Monday, June 22, 2009

Compulsory Intermission

Well throughout the week I pretty much looked for team mates for this weekend's Tochigi/Gunma block. The only one able to go was Kunihiro and he could only go to the Sunday tournament. The location was at a place that was extremely far from just about any train station. Quite frankely there really was no point in going without a full team to a tournament like this. As a result, I had no choice but to simply sit this weekend out.

This weekend was pretty standard so dont really expect anything too epic in this blog entry. Read it if you want but its more or less more of the same.

Friday night I had an enkai in my town for work and it was more or less your standard enkai but it was in honor of these 2 young female college student teachers that worked at our school for 3 weeks. It was nice to work with them for a while.

I woke up Saturday morning after getting like 10 hours of sleep which is extremely rare for me these days. I headed up to Tokyo and went to Vegas cuz Rod said they were having a 100 yen for 3 credits deal for Gear and he was gonna stop in before he had to go to work at 6. A good crowd was there and I got lots of games in but most of the people werent like super famous or whatever. There was this one really good venom whos there sometimes and I played him a whole lot. Rod stopped in for a bit but he had to leave after maybe an hour. He told me he and Matt went clubbing at that same place in Shibuya the previous night. Ai sent us a message saying she was gonna be at GODZ for Hide (one of the bartenders)'s birthday party. She said she was gonna go there at like 7 pm which is way too early for me but I told her I would stop by later. Rod left at around 6 to go to work at Juke 80's and pretty much would be stuck working all night.

At some point I stopped and got some food and then went back and played a bit more. At around 11, I was about ready to just go drinking. I felt like I played enough for the day and I figured I should try to go say hi to Ai before she left because she has a tendancy to leave early when she goes drinking.

I headed over to GODZ and mailed Matt telling him I would be there. I didn't end up hearing from him all night. GODZ was pretty packed when I got there but unfortunately Ai had already left. I didnt really know anyone there at first aside from the GODZ staff but later on Heidi showed up and I talked to her most of the time there. Also, Jackie showed up and he bought me and a bunch of people some tequila shots which was pretty awsome. In addition, Hibiki, and Chibi Testament from Metal Event nights at Current was there. Later on, Hide got on the bar and everyone shot confetti popper things at him until and then he stage dived a few times off the bar and then ate his cake.

At around 2 pm I decided to go check out Current. It wasnt so packed but a few regulars were there like Rina, Mai, Piko, Shuji, Mogi, Sushi, and a few other people I didnt know. There was this dude from Sweden there who was the bassist of some underground band that did an opening act for Piko's band recently and I talked with him for a bit. I pretty much just hung out and talked with everyone for a while and stayed till closing. Pretty standard time but it was fun.

After that I went to PSY where about half the GODZ party relocated to after GODZ closed. I talked with Heidi and also Request Man (Yuki) was there for the first time in a while drinking. I guess he got some office job so he hardly bartends at PSY anymore.

Stayed till 6 and then got some McDonalds breakfast with Jackie and then went to sleep.

Woke up the next day and got some more McDonalds cuz it was fast. It gave me like the worse diarhea attack I have had in a loooong time and I spent a good while in Shinujku station toilet. It was not fun at all.

After that I went to Mikado in Takadanobaba and Mitsurugi was there but I was tired as fuck so I took like an hour nap on the bench in there. After waking up, I started playing against various people. Dream Maker was there for a bit and I got some games in with him. Turns out maybe he could have entered today's tournament but both he and Kunihiro use Anji so I didnt really think he would want to enter with a 2ndary character which is why I didnt bother asking him. Dream Maker left after maybe an hour or 2. Later, Hot Zappa was there too with her boyfriend. Later on a Slayer challenged me and I knew right away by the color and the style that it was Rod. I beat him like twice and then he played me again and beat me in a close game and when I went around to the other side he like ran away cuz he was trying to hide or something but I saw him anyway, and Hot Zappa was laughing. Later on Matt came and said he was too tired from clubbing so he slept all night last night. Also, Maruken and HH came as well. I played HH four times and won the first 2 games and then lost the next 2. I played a ton of games vs HZB's Robo-ky and they were really fun. Hes a really careful player and very patient so he really pushed my patience to the limits and I was getting a lot of really epic long comeback rounds where I would win with less than 10 seconds on the clock after coming back from a huge lifebar deficit. Towards the end I played Maruken a bunch of times and almost every single time it went down to the last round and I came so close to beating him but ended up losing like 7 in a row. You simply cant use your burst against that guy. All he does is bait all day. Hes got to be one of the most careful players Ive ever played, and his style is so different too. In general though, I felt like I was playing really well today so its all good.

I said bye to everyone and then headed out to go home. On my way home on the train in Gunma, there were these 2 loud obnoxious jackass Japanese guys that were probably drunk. They were just talking about the stupidest crap and being VERY VERY LOUD for like no reason and talking all rough and rude... and they were sitting right across from me. Like it was almost like they were trying extra hard to be as loud and obnoxious as humanly possable. I played DS and ended up beating Suikoden Tierkreis. Pretty decent game.

Next weekend there are 2 tournaments in Tokyo. I am almost 100% certain I will be teaming with Honyo and Kunihiro so it shouldnt be a problem. At the very least I should be able to enter the Sunday one and maybe even the Saturday one as well. Only 2 weekends left until quals are over.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Shiratori Missle

Last weekend I had promised Kunihiro that I would team with him this weekend if I could find us another team mate. I asked around and it turned out that both Shiratori and Eve were going to team up and they wanted me to be their 3rd. No one else said they could do it and I couldn’t just split those 2 up to team with me and Kunihiro and leave one out so I had no choice but to tell Kunihiro that I couldn’t find another single person to team with. I apologized to him and said we should team up again sometime. He wasn’t upset and understood. So with that, I was going to team with Shiratori and Eve. They both could only enter the Sunday tournament though.

On Friday, all of the JET ALTs in Gunma had a meeting in Maebashi. It was from early morning and lasted till about 4. It was a typical JET meeting but it was nice to get away from everyday work schedule for once. Afterwords, they asked people to stay and help them put stickers on books that were donated to the prefecture to be sent to schools. I wasn’t in a huge rush and most of the ALTs that I know well who will be leaving soon to go back home for good were gonna stay, so I stayed and helped out for a bit. I enjoyed some snus to make it interesting.

I stayed till about 5ish and then walked back to Maebashi station. I had just missed the train I was planning to take by 1 minute, but it turned out an express train was coming soon and would get me there at around the same time so it all worked out.

I headed to Takadanobaba Mikado for casuals. It was packed with the best of the best players. I got some great games in and managed to beat Mike’s Jam on my 3rd try. I also played against Inoue’s HOS twice, and I won both times! Beating Inoue is always one of the hardest things for me and I cant remember if I have ever beaten his HOS before… ever… so it felt very good to win those. Ogawa was there too and I played his Eddie a couple times but the best I could do was win a round here and there but I couldn’t beat him. I also played against various other people and got some good wins in. Dream Maker was there, and Rod and Matt showed up too. Mekemeke was there too and it was nice to get some games in with him. His Testament is seriously so beastly. I played him a few games and beat him a couple times but he was mostly dominating just about everyone he played. Its such a waste of talent since that guy is amazing but he never enters tournaments. The plan was to go to that B’ video game bar again in Nakano and this time Matt brought his PS2 setup with GGAC and we brought our sticks. Mekemeke was interested in coming but said we would probably be getting there too late since we were gonna eat and then go to Current first so he said maybe another time.

So, Matt, Rod, Dream Maker, and I headed out at closing time got some quick Sukiya, and then headed to Current. It was mostly kinda dead in there again tonight. Heidi, Sushi, and Mogi were working the bar, Bosch was at the bar and Nozomi was there with this big group of people she knew from back in High School who were having a reunion. Nozomi went to a national HS where people form all over Japan came, so the people in her group were from all sorts of places like Okinawa, Osaka, Yamanishi, Nagano, and a bunch of other places. Rod was talking with them and making some sorta joke about how is dick looked like some long snake-like Pokemon but I don’t remember what it was called and then they like were sending a bunch of BS pictochat messages to eachother on their DS and Rod drew the Pokemon.

