Thursday, May 7, 2009

Golden Week in Hokkaido

This weekend kicked off Golden Week, which is a long string of national holidays in Japan. For many Japanese people, this is the only time in the year when they can actually get time off to travel and go on a nice vacation. It spans from the weekend up until he Wednesday of the following week.

The plan was to go to Hokkaido yet things were still up in the air. I tried calling Matt multiple times throughout the rest of the week. He was supposed to check on flight prices to Hokkaido so that we could make plans to go but he never answered his phone. I went to Tokyo not knowing whether I would be going to Hokkaido or not, so I packed accordingly just in case.

Friday, 5/1

When I arrived at Vegas, Matt was there. He told me that he had left his phone at PSY which is why he couldnt answer. Appearently he went drinking by himself on Wedensday night and went to Zin where he finally broke up with Akiko and then afterwords he went to PSY. He said most of the night was a blur and he said he just remembers walking around in like a semi dream-like state and wasnt sure what of his memory was a dream or reality. He had remembered hitting on some girl, and also had some faint images of getting into some sorta fight with the barender of GODZ, Ken. He later actually was woken up by a police officer as he layed passed out in a random parking lot very far from his home and was rambling some stuff about how its not safe in Japan for foreigners anymore. He was confused and delusional. Turns out he was still within (sorta) walking distance from his home, so after he collected himself the cop pointed him in the right direction and he made it back home.

In any case, that was his reason for not answering, but he did infact check the tickets to Hokkaido and the price range was affordable so we decided we would go afterall and would book the flight tomorrow. He stopped in at PSY and got his phone back and then came back to Vegas. Overall, Vegas was pretty dead. We were then told by Mekemeke that the reason was because a brand new arcade just opened up in Takadanobaba. The new arcade is also called Mikado and I am assuming its owned by the same people who own the Shinjuku Mikado. I only ended up playing one single match at Vegas vs some Venom and lost in a close one. Then I saw Mekemeke lose to him too. We decided we would go check out the new Mikado. Mekemeke said he was gonna stay there since he had some stuff to do. Dream Maker was also there playing casuals but he also had stuff to do so he didnt wanna go either.

Matt and I headed over to Takadanobaba which is only like 2 stops from Shinjuku on the Yamanote line. When we got there, we searched a bit and eventually found the place very near the station. Its a pretty big arcade, 2 floors, lots of floor space and tons of games. They had multiple cabs of most major fighters and everything was 50 yen. They had a total of 5 GG cabs which is the same as Vegas. Also, the Johnny player, Johnnio works there. Lots of people were there playing and pretty much every single person was a well known top player. We stayed for a bit and played casuals and for a while it was sorta taking a while to get a turn in. I was pretty much losing all my matches but most of them were like extremely close. I ended up beating Taku's Slayer twice which were the only matches I won all night. At some time around 11:30 we decided to head over to Current since Rod was waiting there. This weekend was his birthday so we were gonna go drinking there and he was gonna invite some friends.

We stopped at McDonalds and got some 200 yen big macs (they were running a deal all throughout Golden Week) and then went to Current. Rod was there with his friend Takao and a few other regulars were at the bar as well. It was mostly a fun typical night there with drinking and people dancing drunkenly like idiots. Good stuff. Towards the end of the night, 28 year old virgin was there and he passed out on the bench in the back by the tables. It all started by me putting a coaster in his open mouth and it stayed there. Then we got nuts and started balancing stuff on his head like candles, beer glasses, and other stuff. Then Masami handed us a marker and we drew a curly mustache on his face and a giant penis on his head. It was all in good fun though. I have nothing against the guy, hes a nice guy and all, but he passed out at the bar and he got what was coming to him. If I passed out at Current and someone did that to me, I would give them props for putting me in my place. Current isnt for sleeping, if you cant stay awake, go home haha. Also there was this one chick there we were talking to and she drew a curly mustache on Matts face and my face and then I drew one on her face but then I just went and washed it off in the bathroom afterwords cuz it took like 2 seconds. After they closed, most people were tired, and since I wanted to wake up at a reasonable time for the Chiba SBO block qualifier in Tsudanuma the next day, I decided to just go to sleep after Current. I headed to the manga kissa and passed out. Matt was planning to tag along to watch the qual so he slept there as well.

