Monday, September 14, 2009

Stratovarius and the International Party Foul

I headed out on the train after work as always. Emmet got on at Numata so we rode up to Takasaki together. We weren’t sure if we were gonna go to Tokyo tonight or just drink in Takasaki but we ended up just staying in Takasaki cuz a few of the Takasaki ALTs wanted to go drinking. We met up with Andy and were supposed to meet up with 3 other guys but they were taking a while so we went to 3rd Planet game center to kill time. There were a couple random scrubs there playing GG. I beat them a few times and then they gave up and I played Andy and Emmet one game each and then we decided to just leave. In front of the station we then met up with 2 other guys. We went to an izakaya and had food and drinks and then we met up with one more ALT. We ended up walking around a bit trying to find somewhere good to go. Bee bar was dead so we didn’t go in. We went to try out this foreigner geared bar called Odessa. It turned out to be dead as well and kinda shitty. It had some interesting stuff on the walls but overall it was kinda lame. One thing that particularly surprised me was the poster that said “This place protected by bitbull with aids”.

After a beer or 2 at Odessa, we went to check out some other club and we could see it was dead so we didn’t go in. Then we just ended up going to Club Jam again, the place we went last time I drank in Takasaki. It was more or less the same as last time, nothing special really. Most of the people there didn’t seem very friendly this time. We stayed for a bit but eventually we left once they closed and went to go crash at Andy’s.

The next day we got up and Emmet started drinking away his hangover with some morning beers. We headed out and headed for Tokyo. Emmet wanted to check out another one of those Tokyo Friends parties that are designed for Japanese people to meet foreigners. This one was 3000 yen for all you can drink from 6:30 to 9. I was reluctant to go cuz I kinda wanted to play some games at the arcade but in the end I just said screw it and went. This time it was in Shibuya. It was raining when we left the station so I bought an umbrella but it quickly stopped like 5 minutes later… blaa…

Last time’s party was at that bar Sam & Dave and was pretty good. This time, when we walked in, we were disappointed to find a few people standing around in some sterile room that looked like it was part of an office building or a museum. They had a table in the back with a bunch of cans of Chuhai and Hopposhu (fake beer that doesn’t have malts in it) and some plastic cups with bottled coke and tea. They also had some lame snack plates around the room with chips and stuff. I was instantly disappointed seeing this. I don’t really like Chuhai or Happoshu. I tried a Happoshu hoping maybe it would taste ok but it sucked so I switched to Chuhai which ended up sucking just slightly less so I drank that the rest of the time. They even had signs saying you couldn’t check the place out before paying to get in and they even said people who are organizers from other international parties weren’t allowed in. They must have made some decent money because they bought the cheapest possible booze they could have bought and charged 3000 yen. They also didn’t open the windows or turn the air on until like the last hour of the party and it was hot as fuck in there. I felt like my butt was sorta hurting the whole time cuz this party raped me so hard.

We made the most of it and just talked to various people. One guy I was talking to was a Virtua Fighter player and he said he sometimes played a little Guilty Gear and uses Faust so that was kinda cool. The party was supposed to have like 200 people according to their website but it probably had less than 100 as time went on and more people showed up. There were a few hot girls, in particular, this one group of 3 girls contained easily the hottest girls in there. They were being swarmed by all kindsa guys throughout the night but at some point we ended up talking to them and they stayed talking to us the entire rest of the night there. They all studied English in the US for a while so they all could speak decent English, which was good for Emmet cuz he doesn’t know Japanese. I wanted to speak Japanese but they kept telling me to speak English cuz they wanted to practice it LOL. Anyway, after the party was over, the 3 girls decided they would go with us to Current, so we all headed out together. On the way, one of the girls was telling me how most of the guys they talked to in there were creepy and weird and had pickup lines such as “you have really big boobs.” Some real studs for sure.

When we got to Current, we sat at a table in the back and my friend Liz also came and joined us. There was actually a pretty good size crowd in there tonight with a few regulars but also a lot of people I didn’t really know. Then I realized why as I was taking a whiz. I looked on the bathroom wall to see that Stratovarius had a show tonight and last night in Nagoya and Tokyo. Stratovarius is a power metal band from Finland and they have been around for a long time. I used to be a pretty huge fan in high school. I still occasionally enjoy listening to their songs, though sometimes some of their stuff can be a little on the cheesy side. In any case, they do really have some excellent songs and I would really have liked to have been able to go to the show if I had known about it. Unfortunately I didn’t.

So anyway, the reason why the place was kinda full was that there were a lot of people who were at the Stratovarius show at Current. There was a table next to ours that was reserved. I then realized that Stratovarius was coming to Current after the show and they would be sitting at the table next to us.

