I headed out Friday night after work as usual, but this time, instead of heading to Tokyo, I headed to Tochigi prefecture, which is to the east of Gunma where I live. The plan was to meet up with Shiratori (the I-no player who I had teamed up with several times last year who lives in Tochigi). My plans were sorta up in the air for most of the weekend but the whole purpose of coming out this way was to enter the SBO qual in Koriayama city in Fukushima prefecture, which is located to the north of Tochigi. My team would be Shiratori (IN) and EVE (AB) (who I also teamed with a few times last year along with Shiratori).
total distance to get from my town to Koriyama is about 5 hours on the
regular train, so in other words its pretty damn far. I wasn’t about to
let that stop me though. Getting there wasn’t a problem since I would
be stopping off in Tochigi on the way but going back would be a bit hard
since the tournament would probably end somewhat late and I wouldn’t
have time to take the train back on Sunday night. I pretty much was
stuck taking the shinkansen (bullet train) back home, which only takes 2
hours. Unfortunately it costs 10,000 yen where as the regular train
would only cost about 4,000 yen. Since I was planning to leave from the
regular train station which is separate from the shinkansen station in
my town, I had to figure out what I was gonna do about my car. Ryoko
had Friday off, so she offered to come to my apartment, follow me to the
shinkansen station where I would leave my car, and then instead of just
dropping me off at the regular station, she drove me all the way to
Maebashi which is about an hour away in the direction I needed to go
anyway. We decided to have dinner together at a restaurant in Maebashi.
I had a beer with my food too since I would be spending the next 2
hours on the train anyway. After a good meal, she dropped me off at the
station where we said goodbye.
After a 2 hour train ride, I
arrived in Utsunomiya, the largest city in Tochigi. This was my first
time going there. Shiratori was there, waiting at the station in his
car. Also, a friend of his named Kohei was in the back seat. He drove
us to the best arcade in Utsunomiya which was about maybe about a 5
minute drive from the station. The place was called Tsurumaki. On the
way there, Shiratori told me that the best team from Tochigi would be
there at the arcade and would also be entering the SBO qual on Sunday.
He said their team was Venom/Anji/Slayer. The first floor was full of
mostly music games and a few shooters and stuff. The 2nd floor was
mostly all fighting games and a few UFO catcher machines. The first
floor of the arcade was opened 24 hours which was cool but unfortunately
the 2nd floor (where all the fighters were) would close at midnight.
We arrived a little after 9:30 so it gave us about 2 and a half hours to
play. They only had 1 GGAC cab and it was set on 100 yen for 2
credits, 2/3 rounds. At least there was comp there though which is the
important thing. I started out by fighting a Slayer player and losing,
but then I played again since I had another credit and I won. Then I
won against a Bridget twice, which turned out to be Shiratori’s friend
Kohei. Then I played against an Anji and won twice in a row and then
won 2 more against Kohei’s BR. Then finally, Shiratori played against
me and he beat me in a close game. It had been a while since I played
against Shiratori but his I-no is as beastly as ever. One of the best
I-nos ive ever played against. Shiratori informed me that the Slayer
and Anji that I just beat were 2 of the guys on the best team in
Tochigi. Turns out that the 3rd guy (the Venom) was none other than
HEVEN! He was there as well and I said hi to him but he didn’t play a
single game all night, he just sat there and watched for a bit and
eventually disappeared. I had no idea he lived in Tochigi cuz hes
always in Tokyo playing but it’s the same situation for me I guess.
was now on the cab and was beating some people up. He got 2 wins vs
HOS, beat Kohei but then lost to Kohei but then beat him again. He then
beat a Slayer and a Jam who were the same guy. Then he beat HOS twice
again. It was my turn again and I rematched Shiratori and this time I
won. Then I beat him once more but then he beat me twice in a row after
that. The last game we played, I won the first round and then he
perfected me round 2, and then I was a pixel away from perfecting him
round 3 but then he came back and won! Crazy. Eventually I got back on
the cab and got a 12 win streak but I didn’t keep track of who it was
vs each game. Shiratori eventually ended it. Then I beat him one more
time, got another 8 win streak with the last win vs Shiratori and then
he rematched me and beat me. Basically me and Shiratori were going
about even throughout the night I would say. If I was able to keep
pressuring him and out zone him, I would win, but once he got on me and
started his mixups there was little I could do to get him off me. Faust
is a bad matchup for I-NO but Shiratori knows how to deal with Faust
pretty well and is just generally a smart player.
