Monday, February 16, 2009

Thumb Down

Im gonna start this one out on Tuesday. Wednesday was a national holiday in Japan, which meant no one had work or class. I invited Rod and Matt, and their girlfriends Tomoko and Akiko to come to Gunma to stay at my apartment and to go skiing and snow boarding. Ryoko and I cooked a spaghetti dinner for everyone and stocked up the apartment with tons of booze. Everyone rolled in at the train station at around 8 pm or so and I went and picked them up. The 6 of us had a nice big dinner and started drinking pretty heavily right from the start. After dinner, we drank some more and got some drunken GG casuals in. It felt strange playing on console again at first but I got used to it. We did lots of fucking around, picking characters we dont use often, and when we accidently picked shadow characters we just rolled with it and had fun. I had a match or too with shadow Faust where I was just drunkenly spamming item super all day and also did an infinite pogo RC loop combo in the corner lol! After we all got really drunk some stuff happened that im not gonna go into detail about but it was all good. Ryoko had to work the next day and originally wasnt gonna drink but couldnt resist the urge and ended up getting really drunk. She took a nap for a while and sobered up and eventually went home really late. Everyone else pretty much ended up passing out at around 5 am. Luckily no one threw up.

The next morning we all woke up and had some cereal. While I was in the shower, I heard this loud pounding sound. When I got out of the shower, much to my surprise, Ryoko was back. She tried calling me to get inside but I was in the shower. I wasnt expecting her to get off work so early but she luckily was let in by someone after they heard the pounding long enough. She brought over extra ski and snowboard equipment for some of us to use. After we all finished our cereal and coffee and everyone showered, we headed out to a rental shop to rent some equipment and then to the ski place.

Ryoko has a friend who works there so we all got hooked up with discounted lift tickets. We payed for a 4 hour ticket which was enough time. Tomoko, Rod, and Matt snow boarded and Ryoko, Akiko, and I skied. Ive skied plenty of times so Im fine at it. Ryoko has gone with me several times last year. Shes not as fast as me but she can ski pretty well. Matt is experienced with snow boarding. Rod had snow boarded once before. Tomoko and Akiko were first timers. At first, both of them could hardly even stand up and would fall after like one second. Over time, we were gradually able to teach them. At first Tomoko showed some progress as she sorta just snow boarded backwards slowly and tried her best not to fall. Akiko took a little longer but by the end of the day she could sorta do it. It took forever for us to get down the first time cuz we sorta tried to stay together. After that we sorta took turns staying with the people who were inexperienced and other people went ahead and then would meet up with the others after going down once. I think Akiko and Tomoko only went down the slope a total of like 3 times the entire time we were there since it took them so long, but they said they had fun. Also, at first, Matt's snow board was set up backwards so he was facing the wrong way but he had them fix it and he was fine from there. One time when I was going down, I sorta wiped out and landed funny on my thumb. It kinda hurt a little but it didnt seem like a big deal. Towards the end when time was getting low, Akiko was with Ryoko and they were going down one last time. Rod, Matt, and Tomoko were getting tired so they decided to wait and chill on the lodge. I went one more time knowing I could probably catch up with Akiko and Ryoko since Akiko skis slow as molasis. On my way up the lift, it got delayed and stopped like a zillion times so I was sorta worried that if those 2 were already on the slope that I might not catch up with them easy. However, it turns out they werent far ahead of me at all and shortly after getting on the slope, I ran into Akiko. She was on the ground from a fall. She told me she was fine and not to worry and to go ahead of her, so I did. Shortly after, I ran into Ryoko. She told me she had to pee kinda bad so she was going ahead. She said she was worried about Akiko so she asked me to stay and wait for her. At this point the snow was coming down hard and you couldnt see anything farther than a few feet in front of you so it was kinda crazy just standing there waiting for maybe 10 minutes with nothing in sight. Eventually she showed up and I skied down with her and we met up with everyone in the lodge. One thing I found sorta hilarious was the name of the cafe they had there was called Troll Cafe. As we were loading our equipment into the car, I ended up holding the skis sorta in an odd position with my hand that had the hurt thumb and it ended up putting pressure on it in a bad way and it got worse. I think it might be a minor sprain.

