Monday, April 27, 2009

...also into cats!

Earlier in the week, I got a random mail from Junya, the female Dizzy player from Niigata. She saw me at the tournament in Koriyama last weekend and she wants me to team up with her in a few weeks for a very far away tournament in the prefecture of Yamagata. I told her I would do it since shes a good player even though it will cost me a lot to go out there. We are still looking for a 3rd.

As far as THIS weekends teams... well... there were 2 tournaments this weekend. One was in Shizuoka on Saturday. Its about 2 and a half hours from Tokyo so I knew finding a team for this would be hard but was considering going. The one on Sunday was at Game Chariot in Chiba. I already had asked Honyo (the Baiken) and Kunihiro (the Anji) whom I teamed up with 2 weeks ago at Game Newton. They both had agreed but I hadnt talked to them since. I also was presented with another interesting option. I got an email from the Chinese US Guilty Gear player StunEdge (Kyle) earlier in the week. He told me that an Eddie player named Kaking from China just moved to Japan and wants to team with me. Kyle said he actually qualified for last years Chinese SBO team but couldnt go due to Visa issues or something. He lives in Chiba now and wanted to team with me for the Game Chariot tournament. I have to admit, it was tempting so I figured I would see how things went. I was unable to contact him all week since he was having problems with his phone, so I just figured I would go to Tokyo and hopefully it would get figured out.

As always, I went to Shinjuku on Friday night. On the way there on the train, I got a call from Kaking finally. I answered quickly and told him I couldnt talk cuz I was on the train and its pretty rude to talk on your phone. I told him I would call him back. I went into the toilet on the train so that I could call him back from there. Basically, I told him how I already promised some people I had a team but that I was interested in teaming with him possibly, so I told him I would try to figure some things out and call him back later.

When I arrived at Vegas, I realized I was low on cash so I figured I should go to the ATM to get some money. On my way to 7-11 I ran into Dream Maker who was on his way to Vegas. I told him I would be back in a few mins. After getting money, I returned and only a few people were there playing GG. As time went on, a few more people showed up so it was all good. Rod and Matt also showed up seperately. Matt had just gotten back to Japan earlier in the day from the US. He had to fly back into Osaka cuz thats where he left from before, so he took the Shinkanen back to Tokyo and basically was fresh off from his trip back. He said he hardly slept but would do his best to go out drinking later anyway. I played a good amount of games. I dont know who most of the players were, but I did play 2 matches of Faust vs Jam against Jam Ojisan. I lost the first game but won the 2nd game. Hot Zappa was also there but I didnt play her. Osaka B also showed up, I didnt play him either but I did congratulate him on his victory last weekend.

I was still considering going to the Shizuoka tournament. I asked Dream Maker if he was willing to travel out there with me, and he said he would be willing to. However, if we wanted to enter, we would need one more person. I didnt really feel like traveling that far with a chance that we couldnt find a guy who was by himself to join us. After a little while, Joe Higashi showed up at Vegas and I asked him as well but he said he had to work all weekend and wouldnt be entering any tournaments. I figured the best plan would be to try to team with Kaking for that one to see how good he is, and if he was really good, I could change my team for Sunday. I called Kaking back outside of Vegas and he said he didnt want to travel all the way to Shizuoka cuz he lives in Chiba and from where he lives its something like 3 and a half hours away. For me, travling that far is no big deal cuz im used to it and im hardcore about that shit, but I guess I can understand him not wanting to go that far, most people dont seem willing to. He really wanted to team with me for Sunday since the tournament was near where he lived. He asked if I would be willing to go to Game Chariot tomorrow to play casuals with him. I figured since I had no team for Shizuoka, I might as well just go out there and play games with him to see how good he is. He wanted to meet up around 2 pm so that seemed like it would work out fine. I told him I would meet him there tomorrow.

