Monday, July 26, 2010

Secret Weapon

I headed to Tokyo by myself on Friday after work. I headed to Mikado for casuals. Akinori and Kunihiro were both there playing as well as a bunch of other players. I had a full team for Sunday (Kunihiro and Akinori) but Kunihiro couldnt enter on Saturday so Akinori and I were still in need of one more person. I asked around throughout the week but no one else could do it. While playing casuals at Mikado, I asked a few people there. I dont know why I even bothered, but I asked Ain, the fat, arrogant, rude Ky player. All I did was say excuse me and asked him if he already decided on a team for tomorrow. Instead of just giving me a simple yes or no, the guy just shoos me away and tells me to basically fuck off. I really fucking hate that guy. He might quite possibly be my least favorite Guilty Gear player in Japan. I still have no idea why a nice girl like Ririko constantly teams up with that POS. Anyway, I asked Woody (Udei) too, and he said he was down to team with me on Sunday but had already decided on a team for Saturday. Thats a shame cuz I already had a team for Sunday.

Then, something occurred to me that I cant believe I had never thought of before. Theres this one blue Robo-Ky player whos always there at Mikado and hes really good. Hes the same RO player that beat me a bunch of times in a row a few weeks ago and it caused me to get pissed of and go slam a beer. Well, I have NEVER seen this guy enter tournaments before and hes always tearing it up in casuals. I have made small talk with him before so he sorta knows me, so I figured I would ask him if he could team with me for tomorrow. He was actually very down to team with me! He told me that his tournament name is Gaku. I told Akinori and he was fine with it so we now had a team for tomorrow. I dont know why I never asked this guy before. I just overlooked him for whatever reason. I guess its cuz I never saw him enter a tournament before. I wonder why no one else asked him either.

I played at Mikado till closing. Towards the end, I was fighting Satou's Slayer, which IMO is even better than his JO but I guess he doesnt wanna tier whore for tournaments. I lost a few and then during our last match he just stopped playing and left in the middle of it without saying anything. I looked at the time and it was 7 minutes past when the arcade closed so I guess I cant blame him but he could have at least said something.

I headed back to Shinjuku and tried to get some last minute games in at Sportsland but no one was playing GG. I watched someone play KOFXIII for the first time for a bit and the game actually looks pretty good, but I doubt I will bother picking it up or anything. After that, I went to sleep at the manga kissa.

I woke up Saturday and it was still really early in the morning. I had some business to take care of though. Ryoko and I decided we will travel to Kyushu (Fukuoka and Nagasaki) for almost a week during sometime in mid August (after quals are already over). I usually go to the US every summer but this year, airfare is way too expensive so I am just gonna be chilling in Japan. I have lots of vacation days so I figured I might as well use them and travel with Ryoko to somewhere I have never been. We decided we would go by bus to save money. I had to go buy the tickets at a highway bus station place in Shinuku so I killed a bit of the morning taking care of that. I also got some food.

After that, I headed over to Akihabara. Today at Hey, was the SSFIV arcade version loketest. I was hoping that maybe some of the new characters would be playable but unfortunately it was still just those 2 black circles on the select screen. I asked one of the Capcom staff when they would be playable and all he said was it was a secret. So, I didnt really feel like standing around and watching a game I already have at home, so I figured I would just go to Mikado, where today's Tougeki qual would be taking place.

There wernt many people there when I arrived but there were enough to play some casuals. Over time, more people gradually started coming, and eventually it was packed as hell. They had 12 GG cabs set up! I got to play a lot of great casuals. 24 teams signed up, making this one of the biggest turnouts for a GG qual this year. Even most of the players who already qualified came to watch and play. I got lots of great casuals in.

Stalker girl came to this one and started sorta following me around again. Someone was asking me about those GGX trading card game cards she had so I asked her where you can buy them and she said they are out of print and you cant buy them anymore. She offered to give me another one but I told her it was alright.

I was wearing my Symphony X shirt today so I signed our team up as Symphony X. After the brackets were made, we saw that we were one of the lucky teams to get a bye first round. After the zero taisen finished, our opponents were determined and we were called for our first match.

ElvenShadow (FA) / Gaku (RO) / Heavenly (PO)
vs
Kuni (BA) / Hayashi (footies KY) / SHO (MA)

Out of the 3 players on this team, 2 of them use my 2 most hated characters! Lucky me! I decided I would just go first in hopes that they would put Ky first since thy put him first for their first match. I was wrong, and my opponent was Kuni's BA. I tried my best but Kuni got the best of me. We decided to let Akinori go next with his PO. It was a pretty clutch match, but Akiniro squeezed out a win! Up next was Ky, and he defeated Akinori. It was now time to see how Gaku's RO holds up in tournaments. The man did not disappoint! He played solid as hell and took out both Hayashi AND SHO! We defeated Kuni's team and made it past our first match!

ElvenShadow (FA) / Gaku (RO) / Heavenly (PO)
vs
Hat Slayer (cant make out name... starts with ち)/ yellow Anji (I think his name is 天かす) / long hair Testament (しヨ or something like that, doesnt make sense. Its hard to read the name on the picture i took)

I decided to go first again since I usually beat this Anji player in casuals, was confident I could beat the Slayer player too, and know the TE matchup pretty well. The first match was me vs Hat Slayer. I call this guy hat Slayer because he is ALWAYS wearing one of those sorta gansta lookin caps that has the stiff brim and the big gold sticker on it. Excuse my ignorance, I have no idea what they are called. Anyway, I pretty much schooled this guy and perfected him the 2nd round, taking the win. Up next was long hair Testament. I forgot his name but hes around a lot. He uses the white with pink scythe color. I lost the first round, won the 2nd round. 3rd round was really close with lots of dancing around and dodging shit from far away, waiting for a chance to get in. I eventually got inpatient and tried to get in on him with a force break pogo from the air but I should have been more careful cuz I got hit by a tree on the ground which eventually ended up causing me to lose. I could have beaten him (I did it earlier in casuals), but I just wasnt being patient enough. My bad. Anyway, Akinori hates TE so we had Gaku go next. Gaku once again proved hes the man and took out TE and then finished of yellow Anji! We now advanced to the semi finals!

I played some casuals until they called our next match. I was in the middle of fighting Isa and then they called our next match so I had to get up in the middle of the game.

Our next match was...
ElvenShadow (FA) / Gaku (RO) / Heavenly (PO)
vs
Ky / Dizzy / Eddie (cant really make out the names, the picture I took is blurry)

I didnt know who these guys were but I figured they must be good if they made it to the semi finals. Since I feel confident with all 3 of those matchups, once again, I said I would go first. First match was me vs Ky. I lost the first round, but pretty much figured out what I did wrong and was confident I would win the next 2, and I did. My next opponent was Dizzy. I just used really good spacing and zoning and poked the crap out of him getting tons of counter hits and eventually Dizzying him. I won both rounds very convincingly. Finally, the last opponent was Eddie. This guy caught me off guard and was really good. He had a very unforgiving and aggressive Eddie. I ended up losing. Akinori went next but was unable to defeat Eddie either. Finally, Gaku pulled through for the win! We were now in the finals! Our next match was immediately called and our oponents were...

