Thursday, July 9, 2009

ElvenShadow vs Mononucleosis

It all started Wednesday, June 24th. I was out in a nearby town with a friend of mine and went shopping at a game store to try to find a copy of Suikoden I+II for PSP cuz Suikoden is the shit. While there, I stumbled upon BlazBlue! The game wasn't supposed to come out until the following day, but this place got it early. I instantly purchased the game, went home and played it a bit.

Matt was planning to come over to my place Thursday night to play some BB. This would be the last weekend Matt would be spending in Japan. His time here as a student is over, and he needs to move back to the US again for a while. When and if he comes back is still unknown but he says he plans to someday. In any case, Matt came over Thursday night for some BB but he came kinda late. He didnt get here till about 8:30. We got some beers and drank and played a good ammount of BB. Ryoko came over to chill with us as well. I had to work the next day since it was a Thursday night. Since Matt showed up kinda late I figured I could just stay up later and deal with being a little tired at work and sleep on the train on the way to Tokyo later. So I stayed up till about 2 am playing BB. Before going to sleep I set up a place for Matt to sleep in my extra tatami room. I jokingly told him to watch out for the mukade (Japanese giant centapedes that have a venomous bite).

The next day (Friday), I woke up to find Matt sleeping on the couch in my room. I asked him why the fuck he wasnt sleeping in the other room and he said he was afraid of the Mukade. LOL! I was only joking. While mukade do exist everywhere in Japan, I havnt ever seen one in my house. Anyway, I went to work as normal, had a busy day, was pretty tired, but it was ok. Matt stayed at my house the whole time while I was at work and played lots of online BB. After packing my bag, we headed for the train station and made the usual 3 hour train ride to Tokyo. I slept most of the way.

As soon as we arived, Matt said he had plans to meet up with this girl he has had a huge crush on forever named Eriko, who I originally met when we went to Kyoto. Also, her friend Mari was going to join us. We eventualy met up with them, and after I picked up some cigar's to give my dad when I visit the US, we headed to an izakaya and drank and ate and talked for like 2 or 3 hours. After that, the ladies returned back to the station as it was already getting late and they had stuff to do the next day.

At this point we COULD have went to play some GG, but we were already getting drunk so we figured we would just go ahead and head to Current since some people were going to meet Matt there or something.

We arived at Current and it wasnt too packed. A few regulars and a few people I didnt know were there. Tomoko was there which made Rod reluctant to come but after some convincing he eventually showed up. I guess things are awkward between the 2 of them or something. Rod only stayed shortly and then left. I guess he wasnt feeling well or something. I honestly dont even know really.

Now, there are 2 tournaments this weekend for SBO in Tokyo. For the Saturday tournament, I couldnt find a team, so I was planning to take Saturday off. For Sunday I had a team lined up (I would be teaming with MIU and Kunihiro), so I told Matt that if were gonna do a long drinking night that tonight would have to be the night for me since I couldnt stay out extremely late on Saturday night.

After lots of drinking, Matt got all tired and passed out for a while on the back benches at Current. I tried to wake him up a few times but he wouldnt budge. I guess he said he didnt sleep much at my place either. Anyway, I stayed up and mostly talked to Heidi who was bartending and some other people. I was a bit tired too but I forced myself to stay awake. Sometime around closing time, I started to feel a bit funny. I was really drunk but I also had this slight feverish feeling hit me. I was drunk so I just kinda ignored it and continued drinking.

Once Current closed at 5, Matt finally woke the fuck up and we headed over to PSY with Heidi. We had one more beer there and then left at 6. Both of us were just too wiped out to do any more drinking after this so we got the usual McDonalds breakfast and I went to sleep at the manga kissa. I knew I was tired as hell and needed the sleep and also wasnt feeling quite right so I got the 9 hour package this time.

I woke up Saturday after a good 9 hours of sleep. Now it was quite apearant to me that I had a fever. My body felt tingly and I was having mixed hot and cold chills. I figured I would just go about my day and see how things went.

