Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Brother Comes to Japan

This weekend, Monday was a national holiday so it was a 3 day weekend. I headed to Tokyo after work by myself. At Takasaki station I ran into Cynthia, another ALT, who was also going to Tokyo so we rode the rest of the way together and then we split up when we got to Takadanobaba.

I went to Mikado and eventually Ryan (letbloodrun) met me there too. There were lots of people playing GG and Kunihiro was there. He had a 14 win streak and I played him right away and beat him on my 2nd try ending his streak. We played several more games and went back and forth at first and then he broke away and got a streak on me so I went to play someone else. He told me he plans to enter SBO again this year so we may team up again. Eventually I looked over and Kunihiro had like a brand new 22 win streak. He was beasting really hard all day and was even owning some well known players like Udei and stuff. Glad to see he is in good form. He has always been great in casuals but often chokes in tournaments, but hopefully if we team up again this year he will beast in tournament matches too.

I also got some good games in vs Jam Ojisan. He beat me more than I beat him but I still got some wins in. Hes really solid, I havnt played against him in forever. I also got a few small win streaks myself. It was a good night of casuals.

At closing time, Ryan and I left to head back to Shinjuku. Ryan said he will be staying in Japan for about another 2 months. We grabbed some quick conbini food and some pre game beers and then headed to Current.

It was sorta dead there tonight but we sat at the bar and had a few beers. Also, Current now has a new female bartender, and shes pretty hot. Her name is Emma. She told me that she just started working there. Her previous job was a waitress at some Mexican restaurant. I dont remember the name but she said it was sorta famous and was on Iron Chef before. She seems really nice so its cool that she now works there too.

Sam showed up later too. He was playing Melty Blood casuals at Joybox which is basically the best spot for Melty. He said there were 3 cabs with like 30 people crowded around them. He also said he made friends with most of the top players which is cool. When he was leaving, he told them he was going to go drink with his friend Mike. They asked him "you mean the gaijin Faust player who always is wearing a hat?" LOL. I think its funny that even Melty Blood players somehow know who I am. Maybe because some of them play Guilty Gear, or maybe I just go to arcades too much. Pretty cool though.

After drinking a bit at Current, we decided to check out GODZ for a change of pace. It was pretty dead there too but we each got a beer and watched some cool live music videos on the giant screen.

After GODS, we headed back to Current for a bit. I dont really remember anything worth mentioning going on there. We left at closing and then went to PSY.

PSY was sorta packed. I ended up getting tired and drifting off a bit towards the end. I woke up to Masami showing up. I talked with him for a bit and asked him what the story with Emma was. He said they just put out an ad for a new bartender and she just simply called and answered it. She didnt know anyone there prior to getting hired and they hired her cuz they wanted a female staff member (all the current staff at Current are male) so I guess thats about all there is to it. After PSY we left and everyone went home. I went to the manga kissa.

On Saturday, my younger brother (age 20), Tony, was coming to Japan. He will be staying here for about 2 and a half weeks just for vacation. I needed to go meet him at Narita Airport. I printed out a schedule that had the train I was gonna try to catch to get there at a specific time. I woke up with time to spare so I got some Suikiya. Then I checked the time sheet again and I fucked up cuz I looked at the time for the 2nd train I was supposed to board thinking it was the first train (I checked it when I was drunk at PSY so thats probably why lol) so I ended up getting on the train late. In the end though, when I got to the airport, Tony hadnt even gone through customs yet so it actually worked out better this way.

Eventually I found Tony after a bit of waiting in the arrivals lobby and then we rode the train all the way back to my town, which took almost 5 hours after transfers and everything. The plan tonight was to go have dinner at Ryoko's parents house cuz they wanted to meet Tony. We stopped at my apartment quickly to take quick showers and change and then we headed to Ryoko's place.

We got there around 9:15 pm. Their parents had made a ton of awsome food like sukiyaki and sashimi. It was delicious. I got stuffed and drank plenty of good beers. Tony was a bit sleepy but stayed up pretty late and had a good time. Ryoko's dad also cracked open a bottle of this really good whiskey that my parents bought for him as a gift from the US, and it was good as hell. We probably drank till about 1:30 but Ryoko's parents had work the next day so they went to bed. Ryoko and I stayed up and had like one more beer and then we went to sleep. We stayed the night there cuz none of us could really drive to go home, but it was comfortable.

On Sunday, we woke up and Ryoko made us breakfast. We chilled for a bit and talked and then we went to catch the train to go back to Tokyo. Ryoko had work today at 5 pm so she couldnt go with us.

On the way to Tokyo, when we stopped in Takasaki, we met up with Andy and he rode the rest of the way with us.

We headed right for Mikado when we got to Tokyo. My brother is also pretty into video games. He doesnt play fighting games hardcore but he plays a little TvC and Blazblue casually so he was happy to spend most of the day at the arcade. There was a Melty Blood 3 on 3 going on when we arrived and some people were cosplaying as Melty characters. One dude was even cross dressing as Sion LOL! Sam also met up with us at Mikado later on too. He didnt know about the tournament and was sorta upset that he missed it.

We stayed there all day playing casuals. All 9 GG AC cabs at Mikado that they have now were packed with players later on, so its good to see that lots of people are getting ready for SBO. There were also a lot of top players there but I didnt get a chance to really play most of them. Isa was there (I hadnt seen him in a while) and he was playing a long set back and forth with Sadou (the Johnny who got 2nd place last year). At some point, I got like a 24 win streak which was pretty cool. No one even beat me, I just ended up beating arcade mode cuz no one played me for long enough unfortunately.

After I beat the game, we decided to get some food, so we went to the Turkish kebab place and got some fat, overstuffed kebabs. It was good as always. After that, we went back to Mikado.

After a while, Tony was getting tired due to the jet lag and passed out on a bench at the arcade. I got more good games in and several other smaller win streaks, I think I got one that was like 14 wins. At around 10, we decided to leave because he wanted a change of environment. It was fine though cuz I got plenty of games in, we played for almost 7 hours.