After skiing we all went back to my place for a bit. We were hungry so we decided to get some food. We were gonna get pizza at this one place near my house but they rant out of flour (WTF, how does that even happen?!) so they were closed. We ended up going to a ramen place right by my house that I have never gone inside of before and the ramen ended up being really top tier. I had a giant beer while we were there too. Ryoko sneakily ended up paying for everyones tab which was super nice of her. Everyone was gonna go back home tonight but they ended up waiting too long and it was now too late, so they were stuck staying at my place again. We drank some more and played some more casuals while the ladies had some meaningful conversation about life or something like that. After a while my thumb started to really hurt so I needed to stop playing. It was my left thumb so its the one I use to control the stick. It espessialy would hurt when I did fire ball motions, or anything that involved dashing since I would need to hit it very fast. Eventually Ryoko had to go home but everyone else stayed. We ended up staying up till about 1 am but I had to get some sleep cuz I had to work the next day.

When I woke up the next day, I got ready for work and just let everyone else sleep. I told them the night before that they could just leave whenever they want to and to just leave the door unlocked cuz they didnt have a key and I wasnt worried about someone in my town breaking into my place haha.

Throughout the day at work, my thumb sorta hurt. It was worse than the previous night and felt really sore. I went to work and when I got home, they were gone. I was pretty tired from not getting as much sleep as usual and all the drinking so I took a nice nap after work. After waking up, I was considering going to buy Street Fighter IV cuz it came out that day, but the store in my town that had it was selling it for like 8300 yen which is kinda expensive so I figured I would just wait the buy the game over the weekend in Tokyo, plus my thumb hurt so I figured taking a rest from games for the day would be a good idea. Ryoko came over later that night and I spent the evening with her.

The next day, Friday, I headed for Tokyo after work as usual. Near the train station in Shinjuku, theres a Gamers (a game store). I went in there to see how much they were selling SFIV for, and it turns out they had it for like 6900 yen which is better than 8300 so I ended up buying it. They also had these Rockman E capsule sports drinks so I bought a couple of those too. The can looks just like the energy capsules from the Rockman games. Pretty sweet. Im drinking one right now while typing this and it just tastes like any other Japanese sports drink like Aquarius or Pocari Sweat. Not really worth it for the drink unless you want to collect the can. I was sorta hoping there would be caffiene in it.

After that, I went to Vegas for some casuals. Theres this one Faust player who goes by the name Takuya whos always playing at Vegas. He had a 30 win streak when I arrived. I played him and beat him on my first try in a mirror match and ended his streak. I won a few games vs some people and then Nakamura played me and kicked my ass with his Millia. Shortly after, Matt and eventually Rod showed up. The orange I-no player who is often there, who goes by the name Yuki, was there too. I beat him and then he came over and told me I was really strong and stuff. I think hes a pretty solid I-no so I suggested we team up for SBO sometime and he was happy to so we exchanged emails. I played lots of other various people but didnt really keep track of who I played and how much I won, but I would get some small win streaks here and there before losing one or two. My thumb still hurt but I just manned up and took the pain. It was slightly affecting my execution but I was still able to play mostly well. Rod played me a bunch of times and was playing exceptionally well today! I dont remember exactly how many games we played, maybe about 20 or so. He ended up beating me 4 times that night! Twice with I-no, once with Johnny, and once with Slayer. Matt tried a couple times but didnt beat me.

I also think ive mentioned before in my blog this one American Bridget player who sometimes is there. He was there again today and played against Matt a whole bunch. He has been living in Japan for several years and wasnt really involved in the US tournament scene at all so no one would know who he is probably. Hes originally from Indiana. At around 12 it was starting to get dead so we decided to get food and go to Current. We invited US Bridget to come with us and he agreed. Rod was tired and said he hadnt slept at all since he left my apartment (0_o) so he decided to go home.