I stopped at a Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku to pick some stuff up. I couldnt find that Suikoden game for PSP earlier so I got that there. I also wanted a PS2 to PS3 converter for EVO so that I wouldnt have to bring 2 sticks with me, so I bought one of those as well.

After that, I figured it was time to finally play some Guilty Gear so I headed over to Takadanobaba Mikado. I played games for a little bit, was doing ok, but felt really weak and tired. Matt showed up after a while. He had some Wendy's and told me he found a Wendy's near by. After a little more playing, I was getting hungry too since I didnt eat yet today. I headed out real fast to find that Wendy's. I searched a bit and couldnt find it at first but eventually I did find it. On the way there I stubbed my toe on the curb and was wearing sandals so it hurt like a bitch. Some random foreigner asked if I was ok and I told him I was fine but that I stubbed my toe. Then he asked me if I knew how to get to the Hub (English Pub) around here. I pointed him in the right direction cuz I saw it earlier while looking for Wendy's.

After getting my food, I headed back to Mikado and ate it. As soon as I finished eating I felt tired as hell and the comp started to slow down a lot. Most people were probably at the SBO tournament today so there wasnt much comp around. I was getting VERY tired so I figured I needed to take a quick nap. I sat down on one of the big benches they have at the arcade and told Matt to wake me up in an hour.

One hour later, Matt woke me up, and then I just went back to sleep. I was extremely tired. Eventually I woke up and made an effort to play. I beat some Slayer and some Testament and then no one was playing me again so I went back to sleep some more.

Eventually Matt woke me up and suggested we leave since the comp was dead. I manned up and got up and we headed back to Shinjuku. We swung by Vegas and sure enough the place was fucking packed as hell. Appearently everyone who was at the tournament today just decided to go there instead of Mikado. Sucks for us. I was really tired and didnt feel like standing and the place was so packed it would have taken forever to get a turn in, so we just decided to go to Current. I decided since this was the last night I would see Matt in Japan, that I would go with but that I would try to go easy on the drinking.

We got a table near the front and sat for a while. I got a rum coke and tried to do a snus but after like 10 minutes of snus I didnt want it anymore. I was fighting very hard to stay awake. Lots of regulars showed up tonight. Most of the girls I know that go there showed up. Also, this big black dude from Florida named Terry came. I first met him last weekend breifly but I dont think I mentioned it. Hes a cool guy and bought me a tequila shot last time. He offered to buy me another one but I told him I wasnt feeling well so after some convincing he gave up heh. He also offered to buy Matt one but Matt is a pussy when it comes to shots so he also declined. Chip and Sawa also came as well. Chip brought Matt and Street Fighter IV Ryu headband as a going away gift so Matt wore it for the rest of the night. Also, Matt tried calling Rod like 50 zillion times throughout the night but Rod never picked up. Kinda odd.

After a few hours of sitting at the table and chilling, I could barely even keep my head up anymore. I had 2 rum cokes over the course of like 2 or 3 hours. I didnt feel drunk at all, just very very tired and weak. My body needed rest. I gave in and went to take a nap in the back corner against the wall benches. I probably slept for a good hour or longer. After the nap, I felt a bit better but still sick. I sat at the bar and they gave me lots of water. People were worried about me but I told em I just wasnt feeling well and that I should be ok. I talked with people about various things for the rest of the night as I chilled at the bar.

Eventually it was 5 am and time to leave Current. Matt convinced a big group of people to go to PSY and then do karaoke. Of course I would have liked to go but I had a tournament tomorrow and there is no way I could handle doing it anyway. I needed rest and I couldnt drink anymore anyway. I headed out with everyone and we waited a very long time as it took a few people forever to stop saying goodbye to this one other group of people who we barely even knew heh. Eventually we headed out towards Kabuki-cho. It was Matt, Sawa, Chip, Terry, and Shuji. I figured I would just walk with them since the manga kissa was that way anyway. When we finally got near the manga kissa I told them I was leaving to go sleep. They all tried to convince me to go anyway even though they knew I was sick and wasnt feeling well. I guess alcohol warped their powers of perception. Anyway I said bye and went to go sleep.

