Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Here Comes A New Challenger! (and some random drama)

After spending the past 2 weeks at home, my right foot has had enough time to heal. While it still hurts slightly and I have to walk a bit slow with a slight limp, I no longer need the crutches or the bandages. I also had plenty of time to play the hell out of MGS4 and beat it last weekend. Aside from a few small plot holes, the game was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a lot. However, during my final stretch of playing the game, my left eye started hurting like a bitch. I wear contacts and I just kept it in for a while figuring it would fix as it often does but eventually it was unbearable so I took the lense out. Youd figure by the next day it would heal as is often the case, but it still hurt like hell. It never ended up healing so I figured I would just deal without my left lense for a while as my left eye sucks anyway, and would get it checked by a doctor later.

On my way to Tokyo I ran into Laura, one of the other ALTs near my town at Takasaki station. She was also going to Tokyo for the weekend so we talked for about 2 hours on the train. We said we might meet up at some point later on. After getting off the train alone I headed to Vegas for casuals. Starting from earlier this week, a new American player who goes by the handle Honnou on dustloop would be living in Japan for a year and living in Tokyo. We made plans to meet up at Vegas. Various noteworthy people were at Vegas such as Inoue, HH, Baim, Ririko, Bleed (who was playing Johnny again), and a few others as well as a bunch of people I dont know. Eventually Honnou showed up. His real name is Rodrigo. He's from California and has been playing Gear since XX. His main is I-no but he says he can play a little under half the cast fairly well. We played eachother about 7 or 8 times. He picked I-no on me the whole time except for one match he used HOS. While he wasnt able to beat me at all, he did begin to adapt after a few matches. Im sure after living here for a while he will get a lot better. He told me that playing out here is like learning the game all over again since the level of skill is so high.

After playing till pretty late, he evetually headed out. He wanted to come drinking but he had no money, but we made plans to meet up again the next day. After that, I met up with Matt, Chris, 27yov, and a few other random Norwegian guys they were friends with. We ate and then headed to Current. It was a typical Friday with a few regulars there and not a whole lot happened that was extremely noteworthy. As usual, 27yov tried his best to get lucky but failed as he always does. However, I guess I was drinking pretty fast because Matt said that sometime around 4 or 4:30 I passed out. I honestly dont even remember but I do remember saying goodbye to everyone and leaving. I left with Matt and he said it was cool if I crashed at his apartment in Nakano since I had to go to Nakano hospital the next day to return my crutches.

I woke up the next morning on the floor in the corner of Matt's apartment... with a splitting headache! I guess I really did drink a shit ton cuz it was a fucking nasty hangover. I ended up sleeping till like 3 pm. After Matt took a shower and then I took a shower, we went to get some Indian food before heading to the hospital. We then swung by TRF real quick to see how the comp was over there. We left shortly after to go return my crutches. By the time we made it to the hospital, it was just a little after 4 pm. I returned the crutches and was pleased to find out I got about 3200 yen back out of the 5000 yen I paid to rent them. Extra beer money! However, I also wanted to get my eye checked out while I was there. The receptionist told me that they close for general checkups after 4 pm, so I was just a few minutes late. Bummer. Looks like I will have to get my eye checked another time.

After that we headed back to TRF and played SFIV for a bit. For the most part we were both getting beat up pretty bad by the comp there. I finally bought one of those cards that stores your record and lets you get points, but I didnt register it with my info yet. After playing there for a bit, we decided to head over to Vegas since the Guilty Gear comp at TRF was pretty much non existant. A ton more top players were there again and we got a lot of good matches in. Eventually Honnou showed up as well. I saw Matt and Honnou play against eachother sorta from a few cabs down while I was waiting for my next match to start and it was very close with Matt winning by just a bit. I dont know how many times they played though. Eventually towards the end of the night, Honnou wanted to play me a bunch of times again. I dont know how many games we played but it was a ton. Once again he couldnt beat me, but he was starting to win a round here and there more frequently than he was before. At some point there wasnt really anyone else there playing besides us and maybe like 1 or 2 more guys so we decidedto go drinking. This time Honnou would join us. We stopped at a 7-11 on the way to Current to try to get money out of the ATM for Honnou but his card wouldnt work for whatever reason so he only had like 1200 yen for the night. He said he would be fine with that as he isnt an extremely heavy drinker. I told him id loan him some money or something if he ended up wanting to drink more.