Saturday, 5/2

I woke up with enough time before the tournament. Matt was gonna go to the travel agency in Shinjuku to book our flights and since he said it probably wouldnt take long, I figured I would just go with. Originally, Kunihiro said he was interested in going to Hokkaido with me but ended up changing his mind saying it was too difficult. As a result, I had no actual team to go and it was just gonna be Matt and I going and I would just try to find a team while we were there. Matt and I ended up getting quoted tickets that totalled to about 40,000 yen total, so the trip was slightly costly yet still affordable. I had never been to Hokkaido before so I figured it was a good excuse to go even if I wasnt really expecting to do well in the tournaments. It ended up taking way longer than we expected to book our flights and time was running short. Honyo, my Baiken player team mate, showed up a bit early to at Amusement Ace to sign us up so everything was cool. We booked our flight to leave Sunday at around 3 pm and we would return to Tokyo on Tuesday night on a 9:30 pm flight. This would allow me to enter the Nakano tournament on Wednesday as well. After finally getting our flights booked, we left for Chiba.

Amusement Ace was already packed with people when I got there. Getting a chance to play any practice matches was impossable. I got a call from Kaking and met up with him in front of the station and we walked back to Amusement Ace. We waited around for a bit and then the tournament started. Once again, I took pictures of the full brackets; it was a pretty big tournament.

Our first match was against a team containing the Testament player Masa. Honyo went first and started off well but it kinda just fell apart in the middle of the first round and he lost. I went next, and won the first round well. 2nd round I was doing ok, and I hit him with an overhead FDC kick and missed the combo afterwords and also lost the round. 3rd round, I was doing good and just needed to squeeze in literally one more pixel of damage. I got on pogo and he blocked, I went for a couple more forward-forward pogo hits and he blocked them, I safely dismounted but then I think I got hit by some random badlands or something after that and lost. Then Kaking went and lost as well. Just like that, OCVed by Testament first round. I was upset cuz I really had him but oh well.

After losing, I asked Kaking and Honyo about the Nakano tournament. As expected, Kaking said it was too far. I dont honestly think I will be teaming with Kaking anymore. He isnt willing to travel anywhere far at all and he honestly hasnt really been playing that well anyway. Honyo said he was down to go, so I figured I would just ask around and try to find a 3rd later.

The rest of the tournament was gonna take a while and I didnt wanna watch the whole entire thing, espessially since it was hard to even see the cabs with all the people there, but I did wanna see the finals. Matt and I went to get some more 200 yen big macs, and then came back and I ended up playing casuals of various games. I played a bit of CvS2 and SFIV. I lost at CvS2 but actually was winning most of my SFIV matches LOL! There was this one sick Guile player who I couldnt beat though.

Eventually it was nearing the end of the tournament so we decided to just tough it out and watch the end. Lots of people were watching the tournament, and among them was Clay Gundam Man who was once again just being creepy and listening to his head phones and making more small toy clay gundams... I was able to ninja a quick picture of him making the clay gundams. Its hard to see but Ill add it to the pictures page heheh. At some point, En-Slayer ended up beating FAB's team. I noticed after he beat FAB, he exchanged some dialouge with Kawin. I was too far away to hear what they were saying but basically it seemed like En was implying that since he beat FAB's PO that Kawin would be next, and Kawin was shaking his head and did like that arm cross X thing basically saying, no that shits not gonna happen. They both seemed pretty intense and I was looking forward to hopefully seeing that match go down. En's team (consisting of Limekey and Nanashi) went on to beat Taku's team. Nanashi beat Kuni and Sadu and then lost to Taku but then Limekey beat Taku. They were now in the prelim finals. Also, Karun OCVed the team of TEN (IN) / Ogiwara aka Basara (SL) / and Ei (ZA) to bring his team to the prelim finals to face En's team. Karun's team consisted of Mugen (BR) and Chonari (ZA). Nanashi ended up OCVing Mugen, Karun, Chonari in that order and qualified for the block finals and would now be facing Inoue's team and Goro's team in the grand finals. During this last fight, Kawin was sitting over by Mugen's team and cheering them on ALOT. Everytime they even landed a hit he was cheering out loud. He REALLY wanted En's team to lose and seemed a bit upset when En's team won. It was now time for the finals.

First was Goro vs Inoue team.
Fumo beat Kazuki. Then Inoue beat Fumo. Next, Inoue beat the Slayer on Goro's team and also beat Goro. Goro actually had him dizzied at one point and would have IKed him but messed up the IK input and lost.

Next En team vs Goro team.
Nanashi beat Goro. Then the Slayer player on Goro's team beat Nanashi AND Limekey despite Limekey pulling off one of the most epic comebacks ever in he 2nd round. Next En DOUBLE PERFECTED the other Slayer in a mirror match and then finally went on to also beat Fumo.