So with my plans set, I knew that I didnt need to get up early or anything, so after we played at Vegas until it was about to close, Rod, Matt, Dream Maker, and I headed over to Current after getting some Sukiya. Earlier, when we were at Vegas, I got an email from Megu, whom I havnt seen in probably almost like 5 or 6 months, saying she was waiting for me at Current. It was cool to see her again and she gave everyone big hugs when we arrived. A good amount of other regulars were there also and the place was generally packed for a Friday night. This was Dream Maker's first time at Current and he seemed to enjoy the place. Matt and Rod were playing DS for a while and Megu and other people kept coming by and like shutting their DSs telling them to stop playing hah. Also, Matt and Dream Maker made plans to team up with eachother for the Game Chariot tournament on Sunday and figured they would just show up and find a 3rd guy since they wanted to go play and check it out anyway. Then at some point, Yago came over with his PSP playing monster hunter. Later on in the night, Yago was like going on this fucking tickle rampage and was tickling the shit out of people. He did it to me in my rib cage area and was using his nails to like dig into my sides and it almost sorta hurt more than tickled. Megu was pretty ticklish too. Mogi said that there would be a big party at Current tomorrow night. I wasnt sure if I was gonna go cuz I sorta wanted to wake up early for the Chiba tournament and it takes like an hour and 15 mins to get there but in the end I decided I would go for a little bit at least, and could leave early if I needed to. A bunch of other people were asking us to go so we ended up promising them we would be there. Towards the end of the night there, this one girl who was sitting at the tables in the back all night who none of us had seen before suddenly came to sit with us. She started talking with us and eventually she was mostly just talking with Rod about various things.

After closing time we headed to PSY and that girl came with us. About maybe 10 people were there which is full for PSY. Matt was a bit nervous cuz the last time he was there, he doesnt really remember what happened exactly but remembers making out with the new bartender girl who supposedly is Natsume's (the owner of PSY) sister. Lots of people call her Imoto-san. It turned out that everything seemed ok. However, what Matt DIDNT remember was that the last time he was there, he drunkenly promised everyone he would bring them some wine from the US. He totally forgot to buy them wine but he did have a bottle on him that he was planning to give to his host family. Since he didnt wanna look like a dick in front of everyone, he busted out that bottle instead and shared it with everyone in the bar. I guess it was kinda expensive wine according to Matt. It was damn tasty though.

Also, Dream Theater recently finished recording their new 10th album which is supposed to come out in June. However, earlier in the week, the 1st 2 tracks were leaked online and I DLed them cuz im impatient (ill buy the album of course when it comes out). I asked Natsume (who is a big Dream Theater fan) if he heard it yet, and he said no, so I busted out my mp3 player and he played one of the new songs "A Nightmare to Remember" which is like a 14 minute long song and its quite awsome too. He said it sounded pretty good. Of course its hard to take in a whole 14 minute song on your first listen, espessially while you are working the bar and talking to people. As the bar was about to close, Matt wanted to order another beer. Natsume told him he had 10 minutes to drink it but Matt still wanted it. Everyone had already left the bar except for me, Rod, the girl who went with us, and Matt and the 2 bartenders. We were talking about various stuff and then Matt went off to the bathroom for a while. He eventually came out and when Imoto-san went into the bathroom, she came back out and thanked Matt for cleaning up and told him he didnt have to do that. I was confused, so I asked Matt if he threw up. He said no. Then I asked why he cleaned the bathroom? He didnt quite give me an answer and just seemed generally out of it. Eventually we finally started to head out. Rod, the girl, and I were standing outside waiting for Matt. After like 10 minutes, I finally went to check on him and saw him on the stairs struggling to even walk... he was just plastered. He stumbled down the stairs and said bye like super fast and just sped off on his own... lol. Rod headed to the train station with the girl (and I have no idea what happened with them but I assume they just split up at the station) and then I went on my own to get some quick food and then sleep at the manga kissa.

I woke up and after checking out of the manga kissa, I tried to call Kaking to confirm our plans. His phone was turned off. Matt had also told me that he was gonna go to Game Chariot too to go to play casuals with me and Kaking, but his phone was broken so I figured he might just show up. I figured id kill some time at Vegas then. I went inside and there was just like one lone Chipp player fighting the computer and his friends were watching him play for whatever reason. Also, standing their watching as if he was deciding whether or not to play this guy was Mitsurugi. I said hi to him and congratulated him on his victory last weekend for qualifying for SBO. He asked where I just came from and I explained to him how I always sleep at the manga kissa right across the street from Vegas. Then I told him about my plans for the day and stuff. It seemed like Vegas wasnt gonna get too bangin for a while so I figured I would just stick to the plan and head over to Game Chariot since Kaking said he would be there anyway. I said bye to Mitsurugi and set out.