When we arrived at Current, this time it was pretty packed since tonight was a metal event night. As usual, all the metal event regulars were jamming away on their inflatable guitars and singing along to songs. At some point shortly after we arrived, the audio system suddenly just crapped out for a good like 10 minutes. During this time, the metal event crowd just kept singing the lyrics in unison to the Sonata Arctica song that was on while it crapped out. It was rather hilarious and once the song ended they just went ahead and started it all over again. Some of them were even like immitating the guitar and keyboard parts with their mouths too haha! They called in Sushi to come in and check it out. It didnt take him long to arrive so im assuming he must live extremely close which would make sense. When he arrived he was wearing a cast on each arm. Mogi had told me that he broke both of his arms after getting extremely wasted and falling down the stairs. Poor guy. Much worse than what happened to me. Shortly after, they got the equipment fixed and Sushi left again and never returned. I dont blame him. I wouldnt wanna be working with 2 broken arms either.

For a while they were just playing this long block of Motley Crue songs which was ok at first but got a little redundant after a while. Around this time, Matt decided he was going to go to Zin with Saeko and said he would return later. I was having fun at Current and Honnou was still there chatting with these 2 chicks at a table in the back so I figured id just stay. Basically the rest of the night at Current was pretty much a regular metal event. Good times. They finished up the night with Candlelight Fantasia by Symphony X which was awsome (aside from me, 3 other people had Symphony X shirts on... sweet). After it was over at 5 am, as usual, they handed out a sheet of paper with the setlist for the night on it. Right before we arrived they had just finished playing like a whole 10 song set of Symphony X. I was pretty bummed that I just missed it but oh well, I was busy playing Gear so its all good.

After Current closed, Honnou decided to head back to his host family's home where he is staying. However, he said he had a great time at Current and was even air guitaring on one of the inflatable guitars for a bit lol! Matt never came back so I mailed him and we decided to meet up and Zin and do more drinking. He said a few other people might come. I arrived at Zin and Matt was saying bye to some totally hot chick dressed all dolled up in gothic lolita clothes. He got her number I guess. After that, Saeko, Matt, and I headed to this one Izakaya where Yago works. Its actually the same place I went to about 2 weeks ago during the Friday night (morning) of the previous blog entree. This time when we got there, I was surprised to see that Bosch and Ayano were there sitting in the back. They left Current together early. It seems everyone was a bit confused about the plans. We werent sure if it was like a date or not so we just sat at the bar and let them do their thing. Matt thought Saeko was good friends with Ayano but it turns out they only met like twice so I dont know where these plans came from but eventually Mogi showed up. He said hi to us and then went to sit with Ayano and Bosch. We werent sure if it was cool for us to go too so Matt decided to go check it out, but he was waved away by Mogi and Bosch indicating they didnt want him to sit there. We were then a bit confused. Eventually Saeko went over there and said she would be back. She sat there for a good while talking with them and it was just me and Matt. We were a bit confused. She came back eventually and then later went back over by them. There was this table of 3 girls and a guy (all Japanese) sitting behind us. Matt decided he was gonna go hit on the chicks. I was left at the bar alone for about 30 seconds and then Mogi and everyone at the other table motioned for me to come over and sit with them. Turns out that I guess a while back there was some beef with Mogi and Matt that Matt thought blew over. I wasnt there at the time, I think I was either at an enkai or someplace else, but I guess Matt said something that pissed Mogi off and it has made a lasting impression. Mogi also used to have something going on with Saeko. I dont know the details exactly but perhaps since Matt was flirting with her it may have pissed Mogi off. Once again, I dont really know the details. They were all telling me that they are totally cool with me and im their favorite foreigner and all this other stuff. I guess they just think Matt is sometimes a bit rude and get the impression that he hits on too many girls. While I dont always pay that much attention to that fact, perhaps its true. However, I sorta tried to defend Matt saying hes not a bad guy and such. They said they dont like hate him but they didnt really want to hang out with him outside Current I guess. They said they hate Chris (Slightly Pudgy Guy) more than anyone cuz hes really annoying lol. I dont think hes annoying but whatever. Mogi would periodically yell stuff over to the other table and call Matt 4-eyes in Japanese. Im friends with all of these people so I didnt really wanna get stuck in the middle of some drama over some shit I had nothing to do with. In any case it didnt really seem to be a huge deal but I guess I never realized how some people felt about eachother. I find it really funny that I know just about everyone that goes to Current regularly and am cool with everyone, yet there are some people that just either dont know eachother or dont get along well at all, despite them always being there. I found it very surprising, for example, that Antti and Chip didnt even know eachother until a few weeks ago and they both have been going to Current longer than I have lol. Anyway, we all drank till about 9 am and then went home. Matt was still hitting on the chicks so I just said bye to him. On our way out he grabbed Saeko's ass lol. I said goodbye to the people I was sitting with outside and then headed to the manga kissa.

