually wear it for metal event nights. I dont even ussually plan it that way but it sometimes just happens. I was like... Do I have to wear it every time? And they were like YES! haha. A few other regular girls I know were there as well. There was also this old bald wasted white dude and this other drunk random younger white guy who were being all creepy and just like hitting on every girl that was at the place and constantly just getting rejected. It was rather amusing to watch. The old dude eventually was like passed out on the bar and Sushi woke up him up and told him to leave. On his way out, he just suddenly sat down on some random chick's lap without even asking her or anything! She didnt seem like really pissed but wasnt exactly very happy about it as far as I could tell. He wasnt on her lap for long until he left the bar. The guest DJ's were playing long blocks of the same band. They had one for X-Japan, one for Def Lepard, and one for some other random generic band whos name I cant even remember, towards the end of the night. Eventually, Chip showed up with Sawa. We chatted with them for a bit about how long Japanese girls date guys until they ussually expect them to get married and some other various stuff. I dont remember anything else extremely noteworthy happening, but it was a fun night. After saying bye to everyone and heading out, as me and Matt were walking outside he told me how he was pretty bummed about "losing face" in front of Megu for throwing up. I told him to just not worry about it and stuff and that its all good. He seemed to feel a bit better, at least better than he was earlier. After that I went to sleep at the manga kissa as always.

Sunday, I awoke to an email from Gin. He asked me if I wanted to team up with him at the Shin-Okubo Alpha Station tournament today (which is the first prelim to start off the final Tokyo qualifier block... the C-4 block). I said I would be willing to join him since I still had no team (I asked Matt but he had too much homework to do, and Kyle never called me back). However, we still had no 3rd. I told him we should just go there and try to find one. He agreed. Shin-Okubo is very close to Shinjuku (only one station away on the Yamanote line) so I got there extremely fast. I stopped at McDonalds for more Filet-O-Fish action! and then headed to Alpha Station. They had 5 cabs going as ussual and there were lots of people there. The ladies team of hot Zappa, Pink Female Slayer, and powerful Female Dizzy were there. HH was there too, and he told me he was teaming with the Sol player named Yume and Die-chan today. Having lost to FAB's team yesterday, Ogawa/Mike/Imo were there to give it another try as well. Roopa/ABEGEN/Ain teamed up again too. There were also a ton of other big name teams there. I asked around to just about every single person there to see if I could team with them but they all already had full teams. Osaka B was there as well. I asked him who his team was and he said he was just there to play casuals and watch today. He said that yesterday, he went to Niigata with a different team than his ussual team and ended up winning the prelim there! I jokingly asked him if he could team with me today, saying I could play Testament haha. I figured id play some casuals and wait a bit longer to see who shows up. I beat Kazuki in a game of casuals on my first try. After a little time passed, I emailed Gin who hadnt arrived yet and told him that it seemed as if we would not be able to find a 3rd. He asked what we should do. The next tournament in the B-7 series would be going on later today in Saitama starting from 4:00. I suggested we might go there and try our luck. He said he wouldnt probably be able to go since he had work the next day. As it was looking rather hopeless, I figured I would head out and just make my way over to Saitama while I still had enough time. As I was halfway to the station, I realized that I wrote the name of the station I needed to go to down in Kanji. I wasnt expecting to go to this one so I didnt really plan for it. I didnt know the reading of the kanji for this particular station as I had never been there and kanji can have tons of different readings so I didnt know how to search for the route on the hyperdia site using my phone. I figured I could head back to Alpha station really quick as its like only 30 seconds away, and ask someone real fast what the station name was. When I got back inside, Osaka B came up to me and told me that he had found me a team! Its nice know that Osaka B has my back, hes a cool guy. Turns out that my team would be none other than Masutani and an Axl player he was going to team with! Osaka B said that they were already registering the team. Shortly after, they came back over to the floor with the Guilty Gear cabs. They told me they already signed me up on their team and were very glad to have me join them. Masutani was being extremely friendly and polite! I was shocked. We still had some time to kill before the tournament started so I sat down and played some casuals. About 5 minutes later, none other than Gin shows up! I wasnt actually expecting him to come... I told him sorry but that I found a different team to team with. Normally I would feel kinda bad about this, but Gin has a long history of being pretty flakey. He basically ditched me yesterday without even letting me know so I didnt really feel all that bad. Its not like I could have teamed with him anyway cuz I joined an already existing 2 man team and im sure they didnt want to seperate to join me and Gin so there was no other real choice. Plus he showed up all late and shit. Unfortunately for Gin, he never found another team, so he just hung out and played casuals the whole time.

And so the tournament eventually began. Our first match was against a team of MA JO ED. our Axl player went first against May and lost in a close match. Having teamed up with Masutani several times before, I know he always does well against May, and I hate the bitch, so I suggested that he goes next. He not only defeated May in a close match, but he proceeded to beat Johnny in a close game as well, following a dominating victory over Eddie, resulting in us winning our first match! A bit of time passed, I played some more casuals while I waited for our next game and racked up a nice streak, I was playing very well. Up next was a team of AB SL ZA. This time it was decided that I would go first. My opponent was ABA. I played well for the most part, zoning really well, agressive poking, and carefully avoiding and baiting the autoguard forcebreak move. I won the first round, lost the 2nd round, but won the 3rd round for a victory. Up next was Slayer. I won the first round pretty well. The 2nd round Slayer came back at me hard and I lost. Round 3 was extremely close. We both were low on life. I had him in the corner aftera knock down and I tried to bait his super with an empty FDC jump, but somehow I got hit by it. I think either he timed it strangely or I let go of a button or something but I was shocked as hell that I got hit. I apolagized to my team mates and Masutani went next with his game face on. He tore through Slayer in round 1 perfecting him. He also won round 2. Up next was Zappa. Zappa made a comeback in round 1 with Raoh for the win. Masutani wasnt gonna let that shit fly so he answered in round 2 by perfecting Zappa. He then took it home in round 3, resulting in us winning our 2nd match! We would now advance to the semi finals. It wasnt long until our next match was called. Our next opponents would be..... HH/Yume/Die-chan. Ouch... Once again it was decided that I would go first. They put Yume first with his Sol. I honestly dont know if I have played Yume much, and I wasnt at all familiar with his play style or what to expect. He was EXTREMELY aggressive and rushed me down pretty hard. Round 1 was extremely close but I lost. Round 2 he just wouldnt get off me the whole time and I ate a big damage combo after getting hit by a random grand viper.... I was sorta pissed that I lost to him since I ussually can beat Sol. I once again apolagized and our Axl player was next. This time, both players were playing extremely careful. There were lots of crouch blocking stare fests and it looked like a match of high level CvS2. Unfortunately Yume was too much to handle and Axl lost as well. It was now up to Masutani to OCV their team. Masutani put up a good fight but he also lost to Yume's Sol, resulting in us getting OCVed. After that, Masutani's mood did a complete 180 and he was just like his old self again. He didnt want to say a word to me and didnt want to stand near me either. I told the Axl player I was sorry for losing but he said it was ok and apologized as well. This was now the 6th time I have made it to the semi-finals and lost in a tougeki qualifier... blaaaa.....