was about time to leave. Kohei said goodbye to us in the parking lot in
front of the arcade and got in his own car. Shiratori drove around a
bit with me trying to help me find a manga kissa for later for when I
sleep but we didn’t see any so he just offered to drop me off at the
station and wished me luck. He had work in the morning so he couldn’t
stay out but said he would meet up with me tomorrow after work. He also
lives about a half hour drive away from Utsunomiya. I thanked him for
driving me around and headed out on my own to find a manga kissa.
Little did I know, this would be a very long and epic walk..
there was going to be a qual in another part of Fukushima called Iwaki.
Iwaki is an additional 2 hours beyond Koriyama, making it a total of 4
hours away from where I was now. I had no team to enter with since
both of my team mates would be busy (Shiratori had work and EVE was
planning to enter a FATE unlimited codes qual at a different location)
so there was really no point in going out there alone. As a result, I
had no real plans for tomorrow except for just playing casuals all day
and practicing. I figured there wouldn’t be much comp at Tsurumaki till
later on so I had plenty of time to explore Utsunomiya, find a good
place to drink and a manga kissa to sleep at.
I currently was on
the east side of the train station. Since I saw a good bit of it from
Shiratori’s car and didn’t see any manga kissas, I figured it would be
best to go check out the west side of the station. The area immediately
around the station had some stores and stuff but there wasn’t really
all that much exciting stuff and most places were closed. Most of the
bars were just snack bars and stuff like that (the shady bars where you
pay lots of money to have some girl pore your beer and you end up
spending WAY too much money and wonder why you ever went there to begin
with). I wasn’t about to waste my time at those. There were hardly any
people walking around on the streets, and the farther I got from the
station, the fewer the people got. I figured while im searching for a
place to drink, I might as well start drinking, so I grabbed a beer at a
conbini, enjoyed some snus, and walked around till my beer ran out,
searching for a place. Went to the next conbini, got another beer and
used the toilet, searched some more, and repeated this process once
again. I walked for a very very long time and very very far. I had no
idea where I was going but I simply made sure to keep in mind where the
station was incase I needed to go back. After searching and drinking
for a few hours, I found a few places that seemed like they might be
decent enough to drink at, but I still didn’t know where there was a
manga kissa and I wasn’t gonna go into any bars until I made sure I had a
place to sleep. Eventually, Ryoko mailed me and asked how I was doing.
I told her I was looking for a manga kissa and after not finding one
for a while, she got concerned. Being the extremely great girlfriend
that she is, she searched online and checked how to get to some manga
kissas for me and helped guide me. It turns out that there was one near
the station on the east side afterall, but since I was WAY out deep on
the west side from the station already, she told me that I might as
well go to the manboo manga kissa which was very far from the station,
since from where I was at now, it was actually closer. So basically she
guided me and after walking a bit more I eventually found it after a
lot of searching. Knowing that I found it, she was able to sleep so she
said goodnight and I went inside to check the rates out.
was a pretty big manboo and it was connected to a childrens game center,
a supermarket and a food court (all of which was closed at the moment
except for the manga kissa since it was already something like 3 am
(yes, I walked around for like over 3 hours trying to find the manga
kissa). The lobby was full of gatchapon machines (those little vending
machines where the little figures and stuff come in those plastic
bubbles), and they had not 1, but 2 original old school Super Mario
Brothers sound drop machines! That shit is rare as hell! I quickly
went to the desk to inquire about the rates which were a little more
than I usually pay but good enough, got some change, and put like 2,000
yen worth of coins into the machine, buying like 10 of those sound
drops. I was lucky enough to get one of every single one that I didn’t
already have. The sounds are pipe, coin, mushroom, jump, swim, level
start, die, and 1up. So now I have the entire Street Fighter II sound
drop set and the entire Super Mario bros. sound drop set. Hell yea!