Anyway, after a few hours of drinking there, we took a cab to Nakano and went drinking at the video game bar. It was pretty dead tonight aside from 2 guys playing PS3 and the dude who works there. We set up the GG setup but unfortunately there was a lot of lag. They only have newer TVs at this place and the progressive scan mode wouldn’t work. We made the most of it and just tried to have fun playing drunken laggy GG. I went around the whole rotation twice with my Faust and then I figured it wasn’t worth playing serious matches on this thing while drinking so I picked Ky and then it evolved in to everyone just playing random select and the 2 guys who wernt playing had to do 50 yen side bets on the other guys playing. It was pretty fun actually but it would have been nice if there was no lag. Towards the end, we played a couple last matches with our main characters but by then we were getting pretty drunk, espessially Matt and I who were drinking a bit more heavily. Dream Maker was doing good with his Anji.

After leaving, Matt and I wanted to keep drinking more. I wouldn’t be able to stay out drinking tomorrow night because of the Sunday tournament having entry start at 9 am and limiting teams to 16 teams and also being all the way in Ibaraki prefecture, so I wanted to get the most out of drinking tonight. Rod and Dream Maker decided to go home, so Matt and I took the train back to Shinjuku. We went to check out that one bar that the Nigerian guy brought us to last time since it was the only thing we knew that was opened this early in the morning but it turned out to be closed, probly cuz it was a Friday and last time we went was a Saturday. We then went inside PSY which was already closed but the bartenders were still there so we quickly just asked them for a recommendation. They suggested a place called B2B which was in Golden Gai, an area of Kabukicho that is packed with a bunch of tiny bars in a few blocks, most of them suck and/or are shady. We went looking for the place and accidentely realized we were sorta near Yago’s Izakaya so we went to find that but failed and then eventually found Golden Gai and B2B after asking a bunch of drunk old people that were dancing in some ally. We found the place and it turned out to be a reggae bar.

There weren’t many people there and most of the ones that were there were passed out at the bar but we figured why not, lets just drink. They charged a 900 yen cover charge which I was reluctant to pay but they had Yebisu on tap which was nice. All drinks were 600 yen. We started out by talking with the bar tenders a bit and it turns out this place has pretty damn limited music variety. They had a lot of reggae but they didn’t even have a lot of classic rock that fell sorta within the vicinity that people who often listen to reggae like. No Led Zeppelin, no Pink Floyd, even though both the guys working there said they love those bands. I don’t listen to much reggae so I struggled to find something to request, the obvious choice was Bob Marley and then I managed to get them to play some Jimi Hendrix. Anyway, at some point, Matt ordered a Gin Tonic and the guy said he could make it as strong as we wanted. Matt said make it very strong and the guy poored half of the glass as just Gin! Then Matt was like… just a little more… so the guy made it like 75% Gin with like some ice and a splash of tonic water LOL! I was like… I’ll have one of those too! So he made me one too the same way, and this thing probably had like 3 or 4 times the amount of Gin than a regular drink would have, so I think it made up for the 900 yen cover charge. Unfortunately it tasted pretty crappy. It wasn’t exactly high quality Gin. We sipped on those and talked about bullshit for a while and at some point down the road after finishing the whole thing, I found myself being woken up by the bartender and he gave me some water. I looked around and the bar was now full of people… and it was like almost 10 am! Matt was sitting over at a table now with a bunch of people talking. I told him we should probly go get some McDonalds breakfast soon before it ends at 10:30 but he was all about staying longer saying he was having fun drinking with these people. I talked with a couple of them for a few minutes. Then like before I know it, Matt is sitting over at the bar and is all pissed off. His mood did a complete 180. I guess one of the guys told him to fuck off cuz they felt threatened that Matt would pick up one of their girls or some dumb shit. I was messin around on the bongos they had there and then this one girl came and started talking to me and was really nice and then was asking about what was wrong with Matt. Matt wasn’t interested in listening to anyone at this point.

After he finished his last drink we left. As we were walking outside we passed by one of the girls that was in their group. She started to apologize about the way her friends were acting and then Matt just said “fuck you” and kept walking. She was kinda shocked and asked me what was up so I just told her not to worry about it cuz he was really drunk and in a bad mood and eventually Matt came back over and she was trying to make him feel better but he was just like “I don’t even care anymore” and rambling drunk so we eventually just left there and got McDonalds and missed breakfast by like 10 minutes so it wasn’t very enjoyable. Matt went to throw up like 3 times while we were eating. After that, we split ways and I went to sleep at the Manga kissa.

I woke up at like 5:30 pm… LOL! I got a mail from Matt saying he just woke up too… on the train. He was riding it passed out this whole time somehow. I stopped in at Vegas real quick to see what was up. Only a few people were there. Basara was playing his Testament that likes to just spam badlands too much and I beat him on my 2nd try and then he left and it was dead so I left too and headed to Mikado in Takadanobaba. There were a few more people here than at Vegas so I got some good games in. Dream Maker was already there playing too. After a little while, Rod showed up too. I had something like a 12 win streak for a while and then eventually lost to Imo’s Zappa. I came really close to beating 012’s Sol but that guy adapts so well he came back and won. I forgot who told me, but someone who was at the tournament earlier today that I couldn’t go to, said that Ogawa’s team had won, so they would be the team to face in the grand finals tomorrow. Yay….

After a few hours of playing, Rod said he had to leave soon because he had plans to meet up with some people to go clubbing tonight. He said they were gonna eat somewhere first and I hadn’t eaten yet all day so I decided to go tag along for food and a little drinking since I couldn’t stay out late tonight anyway. Dream Maker came along too and wanted to go clubbing.

So the 3 of us headed to Shibuya. I don’t go to Shibuya often so it was nice being somewhere different from the usual. We met up with this big group of people and I didn’t know any of them. There were like 3 white girls, 1 Japanese girl, and 2 white guys. The only person Rod actually knew was one of the white guys whos name was Shoemaker. We started out by walking to a couple of different places only to find they were all full. Everyone in the group was walking at a snails pace so it was taking forever to get anywhere. Eventually someone found some trendy western style Izakaya place called Red so we just went there cuz they seemed to have good looking food. I ordered some nachos and some BBQ chicken quesadillas and drank 2 giant beers which was all good. Then later I ordered some buffalo wings but was pretty pissed off when the price was like over 500 yen and they only gave me 4 wings. Pretty lame. The food was good but everything was really expensive so I ended up spending like 4000 yen just for that. Anyway, after we all finished eating, just about everyone left cuz I guess the only people going clubbing were Shoemaker, one of the white girls, and Rod and Dream Maker. They had this group discount ticket where if you are a foreigner or a girl, you can get into the club for 1000 yen and you get 2 free drink tickets, so basically you get in for free. Normally I wouldn’t pay a lot to get into a club cuz clubbing just isn’t really my thing. However, it was free to get in and I could stay out for a bit longer and felt like drinking more since I had a good buzz going from those giant beers, so I decided I would tag along just for a little bit.

We went to the club, it was some place called Camelot. At first they wouldn’t let me in cuz I was wearing sandals but luckily, since I came from that JET meeting on Friday, I had some dress shoes in my backpack. I was wearing shorts so it looked pretty ridiculous with the dress shoes on but honestly I didn’t even care, I just wanted to hang out and drink more. They let me in so we went inside. This place was pretty big and was packed as hell and there were A LOT of good looking women. They had like 3 separate dance areas. I couldn’t get my backpack into a locker cuz it was too big with my arcade stick in there. After trying to weave through the crowds with it on, it got really annoying so I went to try again and this one guy who works there told me they had a bag check-in desk so I checked it in which was a good idea. After that it felt much better. We pretty much just got drinks and walked around a bit and did a little bit of half ass dancing. None of the women really seemed to pay much mind to anyone. Rod wanted to buy this one cute girl a drink that was waiting in line next to us for drinks and then she suckered him into buying her 2 friends drinks too and then after that they didn’t even talk to him the rest of the night. Bitches. This wasn’t really my kinda scene at all and I cant really say I enjoyed the music at all, but I guess I was having fun enough just checking out hot girls and being drunk. Anyway, I ended up staying till about 2 am which was like an hour later than I was originally planning too but its alright. I said goodbye to my group and then got my bag and headed out. After walking for a little bit and having to fight off like 10 massage girls, I managed to find a manga kissa. It was pretty nice though and I got some comfortable sleep.

Unfortunately I only had time to sleep for like 4 hours. I woke up at 6:30 and headed to the train station. I had to be in Ibaraki at Tsukuba station by like 8:15 cuz Shiratori was gonna picke me up in his car.