Final match was Inoue team vs En team.
En started off beating Kazuki. Up next was the match I was waiting for, En vs Kawin. Kawin was talking all kinds of shit and yelling stuff across to the other side of the cab at En. It was a good match and in the end, Kawin backed up all his shit talk and ended up beating En, followed by more shit talk. He then went on to even take out Nanshi! However, Limekey did what he often does for his team, he was a solid anchor. Not only did he beat Kawin, but he took out Inoue as well and won the SBO spot for his team! As soon as they lost, Kawin just seemed completely devistated. He was sitting on the floor next to the cab with his head down between his knees and his hand over his forhead and didnt move for like the next 5 minutes.

After that, Matt and I headed out and went back to Shinjuku. When we got to Kinshicho where we had to transfer to a different train, Matt decided he was gonna stop home to get some stuff for the trip tomorrow so I went on to Shinjuku by myself where he said he would meet me later at Vegas. When I got to Vegas, not many people were there, but Honyo was there practicing. He left the tournament much earlier than we did. I said hi to him and then we played some practice games against eachother for a while. We started off with 10 games of Faust vs Baiken that went 4-6 in his favor. Then I beat his Anji once and he switched back to Baiken. I then beat his Baiken 6 in a row. Then lost once, then won 3, then lost 1, then won 1 more, then finally lost 2. I got a mail from Matt saying that he was too tired and wasnt gonna make it out for drinking tonight cuz he wanted to have enough energy for Hokkaido. It was getting sorta late and Rod was waiting at Juke 80's, the bar where he works part time, for his birthday party tonight. I called him and asked him when I should come and he said NOW, so I said bye to Honyo and headed out.

I stopped at McDonalds on the way and got 2 more 200 yen big macs. I felt fine at first but when I arrived in Nakano and started walking towards the bar, I stared to feel kinda sick. I got a redbull and after drinking, it I felt like I was gonna throw up. I went into the Family Mart bathroom and threw up. I must have just overate or something cuz I felt just fine after that. Not something that really ever happens heh. After that I arrived at Juke 80's. It was pretty packed in there, mostly with people Rod knew from school or people that those people knew. Some of them were the same people I met breifly the last time I went there the night we left for Osaka several weeks ago. Nick was there as well. I pretty much just talked with various people, and drank a lot. Tons of people were bumming snus off of me, I was surprised how many people there liked the stuff. At one point I was getting so low I had to turn down peoples requests for it. It was like random people I didnt know just coming up to me being like "yo you got dat snus?" and I didnt even know them so I didnt feel bad really saying no.

At sometime around 2 am, a group of people from the party including Rod and myself all walked over to a karaoke place. I brought some beers in and we all just did karaoke till like 5 am. After that, everyone split up and headed home. I was right near a train station off the Seibu-Shinjuku subway line so I decided to just take that back to Shinjuku to sleep where I usually do. I ended up falling asleep and missing my stop like several times and didnt check into the manga kissa till like 8 am or something heh.

Sunday, 5/3

I woke up at sometime around 1:30 or 2 pm to Matt mailing me. he was at Vegas waiting for me. If we wanted to catch our 3:30 flight we needed to leave soon. I got ready and we headed out to Haneda airport. I was extremely surprised how quickly it took to get through security. They are much less strict about security in Japan when dealing with domestic flights. We pretty much made it the terminal about 10 minutes before they started boarding the flight. We had just enough time to get some quicky curry and rice and then got on the plane. I slept the entire way there and it was about a 1 and a half hour flight.

From Chitose airport in Sapporo, we took a train and for about 30-45 minutes and eventually ended up at Sapporo station. We figured we might as well just start looking for the arcades where the SBO quals would be held. Not very far from Sapporo station, was the game center Maxim Hero. This was where tomorrow's tournament would be held. We found it pretty quickly without too much trouble. When we walked in, they had 2 GG cabs set up but no one was playing at all. There was a FATE cabinet next to the GG cabs and there was some sorta regular FATE tournament going on so I guess thats why no one was playing GG. We didnt really wanna stick around with no one playing and it was still pretty early, so we decided to take a train out to where the other arcade, Game 41, was to try to find that location to see if it was any better. Before heading out there, while we were at a Lawson, I asked one of the people there about a place where there were lots of good bars. They said there is a part of Sapporo called Susukino that was sorta like Kabuki-cho (the part of Shinjuku I always drink at). After that, we headed out to find the next arcade.

I had printed a map off google maps that showed the arcade location. This map was actually taken directly from the tougeki website. I dunno whos fault it was, but this map was completely wrong. We ended up getting off at Sakaemachi on the Toho line and walking to exactly where the map showed the arcade. It wasnt there. We asked around a bit and did a lot of walking. EVENTUALLY we got lucky and found the place pretty far from where we originally started. When we went in, we were dissapointed to find that they only had 1 GG cab and no one was playing at all.