For a while, we sat with US Bridget and I found out that he works for Capcom at the Tokyo office! We were having some discussion about various things and one thing that I thought was really interesting was that originally when the unvealed the new characters for SFIV at a conference within the company, Rufus was originally black. Not only was he black, but he was your negatively stereotypical huge fat black guy with big giant lips! Its no wonder why they ended up changing his design as im sure many people would be offended by something like that. Just imagine if his popcorn bucket he carries around in his art was a giant bucket of KFC or some shit! LOL! Might as well give him a move involving watermelon and grape soda while they are at it. At the same time im sure a lot of people would have a good sense of humor about it and think hes actually cooler than he is now, but putting racial stereotypes in a game are probably not in Capcom's best interest. US Bridget also told me that according to the people at Capcom, Zangief is infact officially supposed to be gay in the story line. He was also saying something about how Dhalsim is supposed to hate Balrog (Boxer) because he ended up beating up one of his elephants or something! I never heard about that shit before but I dont really give a shit about the SF storyline anyway. Its still pretty funny though heh.

After a little while, out of no where, 28 year old virgin shows up for the first time in months. He sat with us for a bit but didnt really say much. I asked him what hes been up to and he just said, "studying."

Not long after that, Antti and some of the Finnish dudes showed up! As a result, the rest of the night ended up involving lots of heavy drinking! Antti said they were playing poker earlier before they got here and were already drinking lots of whiskey before hand. I wish I would have known about it cuz I havnt played poker in forever and it would be kinda fun. They said if they do it again they will let me know about it.

For a while, Antti was behind the bar and they were letting him pour beers for whatever reason. Matt ordered a redbull vodka and Antti drank some of his extra redbull. Later, Matt was at the bar and Antti ordered a shot or something on accident for Matt. Matt didnt want it, so he secretly poured it into the empty redbull can and asked Antti if he wanted the rest of his redbull. Antti chugged it and got a shot surprise. His reaction was pretty hilarious. I ended up getting a shot from Antti too and happily drank it, so I offered to order him a shot of jagermiester, but he didnt want it so Masami was like "now, I am Antti" and drinks the shot instead. Oh well. Also, Maiyuko's fiance Mikey was there and he just recently got back from Australia. I had a nice long conversation with him and it seems like things are going to go well for him and her so I was happy to hear that.

Once 5 am rolled around, we left Current and Matt and I headed to PSY with the Finnish guys. It was pretty packed there for a Friday for whatever reason. Masami showed up a little later. We drank till closing, got some food, and the Matt and I headed to the Manga kissa to sleep.

The next day I woke up and my head hurt pretty bad. The weather outside was warm as hell though! I was walking around in a T-shirt and it felt fantastic! Its still the middle of February but it seriously felt like it was May or something!

Today was Valentines day. You are probably thinking.. "Why isnt this jackass spending Valentines day with his girlfriend?" Well since Ryoko works at a cake bakery and is the manager there, and since Valentines day is one of their busiest days of the year, she had to work so late that she wouldnt even be able to see me and had to work the next day again too, so she told me to go to Tokyo and have fun and we made plans to celebrate Valentines day with eachother next week.

Today, the plan was to enter the 2 on 2 GGAC tournament at Vegas. It didnt start till 5 and we woke up around 12:30 or so. We checked out Vegas and no one was playing gear, but 2 guys were playing BB so Matt and I played against them. I won a few games with Arakune but then this really good Taokaka came out of no where and just raped me. Matt eventually started to play GG vs some random scrub who showed up. It was pretty dead overall so I just suggested we go get some food.

We headed to Wendys and got some quick food and I bought a cigar for later. After that, we checked out Bic Camera because I wanted to see if they had a better price for SFIV but they were selling it for more than Gamers did, so so far I got a good deal. After that, we headed back to Vegas.