I slept for another 45 mins on the train which helped a bit but I was still tired as hell. After waiting for a bit, Shiratori and Eve showed up in Shiratori’s car. Even though we had been to this place before last year, they didn’t quite remember how to get there. Luckily I printed a map. However, even with use of the map, we were unable to find the place for a good long while and drove around for a long time. FINALLY we noticed a MOS burger which was near the place on the map, and I was able to remember it was near a McDonalds too so we found it. Pink Panther game center isn’t very huge and doesn’t stand out much so it was hard to notice. I was a bit worried since entry started at 9 am and it was already a few minutes passed 9. Given what happened to me last weekend, I thought we might be screwed.

I was very wrong. Not only were we able to register with no problem, we were the ONLY people there and the first team to do so. After signing up and Eve deciding on the team name “Shiratori Missile” which I guess is some sorta inside joke between the 2 of them, we got on the 2 machines they had and started playing casuals. At this time a couple more random people showed up. Once I got on the machines and started playing I felt fine. I was still tired but the tiredness changed from fetuige to a sort of euphoric relaxing state and I was playing very well. I beat Eve and Shiratori a couple times as well as this one Millia but then eventually lost one to Shiratori. Then I went back and forth with Eve for a while. Eventually Hase showed up and started beasting with Slayer and got like 8 wins but I managed to beat him and end his streak. Gradually, more and more people started to pile in. Shiratori fought against Kawin’s PO and beat him which was pretty awesome. Around this time, I got a call from Matt. He had just arrived at Tsukuba station. He came out here cuz he wanted to watch the tournament. Since the place was so far from the station, I told him I didn’t really know how to describe how to get there so I told him to wait a minute. I asked Shiratori after he finally lost if he could pick Matt up. He was cool with it. When you know where you are going its only a 5 minute drive from the station. I went with him and we picked up Matt and then headed back to Pink Panther. On the way back in the car, Matt was telling me how he lost his bag with this PS2 and stick from drinking Friday night so he went back to B2B to try to find it. His bag wasn’t there but he forgot his snus. Turns out the bartender had it and then he was like “here you go, you can have this back, but its not very good. I ate a whole bunch of them and it was pretty bad!” I cant believe this guy actually ATE MULTIPLE snus! Not only are you NOT supposed to actually eat the stuff, but eating more than one!? Oh man… that guys gonna get really sick. I hope he manages to throw it all up. LOL! Fortunately for Matt, he found his bag at McDonalds.

Upon arriving back at the arcade, there were now a TON more people there than there were before I left. All the big names showed up. Even a bunch of well known players who already qualified showed up to watch. Some noteworthy teams were 012/Taku/Imo, Goro/Kakeru/Fumo, Kazuki/Kawin/Inoue, Hase/beast Millia/beast Chipp, and a bunch of other various good players. At this point it was almost impossible to get casuals in but I managed to squeeze in a few. I played Fumo’s ABA and lost. He had a streak for a bit and then some other Faust beat him. I then fought the other Faust and won but then lost to Kazuki. I think those were the only games I got to play. I also played one single game of SFIV to kill time against some Ryu and almost beat him in the last round but lost. I was hungry as hell but didn’t wanna eat cuz I knew it would make me sluggish so I just bought a pack of smokes and started chain smoking for like an hour lol. Eventually it was time to make the bracket. Somehow, there were 18 teams signed up even though they said limit to 16 teams. I was kinda pissed about this since we made such an effort to get there so early. They made the brackets with random number drawing. We were the first team signed up so we picked first. Shiratori and Eve wanted me to pick cuz they thought it was be good luck or something. I picked and got number 6 and that was good cuz there were 2 spots on the bracket that had to play extra matches (zero taisen) due to 18 teams and we were not one of them, so the extra teams didn’t effect us and I no longer cared. After the rest of the teams picked their numbers, our half of the bracket had both Hase’s team on it and also Inoue’s team on it… lucky us.

Our first match was against some team I never heard of consisting of Venom/Axl/Faust. After discussing it, we decided I would go first. Axl is a little hard for me but otherwise I know the matchups kinda well. I went first and they chose Axl. I played solid and careful and the guy just kept getting hit by most of the stuff I attacked him with and I ended up dizzying him first round and winning and also took the 2nd round. Up next was Venom. Once again I just played really careful. I managed to win the first round. 2nd round he got me in the corner and came back. 3rd round was going well and then he hit me with a gold burst. He then proceeded to use ALL his meter in this really really long pressure string of endless mixups but somehow I managed to block ALL of it and then I came back at him hard and killed him. Last was the Faust mirror match. I was doing really well and dominating the first round but then I needed like one more hit against him and he got me with a sneaky scalpel pull and I lost. I came back and won round 2 but then the 3rd round went down to the wire and I lost. It sucks I lost but we still had 2 guys left so I wasn’t too worried. Shiratori said he would handle this guy and went next. It was a fairly close game and pretty hype. At one point, the Faust busted out his golden shield and slashbacked like 7 hits in a row of Shiratori’s Ino note, it was nuts. Shiratori fought hard and it went down to the last round. With some good note pressure and well placed mixups, he was able to take down the Faust and we advanced past the first round.

Hase team won their first match and advanced as well, and the funny thing was, the team they had to fight signed up with a name that basically meant “We came here today to fight Hase” lol! Some luck that was, too bad he OCVed them. Inoue team also won their first match with a Kazuki OCV. Goro’s team advanced and so did 012’s team, over on the other side of the bracket. Unfortunately, our next match was against Inoue’s team. I managed to beat Inoue in casuals Friday night and Shiratori just beat Kawin in a game of casuals so I went into it with a positive mindset. We decided to put Eve out there first. We were thinking they would send out Kazuki but surprisingly they busted out Inoue. I don’t remember many details but Eve lost to Inoue 2 rounds. I went next. Inoue pretty much just got in my head and stayed there the whole match. During round 2, he had me in the corner and I guess I kinda panicked and kept hitting buttons trying to stop his advances with a poke or throw him but he just kept hitting me out of everything I did and I got owned hard. I really should have just blocked more but I got intimidated and fucked up. Oh well. Shiratori went next and also lost to Inoue 2 rounds in a row. And with that, we were eliminated by an Inoue OCV. I guess if it was going to happen he was gonna be the guy to do it. I was kinda disappointed for not putting up a better fight since I was playing really well all day but I also didn’t get too upset since Inoue is easily one of the best players period and usually always beats me.

We stayed and watched the rest of the tournament. Having lost, I decided to do some snus and took a drag of Whisky (which I didn’t try drinking before the tournament, I felt like I was in a good place mentally and didn’t need it). With lack of sleep and an empty stomach I now had an AWSOME buzz going so watching the rest of the tournament was at least pretty chill. Hase’s team advanced again, as well as Goro’s team, but I was shocked to see 012’s team get defeated… by May! I don’t know the guys name but hes a good May player I see around fairly often. Im glad it was them and not me though since I have had enough May losses this SBO season and don’t want any more.

Up next was the semi final for today’s preliminary. Hase’s team vs Inoue’s team was first. I was VERY shocked to see this go down, but the Millia player on Hase’s team ended up OCVing Inoue’s whole team! They looked really disappointed afterwords. I don’t remember who Goro’s team fought but they won.

Finals were Hase’s team vs Goro’s team. My memory is a bit foggy but I think Hase beat Goro and lost to Fumo and then I think Fumo beat the rest of the team, I cant really remember but Goro’s team won.

There was now going to be a brief intermission before the finals started. Ogawa was talking to me and Matt for a bit but we always have a hard time understanding him cuz he uses lots of slang. Turns out his team today did not have RF on it. I don’t know the reason but perhaps since RF lives in Kansai he couldn’t make it this time. Instead, the team was Ogawa, Mike, and a Sol player, who I think might have been Yume. I played against him at Mikado on Friday night actually and beat him pretty convincingly the only match we played.

Also, while we were sitting there, we suddenly heard a strange loud sound. At first I thought it was a game, then Matt said it sounded like the sounds of a crowd applauding. Turns out, we look outside and theres a bunch of people gathered around the front door. It was now HAILING! There was a freakin hail storm out of no where just raging on outside along with tons of heavy rain. It was pretty shocking. It went on for a good long while. While we were waiting for the finals to start, Matt and I played some Puyo Puyo on the DS and then Shiratori and Eve joined in and owned both of us hard cuz those guys were pretty beastly at that game.

After about a half hour wait, the finals began. I think this is actually the 3rd time Goro’s team had made it to the finals of an SBO qual and also the 3rd time Ogawa’s team had made it as well. Ogawa’s team wasn’t fucking around, they just sent Ogawa out first. A few rounds were sorta close but honestly, Ogawa pretty much just tore through the whole team in the order of Goro, Kakeru, Fumo. It was an Eddie rape fest. After winning, Ogawa let out a big shout of victory, stood up and hugged his team mates. He looked extremely happy.