We decided to just get some ramen at a nearby ramen place cuz Sapporo is supposed to have some really good Ramen. It ended up being really tasty. We talked to the old man who owned the place for a bit and then headed out. We stopped by one more quick time at Game 41 to check the start time of Tuesdays tournament. While we were there, no one was playing GG still but now they had some sorta oldschool random WWF wrestling game tournament going on 0_o. They even had someone announcing it LOL! It was pretty funny. We left and were also told that there was another train station on a different line pretty close to where we were at in the opposite direction from which we originally came from, so we headed back out that way. That map was totally fucked up. Anyway, on the way there we found another arcade called Cat's Eye but it was also dead so we left and just headed on the train back to Sapporo station in hopes that Maxim Hero would have some comp now.

When we arrived at Maxim Hero, not only was there people playing, but I was shocked as to WHO was playing. Turns out, ASA, the Potemkin player I had teamed up with a couple times before, was there with the Sol player Nobu and the Baiken player LOK. They flew out here from Tokyo just like we did. I had mentioned to ASA at some point previously that I was planning on going to Hokkaido and I cant remember what his response was but he didnt seem interested in going or teaming with me at the time and I never heard that he was going. When I told him before, I mentioned that I was probably gonna go with Kunihiro. He asked where Kunihiro was and I told him he couldnt come so that I just came out with Matt and would be looking for a team by myself. Anyway, I started playing some casuals against various people. I was doing pretty well and winning a lot more than I was losing. I was having the most trouble actually against LOK's Baiken whom I did beat a few times but lost to more than I won against. Also, ASA was destroying most other people on the other cab with a big win streak. Eventaully his team just left without saying anything and it started to get pretty dead in there. Matt and I pretty much just decided to leave and go drinking at this point.

We headed over to Susukino on the train which was only 2 stops away. The place was pretty cool and there were tons of shops and bars and tons of people walking around. We figured we might as well look for another arcade while we were there since it was still early enough to get a few more games in. We ended up finding like 2 other arcades. Both of them had some fighters but for whatever reason, neither of them had a GG cab. I ended up playing a random game of SF alpha 3 against some random Ken and picked Ryu on accident and still won lol! Then he rematched me and I lost, then Matt tried to beat him with Ryu as well and lost and then we just left to go find some bars. While searching, we found a manga kissa which was cool. We walked for quite a while and most of the places we saw seemed kinda sketchy. I ended up finding this awsome micro brew at a Lawson out there so I enjoyed one of those. Eventually we decided to just go to some rock and blues bar we had seen earlier. When we went in there, it was extremely small and extremely messy. We figured we might as well just have a beer there for now. I noticed they had a Kingston Mines Sticker on something in the bar. Kingston Mines is a famous blues live house in Chicago and I have been there a few times so I thought that was cool... but when I asked the bar tender about it he didnt even know wtf it was... heh... kinda lame. They had a Rolling Stones live in Saitama DVD playing on a TV so we just listened to some Stones and had a beer each and the bartender gave us some free snacks too. There was another group of 3 Japanese dudes sitting at another table and eventually we started talking to them and were asking them about other rock bars in the area. They recommended a few places and wrote down information about them so we had some leads. After our beers, we left and so did 2 of the guys and they were nice enough to kinda point us in the right direction.

After a bit more walking we eventually found a place which the name excapes me at the moment, but it was a rock bar that had a live band. They charged a cover charge of like 2300 yen which seemed high, but then we noticed if you pay 3500 yen you can have all you can drink for 90 minutes. We figured we could drink our moneys worth and the live music would make it worth it so we stayed. We drank tons of booze for the next 90 minutes. I had various stuff like beer, rum/coke, and red win. The live band played like 2 30 minutes sets while we were there and mostly played various classic rock covers of bands like Zeppelin, Hendrix, Journey, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, and some other stuff. They actually were REALLY GOOD! They had great back vocals and all the band members played their instremements very well, espessially the guitar player who was just shredding it up! After power drinking for 90 minutes, we were both pretty wasted and felt like we got our moneys worth for sure. After time was up, we headed out and figured we might as well look for the other bar on the list called Bar FM. We walked for a while and couldnt find it, and the sun was starting to come out and we were wasted so we just figured we might as well go to sleep. We stopped by McDonalds to get some food before passing out. Turns out that Hokkaido McDonalds sucks and didnt have the 200 yen big mac deal but it was only 10 minutes to 5 so we just waited 10 minutes and got breakfast. We ate outside in fron to of the place cuz I guess they were closed on the inside for sitting. I ended up dropping the top bun and egg of my megamuffin on the ground... bummer. I still ate the other half of it and the hashbrown though. After that, we went to a manga kissa near the McDonalds that we just found but they ended up having crappy rates if you check in passed 5, so we went to the original one we found earlier and stayed there. The chairs were extremely crappy and we both slept uncomfortably for the next 6 hours.

