Thursday, September 24, 2009

Punk Rockers, Anime Otaku, and Rollercoasters (#27)

This weekend was a long holiday weekend called silver week. Its like golden week, except it seems to not happen every year since sometimes the holidays that make it up dont fall next to eachother but this time it worked out to be a 5 day weekend. Sweet.

Friday 9/18

I headed out for Tokyo on Friday after work. I met up with Emmet on the train on the way there and showed him this awsome new game called Scribblenaughts for the DS. Im sure most of you know about it by now, but the beauty of this game is that you can type in just about any word (there are over 22,000) and you can summon that thing/person/place/etc to solve puzzles. We had a good time on the train just thinking of random shit to summon and testing out how thing interact.

When we got to Tokyo we went to Mikado in Takadanobaba for little bit of games. Mike, the Jam player, was there playing some casuals. Appearently he works at Mikado now too. I first started off playing his Sol and beat his Sol a few games in a row, then he switched to Jam and I lost but I rematched him and beat his Jam. A few other top players such as FAB, HH, and Imo were there as well. After a little while longer, the US Baiken player Hellmonkey, showed up at Mikado. He is in Japan on vacation so we agreed to meet up for some games. Throughout the night I played several matches against him. I didnt keep a tally of the overall score but we went back and forth with me probably having a few more wins than him. I wanted to money match him but he wasnt down so we just played casuals.

As it got close to closing time, we headed out to go drinking and Hellmonkey tagged along. We started out by going to Current which had a few people there but it wasnt so packed. One of the Current regulars who we often refer to as Chibi Testament (because of a classic picture I have of her dancing with a plastic scythe at one of the metal events) was there and joined us for the night at our table. She was with this one random British dude who was there on vacation. We stayed for maybe like 2 beers and then headed to this one place called Tokyo Loose. Emmet had been there before for some international party and said it seemed like a good place for foreigners to meet Japanese girls so he wanted to check it out again on a regular night, so we gave it a shot. It was pretty crowded in there but they were playing generic crappy pop and shitty club music and it was mostly a gaijin sausage fest. We only ended up staying for one beer and Hellmonkey accidentally spilled half of his all over the bar.

After that, we decided to check out GODZ. There were a few people there but nothing too noteworthy. Chibi Testament and the British guy came there eventually too. I did find out something interesting though. Hellmonkey offered a smoke to the bartender Kenji. Kenji told Hellmonkey that its actually rude to offer people cigarettes in Japan because they might feel obligated to accept to not be rude but if its not their usual brand then they have to endure smoking a brand they might not like or something. Personally I think it sounds pretty ridiculous. If you dont want it just say no thank you. No need to get offended, but thats just the way Japan rolls. My western conditioned brain often responds to situations differently.

After a beer at GODZ, we headed to PSY for the rest of the night. It was a fairly regular PSY night. I dont even remember most of it cuz I was pretty wasted by this point. After drinking there, Hellmonkey headed back to wherever it was he was staying and Emmet and I went to the manga kissa.

Saturday 9/19

Upon waking up, we headed near Shinjuku station to the cigar store and I picked up a nice Cuban. Then we got some Wendys. After eating, we headed back to Mikado for more games!

At Mikado, there was a HUGE Darkstalkers tournament going on. I think it was Vampire Savior to be specific. Im pretty sure it was a major event of some sort and was called the Combination Cup. They had probably something like 15 cabs set up for this thing as well as it being shown on the big screen. I only play Darkstalkers casually once in a blue moon but I might have entered for fun had I known about it before hand. It had just started about 15 minutes before we got there. Unfortunately, the comp for GG was a bit lacking and only a few people were there. I got beat a few people and then no one was playing me and I beat the game, so I went to play some SFIV. I ended up getting an 8 win streak against some Ryu/Sagat/Akuma/Ken players and then finally some chef costume El Fuerte player with lots of BP came along and beat me. I dont know the matchup cuz I never fight Fuerte players and this guy seemed to know what he was doing pretty well. Emmet mostly played 3rd Strike as usual cuz thats his main game. After a couple of hours, Emmet was no longer in the mood to play and wanted to leave to start drinking already lol. I got a messege from my friend Liz who now lives in Takadanobaba and she invited us to come have dinner at her apartment so we agreed to that.

We left Mikado at about 6 or so and met Liz at a near by supermarket where we bought some chicken and yakisoba to make and a bottle of Four Roses bourbon. The bottle was only 1200 yen for a 750 ml! Thats cheap as fuck! Im going to go buy booze at that place again for sure!