With that, it was time for the finals of the prelim to begin, which would be a 3 team round robin. The 3 teams in the final would be Ogawa's team (as if you didnt see that coming), HH's team, and a 3rd team of Jam/Potemkin/Axl whom I never got a chance to see their names. The first match was JA/PO/AX team vs HH team. Yume goes first and beats JA and PO but then loses to AX. Die-chan cleans it up and finishes AX off for the win. Up next was AX/PO/JA vs Ogawa's team. First match was Mike vs PO. PO wins round 1 but Mike takes round 2. The 3rd round, Mike was about to die, but he managed to nail a last second flame pillar super on PO and made a comeback for the win. Up next was Mike vs JA in a mirror match. Mike wins both rounds. During this match, Gin was leaning against the wall and accidently turned off the lightswitch and the whole room went dark. Fortunately the cabs didnt turn off haha. Up next it was AX vs Mike. This match was funny since during the entire time, Mike and the AX player were yelling stuff at eachother from accross the cabs, like thanking eachother when one of them fucked up or apolagizing to the other when they nailed a long combo. It was pretty funny, im sure they were friends or at least knew eachother well. AX won the first round, Mike won the 2nd round, AX wins round 3. Up next was Imo with his mighty Zappa. Before he got on the cab, the AX yelled "Imo-san?" and you can just hear Imo on the other said yell "hai!". Their tone of voice was pretty comical. It was funny. I dont think the AX was expecting to win but at least he was having a good time. He ended up losing both rounds. Round 1 the dog bite loop got the best of him and for round 2 he got stuck in the dog bite loop again but managed to escape but only to have Roah show up and finish him off. The final match which would decide the victor of today's tournament would be Ogawa's team vs HH's team. Imo went first against Yume. He wins round 1 and then also wins round 2 in a very close match, thanks to Roah. Up next, Imo also takes out HH, once again thanks to Raoh. Up next was Die-chan with his famous ABA. ABA takes round 1. Round 2, ABA was pinned in the corner by ghosts for a long time, but he managed to excape and make a nice comeback for the win. Up next was Mike vs Die-chan. Die-chan starts off strong with a win in round 1 but Mike comes back hard and takes the next 2 rounds, sealing the win for Ogawa's team. I didnt even see Ogawa play the whole tournament (though I didnt watch every one of his matches as I was playing lots of casuals). After they won, he just sat there and clapped casually and slow with a sly grin on his face, sorta like how Slayer claps all casual like. It reminded me of one of those cliche villians you always see sitting on their throne while their minions do his dirty work, and he just sits there clapping all casuals all like "yesss.... goooood.... goooood... mwahaha..."

After the tournament ended there were still several hours until I had to go back. I got tons of good games of casuals in and was playing pretty well for the most part. I managed to beat HH a few times, Die-chan a couple times, and I even beat Yume on my next try! Blaa... if only I played better in the tournament I could have OCVed them. I also beat Seta in a mirror match (the Faust player on Hase's team) which felt nice. However, he picked Slayer on me after that and his Slayer is a fucking beast! Way better than his Faust IMO. Though since he teams with Hase I guess he cant play Slayer in a tournaemnt. At some point the Axl I teamed with left, but said bye to me before leaving and thanked me for teaming with him and said we should team up again sometime. I didnt notice Masutani leave but he didnt bother to say goodbye. At one point, Shouji showed up as well to just play some casuals. Throughout the entire time there, Mike had a huge win streak with his Jam, and tons of top players just couldnt beat him. I wanted to play him but everyone else kept getting on the cab before I had a chance. Eventually I got a shot at it and on my very first try against him, I beat him 3 rounds in a row and ended his win streak at 46 wins. Im pretty sure he was trying too as I didnt see any reason for him to just let me win. Eventually it was getting late. I beat some Testament player and then told him I had to go. I sorta waved bye to people as I left and then headed out. On my way out I got some more 100 yen Filet-O-Fish sandwiches (I like tartar sauce). I studied some Kanji on the way back and then got on the same train as Liz from Takasaki station and we chatted for about an hour about how her date went (turns out the guy has a girlfriend... which neither of us could figure out what his true intentions are). Eventually I made it home and took a nice shower and got some good sleep.

Next weekend I have 2 choices. Just as Osaka B had done, I was considering the idea of going out to Niigata to try my luck there. This really does seem like a good idea aside from one key problem: if I was to go, I would be going alone and trying to find a team while Im out there. Now... the Niigata tournament next weekend is on Sunday and is the finals for the Niigata block. There is no tournament on that Saturday in Niigata. This means if I was to go, I would spend the majority of Saturday playing lots of casuals and looking for a team in advance. I know where some of the good arcades are from the last time I went there so its possable. However its still risky.... My OTHER option is to just go to Tokyo and enter 2 more tournaments in the C-4 series. I could also enter the B-7 series but in all honesty, I would rather avoid going to those because the finals for the B-7 series is actually on the Saturday of the final weekend of qualfiers. Unfortunately thats the same day as the Children of Bodom concert and I already spend 7,500 yen on a ticket to go to it (and I really want to as well). So if I go to Tokyo, I would be entering the C-4 block, meaning id have to beat Ogawa's team in the finals if I win a prelim. I am going to ask Deno if he is still willing to team up with me for next weekend. If he agrees to, it might be a good idea to go to Tokyo since id be guarenteed a solid team. If he says no, however... maybe I should try my luck in Niigata. I would have to beat Osaka B's team and I am not sure about what other teams have qualified so far. Please answer the poll and help me decide wtf to do!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Random Select

On Thursday, Ryoko (my girlfriend) and I went to this really awesome waterfall area in Katashina, which is a town sorta in the same area as the one we live. I had never been there before. It was pretty amazing with lots of nice scenery. We took a bunch of pictures which I have uploaded to the pictures page. After that we went back to my place. I got an email from Ma (the Venom I teamed up with last week) confirming our plans to team up on Saturday. We sent a few emails back and forth and he was asking me to teach him English and kept putting all these smiley faces in his emails. He eventually asked me if I live alone. I told him yes, but that my girlfriend is here all the time so its fine, and that she was actually with me right now. He then said something along the lines of “Oooh I want to play too!” with various suggestive smileys. My girlfriend found this extremely hilarious and disturbing at the same time haha. I was getting the vibe that Ma was hitting on me 0_o. I changed the subject after that asking if he could team with me on Sunday LOL! Due to being broke, he cant btw since its too far from where he lives. Anyway, on Friday, all of the ALT’s (assistant language teachers) in my prefecture would meet in Maebashi for a conference that would last all day. They were having a clothes drive for the poor so Ryoko helped me go through my old clothes and we found a few things I didn’t need. Remember that pink doctor’s cosplay outfit that Ma gave me after he won it from a UFO catcher machine at the Fukaya tournament? Well it was pretty lame and crappy, but good enough to wear for a homeless person or something, so I figured id give it away. I also really didn’t need all those Dragonball ties I got from Rina, so I figured I could donate one of those too. In addition, I found an old sorta ashy grey suit jacket in my closet that the person who lived in my apartment before me had left there. As I was putting the stuff in the bag, I joked how if all these were worn together it would make a pretty hilarious suit. Ryoko wanted me to try it on. The result was a bunch of ridiculous pictures of me looking like some bum wearing a pink shirt with a yellow Dragonball tie and this ugly suit coat. I grabbed a bottle of rum to complete the look. She insisted on taking some pictures so I uploaded those too, haha.