Monday, 5/4

The next morning, we got up, took showers, and headed out. We pretty much just headed right over to Maxim Hero for today's tournament. We had several hours before the tournament started and I figured this would be my opportunity to hopefully find a team. There were a few people there at first and then a lot showed up gradually. I started off playing pretty well and was winning more than I was losing. As time went on, I was starting to feel a bit hopeless because it didnt seem like I would be able to find a team. I asked a few people but they all had a team already. Then eventually, I checked the signup sheet and noticed that there was a 2 man team of Age3 (DI) and ALE (JA) under the team name "超あっせん". I asked the tournament director dude to show me who they were. He pointed out Age3 and I went up to him and asked him if they wanted me to join their team. He said it was cool so I signed up with them. Age3 said he was no good and always chokes in tournaments. However, I then watched him play a match of casuals and he had a solid Dizzy. After this, it was getting close to the start of the tournament and I didnt get much more casual action in.

I think a total of like 13 teams entered. Our first match was against a team of AX/TE/MA. Our Jam player, ALE, went first. He beat the AX in a close game but then he got beat by TE. I went next vs the TE. While I was playing him, the announcer was making an attempt to read my name and was like "Up next is... El... E... " and pronounced my name wrong a bunch of times until I guess someone corrected him and eventually someone like told him who I was and he was saying stuff how im like famous in Tokyo or something. I went next and rocked the Testament and then I also somehow beat May even though I fucking hate that matchup. It felt very good to beat May. My team mates were very happy. Up next, we fought a team of AB/SL/HOS. Age3 went first with his Dizzy and lost to ABA. Then ALE told me to go next so I went ahead and beat AB, then went on to beat SL, and ended up beating HOS as well and took out the entire team by myself! I was playing pretty well. The announcer was like all hyping me up and stuff.

At this point, I was already in the finals for the tournament! There were 3 teams that made it to the finals due to the way the brackets were set up, so it would be played as a round robin format. ASA's team had made it to the finals as well. The other team was a team consisting of 2 top Hokkadio players... the Ky player MIU (NOT the same MIU as Tokyo Sol MIU), and a Sol player named CCJ, and the 3rd player on their team was actually a HOS player from Saitama named Saga. Saga was around a lot during last year quals and even had teamed up with ASA before at some of the Saitama tournements. I didnt recognize him at first but I knew he looked familiar.

The first match to be played was my team vs Saga's team. I know all 3 of those matchups fairly well so I said I would go first this time. First match was CCJ's Sol vs me. I won the first round pretty well. The 2nd round was close but I took that one as well, finishing it off with a whiffed pogo forcebreak and then catching him off guard with a backwards pogo hit. The next match was vs Saga's HOS. I lost the first round, and then won the 2nd round. 3rd round was going well for a bit and was close, but then eventually I was put in the corner and started getting this feeling of dread come over me as I was getting mixed up. Eventually I was taken down. Up next was Age3 with his Dizzy. He also lost to Saga... so our last hope was our Jam. This match was insanely close but Jam came out ahead by just a little it and won! The last match was Jam vs Ky. Unfortunately... Ky came out victorious and we were defeated. We werent out yet though, it was still possable to win if we beat ASA's team and they beat the other team. Up next we fought ASA's team. This time, Dizzy went first and they sent out LOK's Baiken first. It was actually very close but Baiken won by just a little. Up next was Jam. Pretty much the same thing happened, very close, down to the last round, but just fell short. I went last and... same thing... I was very close to beating him in the last round but just fell short. With that, we were out of the tournament. The finals played out and resulted in Saga pretty much defeating everyone on ASA's team. I dont remember but I think maybe ASA beat CCJ but I think they all lost to Saga.

After the tournament, I asked my team mates if they wanted to team up again tomorrow. They said they actually couldnt because they already had someone for their 3rd team mate tomorrow. I guess I can understand if they had already made a promise to someone who couldnt enter the one today, but at the same time I was pretty dissapointed because I basically beat every single person we fought up to the finals, so I figured they might reconsider. They were also a decent team so I would have liked to join them again. So with that, I was back where I started for tomorrow.

From this point, Matt and I ducked out for a bit to get some food. We went to an expensive but fairly tasty mexican resturaunt under the train station. Also, when I went to the conbini next to the game center, I saw that they had like 5 different kinds of rare microbrews! I love trying new beers and its rare to come accross them in most places in Japan. They were reasonably priced so I decided to try one.