I only got maybe about 6 hours of sleep. I headed over to Hachioji on the train and arived at Amusement Space UFO. The funny thing is, this is the exact same arcade I was at when I teamed up with MIU last year as well. It just happened to work out that way. When I arrived, it was already packed with people. They had 4 cabs set up. I managed to get a couple turns in and won a few and eventually lost. I also signed our team up but my team mates werent there yet. Kunihiro eventually showed up about 30 mins before the tournament was gonna start. Then I mailed MIU and he said he was running late and wouldnt arive till 10 minutes after the tournament started. Luckily I picked a later number in the brackets so he would have enough time to make it in time.

This was a pretty big tournament. I dont remember the exact number of teams but I think it was like 30 something. Just about every single good player who hadnt qualified yet in the Kanto area had come for this one.

Rod mailed me and asked if I wanted to meet him at MIkado for games but I told him I was at the tournament in Hachioji. He wanted to explain why he didnt show up last night but I told him I wouldnt be able to go. He wished me luck. I still dont know why he never came.

While Kunihiro was having a smoke out in front and we were chilling, MIU showed up. After a little longer, it was time for our first match. To be quite honest, I dont even remember who we fought. All I know is that MIU went first and he OCVed their entire team, so I guess it doesnt matter anyway.

I checked the brackets and our next match was vs HEVEN's team. His team had a Slayer player on it named Bananza and a Dizzy who's name escapes me at the moment. It took a very long time for our next match to come up and I was starting to get extremely tired again. I was still feeling sick and feverish. I figured I could just find a place to take a fast nap and set an alarm on my phone for 15 minutes later. I found a Gundam cab that no one was playing on where I could rest my head against the wall so I sat there and slept a bit.

I woke up to my phone vibrating, but it wasnt the alarm, it was Kunihiro calling me. Appearently we were already up for our next match. We couldnt find MIU at first but then we found him. We decided to have Kunhiro go first. It was his Anji vs the Slayer player. Kunihiro played pretty well and honestly it went down to the very last round and Kunihiro lost by like a pixel. I said I would go next. The first round was down to both of us with like no health. I FDed a big bang upper in the air just off the ground. I wasnt thinking and tried to punish it with a far slash but I should have known that the big bang upper has enough hit stun on it that Slayer could recover in time. Slayer did a dandy step which caused the slash to whiff and hit me with a pile bunker and I lost the first round. 2nd round is just a big blur in my memory of having to block a zillion mixups and eventually failing and getting hit by some giant combo and dying. I just wasnt in any condition to play well. I just woke up, my body and mind were tired as hell, and I had a high fever. Anyway, MIU went next and managed to beat Slayer in a close one. Then he fought the Dizzy and he actually would have won but he dropped his sidewinder loop and Dizzy came back to kill him. With that, we were out of the tournament.

I was feeling like shit, so I immedietly said bye to my team and headed home. The transfer time at Takasaki was a whole hour since I took a train I normally dont, and it took me 4 hours to get home. When I got on the Takasaki line at Akabane, the train was packed and I couldnt get a seat. I found out a way to sleep standing up without having to worry about falling over. If you stick your entire wrist through the ring hanging from the ceiling and make a fist, your hand wont slide out. Then use your other arm and grab the ring as well and rest your head on your arm thats making the fist through the loop. It hurt my wrist but at least I could sorta kinda rest a little. Eventually I got a seat and was out like a light the whole way home. As soon as I got home I immedietly went to sleep.