The 3 girls that came with us from the party left after only being at Current for maybe 2 hours at most. I guess they arnt big into late night drinking but they exchanged contact info before leaving. After a little longer, Stratovarius did infact show up to Current. As always, when famous acts come into Current I try not to be some annoying fanboy kinda guy cuz I know they just wanna drink and relax after their show. I did however have a fast chat with Timo Koltipelto (the singer) and got a quick photo with some of the band members and I ended up having a nice chat for about 10 or 15 minutes with one of the band members who is their new bassist named Lauri Porra. He has played with other bands before being in Strat such as Warmen, which is another awesome band I like a lot. We mostly talked about their touring and stuff and he was telling me how they really hardly make much money on tours depending on where they are. They get good crowds in Japan but for their US tour they will basically be doing it for free. I told them I will let me friends back in Chicago know they are coming to the US soon so they go see the show. Anyway, the guy was super cool and was totally like just a regular guy and you could tell he really loved the music. I cant really say I can say the same about every rock star that has come to Current before while I was there.

Emmet was having a hard time staying awake for whatever reason and slammed like 8 redbulls throughout the night. Liz left Current sometime around 1 when her last train would be coming. The staff was playing awesome music throughout the night to cater to the metal crowd. I was pretty surprised to see Ryoko II (the girl who looks like my girlfriend) there as well, mostly chatting with these 2 Japanese dudes the whole night. Also Chibi Testament was there.

A little after Stratovarius left, we decided to go get some food. We ate some quick Sukiya and then headed to PSY at about 4:30. A small crowd was there. One of the regulars, Eli, was there and she seemed to be hitting it off well with Emmet. They played lots of good music. They also had the Discovery Channel on the big screen TV for whatever reason and they were showing these accident reenactments that showed accidents involving trucks of grains or something and tried to make it look all over dramatic and kept showing the same damn scenes like 50 times over and over cuz otherwise it would have been a 5 minute show lol! Once 6 rolled around it was closing time and I had about enough anyway. I was pretty tired at this point, though I didn’t pass out or anything. I drank continuously from 2pm to 6am on this day since I started drinking on the train on the way to Tokyo from Takasaki LOL!

After that, Emmet and I went to the manga kissa and Andy decided to just go home to Takasaki.

The next day, Emmet and I went to Okubo to try to find this awesome IPA beer that I bought there once before but the liquor store was closed so we failed. We went to Alpha Station since we were in the area but it was pretty dead. We played a few games of SFIV against eachother and left. Then we headed to Akihabara. We first went to the conbini real quick and on the way we passed by glasses store and there was this guy standing out in front who worked there on the mic. Now its very very common for stores to have guys or girls on a mic trying to get customers to come in by shouting deals or whatever. However, this is the first time I had ever seen one of these guys free style rapping on the mic. And its not like this guy was the type at all. He looked like your typical nerdy business man kinda guy, a little bit older, and even though I couldnt quite make out what he was saying exactly (he was most likely rapping about great deals on the latest hippest glasses frames and contact lenses!), his rapping sounded really stiff and cheesy as fuck. Like something you would hear in a bad commercial! I couldnt help but laugh so I took a picture of him as well. He was at least going for about 10 minutes during the time we were there cuz when Emmet bought something at the conbini, he was still going strong after he came out and I was waiting. It was one of those things that was fucking hilarious but reading it here will never do it justice. Check out the picture though.

After that we went shopping looking for an arcade stick for Emmet. We couldn’t find any really great deals and he didn’t wanna spend a lot, but I found some cheap CD-Rs which was good. Then we went to HEY where I played some SFIV and actually did fairly well and beat a few people. Then we headed to Club Sega. It had been a while since I was at Club Sega Akiba. They now had 6 GG cabs which was nice since last time they had 4. They still have 5 BB cabs. I played some GG and got a 15 win streak. I saw Gin there and he was using Faust for some reason! I don’t know what would make a Slayer player want to switch to Faust but maybe he was just messing around with him. He lost the only match I watched him play. Emmet wanted to leave sorta early and I just rolled with it so we left at around 5:30. On the way out I saw Shouji the Testament player. I waved to him as we left. Woulda been cool to play him but oh well. On our way out of Akihabara, we tried one more store and we found an old PS1 Namco stick (the kind with the yellow buttons, I used to have the exact same stick) for 4000 yen which is a fantastic deal! So Emmet picked it up.

After that, we got on the train and had to stand like the entire way home cuz it was crowded. Im not used to going home on such an early train. It was kinda nice to get home at around 9:00 instead of midnight like I normally do on a Sunday night though.

Next weekend is a 5 day weekend and my birthday is on the 21st so it should be a pretty cool weekend. Lookin forward to it!

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