And with that, it was pretty much time to go. The rain had died down so Shiratori, Eve, Matt, and I all decided to get some food. We drove around for a long time trying to find a good place to eat, stopping at some place that was way too expensive and then finally deciding on a pretty classy katsudon place. It was still also a little expensive but we just went with it. The portions were huge and we all got stuffed. It was the only thing I ate all day (aside from some icecream I got from the vending machine after we lost at the arcade) so I was starving. During dinner, I discussed the rest of the SBO schedule with Shiratori and Eve. There are only 3 weekends of SBO left. Next weekend is in Tochigi/Gunma, the next one is Tokyo, and the last one is also Tokyo but is the same weekend as the Okinawa one that I want to go to. I was hoping that those 2 guys might be able to go with me, but Shiratori is very busy with work and Eve is a broke college student who is all out of money. They were sorry to say that today was going to be their last SBO tournament this year. I was disappointed to hear that because they are probably always my favorite team to enter with. Both of them are cool guys and good players and we have good team chemistry but it cant be helped. We talked about some other various stuff like EVO and other games and all kinds of things.

After eating, we stood outside for a bit while Eve had a smoke and I offered him some snus. It was his first time trying it. Thankfully he didn’t try to eat it LOL. He said it burned which is normal for a first time snus user and I don’t think he left it in long but whatever. After that, they dropped us off back at the station. I thanked both of them for all the times we teamed up this year and told them we should get together and play again sometime. We said our goodbyes and then Matt and I rode the train back to Tokyo, I was passed out the entire way.

After waking up we arrived at the end of the Tsukuba line in Akihabara. I was absolutely exhausted and so was Matt. We technically had time to go play more casuals but we were both too tired. After stopping at a 7-11 so Matt could use the ATM, we split up and headed home our separate ways. I had to stand for the first like 30 minutes of my train ride but once I got to sit down I was out cold the entire rest of the way back home. It was kinda nice to get home a little earlier than usual and I rested VERY well all night in my bed, it felt great.

Next weekend is the Tochigi/Gunma block. Even though one of the tournaments is in Gunma, its still 2 hours from where I live and the arcade is no where near any train stations so its gonna be hard to get to both of these since they also both have strict entry requirements with early registration time and 16 team limits. I am unsure of who I will team with or if I will even be able to go but I will try to get that worked out throughout the week and hopefully I will be able to give it another shot next weekend.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Earthquakes, Wolves, and 80's Mustaches... but what about SBO?

Ryoko had the day off on Saturday so she decided to come to Tokyo to drink with us. I headed out to Tokyo alone cuz Ryoko had to work till like 7:30 or something. She would take the shinkansen out to Tokyo and meet up with me later. I started out by heading over to Takadanobaba Mikado. There was a good crowd there. Among them was Ogawa, Inoue, FAB, Hase, Udei, Seta, and Ririko. I started out by watching Ririko lose to Seta and then I tried my hand at it but lost in a mirror match. Then Ririko beat him so I tried to play her but lost again. Then for a while I fought against a few various people and got a small win streak. Then eventually I went over to fight Ogawa who had a small win streak and was using Potemkin. I played him 3 times and lost.

Then I got a mail from Ryoko saying she would be in Tokyo soon so I headed over to Shinjuku station to meet up with her. Her older sister, Naoko, who is 25, was gonna meet up with us to go drinking at Current as well. After having originally met me, Ryoko said that Naoko thinks I am very nice and is now sorta interested in meeting other foreign guys, so Ryoko sorta wanted to introduce her to Matt. While I was waiting for Ryoko I mailed Matt to ask where he was at, he said he was actually on a date with one of the girls we met at the Finnish event last weekend and went to PSY with. He refers to her as Cosplay girl because she was wearing some slutty school girl uniform. Its obvious that this is cosplay and not a real uniform due to the fact that this girl is 36. Matt really cant seem to get enough of those older women, whether he intends to or not.

Eventually Ryoko showed up and we headed over near Current to meet up with Naoko who was waiting in front of the 7-11 near there. She was already there for a little while and seemed kinda pissed at Ryoko at first over the phone for being a bit late, but then once we saw her in person she acted normally. We arrived at Current and it wasn’t so packed. There was an ok crowd for a regular Friday but most of the people there I didn’t know. The 3 of us sat and talked for a bit about various stuff and eventually Matt showed up… with Cosplay Girl! Originally he said she was gonna take the last train home but I guess she changed her mind. Upon asking how Matt’s date went (in private mind you, not in front of everyone else), he told me they had just came from a love hotel, lol! This girl didn’t waste anytime giving it up on the first date and asked Matt to be her boyfriend until he goes back to the US in a month, haha! Matt made a good call and turned her down on the girlfriend part. She just kinda shrugged it off. After the whole Akiko thing (who keeps sending guilt mails btw), its probably best for him to just play it safe on this one.

Matt sat with us at our table and the Cosplay girl made some brief conversation with Naoko and then went to sit at the bar. Eventaully Rod showed up as well and we all sat and drank and talked for a while. Unfortunately, Naoko left kinda early, she said she had a Jazz show to go to tomorrow at some bar, and Ryoko told me that Naoko doesn’t like to stay out late. She said she had fun though and would like to come drink with me at Current again sometime. She lives very close to Shinjuku actually so its not hard for her to come out. Before she left, she exchanged emails with Cosplay girl which was a bit of a surprise. I guess they plan to hang out sometime (?)

A little later on, Cosplay girl decided to leave. She said she wanted to get home to get some sleep. I asked her how shes gonna get home without a train and she said she would walk. I asked her long it would take and she said maybe like 3 hours. There was only like 3 hours left till Current closed, so I asked her why she doesn’t just stay till 5 and then take the first train. She said she wanted to get sleep. I was wondering how shes gonna get any more sleep by walking for 3 hours over staying here and taking the train since she would get home at the same time, but I didn’t feel like getting into some endless illogical loop of questioning her flawed logic so I just let it go hah.

Once Current closed at 5, Matt, Ryoko, and I headed for PSY. Heidi was working the bar at Current (as she seems to do now every Friday) and she came with us as well after she finished work. Rod decided to go home so we split up on the way there. This was Ryoko’s first time at PSY. It was more or less a pretty typical night there. We squeezed in a little Count of Tuscany action and enjoyed some drinks.

Once PSY closed, we were hungry so we got some ramen at some random ramen place I had never been to. After eating, it was time for Ryoko and I to find a hotel to stay at. It was already almost 7 am so at this point its pretty much a love hotel or nothing. Love hotels vary greatly in price so sometimes you have to search a bit to find a good deal, but fortunately they are all pretty clumped together a lot of the time so its not that bad. It was raining a bit though which kinda sucked. After searching for a little bit, we eventually found a place with a good deal and checked in.

Im not going to go into detail about the events which occurred within our hotel room, but some stuff happened and then we went to sleep. Before we woke up for good, I was woken by the room shaking. No, Ryoko wasn’t trying to straddle me in my sleep… I had just experienced my first earthquake. In Chicago, earthquakes are pretty much unheard of, and since the prefecture of Japan that I live in is surrounded by mountains, we never get them there either. It was pretty mild but kinda cool to experience. It lasted maybe about 30 seconds. I went back to sleep and we eventually woke up and checked out of the hotel sometime around 4 pm Saturday.

We originally were planning on checking out Ueno Zoo cuz it sounded like a fun idea and I havnt been to a zoo in like over 10 years or something. Unfortunately we checked the time on Ryoko’s phone and the zoo closes at 4 lol. We were pretty hungry so we just kind walked around in Okubo for a bit and checked out some resturaunts. Also, I found this awesome liquor store that had some really rare beers I never seen before, so I bought a few to bring back home later. Also, they had root beer there. Root beer is not normally sold in Japan. Most Japanese people don’t even know what it is. Im honestly not even a big fan of it, but I sorta felt like having some so I bought a can of A&W and split it with Ryoko. It was her first time tasting it and she couldn’t quite tell if she liked it or not but she said it was certainly a taste she had never experienced before.

Eventually we decided on going to an izakaya to have some food and start drinking at like 5 pm, one hour after we woke up, cuz we are just that hardcore. The place just opened at 5 so we were the only ones there for a bit until more customers came, but it was nice and we talked a lot about various stuff and enjoyed some good food and some drinks. Also, I used their bathroom and found some guy’s wallet on top of the toilet paper dispenser. I think it was one of the guys who worked there. I gave it back to him and he seemed kinda embarrassed heh. Hes lucky im an honest guy. There was only 1000 yen cash (about 10 bucks) in there though.