ElvenShadow (FA) / Gaku (RO) / Heavenly (PO)
vs
Maruken (BA) / Satou (JO) / TEN (IN)

I was confident that I could take out Satou and TEN since I played them in casuals earlier and beat TEN the one game I fought him and Satou I think I went 1-1 with. I knew Maruken was going to be tough, but I was banking on them not putting Maruken first. We decided I would go first again and luckily my first opponent was not Maruken, it was Satou. Pretty much everyone was watching at this point on the big projector. Osaka B was standing right next to me cheering me on throughout the match and trying to give me little bits of advice. I could hear several other people were actually rooting for our team as well (probably because we were the underdogs in this case). To be honest, I cant even remember at this point who won rounds 1 and 2 but it was tied up and went to round 3. It was a pretty fierce battle but in the end, I pulled through and won! Up next, was Maruken... I wasnt happy about that but I had to just man up and do my best. Unfortunately, I didnt do that great against him. I didnt win any rounds. I the very end, I had zero life left and hit him with a pogo, and I guess I just got nervous or something cuz I hit the wrong button and did a going my way instead of the ground flower which caused me to pretty much hand him the last pixel of health I had left as it whiffed. Maybe I COULD have come back from that had I finished the combo but its pretty unlikely heh... Anyway, since Akinori took out Kuni, we put him next in hopes he could do it again with Maruken. Unfortunately he couldnt. It was now up to Gaku. Gaku fought hard, but Maruken was just too much for all of us, and that was the end of the road. Satou / Maruken / TEN was the next team to make it to the block finals.

After it was over, a few people gave me props and said our team was really strong today. Akinori then asked what we were planning on doing for tomorrow? I was a bit confused cuz we already had a team, but Akinori said that he actually had some sorta business to take care of tomorrow so he asked Gaku if he would like to take his spot for tomorrow. Gaku agreed, so now tomorrow's team was going to be me, Gaku, and Kunihiro. I dont know if Akinori really needed to give up his spot since he said he COULD have entered and that it would have just been slightly inconvenient to his plans, but I think maybe he just saw how well Gaku played and decided to be nice and let him have a shot again. Akinori really is a good guy. After that, Akiniri left, but then the Mikado staff told us they were gonna take our picture and needed us to fill out some information incase the other team couldnt participate or something, so I called back Akinori and he returned to get the picture taken. You can see the results page here. Notice how my name is now appearently "Elben Shadow", lol. Also, they took our pictures put for some reason they didnt upload it on the tougeki site. Oh well. One thing I found funny though is that for the other 2 pictures AND this one that didnt make it on there, I was wearing the exact same Symphony X shirt in ALL of them. I actually had a conversation about this before with Andy. It seems like perhaps this is my lucky shirt or something. I dont even wear it THAT often but every time I wear it, I at least make it to the finals. Maybe I should try wearing it again next weekend, too. I dont really believe in that sorta thing but I guess it cant hurt. Also, you can see the brackets here and here (but its a bit hard to read).

I played casuals after that. SHO, the May player on Kuni's team, was talking to me a bit. He said how his sister is the female May player who I teamed up with randomly that one time in Kanagawa a while back and that she said to say hi and wants to play again sometime. We chatted about various other crap too like character matchups and whatnot. I ended up playing casuals until about 8:30 and then I headed out.

I had plans to meet up with Sam and some people in Shibuya for dinner. They were planning to go to a place called Gonpachi.  This was the restaurant where they filmed the famous fight scene in Kill Bill. I waited by the Hachiko exit until Sam and his crew arrived. There were a bunch of rats running around behind me in like this shrub area. Sam showed up with about 10 people (all live in his apartment) and he told me that Pachi was going to be joining us as well. We walked for a bit and eventually found the place.

Pachi was already inside when we arrived. It turns out that it wasnt the same Gonpachi as the one from Kill Bill. There are other locations in Ginza and Roppongi and it turns out the Roppongi one is the one used in the film. Regardless, it was still quite a nice place, but unfortunately it was a little pricey. We sat in our own room with a nice view from the 14th floor. I got some sushi and a salad. Everyone was drinking but I resisted the urge (but I really wanted a fucking beer). I mostly talked to Sam and Pachi about various stuff. We didnt really talk about GG at all and I completely forgot to mention the suggestion for online GGAC but I will do it the next time I see him. Pachi is always down to go drinking so I know ill see him again, no worries.

It wasnt even raining out but way off in the distance we could see lighting flickering quite brilliantly and it was a pretty awsome view. After we all ate, suddenly another HUGE group of people rolled in that Sam's crew knew. They tore the wall down and moved another table to join us. We already finished eating though. Sam, Pachi, and I didnt really feel like sticking around, and since I already ate and couldnt drink, there wasnt much point in sitting around, so we just paid our share early and left.

We then headed to Shinjuku Sportsland Shibuya, which will be shutting down soon for good. I pretty much never play there but its still sad to see another arcade dye. No one was playing GG but we played some vanilla SFIV. I mostly just beat up on this scrubby Ken a bunch of times. Eventually a good Sagat came and beat me. Pachi uses Abel and fought Sam a few times and some other dude who showed up that he seemed to know. I didnt get to play Pachi cuz he was sitting next to me and the cabs didnt link up that way or something. Eventually Sam left and then so did Pachi cuz it was alreay really late and the trains would stop soon. I played a few more vs some really good Ryu and then eventually decided to call it a night. I stayed at the manga kissa in Shibuya.

Sunday morning, I woke up early again. Since I was in Shibuya I took advantage of it and got some Sbarro pizza. I then headed to Alpha Station in Okubo. When I got there, I dont know if it was technically even open yet but the doors were open and the machines were on. There was no one there playing ANYTHING though. I left and killed time in a store and then came back and Satoshi was there working (I didnt even realize he worked there). Some random guy was playing AH3 and I decided to just play arcade mode in GG hoping someone would show up. Eventually, Ojima came. We played a long serious of Faust mirror matches. I won the first match and then in the middle of the second match my screen just started going crazy and I couldnt see anything so I had to go get Satoshit to fix it. He fixed it pretty quick and then I continued to play Ojima. At first I was dominating. Then, it started to even out. Then he broke away and got 8 wins in a row. Then I got 4 more, he beat me once, then I won like 3 more and then it started to even out again and some other people eventually showed up so we started playing various casuals with other people too. They had 4 cabs setup specially for today (they usually only have 2).

Anyway, in the end, I think there were like 10 teams total, much smaller than yesterday, but all the teams were really good. Our first match was...

JT (MI) / Satoshi (PO) / Endo (CH)
vs
ElvenShadow (FA) / Gaku (RO) / 92 (AN)

Kunihiro went first with his Anji. His opponent was JT. He tried his best but he lost. Among those characters, Millia is the toughest matchup for me, so Gaku went next. Unfortunately this time, Gaku couldnt pull out a win. It was now up to me to reverse OCV. I fought really really hard and was very determined. I lost the first round, but I came back and won the 2nd round. The 3rd round was looking grim and he had me in the corner. I got out and zoned him for a while catching him with lots of counter hit air hard slashes and stuff. He had about 5 percent life left and there was a point where he went to throw me and SWEAR I hit throw but I didnt even get the throw tech and I ended up dying. I felt pretty bummed cuz I REALLY felt like I coulda had that one. Oh well, tough shit.