At the station, Sam split up with us cuz he didnt have much money for drinking. So then, Andy, Tony, and I headed for Shinjuku and ate a Sukiya. I had a few pre game beers and then we went to Current.

Tonight, Current was pretty packed. A guy named Allen had just gotten married and earlier in the day there was a wedding party since like 5 pm. Most of the Current regulars went to it and they were all dressed up. Espesially Mai, Hibiki, Mitchi, Ayami, and Ayano looked really hot. Lots of other regulars were there too. As soon as we walked in, Mogi like made me and Tony take our shirts off (cuz a bunch of the dudes in there already had theirs off) and a bunch of people drew shit on us with a black marker lol. They wrote "まいく” on my chest and they wrote "マイク?FUCK!" on my back lol! I have no idea why but it was kinda funny. They wrote "弟” on Tony's back which is the kanji for younger brother.

Everyone was pretty excited to meet Tony but most people commented that we dont really look alike which is true since I look more like my dad and he looks like my mom. I was talking with this one girl who I dont know who was at the wedding party and she was being kinda flirty. She was saying how she likes dancing and R&B and hip hop and stuff and just came here for the wedding party. Then she said she doesnt know how to dance well though and then starts like straddling my lap out of no where. Then shes like "see I told you I cant dance" I must admit it was pretty hot but I dont know what brought that on, other than alcohol. She even said she had a boyfriend so I guess she was just playing around.

Some of the regulars left before the last train but lots of people stayed all night. Everyone was already pretty drunk and there was tons of dancing going on which was fun. I talked with Ayano and Megu for a while too. At some point Sushi did a stage dive off the bar.

Also, Terry showed up and he sat and talked with me and Tony for a bit and I bought us all a round of shots and then he did the same. Tony wasnt really feeling so good at first for whatever reason but after the shots he started getting pretty drunk and felt great.

A bit after that, Andy was feeling tired so he went to go to the manga kissa early. I dunno if he wasnt feeling well or if he was bored but he looked a little out of it.

Later on, we were sitting with Maki, one of the regular girls who comes often, and she was talking with us for a while. Tony seemed to like her.

Eventually when it was time for the bar to close, I said bye to everyone and then Tony and I went to PSY. Maki decided to join us. PSY was pretty dead so the 3 of us pretty much just talked while we were there. Nastume closed up slightly early since it was so dead. After that Maki went home and Tony and I went to the manga kissa.

We spent Monday in Akihabara. Tony found it to be pretty amazing. We went to tons of stores and he ended up buying lots of things. He espessially liked Super Potato where he bought an original still sealed in box Super Famicom cartridge of Super Castlevania 4. He also got some stuffed Kirby plushies for souvineers for his friends. We went to the top floor and played some Street Fighter II rainbow edition in their retro arcade cuz he never saw it before and its hilarious. He also got his picture taken with the giant life size statue of Snake. He almost forgot his stuff at the arcade there but luckily an employee found it so he got it back.

At some other store, he also bought a Contra t-shirt, and he bought an R4 DS card and micro SD. It was only 900 yen for the R4 cuz they were having some sorta deal! What a lucky find that was.

We stopped in at the original Club Sega Akihabara as well cuz he wanted to just see it really quick. While there, I couldnt resist the urge to play a little GG so I beat like 3 people and then lost to some Anji 2 times. I beat him on my 3rd try and then he beat me with his Axl and then we left. Tony also played Deathsmiles while we were there and said he liked it.

We went to a few more stores and eventually Tony was feeling tired so we decided to go back home to Gunma. We left at around 5:30 and got home at like 8:30. I made some dinner and then we just chilled and went to sleep.

He will be chilling at my house for the whole week while I still have work and will probably be hanging out with Ryoko a bit the days she has off or works later in the evening.

Next Friday is the final enkai of the school year (Japan's school year ends in April, instead of in the US where it ends in the summer). The enkai is overnight but I will be heading to Tokyo on Saturday morning. Saturday and Sunday is G3 Johnny-o cup so I will go to that for sure, but im not sure what time I will be able to get there. Since after next weekend starts my spring vacation, we will all go to Kansai (Tony, Andy, Emmet, Sam, and myself) as well so basically once I leave for Tokyo next weekend I wont get back home until like April 5th or 6th, so there wont be a blog update for a while. However, the next one is probably going to be fucking massively huge. Im pretty hype about spring break. Should be good times!

Monday, March 15, 2010

AC Fuckin' DC!

I headed down to Tokyo after work Friday by myself and went right to Mikado. Sam and Emmet were already there when I arrived. I played some good games of casuals against various people, got a 14 win streak at some point, and only lost like maybe 4 times all night. Some big names such as Inoue and Yume were there but I didnt get a chance to play them. Emmet left early to go drinking somewhere and Sam and I stayed till almost closing time. Then Sam and I went to McDonalds and I tried the new California burger and it pretty much sucked. So out of the Big America burgers the only really good one was the Texas.

After eating, we went to Current. Emmet and Ryan (letbloodrun) eventually met up with us there as well. I spent most of the time there drinking with Antti. He will be moving to Dubai soon which sucks. Hes gonna go with his girlfriend to look for an apartment next week for a few days. He moves there completely in a few weeks, so the next time I drink with him may be the last time I see him for a long time.

There were a bunch of dudes who went to the ACDC concert earlier in the night (they would be playing 3 shows all weekend once a night, I would be going on Sunday), and they all said the show was awsome.

There were also these 3 really hot chicks there that sat at the table next to us. I eventually ended up talking with them a bit. They were all hostesses working at the same club. They said business was slow tonight so they got off early to come here. They all said they like their jobs because they can just drink the whole time and they like talking to people. They said most of the customers are salary men over 40 years old but they dont mind it too much. They were actually pretty nice so it was cool to just talk with them a bit.

I was also talking to Shuji (the pussy-shower guy) and he was telling me how he only sleeps 3 hours a night! He said he had to work tomorrow and was still out drinking all night and said he just sleeps 3 hours a night cuz he works so late and after work he wants to study English so he only allows himself 3 hours of sleep a night and then just sleeps 12 hours on Sundays. Theres no way that can be healthy physically or mentally. I also question how good the quality of the studying someone can possibly be doing in that mental state. I hope he doesnt over do it.