So yea… Friday I went to Maebashi for an ALT conference instead of going to work as usual. It was pretty chill, got to see lots of people I havnt seen in a long time and didn’t really have to do any work. The conference lasted till like 4 pm and after that I headed straight for Tokyo. I arrived in Akihabara and went to Club Sega for some casuals. Andrew (722), the Bridget player from STL Mossouri, had just arrived in Japan earlier this week and would be living here for a while. He wanted to meet up here tonight. He arrived shortly after I did with some friend of his that I never met before. He told me his plan was to join a Japanese puppet troupe and then take a class at a school somewhere in Kansai and after that he would be doing some more puppet action. I forgot what his friend was doing, but he just started playing Guilty Gear not long ago. We played various casuals for a while. Lots of beastly players were there. I ended up beating some Slayer who had like 16 wins. Mike (the Jam player) was there, and we all played him a bunch of times but he was just too beastly to slay. He had like a 60 something win streak by the time we left Club Sega. Eventually at some point, Matt showed up. As it got later, Andrew and his friend had to leave. I wanted them to come to Current with us but Andrew doesn’t really drink and his friend wanted to leave or something so they headed out. Andrew was actually going to head to Nagoya the next day which is where he is gonna be living for a while. After playing at Club Sega for just a bit longer, Matt and I decided to head to Shinjuku.
We stopped over at Vegas for a few more games. Osaka B was there and we gave each other an epic high five and I sat down at the cab next to him and we did a little team Faust beasting. He had a sick mask on and said he had a cold. He eventually lost to someone so he went over to the other side to challenge me to some Faust mirror match action. He won like 2 or something, and then I won a couple and he eventually left. While we were at Vegas, I emailed Ma (the Venom player I was going to team with tomorrow) and asked him what time he would arrive at the tournament tomorrow. The Ibaraki finals tournament place was like a half hour walk away from the Ishioka train station or more, so I asked him if he could pick me up from the station since they had a car. He said it was cool and to be there at 11. Kinda early since it’s a 2 hour train ride from Shinjuku but I told him id be there. After a bit more playing, Matt and I left Vegas, grabbed some quick grub and headed to Current.
As we were walking there we saw Megu who was also going to Current. We caught up with her and went in together. Slightly Pudgy Guy (SPG) was there but 27yov didn’t come this time. Mogi, Masami, and Sushi were there as usual, as well as a bunch of various girls and some other random dudes. At one point, Megu went to one of the tables in the back and started painting her nails black. I don’t remember the sequence of events that led up to it, but next thing I know shes back at the bar sitting next to Matt, and shes painting his nails black too! I found this hilarious. Since it was for the sake of getting laid I guess its all good. I decided to be dick and egg Megu on. I asked her if she had any black eye liner and told her how Matt would look good if she put it on him! She thought it was a good idea, and Matt couldn’t say no lol! Matt was already looking somewhat borderline emo, wearing a collared shirt and one of those skinny ties and his hair was sorta combed how Peter Parker did his hair when he turned all emo in Spiderman 3. With the makeup and eye liner he sorta looked like one of those emo-goth hybrid kids. We took some hilarious pictures of him. I will upload that as well haha. Later on in the night, a bunch of people just showed up out of nowhere and the place got really packed. There were some foreigners and some Japanese people with them. When I was in the bathroom taking a piss, I noticed they had a flyer for an Avantasia concert in Tokyo. I had heard nothing about it till just then. I looked at the date and it was actually tonight! Which means it was already over. Soon after, I realized that the foreigners that just came in WERE Avantasia (but Tobias Sammet wasn’t there). The random Japanese people were just fans that came from the concert. Had I known about the show I would have liked to go since Avantasia is pretty sweet. (If you don’t know about Avantasia do a google search or something). I didn’t get around to really talking with them much. Im never the type to pester bands if they are busy talking with other people. I hate mindless fanboys that bother you just because you are famous and shit. Plus I wasn’t even at the show haha, At some point Megu offered to buy us all a round of shots of Jager. Im not one to turn down a shot so of course I accepted. Since she bought a round, I figured I might as well do the same, so soon after I bought everyone a round of Whiskey. It didn’t take very long after that for Megu to get really wasted. At about 4 am I decided I should leave since I needed to wake up at like 8:45 in order to catch my train. As I was leaving, Megu and Matt were sitting on the steps outside, Megu was pretty passed out. She had plans to go to Gifu prefecture in a few hours from then, she was gonna see a concert (the same band she saw when she went to Osaka). Luckily Matt was there and was able to help her buy her Shinkansen tickets and help her get on the train. I headed to the usual manga kissa.
I woke up at about 9:30. I set an alarm on my phone but it failed to wake me up. I checked the next train time and I would now arrive in Ishioka at 11:50. I emailed Ma and told him and apologized but he was ok with it. The tournament wasn’t scheduled to start until 2:00 so it was all good. I slept pretty much the whole way there on the train for like 2 hours. By the time I got there I felt ok. As I exited the train like half away, all of a sudden Shouji (the Testament player who won SBO last year on Ogawa’s team) just comes out of no where and starts comically running towards my, flailing his arms around. I was barely awake and it caught me off guard. He said hi, and with him was JT and RF, who came all the way from Kansai this weekend for today’s tournament. They were on the same train as me but in a different car. As we were paying for the rest of our train fair at the fair adjustment machine, Shouji noticed he was missing his wallet. He began to panic and started rummaging through a nearby garbage can in search of it. Unfortunately he failed to find it. He quickly told the train station dude that his wallet was missing. Ma called me saying he would be at the station in a few minutes. I grabbed a quick sandwich and ate it while waiting. He showed up shortly after. Actually it was Kyouso’s car (the other guy on our team, he plays Eddie). Ma was in the front passengers seat, and a female Jam player who I think is Kyouso’s girlfriend, was in the back seat. She said she remembered seeing me at the Sano tournament in Tochigi a few weeks back. After about a 10 minute drive, we made it to the game center. They had a 5 AC machines set up and people were already playing lots of casuals. There were several strong teams there. One interesting team was Sharon/Inoue/FAB. I asked FAB where Shoot and Nakamura were. He told me they couldn’t enter today so he will enter with Sharon and Inoue. Shuumatsu’s team was there as well. Hase’s team was there playing casuals with everyone, but they obviously would not be playing in the preliminary since they were one of the teams that would be playing in the finals (along with Kaqn’s team who won last weekend). This is a smaller block, only having 3 spots in the finals (as opposed to the usual 5 or sometimes 4). I got a good amount of games in before the tournament started, won some, lost some. There were lots of strong players there. This was also the first time I saw Kyouso play, and he had a solid Eddie (even though he told me he was weak last time when I met him. Typical Japanese modesty). Eventually, Shouji, RF, and JT showed up. Shouji busted out his wallet in triumph. He had left it on the train but somehow I guess the train station dude was able to contact the next station or something and they were able to find his wallet and get it back to him. Im very surprised he was able to get it back that fast. (I wish it would have worked out that way when I lost my camera a few weeks ago). One interesting match of casuals was Inoue vs Shouji in a Testament mirror match. Much to my surprise, Inoue actually beat him, but it was extremely close.
