Thursday, August 5, 2010

The End of 2010 Tougeki Qualifiers (and some goodbyes)

On Friday, the 2 new ALTs in my town came to my school with my supervisor so I met them for the first time (Laura, and May, both are from Australia). My work day pretty much just involved me helping them get situated with some things and translating some stuff for my supervisor cuz her English isnt so good. We ended up finishing a bit early so I was able to get an earlier train to Tokyo. And with this moment, I was officially on my real summer vacation for almost the next 2 weeks. (I used some vacation days).

I arrived at Mikado a little after 7 pm. I got some good casuals in. I didnt know, but Gaku told me that tomorrow's tournament had registration already start a week ago and there was a 16 team limit. Since there was a good chance it was almost full already, I told him I would go to the arcade tomorrow morning before it opens and wait to register so that we could guarentee we get to play. Also, my team for Saturday was going to be Gaku and Melon using Slayer. We were still unsure about who our 3rd would be for Sunday cuz Melon at first said he wasnt sure if he could enter. I asked a few people during the week but no one else could do it among the ones that I asked. On the way to Tokyo on the train, Melon asked if he could join us for Sunday too. I told him maybe, but that I had to ask Gaku first. Gaku told me he already promised Kakishi, an ABA player that he could be on our team, so I told Melon that we would team with Kakishi, but it was ok. Melon eventually found another team for Sunday. BTW, Kakishi is the guy who works at the Lawson next to Mikado. Hes a cool guy, and his ABA is pretty sick, so I was cool to team with him. Also, Satoshi was talking to me for a bit about various stuff. He's a pretty cool guy. I beat him on my 2nd time playing him and he came over saying how im really tough. We played a few more and mostly went even with him maybe winning one or 2 more than me. Otherwise, nothing in particular worth mentioning comes to mind. I ended up playing till closing. After that, I went to the usual manga kissa and slept.

Saturday morning, I got up and headed to Sega Twinstar game center in Iidabashi. I had never been there before but found it with not too much trouble. I got there about an hour before they opened so I just sat outside and played some Phoenix Wright on my DS until the guy came and opened the place up. When I went to register, it turns out that only 8 teams had already signed up, and I was the only one there at the time, so we were able to sign up easily. I guess I didnt need to get there so early but I had nothing else to do since I wasnt gonna drink last night anyway.

After signing up, I had lots of time to kill. No one was playing GG there so I left. I went to a book store to find this one Japanese study book for Emmet cuz he asked me to get it for him as favor (hes in New Zealand visiting for a couple weeks right now). I couldnt find it there. Oh well.

Also, today was pretty much the last day I would be able to see Cynthia and Liz before they left Japan for good. So I made plans to meet up with them later.

I got some food and killed some time eating. I went to Mikado but no one was there so I walked around outside a bit but it was fucking HOT as hell so I eventually went back. Some scrubs showed up eventually and I beat them up a little and ended up playing the computer for a long time. After a while, some decent people showed up and I played casuals until it was time to go to the tournament.

I headed back to Twinstar and lots of people were there now. My team showed up shortly after. I was pretty disapointed to find out that only 11 teams entered, meaning I came early and waited outside for nothing, but it wasnt really a big deal other than being really hot outside. Stalker girl showed up to this one, too.

Since there were only 11 teams, some teams got a bye first round, and luckily our team ended up being one of them. Our first match was vs Consome's team. His teammates were a Slayer and a May player. I dont know their names.

I went first and they put their May first. This was the one character on the team that I didnt want to fight but I played solid and won! Next was Slayer. It ended up being close as hell in the very last round. I hit him with crouching punch and did crouch slash, into crouch dust, and then I wasnt sure if he was too far away to hit him with another crouching slash to go into the air combo so after the crouching slash I waited a split second and he teched so I just air threw him and got the win but it was close as hell. Finally vs Consome, I won a round and it was a close match, but I lost. Next was Melon with his Slayer. Despite it being a bad matchup for Slayer, Melon just danced around everywhere and played the matchup fuckin solid as hell, not really giving Potemkin a chance to strike back by using lots of hit and run tactics and good tricky teleport and dandy step shenagins. We won our first match!

For our next match we were already in the semi finals. Our opponents were Hayashi (footsies Ky) / Kuni (BA) / May. This was the same team they used last week when we beat them.

This time we decided to have Melon go first. His opponent was Hayashi. Unfortunately Hayashi won. I went next. I played fairly well but Hayashi was just on point today and I couldnt beat him. Finally Gaku went but he was unable to beat him either this time. Bummer. Just like that, we were out.