I woke up the next day (Monday) and felt like total crap. I took my temperature and it was like 101 degrees F. I called in sick to work and told them that I had a fever and my supervisor said I should go to the local hospital to get checked by the doctor. So a few hours later I woke up again, went to the hospital. The doctor checked me very breifly and just said I dont have the flu (the Japanese are extremely obsessively worried about the flu all the time) but said I probably had some sorta virus and bacteria infection. My throat hurt and I had a high fever. He gave me various medication and then I went home.

The funny thing about this is, this same weekend was the US SBO qual in Austin. I really wanted to go to this. At first I couldnt afford it and also figured they wouldnt let me take the day off of work. Monday's are the day I teach at the elementary school so they pretty much never let me take a day off of work on a Monday since the visits are rare and the kids dont get to see me much. Anyway, I was planning to try to go and team with Cue and Blacksnake. Eventually I got an offer from Stunedge (Kyle) that he said he would pay $1,000 of my airplane ticket to fly back to the US for the weekend to go to the SBO qual. He said his current team was Blacksnake and Cue (ironicly) but that if I went he would drop one of them for me. Those guys are all my friends and I honestly would feel rotten kicking one of them off when I was gonna ask them to team with me in the first place, not to mention those 2 have never been to Japan and it would be selfish of me to deprive them of a chance. They wouldnt give me the time off anyway so its a moot point, but now I ended up taking that day off anyway due to being sick! Funny how that shit works out...

For the next 2 days, all I pretty much did was sleep at home, take my medicine, and eat a little bit. Ryoko came over in the evening to take care of me. I was sweating really bad in my sleep. My blankets were like soaked with sweat when I woke up and I had to constantly change my shirt.

When I woke up Wednesday morning, I was still feeling like shit. The meds were doing nothing to help. I called in sick again and then my supervisor said I should go to another hospital to get checked out again. This time they sent someone from the town office to come pick me up and drove me to a larger hospital in the city of Numata which is about a 40 minute drive from where I live.

I spent the next few hours getting seen by a doctor for like 5 minutes, then waiting in the waiting room for a very long time, then getting seen again for 5 minutes, and this process repeated for hours. I slept the entire time I was waiting because I literally could barely stay awake.

Eventually after doing many various tests, the doctors told me I should stay at the hospital for a while. Japanese people are very non direct so basically they ASKED me if I wanted to. Of course I didnt WANT to but I had no idea how serious my condition was. Eventually they finally got more direct and I agreed to stay. At first they told me I would only have to stay at the hospital for 3 days.

The first night there sucked and I just slept pretty much the whole time. I woke up the next day and was confused as to what was going on. They didnt even tell me what was wrong with me yet. A group of doctors came in a told me I had mono. I never really knew much about mono but basically its caused by a virus and causes some of your internal organs like your liver and spleen to swell up and become dangerously enlarged and stop functioning properly. I still had a high fever and was extremely fetuiged and tired. In addition to the sore throat, the inside of my mouth was covered in painful sores making eating and even talking extremely painful.

Anway, to sum things up, 3 days turned out to be 6 days. I was there a whole 6 days. The first few days I mostly just slept the whole time and had no appetite. Eating was a chore and hurt like a bitch. Ryoko visited me every day and brought me stuff. Shes too good. A few other people I know also visited which was nice of them. Also when I mailed Kunihiro and told him I was in the hospital and couldnt team with him for the last weekend of SBO quals, he offered to come visit me at the hospital. That was nice of him but I told him Gunma is pretty far so he shouldnt worry about it. Gradually my appetite began to return and the sore throat started to fade. The doctors were giving me no medicine at all saying that it wont be effective vs the virus.