I got a call from Rod saying that he was gonna meet up with Nick and this one girl named Lisa to go to have some more food and drinks so we decided to tag along as well. They were gonna meet in front of Seibu-Shinjuku station at around 7, so after Ryoko and I finished up at the izakaya, we took a walk over to there to meet up with them. On the way, Matt messaged me saying he was gonna come too but was kinda lost saying he didn’t know the area around Heidi’s apartment. I was like “you stayed at Heidi’s?! Did you sleep with her?” and he was like “no I just crashed there.” Which I believe given they are just friends and Heidi isn’t that kinda girl at all.

Anyway, we met up with Nick, Rod, and Lisa (shes a Japanese American from California that goes to the same school as Rod and Nick). We got on the train and headed to this one Italian restaurant. I don’t remember what it was called or what the station it was at was, but this place rocked pretty hard. We ordered a bunch of pizza’s (which were damn tasty compared to most pizza in Japan and reasonably priced) and a lot of wine. They sold big jugs of wine, enough for like 4 glasses, for 600 yen! That’s pretty dirt cheap. Eventually Matt showed up and the 6 of us feasted on pizza and wine, except Ryoko got beer cuz she hates wine, and Lisa cant really drink for some reason.

After the pizza, we headed back to the train. Rod and Matt wanted to go play some GG. I was down for it. It was already getting late so Ryoko decided to just go back home now. She had to work early in the morning the next day, and since we were gonna go play GG, it was a good time for her to head out anyway. I said bye to her when we got to Takadanobaba station and then she got on her next train to head back home. Nick also split up with us here cuz he lives in Takadanobaba and doesn’t play Gear. Lisa also went home.

It was now time to get some practice in for tomorrow’s SBO qual. The tournament tomorrow is the block final that goes along with the one I went to last weekend. Its another Kanagawa tournament. Unfortuantely, this one is another one of those stupid strict ones that only allows 16 teams to enter and registration starts at 10 am. I really hate getting up that early to head out there and register for these kinds of tournaments, and Ive done it for my team every single time, so I asked Honyo and Kunhiro if either of them could register for us this time. Honyo said he couldn’t but then Kunihiro said he would, so that meant I could go out drinking again tonight! Sweet. There was a decent sized crowd again at Mikado this time. I don’t know who most of the people were that I was playing, but I got some games in with Johnnyo and that one Ky player who has the really good footsies and zoning who used to go to Vegas all the time. Matt took a game on Johnnyo which was pretty good on his part. I had pretty much been drinking all day but since it was pretty gradually over a long period of time, and I was full of food, I didn’t really feel that drunk so I was able to play decent anyway. We ended up staying until midnight which is when this arcade closes. Rod, Matt, and I were the last 3 people there playing GG and Rod and Matt, as usual, had to squeeze in as many last minute games against each other possible. Eventually they finished up and we headed out to go drinking.

We were walking on our way to Current and we ran into Shuji. We stopped in a Sunkus to get some redbulls and stuff and he told us he was heading to Zin. We were gonna go to Current but he said he would come meet up with us later. Current ended up being pretty fuckin dead. A few random people were there and like the usual staff plus Yonei and that was about it. We sat at the bar and had a few beers and played some Puyo Puyo against eachother on DS. Then we started drawing ridiculous shit and picto chatting the pictures to eachother on the DS. I drew a really half ass picture of all of Faust’s random items. Also, I don’t remember how it came up, but I was telling Matt about this one customer review of a 3 Wolves Howling At The Moon T-shirt I saw on amazon.com that Nives from SRK posted in the Chicago thread a while back. It was like the funniest shit ever and I couldn’t stop laughing when I originally read it at work.

You can find the link here, go read it!: 3 Wolves Howling At The Moon Shirt!

Anyway, we decided since Current was kinda sucking, we would go head to Nakano and drink at Rod’s bar Juke 80’s and also check out this one video game bar. On our way out, we ran into Shuji again as we were going down the stairs. He said Zin was dead too and decided to come with us to Nakano. We split a cab there and then headed to Juke 80’s.

We got some food and ordered some beers and chilled there for maybe an hour. Juke 80’s has a big TV screen and does music video requests which is kinda cool. Rod and Matt wanted to show me the music video for Journey’s Separate Ways cuz they once saw it there before and they said it was extremely hilarious. Let me tell you… that video has got to be one of THE GREATEST (yes, THE FUCKING GREATEST) music videos I have ever seen in my life! Theres no possible way anyone could watch that video and not laugh their fucking ass off. GO WATCH IT NOW!

Journey – Separate Ways: VIDEO!

The only thing that could make this video any more awsome is if all the band members had 3 Wolves Howling At The Moon shirts.

Also while we were eating, Shuji asked me another one of his random English questions. He always asks us random questions about some of the strangest English and sometimes I wonder where he hears this stuff from hah. He asked what the difference between “shit!” and “hole shit!” means. I was like… “hole shit? Wtf?” and we eventually figured out he meant “holy shit!”. So basically I just told him that you can use “shit!” when something surprising or bad happens and “holy shit!” is the same thing but just more extreme. Like if someone spilled a beer you would say shit, but if someone spilled the whole fucking keg you might say “holy shit!”

At some time around 4 am, we decided to go check out the near by video game bar. On our way out, some cute girl that Rod knows who he hadn’t seen in a while showed up. He told us to go on ahead and said he would stay and talk with the girl for a bit and meet up with us later. The 3 of us headed over to the video game bar. The place was called “B’”. I don’t know what it stands for but I’ll just assume it stands for Bozac cuz that would rock. Among all the video game bars I have been to, this place is probably the best. They had 3 TV areas with consoles hooked up. The place had tons of customers and not only that, but there was a good amount of cute girls there, playing video games! Pretty hot stuff haha. When we got there, the only open TV was the one with the Famicom and the PS2. We got some beers and started off playing Kung-Fu! I forgot what the name of the game was in Japanese but I used to have this game on NES and it brought back some memories. We also played some Rockman 5 which is pretty hard when you are drunk. At some point I went over to the bar to ask the guy working there if they had any Castlevania games for Famicom but they didn’t unfortunately. As I was passing by, a cute girls who was playing Wii Tennis accidently wacked me with her wiimote lol! We played a few more random wtf games I never have seen before and then eventually the table next to us opened up. It had a Super Famicom and they had Street Fighter Zero 2… for Super Famicom. I don’t know how this game was able to run on the Super Famicom but somehow it did. It was pretty slow and there was like a 5 second pause before each match started. We were playing on crappy pads so it was hard to get most stuff out right but it was still fun. I was pretty much undefeated all night but then I declared the next match vs me and Matt was for the title of “Drunken Gaijin Living in the Kanto Area Pad Super Famicom Street Fighter Zero II World Champion!”. It was going kinda even and then Shuji like turned the game off or something on accident. We fired it back up and then replayed the match and Matt beat me by like a hair. So I guess for now he is the “Drunken Gaijin Living in the Kanto Area Pad Super Famicom Street Fighter Zero II World Champion!” but im just gonna own him next time and regain my honor!

Eventually it was time for the place to close and Rod hadn’t showed up yet so we left to check if he was still at Juke 80’s, and he was. He was talking with that girl the whole time. As soon as we got back in there, Shuji started hitting on her lol! Shameless. After that, we all went to get some McDonalds breakfast. From there I went to go try to find a manga kissa around Nakano to stay at cuz I was lazy and didn’t wanna go back to Shinjuku. There were 2. One was too expensive and the other one only offered 3 hour packages at that time so it wasn’t enough. I reluctantly headed back to the station and got on the train. While I was on the train I was really sleepy so I just said screw it and decided I would just sleep on the Yamanote line again like I did that one time for like an hour or so… except this time it was for like 5 hours haha. Its fine for the first few hours because I was so drunk I just passed the fuck out, but once you start to sober up and you can feel how uncomfortable it is, you start periodically waking up a lot.