After that, it was pretty much just playing casuals for the next few hours. I continued to drink beers though because I wanted to still play, but I also wanted to try all the kinds they had, so throughout the time playing casuals, I had about 4 beers that I drank while playing and I dont think anyone really noticed cuz the cans arnt very recognizable. In any case no one seemed to care and I was still playing well actually. It was kinda easing the pain of getting so close to winning the tournament today but failing. Lots of people stuck around and they had 3 cabs set up so I played for a while. It took a long time to get a turn in though because it was set to 2 credits of 3/5 rounds for 100 yen so you had to wait a long time. MIU, the Ky player, gave me lots of props and said I was very good! I played him a lot in casuals before the tournament and was mostly beating him too. He offered to let me go next on the cab cuz I guess he wanted to watch me play, and I could hear him talking with some of the guys behind me saying im really strong and stuff. I got a win streak for a while and then lost to someone eventually but I forgot who.

I chilled and played for a bit longer and eventually they dimmed the lights and put the closing music on at about 11:30 or so. People started to clear out so after that, Matt and I headed out. We were gonna go back to Susukino for drinking but we noticed that the bright faris wheel that was in Susukino could be seen a ways down the street from where we currently were. Since it didnt seem that far, we decided to just walk there this time instead of taking the train. It didnt take very long and the weather wasnt bad either. The funny thing is, where I live in Gunma is actually just as cold as Sapporo if not colder! WTF!

When we arrived in Susukino we walked around a bit trying to find that bar FM that we couldnt find the night before. We walked in circles a bit and eventually wound up at the same place and were about to give up. Then all of a sudden, Matt just looks behind him and sees this very small sign that said Bar FM on a building right behind us. It was extremely discrete and easy to miss. We decided to check it out so we went inside. It was a pretty small place and a few people were there. They mostly played lighter classic rock stuff at first but later on I requested some ACDC and then I think they got the hint that we wanted some heavier stuff and then they started playing a variety of great music. They also had really good prices on their drinks so we pretty much just stayed there till about 4 am drinking. Both of us were pretty tired so we decided to just go to the manga kissa at about 4 am and sleep for 7 hours this time since we found a different place with better deals and more comfortable chairs.

Tuesday, 5/5

We woke up and got some italian food in Susukino. After that, we had a while to kill before the tournament since it didnt even start till 5, so I decided I wanted to buy a bunch of those awsome craft beers from the conbini near Maxim Hero to bring back home with me. I figured if I brought them on the plane, I would need to check the bag in since they are strict about liquids, so I went and bought some cheap 1000 yen duffel bag from Donkihote. After that, I went to the conbini and bought like 16 cans of beer, almost emptying out the entire microbeer shelves lol. From there we took the train over to Game 41 where todays finals would be held.

The area where the random WWF game tournament was being held before now had 2 GG cabs set up instead. Lots of people gradually started showing up for casuals. I was doing pretty well and winning most of my casual matches. A lot of the same people were there as yesterday but some new people were there as well. There was also this kinda cute girl with short hair hanging around but I didnt see her play at all so I wasnt sure if she was just there to watch or what. There was this one Venom player who was asking this one guy if he needed a team and the guy said no, but then I told him I needed a team, so he invited me to join him and his team mate, who was a blue Dizzy player who I played in casuals a lot yesterday. The Dizzy player was pretty solid, but unfortunately the Venom was kinda so-so. I didnt really have much else of a choice. Turns out there were 2 other guys who needed a team, and Matt decided to just enter with them instead of just watching this time. His team was a Slayer and a Potemkin but neither of them were very good. Today's tournament ended up having a few more teams than last time but was still kinda small. After they made the brackets, I checked, and our first match was against IN/MA/FA. As everyone knows, I hate May so I was a bit worried going in to this one. There was a red may player there that I actually beat really really well in casuals before the tournament, and I beat the other guy yesterday, so I was feeling somewhat confident but its still May. I asked the Venom on my team which May it was, and he said it was a May that didnt play yet, so I had no idea how good this May would be.

Matt's team played and ended up getting OCVed somehow by one of the crappiest wreckless Sol players I have ever seen. The guy was just like laughing and smiling the whole time and just spamming random special moves and shit. I honestly have no idea how Matt lost to him and the match of the Sol vs the Slayer on Matt's team was just plain painfull to watch how scrubtastic it was.