Not long after the tournament eventually started. They used 2 of the cabs to run the tournament while the other 2 were used for casuals. They had it set up for 100 yen to play but you get 2 credits, so everyone got to lose twice before they got off the machine. I was playing against this one Slayer player. I don’t know who he was but he was solid. I lost to him in the first match but then I played him again and won. As we were in the middle of our 3rd match, Ma tells me to get off the machine because its time to play our first tournament match. Our first match was to be against a team of Slayer, Faust, and Jam. However, little did I know that the Slayer player that I was just fighting was actually the same Slayer player we would have to fight first. And in addition to that, my team mates told me they wanted me to go first. The other team put Slayer first. So we went from playing a game of casuals and literally 30 seconds later im playing against him in a tournament match. I don’t really like playing someone im about to play in a tournament literally right before the match. Basically, both rounds were close but I ended up losing. I played ok but did a few nervous mistakes and Slayer isn’t very forgiving to say the least. It was now up to my team to pull through. Ma went next with his Venom. He did ok but also was taken down by Slayer. Finally, Kyouso went but Slayer once again proved to be too powerful and destroyed his Eddie as well. I certainly wasn’t expecting to show up to this thing and get OCVed 1st round by some random Slayer but… that’s how it happened, unfortunately.
We stuck around for a little longer. Right after I lost my tournament match, there was a cabinet that was abandoned since someone had to go play their tournament match. After the CPU killed the unattended character, Shouji wanted to play against me so we both got on the cab. Much to my surprise, I beat his Testament first game. Then we played again and he won. Finally we played one more and I beat him! So I was able to beat the Testament that won SBO last year but failed to beat some random Slayer. Go figure. After this I won a few more and then lost to May (big surprise there). Not long after, Ma wanted to leave because he was broke and was mooching games off his friends as it was. Everyone decided they wanted to leave so I either had the choice of staying and playing casuals and then having to walk back later, or just leave now and play casuals somewhere else. I chose to go with them, since walking would have sucked and I might have even gotten lost. On the way back, Ma and Kyouso agreed that if they have free time next weekend that they would team up with me again. They will mail me later this week and let me know if they can do it or not. I thanked them for giving me a ride to the station and headed back on a 2 hour train ride. (By the way, I wasn’t there to see the results obviously, but RF/JT/Shouji won the tournament and have now qualified for SBO, 2nd place was Kaqn’s team)
On the way back, Matt mailed me and told me that he was going to an Izakaya in Roppongi for nomihodai (all you can drink) for a birthday party for some American dude he goes to school with. He said that they reserved a certain amount of spots but someone canceled so he asked me to come. I really didn’t feel like playing much Gear after getting OCVed first round so I said fuck it, I’ll go. I had a little time to kill when I got back so I went to Vegas for about an hour and played a little bit of casuals. Nemo was there rocking his Testament but I didn’t get around to playing him. At one point, Ogawa, Imo, HH, and Mike just showed up together out of no where, stay for like 10 minutes and don’t play a single game, and then just leave. It was pretty strange. That one pink Axl that I sometimes encounter at Vegas was there, I beat him a couple games and beat a few other people, had a small streak, and eventually lost to some red May player. There was also some green Testament there who I lost to pretty bad. After that, Matt mailed me and told me to meet him at Shinjuku station.
I walked to the station and we took the train to Roppongi. After we got there we waited around for a bit and eventually found his friend (I think his name was Casey or something). He had his Japanese girlfriend with him. After walking a bit more we met up with the rest of his group. When we all got to the Izakaya, there was like me, Matt, Casey, this one Japanese dude, this black dude from Canada, and then like 7 Japanese girls. All of these girls claimed to have boyfriends but that didn’t stop them from being extremely flirty. We stayed for about 2 hours, had some great food and I drank a shit load. Probly had like 7 beers and a gin tonic that was just sitting around after they cut off the drink orders, I figured if no ones gonna drink it I might as well. When it was time to leave, everyone was gonna go to some club in Roppongi but im not much for clubbing and Matt and I both wanted to go to Current so we headed back to Shinjuku.
When we got to Current it was surprisingly dead. Taka was there, and that girl Beniko who works at the S&M bar was also there, but she didn’t stay for very long. There were a few other random people too. Since Current was pretty much dead, Matt and I decided to go check out GODZ since some random people that were there told us there was a party going on there. When we arrived at GODZ it was pretty packed. One of the guys who works there was celebrating his birthday. Aside from lots of random people I don’t know, Heidi was there. There was also this big drunken Japanese oaf guy who was friendly but kept talking all loud and spitting in my ear when he talked. Eventually he left. I was happy. They played tons of great music and I was already shit faced and everyone was just going nuts headbanging and screaming and shit. It was good times. My voice is kinda shot right now. At some point Heidi went to PSY which is down the street from GODZ. At about 5:30, Matt and I decided to head over there as well. There were a few people but shortly after, GODZ closed so most of the GODZ crew came to PSY and it became pretty packed. I guess they kept the place open later than usual. I pretty much was talking with Heidi after that for the rest of the night. Matt was talking with various people but at some point he passed out. I was just completely wasted after having been drinking since 8 pm and was getting tired so I had 2 vodka redbulls to finish off the night. Matt left since he was so tired and then shortly after, I think it must had been a little after 7:30 am, after I finally left the bar. Ending my nearly 12 hours of hardcore drinking, I stumbled over to the manga kissa and got some sleep.