At around 10:30 I got a message from Honyo asking if I was able to register for the tournament. I told him Kunihiro was gonna do it but that I didn’t hear from him yet so to wait and then I would mail him back. I mailed Kunihiro and went back to sleep waiting for his reply. I woke up again to Honyo asking again with no reply from Kunihiro. It was about noon now so I figured I might as well just suck it up and go check out the place myself since I wasn’t hearing from Kunihiro. I was already on the train anyway. I got to Shibuya and changed trains and then it took about 30 to 40 mins to get there. After a little walking I found the place, it was a nice arcade and inside a huge shopping mall. I went to the front desk and asked the guy if I could see the signup sheet. He told me that entry was already over and that I couldn’t sign up. I explained to him that my team mate already came and signed us up and that I just wanted to check. He like flashed the sheet in front of me for like 5 seconds and didn’t even give me time to look well. Then he was like, go find your friend. I was like, well I don’t know where he is, can I just see one more time? So he let me look again and I didn’t see our names on there anywhere. I walked around and found where the 2 GG cabs were with all the players crowded around, but Kunihiro wasn’t there. I then went to go call him. He told me that when he got there that it was already full. I was also talking to Ojima and he said people were out there lined up since 9 am, so even if I went myself I doubt I would have been able to sign up either. I hate these ridiculous entry requirements. On one hand it technically makes the tournament easier if theres less teams you have to beat but with the quals being so limited this year compared to last year, it sucks when some arcades decide to be so restrictive. Plenty of other places have unlimited teams or the limit is very high so everyone who comes out can play. I would feel really bad for people who travel really far to come to some of these and get turned down entry (I technically came 4 hours from where I live but my situation is different I guess since I live in Tokyo on the weekends basically, but it still sucks). Anyway, Kunihiro asked me about next weekend and I told him that there would be 2 tournaments in Ibaraki prefecture. He said he could go to the Sunday one but not the Saturday one. Also, I told him about how I was planning on maybe going to Okinawa for the very final tournament and he actually seemed interested. If we can find one more solid player I think it’s a feasible option.

Anyway, after talking with him on the phone I went back in the arcade and stood in line to play some casuals. After watching this beastly Chip player beat both Kawin and Kazuki, I tried my luck at him. I won the first round and lost the next 3 but they were all pretty damn close. After that I just gave up trying again cuz there were waaaayyyy to many people waiting to play and the tournament was going to start very soon anyway so I knew I wouldn’t have time to get another game in. I saw some lone guy playing SFII AE so I went to go play him. I picked Blanka and beat him 5 times in a row. He used several characters like Fei Long, T Hawk, Guile, Ken, and finally Gief. I beat his Gief and then he tried again against Gief and I lost and then just decided that was enough and left.

I got back on the train and got some food for the trip and the Sunkus near the station. I took a nice nap too, I was still tired as hell actually. I didn’t sleep long or very well. I figured I might as well just play some casuals so I headed for Mikado again. A few people were there but it was kinda dead. Among them was Mitsurugi and also Honyo was there too! I said hi to Honyo and then went to play Mitsurugi’s Zappa and lost like something like 6 times in a row. He was just beasting as always. I came pretty close to winning a few times though. Then I went to play some other people and was doing much better and got a few small win streaks. Honyo said he played Mitsurugi earlier too and got beasted on. Later on, Rod showed up out of no where and sat next to me on the other cab and then we played eachother for a bit until he had to leave to go to work. A little later, Maruken played against me with his BA and I actually managed to win 2 games against him out of maybe like 6. I even perfected him one round. At some point, Kazuki came so I guess the tournament was over. I asked him who won and he said Mugen’s team won. It was Mugen(BR)/Chonari(ZA)/Satou(JO). They won the tournament last weekend so they were already in the finals today and they now will be playing in SBO. Runner up was Inoue/Kazuki/Kawin.

Towards the end, I was getting really really sleepy and hungry. I got a redbull which helped a bit. At some point I went to get some food near the end. I went to McDonalds cuz it was close by. I tried to order a McPork and 2 Shakashaka chickens (basically a big chicken patty), and I asked for some ketchup. They told me they can only give me ketchup if I order fries. I was like… “but every other McDonalds always gives me ketchup”. Then the manager comes and starts arguing with me about it and hes like “we don’t give ketchup at this mcdonalds” and im like “well then im gonna go eat at a different mcdonalds, bye” and I left. A fast food restaurant (espessially McDonalds) not giving customers ketchup is just ridiculous. Ill never give that shitty McDonalds my business. Theres another one right down the street too LOL, but as I was passing it I saw a Mastuya and decided id rather just have curry and rice instead. I ate it and it was way better than McDonalds and then I went back to Mikado for like a half hour. The really good Ky who plays that crazy footsies and zoning game was there and I played him 4 times. I lost once, then I replayed him and beat him, perfecting him the last round. Then he played me twice more and I lost. I really was just so tired at this point I didn’t care anymore and I had to leave so I headed out.

On the way back I stopped at a bookstore at Akabane station while waiting for the next train and found that they are now releasing the X-files DVD by DVD once every week starting this week for less than 500 yen a disc! It comes with like a guide book and a full case and everything. Each disc has 4 episodes which is pretty good for that price. I honestly already have the entire series on DVD but I just copied my friend’s Chinese bootleg collection. I wouldn’t mind owning the entire series on legit DVDs but the best part of all is that it has Japanese language and subtitles, which means I can watch it with Ryoko. The X-files is my favorite show ever, hands down, so for me this is pretty sweet. Its also a good way to study Japanese if I watch it with the Japanese subtitles on. Win win situation as far as im concerned so I bought disc 1.

It sucks that I couldn’t enter the tournament this weekend but I had a good time anyway; it was actually a really fun weekend. Anyway, next weekend is the Ibaraki block. So far Kunihiro will be on my team for Sunday. Honyo said he cant make it cuz its too far away. I still need to find one more guy and also need to consider what im gonna do about the Saturday tournament. Theres 4 more weekends of quals left (not counting the last chance qual the day of SBO), and there are still so many top players and SBO veterans that havnt qualified yet. Im gonna do my best and if I make it that’s great, if not, then ill figure something out for the last chance qual.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hit My Golden Shield!

This weekend the only qual was a prelim for the next Kanagawa block. My team would be Kunihiro (AN) and Honyo (BA). It was scheduled for Sunday and would start at 3 pm, meaning I had plenty of time for drinking and casuals this weekend. On the way to Tokyo, I got a message from 722 who had just arrived back in Japan. He was gonna meet up with us to play some games but ended up having jet lag so he bailed out for Friday.

I headed over to Takadanobaba Mikado for casuals. I met up with Rod near the station to show him how to get there cuz it was his first time to go. A few big names were there. I was doing pretty well and managed to get a few wins on Karun’s Jam. I didn’t really keep track of every match I played throughout the night, but I was doing well for the most part. After a little while, Matt showed up as well. At sometime around 11 or so, we headed out to go drinking.

We got off the train at Shin Okubo which is the station between Takadanobaba and Shinjuku. Its about equal distance to Current from there than it is from Shinjuku station and that’s the way I came from the very first time I accidentally found Current. We walked for a little bit trying to find a place to eat and we eventually ended up going to this one place called “Pizza Pasta Curry” which is on the way. Matt and I saw this place before but never went inside. It turned out to be almost completely empty but the food ended up being good. I got a mushroom and chicken pizza, Matt got some curry and rice, and Rod got a gorgonzola pizza. It took them a while to bring us our food. Matt got his first and ate like half of it before my pizza came. My pizza came next and it was good as hell actually. Rod’s came last, and the waitress brought him some stuff that looked like icecream. She told him to put it on the pizza. We were all just like… what? So Rod put it on and it ended up being kinda weird. I traded him a slice of mine for his and I cant really say I enjoyed it too much but whatever. Rod and I also got a glass of wine in honor of the Count of Tuscany.

After eating we headed into Current. Tonight was Finnish night! There was some sorta Finnish music fest going on somewhere in Tokyo earlier in the night. I wasn’t really familiar with any of the bands that came and I wasn’t able to make it to the live show anyway since I get to Tokyo late all the time. However, Current was packed with a bunch of Fins and a lot of cute Japanese girls who like Finnish guys, as well as some regulars. I made sure to do TONS of snus all night in honor of the great Finnish people who exposed me to its greatness in the first place. I was surprised that The Snus Man didn’t show up. Antti said he didn’t feel like coming for whatever reason. Kana was there and ended up leaving pretty early with some guy from one of the bands heh. At some point, I went up to one of the Japanese girls there and was just making small talk for the hell of it. I asked her if this was her first time here, and shes like, no. Then she asks me very quickly if I am Finnish. I reply that I am not and she instantly like just shoos me away and has no interest in conversing with me any further! LOL! Its pretty ridiculous actually. I wasn’t even trying to hit on this girl at all and the second she finds out im not Finnish its like I have some sorta disease… hah. I bet if I told her I was Finnish, she would have been all over me too. Some people are stupid. Otherwise, much of the night was just spent getting drunk with Antti and some other people. I ended up peeing outside in the drain like every time that night cuz the line for the bathroom was always ridiculous. Also at some point, I was outside talking with Mai and some people and this one Japanese guy was talking with me and I forgot how it came up but he asked if I had a girlfriend so I showed him Ryoko’s picture on my cellphone and then he just went on for like 10 minutes non stop saying how hot she is and how lucky I am etc and then just kept giving my cigarettes hah. Another one of the guys out there was like all over Mai too. I went back inside for a while and then after a little while longer I went back outside again where Chip, Heidi, Rod, Matt, and SPG Chris and a few other people were chilling outside by the stairs. We talked about random crap for a while and there was this one Finnish guy who came out there who almost got in a fight with some big fat guy earlier. Matt offered him a snus to be polite and the guys just like, “Oh, I’ll have 2” and just grabs them and doesn’t say thank you or anything. I think he was one of the band guys and obviously thinks quite highly of himself for some douchebag that weve never even heard of. Anyway, overall it was a really good night and the place was packed as hell; you could hardly even walk around inside.