At Liz's place we got to use her shower and we cooked some yakisoba and she made giant gyoza which was awsome and we made lots of rum cokes and polished off the entire bottle between the 3 of us. I also showed Liz Scribblenaughts and she found it amusing. I got a call from Andy and he just arrived in Tokyo. He couldnt come with us last night cuz he had to work today for his school sports festival. We told him we would be leaving to go drinking at Current soon. He was going to have some food at an Izakaya with a girl he met first and said he would meet us at Current later.

Liz, Emmet and I headed out to Current and on the way, there was some new Saitama ALT from New Zealand that Emmet met at orientation and had invited to come along, so he went with us as well. Tonight at Current was a Punk Rock event called High Numbers. Like most events, there was a cover charge, but as always, since I am Mike I never have to pay cover and neither does anyone whos with me cuz im like one of the biggest regulars and they know I would have just came anyway lol! Since this weekend is my birthday weekend (Monday 9/21 is my actual birthday) as soon as we walked in, Sushi had a table reserved for us and brought us all a free round of Jagermiester shots. Hardly any of the usual regulars were there tonight but the place was still pretty full with random crazy punk rockers. They were all dancing really odd and were quite amusing to watch. Eventually Andy showed up and joined us as well. Chibi Testament was there again this time but not with the British guy, and she was taking quite a liking to Emmet. The other guy who came with us seemed like he was trying to cock block him which was pretty lame considering Emmet was the one who invited him along, but he eventually gave up and moved on to hitting on other random girls. At some point in the night, Emmet and Chibi Testament pulled a monty if you know what that means. If not, I wont explain it lol. We stayed till maybe about 4 am and then headed to PSY, but the Saitama guy left and didnt go with us and Chibi Testament also went home.

PSY was good, but I cant remember anything too important to mention other than more drinking. After drinking there, we went to get McDonalds breakfast and I was disapointed to find out that the McDonalds that I most often go to (the one where that one time Matt threw up spaghetti in the sink) has closed down. There are 2 other McDonald's within like a one minute walking distance from there so its not that big of a deal. One of them is the one that always burns my food and screws up my order and the other is Beatles McDonalds so it looks like ill be going to Beatles McDonalds from now on. After eating, we headed to the manga kissa.

Sunday 9/20

We woke up after 6 hours of sleep and headed straight to Takadanobaba Mikado. It seems that they never finished that huge Vampire Savior tournament and the top 8 was just starting as we arrived. There wasnt that much GG comp and the place was packed with spectators for the VS tournament. I played a few games of casuals with lots of waiting time in between and managed to watch a little of the tournament. I dont know who the players were but the finals were Morrigan vs Sasquatch and the Sasquatch player won the whole tournament. As soon as the finals ended, the place started to clear out. I played a little more SFIV and got like a couple wins but didnt play that long. I dont really remember anything too noteworthy to mention otherwise. We left the arcade after a short time and went to get some Sukiya and then we headed back to Shinjuku. The plan tomorrow was to go to Fuji Q Highland which is an amusement park. We needed to get up early so we wanted to find a hotel to stay at since Ryoko would be coming tonight and we were gonna try to split a room somewhere. We checked out the Sunplaza hotel where we were staying during SBO weekend and it turned out to be like over 20,000 yen a night which was expensive as hell so we passed that up and looked around a bit more. After finding that most hotels are already full, we decided we would go check out love hotels later in Okubo. For now, it was time to go to Current!

Why would we go to Current at like 5/6 pm? Because today, they were having a special Anime event party from 4 pm to 10 pm. I had no idea what to expect, but when I walked in, I was shocked to see the place absolutely packed! Even more packed than the punk rock party from the previous night! This time tons of Current regulars were there such as Michi, Bosch, Piko, Yago, Megu, Jackie, Mame, Chibilez, Doll Girl, the Current staff, and lots of random people. Lots of people were cosplaying as various anime characters and they played nothing but anime music the entire time and also had the video on the screen show scenes or parts from the opening credits to match the songs that were playing. There were about 4 guest DJs and Bosch went last. They played a huge range of stuff from super old school to brand new. I used to be big into anime in highschool but honestly I sorta dont really watch it anymore except for on rare occasions. However, it was nice to hear some nastolgic songs I knew plus everyone was going crazy dancing and once I got wasted enough I joined right in. I got espessially hype for the Great Teacher Onizuka theme song! Emmet disappeared for most of the event and walked around outside cuz I guess he was feeling hungover and the music was too loud. Andy seemed to be enjoying himself and he gave me a birthday cigar which was pretty awsome. This party included all the staples of a good party including some people diving off the bar. I got some good pictures.

