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.

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