The finals ended up being Kuni's team vs Ain's team (Ain (KY) / Ririko (BR) / green TE player whos really good)

Hayashi was seriously the fucking man today because he OCVed Ain's team, too... in the order of Ririko, Ain, TE!

Since I hate Ain, I was glad to see him lose. After the it ended, everyone pretty much just went back to Mikado. I was gonna go play but then I got a message from Liz and Cynthia saying they wanted to meet up now so I went back to Takadanobaba station and met up with them at a super market. We got some snacks and then headed to Liz's place. We ended up watching a movie they rented called 500 Days of Summer. I had no idea what it was. Not the greatest movie but it was watchable I guess. We talked a lot, too. After the movie, we walked back to the station together and I said bye to them for the last time. They said they will be visiting Japan again at some point though. I was a bit sad to see them go cuz they were 2 of the first people I ever met when I came to Japan. Seeing them leave made me really feel like I have been here for a long time after all.

After that, I just headed back to Shinjuku to sleep at the manga kissa cuz it was already passed midnight.

The next day, the tournament was at Shinjuku Sportsland, which is right across the street from my usual manga kissa, lol! I got some McDonalds breakfast and played DS there for a while cuz it was cool inside and hot as balls outside. I also went to another book store and was able to find that book for Emmet. I also bought a new wallet cuz my old one was smelling like mold and was falling apart anyway. I got a good deal on one for 300 yen cuz one of the zippers was broken lol. It works fine so its all good.

Then, I headed to Sportsland and by now, there were some people playing, so I pretty much just stayed there from this point on and played casuals. One of the best matches I played all day was vs Ain's Ky. I only played him one time but I beat him both rounds! Suddenly after I won, on the other side of the cabinet I heard a loud BAM!!! sound. Ain really must think I am that bad because he slammed that cabinet REALLY hard! Then after like a few seconds he did it again! I was literally just laughing out loud! I couldnt help it! Considering how much I hate that guy for always being such a prick for no reason, it felt SOOOO good to know I pissed him off that bad! It pretty much put me in a good mood for the rest of the day LOL!

After a little while, this guy from Russia who posts on Dustloop under the handle Nuts was there and he said to just call him Ninja. I talked with him for a bit and he seemed like a nice guy. He was there with his girlfriend and just came to watch the tournament today. Eventually, Sam showed up too. He has nowhere to live now because his apartment contract expired at the beginning of August and he would be leaving Japan for good on the 4th. He stayed at Pachi's last night and would come stay at my place for a few days starting from today, so he came to watch the tournament and would go back to Gunma with me afterwords.

Also, Kyle (Stunedge) showed up to watch for a bit, too! From now until at least a year or more, Kyle will be living and working in Japan.

TONS of people came to this final SBO qualifyer. 32 teams entered which is almost 1oo people! It was packed and hot as fuck in there! Clay Gundam man showed up too but vanished early, and stalker girl showed up again, too.

I got some casuals in early when I arrived but after a while, getting a turn in was just imposable, even though they had 6 cabs going.

After a lot of waiting, they finally started the tournament. Our first match was vs a team of Reid (JO) / O2 (AX) / MI whos name I forgot

We had Gaku go first this time. He beat the MI player and then lost to JO. Then we had Kakishi go next with his ABA because he says hes bad against Axl so we saved me for last. He beat the JO and then he played solid as hell and beat O2's AX as well, so I didnt even need to play.

There was a LONG wait till our next match. I mostly just watched and talked to people cuz getting a turn on casuals was like imposable.

Eventually they called our next match and our oppenents were SO / JO / SL. I dont remember their names, but all the guys on the team looked like hosts from a host club with their fancy Cloud Strife lookin haircuts and "fashionable" clothing, lol. Since I didnt play last time, and I know all of those matchups fairly well (except Slayer is a terrible matchup), I opted to go first. First I fought SO. I won the first round. 2nd round was close but I did a sorta sloppy forward HS and it whiffed and he killed me. 3rd round I zoned him really well and won. Next I fought JO. I won the first round. 2nd round I made a bad decision going on pogo stance and got hit by his super and lost. 3rd round I got my shit together, played really solid and beat him up. Last I fought Slayer. This one I just played the matchup well and took him out and achieved an OCV! For some reason my team didnt really seem to care lol. I guess they were sorta expecting me to win or something and were mostly focusing their attention on the match being played next to us (most likely because the winner of that match would be our next opponent).