The next day I had no real plans. I headed to Akihabara to check out the Tatsunoko Vs Capcom location test going on at Hey! game center. This time they had Karas, Gold Lighton, and Doranjo playable for Tatsunoko, and Rockman and the mech from Lost Planet playable for Capcom. The select screen was also changed to fit way more characters so im sure we can expect this game to have a good sized cast in the end. I was surprised to see that there was like no line at all to wait to play the game. A few people were watching but hardly anyone wanted to play. I wonder how well this game will end up doing in Japan... I got on and tried out most of the characters I havnt played as before. Doronjo seems cool and her game revolves around summoning those 2 partners she has as special moves and they sorta control space and set up traps. Karas is really fast and seems to be a solid character. He (she?) has a lot of ground combo based gameplay and his level 3 super is this fucking rediculously good throw that does a shit ton of damage and it has tons of range too. Rockman... I dunno, he didnt seem that good. Honestly thought when I was playing as him I didnt have a copy of his movelist so I didnt know what I was doing and his moves seem to have strange commands. I cant pass judgement on him yet. Gold Lighton and the mech take up 2 character slots and have an extra large life bar. They can block but they are extremely slow. Mostly all their moves seem to have super armor so they continue even when they are getting hit. Its too early to say if they are good or not, but I kept seeing them lose against 2 character teams every time I saw them play. I tried out Gold Lighton myself and I guess I see ways he could be effective but im not really sure if hes gonna be good yet. I honestly didnt play that much. I just wasnt really in the mood and after seeing some of the new stuff that was enough for me and I wanted to play some other games. I played a little SFIV at Hey! (They have a TON of cabs for this game) and the comp there was rediculously good. I mostly got raped and then decided to just go play some Gear at Clubs Sega.

When I got to Club Sega, Ogawa was there as is often the case. I played against him like 3 times and then managed to beat his Eddie! Then he played me again and won. I went to another cab and ended up getting this huge win streak. During this time, Ogawa just chilled out next to me and kept giving me all kinds of matchup advice for Faust for no reason at all. I guess he was just being really nice and stuff. He uses a lot of slang and talks really fast so its hard to understand him and his English ability is next to nothing at all, but I did my best to understand what he was trying to tell me. After a while he sat at the cab next to me and started getting his own streak. Sometime during my winstreak, Matt showed up. I told him I wasnt sure if I was gonna go home tonight or stay in Tokyo for another night. The next day was Respect for the Aged Day (a national holiday) so I didnt have work... but I also had no plans for tonight. I decided that whether I stay or not would be dependant on my win streak. I had about a half hour left to decide before I had to catch the last train and no one had beat me yet. I was up to about 20 wins I think. I ended up beating a few more people until eventually a May player challenged me with about 7 minutes to spare. I figured this might be the end and we fought an epic match that ended extremely close in the last round but he managed to beat me, ending my win streak at 25 wins. At this point I probably could have caught the train but I figured it was close enough and decided I wanted to stay. I mailed my friend Laura and she said she was going to some sorta concert with some Jam bands and stuff tonight at this place called Ageha in Shin Kiba. She said I could come along. I decided I might as well.

After playing a few more games, Matt and I headed to an Izakaya in Akihabara for some food and a quick drink. We talked about the stuff that went down last night and basically I just told him not to worry about it so much. He said though that he doesnt often remember being so aggressive with the ladies sometimes when he gets wasted. I dont really think he does anything extremely bad, but I could tell he felt a little bad about it. In any case I dont think its going to be a huge deal. After eating, he said he had to go home because he had classes the next day and needed to do homework. I headed over to Shin Kiba station to meet up with Laura. When I got there it turns out her and her friends were planning on taking a bus from Shibuya cuz it was free from the hotel they were staying at but it didnt leave till later so they said they would meet me there after they arrived which would be in about an hour. At this point it was about 10 pm. I figured I might as well just go inside the place and wait there.