Other than that, lots of random gaijin were there and few other regulars. We stayed till closing, and then went to PSY where it was a pretty standard night there. They had some big huge flower thing in the corner because tomorrow would be Michiru's birthday (shes one of the bartenders). I ended up falling asleep there cuz I didnt drink any redbull all night but its all good. I finished my beer at least lol. After leaving there, everyone went home and Emmet and I went to the manga kissa.

The next day, Emmet and I went to Akihabara for a bit. He wanted to buy a new computer and needed my help cuz he cant speak Japanese. We walked around and went to about 5 stores and eventually he found a good deal on one. It turns out that most of the stores that sold computers with English operating systems (which is what he wanted) at least had one person there who spoke some English so he could have probably done it ok on his own but oh well. While in Akihabara, I also noticed they built a brand new Club Sega right down the street from the old one, just a little bit past Hey! I went inside and its pretty nice. Something like 7 floors, and 2 floors of all fighting games, one is all 2d and one is all 3d. They only had 2 GG cabs so its probably not gonna be a good GG hot spot but they had TONS Of melty cabs so I think it might be a good place for melty players to go, and they had 2 cabs of the newest version being tested there in addition to like 4 regular actress again cabs. They also had like 4 BB cabs, 4 SFIV, and at least like 1 or 2 of most other older SF games and they had like 2 or 3 Arcana 3 cabs too. There was other stuff too. Nice arcade but I probably wont go there often unless I have a good reason. Everything was 100 yen for 1 credit just like the other club sega though which sorta sucks.

Before leaving Akihabara, we got some Turkish kebabs at a stand by the station, and it was delicious! Now whenever I eat kebabs it just reminds me of Hakan from SSFIV lol...

After that, we headed to Takadanobaba. We went to Mikado first and it was semi dead. I played a few matches and won vs some so-so players and eventually no one was playing me so Emmet and I went to Big Box. Today was another qualifier for the SFIV national tournament. Sam told me about it the previous day. I was supposed to meet him there but he didnt answer his mail so I didnt know what time it started. I would have entered for the hell of it if I had a team but since Sam never replied I figured just screw it. We would have gotten man handled anyway, lol.

When Emmet and I arrived at Big Box, I ran into Nick (Sam's friend who I met last weekend) and he said the tournament had just ended and the winning team was like TDK, Itabashi-Zangief, and someone else who I cant remember at the moment). The place was packed as fuck still with people playing casuals. I waited for a little bit to try and get a game in but the lines to play were ridiculously long and crowded, and it was set on 100 yen for 2 credits, so it was taking forever. I eventually lost patience and just decided to go back to Mikado in hopes that more GG comp would show up by now.

When Emmet and I headed back to Mikado, there were some more GG players so that was good. Hot Zappa was there with her boyfriend and Udei showed up later too. There were also some really good people who I dont know who they were but I got some fun matches in with them. Eventually Ryan and Sam showed up as well.

The highlight of my time at Mikado that day was fighting against Maruken's Baiken. At first, I didnt even realize it was Maruken when I sat down to play him. I lost the very first game. Then, I beat him on my 2nd try. He rematched me after that, and I lost... and then I lost again... and again... and again... I was determined to beat him though, espessially after I looked over and realized who it was. I was getting extremely close every time too, almost all the matches went down to the final round but I just couldnt seal the win. The other guys wanted to go get food, but I told them to wait until I beat Maruken because I didnt want to leave until I beat him again. Baiken is probably my hardest matchup now since I am starting to get better at fighting May, and Baiken just gives me a lot of trouble. In the end, I did finally beat him again... after 32 tries... Yes, losing to someone 32 times in a row is a bit embarrasing, but when its the best Baiken player in the world, and the character is my hardest matchup, I guess thats how it goes. However, I kept my cool the whole time and instead of getting pissed off, I just kept trying and made a real posative learning experience from my matches with him. Im almost glad I lost so many in a way because it gave me so much great Baiken practice that by the time we were finished with our session, I REALLY feel like I understand that much way better now. Maruken just plays that matchup in the most safe possable way and never wastes a single move. Doing mixups on him is pretty much impossable. If I go for a throw he always jumps away or hits me. If I try to do FDC okizeme he almost never gets hit by it by either jumping away or blocking and countering. If I poke him, he always knows exactly what counter to use and when, and if there is no good counter thats guarenteed he waits patiently. All the times I hit him, I pretty much got random pokes in from zoning. I got way better at blocking Baiken though and now I know much better how to safely poke her and the optimal distances to keep in each situation. After I finally beat him, I went over to the other side and apolagized to him for making him fight me so many times. I told him it was my hardest matchup and that fighting him was great practice and thanked him. He said he enjoyed the matches and said I wasnt even playing bad but he gave me some advice about the matchup. Apearently when you hit Baiken from max range with a crouching HS with Faust, if she goes for the flip jump counter, Faust can standing dust through it on reaction. I didnt know this, but its certainly good to know. He said I wasnt really doing anything overally wrong, and just said that I shouldnt take unecessary risks with rushing Baiken down when I can play a safer zoning game. He said my zoning in the matchup improved drastically over the course of our matches. Maruken is a really polite guy and super chill. I really appreciated the fact that he was playing serious and giving it his all every round and not just playing lazy. He really didnt want to lose and as a result I totally leveled up in the matchup. I asked him who his SBO team is and he said he hasnt decided yet this year. I thanked him for the advice and then told him I had to go cuz my friends were waiting to go eat.

After that we waited for Ryan to finish up his game of 3S and then we went to the local Kebab place. I dunno why everyone wanted kebabs since Emmet and I already ate kebabs earlier, but they are so good so I didnt mind getting them again, and the 2 places taste pretty different. We ended up eating outside the store in front by the counter they have there cuz it was completely full in there and we couldnt get a table. It was pretty tasty. After finishing, we headed back to Mikado.