So you might be asking, what about the Sunday tournament? Well the only tournament going on in the area is in Tachikawa, but it starts at 6 pm. Because of that, chances are even if I did find a team (which at this point I still didn’t since the other guys couldn’t enter) I probably wouldn’t have time to play. The last train from Tachikawa leaves at 8 pm and the tournament would more than likely take longer than 2 hours. However, with nothing else to do I figured I would just show up and check it out anyway, maybe play some casuals, and if I found a last minute team I would try to enter, but I certainly wasn’t counting on it. I must have woken up at about 2 pm or something like that. I headed to Tachikawa and walked around for a bit looking for the arcade. I had never been to this particular arcade before but according to the map I checked ahead of time, it seemed like it was close. Turns out I was wrong. I walked to probably about 4 different game centers near Tachikawa station asking for directions to Tachikawa MU (the place the tournament was at). Eventually I ended up at this one place called UFO which was down the street from Tachikawa OSLO. They had one cabinet and a few guys were playing AC so I figured maybe they would know. I asked the dude that worked there that was up there near the cab and he told me (just as all the other places did) that the place was extremely far, probably about a 30 or 40 minute walk from Tachikawa station. (Japanese people often have a habit of giving you directions to places even if they have no clue where these places are. I think they do it to be polite so that they don’t come off as being unhelpfull but unfortunately it really just causes people to get lost. Knowing this I tried asking at several places.) This guy seemed like he knew what he was talking about as the other Guilty Gear players had confirmed this. I pretty much had given up on going to the Tougeki tournament at this point, but then something random happened. The arcade dude that was up there told me they were actually just about to start a Guilty Gear AC singles tournament at the arcade I was at right now. Figuring I had no time to make it to the other place, I decided to enter. This wasn’t really a big tournament (only 9 players) and I had no idea who any of these guys were, but I figured why not. So they started about 10 minutes after that. It was an 8 man regular bracket with 2 people having to play against eachother in an extra match. There were 3 Slayer players, a Ky, a Robo Ky, a Chipp, an Axl, a Testament, and me. First match, blue SL beats KY. Up next RO beats black SL. Then it was my first match which would be against AX. One of the sides of the cab had a fucked up monitor that was kinda too dark, and the kick button felt weird (though it worked fine for the most part, just felt strange like… not firm). I won RPS and chose the shitty side cuz I didn’t realize it was shitty. However, I won the first round, the 2nd round, lost the 3rd round, and won the 4th round (it was set on 3 rounds). After that, white SL beats CH. Then TE beats blue SL. My next match was vs Robo Ky. I won RPS again and this time I chose the better side. The Robo Ky player was pretty decent. I won the first 2 rounds, then he won the 2nd 2 rounds. I finished him off in the last round for the win. After that it was already the tournament finals of me vs Testament. I ended up losing RPS so he chose the good side. Despite that, I still managed to beat the shit out of him and just beat him 3 rounds in a row, dominating every round. That was the end of it. I somehow end up accidently just winning some random singles tournament I didn’t even know about LOL! The players didn’t seem to know who I was so they were all just kinda like WTF, and they seemed to think I was cool or something. The arcade dude said as a prize for winning the tournament, I could chose one single item from any of the UFO catcher machines in the whole arcade for free. Most of them were filled with pretty much just about of anime related stuff. I ended up choosing a Rei Ayanami Evangelion zippo lighter. Its actually really nice. The artwork is sweet and zippo lighters are the shit. Its actually something I can use so I was cool with that. Espessially since it only costed 50 yen to enter the tournament haha.
After the tournament was over I decided to go head to game OSLO, which was about a minute walk down the street. This is the place I went to before for the SB2 qualifier the weekend I crashed at Toru Kawazoe’s place with Basara, Nanashi, etc etc. Right away after I walked in, I was surprised to see that Spikey Hair Potemkin (aka Kawin, aka, Yoshio, aka Kai) was there working. I didn’t even realize he worked there but it makes sense. However, since he was at work, he didn’t have spikey hair so I guess he wasn’t actually spikey hair potemkin today. They probly wont let him do it at work or some shit. Anyway, he told me that everyone was pretty much at the MU Tougeki tourney but he confirmed that its really far and that I wouldn’t have time to go. I told him how I randomly won some singles tourney down the street on accident, he thought it was pretty funny. There were still some decent players playing at OSLO today though. Actually, Zero showed up eventually among some other people. I did pretty well for the most part, though I only got to play Zero one time, and he beat me with his Potemkin. I wanted to play against him again but he lost to some Eddie who I then played against and beat like several times in a row, but Zero went on another cabinet at this point. After getting about 7 wins I had to leave so I told the dudes on the other side not to play me again. It was already like 10 minutes to 8. I headed back to the train station and got on the train with a few minutes to spare and spent the ride back studying Kanji. When I arrived at Takasaki to transfer, Cynthia was there again and we chatted for the last hour of my trip home.
What a fucking random weekend this was... This weekend was pretty disappointing as far as Tougeki goes since we lost so quickly. However, I had a ton of fun anyway. My 12 hour drinkathon was pretty epic, and winning a random tournament on accident was amusing. Next week I will be entering tournaments for Tougeki on both Saturday and Sunday for sure. I am not 100% sure on my team yet but I will most likely team with Ma and Kyouso again at least one of the days. This is the final stretch folks. There are only 3 weekends of qualifiers left. Better make it count.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Ice Emperor and Mike's Fan Club!

My plan this weekend was to enter tournaments in Ibaraki prefecture, which is East of Tochigi. For Saturday, I was going to team with Shiratori and Ma (the Venom player we teamed with last time). Sunday, those guys would be busy so I had no team set at the moment.
Friday night I went to Vegas to play casuals. I was gonna meet up with Kyle there but he ended up calling me, saying he was busy and couldn’t make it. A number of noteworthy players were there such as HH, Kazuki’s entire team, Hase, Hot Zappa, Pink Female Slayer, and other various good people. There were lots of people so there was long waiting time to play. At first I was just feeling really off and kept losing most of my matches to HH, Kazuki, and Kiro (AKA Kifa by the way… Ki=kiro Fa = Faust). I kept getting owned by tick throws even though I was expecting them. My reaction time felt really sluggish. Eventually I beat some Faust in a mirror match and finally won one. Then I lost to a Baiken and a Venom but after that I managed to beat Kazuki. I asked Kifa what tournament his team would be entering tomorrow (there were several tournaments scheduled for this weekend). Much to my surprise, he said his team would be going to Sendai, which is FAR… maybe like 2 or 3 hours on the shinkansen… probably like 6 hours or more on the regular train. After playing for a while, the random street fighter player who I met at TRF just appears out of no where! He was the guy who was asking me and Matt all those questions about English and other stuff when I went to TRF after my Kansai trip for the first Tougeki qualifier. He asked if I remembered him and I said yea (how could I forget lol..). He proceeded to ask me another long series of questions, mostly about fighting games and the US scene. He said that he is interested in learning Guilty Gear and wants to learn Sol. He asked me if I was getting tired of Guilty Gear since its been around for so long, I said no (and this question is coming from a guy who only plays ST haha). He told me that a friend of his told him that this SBO will probably be the last year for Accent Core. I asked him if his friend works for Tougeki or something but he said no. So basically its just a rumor floating around. I honestly hope its not the last year for Guilty Gear since the game is still so popular. We also had a discussion regarding the best way to learn fighting games. Like reading vs watching vids vs playing. I eventually played some more matches and started winning a bit more. During that time, random SF guy just vanished and I never saw him after that. I played HH a bunch more times but just couldn’t beat him since I was just not playing very well that night. I eventually did beat him but it felt like he just let me win because he wanted to go home. I won all 3 rounds and it didn’t seem very hard. It was late so he probly just wanted to go home. I felt kinda insulted though that he would just throw a match. I pretty much stayed at Vegas until they started to turn off the lights and close the place down since I really wanted to practice as much as I could. After that I got some quick food and headed to Current.