After asking for directions to the place from some random cop, I found it pretty easily. It turns out that Ageha is actually the same place as Studio Coast, which is where I saw Children of Bodom in concert not too long ago. It also turns out that this wasnt just some concert, it was an all out musical event that lasted until 5 am and was more like a night club than a concert. The event was called NBSA. It was 6000 yen to get in, but it turns out the place had like 4 different stage areas with over 20 different bands/acts/DJs/artists performing throughout the night. ALl of the acts were Japanese. They had all sorts of music from Regae to Jam bands, to electronic music, to free style hip hop. There were these 2 rappers and one of the dudes was making the beats with nothing but his mouth and the mic, and it sounded real as hell! I was pretty impressed with that actually. While none of this is stuff I often listen to, I had lots of friends and room mates back in Chicago that prefered this type of music and it would often be played at my apartment since the majority of my friends are not actually all that big into metal. In the main stage area where I saw Bodom before, they had these 3 guys painting this HUGE mural like right there at the event of like these Rhasta dudes and this monkey just chillin and playing guitar in this crazy tropical island scene. It looked amazing and was awsome watching them paint it in person. I took a pic with my cellphone but they didnt allow cameras inside. Eventually Laura and her friends showed up. She was with 4 other people. 2 were Americans from Reno who were on vacation, one of which was white and one was Japanese. The white dude was named Graham and was waring a Slayer T-shirt and he gave me compliments on my Zeppelin shirt. Seems I wasnt the only metal dude there haha. The other was a Japanese American named Dustin whos mother lives in Japan. Then there was another Japanese guy named Shun and a Japanese girl named Mayumi, who throughout the night, all the guys were swooning over cuz she was really hot. We all pretty much just got wasted and danced a lot going from act to act. I decided to take a break from beer since they only had heinekin and it was 700 yen for a can and I ussually drink it on tap at Current for 500 yen so it didnt seem worth it. Instead and started off with some red wine and then basically just went all over the place with mixed drinks. I got pretty good and drunk. As a result, as the night went on, I found myself actually dancing a lot. Anyone who knows me and has seen me dance knows I basically suck at it really bad. However, I have no idea why or how, but people kept coming up to me and complimenting me on my dancing saying how cool I was... and they werent being sarcastic... I have no idea wtf was going on with that, but I was wasted and didnt care and was having fun so it was all good. Due to me being drunk, I was able to dance a lot despite my recent injury. I didnt even really feel anything until towards the end when we stopped for a bit and both of my feet were sore as hell.

Eventually a little bit after 5 pm, the place closed and we headed out to get our stuff from our storage lockers. (I realized that this place had way more lockers than I thought and I could have easily stored my backpack in them last time when I saw Bodom, which would have spared me a lot of trouble... oh well). As I was going down the stairs from the locker area which were outside the building, it was still raining a bit and I ended up slipping and landing on my ass. Luckily I somehow managed to not injure myself at all this time. I certainly wouldnt have wanted to go through more BS with crutches. After that the plan was to go back to Shibuya where they all had a fucking nice ass hotel room. They invited me to sleep there too so I certainly wasnt gonna turn that down. They didnt want to take the train so all 6 of us piled into a cab. You might be thinking how the hell we managed to do that, and I really cant answer that. Lets just say it wasnt exactly comfortable. Fortunately it only took about 15 minutes and only ended up costing us about 1000 yen each. After getting some drunken Yoshinoya we all headed to the hotel room and shortly after, passed the fuck out. I found a nice comfy spot on the floor and got a good pillow so I was all good.

The next morning we woke up and one of their friends whos a construction worker was down on the street and called one of their phones. We could see eachother up from where we were on the 17th floor. It was pretty awsome. The view was sick too. I took a few pictures. After everyone showered we headed out. Laura had to go have lunch with her Japanese uncle that she hardly knows and wasnt very excited about it. The rest of us went to get some food and I got some tasty fuckin Udon. They all said they wanted to come check out Current so they may show up next weekend. After eating they had plans to go somewhere and I wanted to go play some Gear, so we parted ways from there and I headed to Akihabara to play some more. I pretty much just spent the rest of the day playing casuals at Club Sega and Hey! Ogawa was there again and I played him a couple times but didnt beat him. Gin was there too and was trying to beat Ogawa with his Slayer but also failed.

At around 8:30 I headed out and went back home. Next Sunday is actually my birthday. Mogi says were gonna have a party at Current on Saturday night since its also Antti's birthday and another girl's birthday who often goes there. My girlfriend is going to come too! And after that, on Sunday, she wants to take me to Tokyo Disney Land. Im not really a huge disney fan but riding some rollercoasters and shit will probly be pretty sweet. In additon, Saturday afternoon, there will be a Game Chariot random team 2 on 2 tournament. This was basically the same tournament last year where Karun and I ended up in those vids that have been around youtube so maybe I will make it on there again... who knows... In any case, next weekend should be pretty fuckin awsome.

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