So after the match, I was now faced with the dilemma of who to team with next weekend. I had a lot of options. Gaku seems to be a great person to team with so I asked him if he could team again next week and he said hes down for both days. The problem was there was Kunihiro and Akinori and I didnt really know how to handle it cuz they are both pretty good players and sorta friends of mine at this point so it was a touch decision. We figured we would just wait things out and think about it. We watched the rest of the tournament. The final match was

Mugen (BR) / Zero (OR) / The same Dizzy Mugen has been teaming with from before
vs
Kuni (BA) / SHO (MA) / Hayashi (KY)

SHO lost to Dizzy. Hayashi beat Dizzy. Zero beat Hayashi. Kuni beat Zero. Mugen beat Kuni.

So Mugen's team will join the block finals next weekend as well.

After it was over, I was hungry so I decided I would get some food. Kunihiro had already vanished without saying anything. I asked Gaku if he was hungry but he said no. But he said he would go to Mikado so I told him I would meet him there later. On my way out, I got in an elevator with a bunch of players. Kuni complimented me on my Nintendo backpack lol. When we got off the elevator, Melon asked me who I was teaming with next weekend. I told him I was going to team with Gaku again and were still thinking about our third. He eagerly asked me to let him join our team for Saturday and said he wanted to enter with this Slayer. Last weekend when I teamed with Melon, he didnt really talk to me much and I got a strange vibe from him. Hes a solid player though, so I figured why not. I told him I would talk it over with Gaku at Mikado and let him know (since he was also going there).

After getting some Sukiya, I headed to Mikado. I talked it over with Gaku and he said he was fine with it, so I told Melon we would go ahead and team again on Saturday. Melon said he was unsure about his plans for Sunday. He seemed like he might have something to do or something. So for now, I dont know who our 3rd will be on Sunday but I have all week to think about it.

I mailed Kunihiro thanking him for joining my team today since he left without saying goodbye. Then later he showed up to Mikado. He said he had to go do something work related. He also said he cant enter next week. I dont know if he saying that because he suspected that I wanted to team with other people and that he wanted to make it easier on me, or if he legitimately had no time, but either way I guess it made things less complicated.

I played casuals for the rest of the day. I played Gaku 3 times and each time it went down to the 5th round but I didnt beat him. Hes really solid. I played a bunch of other people too. I went even with Tsu's Eddie which was good. Also, the last match I played for the day was a win against Inoue's Millia on my 3rd try.

Before I left, I asked Melon for his phone email address since we were teaming up. I dont know what the deal is but he told me to ask Woody (Udei) for it. I dont know why he couldnt just give it to me himself but whatever. Melon has a strange manner about him. He never seems to want to talk hardly at all but he like says hi and bye when he sees me and stuff. In any case, on the way home on the train I mailed Woody and he gave me Melon's email heh.

So this weekend was pretty fun. It sorta restored my hunger to win after it was beginning to fade after the 3 losses I took last weekend. Next weekend is the very last weekend of quals and the last block finals. All I can do is just show up and play my game. Here's hoping something cool happens.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

blablabla

Alright so... I dont have much time to type this week and im feeling pretty lazy about it so I am going to sum up last weekend very quickly.

Friday, played casuals at Mikado till 12. Wasnt going to go drinking but Mayuko asked me to go to Current so I said I would go for a bit. She was upset cuz she had a fight with her boyfriend. Terry was there and we chilled and stuff. I left around 2 and went to sleep.

Saturday, tournament was at Sega World Omori. I teamed with Kunihiro and Akinori. We won our first match against a team of ED SL AN. Akinori beat the Anji. Then he lost to SO. I beat SO and ED. Our next match was vs Kishya, HEVEN, AGF team and Kishya OCVed us. The winning team was Karun, Kishitaka, En, but they entered under different names for whatever reason.
After the tournament I was gonna go to this international party to meet up with Sam and Emmet. It was all you can eat pizza and nomihodai. The first 10 foreigners with gaijin cards would get in for free. I wasnt gonna drink cuz I planned to play more casuals afterwords and also to let my ulcer heal, but I was down with free pizza. Anyway, I ended up not being able to find the place in time and there were already more than 10 foreigners so I just said fuck it and went to Mikado and played casuals till late. Sam messaged me saying that Pachi randomly was at the international party. It would have been cool to have gone if I knew that but oh well. Pretty random though.
Then, I met up with Sam and Emmet at an izakaya just to have dinner, but I ended up drinking like 2 beers anyway. They were with these 2 not so attractive girls they picked up and they were kinda ditsy and annoying. Sam went home and Emmet and I went to GODZ and ditched the girls. It was their 8th anniversary party at GODZ tonight. Lots of people I know showed up. It was ok I guess. I got a GODZ towel. I only had 2 drinks though so I didnt really get drunk which is why it was just ok and not awsome. Emmet left pretty early to go to Current and i just stayed at GODZ till about 4 and then went to sleep at the manga kissa.

Sunday, the tournament was at Game Newton Oyama. Stalker girl showed up and gave me a free Guilty Gear X trading card game card (It looks a lot like magic, I didnt even know this game existed). I teamed with ゲイム the May player from Sendai, and a Testament player named Kuma. Kuma seemed like a pretty nice guy and knew who I was. Lots of beast teams showed up. We won our first match vs a team of JA, BA, SO. Kuma lost to BA. Then I beat BA and JA and lost to SO. Then ゲイム beat SO. Our 2nd match was vs some team of JA, AB, KY. I lost to JA in a super close match that I should have won. Then ゲイム beat JA and lost to KY. Then, Kuma beat KY and lost to AB. The winning team was Isa, 012, Taku. Isa didnt say anything to me the whole time (this is the first time I saw him since we last teamed up).
After that, Emmet showed up like right when it ended and we went back to get food in Takadanobaba. Then he went to meet some girl at an izakaya and I went back to Mikado to play casuals till closing. I got some good wins in vs top players. I ended up beating R-1 like 3 times in a row and I heard him slam the cabinet and was getting pissed off or something. Then he beat me. I didnt get back on right away and he came over to the other side and asked me to play him again. He then beat me like 3 more times. Then I went to play someone else, and I beat that person, and then R1 left his game just to get on the other cab I was now playing on to beat me again. I guess the guy really felt like he had to prove something. I suck vs Millia anyway so I usually lose to him, which I guess is why he was getting pissed off. I dont know if I should be amused by this or insulted but whatever. Also, there was a default color Axl player there who I beat 10 times in a row and didnt lose to. I just got up and left eventually when it was time to go. I later found out this this Axl player was Domi. He would team with Limekey tomorrow so I guess he was just playing Axl since they use the same character. I dont know whether or not he plans to main Axl from now or something but his Anji is still WAY better, IMO.

I wasnt even gonna go drinking tonight but Emmet wanted me to go with him really bad so I said I would go. When I got to Current he wasnt even there, and then he showed up with that girl from earlier and only chilled for like a half hour and then dissapeared and left with the girl. I talked to Kunko who was in town and Shuji and the Current staff which was fun but I didnt really get drunk at all again so it wasnt that great. I was also tired cuz I quit caffeine for a while to try to get my ulcer to heal faster. After that I went to sleep at the manga kissa.