When I got to Current, it was not like crazy packed but there were a good amount of people, most of which I knew. The Norwegian duo of Slightly pudgy guy (SPG) and 27 year old virgin (27yov) were there. I asked 27yov if he got laid last weekend. He said that him and the slutty chick walked around Kabukicho for a while looking for a love hotel but they were all full so he just gave up (and SPG told me he basically chickened out and this isn’t the first time this has happened). I told him its too bad because that slutty chick would have been gone by now. But then suddenly, the bathroom door opens and slutty chick comes out of the bathroom and goes and sits in the back of the bar! I was like “dude! Why arnt you talking to her?! You still have a chance!” and hes all just like “blablabla I give up, you go talk to her instead”. Im like… “dude, im not trying to hit that shit, go for it!”. He just kinda sat at the bar. Slutty chick came and said hi to me and asked me to sit with her and her 2 friends (the same Christian girl from last time and some other chick who looked pretty ordinary). I sat with them for a few mins and made small talk and then I needed to go buy another beer. Then I ended up talking to Rina for a while (another girl that I know that goes there often but havnt seen in a while). I guess 27yov had a change of heart cuz then he decided to go sit with slutty chick. Not long after, she was once again straddling his lap, making out. She kept trying to get him to dance with her but he wouldn’t get up. SPG was busy talking to this one other chick at the bar pretty much the entire night. Eventually Chip showed up at about 3 am and said he was at 16 shots earlier. Also, throughout the course of the night, Sushi was flirting with just about every girl in the place as usual and did some more of his ghetto magic tricks! I guess these girls were too smart or not drunk enough because they figured him out pretty fast. He still kept doing it though haha. He even tried to do the trick where he tries to make a bottle disappear by throwing it over his shoulder and having someone else catch it, but the dude he threw the bottle too totally missed it and it landed on the floor. Good thing he used a plastic water bottle and not a bottle of vodka like he did last time, that shit woulda been ugly heh. At about 4 am I decided to head out and go to sleep. Tomorrows tournament would take about an hour and a 15 minutes to get to, and I wanted to get there early to practice. Plus, the arcade is about 30 minutes walking distance from the train station, so Shiratori said he would pick me up and give me a ride.
I slept at the usual spot, woke up at around 10, and headed to the train station. After a nice nap on the train I arrived at Tsukuba station in Ibaraki prefecture. Shiratori mailed me saying he might be slightly late since he had to work this morning. I waited around in front of the station for about 20 minutes. During this time, I saw Kaqn, Kishitaka, and Basara come out of the station together. I said hi to them and said I was waiting for my friend to give me a ride. They walked to the arcade. Eventually Shiratori showed up in his car. In his car was also Ma, our Venom player, and another guy whos name was Kosyou. I asked him if he plays Gear and he said yes, but that he was not very good and would just be watching today.
After a short drive we arrived at the Pink Panther game center. They had 2 cabinets and there were already a shit ton of people there. So much for getting lots of casuals in before the tournament. For a while, Hase had a win streak on one cab, and Basara had a win streak on the other. It was like some team Slayer beat down fest where they just kept destroying anyone who came at them. It reminded me of one of those cheesy 80’s action movies where the 2 partners stand back to back and a circle of goons surrounds them and they just destroy all of them. Eventually they did lose though. Shortly after the tournament started. Osaka B’s usual team with ASA and Shuumatsu was there, as well as Hase’s regular team, Heavy Metal Venom team, and the Kaqn team I saw earlier. 16 teams entered total. Ma signed our team up and I asked him what he put for the team name. He said we were called “Kori no Emperor” which means Emperor of Ice. I found this name extremely random and amusing. It was time for everyone to taste our frosty wrath. Our first match was vs a team of TE JA CH. Shiratori goes first against TE and wins. Up next he fights JA but loses. I decide to go next. I win the first round pretty convincingly. 2nd round, Jam comes at me hard and I lose in a close one. Last match was very close. I got Jam in the corner and finished it with a FDC kick overhead combo for the win. Finally it was me vs Chipp. Everyone on my team, of course including myself, hate Chipp. I figured id give it my best. First round I take it in a close match. Second round, it was down to a pixel, and I dove down on chip with a pogo forcbreak. He blocked it, but I managed to sneak in a overhead bagface punch off the pogo stance and it finished him off. Everyone was relieved because they all said they would have probly lost to Chipp. In between our next match, for some reason, Osaka B was playing SFII rainbow edition on some random cab full of roms. During this time, Kaqn OCVed some random team. Heavy Metal Venom team also wins their first game. Our next match was against a team of CH SL BA. This time Ma wanted to go first. Unfortunately, they put their Chipp player first. Ma said it would be impossible for him to win. Chipp beat him down pretty bad. I guess this is a bad matchup for Venom? I decided since I was able to take out the first Chipp, I would go ahead and give it a try again so I went next. I just played really careful and used really good zoning and managed to beat this Chipp player as well, much to my surprise. Up next was Slayer. I forgot who won which rounds, but it went to round 3. It was fairly close and I remember I threw a bomb and then it exploded and I air teleported over it and landed on slayer, I FRCed and tried a mixup but he blocked it. Then I ended up in the air and Slayer followed. He was doing a pressure string on me but I was blocking and FDing it. Then he ended the string with that Slayer hurricane kick move where he spins his cape. I would have been able to punish him after this but my finger slipped and touched the slash button for a second and my FD turned into a slashback on accident which ended up missing and I got hit and died… I was really confused because I was sure I was gonna take that round. What a stupid mistake. Shiratori went next but unfortunately got beat down by Slayer. That’s the end of that. Shiratori wanted to head out at this point so I told them I would go with since they offered to give me a ride back to the train station. As we were leaving, Osaka B team was fighting Hase team. On the way back to the train station, I asked Shiratori if he could team up again next weekend. He said he had work so he wouldn’t be able to enter. However, Ma said that he wanted to team up with me. He suggested we form a team with Kosyou. Kosyou claims he isn’t good but perhaps hes just being modest. Ive had people say they arnt good to me before and have it turn out where they are quite good afterall. He said he also plays Eddie which doesn’t hurt. I figured its worth a shot, so next Saturday I will team up with Ma and Kosyou for the Ibaraki finals tournament. After they dropped me off at the station I thanked them and said bye and headed to the train.
After the train ride, I headed to Akihabara to play some casuals since it was still early in the day. I called Kyle and told him I would go there to play casuals and to meet me there. When I arrived, Ogawa was there and was playing as Slayer. He had like 50 something wins. There was another Slayer player sitting next to him who also had a 50 something win streak. I think it was Asaha, the Slayer Ogawa teamed with last week. It was another 80’s action movie Slayer moment. I played against Ogawa’s Slayer I think like 3 times and on the 3rd time, I ended his win streak at 60 wins! Right after, Ogawa came over to the other side of the cab and told me it was a good match and that I was strong and played well. However, he was like making sure that I knew that he doesn’t player Slayer seriously and doesn’t plan on it. He seemed a bit embarrassed. I asked him if he was going to enter any tournaments tomorrow but he said he wasn’t going to be able to. At some point, Osaka B showed up and I asked him who had won the tournament we were just at. He said that Hase’s team had won.