it was only about 3 am and I didn’t want to go to sleep quite yet, I
figured I would set back out the way I came and try to check out some
more bars. I drank some more on the way and after a lot more walking I
eventually wound up back around the bars. By now it was maybe getting
close to 4 am and most of the places ended up being closed already. I
guess Im too used to Tokyo bars that are opened later. Eventually I
gave in and just went into some small place that was opened and didn’t
look to shady. I went inside and it was a small bar that was actually
an izakaya, meaning they force you with a table charge and the place
unfortunately only had bottled beer but oh well. Everyone drinking
there was pretty old, at least 40 or 50. A few people started asking me
all sorts of questions that people often ask foreigners like where are
you from? and why are you here? and how long have you lived here? and so
on and so forth. One of the guys bought me another big bottle of beer
cuz he was drunk and I was answering his questions and I guess he just
wanted to be a nice guy. After finishing both beers, it was getting
late, already passed 5 am, and I was getting hungry and didn’t wanna eat
expensive izakaya food so I just said goodbye and left and went to get
some mcdonalds breakfast as I normally would anyway. After eating, I
walked back to the manga kissa and pretty much passed out as soon as I
hit the chair. I was drunk and tired as hell from all that walking.
Not quite the same as a night at Current but I had my mp3 player
headphones on the whole time I was walking around, the weather wasn’t so
bad, and I got some excersise and got to see some new places so overall
it was actually a pretty nice night.
I woke up the next day
after about 7 hours of sleeping, took a shower, got some food at the
super market next to the manboo, and headed out. I figured it would be
best to just take it easy and look around at some of the shops on the
way back towards the station since now everything was opened. It was a
little before 2 am when I set out. I found a few other random arcades
on the way but most of them sucked and only one of them had a GG cab and
no one was playing it. I also found a few nice clothes stores and
stuff and browsed a little but didn’t buy anything. It took a little
over an hour but eventually I finally made it back to the station. From
here, I figured I had best try to find the manga kissa that Ryoko said
was close to the station now so that I wouldn’t have to deal with it
later. I had the option of going to Koriyama tonight, of course,
instead of staying in Utsunomiya again, but since Koriyama is actually a
smaller city that Utsunomiya, I figured the chances of finding a manga
kissa out there were gonna be even harder and I also wasn’t sure if
anyone would be playing at the arcade there since most people would be
out in Iwaki so I decided to just stay in Utsunomiya again and practice
all day at Tsurumaki.
This time I searched a bit on the east side
of the station and after searching for a while and not finding
anything, I figured I might as well just check out Tsurumaki now and
worry about the manga kissa later. I remembered how to get there since I
went there in Shiratoris car but since I was on foot this time, I
wasn’t sure how long it would take. I also went down lots of side
streets on the way to keep looking for a manga kissa so it took a while.
Eventually I arrived in the area where I knew the arcade was at but
didn’t see it. I walked too far, but ended up actually finding a manga
kissa a little ways down from the area where the arcade was. This place
was a much better option since it was way fucking closer than the
manboo. Eventually I figured out that I passed the arcade, went back,
and found the place, only to notice ANOTHER manga kissa down a different
road not far from the arcade as well. So now I had 2 options. I wish I
had known about those last night but oh well.
I went in the
arcade expecting there to be no GG comp but was pleasantly surprised to
see that 2 guys (a HOS and a ZA) were fighting eachother. I ended up
playing a bunch of games vs these 2 guys at first and pretty much was
beating the HOS almost every time and going about 50/50 with the Zappa.
Eventually a Sol player also showed up who never beat me once.
Shiratori called me on his phone saying he was already off work (by now
it was about 4 or 5 pm) and said he would be coming to the arcade soon.
Before I knew it, he arrived. Him and I played a bit more and mostly
were going about 50/50 again. Also, the Venom player who Shiratori and I
had teamed up with last year at the Fukaya qual named Ma showed up as
well! I only played him one game (once vs his Ky and once vs his VE)
and won both times. He told me im much stronger than he remembers. I
also got an 18 win streak at some point vs everyone there and eventually
Shiratori beat me and ended it. Shiratori then got a big streak of his
own and was beasting as well. Eventually, HEVEN showed up with his
Anji team mate. I played Anji once and won and then played one more and
lost. A little after this, Shiratori and Ma said they were gonna leave
and go to Oyama (another city in Tochigi) to go play there. He said
they probably wouldn’t be coming back and that Tsurumaki would probably
have stronger comp so I just told him I would stay here and told him I
would see him tomorrow at the tournament. He said he was gonna drive
there but that he already promised he was gonna drive 3 other people (a
separate team that he was friends with) to the arcade but since I told
him I would just take the train, it wasn’t a problem.