Monday was a holiday so I had the day off work and there was another tournament. This time it was at the other Game Newton in Shimura Sanchome. My team today was ゲイム and a guy who plays a bunch of characters who goes by the name Melon, but he entered with Eddie today. He didnt seem very friendly and hardly talked to me at all but whatever. Maybe thats just his personality. I got their early and played a bunch vs Kishya and AGF. I was mostly losing but got a few wins in here and there. Only 9 teams entered (but one of them was a 2 girl team consisting of Domi and Limekeys girlfriends who play HOS and Dizzy). The other 8 teams was my team and 7 teams of all beastly players. Our first match was vs AGF HEVEN and Kishya. Melon went first and lost. I went second and lost but both rounds I got him down to like less than 10 percent health. Finally ゲイム lost too. AGF team went on to win the whole tournament. This was the first GG qual Masutani had entered so far this year (he teamed with Minami Chipp). Also, Clay Gundam man came to this one but he didnt get all rowdy this time. I didnt really feel like playing anymore after we lost and just wanted to go home cuz it was a long weekend, so I just took an earlier train home.

Only 2 weeks left. Next weekends tournaments are right at my home arcade Mikado, and also at Alpha Station in Okubo. I expect the turnout to be crazy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kickboxing and Nagano

This weekend, there were no tournaments near Tokyo. The closest tournaments were in Nagano prefecture. I was able to form a team with Kunihiro and Akinori for Sunday, but since Kunihiro couldn't enter on Saturday, and I couldn't find anyone else, we decided to just go there on Sunday only, which also happened to be the area block finals for that region.

Since I wasn't going to any tournaments on Saturday, I decided to just chill at home with Ryoko on Friday night. We watched Gake No Ue No Ponyo (崖の上のポニョ). I got a lot of sleep which was good cuz I was pretty tired all week.

I woke up on Saturday and watched a little bit of the Evo live stream which was showing SSFIV pool matches. I ended up watching it until the very last second before I had to leave to catch my next train and made it to the station with only 1 minute to spare, but at least I got on the train.

When I transferred at Takasaki, I ran into Brendon, another local ALT, who was also on his way to Tokyo. Today's plan was actually to go see another ALT that we all know who would be fighting in a real kickboxing match at FACE in Shinjuku (this was the same place where the Dream Fighters Festival finals were held 2 years ago). I wont say the real name of the ALT who would be fighting today by his request, but his ringname is Bloodbath, so I will refer to him as that.

When I got to Tokyo, Brendon went separate ways to meet up with a girl and I headed to Mikado to get about an hour of GG casuals in before I had to go to Shinjuku. I ended up going undefeated the entire time I was there and got a 24 win streak. I left my credit when it was about time to leave.

I met up in Shinjuku with Emmet. He had our tickets that he got already from Bloodbath. I grabbed some quick food at Sukiya while Emmet had a beer. Then, we headed to FACE. I guess we got their early cuz the elevator to get on the floor with the venue was disabled but we waited a bit and eventually made it up there.

We got there right when doors opened so they were still setting up. We had a beer while we were waiting to get inside. Eventually they let us in. We found our seats and eventually several other ALTs showed up. I would say somewhere around 10-15 ALTs came to watch Bloodbath fight. In addition to Bloodbath's kickboxing match, there were several other kickboxing matches and also some MMA fights. There was even a professional wrestling match which was pretty funny which included out of the ring action, and bashing eachother over the head with chairs. It was unexpected but amusing, though I appreciate real fighting far more. I never really got too into pro wrestling before.

The very first match was actually some Junior High School kids who came from 2 separate kickboxing dojos. It was pretty crazy cuz this is the age of the kids I teach at work. It would be weird to watch my students kick eachothers asses in a kickboxing match. One of the kids had a dyed blond mohawk. This kid ended up beating both of the other kids from the opposing dojo and won the championship belt for the kids age group matches. He was only 12 years old too and they said he had already participated in over 100 ring matches. Pretty amazing.

At some point between some of the fights, I went to use the men's room and someone totally had smoked some herb in one of the toilet stalls and the smell was still quite strong. Made me feel nostalgic about the US. This is something I pretty much never encounter here in Japan. The laws for prohibiting it here are EXTREMELY severe...

Also, they had this cute young girl in a bikini to hold up the "round 2" etc signs between rounds and prance around in her high heels and look pretty. It certainly added to my viewing pleasure. Funny thing was they refered to her as Ryoko-chan... which is the same name as my girlfriend. I found it odd that at some, the ringmaster dude was like asking her her breast size in front of everyone and she seemed really embarrased. (they were C's by the way... Japanese C's)

Eventually after watching a bunch of the other fights (some of which were very entertaining, others were kinda so-so, but most of them were cool), it was now time for Bloodbath's match to start. His sensei was there and invited all of us to come sit in seats RIGHT next to the side of the ring, so we got a really good view. The match was 3 rounds. His opponent was a Japanese guy. The dude was pretty big. Bloodbath pretty much dominated most of the fight and certainly had the eye of the tiger. His opponent had blood running down his face by the end, but Bloodbath looked pretty much untouched. In the end, Bloodbath was declared the winner! We all got really hype throughout the fight and cheered him on, and his sensei was really encouraging everyone to root for him too.

After Bloodbath won, he came and sat with us to watch the remaining 2 fights. The last 2 fights were both MMA, and they were also a foreigner vs a Japanese fighter in both cases. Both of the foreigners lost their matches. One of the guys had his little son come and watch (the kid was probably like 4 or 5 years old or something). After his daddy lost, he was crying pretty hard. I felt kinda sorry for him. He must have felt really bad losing and then having to watch his son cry...

...but in any case, Bloodbath won, so we were all feelin pretty happy! We took a few group photos inside the ring. Then, the plan was for all of us to go to an izakaya to celebrate. While we were waiting for Bloodbath to get ready, Emmet and I took a quick run to Family Mart and got a drink, and then we met up with everyone in front of the izakaya. The place we went to is really nice. I went there once before with Rod and a bunch of his friends and sorta forgot about it since then, but I should go again sometime.

We ended up having quite a big group since all the ALTs, plus, Bloodbath and his sensei and some other people connected to his dojo came as well. We had like 2 full tables with maybe at least over 30 people. We ended up getting 2 hours of nomihodai (all you can drink), and everyone threw in a ton of money so that we pretty much could just order whatever food we wanted too. I got my fair share of drinks in and ate a lot of delicious food. It was good times. Towards the end, people started doing arm wrestling matches for some reason. I was drunk so I did it too. I beat 3 people (one was Bloodbath's sensei) and then lost to someone. My arm was a bit tired but he was strong. I rematched him later and won but then we used our left arms and he beat me.

Once our time was up at midnight, everyone got ready to head out. Everyone was planning to go drinking all night. Some people even asked me to show them Current. I even got an email from Pachi asking me if I was down to go drinking again tonight. Unfortunately, I had to decline because I had made plans to get up early and go to Nagano tomorrow morning. I said bye and headed to the manga kissa.

I woke up at 8 am and walked to the west exit of Shinjuku station. The plan was to meet up with Kunihiro and Akinori there. Kunihiro has a car and offered to drive us to Nagano, which is awsome cuz the arcade is really far from the arcade and it would be a hell of a long train ride and this way is cheaper too. On the way to the station I stopped at McDonalds and they had a 100 yen sausage mcmuffin deal going so I bought a big sack of those to share with everyone. Kunihiro was there waiting at the station when I arrived. At first, Akinori wasnt there but he arrived eventually.

The drive took about 3 hours to get to the arcade in Nagano. This was the first time I had ever gone to Nagano before. We talked a lot on the way about various things and it was an enjoyable drive with lots of nice scenery too. Sam kept me updated throughout the day on my cellphone through emails about Evo results and stuff. I would have liked to watch more of the live stream but I really couldnt given the circumstances.