I figured for my team the next day, I would team with Kyle and find one more person. I emailed about 5 different people in my phone, including Gin. Gin seemed sorta interested but said he wasn’t sure. It turned out he was actually at club sega too and I just didn’t see him. I went over to him and asked and he asked who our 3rd was. I told him it was Kyle and then he suddenly seemed rather reluctant to team with us, saying he was probly going to be busy. Umemura also replied apologizing for not having contacted me for a while, saying he had lost his phone and also that he already had a team for tomorrow. Eventually Kyle showed up. I told him that as of now, I had no team lined up for tomorrow. I asked him if he would team with me and we could try to find a 3rd. I figured he was gonna say yes, but he said that he didn’t feel like he was strong enough. He said he wanted to train and play casuals more instead and hoped to do better at a qualifier in a few weeks or something. I tried to convince him that while practicing is good, he shouldn’t just give up on trying to enter tournaments right now, as there are only a few weeks left and hes not gonna become an EXTREMELY large amount better between now and a few weeks by skipping tournaments to play casuals, espessially when all the best players are gonna be at the tournaments anyway and he can always play casuals at those after they are over. He seemed pretty set in stone on not entering so at this point I was stuck with no team. It seemed pretty hopeless but suddenly while I was playing a match of casuals, I got a very unexpected email from none other than MIU! He said he had the day off tomorrow and asked if I wanted to join his team. I was rather surprised since I wasn’t expecting him to have free time so I hadn’t even bothered asking him to team since the last time I saw him. He said that we would be teaming with a May player named Roupa and that he wanted to enter the Hachiyoji tournament which is part of the Tokyo C-3 block. I was originally planning to go to the next B-6 block which is the Ibaraki one I was at today, but that one was packed with strong players too, so it didn’t really seem to matter which one I went to, either way there was gonna be a bunch of beastly teams. Of course I agreed so now I was set for tomorrow. I told Kyle it all worked out so to not worry about it. After a few more hours of casuals there, it started to die down. Eventually Kyle went home. There was a point where I was sitting at the cab next to Osaka B and both of us had racked up pretty decent win streaks with Faust. So we had our own little Faust partners 80’s action movie moment. I told him that I wore one of those ugly Gundam ties to work earlier in the week and he found it amusing. Eventually Osaka B lost to a Jam player and a few matches later I lost to an I-no player. It was getting late so I said goodbye to Osaka B and I decided to go to Vegas and see how the comp was over there.
When I arrived at Vegas, HH was there again, and much to my surprise, Shouji was there! (Shouji is the Testament player who was on the 1st place SBO team from last year). I hadn’t seen him since like DF2 weekend, hes a cool guy. There was a decent amount of people here as well. I had also gotten an email from my friend Liz who was in Tokyo and she wanted to meet up for some drinks, but said that she couldn’t stay out all night. At this point it was about 9:30. Matt said he would arrive in Shinjuku at 10 so I just told Liz I would meet her at Current at 10 and told Matt to go directly there.
When I got to Current, much to my surprise, there was a special event going on. Unfortunately it was a Disco/ tribute to Prince event…. That’s right, Current was playing nothing but disco and Prince music. To top it off, the place was packed with people, but aside from the guys who work there (Sushi, Mogi, Masami), and Liz, I didn’t know who a single one of these random fucking disco people were. They had some guest DJ who was all groovin to his disco and gettin down behind the DJ area heh. I talked with Liz for a bit about random shit. She said she had a date with some guy who lives in Yokohama tomorrow whos he met on a rafting trip not long ago. She said she had spent the day in the library researching Universities and plans to try to get into Harvard after JET. Goodluck with that! It certainly wont be easy, but anythings worth a shot. At some point in there, Matt showed up. We were sorta thinking about getting the fuck outta there cuz the music sucked and they were showing some whack-ass Prince music video of a bunch of dudes doing coriagraphed dance routines dressed as Batman and Joker (there were multiple Batmans and Jokers). Plus the music was like WAY too loud and we could hardly talk. We figured going to GODZ might be a better alternative. Matt wanted to stick around cuz Megu was supposed to meet him there soon, but he mailed her and told her to go to GODZ instead so we headed out.
On the way to GODZ, Liz decided to just go to the train station since her last train back was going to be coming somewhat soon. When Matt and I arrived at GODZ, just as we were about to go instead, he received an email from Megu saying she didn’t wanna go to GODZ because the music there is too loud. Current was just as bad tonight with that but the music was crappy. But then Chip mailed me and said he was going to Current as well, and so did this one other regular girl named Saeko, so we figured, fuck it, lets go back to Current. However, at this point it was only like 11:30, and we were pretty close to Vegas, so we decided to go play a few more games of GG before going back to Current.
There were still a decent amount of people at Vegas including HH and Shouji. At this point I had already had like 3 beers so I was feeling pretty buzzed. As a result, my playing was much more aggressive. And because my play was much more aggressive, this time I was doing very well against HH. My problem was that he was just getting too much garbage out on the screen and kept getting me pinned down and I would just die to his mixups. This time, I just kept stuffing his summons and just rushed him the fuck down and I beat him. Then he beat me again in a close one but then I beat him again pretty convincingly. After that, Im not sure who it was (possibly HH?!), but some Faust player played against me and I destroyed him. I don’t think Matt was really in the mood to play. He was having trouble against a Testament player and was getting pretty pissed off. He slammed on the machine kinda hard when he lost. I had to go take a whiz from all the beer I drank so I asked Matt to watch my game. As I was going to the bathroom I passed by Shouji who said hi as he was heading for the GG cabs. When I got out of the bathroom, Matt was playing my Faust against Shouji’s Ky (I don’t know why he was playing Ky). Naturally, since Matt doesn’t play Faust, Shouji had 2 wins and was about to take the 3rd round. I quickly got on the cab and switched with Matt and was able to salvage the round and win. I won the next round as well. The last round was like down to a pixel but I lost. We stayed for a bit longer but soon after we figured it was a good time to go back to Current since everyone would be there soon.
After we got back to Current, quite a few regulars were there now. Slutty chick was there again. Megu showed up soon after, as well as Chip, and Mai. We stuck around for a few more beers and all talked for a bit about various things, trying to tune out the shitty disco music. Eventually we all decided it would be a good time to GTFO. Chip wanted to go to GODZ and I was all for it. However, Megu wanted to go to visual kei bar and Matt wanted to stick with her, so our party split up into 2 groups. Matt, Saeko, and Megu went to the visual kei bar, and Chip, Mai, slutty chick, and myself went to GODZ. GODZ was pretty decent, there were a few people there and they were playing good stuff. There was this one other girl there, and slutty chick kept dancing with her all sexual and shit. She then proceeded to tell me that she isn’t bisexual. She said she had sex with a girl before but didn’t really enjoy it. She certainly seemed to enjoy dancing with this girl though haha. So I asked her if she slept with 27yov last night and she said she totally didn’t. I told her he was a virgin since this would be the last time any of us would see her since shes going back to England in a few days. She totally didn’t believe me haha. At some point, somehow, a random rubix cube was busted out by someone. Chip proceeded to tell me he ownz rubix cubes. About 10 minutes after he said that, I look over and he did infact own the rubix cube! All 6 sides were the same color! Pretty amazing shit, I was never good at those things. I also noticed he was wearing a Chopstick Tattoo shirt (the tattoo company in Osaka, I met the owner when I was at Rock Rock before). At about 4 am I once again decided I should get to sleep since I wanted to get up early for practice tomorrow. I said goodbye and headed out.