We played there for a bit longer and I got some more good games in, Maruken wasnt there any more when I got back but I played a really good Millia and Robo-Ky for a while and some other random people who I got a small streak on. I also ended the good Millia's 17 win streak he got vs other people on my 2nd try. Liz mailed me and wanted to go with us to Current so I told her we would meet her at the station at 11. Upon her arriving, we headed out and met here there, and then headed to Current.

Tonight at Current was Bosch's birthday party. Most of all the old regulars showed up and I hadnt seen a lot of them in a while. They all say they havnt really been drinking much lately and have been pretty busy. Rina brought her little sister so I met her for the first time. I told all the old regulars how im engaged now and they were all really excited and want to come to my wedding. Terry was there too and he bought me like a zillion shots cuz hes cool like that.

In the past at previous Bosch birthday parties, everyone took their shirts off. Unfortunately this one didnt get that wild but a lot of the guys took their shirts off and people were drawing stuff all over their backs and chests with a black marker. Someone drew a big penis on someones back lol. You can see the stuff in the pictures so I wont go into detail about it too much.

Liz left before the last train and Ryan left early too cuz he was tired. Emmet hung out with this one girl he met before most of the night and left with her before closing. I had a great time talking a bunch of cool people I know so it was an awsome night. I did a good amount of dancing towards the end too.

At closing time, I said bye to everyone and then headed to PSY with Sam. It was really packed there for Michiru's birthday. Some people from Current came to PSY too. Once again after sitting at the bar for a bit I fell asleep cuz I didnt drink any redbull again. Something about the lighting in PSY just makes me sleepy. After I finished my beer, Sam and I left, though the bar was still open. I was tired so I was cool with just leaving to go sleep.

The next morning I woke up at the manga kissa and my alarm didnt go off and I overslept by 2 hours. It cost me an extra 600 yen but oh well, at least I felt refreshed.

Today I would be going to the ACDC concert at the Saitama Super Arena. The show would be starting at 5 pm so I had some time to kill (I woke up at 2). I went to Mikado for a bit and played some games of casuals. I beat a May player a few times and then a Slayer like maybe 4 times and then the Slayer eventually beat me so I figured I should go get some food. I got some quick McDonalds (though I am honestly starting to really sick of eating there but I just wanted something fast to save time), and I had a couple beers to pregame for the concert.

I arrived at the Super Arena at about 4:30. There were tons of fans out in front, many people cosplayed in the school uniform that Angus Young always wears.

I found my seat and there was about 15 minutes till the show started. The place was completely packed and sold out. They were selling these plastic glowing red devil horns and TONS of people were wearing them so the whole crowd just lit up with flickering red lights and it looked really cool. While waiting for the show to begin, some random Japanese dude sitting near me struck up a conversation. He said this was his first time seeing the band and stuff and we just made small talk. He works for some sorta printing and imaging company. I asked him if he likes his job and he said its ok. I asked him how is working hours are. He said he starts every morning at 8 am and works till 1 am! I dont understand how people even DO that! I really hope I dont end up with a job like that after finishing JET, cuz I dont think I would be able to handle it very long. Japanese working culture is often times just ridiculous.

Anyway, the show started like 10 mins after 5. The started the show with this cool animation ont he big screen of the Rock and Roll Train being boarded by these 2 hot chicks. Devil version of Angus is fueling the fire with coals and the speed goes like broken fast. Then the 2 hot chicks seduce him and tie him up and get off the train. The train crashes and theres a big explosion. Then on the stage you can see a model of the front of a wrecked train coming out of the wall. The band then comes out and opens with the song Rock and Roll train! Here is the entire setlist.

Rock N' Roll Train
Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be

Back in Black

Big Jack

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Shot Down in Flames

Thunderstruck

Black Ice

The Jack

Hells Bells

Shoot to Thrill

War Machine

High Voltage

You Shook Me All Night Long

T.N.T.

Whole Lotta Rosie

Let There Be Rock

Angus Young guitar solo
----------------------------
Highway to Hell

For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)


So they played about 19 songs and they played about exactly for 2 hours. The entire band sounded great and nailed every song and were all in top form. They did all the signature running around on the stage and Angus did his funny leg-hop dancing then while playing lots of solos. The crowd was good and had lot of energy. Some highlights were...

The Jack had a pretty extended solo and was really awsome and bluesey. Angus did this thing at the end where he started stripping off his clothes and went down to his shorts. Then he bent over and pulled them down and mooned the audience with his ACDC logo underwear LOL! It was pretty funny.

After The Jack, Brian Johnson ran the whole length of the catwalk and leaped and did like this Tarzan swing on a huge bell that was hanging from the ceiling and then the band played Hells Bells which was fucking sweet.

When they played You Shook Me All Night Long, Brian Johnson replaced the lyrics "Knockin me out with those American thighs" to "Japanese thighs"

During TNT they had big flaming explosions in the back of the stage.

For Whole Lotta Rosie, they had a giant inflatable fat chick in lingerie and a big tatoo on one of her tits. It was dancing along with the music and looked pretty hilarious.

For Let There Be Rock they had this cool compilation video in the background showing all the CDs of the bands career. At the end of the song it led into Angus playing a huge extended guitar solo for several minutes. First he went on this huge platform at the end of the catwalk and it raised him up super high above the crowd and he played while rolling around on the ground and stuff. A huge machine exploded all this confetti everywhere and it filled the air of the stadium. Then it lowered and he ran all the way to the back of the stage to a big platform above the drum set and played some more.

After the solo was over the said goodnight, left the stage, and then this flaming trapdoor opened up from the floor in the middle of the stage and Angus came back from the floor like he was rising from hell or something lol. Then they played Highway to Hell which was awsome and finally finished up with For Those About To Rock, complete with a 21 gun salute of cannons firing huge blasts of power.

This was certainly one of the best shows I have ever been to and was totally worth the 10,000 yen I paid. The set was awsome and they played most of their big hits and I knew every song so I really enjoyed it. Im really glad I finally had the chance to see them live.

After it ended I headed to the station. I got a sandwich and a cheese dog while I waited for the next train and then played a little Suikoden on my PSP in Japanese and then passed out for most of the way home.