Eventually we arrived at the game center, NASA. A few strong teams from Tokyo and Kansai showed up for this like
Ka2 / Haken / Ko1
Kishitaka / Nanashi / Kedako
HEVEN /BOB / AGF
and Eki-chan had a team too but I dont know who his teammates were
The rest of the teams there I am not sure about but they were probably from around that area. It turns out that Ka2's team was just watching the qualifer today because they had already won the preliminary yesterday and would be participating in the block finals which would take place today after the preliminary would end.

There were only 2 cabs going and lots of people were playing casuals so I didnt get many practice games in. I fought a May and a Slayer and lost both but they were close matches. My wrists were a bit sore from arm wrestling the night before, so playing felt a little funny at first but it didnt really mess with my execution. I figured since it was taking so long to get a turn for casuals in, I would just play a little SFIV cuz someone was playing it. I figured it would at least loosen up my wrists a bit and it did help actually. I ended up getting a 10 win streak with Blanka and then I eventually just told the guys that I didnt feel like playing anymore and wanted to play more GG so not to put any more credits in the machine lol.

The tournament ended up having 14 teams. Our match was the very first match of the tournament (which seems to happen a lot to me) and we had to fight a really good team first match (which also seems to happen a lot to me). Our first match was...

ElvenShadow (FA) / 92 (AN) / Heavenly (PO)
vs
Kishitaka (SO) /Kedako (MA) / Nanashi (VE)

We decided to let Kunihiro (92) go first. They ended up putting Kishitaka first. It was a really close match and Kunihiro played well but he ended up losing to Kishitaka. I went next cuz I am good against Sol. I won the first round, lost the 2nd round, and won the 3rd round. He had me in the corner and wasnt respecting my tension meter being half full (or I think he was going to go to try to bait a dead angle) so I just called him out and caught him in the middle of his standing kick animation with the scalpel super and killed him. Up next, I had to fight Kedako. As I am sure you all know by now, I fucking hate May... and Kedako is one of the best May's... ever. So, while I put up a decent fight, in the end I lost. It was now up to Akinori (Heavenly) to finish the job. He fought a good hard battle, and despite actually dropping a combo here and there, he managed to take out Kedako in a close win! Finally, he had to face Nanashi. This was also pretty close but in the end, Nanashi won, and we were out of the tournament first round. It was definitely really close. I think if I went first and we had Kunihiro to take on Nanashi, we could have won. I guess thats just the way it goes.

We stayed and watched the rest of the tournament. I didnt really both writing down results for the whole thing. In the end, BOB's team took out Kishitaka's team in the semi finals, and the finals were BOB's team vs Eki-chan's team. I dont remember the order but Eki-chan's team won.

The area final was to start soon but people were doing practice matches for a bit first. There were 5 teams in this area final and they were going to do round robin, which meant it was going to take a very long time. We sorta felt like getting back cuz we had a long drive ahead of us, so we decided to just leave. I dont know who all the teams were in the finals, but one of them was Kuni the Baiken player's team.

As we drove back, I got more updates about evo from Sam and Andy. I also mailed Kuni and he told me that after like 2 and a half hours after we left, the finals finally ended and the winner was KA2's team. It was only a matter of time until that team qualified so I guess I cant say I was really surprised.

We stopped for some Takoyaki along the way and I got some cheese takoyaki which I had never seen before. It was pretty unusual but it was ok I guess. Though I still think regular Takoyaki is probably better.

It ended up taking over 4 hours to get back cuz traffic sucked. We got back at 8 pm and headed right to Takadanobaba to play at Mikado. Kunihiro parked his car at a pay spot in the ally behind the arcade. I played for like an hour until I had to catch the last train. Akinori was beasting and got a big win streak. I played a few with Kunhiro and won a couple and he beat me slightly more. I also played a few other people and did pretty well. I had a small streak of my own but I forgot how many wins it was. I said bye to everyone and as I was leaving, MIU comes out of no where and starts talking to me on the way to the station. I got on the train platform and said bye to MIU and headed home.

Next week is a 3 days weekend and there are tournaments all 3 days of the 3 day weekend right in Tokyo. I will go to all 3. I havnt decided on my exact teams but I will team with Kunihiro and Akinori again on Saturday. On Sunday and Monday I will team with ゲいム (the May player from Sendai) again, and one other person who is still being decided on. Should be fun times. The tournaments next weekend are the start of the very final block. There will be 7 spots total in this next block to compete in the block final (3 next weekend, 2 in 2 weeks, and 2 more the final week). August 1st is the very last day of quals, so just 3 more weeks left. Gonna do my best!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I Want to Believe

Friday evening I headed to Tokyo with Emmet. He has been feeling a little bummed lately so I told him I would go drinking with him in Roppongi tonight even though I dont really like Roppongi very much.

First, we headed to Shinjuku. Last week I left my PSP and my glasses at the manga kissa. I went there and was able to get them back which was pretty awsome. After that, we stopped by some watch store where Emmet got his watch adjusted and I helped him explain his situation to the shop clerk.

Then, we headed to Mikado where I played for a few hours. It wasnt that packed but there were some good players there. I think we left around 11 pm.

After that, we headed to Shinjuku to check out Current. On the way, we got some Burger King which I hardly ever get in Japan but the bacon cheese whopper was pretty tasty even though Japan BK prices are too high.

Current was once again full of random gaijin who I dont know and hardly any regulars, which unfortunately has been pretty common these days. One thing that was cool though was Emma put on a video of her dancing (shes a dancer, not the stripping kind) with a band at some live performance and she looked really good and did a great job. After one beer, we left and decided to go to Roppongi.

First, we went to some bar that is sorta clubbish called Heartland (probably cuz they serve have Kirin Heartland bottles, which is fine with me). The music was generic crap with a typical club beat. It was pretty crowded at first but sorta died down as the hours passed. We mostly stood at this one table and talked to a few people like this one guy from California who was traveling on business. This one young Japanese dude came up to us and showed us his business card cuz hes like a party promoter or something and did some so-so magic card trick and then Emmet did a better one so the dude started calling Emmet "sensei." There was also this dude from Sweden that the Japanese guy knew so he introduced him to us. I started talking to him about snus and metal. He doesnt like either lol! He quickly seemed like he didnt want to talk to me at all and went to get another beer and never came back. That dude was lame as fuck. We also talked to some girls here and there. The place was crawling with douchebags which is typical for somewhere in Roppongi.

We decided to leave there around 3 to check out another place. We walked around and ended up going to Gas Panic. I had never been there before but its one of the most famous clubs in Tokyo (there are also 2 of them in Shibuya). The reason I agreed to go was that there is no cover (which is the main reason I dont like going to clubs, unless the cover gets you unlimited drinks like at Pure). The drink prices there were a bit high (the cheapest thing on the menu was a bottle of happoshu - fake beer - for 700 yen) but otherwise it was fine for a club I guess. A couple girls that we noticed at the other bar were there now and started talking to me. I danced with a few girls here and there. Nothing really too noteworthy. At around 4:30 I decided I should get to bed cuz I had a tournament tomorrow. I went to find Emmet cuz our stuff was in the same locker. He was dancing with like the same girl most of the time and said it was good timing cuz he was about to go home with her, so I got our stuff out of the locker, he headed out with her, and I went to the manga kissa across the street...