There were people at Vegas now and we got some good games of casuals in. I played against this one Anji a few times and kept beating him. I beat a few other people and then this Baiken played against me. He was pretty good. He beat me and then I beat him in a rematch. Eventually that one same orange May player that was beasting last weekend in casuals was there and he beat me. I then went over to play the Baiken again. We went back and forth for a while. Today, Rod and Matt had plans to team up, so I decided to ask the Baiken if he wanted to team with me. He said he would be happy to, so we formed a team. His name is Hakata. I signed our team name up as "Symphony of Destruction". Matt signed him and Rod up as "Can you masta, babay?"...which is a lyric from the DJ Ozma song One Night Carnival. Good ol Engrish ftw. In the end, only 7 teams showed up for the tournament. I didnt know who most of them were except for Nakamura and Tsubasa who teamed up together. They didnt enter as their normal names. Their team name was "Millia and Anji" and Nakamura entered as "Millia" and Tsubasa entered as "Anji". How unimaginative yet so original LOL. Also, the Faust player I mentioned from yesterday, Takuya, was there.

Our first match was against Takuya and his team mate, a Baiken player named Kirisame Marisa. That meant our first match was a mirror match of FA/BA vs FA/BA. Hataka played RPS and lost so the other team chose to have us reveal our first player. Hataka asked me if he could go first so I told him to go for it. They put Takuya's Faust against him. Takuya defeated Hataka but then I beat Takuya in a Faust mirror match. After that I had to face the Baiken. I won the first round, but then things just sorta fell apart in the next 2. I almost won the 2nd round but I fucked up and he came back on me. Overall it was a very close match but just like that, we were eliminated.

Soon after, the guy running the tournament called Rod and Matt's team. When he read aloud "Can you masta, babay!" it sounded hilarious cuz he put extra emphasis on the "babay!" Rod and Matt had to fight a team of Dizzy and HOS. I didnt check their names. Dizzy defeated Matt but then Rod beasted on the Dizzy. Unfortunately Rod lost to the HOS. I wanted them to win just so I could hear the announcer call their team name again LOL.

After that, Nakamura/Tsubasa fought against the team that I lost to. Takuya went first and beat Tsubasa! Then Nakamura took out Tsubasa but Kirisame Marisa took out Nakamura's Millia with his Baiken for the win! I was very surprised to see this team get eliminated. I at least dont feel as bad about losing to the Baiken though since if he can beat Nakamura in a tournament he must not be too shabby. The finals were between the FA/BA team and against a team of Udei (AX) and Aizawa (SL). I dont remember who beat who in what order but Udei and Aizawa won the whole tournament.

After the tournament was over, I exchanged emails with my team mate so that we could possibly team up again sometime. At first I played a few people in casuals and won a few, and I even beat Tsubasa. However, eventually Tsubasa beat me and then went on this long beasting streak and stayed on the machine for at least like 16 wins or something and was mostly just beating me, Rod, Matt, and one or 2 other guys over and over again. Eventually he lost to someone and then I beat some other dude and got another small streak.

Around this time we were getting really hungry so Matt, Rod, and I went to this ramen place close by that I had never been to. Matt and Rod went there last weekend after I left and this place was top tier as hell. They even refil your noodles once for free after you finish them all, and they had like all the garlic you could ever want!

After stuffing ourselves we went back to Vegas and Heven was there beasting with his Venom. We all tried several times to beat him but I just couldnt get a win on him this time. He ended up getting like over 30 something wins vs various people. Mugen showed up at some point and I said hi to him and asked him when the G3 final tournament would be held. He told me it would be on the weekend of the 28th and that it would be a 2 day event consisting of a regular tournament and a special 5 on 5. He said it will be held at GameChariot just like last year. I will certainly be going to that since it will be hype as hell. Mugen also told me that he thinks im a good player for no reason which was nice of him.

Seta (the Faust player who teamed up with Hase last year for SBO quals) was there and he was beating lots of people up pretty bad too. I played him like maybe 3 times but I just couldnt get a win on him. His Faust was looking really good though. I think hes one of the lesser known and underated top Fausts. I wanted to try to beat him some more but it was getting late and my thumb was really starting to get tired (it was doing fine for most of the day up until around this time) so we just decided to head out and go drinking at Current.