Pretty awsome weekend...

Next weekend my younger brother Tony is coming to Japan and will be staying with me for about 2 and a half weeks. Should be fun times.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gods Garden 2

This weekend I headed out after work as usual on Friday night. Tonight we would be celebrating Emmet's birthday (which would actually be on Monday). Since it was his birthday party everyone was just gonna meet up at an izakaya right when we got to Tokyo, meaning there would be no time for casuals tonight. As a result, I started drinking with Emmet on the train at 5 pm right away.

We drank the whole way to Tokyo and then we got to Shibuya where we met up with Andy, Sam, Emmet's girlfriend Hiromi, and her friend. The 6 of us went to a Wara Wara izakaya and drank and talked for a good like... 3 or so hours. I probably slammed like 6 or 7 beers within that time and we ate lots of good food and stuff.

After that, Sam, and also Hiromi's friend both went home, so the remaining 4 of us went to Current. On the way to Current, in front of the West exit of Shinjuku station, we saw a fight break out. There was this old dude, a young dude, and another young dude in between them trying to break them up. They kept yelling shit at each other and taking a few swings here and there at eachother over the other guy who was in the middle of them. Eventually the young guy got a good head-butt in and also a few good blows to the face and the old guy was knocked down to the ground by a bike rack and his face was bleeding pretty bad. Then the other young guy was really trying to hold the dude back so Emmet sorta tried to stop them and eventually it seems it was over. That was like the first all out fight I ever saw in Japan which is pretty surprising. I have no idea what they were fighting about. No cops were around and lots of people stared but lots of people also just kept walking. After that we finished walking to Current.

Current was cool cuz Sawa and Chip were there, and so were some girls I know from Kansai, one of which is the bassist of Amorphis's girlfriend, and the bassist of Amorphis was there too. We sat with all them and talked for most of the night. Ryan (Letbloodrun) was there too in addition to several other regulars. It was a fun time at Current with nothing too extremely noteworthy. Emmet and Hiromi left sorta early to go to the love hotel.

Andy, myself, and a few other people went to PSY where we drank till like 6:30. The next day was Natsume's birthday party and I told them I was going to show up. I didn't... but we will get to that later...

So anyway we drank till like 6:30 am... and keep in mind that I started drinking at 5 pm... so thats like 13 and a half hours of drinking... Probably not the most healthy thing I could be doing, but aside from being tired I felt fine when I went to sleep at the manga kissa.

I woke up 6 hours later to my alarm going off and I didnt wanna get up at all, so I slept an extra hour. After the next alarm went off, I was feeling really strange. I dunno how to really describe it but just really restless and out of it and my stomach felt really bad and my head felt funny too. I forced myself to get up because I was already over time on the manga kissa charge and once you go over the time you reserved when you showed up, the extra time is like 50 yen for 10 minutes which is pretty expensive. So I got up, walked to the counter, and pulled out he cash to pay for my stay. Next thing I know I sorta blacked out and I came back to consciousness a few seconds later in the little hallway the leads to the exit and had tripped and knocked over a plant. Appearently I just simply passed out for a second. Sorta like that feeling when not enough oxygen is getting to your brain. I was confused and disoriented as hell. The clerk and some other random costumer dude were staring at me and I just said, sorry I dont feel very good, and just grabbed my backpack and headed to the bathroom and sat on the toilet. I sat there for like 20 minutes trying to regain my composure. The clerk dude knocked on the door like 3 times asking if I was ok and needed an ambulance. I said I was fine and just needed to sit for a bit. Eventually I felt more or less normal again so I got up and headed out. I left my wallet and my coat out there without even realizing it but the guy was nice so there was no problem. I told him I probably just drank too much last night and apologized for causing him trouble.

I checked my temperature and I didnt have a fever so I figured whatever it was had blown over. So, I met up with Sam, and his 2 friends Nick and Ken. Nick and Ken are Americans living in Japan who play SFIV. I saw them last weekend when I went to Taito Station. We met in front of Shinjuku Station East exit, and after a bit walking around, we found Loft +1, the venue where Gods Garden 2 would be taking place.

We waited in line for quite a while to get in. I could hear some pretty hardcore shouting going on above us (the event was in the basement and we were waiting on the stairs). Apparently some dude was pissed and yelling at some staff member cuz they wouldn't let him in cuz there was an issue with his ticket. It went on for like 10 minutes hah.

Eventually we got in and we were some of the first ones there too. The setup was nice. I unfortunately didn't get to take any pictures because my camera battery died, but here are the official pictures the staff took. I am in a few of them. http://web.me.com/tohoho/GODSGARDEN2/

Just to summarize for those who dont know, the event was divided into 3 tournaments. One was the Ladies/beginners tournament, one was the console character only tournament, and the other was the main last chance qualifier to get a spot to participate in the main tournament in which most of the competitors were already decided. I signed up for all 3, cuz... why not? I entered with Blanka (and Cammy for the console only tournament).

While we were waiting for things to get started I was just feeling gradually worse and worse again. I felt like I couldnt stand for too long or I started feeling sick, so I just sat down a lot. I also kept burping up this gross taste so eventually I just decided maybe I would feel better if I made myself throw up. So I went into the bathroom and did just that, and I threw up quite a bit. I felt much better after I did that though, so it was a good call. After that, I headed back in the event area.

The whole event was on console and they had about maybe 16 setups total which is pretty nice. Some were for casuals most of the day while others were for tournament only. I met a few other SRK guys who I have seen post before but never actually met such as Bull410, Reno, Abelity, Kim1234, Chritorisu, and a few others. Also, much to my surprise, MIU was on staff at the event and he seemed pretty shocked to see me there as well lol. I said hi to him and chatted a bit. I said hi to Nemo too, since it had been a while since I had seen him. I havn't seen him play Guilty Gear since SBO ended. I also saw AdverseSolutions who I hadn't seen in a long time. Also, out of nowhere, Tokido came up to me and said hi, saying he remembered me from several years at EVO. It was cool talking with him too... nice guy. Everyone seemed pretty cool. I got a game of casuals in vs Bull410's Goken and won, then played Abelity's Abel and won, and then I fought Reno's Honda and it was pretty close down to the last round and the power went out and we couldnt finish our match lol. Oh well.