Once the party ended at the usual time, I said bye to some people and we rounded up a big group to go to PSY with us consisting of me, Rod, Matt, Heidi, Chip, Shuji, and these 2 Japanese girls we just met. PSY got pretty packed when we got there. In anticipation for listening to The Count of Tuscany, Rod and I got a glass of wine. Natsume put the song on for us and it was Rod’s first time to hear it. Unfortunately, after about maybe 12 minutes of the song, Natsume turned it off early. I was kinda annoyed but its like 19 minute long song so I guess he wanted to put something else on, its understandable. I still wanted to hear the rest of it though.

We stayed till closing and tried to rally up a group to go drink somewhere else cuz Matt and I were still all about drinking more. Turns out everyone was pretty much too tired or had stuff to do tomorrow. Matt and I were thinking about where else we could go, so we went inside a Family Mart and bought some stuff and then while we were standing outside, one of those Nigerian guys came up to us as they often do. He said we should go drink at his bar and stuff just like the all say. He then was like, we have 5 dollar beers. We asked if there was a cover charge and he said no. We asked if you pay as you go or afterwords and he said pay as you go. We asked if they were gonna pull some shady shit and he said no. He said we should just go drink and play some darts. Honestly it was raining and we had no other ideas and the place was right across from PSY so we said, what the hell… lets give it a shot. This is the first time I ever was led by a Nigerian guy to a bar and actually went inside. Normally this is probably a TERRABLE idea, but actually, it turned out to be OK! They had asahi super dry on tap for 500 yen, the place was just like a small bar with some tables in the back and a dart board. Most of the music was just like some crappy hip hop, some soul music kinda stuff, and some 80s music. It wasn’t really that bad though and it was a place where we could drink longer. The owner of the place was this kinda stocky black guy who looked a little like Cedric the Entertainer and he had this bright red suit on. Looked pretty cool actually. There were a couple other Japanese guys there and one of them came and started talking to us in perfect English. Turns out this guy used to live in the US for 6 years. He says now that he currently works at a high class cabaret club somewhere near by. He seemed like a decent guy overall though and just was asking us lots of questions about the way Americans think about certain things and whatnot.

At some point later, these 2 black chicks came in. We figured this might be trouble cuz we didn’t wanna get tricked into buying these girls any drinks. They were making their rounds talking to the Japanese guys and eventually they came by us and started trying to talk to us while we were still talking to the other Japanese guy. I did my very best to answer their questions in the politest way I could with saying the very least I could, so that they didn’t feel like I was being rude but so that I also showed that I wasn’t the least bit interested. They kept pushing for it and eventually outright asked us if we would like to buy them a drink. I told them I had a girlfriend and Matt told them he was gay and then they left us alone LOL! The one Japanese guy ended up buying them a bottle of wine and he shared it with us too so that was nice of him. Later on he even bought us a round of beers. At about 9 am the place was pretty much completely dead aside from the 3 of us and the guys who worked there. Even the black chicks were gone. It was about time to call it a night and get some food. We said bye to the Japanese guy and the black dudes who worked there and thanked them. Turned out the place was basically just a regular bar and isn’t that bad of an option if you really wanna do some hardcore early morning drinking. After leaving, Matt and I got dat McDonalds breakfast and then I went to the manga kissa to pass out.

I didn’t wake up until like 4:30 pm lol! This is actually pretty good timing since around this time is when the GG comp really starts to heat up. I started out at Vegas for a little while and only a few guys were there. They weren’t that good and figured that possibly Takadanobaba would be the better choice so I eventually relocated there. At first, it was actually sorta dead but gradually more and more people showed up. I messaged 722 and he was interested in meeting up this time so eventually after playing for a while myself, I mailed me saying he was almost at the station. I went outside to wait for him for a bit and eventually I found him in front of the station. I was pretty hungry since I hadn’t eaten yet so we stopped in at a pasta place and I got some quick food. Turns out 722 will be living in Nagano again and is staying in Japan for the next 6 months. He will only be in Tokyo this weekend but he said that he can actually get to Tokyo in 4 hours by highway bus so he may come again sometime in the future. We headed back to Mikado and played some more games. 722 fought some Dizzy and was having some trouble against him but said he was really enjoying the matches. I fought some ABA and lost but then replayed him and won. Then for a bit no one was fighting me and then I noticed these 2 guys I don’t know were talking about me to eachother quietly. The one guy was like saying something like “Hey, that’s ElevenShadow, I wonder if he is strong”. Next thing I know, Im like sorta looking off into the area behind me seeing whos playing other games, and then I turn around and one of the guys is just like peeking right around the side of the cab and is all like staring at me up close like right in my face with this weird grin on his face! Then he just sorta nods and goes to sit down on the other side to play me. He picks Venom and I win all 3 rounds. Then he comes back over and says I am very strong and that beating me is impossible for him. I politely disagree and then he goes and starts whispering to his friend again saying like, yea hes pretty strong afterall! I just found that kinda amusing LOL. Eventually 722 came over and played me in a couple games with his Bridget and I won them. Then we decided since it was starting to die down, that we might be better off checking out Vegas, so we headed over to Shinjuku to play some more.

I mailed Matt and Rod on the train telling them to just meet us there instead. On the way there, we stopped over at the cigar store and I got a cigar since I hadn’t smoked one in months. When we arrived at Vegas, it was much more packed than Mikado was. Rod was already there. Dream Maker and that American Bridget player who works for Capcom was there as well among various other people. Matt showed up as well. I played a good amount of games and did generally well. Dream Maker was playing a lot better then usual today and I think he and I played maybe a total of about 8 games and he went even with me winning 4 and losing 4. Kunihiro showed up later on as well and started playing Dream Maker in some mirror matches and stuff. Eventually we were all ready to go do some drinking, so Rod, Matt, 722, and I headed to Current. I said bye to Kunihiro and told him I would see him tomorrow at the tournament.

I was surprised that there was a lot of people there considering how big last night was. Not nearly as many but still pretty packed. It turns out they had some sorta punk rock event going on. Im not the biggest punk rock fan honestly but I have nothing against it really either. I busted out my cigar like right away and enjoyed it quite a bit. Kana was there again and sat with us for a bit and then went back to sitting with her friends. Everyone started busting out their DS and Rod had just bought Guilty Gear Dust Strikers. I never played this game before but I must say it’s a giant piece of crap! I tried playing one match of it against the computer and it was just laughably lame. I won though even though it felt like I was just button mashing the whole time since all the commands are fucked up. Also, there was this group of Japanese people we didn’t know sitting at the table next to us. This one guy was talking with Rod and I for a bit and it turns out hes a video game DJ and hes going to be spinning some game music at some big all night party at 8-bit CafĂ© in a few weeks so we might end up going to that. Also, Rod also had Puyo Puyo and people started playing a bunch of 2 player games and this DJ guy was just wrecking house! This guy was a fucking Puyo Puyo legend and was just raping everyone for free lol!

Eventually we were growing weary of this punk event so we all decided to go do karaoke since 722 fucking loves it and was fiending to go, and it sounded like fun anyway. We ended up taking a cab out to that one place near Nakano where we went for Rod’s birthday since its like 1000 yen for the whole night. We got a small room but it was just the right size for the 4 of us. Between the 4 of us, we did a plethora of awesome songs. 722 was real big on the Japanese songs and was pretty damn good at singing them too. You certainly could tell he does this often. I did a variety of stuff, but the best song I did was Rhapsody – Holy Thunderforce. This is quite possibly the cheesiest song ever written. The music AND the lyrics are cheesy as hell. The Count of Tuscany has nothing on this song as far as cheese factor goes. Ive known about this song for many many years and always enjoyed it for its pure cheese but I had never seen it at karaoke before… until… now! I couldn’t stop laughing for almost the entire time singing it and everyone was cracking up pretty hard. I will post the entire lyrics for your enjoyment.