It was time for our first match. Originally the plan was to let Venom go first. Then the other team had their I-no player sit down before we told the guy running the tournament who our first guy was gonna be. The Dizzy got all excited and said he wanted to fight the I-no and just changed the plan. Before I knew it, they were fighting it out. The match was kinda close and went down to the last round, but my Dizzy player lost. I wanted Venom to go first since he is our weakest and I was hoping to save Dizzy to beat May incase I lost to her. Now I pretty much had no choice but to have Venom back me up. I told Venom I would go next so that he could beat May incase I lost. I fought I-no and won both rounds. Up next was... May. This May was default color. I went into the match with a clear mind and pretty much just tried to play it like I did against the red May earlier. I pretty much just kept getting all of my air to air attacks get beat clean out. I just dont understand this matchup. It seems like sometimes certain attacks will beat out certain attacks of May's but if the distance is slightly off or the angle is slightly off, then it loses. In any case, the first round was lost. The 2nd round I wasnt doing to well, started to make a comeback a little, but then in the end I got beat out. I felt pretty shitty and was really hoping the Venom could come back to take it. Unfortunately, the Venom got worked HARD! It was like he almost wasnt even trying... After the match I looked over and saw that the May player was none other than that short haired girl who was standing around earlier.

To make matters worse, I saw my old team mates play their matches and they were doing well, except their 3rd guy was just some mediocre Johnny player who didnt win a single match the entire tournament. They actually made it all the way to the finals, mostly because the Jam player was beasting pretty well. They fought ASA's team in the prelim finals but they all got OCVed by ASA. Im not saying I would have won for sure had I been on their team, but I did play all 3 members of ASA's team in casuals right before the tournament and beat all of them. I just cant help to think that if those guys would have taken me on their team that we could have won it.

After the prelim ended, we waited around a bit for the finals to start. It was taking a long time, and then we noticed that they didnt plan to start the grand finals until 8 pm. Originally I wasnt expecting this tournament to last this long, because I think it originally said on the tougeki site that grand finals would start around 7 pm. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 9:30. Getting to the airport takes at least an hour, and we didnt want to miss our flight, so we reluctantly left without watching the grand finals.

We walked back to the train station and took the train back after quickly getting some food for the road. While I was on the train, I mailed ASA and asked him if they won. He said they did infact win, so now ASA/Nobu/LOK have qualified for SBO...

Pretty much the whole time going back home, I just kept thinking how crappy it is that I am having a hard time finding consistant good team mates. I know I am on the same level as all 3 of those guys, but I so often find myself having to try to do things all by myself (with a few exceptions) it just kinda annoys me cuz I know if a decent team would give me a chance, I could qualify. I know I shouldnt rely on anyone but myself, but realisticly even the best of the best cant do it on their own, they almost always have other people on their team beat people that they cant win against. Sometimes it just feels like im trying to qualify in a team tournament but im entering a singles tournament where I have to beat 3 people each round...

Anyway, enough of my emo whining. I figured I should probably worry about who im going to be teaming with for the Nakano tournament tomorrow. Kunihiro cant enter because the block finals are on a Saturday, and Yuki couldnt enter because he was still on vacation, so I had to dig a bit deeper into my contact list. I mailed Ma, the Venom, but he couldnt enter. I also mailed Gin-Slayer and HH on a whim. I didnt get a reply from them right away.

Matt and I made it to the airport about a half hour before our flight. In all honesty, we could have probably watched the finals but it would have been cutting it REAL close. Had I actually made it to the finals, I would have obviously stayed to play them regardless of missing my flight or not. This time, I was even more shocked by how lax the security was. I had a lighter in my pocket and they said I could just keep it on me for the flight! Also, I had that whole bag full of beer and they said it was ok to bring that on the flight with me too! That shit would NEVER fly in a US airport right now. We had enough time to buy some souvineers at a store in the airport and then we got on the plane. I slept the whole flight.

When we arrived at Haneda airport, I checked my phone and got a reply from both Gin and HH. HH said he would team with me but wanted to call me first to talk about something. So I gave him my number and told him sorry for the wait cuz I was just on the plane and stuff. He called me and basically told me that the Nakano tournament at TRF tomorrow was already full. They capped entry at 16 teams and already opened registration to the event like 2 weeks ago! I had no idea and thus basically, HH told me that if I had already reserved a spot he would join my team but that if I didnt it was impossable for either of us to enter. Then basically, he asked how I did in Hokkaido and told him I made it to the finals the first day and then lost to May the 2nd day cuz May is retarded. He told me that if in the future, I go to another long distance tournament, to let him know. He said he would join my team if I travel far... but only on one condition... I would have to pay for his travel expenses... heh. Im not sure if I should be happy that I have that option or insulted that thats the only way he would team with me. In any case, I told him how the next long distance tournament I was traveling to was going to be the one in Yamagata in a few weeks, but already am teaming with Junya, the female Dizzy from Niigata. Since we cant have 2 Dizzys on the team, the only way HH could join us is if he played Ky. Honestly, I dont really feel like paying 20,000 yen for his Ky... its decent but its not his Dizzy. Even my scrubby ass beat his Ky in the last tournament we played in heh. He didnt really seem like he wanted to play Ky either. Hes a great Dizzy player so entering with Ky wouldnt make sense anyway. In any case, I told him I would contact him again in the future about traveling far. I didnt really ask him what he considers far, but if he would be willing to join me for like a Gunma tournament, I would pay for that since its only like 5000 yen or something round trip on the regular train. Gin basically also said the same thing in his mail to me. That it was full but if I had a team registered he would join. Since the Nakano tournament was no longer an option, I mailed Honyo and told him the news.