Unfortunately for me, the manga kissa was full, and I dont know Roppongi well so I didnt know where another one was. The first trains from there run a little after 5, so I decided to just go to Shinjuku to sleep since I would have to pass back through there anyway on the way to the arcade tomorrow. Waiting for the train sorta sucked and I fell asleep but woke up in time to get on. I also fell asleep on the train but woke up RIGHT when it got to Shinjuku which was lucky as hell cuz if I missed the stop, who knows where I would have ended up and I certainly would have missed out on quality sleep. When I got back there, I went to the same manga kissa again. This time they wanted to check my gaijin card which is odd cuz they never did that before ever. Maybe it has something to do with me leaving my stuff there but I dont even know if they recognized me or not or whatever. In any case, I got a room and went to sleep.

The next morning I headed out to Hachioji at Amusement UFO game center. Today, there was a plan to go to this one BBQ that Sam's friend Emily was throwing. It was to start around 5. I had no idea when the tournament would end but I told Sam I would go with him, so he decided to just come watch the tournament and told me he was on his way to Hachioji and we could just go there together afterwards.

Today, my team would be Akira (a good Axl player from Sendai... he usually just writes his name in kanji which is 明) and MK, who agreed to team with me again for today, and he also knows Akira which probably helped seal the deal. Neither of them were there when I arrived, so I signed us up. I decided on the team name "I Want to Believe" because I was wearing my X-files shirt and couldnt think of anything else heh. I went to the bathroom and then to Family Mart to get something real quick and then when I came back, both of them were there playing casuals. They had 4 cabs set up for today which was nice, so we got to play some practice games before hand. Today, lots of heavy hitters showed up, including 012's team, and Ogawa's team... both of which were the same teams as last time they entered. KA2's team was surprisingly not there, though. HEVEN, Consome, AGF was another good team too. Clay Gundam Man showed up too to watch. I think something like around only 9 teams entered but I dont remember the exact amount. I ended up breaking Hayashi's (footsies Ky) 12 win streak before the tournament started which was nice. I won a few other casual games too. I played RF and Ogawa like once each but was unable to beat either in casuals.

The zero taisen (extra match that had to be played before the regular 8 team bracket since there were 9 teams) ended up being Ogawa's team (Ogawa, RF, Shonen), vs some guys who I forgot who they are but it doesnt matter cuz RF OCVd them.

Our first match was vs a team of RO, MI, ZA. Akira went first and ended up OCVing them which was pretty awsome.

I dont remember a whole lot of specific details about what teams beat who other than Tsu's team (Tsu with a SL and MA player) was also OCVd by RF for the next match.

So, as a result of us winning and RF winning again, it meant we had to fight eachother for our next match! Lucky us. I wish I could have some epic story about how I beat Ogawa's team, but unfortunately Ogawa was in top form today and he ended up OCVing us in the order of me, Akira, MK. None of us took a round...

The tournament went on and finally the finals were...
012 (SO) / Nemo (TE) / Niga (SL)
vs
Ogawa (ED) / RF (FA) / Shounen (TE)

Shounen beat Nemo in a mirror match
012 took out Shounen and then defeated RF as well!
Ogawa BARELY beat 012... and then he BARELY beat Niga for the win... but it was so close.

So, yea... I cant really say I was too surprised by the results of this tournament.

Unfortunately, now the tournament was over, but Sam hadnt even arrived yet, and he was coming all this way to watch. He eventually showed up and we stayed a little longer while we played casuals. I did well for the most part beating HEVEN (VE), Tsu, red Ky player who is often on Ruka's team, Akira twice, and a few other people. I lost to HEVEN's May finally and then we left. I said bye to Akira and told him that I would maybe meet up with him later at Mikado but that I had plans first. MK left and thanked me for teaming up today.

Sam and I headed out, but he was unable to get a hold of Emily cuz her phone was dead or something. Since he had no idea how to get to her place which was all the way in Yokohama, we decided we pretty much would be unable to go to the BBQ unless she suddenly called us back. So, we ended up meeting up with Emmet again in Shinjuku. He told us about how last night went. He said when he left the club he was surprised when the girl had a car there and her and like 2 other female friends of hers (both of which picked up guys of their own, one being some French dude and the other some Japanese salary man looking guy) all got in the car. She took Emmet back to her apartment which was all swanked out and they drank fine wine and stuff lol. She seemed like she had some money. Sam and I were joking about how he probably fucked some yakuza's wife and now there was going to be a hit out on his neck lol.

We went to some clothes store in Shinjuku near Club Sega cuz Emmet wanted to buy jeans. While he was taking forever trying stuff on, Sam and I browsed other stuff and we found this 500 yen bin of shirts. They all had really hiliarious Engrish on them. We both bought different ones. Mine is pretty awsome. It says stuff like "MIGHTY CLAWS", "gun barrel drilling machine", "rock a baby back and forth in one's arms gently", "probably one of one's bet bets would be to win", "track down the heinous brokers", relationship to be in a funk", and " pop and soul, I think that something smooth or funky would be great" as well as other varoius random phrases all over the shirt. Its black and green which is my favorite color combo and it was only 500 yen so why not lol.

After leaving there, we went to Mikado. The other guys didnt really seem like they wanted to go and spent most of the time we were there sitting outside drinking beer. I played some good games of casuals. Kunihiro showed up. I told him I was sorry that I was teaming with another team this weekend but he said it was OK and wished me good luck. He was beasting with his Sol for a while and won a lot of games with it including against Ririko's Bridget! I actually lost to his Sol my first match against it, then I won, and then he switched to Anji. I think we were like 1-1 with FA vs AN and thats all we played cuz I played other people too. Ogawa was there and various people were trying to beat him with no success. I came the closest and took it down to the last round and he had like maybe 5% life left but I lost. After that, he just got up and left for whatever reason. I played some good mirrors with Osaka B and RF too. I didnt beat RF but I got some games on Osaka B. It was pretty good there tonight in general and lots of good players showed up. Akira eventually showed up later too.

One person I was surprised to see there was Pachi! Pachi was on the winning GG SBO team in 2005 with Ogawa and Kaqn. He pretty much retired from playing after he won. Now he works for Tougeki staff and also works for Arc System Works. I said hi to him and we started talking. It turns out he really likes making friends with foreigners because he says they are very open and talkative. I also really likes drinking, so invited him to come drinking with us at Current tonight and he agreed. We played a few more games of casuals. Pachi tried to beat Akira a couple times but couldnt. I also played Akira like 2 games and lost this time. I played a couple vs other people too. Eventually we decided to head out and leave. I said bye to Akira and told him we would meet up tomorrow. I invited him to go drinking too but hes not really a drinker and decided to just go to the manga kissa. Emmet, Sam, Pachi, and I headed out to go to Current.

While at Current, we sat at a table in the back. It was really dead in there at first but more people showed up gradually. I was shocked when we walked in to find that they werent playing music at all but had the world cup game playing on the TV with the sound on. This was the first time I went into Current and no music was being played. The game ended within like 15 minutes though and then they put music on and it was normal again.