On the way there, Kaking called me and said everything was still as planned. When I got to Game Chariot, it was pretty dead. It was 2 pm though so im not too surprised. Kaking wasnt there yet but after a little longer he made it. He said he got lost and got on the wrong train which is understandable since hes only been in Japan for less than a week. We then proceeded to play Faust vs Eddie matches for maybe like the next 2 hours. I didnt keep a record of every single match and result, but I would say I won more than he did but most of them were still good fights, and his Eddie is pretty good. He knows all the good setups and tricks. The biggest streak I got against him was 7 wins in a row and the most he got on me was 4 in a row. We ran into a few snags like one of the cabs randomly crashing while we were playing so we had to move to another one. Also, the sticks seemed really loose and I was having that FDC problem again so I asked one of the staff to switch the stick. Kaking said he noticed it was a little too loose too. The guy switched the stick but it felt exactly the same as the old one. After that, he said basically tough shit in a polite way and I had to play on it anyway. After a while, Kaking came over to talk to me and said he had about enough. He said he doesnt really know the Faust matchup that well since he said he doesnt often fight good Faust players in China. He also said I was really good and was impressed with my skill. I told him he had a good Eddie as well. I pretty much decided that I wanted to enter with him tomorrow and see how things panned out. We talked for a little bit about matchups and what characters we have trouble with and stuff. I told him how I had 2 guys already lined up and we basically needed to choose one of them. He said Baiken would be a better choice because shes a better character and I basically agree. I told him I would work it out and call him once I finalized the plans.

After that, we left and headed for the station. We were talking a bit more while waiting for the train. I asked if he wanted to go play in Shinjuku but he didnt really feel like going far and said he had enough games for the day. He explained to me that he loves the game and all but that its not so important to him to the point where he wants to really go out of his way too much to play a whole lot. I guess its understandable since everyone has other things in the lives. It pretty much seemed like Kaking is only going to be willing to enter any tournaments in which he doesnt have to go far. We got on the train and he got off about 4 stops later at Soga where he lives. I rode the rest of the way back to Shinjuku alone. During the train ride, I thought about things a bit and realized something that fixed everything with me team dilemma! I had remembered that Kunihiro had basically told me he only can enter Sunday tournaments cuz hes always busy with work on Saturdays. Well... tomorrows tournament is only the first of 3 prelims within this current qualifier block. The finals for the block is next Saturday. If we ended up winning tomorrow, we would have to go again on Saturday, and if Kunihiro cant even go, I dont want to team with him and wind up trying with a 2 man team after getting that far. So basically I mailed him and explained what was up with that and he said it made sense and I guess he didnt realize about the block finals being on a Saturday. He didnt seem upset at all and I didnt end up having to be a douchebag for dropping him from my team cuz I actually had a legit reasonf or it so everything worked out. I also mailed Honyo to confirm he can go tomorrow and he said everything was all good!

Eventually I made it back to Vegas. Upon entering the arcade, there was this guy playing one of those quiz games by himself that they have by the entrance. He looked a little strange and I noticed him staring at the screen and he kept smacking himself in the back of the head with his hand. I figured he was just doing like a motion for thinking or something, but then I noticed he was doing it still... for like a pretty long time... and then as I passed by him and saw the other side of his head where he was slapping it, I saw a giant patch of hair was missing... as if this guy smacks himself in the head so often that he has rendered that particular section of his scalp completely hairless! It was a bit odd, but he probably suffers from some sorta mental dissorder. Anyway, Matt never showed up at Game Chariot and he wasnt at Vegas either. I stayed at Vegas and played casuals for a few more hours vs various people. There was this one Eddie player that I was beating alot, I got like 11 wins on him in a row. He was using the same color as Tsu but it turned out to not be Tsu. The guy was still good though, but getting all that Eddie practice vs Kaking really helped so I was just doing really good vs him. I went and got some food, came back, and I played against a few other people throughout the night, and around 11:30 or so, it sorta got kinda dead so I figured I might as well just go to Current for that party since I might not be able to stay very late.