Tonight at Current was a Valentines day party (seeing as how it was Valentines day). It didnt get crazy packed but lots of cool people showed up, most of them being hot girls. They also had free snacks out to eat (thankfully it was stuff that doesnt give you food poisoning like chips and stuff). Akiko joined us at Current tonight as well. We spent a lot of time talking with various people and just getting drunk and having fun. Nothing too noteworthy to mention I suppose. I did a shot of tequila with Rod at one point and drank lots of beers. There was also this really cute chick I never saw before there who says shes a manga artist. She wouldnt say what for cuz she says shes embarressed but its some sorta girls manga. She draw a picture real fast in Rod's notebook and showed us and she seems talented. Also, Kana was there but we didnt recognize her at first cuz she had glasses on and she hasnt been there in a while. She was having a very good time talking with this one foreigner guy haha.

After Current closed we headed to PSY but Rod was tired so he went home. PSY was the usual deal, Masami and Heidi showed up for a little. After PSY, Matt and Akiko went home so I just got some fast food real quick alone and then went to sleep at the manga kissa.

When I woke up it wasnt as warm as the previous day but not so bad. My thumb felt a lot worse than yesterday cuz I probably had it in an odd position while sleeping. The plan for this day was to hit up another tournament. If you remember a few weeks back, there was a tournament in a small town in Saitama called Hannou. Well, they were gonna have another one and there was nothing else going on so we made plans to hit it up. Rod said he couldnt go cuz he had to work at the 80s bar that he bartends at part time now starting at 8 pm but he said he would meet me in Akihabara for some shopping earlier in the day (the Hannou tourny wasnt scheduled to start till 6:30). Matt said he would meet me in Akihabara at around 4 and go with me from there.

I went to Akihabara and did lots of shopping. Walked around a ton of stores to check if I could find a better deal on SFIV than what I payed, but it turns out that out of the zillion game stores I went to, I didnt find anything cheaper than what I already paid for it (6900 yen). I also researched some DS prices because my DS broke last weekend. I want to buy a DS lite. All the places mostly were still selling them for like 16000 yen. Im surprised its still so high given that the DSi is out now (which I dont want btw, id rather just get a lite). The best price I found was for a used DS for 13000 yen which seems decent I guess. I decided to just hold off on buying one for today. I found this awsome Rockman 20th anniversary T-shirt with all the old bosses sprites on the back which was pretty sweet though so I bought that. Rod never ended up showing up and slept in.

At around 3:30 or so, I went to Club Sega to squeeze in some GG casuals. I noticed on the cabs for GG that they had a flyer posted for a 3 on 3 GG tournament that happened yesterday at the same time as the one going on at Vegas. I had no idea about it since I havnt been to Akihabara in so long. This would probably explain why the Vegas tournament had a sorta low turnout, im sure everyone probably went to the Akihabara one instead. Looks like I need to drop into Club Sega more often to check on tournaments more. Osaka B was there so I got on right away and played against him. He had like 14 wins. I lost to him in the first game in a close match but then I rematched him and I ended his streak. Then I beat some Sol a few times and eventually Osaka B rematched me and beat me in a real close one. Around this time, Matt arrived at Club Sega. We figured we should probably head out now if we wanted to make the tournament in time since its kinda far. We decided to get some Doner Kababs first though and ate them on the train.

I was pretty tired so I ended up taking a nap on the train while Matt played some DS. Eventually we got to our destination station but we were running late and the tournament was about to start in like 5 minutes. We took a cab from the station and made it there just in time as they were starting to make the bracket. The guy who was running it let us enter. Besides me and Matt, only 7 other people entered, most of them were some of the same guys from last time (such as Takure, the young Eddie player who idolizes Latif, and also the same good Potemkin, Faust, and Slayer that entered last time). In addition, the Axl player, Udei, who won yesterday's Vegas tournament showed up too.