This had got to be the shittiest most ghetto hospital I had ever been to. Every single patient there was probably over the age of 70. I had to share a room with 5 other old men. They had TVs and refrigerators next to the beds but you had to pay extra to use them. The place had no silverwear, you had to bring your own. The bathroom was filthy and was like some sorta utility closet with toilets. The sit down toilet didnt even have a stall door, just a curtain. The place only had ONE SHOWER for patients to use and the whole time I was there they only let me take 2 showers. Most of the days I couldnt cuz I was hooked up to an IV but one day I asked why they wouldnt let me and they said "cuz its Sunday." WTF... is Sunday like the no shower day now or something. Fuck that! If Ryoko hadnt gone to Uniqlo and bought me an ENTIRE WEEK worth of new clothes, I would have felt absoloutely filthy. Ryoko is too good. Most of the time I was at this place, I just felt really left in the dark. Most of the time they didnt really answer my questions and I just wanted to go home so bad. Also, I bet you are thinking, well at least there were sexy nurses right? Well, out of the entire staff, maybe 1 or 2 of them were kinda cute, but since they had masks on their faces I couldnt even really tell. Its not like it matters anyway.

Anyway, on the last day they took one final blood test to determine if my internal organs were healing properly. They said the test results looked good. I wasnt cured yet but things were looking better. The doctor said most mono patients are hospitalized for as much as a whole month but since I was checked in early I was able to start healing faster. She said I should technically be there longer, but since I wanted to go home so bad they said I could go home on the condition that I just stay home and rest all day. I asked them when I could go back to work and they said not until after I return from Summer vacation. On July 16th I will be leaving Japan to go to EVO and then stay in Chicago for 3 weeks since theres no classes to teach and I can use my vacation time. So this means, from now until after my vacation, I dont have to go to work. I can just sit at home all day and sleep and eat and play online BB. Pretty fucking sweet!

At least... thats what I thought until I asked the doctor how long it will be until I can start drinking beer again. Her answer was 1 month... and it crippled my very soul! ONE MONTH WITHOUT BEER!?! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!??! I guess at least im not dead but fuck... Im gonna be back in Chicago chilling with my friends and I cant drink with them. Talk about shitty luck.

Anyway, so far Ive just been enjoying my time off at home the best I could. Ive been playing a good amount of BB but I wish I could get some more GG practice in since EVO is like a week away or something.

To recap, it turns out that the winners of the tournament I was at in Hachioji was Kazuki/Inoue/Kawin. I figured those guys might win. Its about damn time anyway. Im shocked it took that team as long as it did to qualify.

Also, as you might have read, I was planning to try to go to Okinawa during the last qual weekend. Since I spent that weekend in the hospital, obviously I couldnt go. There was a tournament in Tokyo that weekend as well at Vegas/Akihabara and the winner was 012/Imo/Taku. Another stellar team that I am not at all surprised to see go to SBO. As far as the Okinawa tournament, I dont know who won but someone told me that KZO was going to go so maybe he did. I have no idea and at this point it doesnt matter anymore. This wasnt the way I wanted this years SBO season to end for me. I didnt make it in but it would have at least been nice to go down fighting against some good GG players instead of losing to mono.

Anyway, theres still the last chance qual the day of SBO. I will of course attend this one. I still dont know who my team will be but I guess I have some time to think about it.

As far as Matt and Rod are concerned, Matt is already back in the US now. Rod will also be leaving Japan for good soon. Sometime during the time I will be back in Chicago, Rod will also return to the US for good. It was a good run with those 2 guys, we had lots of fun times playing GG and drinking. I would be lying if I said I wasnt gonna miss having them around but Ill be alright. Things will be pretty much as they always were back in the day. However, with the departure of Rod and Matt comes the arrival of a good friend of mine. Some of you may know Capps Indigo (Andy) from the Dustloop/SRK community. He plays Guilty Gear and other fighting games and is most well known for always capping videos at tournaments and putting them on youtube. Well starting in August he will be living in Takasaki and will be doing the same job I am doing out here in Japan, teaching English. So its nice to know that another good friend of mine will be able around when I come back after my vacation.

Up next is Evolution. I won last years unofficial Guilty Gear singles and team tournament, can I do it again this year now thats its an official tournament with more players?

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