After that, Matt and I took the tran back to Shinjuku and made it just before the trains stopped running. We decided we might as well just go to Current. It was pretty dead there honestly, just a few people. There were these 2 girls in their 20s sitting at the bar next to us and eventually we ended up talking with them and pretty much just talked to them most of the night. They both worked at massage places (the legit kind, not the shady kind) and one of them was really into metal and stuff so she was cool. We drank till a little after 4 and they closed Current early tonight at 4:30. After that, we walked with the girls to the corner near the station and they went to get some coffee at McDonalds. Matt and I went off to do more drinking at PSY.

When we got to PSY, there was just one guy there at the bar, and Natsume was working the bar. Natsume asked Matt if he remembered the last time he was there. Matt wasnt sure so Natsume filled him in on what happened. Turns out none of the stuff that Matt recalls was a dream at all, everything actually happened. Appearently Matt went there with some random Norwegian guy who was on vacation. Matt was drinking and hitting on some girl and then at some point te Norwegian guy started getting into some sorta argument with Ken, the bartender of GODZ who was there drinking as well. I guess for whatever reason, Ken never liked Matt much and Matt sorta suspected it and I guess since Matt was drunk he decided to say some mean shit to Ken and was like flipping him off and stuff and then Ken like threw him to the ground and kicked him in the head or something. Natsume said Matt didnt hit him or anything and Matt doesnt really remember many details. But basically after that happened, Matt probably just left the bar in a drunken state of confusion, got in a cab to some random place sorta by where he lives, got out, stumbled around, and passed out in a parking lot where he was eventually woken up by a cop and stumbled on home.

Matt seemed pretty upset from hearing the reality of that night and was just letting it weigh on his mind most of the time we were there and he also played lots of FFIV on his DS. Later on, more people showed up and we talked to Hibiki for a little bit and then left at closing time. Matt went home and I went to the manga kissa as always.

Wednesday, 5/6

I woke up the next day figuring I might as well just check out TRF anyway in hopes that I could somehow get on a team or at least just play some good casuals. When I got there, they only had one GG cab set up and almost no one was there, but they did have the full bracket already made and the TRF worker guy also said that they were indeed completely full. Most of the teams signed up were well known veteran teams and a few of them were people I was unfamiliar with. One team stood out in particular... Ogawa/RF/Mike. This would be the first SBO qual they entered this year. I would be surprised if they didnt win this one. I played a couple matches of GG vs the Axl player 明, and this one gold dizzy player. I went 1-1 with Axl and beat the Dizzy 1-0. Then one of the TRF guys started fiddling with the cab and I didnt really feel like waiting around to play more so I figured I might as well just leave and go back to Vegas. On the way to Vegas, I got some more big mac action. When I got to Vegas, it was fucking dead. My phone was almost dead so I figured I could just at least play the computer for a bit and plug it into one of the outlets on the wall near the cabs to charge and hope someone shows up. Eventually some Sol scrub showed up and played the computer too and beat the game and then he started challening me with Sol and Ky and I beat him 10 games in a row without losing a round. At some point in there, one of the guys that works at Vegas saw my phone charging and just unplugs it from the wall and puts it on the cab next to me and says I cant do that. Kinda annoying since it wasnt really like bothering anyone sitting there but it got charged enough so whatever. Also, Mitsurugi came by at some point and just sits down at an empty cab and starts playing Slayer vs the computer... wtf... I was getting pretty tired, and just kind wanted to go home and rest and see Ryoko, so I figured I might as well just head back home.

I slept on the train and made it to Takasaki but then the next train from there to my town wasnt for another hour, so it took a total of 4 hours to get home. Crappy Gunma trains....

So... this weekend I will enter the Shinjuku sportsland tournament which is the block finals along with the Nakano TRF results. I will be teaming with Honyo and most likely Yuki. Theres a pretty high chance Ogawa's team will be at this one so my hopes arnt too high but im just gonna show up and play my best anyway.

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