At 10 pm once the party ended, it turned into just a regular night at Current again, but we had to get going because we needed to get to sleep sorta early tonight. Ryoko just got off of work and took the Shinkansen out to Tokyo so the plan was to meet her at Shin Okubo station so we could quickly check into a love hotel. We grabbed some McDonalds while waiting for her and she came just in time as we got our orders. We then quickly found a love hotel for 6,000 yen a night. At first we asked if they would let all 4 of us stay in one room but they said it was no good so we had to get 2 rooms. I didnt mind cuz I could have some alone time with Ryoko. At first they werent going to let Andy and Emmet share a room but they eventually just let them go ahead and do it. It would be pretty bogus if they didnt let them. Even though Andy and Emmet certainly arnt gay, it would be lame if the hotel discriminated against people like that.

Monday, 9/21 (the day I was spawned onto this giant ball of rocks and stuff)

I woke up grudgingly to my alarm going off at about 5:15 am. I didnt get as much sleep as I would have liked to. We had to catch a train by 6 am if we wanted to get to Fuji Q by the time it opened. I called Andy and those guys got ready and we got some fast food and made it on the train in time. It was almost a 3 hour trip to Fuji Q which is in Yamanashi prefecture near Mt. Fuji. Most of us got sleep for the whole time so we felt pretty refreshed when we got there.

When we arrived, there were already a lot of people lining up to get in. We got our pictures taken for the little day pass card you show them before you get on the rides, put our stuff in a locker, and headed out to see the park!

Fuji Q Highland is known for having some of the best rollercoasters in the world. It also has lots of other random rides, and a haunted hospital that is supposed to be like the scariest haunted house in the world or something. The park wasnt huge (for example, say compared to Six Flags Great America which is where I used to go a lot back home near Chicago, it was smaller) but it still had lots of cool rides. Before getting on rides, we went across the street to the Lawson and Emmet and I bought a small bottle of whisky each to keep in our pockets and swig throughout the time we were waiting in line since drinking anywhere in the park is totally fine.

We decided to stand in line for Fujiyama first, which is like a huge traditional style rollercoaster. No loops or crazy way of sitting but lots of huge drops and is one of the longest and tallest coasters around. While waiting in line we played some Scribblenaughts and knocked back a few shots (and I pretty much had snus in the entire time) and after a little while, Ryoko's younger sister Reiko arrived so Ryoko left the line to go get her and they both returned and were able to get back in line where the rest of us were waiting. Appearently in Japan no one cares if you hold your spot for someone in line and they leave and come back but I know in the US a lot of people would start bitching about something like that. The line took about 3 hours just to get on this ride but in the end it was an awsome rollercoaster and lasted almost like 2 minutes which is pretty long for a rollercoaster. If you want to see what riding it looks like, check out this youtube video .

After that, we decided we wanted to ride Dodonpa which is supposed to be like the fastest or one of the fastest coasters in the world. However, when we got to the line they said it would be like a 4 hour wait! We were hesitant to wait in that line but then Ryoko said she was gonna go check out the line for Eejanaika which is another coaster. Right after she left, we all decided we just would rather ride that one so we went to go find her. I couldnt find her at first but eventually she answered her phone and she was kinda upset at me cuz she wanted us to hold the spot in line for the other one and Eejanaika had a 5 hour estimate for the line! Ryoko wanted to wait in line by herself for Eejanaika while the rest of us waited for Dodonpa for 4 whole hours and then have us cut 4 hours worth of the line for Eejanaika where she would be waiting so that we could ride both. It was a nice thought to try to do that for everyone but theres no way I could in good conscious let her wait in line BY HERSELF for 4 whole hours just so we could get on one extra ride, plus I felt kinda wrong cutting everyone after 4 hours of waiting, and so did Andy. She was kinda pissed at me for a bit but theres no way I was gonna go for that idea.

So Reiko and Ryoko decided to go ride a sorta more kiddy rollercoaster with like a one hour wait because Reiko was too scared to ride on Eejanaika anyway. Andy, Emmet, and I started what would turn out to be the longest line I have ever stood in. The line ended up taking slightly over 5 hours! During the time, several of us went to get food for eachother, beers, bathroom trips, and eventually Ryoko came back and joined us in line. Lots of Scribblenaughts was played as well and my battery died on my DS even! Also, the entire time we were there, Emmet kept picking old songs and switching out some of the lyrics to "Andy", and it was fairly amusing. We obviously picked a bad day to come to this place since it was a huge holiday weekend but thats the day my birthday fell on and its when Ryoko could get off work so oh well...