My first match of the tournament was against Udei. I didnt feel warmed up at all since I only played a few games all day a few hours ago, plus my thumb got much worse since I woke up the morning of this day. I tried to play patient but he basically just out zoned me and for the first 2 rounds I just got out zoned and out poked. For the 3rd round (it was set on 3/5) I was doing pretty well and started to come back on him but I just fell short of winning the round, and like that, I was already out of the tournament (and we were the first match to play). Matt had to go up against the Potemkin player who I lost to last time. He tried his best but lost too. There was also this pretty scrubby HOS player there and the other Faust player ended up beating him like entirely on pogo stance (trying to pull an Osaka B). I was expecting Takure to win again but Udei's Axl was on fire and he ended up beating Takure and taking the whole tournament! The final results were

1st. Udei
2nd. Faust guy
3rd. Takure
4th. Potemkin who beat Matt
5th. Me, Matt, Scrub HOS, Slayer, some other dude

The tournament only took like 30 mins so Takure proposed the idea of us doing a 5 on 5 for fun since some other guy was willing to play too. He just picked the teams himself and it honestly didnt seem very balanced. The teams were like

Me
Matt
Faust guy
Scrub HOS
Slayer player

vs

Takure
Udei
Potemkin who beat Matt
some random Venom
some other guy

Our slayer went first and beat venom but then the Potemkin guy beat our Slayer. then I went against the Po and won the first round by zoning the shit out of him and needed like one more hit on the 2nd round but I fucked up and then in the 3rd round I was all high up in the air and accidently teched with down kick and floated down all slow and he comboed me for free and I lost. I totally had him... blaa.... Matt went next and lost again. Then Faust guy beat Po. Then someone on their team decided to use Slayer instead of whoever else they used before and Faust guy beat him too. Finally Udei played (with Slayer as well this time) and beat Faust guy and that was the end.

We stayed and played casuals for a little while. I came really close to beating the Faust Guy in a mirror but lost to him by a little bit. Matt also lost to him and got really pissed off. Then Takure came and was talking to me about how he used to be that way too and get pissed when he lost and we were talking about how controlling anger is important cuz it just makes you play shittier. Then he was telling me how he has his SBO team already picked (looks like hes not so broke after all). He asked me not to post his team online cuz he wants it to be sorta secret for now but hes teaming with 2 other players that I know everyone who reads this blog is familiar with and it sounds like a pretty beastly team. I played against Takure one more time, went down to the last round but I failed at the last minute and lost. Around this time, I had to leave cuz it was getting late. Matt decided to stay and play longer.

I walked back to the station with plenty of time to catch my train, just enough to get a sandwich and a drink from the Yamazaki. I had to take a route home that im not used to but I looked it up on my phone. After transfering like 2 trains, when I went to go transfer to a 3rd train, I got confused cuz the sign on the train didnt match where the directions on my phone told me to go. I second guessed myself, got off the train thinking it was the wrong one, when infact it turned out to be the train I HAD to board if I wanted to go home tonight. And with that... it looked like I had no choice but to spend the night sleeping at Maebashi station. I mailed Matt and Ryoko and told them how I fucked myself over but said I would live. It was sorta cold out and I didnt bring a coat. Gunma is a lot colder than Tokyo but I figured id just tough it out. After riding the train a bit more when the next one finally came that I could eventually make it as far as Maebashi on (which is still an hour from where I live) I realized I could take the Shinkansen home (the only problem is its like 3 times more expensive than what I would normally pay from this point and I also had my car parked somewhere else). I mailed Ryoko again (who hadnt yet responded to my previous email) and told her I could still make it home on the Shinkansen. She then mailed me back telling me not to take it because she was already in Maebashi! She drove all the way out there just to come pick me up without telling me first because she knew that if she mentioned it before I left, I would tell her not to come cuz I would feel bad, and she was 100% correct. She knows me too well. She really saved my ass though and thankfully I eventually made it home (though very late). She didnt have work the next day till like 1 so for her it wasnt a big deal but I still felt bad about it. She wasnt the least bit mad though. Gotta be more careful next time with the trains when going a way im not used to.

Next weekend, there doesnt seem to be any GG tournaments as far as I know but there is a BlazBlue tournament so I may go to that. Not really sure what else next weekend has in store but it should be fun as always. Hopefully my thumb will feel better by then, as of now it still hurts...

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