The first tournament was the ladies/beginners tournament. It was 2/3 single elim. When it started, I was playing Chritorisu's Claw for like 2 matches in casuals while I was waiting, and he beat me both of them. Then they called my first match of the tournament, and it ended up being against Chritorisu lol! So we went right off the casuals machine in the middle of fighting each other and had to play each other in the tournament. I dont remember too many specific details about the match but I think he won the first game, I wont he 2nd game, and it went down to the very last game, very last round and I won. I honestly thought he had me but I managed to squeeze out a win.

Next up I had to play a Japanese Gief player who's name I don't remember. This one was also close but I managed to win, taking this one also to the very last round. Blanka should dominate that matchup but I still struggled, probably because the guy is just a better SF player than me or something.

After winning this match, they told me I had already made top 4! The other 3 people to make top 4 were Reno, Sam, and Abelity. I was expecting Choco to get top 4 but I guess she got taken out by Abelity. Funny how the only ones to make top 4 in the ladies tournament were gaijin males, lol. They said top 4 wouldnt start till 6 so we had a little time. I was gradually starting to feel worse again and had absolutely no appetite. I still hadn't eaten all day. I just struggled to keep it together and tried to have fun anyway. I checked my temperature and I now had a fever of about 37.8 c (or 100 f). I thought about going home but wanted to at least finish playing the beginners tourney since I made top 4.

Eventually they started the main tournament last chance qual. This one was one match, round robin pool style. My first match was vs a Boxer player and he beat me 2 rounds straight. I hate Blanka vs Boxer matchup. The guy was good though.

After that match was over I sat down for a bit almost falling asleep and then they called my name over the mic to play my next match over the live stream... vs Itabashi Zangief! LOL... man I felt like shit and knew I was gonna get rocked, and quite frankly, I did! I got about maybe half his life off at best on the first round and then he got in fast and perfected me the 2nd round. I was sorta too fucked up to care. I shook his and, went to go sit down again, and then they call me back right away to fight a female Viper player named Kayo Police again on the live stream. Fortunately this time I won, both rounds straight. I shook her hand and they took a bunch of photos and then I went back to sit down.

After more waiting, they called my next match vs a Sagat player who beat me, and then my final match of the pool was vs a Honda player who I managed to squeeze a win out of. So for my pool, my record was 2 wins, 3 loses, which I guess isn't that bad.

After that was over and they announced the pool winners (I dont remember them all but Itabashi Zangief dominated my whole pool). I wanted to watch more Mizoteru Blanka action, espessially since I missed him beating Nemo, but whenever he was playing I was busy playing my matches or something. He won his pool though. Im sure detailed results are already posted somewhere else anyway so theres no reason for me to get too into details here.

Anyway, I went out to the AM/PM with Sam to get food, and tried to eat a sandwich but couldn't even finish it all cuz I had like no appetite. I just drank lots of water and sports drink. We sat outside a bit and then we had to go inside to finish up the finals of the beginners tournament. First match was Reno vs Sam. Someone told me I was supposed to fight Reno so I was sorta surprised. Anyway, it was a good match but Reno took the win. Up next was me vs Abelity. When they called me up they mentioned how I was like sort of a well known Guilty Gear player or something. I was feeling like shit but I tried anyway. I don't think I played terrible (at least by my own usual standards, since I don't consider myself good at SFIV) but my biggest problem was that I wasn't mixing things up enough. I kept doing the same block string patterns and mixups, and I completely just forgot about doing jab into piano electricity like the entire match. I dunno how much it would have mattered but Abelity played really well and I took a round each match but he beat me in the end 2-0. After that, it was Reno vs Abelity for the finals and Reno took the win. His prize was a brand new Super Street Fighter IV arcade stick. So I ended up tying for 3rd with Sam since they didn't have a tie breaker. And just to note, I am not trying to use me being sick as an excuse for losing, I am just telling it like it is. Abelity deserved his win against me for sure.

As soon as it ended I figured it would be best to start heading home since I had a 3 hour train ride ahead of me to get back to Gunma. I said bye to everyone I knew and thanked the staff and told them how I had a fever and was sick so I would have to withdraw from the console only tournament. I really would have loved to stay and watch the finals and everything and chill some more with everyone but I had to get home and get some rest. Theres no way I would have made it through the rest of the night there anyway.

I stumbled to the station and passed out the entire way home, and then slept for like 12 hours.

I spent the rest of Sunday with Ryoko watching X-files on DVD and started to feel a little better but still not 100%.

At the time of writing this its now Monday and I slept like 11 hours last night. I got up and went to work today and my fever is gone now and I seem to be more or less back to normal. Not really sure what the problem was but I guess I should try not to drink for 13 and a half hours next time.

I'll be back in Tokyo next weekend for Bosch's Birthday party at Current, AC/DC live concert at the Saitama Super arena, and of course, more Guilty Gear (and maybe SFIV) casuals! See you next time!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Out of the Loop...

I skipped writing my blog last weekend so I will just summarize what I did then before getting into this most recent weekend. On Friday night (2/19), Jessie (one of the other ALTs near me) had a ski party at her apartment. Lots of ALTs went (about maybe 12, including Andy, and Emmet) and we drank, watched some Olympic stuff, and played some multiplayer Wii games.

The next day we all headed to Kawaba ski park. This was my first time going there. Its really big actually and was pretty nice. As we were going out to head to the lift, the zipper on my snow pants broke. They are too small on me and they were already in my apartment when I moved in, left over from the last guy who lived there so I just use them. I was able to rig the zipper into working again but I had to be careful. The zipper went the full length of my leg down on the side.