Face me evil bastards, smell the hate of angels
Glory, pride and bloodshed
Cowards and beholders, rapers of my wisdom
mix of dust and bones
Go back to your abyss, Algalord will not fall
but your heads will soon roll
Taste the blade of heroes, fury of the thunder
hit my golden shield

So we'll fight against the wind for the glory of the kings
to defeat the evil enemies
And we'll ride with our lord for the power and the throne
in the name of holy thunderforce

Arwald and Aresius with the nordic warrior
on their way to Hargor
Chaos and oblivion, turmoil and disorder
will have now their name
The last fallen heroes will defeat your forces
Thousands spirits calling
On the furthest mountain I will see your fire
quenched by holy frost!

So we'll fight against the wind for the glory of the kings
to defeat the evil enemies
And we'll ride with our lord for the power and the throne
in the name of holy thunderforce

Face me evil bastards, smell the hate of angels
Glory, pride and bloodshed
Cowards and beholders, rapers of my wisdom
mix of dust and bones
Go back to your abyss, Algalord will not fall
but your heads will soon roll
Test the blade of heroes, fury of the thunder
hit my golden shield

So we'll fight against the wind for the glory of the kings
to defeat the evil enemies
And we'll ride with our lord for the power and the throne
in the name of holy thunder

So we'll fight against the wind for the glory of the kings
to defeat the evil enemies
And we'll ride with our lord for the power and the throne
in the name of holy thunder

So we'll fight against the wind for the glory of the kings
to defeat the evil enemies
And we'll ride with our lord for the power and the throne
in the name of holy thunder
(Thunder)
(Force)

I never actually read the lyrics before, and while a good amount of it I knew just from listening to it, there were some lines I never quite could make out. The best one of those was “Hit my golden shield!” Which I just thought was like the most random cheesy thing ever! When I sang that line, it made me think of slashbacking actually, and I decided that I would enter tomorrow’s tournament with the team name “Hit My Golden Shield!” It doesn’t matter if no one else knows what it means, cuz I know!

We stayed at the karaoke place until closing time at 5 and got tons of songs in. It was good times. After that we went to Nakano McDonalds for breakfast and we were having conversations about idiot foreigners in Japan who say all kinds of bad stuff in English in front of Japanese people assuming they wont understand what they are saying and then later finding out they understand them perfectly. 722 had a friend in Japan before that was notorious for that. There was like some time when he was telling some fucked up vulgar story on the train and then later on he was asking his friends how to say noun in Japanese. After a little while, some old lady gets off the train and right before getting off, she tells them how to say noun in Japanese in perfect English and then gets off the train. I wonder if she enjoyed the vulgar story?

Anyway, after eating we split ways and I went back to the manga kissa to sleep. However, on the way there, I was wearing my Street Fighter II hoody cuz it was a little chilly out, and this random chick on the street sees me and just yells "Tiger Uppercut!" in that sorta engrish Japanese accent. It was fucking awsome. I turned and gave her a grin and a thumbs up and carried on to go to sleep.

I woke up with enough time to spare and arrived at Nishi Yokohama station a little before 2 pm. As I was walking out of the station, I guess I was going the wrong way cuz Shuumatsu and this one other guy stopped me and told me that the arcade was the other way. That was nice of them.

When I got to the arcade, Kunihiro was already there, and Honyo said he would be there in a little bit. The arcade, Gamers Vision, was a fucking shoe box, to put it bluntly. This place was so narrow, and this was one of the bigger tougeki tournaments so far this year, so the place ended up getting so packed, you could hardly even move at all. Getting a game of casuals in was next to impossible. All the big names from the Kanto area who hadn’t qualified yet were there, except for Ogawa’s team. I only ended up getting a single game of casuals in the entire time against some Millia. I won the first round and then he beat me the rest of them.

Kunihiro and I signed up our team and he asked me what "Hit my golden shield!" meant. I explained to him where it came from and he found it amusing. I was planning to try the drinking whisky strategy again this time so I went to Lawson and got a redbull to chase the whisky with. Right at around 3 pm, when the tournament was SCHEDULED to start, I went and took a big shot of whisky and chugged the redbull. Unfortunately, the tournament was running WAY late and they didn’t even start till almost 4. I had absolutely no idea when our match would be up cuz I couldn’t even get anywhere near where the brackets were cuz the place was so packed. So I waited, and waited, and watched, and waited, and EVENTUALLY Honyo told me that he was able to go see the brackets and saw that we would be the last team to play and that a total of like 34 teams entered. He said our opponents were Slayer/Axl/HOS. I didn’t recognize the players names but it looked like they were using some like fake names cuz the names were like something that all sounded the same but was one syllable off. I don’t remember what they were though cuz I didn’t even see it. Anyway, eventually FINALLY called our match. By this point I no longer had a buzz from the Whisky or the redbull so much since we were waiting around for so long.
Anyway, Kunihiro said he has about equal trouble against all of those characters so he said he would just go first. I have a bit of trouble vs Axl and Honyo said all 3 of them were fine, so Honyo was gonna go last. Kunihiro went first vs Slayer. It was extremely close and clutch I could tell that Kunhiro was really playing his ass off. He pulled out a win barely in the last round. Up next was HOS. It almost went down the same way as with Slayer and Kunhiro made a nice huge comeback and pulled off some clutch shit for the win. Against Axl, he was doing pretty well but then in the last round they were just waiting eachother out a lot from far away and then Kunihiro just did like this random stomp super and it totally whiffed. I think he was trying psychically punish a chain or something but it didn’t work and he got punished accordingly. Afterwords, the Axl player yelled “arigatou!” to Kunihiro across the cap. Kunihiro looked a little embarrassed but he already beat 2 guys so he did a good job regardless. I went next. I lost the first round and got him down to about half life. 2nd round I actually had a really good lead for a while and he was in the corner and I was above him pretty high up. I tried to come down on him with a forcebreak super but it came out as a regular air dust and totally screwed me and I got punished with some huge bomber loop after it whiffed from so high up in the air and then I lost. I have no excuse, it was just a bad execution mistake from being nervous. Kinda wish I could have had that buzz going but that’s just the way it worked out, and I honestly shouldn’t have to rely on that anyway. Up next was Honyo. I don’t really remember much about the match other than the Axl really seemed to know how to fight Baiken. He kept poking Baiken in a way which seemed like Honyo wasn’t able to use counters at all. I honestly don’t know much about this matchup but the Axl really seemed to know how to fight it. It was kinda close but Honyo lost and that was the end for us. I had a good feeling going into this one but that’s just the way it goes I guess.

We agreed that for next weekend, we will team up again and next week’s tournament will be the block finals for this block on next Sunday around the same time. Hopefully the one next weekend will start on time and not be so tiny and packed. The arcade was all hot and muggy and we didn’t feel like sticking around so we agreed to go back to Vegas to play. Kunihiro rode his motorcycle up there so he said he would meet us there. Honyo and I took the train.

We got to Vegas and played some casuals a bit. I started off vs some crappy Sol scrub and won and then sparadicly beat a few other people that weren’t so good between long periods of fighting the computer. Eventually Kunihiro showed up and was playing Honyo. Dream Maker showed up again and played me like 5 or 6 times in a row and I won all of them, and then he said he had to leave and left and said good games and goodbye. After I had like 8 wins and no one was fighting me in forever, I gave up and got up to go wait to play one of those guy. Honyo had 13 wins and Kunhiro was playing Slayer against him for whatever reason. I think Kunihiro can play Sol and Johnny too since I saw him using them before but his Anji is easily his best character. Anyway, Kunihiro couldn’t take down Honyo’s Baiken so then I gave it a shot and lost on my first try but then played him again and won on my 2nd try. Then me and him went back and forth for a bit while Kunihiro was fighting some other people. I played a bit longer but eventually it was about time for me to go. I said goodbye to those guys and told them I would see them next weekend and headed out.

Next weekend, Ryoko is also planning to come to Tokyo to come drinking with us on Friday night and the plan is to also meet up and drink with her older sister at Current. Should be good times. Hopefully next weekend’s tournament will go a little better. I'm gonna make some mother fuckers hit my golden shield!