After more waiting, they called our next match. The team was SL / AN / IN. I didnt know who they were at first cuz the names they used were different but it turned out to be Ogiwara (aka Basara), Domi, and that really good Black color I-no player who I had mentioned before in the past. This time, Kakishi went first and his opponent was Domi's Anji. Kakishi played really solid and won! Up next was Ogiwara's SL. He tried his best but Ogiwara took him out. Gaku hates fighting Slayer so I went next (despite the fact that its a really bad matchup for me too). I was going pretty even with Ogiwara the last time I fought him like 2 weeks ago or so, but this time he just stayed on me, I couldnt zone him out, and I couldnt get him off me and he just pummeled me in the corner and shut down my escape attempts. It was now up to Gaku to save our team. he fought well but he also got pummeled by Slayer, and with that, it was the end of my 2010 SBO qualifier experience (except for the last chance qualifier if I am lucky enough to get selected from the random drawing to play in it, but I will be there for sure to at least try). I was a little bummed out, but not really that upset. We all played solid and tried our best but thats just the way shit goes.

At this point it was like already past 5 pm and I hadnt eaten since like 9 am or something so I was fucking starving! Sam, "Ninja", his girlfriend, and I went to get food. At this point, Kyle already was gone. We just went to McDonalds cuz Sam was broke and needed to get 100 yen menu.

After eating, we headed back. We were just in time to see the finals of the preliminary.

Hase (SL) / Woody (TE) / Venom (I dont know his name)
vs
Kazuki (DI) / Limekey (AN) / blue Slayer whos name im not sure of... I think it starts with an O)

Kazuki beat the Venom
Hase beat Kazuki, SL, and then finally Limekey to wrap things up.

With that, the preliminary had ended, and area finals would begin shortly. The winning team of the preliminary was Hase (SL) / Woody (TE) / Venom player (dont know his name)

They said there would be like a 20 minute break before the finals, so Sam and I decided to go to Yamada Denki and I ended up buying BBCS for PS3. Now that SBO quals were over, I figured I might as well try out another game for fun. I had hardly played BBCS up until now (I literally hadnt played the game since like 2 weeks after it came out) so Sam and I figured it would be something else to play while he was over other than SSFIV.

We made it back in time before the finals began.
There were 7 teams so just like last time, it would be separated into a 8 team bracket with one team getting a bye. The lucky team to get the bye this time was Isa / 012 / Taku (as if they needed a bye, lol)

First match was

Hase team
vs
Karun (JA) / Kishitaka (SO) / En (SL)

Karun beat VE
Hase then beat Karun, Kishitaka, and finally En! Hase was just beasting today!

next match was...

Kuni (BA) / Hayashi (KY) / May
vs
Mugen (BR) / Zero (OR) / Dizzy (same one that was on his team before... gold and black color

Kuni beat DI
Zero beat Kuni after Zero got perfected first round and just came back like it was nothing
Zero then beat May
Hayashi beat Zero
Mugen beat Hayashi in a VERY CLOSE clutch match that went down to the wire.

next was...

Maruken (BA) / TEN (IN) / Satou (JO)
vs
HEVEN (VE) / AGF (AN) / Kishya (FA)

TEN beat HEVEN which was pretty shocking
AGF beat TEN
Satou beat AGF
Kishya beat Satou
Maruken beat Kishya

next was the 2nd round (semi finals)...

Isa (ED) / 012 (SO) / Taku (SL)
vs
Hase team

Venom beat Taku (I was shocked)
Isa beat VE, then Hase, and finally Woody (but Woody put in a really good effort)

other semi finals match was...

Maruken team
vs
Mugen team

TEN beat Zero!
Mugen beat TEN
Maruken beat Mugen and DI for the win

grand finals...

Maruken team
vs
Isa team

TEN beat 012 (wow TEN did really well today)
Taku beat TEN
Satou beat Taku (wow another surprise IMO)
Isa beat Satou
final match was Isa vs Maruken. It went down to the 3rd round with both of them with almost no life left. I dont exactly remember what happened but they were both in the corner fumbling around with a few hits getting in but not getting full combos and lots of air teching going on, and honestly it looked like both of them had a chance to take it at one point but in the end, Isa didnt do a full combo and Maruken air recovered and clipped him to get the last final hits in for the win!

Maruken / TEN / Satou is the final team to make it into SBO for GG (excluding the last chance qual in September)!