Jessie is a pretty serious snow boarder and so she was all about going on this really hard course and asked me to go with her on it and a few other pretty advanced people. Im a pretty intermediate skier but she said I could handle it so I believed her. Her and a bunch of the other guys went off trail into a forested area and were snowboarding between trees. Pretty dangerous shit. I figured it would be best to just stick to the trail so we agreed to meet at the lift later. So I went down with this one other guy and it turned out that the course was like way advanced and difficult. I was hanging in there ok at first but then I ran into a really steep part with tons of moguls (huge bumps all over the side of the mountain) and had to go slow as hell and I wiped out at some point and my snow pants completely ripped open. There was really no easy way to fix them at this point, and my skis also fell off when I wiped out. I wasn’t at all injured but the slope was now too steep to be able to get my skis back on so I had no choice but to ride like halfway down the hill on my ass while holding my skis lol! I made it down fine and was eventually able to put my skis back on when it got less steep and skied down the rest of the way with no problem. When I got to the bottom I decided theres no way im going on that specific trail again hah. There were tons of other ones though so there wasn’t much of a problem. Also, I went inside the gift shop and asked the cashier if he had any strong tape. He busted out this role of green duct tape and wrapped a bunch of tape around my snow pants so that I could still ski without having it split open again. I looked ghetto as hell but I was able to ski just fine for the rest of the day.

Since Andy is still injured, instead of going skiing he just chilled in the lounge studying, and playing some DS. After we finished skiing, everyone headed out and we stopped at Jessies to get my stuff. At this point I originally wasn’t planning on trying to go to Tokyo cuz I thought we were gonna be skiing later but the slope closed after 4 pm so Emmet and I decided to go catch the train. Andy came with us so that he could go back home to Takasaki. We ended up missing the train and saw it leaving just as we arrived at the station. The next train wasn’t for another hour so we got some ramen.

We caught the next train and made it there with no problem. Andy parted ways with us at Takasaki and Emmet and I went to Shinjuku. We played a few casuals at sportsland. Female zombie Sol was there as well as her Jam playing boyfriend. I beat her, then some random Faust played me and we went 3 to 2 in my favor. Then FZS’s boyfriend played me with his Jam and I won like 5 in a row and eventually then we left to head to Current.

Current was pretty cool. There were lots of girls there who I didn’t know. Also, Rob (the guy who works for Square-enix) showed up so I talked with him for a while. I don’t remember much else about the night but it was good times. We went to PSY afterwords. I stayed at the manga kissa but I didn’t end up really sticking around long the next day on Sunday. I headed back home and saw Ryoko.

Now… finally getting to this past weekend…

On Friday (2/26), I had an enkai for work in Numata. The train got me there early so I stopped by Emmet’s apartment for a few beers before heading there. It was a small enkai with only about 9 teachers but they had all you can drink Yebisu and the food was awesome so it was pretty cool. It ended at around 9 pm, which meant we could still catch the very last train to Tokyo.

We got to Tokyo at like 12 something. Since it was already so late we just headed right for Current. Ryan (Letbloodrun) was now back in Japan starting this weekend so he met up with us at Current. Sam also met us there. There was a decent crowd in there so we had fun just chilling and drinking. Nothing extremely note worthy happened at Current. At some point Sam just vanished without saying anything. I think he had too much to drink. We stayed till closing and headed to PSY, which was also fun but once again nothing extremely out of the ordinary happened.

Then we decided, for whatever reason, to go to Tokyo Loose. Mainly cuz Ryan wanted to go. When we got there, it wasn’t very packed but there were a few girls there. Emmet wasted no time trying talk to this one girl who totally just blew him off. Then that same girl started like getting a straight up lap dance from this one other girl! Then that same lap dance girl and this one other girl started like dancing and trying to get us to get up and dance with them. The lap dance girl grabbed my and Ryan’s hands, pulled us off our seats, and we started dancing with them. Within 10 seconds, they suddenly just push us away and blow us off… wtf. I didn’t even give a fuck cuz I didn’t wanna dance anyway, but then they start dancing in from of us AGAIN after we sit down. These chicks were being a bunch of cock teasing hoes. Then the lap dance girl starts practically giving Ryan a lap dance and even touched his crotch. But once again, she would just ignore us if we actually got up so we didn’t even bother with that shit. It was really confusing but pretty hilarious at the same time. Some girl from New Zealand was there and I asked her what the deal with these girls was cuz I thought they were prostitutes and she says they are like hostesses or something. Im pretty sure none of them were Japanese. Anyway, we stayed till like 9 am which is pretty fucking late, so we then left to go sleep. Ryan went home and Emmet and I went to the manga kissa.

Saturday, we woke, had some Sukiya, and headed to Mikado. Sam met us there and said he was tired as fuck cuz he ended up falling asleep on the Keihin-tohoku line all night and just slept there the entire night and came right back to Mikado without going home lol. Throughout most of the day, it was actually pretty dead at Mikado. I still ended up playing a bunch though. There weren’t many people but I still got lots of matches in. There actually were a few other well known GG players there like FAB, HH, Yume, and some others but they were only playing BB all day which was sorta lame. I was beating most of the people I played in GG pretty consistently and getting small win streaks, but there was this one default color Millia player there who I have played before who is really good. I lost my first game vs him, but then beat him on my 2nd try. Then he won like 7 in a row on me till I finally beat him again. After that someone else fought me and I didn’t get a chance to fight him again. I was talking to Mitsurugi and he said he is teaming with that Millia player for SBO this year.