At first there was a normal size crowd, most of which were regulars and a few people I didnt know, over the next hour or so people just started crowding in and basically just about every single regular showed up that night! I got tackled by a double hug from Nozomi and Mame when I walked in and it was nice seeing lots of people I hadnt seen in a little bit. I went and sat at the bar next to Heidi. At some point, that one Fallout Boy song "This Ain't a Scene" came on. Im by no means a Fallout Boy fan and pretty much dont know crap about them but they play that song from time to time so ive heard it a lot. Anyway, Masami was working the bar and he asks me what the lyrics in the chorus are saying? I have no fucking clue to be honest. Then writes down his interpretation of the lyrics on a sheet of paper in which read...

"I'm a little man..
and also evil
also into cats
...also into cats!"

and drew a small picture of a tiny man, a skull, and a cat face. I dont know why, maybe cuz the song was still playing and I was picturing the lyrics he said when that part came on, and probably cuz I had a few beers, but I just couldnt stop laughing. It was like the funniest shit ever at the time! LOL!

Anyway, eventually I noticed that the girl sitting on the other side of Heidi wasnt just some random girl who I didnt know, it was Maiyuko with a haircut! She looked good. I was surprised as hell to see her cuz she hardly ever goes to Current anymore. I switched seats with Heidi and Maiyuko and I had a talk for a while. I dont wanna get too into her personal life but basically it turns out shes not gonna marry Mikey (the guy she was gonna marry) anymore. Its complicated and ill just leave it at that. She told me he was coming by later though and after a while he came in and sat next to her. I chatted with him slightly and then she started talking with Mikey a bit while I was talking with Heidi. Suddenly Maiyuko asks me if I ever look at porn. Seemed kinda random of a question, but I said, yea sometimes. Then she was like giving me shit about it cuz I have a girlfriend. And im like, well basically if I dont see Ryoko for a long time sometimes I look at porn, I dont think its so uncommon for guys who have girlfriends to occasionally look at porn now and then, but she seemed to think so. In any case, it seemed to have something to do with the conversation she had with Mikey and I didnt wanna really get into some big argument so I just kinda avoided that conversation going any further lol. Throughout the rest of the night I went around and talked with a bunch of various people like Ayano, Megu, Chip, and a bunch of other people. I danced around like a drunk idiot with Tomoko and her friends and some other people too cuz dancing around drunk all night is Tomoko's trade mark. Rod couldnt make it tonight cuz he had to go on a field trip early in the morning so I told her he said hi. Yago was having one of his epic take off his shirt moments and was wearing it on his head like a sentai super hero which was pretty hilarious. Also, throughout the night, some people were asking me where Matt was and I had no idea myself cuz he was supposed to come but never did show up. At some point, I had a long talk with Heidi cuz shes been feeling very depressed lately and I wanted to cheer her up. I hope she ends up doing ok. Around 4 pm, I told myself I should probably get going so that I could get out to Game Chariot at a reasonable time. I was feeling great and would have loved to drink for another hour or more but the tournament takes priority and I was glad I got to stay for as long as I did and had fun so it was all good. I said bye to everyone and headed to the manga kissa.

I woke up the next morning and took the train out to Game Chariot. I would have gotten there way sooner but my train got delayed at Chiba station for like 20 minutes. When I boarded at Chiba station to get on the train that goes to Game Chariot, out of no where, the Baiken player who always teams up with Taku and Sadu said hi to me. His name on the signup sheets is always 六合, which is read as "Kuni". His Baiken is really sick. Anyway, we were talking for a bit on the train about stuff. He asked who my team was this time (since he saw me last weekend with Shiratori and EVE) and I told him I had a different team this time. Also, I asked him out of curiosity if he thinks a lot of Tokyo players will travel to Hokkaido for golden week (which is in like 2 weeks) for the Hokkaido qualifier block going on. He said he wasnt sure but was thinking about doing it himself since he is originally from there. Its something I was thinking about doing but I dont wanna go out there unless I have a team that will go with me, and I honestly cant see any of the people I team with often wanting to actually go out that far. Anyway, he was also asking me stuff about the US GG scene. He said he saw my vids online and stuff (I guess more Japanese people watch my vids on youtube than I realized), and I was telling him how qualifying out here in Japan is rough as hell and how I wish I could play on the US team but that going ot the qual seems pretty impossible for me. Just like every other Japanese player ive told about the US scene, he was shocked to hear that everyone plays on PS2 and that we have like almost no arcades haha. Also, I asked him who won the Shizuoka tournament and he said Maruken's team are now in the final SBO tournament. I dont know who was on his team exactly but it might be the same players that were on it when we lost to him in Omiya a few weeks ago.