I gotta say though, Eejanaika was like possibly the most wicked rollercoaster I have ever been on! This thing has rotating seats that go in a full 360. In addition, the ride starts off with you going BACKWARDS straight down the first drop, like completely a free fall, upside down head first. Then you get flipped around like a zillion times in all sorts of ways. If you wanna see, take a look at this link, but you might not even be able to tell whats going on cuz its just that wild. I would have much rather not have had to wait 5 hours to do it but I am still glad I got to ride it.

After that, we didnt have that much time left, just a few more hours. Reiko had to leave early cuz she had work tomorrow and lives in Gunma which is far so she left after that. I felt sorta bad cuz she only went on 2 rides but theres nothing we could have done about it.

Next, we went on the Pizza-la ride. Pizza-la is like a Japanese Papa Johns or Dominos or whatever. They have their own ride where you swing back and forth in a giant pizza pan. While waiting in line, I ducked off to get us some more whiskey and then made it back there with Ryoko in time to ride it with Emmet and Andy. It was pretty awsome and fortunately it was only an hour wait this time. You can see a video here.

After that, we had just a little bit of time left so Ryoko wanted to go on this one other new giant swing ride but while we were waiting in line she insisted I go try to ride another one and she would hold my spot. I didnt wanna leave her alone but Andy didnt wanna ride the next one so he just waited with her. I felt bad but there was no arguing with her so I just went with Emmet and we rode the PaniClock which is like a ride that puts you on a clock hand and you spin upside down in a full circle a few times. It was only a 30 min wait so it wasnt so bad and was worth it.

After that, we returned to the giant swing ride and waited with Ryoko and Andy. Just as we were about to get on the ride, we realized that it was already like 9 pm and our last train back to Tokyo left in like 14 minutes. If we missed that train we would be stuck out there all night and there honestly isnt much out there other than the park (which would close at 10 anyway). We reluctantly decided it would be best to not take our chances of riding it which probably would have taken at least 5 minutes to board, ride, and get off and then try to run through the park, get our stuff from the locker, and get on the train.

Its a good thing we didnt cuz Emmet lost his ticket and had to buy a new one and if we rode the ride we probably would have missed the train. We got on the train and were pretty tired out the whole way back to Tokyo. Ryoko wasnt feeling well.

After we got to Shinjuku, we got some stuff at the conbini and Ryoko started to feel slightly better and I got some caffine which helped. We then went to check out Current. It was pretty dead but Emmet invited Chibi Testament to come join us and a few other guys were there in addition to Mogi working the bar. Mogi gave us some free shots for my birthday. After staying there till about 3 am, they closed early cuz it was a slow night. As we were exiting the bar, I saw none other than 28 year old virgin and SPG Chris just chilling outside the bar. I asked them why they werent inside drinking and they said they were broke, and it showed cuz they were drinking hopopshu lol! I was informed that 28YOV is no longer a virgin. I tried to give him a hi five but he wasnt down with it lol. I dont know any details but he said it wasnt that great. Its all good though, that was just training mode for him or something. In any case, I guess I cant call him 28YOV anymore. Now he will have to be the guy formerly known as 28 Year Old Virgin... or something. Anyway...

We then we headed to PSY with the new addition to our party along as well. PSY was pretty good and stayed open till 6 am as usual. Andy decided to leave and go back home once the trains started up a little before 5 am cuz I guess he was tired. The rest of us stayed till closing, and then we headed to Okubo to the love hotels again.

This time Emmet got to share a room with Chibi Testament instead of Andy so they didnt give us any problems when checking in. Good times were had by all.

Tuesday, 9/22

The next day we woke up and got some food at Gusto which was pretty tasty. Also, we stopped at the liqueur store that has those awsome micro brews and they were closed again but we got lucky and the guy who works there was there and I convinced him to open up and let me just buy something real quick. I got like 6 cans of this awsome India Pale Ale and Emmet bought them for me as a Bday gift. Then we ran into this random chick who was trying to cell Ryoko and Chibi Testament some makeup on the street lol. They didnt buy it.

After that, we played some casuals at Mikado for a little while, nothing too noteworthy. Then Ryoko, Emmet, and I headed back to Gunma after a long weekend. Thats about it. I had a great weekend for the most part.

Next weekend is Tokyo Game Show and the new BlazBlue location test! Get hype!

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