I woke up the next day at 10 again. I took the train and got off at Tachikawa station. If you were paying attention, you would remember that I said todays tournament would be in Hachiyoji. So you might be asking… why would I have gotten off at Tachikawa? That’s a good question, and the answer is: im a dumbass and mixed up the train stations. Both of them are on the same line and are only about 4 stations apart. However, for whatever reason, my brain was just thinking Tachikawa. I went into the arcade where I had played at in Tachikawa before (game OSLO), but it was dead. I asked the guy where the Tougeki tournament was and he told me it was at an arcade down the street. I went into the next arcade but it was also dead. Then I emailed MIU and asked him what the arcade was called, and he said it was called TOMATO Hachiyoji. At this point I realized im a dumbass and got back on the train and headed to Hachiyoji. Unfortunately im not the only one who made a mistake today. I arrivedat TOMATO game center only to find it was also the wrong arcade. I then asked the dude there what arcade its really at and he said UFO, which is the same arcade in Hachiyoji where I had played in a tournament a long time ago, the first and only time I had been there. I knew where it was so it didn’t take long to get there after this point. I probably arrived there at about 12:30. The tournament wasn’t scheduled to start till 2 so it was ok. When I got here, there were a good amount of people. They had 3 cabs setup. The usual FAB team was there, and there was also a team of Yosaan and Kami-chan, but this time they were teamed with Minami-Chipp instead of Imo, who was not there. Some other good players like HEVEN, Masutani, HH, Kusoru, TEN, and others were there as well. Gin was there as well afterall and had found another team, some guys I didn’t know. I guess he just didn’t wanna team with me cuz I was gonna have Kyle on my team. His loss. He was surprised when I told him I was teaming with MIU today instead. I asked MIU, who had already registered our team, what our team name was. He said he named the team “Mike’s Fan Club” LOL!!! Sweet…
Eventually the tournament started. For their first match of the tournament, FAB’s team was OCVed by TEN! I was shocked. Our first match came soon after. It was against a team of BA ED KY. MIU went first. Before our match he seemed really fired up and excited to play. He beat the fucking shit out of Baiken, baiting like every single one of her counters. Up next he went against ED. He won the first round. In the 2nd round, he was getting beat down by Eddie but he made a huge come back when he did a tigerkneed Volcanic Viper which was blocked and then he RCed it like just off the ground, landed into a command throw, and did a huge sidewinder loop that just destroyed Eddie. He also did this awesome mixup earlier where he jumped over his head, and backdashed to the other side, and hit with a RCed VV into another sidewinder. MIU was busting out his bag of tricks. He went next against KY but unfortunately he lost. I went next against KY. I lost the first round in a close fight. I was determined to win so I just played really tight and patient and ended up winning the next 2 rounds. After I beat KY, Yosaan and his team came and shook my hand and gave me props. For our next match, Roupa went first with his May. Our next opponents were a team of IN FA MI. Roupa proceeded to just lay on the May bullshit and OCVed their entire team! Our 3rd match (which was now in the semi finals) was against Kami-chan’s team. Roupa went first again and managed to beat Kami-chan 2 rounds in a row! Up next was Minami-chipp. Roupa takes round one. He then loses round 2. Round 3 was close as hell and both of them just needed to land the next hit for the win. There was lots of dancing around but eventually Minami-chipp snuck in the last hit and won. I was to go next so I figured I would do my best against Chipp as I did yesterday. Minami-chipp is much better than the other Chipp’s I played (one of the best Chipp’s in Japan). I did ok the first round but lost. 2nd round I kept getting mixed up in the corner and I couldn’t see him because he did “find me!” and the color he chose was blending in with the background really well. I sorta panicked and I lost. I figured MIU would be able to clean it up. Round 1, MIU gets perfected! Ouch… round 2 was closer but MIU lost once again…. And that was the end of this tournament for us. This is now the 5th time ive lost in the semi finals of an SBO qualifier. Blah…
It was now time for the finals, which was a 3 team round robin. The 3 teams were Kami-chan(SL)/Yoosan(IN)/Minami-chipp team, HEVEN(VE)/BOB(ED)/and some Axl player team, and Masutani(VE)/Kiyap(ED)/and some Dizzy player team. Since there were 3 cabs going on at the same time for the earlier part of the tournament, I didn’t see who some of the other big names lost to but these were the top 3. First match, HEVEN vs Minamai-chipp. HEVEN takes round 1, Minami takes round 2, HEVEN perfects Minami round 3 (maybe VE vs CH isn’t a bad matchup afterall!?!). Up next, HEVEN beats Kami-chan 2 rounds in a row. Then Yosaan beats HEVEN 2 rounds in a row. Yosaan then does the same to the Axl player but in the end BOB takes out Yosaan 2 rounds in a row for the win. The next match was Yosaan team vs Masutani team. First was Kami-chan vs Masutani. Kami-chan wins round 1, Masutani wins round 2, Kami-chan takes round 3. Kami-chan then fights Kiyap’s ED winning round 1 but then losing the next 2 rounds. Yosaan then defeats Kiyap, ending it with a burst grab. Finally Yosaan takes out the Dizzy player for the win. Final match was Masutani vs HEVEN team. BOB ends up OCVing their entire team in the order of Masutani, DI, Kiyap without losing a single round! Ouch… So there you have it, HEVEN/BOB/some Dizzy player win today’s tournament. There are still several tournaments left for the C-3 block though.
After that I stayed and played casuals for the rest of the day. I told MIU to contact me next time he was able to team up again and he said he would. I asked Roupa if he wanted to team next week but he says hes going on a trip to Hawaii so he cant. At some point I left to get some food at a place called “This is the Burger, Hachiyoji” which had these giant fucking burgers. I got the “Tachikawa Burger” which had just about everything on it including egg and ham. Aside from the burgers they have at King Kong burger in Omaha, this is the biggest burger ive ever eaten. I finished the whole combo meal and was stuffed as hell and had sauce all over my face haha. After cleaning up in the bathroom, I played some more casuals for the rest of day, getting some good wins here and there. Eventually I had to catch the last train.
On my way back I slept for most of the way. When I got to Takasaki, both Liz and Cynthia were there and we took the same train back to our town and talked. Liz told us her date went alright and they went to a Ramen Museum (lol) in Yokohama. So next week I have a team set for Saturday but don’t know whats going on yet with Sunday. Im sure ill figure something out. This weekend was fun and I did well in the tournaments for the most part but just need to push myself a little harder next time. Don’t count me out yet!