Anyway, we eventually arived at Game Chariot. Dream Maker also arived at the same time and was probably on the same train as me. He asked where Matt was cuz he was supposed to team with him, but I told him I hadnt seen Matt since Friday night so I had no idea. Also, Kaking was there and he asked where Honyo was. I told him I got a mail from Honyo on the way saying he would be there around 1 pm. Right now, it was about 12:30. I was surprised that it wasnt very packed yet considering signups would end at 1:30 and the tournament would start at 2:00. After a little longer, Honyo wasnt there yet, so we figured we might as well just go signup without him there yet and sign his name for him. No big deal. I couldnt remember what handle Honyo uses so I mailed him and he said to sign him up as "Ichinino". I signed up our team name as Manga Kissa Warrior again. While I was signing us up, all of a sudden out of no where, Matt just appears. He told me he had been there for a while. I guess he was on the other side of the cabs and I somehow missed him. He said he was missing all day yesterday cuz he completely slept through the entire day and didnt wake up until 2 am this morning lol! He signed up with Dream Maker as a 2 man team hoping to find a 3rd, but unfortunately for them, they never did.

Around this time, it started to get packed, and just as I was expecting, ALL the big names from the Tokyo area came out to this (except for Ogawas team who has yet to be seen). It was hard to get a turn in and I only played a few games before the tournament started. I played againts big names like Kazuki, Inoue, and Kawin and lost to all of them but took rounds and felt like I played decent. Funny cuz all 3 of those guys were on the same team. Inoue was beasting and got 16 wins and finally was defeated by En-Slayer but it even took En a few tries to take Inoue down. Eventually Honyo showed up too and played a few games of casuals and seemed to be doing pretty good. Kaking said he had no desire to play before the tournament so he just watched. Also, its worth noting that just about every single fucking top Slayer player in Kanto was at this thing! En, Hase, Kami-chan, Taku, and several others. Fucking Slayer invasion.

Eventually the brackets were put up and we saw that we were lucky to get a bye first match. There was also another 2 man team besides Matt's team. A total of 21 teams entered. My bracket had 2 extremely nasty teams in it; Inoue/Kawin/Kazuki and Hase/Udei/MK. Both of those teams ended up winning their first matches and Kawin OCVd his opponents. Gin (SL) was there and teamed with AGF's Anji (mastache Anji who uses black color) and some Robo-Ky im not familiar with. They won their first game as well. Also, Taku's team won their first game and En's team had a bi. Ojima and his usual team (Reo (AB) and Jyui (KY)) won as well. Matt and Dream Maker got OCVd by a Robo-Ky player.

While I was watching all these matches, I noticed something... odd. Ive mentioned before in my blog that theres this kinda bulky Japanese guy with long hair in a pony tail who is really anti social and odd and I have encountered him a few times before. Once was when I asked him if he had a team last year during the Ikebukuro GIGO qual, and another time was when I saw him at Sportsland during G3 ranbats time this year and tried to ask him a question. Both times he just like completely ignored me and walked away. Anyway, this guy was there again and as usual, I dont even think he entered the tournament... but what I DID notice he was doing.. was sitting there watching the matches and making little toy gundams out of clay. Yea, thats right... he was sitting there making little clay gundam men. And im not talking about like scultures, just little half ass shitty looking gundams like a child would make in art class. He made them and layed them out on a chair near where he was standing. Then I noticed... that during the matches, he was listening to his headphones and getting like SUPER INTENSE about watching the matches. Not just like cheering people on, but like random outbursts of sounds! He was like all jumping up and down with his fists out like he was ready to box someone and he was just making random "graa!" sounds and saying random words in Japanese! Matt and I were just both like... w..t..f... Theres a good chance I will end up writing about this character again sometime so Im just gonna name him Clay Gundam man.