Isa looked really disapointed. He sorta just face palmed a bit for a while on the cab after losing.

As soon as it ended, it was already about 9 pm and Sam and I had to catch our last train to get back home. Pachi showed up to watch for like the VERY last match so we said bye to him quickly and also bye to "Ninja" and then headed to the station and made our train.

We stayed up for a few hours playing SSFIV and went to bed.

The next day we just played SSFIV and BB all day. We unlocked Mu-12 which took way longer than it should (stupid story mode I dont give a shit about...). I learned the new Arakune combos and stuff. Sam messed around with Hakumen. We played some matches and stuff. Nothing too noteworthy but it was fun. We stayed up playing till about 5 am.

The next day (Tuesday), we went to Numata Matsuri (festival) which goes on for 3 days. This was the first day. Sam and I took the train there and we met up with Andy at Numata station and walked to the festival. Ryoko's dad was running his own kakigori (shaved ice, like a snow cone, or a slurpy, whatever the fuck you call them), booth. Ryoko and her sister Makiko were helping work there. We got some free kakigori and walked around the festival eating good food and seeing lots of dancing and mikoshi and stuff. I didnt drink at all but I still had fun. We also ran into some other ALTs and chilled with them for a bit. There was a giant Tengu mask mikoshi too that only girls are allowed to carry and Jessie carried it. Sam and Andy had to leave on the last train around 9. I walked them part way back to the station and then said goodbye. This is the last time I would see Sam for a while because his year in Japan is up and he has to go back to the US. He plans to do JET in a year so hopefully he will be back. I stayed till the end at 10 with Ryoko and her family and helped them serve some kakigori. After that, Ryoko's sister gave me a ride home.

The next day I was scheduled to go see the doctor. They were going to put the camera down my throat threw my nose again to see the status of my ulcer. It wasnt as bad as last time cuz I was knowing what to expect but it still sucked. It turns out that my ulcer is no longer and ulcer! The doctor said I just have sores in my esophagus now and will continue to suffer from symptoms for a while but that it is healing! He told me I was now allowed to drink beer as long as I didnt over do it and I should try to stop drinking 2 hours before I sleep. Also he said to just try to avoid greasy food and not over eat. If I do those things and keep taking my meds, I should heal soon! Not drinking for 2 weeks seemed like an eternity to me already so I was so happy to get the OK to drink.

After that, Ryoko came over to my place for a bit and we did some last minute planning for our trip to Fukuoka and Nagasaki. After that, we headed to Numata Matsuri again. Today I would help work in their kakigori booth all day. I had a good time getting all the free kakigori I could eat, and I drank beers all day and got free food too. It was a fun day being able to see the festival from the shade of the booth as all the people and mikoshi passed by. I got to take some nice pictures, stayed good and buzzed from sucking down beers all day, at lots of good food, and the kakigori was refreshing and I could make it as syrupy as I wanted and mixed whatever flavors I wanted too! It was an awsome day. After that I went home and slept.

So now I am finally writing my blog cuz I had some down time after my busy long weekend. Tonight, Ryoko and I will leave for Tokyo and then take a busy to Fukuoka. Its a 14 hour overnight bus ride. Airfare was already too expensive and we sorta planned this kinda last minute, but it should be a fun trip. We will get back to Gunma on the 11th. Maybe I will blog about my trip with Ryoko (even though there probably wont be much fighting game stuff involved). We will see how it goes. Either way it should be a ton of fun and I have never been there before. The fact that I can drink now makes it even more awsome!

So thats the end of SBO quals... Even though I didnt qualify again this year, I really have no regrets. I got won a red ticket qualifying for a block finals for my first time. I made it to the finals in preliminaries 2 other times. I teamed with a ton of great players this year. I think I have gained a lot more respect in general among the GG community in Japan. When I consider the fact that this was like the hardest year so far to qualify since there were only 16 spots, and I look at all the great top player SBO veterans that didnt even make it in this year, I think I did a pretty good job. So now that GG SBO quals are over, I might try to play some other games a little more often, but I will always continue to play GG in any case. It was a fun qual season and hopefully GG will be back in SBO next year. Im gonna do my best to qualify in the last chance qual though, so maybe its not over yet! But anyway, thanks to everyone who supported me and sorry for letting you down.

With Sam, Liz, and Cynthia leaving, im a bit sad to see more friends leave Japan, but hopefully more cool people will come soon.

Anyway, I will post again sometime after I get back from my vacation in Kyushu. Keep playing GG everyone!

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