...and getting to the meaning of this blog title. I asked Mitsurugi if people have been playing somewhere else lately and he says that everyone still plays at Mikado mostly and its just a slow day for GG casuals. HOWEVER... he mentioned that there was a tournament last weekend for the Johnny-o cup G3 ranbats... and it was the last one!!!! Originally someone had posted on dustloop that there was no Guilty Gear G3 this year and that BB replaced it when INFACT its a completely separate event! This years G3 ranbats have been going on since late December and there were 5 total, the last one ending last weekend... the weekend I was skiing. I was visiting the US during the first 2, but I could have EASILY gone to the other 3 since all 3 of those days I wasnt doing anything in particular that I couldnt have easily done some other time. I researched all about this G3 on the internet after Mitsurugi told me about what I had missed and I feel like I am just so out of the loop what is going on. I even ASKED Osaka B a few weeks ago if there have been any tournaments going on lately and he didnt mention this at all! I just really dont know how to find out about this stuff without going so far as to just start checking all the Japanese arcade websites and hoping I get lucky and find something. I just wish there was a good Japanese GG forum where I could easily get this information. I feel like I really missed out and have been totally fiending for some tournaments lately so this really kinda pisses me off. It turns out that the grand finals is happening the weekend of March 27th and 28th. I ALREADY MADE PLANS for the 27th which totally sucks and I am not sure I can back out of them now. I could probably make it to the one on the 28th though. The website for G3 Johnny-o cup is here. Theres a schedule on there. If I can, I want to go to both days but if I can only go Sunday I pretty much would be only able to enter the random team 5 on 5 and the accident core tournament (double damage setting). Id much rather be able to go to both days, even though I already cant enter most of the stuff on the Saturday one since I have never entered any ranbats. Ugh... im kicking myself so hard for missing those ranbats... I just wish I had some better way of knowing about wtf is going on. Anyway, enough of my bitching... nothing I can do about it now anyway...

By the way, I don’t know why I never bothered posting this before but every week they have a GG tournament at Mikado on like Tuesday or Thursday night. Obviously I cant go, but the brackets are always up on the wall. Im sure people are interested so I will try to post the winner every week. This week, Inoue won, and I think last week I remember seeing FAB win. I will try to remember to post the winner every week.

Later on when I ended up beating the game cuz no one played me for so long, we headed to Big Box for a bit. I played about an hour or so of SFIV and did pretty decent, winning a few and losing a few. Sam says that Big Box is sorta not really the hot spot for SFIV anymore. Everyone now plays at the Taito Station by the South East exit of Shinjuku station.

We went back to Mikado for a bit after Big Box and I played some more GG. Emmet left to go to another international party but Sam and I stayed to play games. Also, Andy showed up and joined us. After playing at Mikado for a while, we headed to Shinjuku. We got some quick food and then Andy went to Shinjuku station to meet up with some other ALTs that were gonna come to Current later. Sam and I went to the Taito Station.

Sam was indeed right, and the place was packed with Grand Master SFIV players. The top Akuma player, Yuu, was there among many others. They have 6 cabs and its 100 yen for 2 credits, 2/3 rounds. It took a while to get a turn in because there were so many people crowded around the cabs. I played against a Grand Master Boxer player and got owned pretty bad (its like one of Blanka’s worst matchups… plus he’s a Grand Master lol). Then I played another match vs an A rank Viper player and took a round both matches and almost beat him, but I don’t know the matchup well so I did stuff that I thought was safe and ended up not being safe, oh well. It was fun and I will probably try playing there again sometime.

After that, Sam went home cuz he was tired and broke, and I headed to Current for a Metal Event night! It was pretty packed and hot in there when I arrived. Andy was there with Mary-Beth and Mika (the 2 other ALTs), and Emmet was there with 2 girls he brought from the international party. He said he also went there with Chibi Testament. In addition, some girl that Emmet had taken back to a love hotel from the last metal event we went to, was there too. So now Emmet was faced with choosing which girl he wanted to get with tonight, it was kind of a funny situation. He eventually chose the one from the last metal event cuz she was the best looking and then some other foreigner dude didn’t waste any time scooping up the leftover chick lol.

It was a pretty typical metal event but I talked to a bunch of cool people. The music selection was not as good as some past set lists but they still played some quality stuff. Mary-Beth and Mika didn’t stay long. Andy left about an hour early to go to PSY. Emmet left with the girl about a half hour before closing. I rounded up a group of people and we all went to PSY.

When I got to PSY, Andy was already gone. He said he decided to take an earlier train. PSY soon filled up with people from Current and other people too. Hibiki showed up too and sat next to me so I got to talk with her a bit.

After PSY closed, a big group of people were talking about going to another bar. I was totally down. So we went to go find this other bar but then when we got to the main street, the guy who I thought was leading the way crossed it and I followed. I didn’t realize that no one else was going that way till after I crossed and the light turned red. Then everyone didn’t notice I was gone or something and they kept walking. I lost sight of them in a big crowd and by the time I got back to the other side of the street they were gone. I tried mailing Chibi Testament a few times but she didn’t reply. I waited about 10 minutes and then just said fuck it and went to go sleep at the manga kissa. I would have liked to drink more but at least this way I had more time to play games the next day.

I woke up at the manga kissa and saw that Emmet had mailed me, asking where I was at. I changed clothes, and then went outside and replied to his mail saying I was in front of the manga kissa. I asked where he was and he said he was in the manga kissa still. I was sorta like wtf… cuz he went to the love hotel with that girl. Anyway, he came out of the manga kissa and told me that when they were looking for the love hotel last night, he got lost and went down the wrong street and they ended up just walking around aimlessly until they just gave up and passed out at some restaurant or something lol. I guess after that the girl went home and Emmet came to the manga kissa.

Anyway, after that, we tried to buy bus tickets to Osaka for spring break but they wouldn’t sell it to us yet because it cant be more than a month away from the current date, and we were early by like 3 days, so it looks like we gotta buy tickets next weekend. No big deal I guess.

After that we went to Mikado and met up with Sam. There were only 2 GG players there. I ended up jumping in on their session and got like 2 10 win streaks in a row vs both of them. They weren’t that bad but they were having a hard time finishing a match vs me. I kept making these good comebacks even when it looked like they might win.

Eventually we got some kabobs at a restaurant, went back to Mikado and played for a bit longer, and then Emmet and I headed back. Nothing too noteworthy to mention happened, I just played a few more people and won most of the matches I played.

After that, Emmet and I headed back to Gunma at around 5:30. I got home and spent the rest of the night with Ryoko.

Next weekend is Gods Garden 2, one of the biggest SFIV tournaments in Japan. I already bought my ticket and will be going there with Sam. Im not that hardcore into SFIV but it sounds like it will be fun, and theres nothing else really going on so why not? Ill make sure to have a detailed report about the event. Im still kicking myself so fucking hard for completely missing G3 ranbats though...