It was time for our first match and we were to face a team of Mio(SO)/Yuu(KY)/Eneosu(SL). Since I know all 3 of these matchups fairly well, I volaunteered to go first. They put their SL first. Of the 3, this was the one that I wanted to fight the least, though everyone on my team felt the same way heh. First round was kinda close but I lost. 2nd round, I played good and won. 3rd round, was going ok but I found myself getting put in the corner a lot. I escaped and was hovering above Slayer with FDC floats to come down safely but I ran out of meter and accidently did a down kick which floated over his head and he was able to punish me. My fault for not watching my bar carefully enough I guess. In any case, I ended up losing but it was kinda close. Kaking went next. It was a close match but he ended up defeating the Slayer with lots of unblockables and some surprise EX drills. Up next was the Sol player Mio. This guy looked pretty solid from when I was watching him earlier. I dont remember the order, but both of them ended up winning a round each. It was the final round, and the Sol was just about to pretty much perfect Kaking, but he made the most fucking epic comeback ever and ended up basically reverse perfecting Sol ftw! Up last was the Ky player Yuu. This guy was also really solid and he unfortunately ended up taking out Kaking. Our last hope was Honyo and his Baiken. It started off going well the first round but Honyo kept getting hi by lots of projectiles and was having trouble getting in on Ky. He lost the first round. It was looking pretty hopeless the 2nd round and I thought it was gonna be over right there, but then Honyo also made this awsome crazy comeback with some tricky mixups and crossups in the corner and took the 2nd round! The 3rd round ended up being pretty much just like the first round though and Honyo was defeated by Ky. Could I have won had I went last instead of first? I have no idea. I know how to fight Ky but that guy was also really solid. In any case, it doesnt matter, we lost. Had we won, we would have had to fight Inoue's team next, who had just taken out Hase's team.

At this point I was hungry so I went to Lawson with Matt and got some of the greasiest food ive ever had and ate it outside and then went back in to watch the rest of the tourny and play some casuals.

Hightlights from the rest of the tournament are... Gin's team made it to the semi finals (the finals of their 1/3rd of the bracket) and lost to Taku's team. Also, En's team lost to Ojima's team! I was shocked as hell but that team has been beasting lately and they made it to the semi finals 2 weeks ago too. The final 3 teams were Taku's team, Inoue's team, and Ojima's team.

For the first match if the finals, Kazuki OCVd Sadu's whole team in the order of Sadu, Kuni, Taku.

Next for Ojima team vs Taku team... Reo beat Taku and Kuni himself! Then Sadu went and reverse OCVed the team in the order of Reo, Ojima, and their Ky player.

Last match of the tournament, Kazuki once again OCVd the entire team in the order of FA AB KY. The man was unstopable and Inoue and Kawin just sat back with smiles on their faces as Kazuki raped their way to a spot in the block finals next Saturday.

For those of you interested, my pictures page has been updated and I took a picture of the entire brackets so you can see all the teams, characters, and who fought who. Have a look.

Once the tournament ended, a few people cleared out while others stayed for casuals. I played for about another 2 hours and near the end it was pretty dead. I talked with Udei and for the next tournament hes teaming with Hase again but this time with ASA as well. Matt stuck around with me till the end as I played casuals vs people and he was fucking around on the other cab with Slayer for a while. We also ended up playing some Ky mirror matches and stuff for the hell of it cuz it was dead. Towards the end, I beat some Testament player who was using his Slayer and Sol on me like 8 in a row. Then he switched to Testament and won 2 close games and then I beat him once or twice and it was about time to leave after that. Matt and I headed out and took the train back and parted ways at Kinshicho station where we changed trains.

Next Wednesday is a national holiday in Japan. The next qual for this tournament is actually on that Wednesday. I have no work so I can go! I asked my team mates after losing our match if they can enter with me next Wednesday. Honyo said he was busy but Kaking said he would enter again if we can find a 3rd. I checked with Yuki (IN) and he said he is down to team with us, so it seems I have another fairly solid team again for Wednesday. Knowing we will have to face Inoue/Kazuki/Kawin if we win is pretty discouraging but I dont give a fuck, im not giving up. Theres no such thing as an easy ride to SBO in Japan so its time to man up and just fucking win already. If things dont work out on Wednesday, the block final is next Saturday in which Honyo said he can enter again, so at least I have a team no matter what happens. Stay tuned.

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