I talked to Pachi quite a bit about various things. Hes a really cool guy. Actually, I know A LOT of information about what is going on at Arc System Works right now. I pretty much know what is in store for the future of Guilty Gear and Blazblue. A lot of this stuff is pretty much top secret and I promised Pachi that I wouldnt tell anyone, so unfortunately for all of you reading this, I really cant give you too many details, but I can say a few things that you might find interesting. First of all regarding the rights issue to Guilty Gear and the whole deal with losing the rights to SEGA... basically around the time when they were making GG overture, SEGA owned the rights to all Guilty Gear games from GGX and up. This meant that Arc still owned the rights to all characters in the ORIGINAL GG. Thats why in overture, we dont really see much of the cast. Pachi confirmed that Arc now DOES own the rights to all the GG characters once again at this time. Whether or not they are making another GG game, what kind of game it is, etc, I cant give you specific details about (but I do know). However, Pachi said that Arc still cares about GG and that even though now they are focusing on BB, they havnt abandoned the series. Pachi worked on BB:CS and is responsable for most of the balance changes as well as pretty much creating Hazama (everything except his actual design) and also fever mode and other things. Pachi said that he really loves GG though. There are some things in store for the future of BB that I know now, but I cant say them because I promised him I would keep it a secret. I REALLY want to let the community know whats up, but I also want to maintain a good relationship with Pachi and I made a promise, but just know that there is hope and if you love GG, keep playing it, because its not dead yet! He also stressed that Arc System Works cares very much about the arcade scene. They care very much about the tournament scene, keeping arcades alive, and things like that, so you can pretty much be sure that they wont release any fighting games as console only.

I havnt touched BB since like a few weeks after CS came out. Ive just been focusing on GG right now. Maybe I will buy CS now that its out on console and try to play it once SBO is over. I asked Pachi who he thinks is the best for a Fuast player to use and he said Arakune, which is who I used in CT, so maybe I will give him a shot again and learn the new version of him.

We also talked a lot about how it was when his team won SBO in 2005 and he told me a lot about Ogawa. Pachi considers Ogawa to be a very good friend. Pachi thinks Ogawa is a genius, and I dont disagree. However, he says that Ogawa sometimes lacks confidence in himself. Its hard to believe that even someone as amazing as Ogawa sometimes can have confidence issues. I suppose it happens to everyone sometimes. He obviously has the talent and the skills required to win. Pachi said that he was sort of like the team's Coach in a way. He gave his team mates a lot of moral support and helped them work on their mental training and state of mind to really pull through. While Pachi, of course, had a very good Faust, he says that the way he supported his teammates mentally and morally was really his main strength on the team. He says a lot of people hate on Ogawa because they think he is too good and they are jealous. I have sorta seen this first hand so I have to agree. I personally think hes a pretty nice guy and cant hate on him at all.

After winning SBO, Pachi felt like he had accomplished enough and wanted to focus on making fighting games and helping out the scene. Right now he says his main goal is to make the fighting game scene bigger, get new players involved and see the scene thrive. All the SBO after parties every year are mainly organized by Pachi and he really wants to develop a sense of community in the fighting game scene. I think all the things he is doing are really great. Also, he says he is really good friends with Joe Higashi, the French Chipp player. He said he was watching the EVO live stream from last year, and when Joe Higashi and I played in the top 8, he had a hard time deciding who to root for since Joe Higashi is one of his best friends and I am a fellow Faust player who lives in Japan. Pachi was also saying how he only considers 6 foreign GG players total to be on the same level as the Japanese and he said that I am one of them which made me feel pretty good. I was amused by who he deliberately DIDNT mention, but I will leave that up to your imaginations heheh. You can all have fun trying to guess who he named. It doesnt really matter though since its just one man's opinon. I will say though, that he says he thinks Latiff is the strongest player outside of Japan. He really sees potential in him. I certainly agree with him that Latiff is a great player.

At some point during the night, we noticed a couple all dressed up in a fancy gown and a nice suite. I was shocked later when I went to the bar and got a closer look that it was Mayuko and Mikey! They said they were at the Australian embassy for some kinda banquet or something. They bought me a beer and it was nice to see them. I didnt really have a chance to talk with them much cuz I was talking with Pachi and they were doing a lot of dancing but it was good to see them anyway.

Also, Shuji was there and he got back from the Sanosphere festival in Switzerland where he saw the big 4 (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax), as well as a ton of other bands that were there at that show. He got some special one of a kind T-shirt that wasnt even for sale but he stood and waited and begged for it for like a half hour till they finally let him have it lol.

Anyway, I drank with Pachi till about 4:00 and then I had to get going to make sure I made it to the tournament tomorrow on time. He understood completely. Right before I left, Chipp showed up and I introduced them to eachother. Since they both work in the gaming industry in some capacity I figured they would like to meet eachother. Pachi said he likes drinking so he said we should drink again sometime. I certainly would be down for it. I got his email so ill keep in touch.

I headed to the manga kissa and went to sleep.

The next day I woke up and headed out to where the tournament would be... or so I thought...

I followed the map that I printed from the tougeki website. On this map, it showed that the closest station from the arcade was Sagamihara and that it was a bit of a walk. After I arrived, I realized that I had been to this place before and I remembered that the last time I went there I had trouble finding the arcade. Well... I walked a bit and got suspicious... so I called the arcade and asked them how far it is from the station ( I didnt specify which station). They said about a 1 minute walk. So, I went back near the station and walked some more where they said it would be. I didnt see it. I called them again and asked which station was the closest. They said it was Sagamiono station. The map was WRONG! So at this point, I had about a half hour to get to the tournament... I called Akira and told him how the map was wrong but that I would get there ASAP. I checked the train times on my phone and luckily it would only take about 15 minutes to get there.

So... I got to Sagamiono station about 15 minutes before the tournament was scheduled to start. Akira met me at the station and showed me where the arcade was, and it was really easy to find.

For today, instead of MK, our other teammate is a friend of Akira's who also lives around Sendai. He is a May player named Game (he spells his name in katakana as ゲイム, which is odd cuz usually in katakana it would be ゲーム). I wasnt sure who he was at first but Akira introduced us and it turns out ive seen him around a lot before. I remember seeing him a lot at sportsland when they had G3 ranbats going on. He has a sick May. He said he remembers me too.

Today's tournament only had 12 teams, but a lot of beasts showed up. This was the first time Kawin entered this year. Also, Satoshi was playing Eddie for some strange reason. Masutani came too, but he just came to watch. I actually asked him and he said he quit GG and only plays BB now. The other person who came just to watch was Clay Gundam Man again... and today was his most epic appearance yet. I will get into that later.

Our first match was vs a team of FA BR SO. I dont remember their names. We decided that I would go first this time. I played really solid and beat all 3 of them in the above order for the OCV! My teammates thanked me and said I played really well.

Unfortunately, our next match was KA2, KO1, Haken... who had showed up this time. Given how close I came to beating them last week, im sure they were determined to shut me down more than ever now.

We decided that ゲイム would go first. He said for him, that the toughest match would be Millia. Funny how they put KO1 first as well. So ゲイム tried pretty hard and did ok but wasnt able to take out KO1. Since among the 3 of them, Millia is actually my worst matchup and Akira said he is ok with Millia, Akira went next. He tried but KO1 once again was too much. I now had to do what I came just short of doing last weekend and OCV this team. KO1 was on fire today, and while I put up a decent fight, I just wasnt able to take him out this time. He used some crazy shit on me like doing bad moon and then RCing it into crouching slash for an instant overhead to low mixup. I cant recall the last time, if ever, I had a Millia player use this on me. This lead into the kill combo which finished me off. So, I guess KO1 got his revenge. He wasnt about to let himself get peaced out by scrubby American Faust twice in a row lol. I didnt let the loss get to me though. I felt like I at least played will today for the most part. Ill just have to do better next time.