for a while, HEVEN was just beasting with his Venom. He ended up
getting 19 wins and eventually I beat him. However, since its 2 credits
for 100 yen, he got to play again and then he beat me. After a few more
games vs other people, eventually his Anji friend beat him once and got
him off the machine. Then some Robo-Ky player beat the Anji and
shortly after, HEVEN and his friend said bye and left. I spent the rest
of the night playing there until closing time. A good red Slayer was
there who I was going back and forth with in addition to the rest of the
guys who were there the whole day pretty much. I lost my very last
game to the Slayer as it was already just passed midnight and they were
playing the closing time music.
I hadn’t eaten for like 7 hours
cuz I didn’t wanna waste practice time so I was famished as hell. I set
out and went to eat at the closest place I could find, which ended up
being a Yoshinoya. I rushed that shit down and it tasted good as hell.
I didn’t really feel like staying out late drinking again and figured
it would be best to get a good nights sleep and get up early since I
still had about a 20-30 minute walk to the station, followed by a 2 hour
train ride, and then another long walk to the Koriyama arcade in the
morning. I checked out one of the manga kissas, it had crappy rates and
shitty chairs, so then I went to the other one which was much better,
and passed out for the night.
After 6 and a half hours of sleep, I
got up, walked back to Utsunomiya station, got some food to eat on the
train, ate it, and then passed out for the entire train ride. I woke up
in Koriyama at about 10:30 am. I had a map of how to get to the arcade
from the station and it worked just fine. After about a 20 or 25
minute walk, I found Super Bingo game center. The place just opened at
11 so it was good timing. There were already some people there playing.
Among them was Osaka B, Mitsurugi, and Natsume. I guess I shouldn’t
be surprised hat those guys came all the way out here too. I asked
Osaka B if he went to the Iwaki tournament the day before and he said he
did and that some beastly team from Sendai ended up winning. This
place had 2 cabs and they were both set on 3/5 rounds at 100 yen for 2
plays which meant it took a long time to get a turn in. I started out
by playing a game vs a Chipp player who was beasting but I beat him 3
rounds straight and he got off the cab. Then Osaka B got on and beat me
twice in a row but they were pretty close. Shortly after, I went to
the conbini next to the arcade and Shiratori just pulled up in his car.
With him was the team he promised to drive and it was none other than
the venom player Ma, and Udei the Axl player along with some Eddie who I
don’t know. I asked Udei what happened to teaming with Hase but he
said he was gonna try different team mates. Hase ended up showing up
anyway though but im not sure who his team was. Also of course, HEVEN’s
team was there, and so was a team of Sadu (JO)/Taku (SL)/ some really
good Baiken. Also, the female Dizzy player, Junya, who I teamed up with
from Niigata last year was there with another female Sol from Niigata
and some Millia playing guy from Niigata. I said hi to her as well and
we wished eachother luck. Eventually EVE showed up and was playing Drum
mania for whatever reason. He only lives a short bike ride away cuz
hes living in Koriyama now for college. I asked him how the FATE
tournament went but he said he lost first round. After that, the 3 of
us went to sign up. We couldn’t think of a name so EVE just chose the
name Accident Core. I played casuals a bit but honestly the place got
so packed after a while, it was really hard to get a turn in and it was
also hard to win a lot since these guys were all beasts. There was this
one Faust player who I had never seen before but he was extremely good
and was very surprising. He kept doing tricks where he would explode
the bomb head bag in peoples faces and also in his face and slash back
the bomb bag and combo off it and he did this like several times in the
same round and with 100% accuracy rate. It opened up a whole new mixup
game and I never really ever saw any other Fausts utilize this tactic
much ever. Its something I certainly am going to learn how to do 100%
and experiment with in training mode. I havnt honestly hit up training
mode in a very long time and I think its about time I do so again.
the tournament started. 23 teams entered total. Udei and Ma’s team
were the first team to play and they ended up losing their first match.
They all got OCVed by that beastly Faust player I was just talking
about. Also, the Niigata team was another team to go first. They were
about to get OCVed but then their Millia player went last and reverse
OCVed the other team.
It was now time for my teams first match.
We were up against a team of FA/JA/AX. Shiratori said he would go first
so we rolled with it. He started out by taking out the Faust, then
defeated the Jam and finally beat the Axl! Our first match was an OCV
by Shiratori! Nice. Up next I saw Sadu’s team fight HEVEN’s team.
Sadu beat Anji, then HEVEN beat Sadu, Taku beat HEVEN, then the Slayer
on HEVEN’s team (Shiratori said his name is Seiyu) beat Taku in a mirror
match. Taku would have won but he dropped his last combo and did a
whiffed twirling hurricane kick cape move (whatever the fuck its called)
and lost. Then finally the Baiken took out Seiyuu.
Niigata team went vs Osaka B team who already won their first match.
Female Sol lost to Mitsurugi but then Junya beat Mitsurugi with her
Dizzy! Then Osaka B went on to defeat the rest of their team by
Our next match was vs a team of FA/ED/VE. The Faust on
this team was none other than the beastly Faust I saw OCV Udei’s team.
Shiratori told me these guys are good as hell and are the best players
in Fukushima. EVE said he would go first. He ended up beating the
Eddie player in a close game. I thought Shiratori should go next since
he said he has trouble vs Venom and he beat the other Faust but he
wasn’t feeling confident so I went next. Faust mirror matches suck.
Both rounds were close but I lost to this guy’s Faust. He was getting a
lot better items than me and as a result was able to stay on me better.
I wanted to rush him down and maybe sometimes I was playing too
defensive but the items just weren’t clicking, and in all honesty, this
guy probably just has a better Faust than I do. Im not gonna lie. I
lost to trying to jump out of the corner when he was on me with pogo
stance and I would have gotten away with it and throw a bomb bag on him
which would have hit, but he threw and item as I jumped out and it just
happened to be a hammer which killed me. Ayway, Shiratori went next,
and perfected the Faust the 1st round. The 2nd round, he was ONE HIT
away from killing him but his dive didn’t come out and instead he got a
whiffed HS and the Faust came back. The 3rd round the Faust won and we
were now out of the tournament. All 3 of us lost to that damn Faust,
and we were the 2nd team he defeated by himself.
At this point,
it was only about 4:30. My original plan was to take the shinkansen
back cuz I thought it would end later, but since we already lost, I
checked the times on my phone, and if I left RIGHT NOW, I could take the
regular train back. Sure it would take 5 hours, but it also would cost
me a TON less money. I didn’t really feel that paying all that money
to watch the end of the tournament where I cant even play casuals was
worth it, so I decided to leave. I said goodbye to all the people I
know and thanked my team mates and headed out. I walked back to the
station and made it on the train just in time.
I then proceeded
to play DS for 5 hours straight. All I have to say is that the Lost
Sanctum in the DS re-release of Chrono Trigger has got to be the most
stupid string of annoying fetch quests ever! WTF! Eventually I made it
back to my town and since my car was at the Shinkansen station, Ryoko
was kind enough to come pick me up and drive me there from the regular
station since she lives close to both of them anyway.
checked the results on the tougeki website and the winners of the block
ended up being Osaka B’s team. Im actually glad that they won since all
3 of them are pretty nice guys who I know sorta well and they are all
really good players. Plus, now that they qualified I no longer have to
worry about fighting their team, and they have been at every single qual
that I have gone to so far so its good that they are out of the way. I
also checked the SBO results page and noticed that Rob (HeartNana)
qualified for BlazBlue! Amazing! So congrats to Rob. I wish I could
qualify for GG but im not giving up yet. I still have some time left
and im gonna be hitting up that training mode to level up.
week theres the Shizuoka block finals on Saturday. Its really kinda far
to be honest but I would enter as long as I could find a team. As of
yet its up in the air if I will enter that one but I may go but we will
see. On Sunday is the Game Chariot prelim qual. I have team mates for
that one and actually have some options at this point. I was gonna team
up with Honyo and Kunihiro again but now theres this Chinese Eddie
player who actually made it on the Chinese team last year but couldn’t
go to SBO due to money issues so they sent someone else instead.
Teaming with him is very tempting so I might team with him instead of
either Honyo or Kunihiro but we will see. I have to see how things pan
out. Heres hoping next weekend works out better. In any case, at least
I wont have to do so much fucking walking.