I stayed and watched the rest of the tournament. Heres what went down...

HEVEN OCVed Nemo, Niga, 012! It was really a great showing by HEVEN I must say! Lots of people were applauding him after that, including myself. Some guy yelled "HEVEN-san, よろしくお願いします!!" after he won lol.

The Faust player Sho beat Kawin, Goro, Satoshi which I was surprised. Maybe the reason Satoshi played ED was cuz he teamed with Kawin.

Sho's team later lost to KA2 team.

AGF / Consome / HEVEN
vs
Tsu / Ruka / Red Ky

red Ky beat AGF
Consome beat red Ky
Tsu beat Consome
HEVEN beat Tsu
Ruka beat HEVEN

great job by those guys for taking out HEVEN's team

The finals of the preliminary were KA2 team vs Tsu team
Haken OCVed them... too bad.

There was an intermission after the preliminary was over so I got a quick snack. I was talking with ゲイム and Akira about if they would like to team again. Next weekend there are no tournaments really near Tokyo but there are 2 in Nagano and the one on Sunday is the block final. Akira said he probably cant make it next weekend. At first, ゲイム was down with the idea but later he thought about it and changed his mind. Seeing as how Sendai is really really far and Nagano is even farther from Tokyo on the opposite side, I can understand. However, ゲイム said he will team with me in 2 weeks when theres a 3 day weekend in Tokyo so I will team with him again for sure.

After the intermission was over, I sat back down to watch the block finals tournament. Udei showed up just to watch the block finals and I was chatting with him a bit. Also, sitting next to me to my right, was Clay Gundam Man. He was hard at work making little gundams or something out of clay as usual. This guy almost certainly suffers from either some sort of mental retardation or social disorder. I dont think hes completely mentally handicap because he shows up to these things and finds them all by himself with no aid from anyone else... but he kept making strange noises and when he gets excited from watching matches he starts screaming shit out that I cant even understand. I never saw him directly talk to anyone really but he certainly was shouting his fair share of random shit and making lots of loud pitched squeeling noises and stuff. I turned to Akira at some point and asked him what was up with this guy, he said to just not worry about it lol.

Anyway, there were 7 teams in the block finals.

First match was...

Haken, KO1, KA2
vs
M-uya (MA), JT (MI), green TE player (the team that won Gamers Vision last week)

M-uya beat Haken
KO1 then beat the entire team. Once again, the man was on fire.

next was...
Taku (SL), Kishya (FA), BOB (ED)
vs
Ririko (BR), Ain (KY), black Jam

Taku beat black Jam
then... Ririko beat Taku... and Kishya... and BOB! WOW! Ririko was fuckin BEASTING! It was really hype. She got a huge round of applause as well for her great performance on that one.

Up next
RF, Ogawa, Shounen
vs
Satou (JO), Maruken (BA), TEN (IN)

RF OCVd them...


Haken team
vs
En (SL), Kishitaka (SO), Ochiai (PO) (aka Nice PO guy)

Haken OCVd them. The last one left on the team was En. He put up a really hard fight and REALLY tried but he fell short.

Ogawa team
vs
Ririko team

black Jam beat Shounen!
then RF beat black Jam, followed by Ririko, and finally Ain. RF was just murdering people all day

before the final match started, I went to take a piss. RF, Ogawa, and Shounen were in the bathroom discussing who they should put to go first. It was kinda funny just being in there peeing while they were huddled around the sink talking strats lol.

GRAND FINAL
Haken team
vs
Ogawa team

KA2 beat Shounen
RF beat KA2 and KO1
Haken beat RF! (this was seriously some CLUTCH shit! I wish they had this match on video. Haken won by flicking the kitchen sink item (bedpan, whatever you wanna call it) TWICE like in the last 10 seconds of the match! First time he did it, he was able to get in and close the distance on RF. 2nd time, he was right near RFs face in the corner, he flicked that sink into a counter hit into the winning combo with like no life left! WOW...)
Final match was Haken vs Ogawa. Ogawa started off strong with a one sided victory in the first round. In round 2, Haken answered with a PERFECT on Ogawa! Last round, Haken tried but Ogawa was just too much for him and the king finally took his throne once again into the halls of qualfied teams.

During the finals, EVERYONE was cheering AGAINST Ogawa's team! Though I already pretty much knew it, what Pachi said was true. Lots of people hate on Ogawa because they think he is just too good. I see the same thing happen on SRK all the time in regards to Jwong so its sorta the same mentality I suppose. Of couse this doesnt apply to EVERYONE in either situation but you get the idea.

As soon as the final match of the finals ended, Clay Gundam Man stood up and just started SCREAMING shit at the top of his lungs to the point where he was like basically making a scene. Most Japanese people are pretty passive in a situation like this and just ignore it but Satoshi was just like... fuck this shit and he yelled "urusei!!!!" like really loud, which basically is the equalivalent of yelling "SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!" LOL!!! It was sooo funny. The dude looked a little shy but then he start screaming random shit again. I dont know if this guy just gets off on the excitement or if he actually knows whats going on and was rooting for a specific player or what, but he seemed pretty upset by the outcome. Maybe Clay Gundam Man is just another Ogawa hater. I would hate to see how he would react if someone destroyed one of his clay gundams or something.

I cant really say I was surprised to see Ogawa, RF, Shounen qualify. I would be more shocked if they didnt make it in this year. That team is just too broke.

Once the tournament ended, everyone started just mingling and talking. There was no extra cab to play casuals on at this tournament. I think a lot of people were trying to decide on new teams to form and stuff. I wasnt really able to find anyone else new to team with. I made a little small talk and congratulated a few people who played really well and stuff. I thanked Akira and ゲイム for teaming with me today. I think most people pretty much were planning on going to Mikado but it was about already time for me to leave to take the last train home so I just said bye and left.

On the way out, I stopped to get some Curry at CoCoIchiban to kill some time cuz I had like a half hour.

Since I was coming from a different place, my recommended route to get home was different. Once I got to Hachioji, I realized that I fucked up. The directions that printed out to get the last train home were for if I was going home from Sagamihara station but I went to Sagamiono cuz the info was wrong. As a result, I missed the last train from Hachioji that goes directly to Takasaki. I thought fast and saw that there was a special limited express train going to Shinjuku. As it pulled in, I ran up and asked the conductor what time it arrives in Shinjuku. he said it would arrive at like 9:06. That would get me there 6 minutes before the last train I usually take from Shinjuku! I lucked out! It cost me an extra 500 yen but I was glad to pay that over being stranded in Tokyo for the night when I had work the next morning.

In the end, I made it home just fine.

So, next weekend there is a tournament on Saturday and Sunday in Nagano prefecture. There are no tournaments in Tokyo. I plan to go to the Nagano one. At this time, I am still deciding on my team but it seems I will be able to at least enter with someone. Not sure if I can go both days yet but I should at least be going to Sunday. Even though Nagano is a little far, lots of good players already said they were going to go, so it will still be just as tough as ever, but thats no reason not to go.

So remember the teachings of master Pachi... believe in yourself and you can win. Confidence is a huge part of the game. Also... dont give up on the GG scene yet. Lets keep it alive! You never know what the future has in store.