Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Extinguisher

Two weekends, ago, nothing overly exciting happened so I skipped writing about it. I went to Isesaki (another part of Gunma) and drank there with Emmet. We drank at this place called London Bus which is actually a real British double decker bus which was converted into a bar. They had an all you can eat and drink deal for only 3000 yen so it was pretty worth it. We went to another all you can drink place after that and I did a lot of karaoke which was fun.

Last week was a pretty standard week, aside from one thing that happened. On Wednesday, I was gonna go get dinner with some of the other local ALTs. Since we were going to a place where Kelly and Michelle (the newest ALTs in our area) didn't know how to get to, I just offered to pick them up since it was pretty much on my way anyway. They were both at Michelle's place. For whatever reason, the entrance to her building's parking lot was roped off. So, I parked in a small lot right in front of the small shop next to her building.

I waited for the girls for a bit, and then they eventually came out and got in the car. As I turned left onto the road, suddenly there was this huge crunching sound as the car came to a sudden stop. I ended up running right into this big tall concrete slab that acts as a divider between the sidewalk and the road. Sort of like a curb but its probably about almost nearly a foot off the ground. The position of this thing was pretty poorly thought out. I seriously just turned onto the road like anyone normally would, but it was dark and really hard to see this thing so I guess I just failed to notice it.

I tried to back up but the card wouldnt move at all. I got out to inspect the damage and realized that the front left of the car was being propped up by the concrete slab, and the car was completely wedged in there. The front left tire was no longer touching the ground, so I couldnt back up. I tried to push it off while Michelle sat in the car and hit the gas, but it wouldnt budge.

After trying that and failing for a bit, I decided I was going to need more help if I was gonna get this to move. So, I knocked on the door of the building we were in front of. There was an older man probably in his 50s or so. I told him what happened and showed him my car. Luckily he was very friendly and helpful. We tried a few things and eventually we carried over a giant jack and some big wooden planks. We propped the car up with the jack, slid the wood under the tires. Once we put the car back down, we were now able to get traction from the tire on the wood and I was able to back the car out.

Unfortunately, we noticed that the car was now leaking oil front where the impact had occurred. The man said he had a friend who was a mechanic a few buildings down the street, so I drove over there and he got his friend to come out and look real fast. He said that the car would be safe to drive as long as the warning light didnt go on. He said I could probably make it home but that I should watch the light and avoid driving beyond that. I tried to call my supervisor (since my car belongs to the board of education) to see what she wanted me to do, but there was no answer. I decided it would be best to just get home and not drive after that. I apologized to Kelly and Michelle for pretty much ruining tonight's plans but they were very helpful and not angry. I ended up making it home fine.

I had to walk to work for the rest of the week. Fortunately Thursday and Friday were just days at my main school which is only about a 15 minute walk. I called my supervisor again Thursday morning and she came with someone from the board of education. I told her what happened and apologized. She didnt seem very angry or anything and said that insurance should pay for it. She said it might be over a week until I get the car back, though. So, aside from not having a car for a while, I guess it turned out better than I originally had thought.

And so, moving on to the most recent weekend...

This was a 3 day weekend since Monday was a national holiday. On Friday, I drank with Emmet for a bit at Joyfull (a family restaurant, sorta like Denny's or IHOP, except they serve alcohol, too.) We drank there for a few hours cuz Emmet wanted to see how it was on a Friday night in hopes there would be some cute girls or something lol. It ended up not being very packed but we drank for cheap and had a good meal. After that, Ryoko picked me up from there and we went back to my place to drink some more and watch The Two Towers (this was her first time to see it).

Saturday, I got woken up by Ryoko at about 10:00 am. I was sorta hungover so I started the day with a shot of whiskey to perk me up a bit. Today, Ryoko had plans to go with her friends Eri and Remi and Remi's 2 year old daughter to a small amusement park in Gunma which is mostly for kids called Shibukawa Skyland Park. I had other plans with Ryoko later in the day but nothing to do until then so I said I would tag along. I was sorta 50/50 on going since I wasnt feeling so good in the morning but the 2 year old girl (her name is Au-chan) really likes me, so I didnt wanna disappoint her after she was told I would come, too.

Before going to the park, we got Udon at this restaurant that Ryoko told me has one of the 3 top most famous kinds of Udon in all of Japan. I forget exactly what its called but it was pretty good.

I had never been to this park before. They had several rides but they were all pretty mild. They had like a tea cups ride and a very small roller coaster. They also had a bunch of ticket redemption sorta games. Ryoko and I played one where you throw balls into a giant plastic hippos mouth with a moving jaw (it totally reminded me of Hungry Hungry Hippos) and we won Au-chan a little stuffed rabbit toy.

Thankfully, this park sold beer, so I had one or 2 cans of beer which made it a little more enjoyable. There were go-karts, too, which I rode with Ryoko and Eri, but unfortunately they were really slow.

One of the best things about the park was the haunted house. I was expecting it to be EXTREMELY lame since this was just a kiddy park, but it actually was pretty cool. It was hard to see anything in there. I went in with Ryoko who followed behind tugging my shirt the whole time. There were no actors but they had a lot of mechanical stuff that popped out at you and some other stuff like a moving floor and what not. I ended up going through a 2nd time with Eri and Remi while Ryoko stayed with Au-chan. They insisted I go first and did the same thing as Ryo. Since I knew what to expect this time, I made sure they went in front of me during some key parts to scare them more. I don't really think most little kids could handle that haunted house. If Au-chan went in there she would probably have nightmares for a long time.

Overall, it wasnt all that exciting but Au-chan really enjoyed herself so I didnt mind going along.

After it was over, we headed back and part ways. The plan for the evening was to go to Ryoko's aunt's 60th birthday party. In Japan, people's 60th birthday party is considered to be extremely important. Since I have officially asked for Ryoko's hand in marriage and have been accepted as part of the family, they wanted me to be there, too. Ryoko's father knows the owner of the small izakaya where it was at, so we had the whole place to ourselves. There were about 14 people total. Ryoko, her sisters, her parents, me, her Aunt, her Aunt's friend, and her other Aunt, Uncle, and their daughter. It pretty much reminded me of the enkais we have for work, except for family. The party lasted for 4 hours and there was so much good food and unlimited drinks. Everyone drank a lot and had a lot of fun.

After it was over, Ryoko couldn't stay out late because she had to work the next morning. So, I spent the rest of the night drinking with Emmet in Numata. I crashed at his place afterwords.

Then next day, we heaeded to Maebashi. Today was Maebashi matsuri. Emmet had plans to meet up with a girl and go see Rise of the Planet of the Apes at the theater and would meet up with me later. I spent about the first hour at the festival by myself but then eventually Andy came and we hung out for a while. This was my first time at this specific Maebashi matsuri (there are a few each year). There was TONS of good food stands. There was also a section where the entire main street was blocked off and tons of people were dancing in the middle. Unfortunately they kept playing the same song over and over but their outfits were cool.

Andy had a concert to go to so he left after a while. Around that time, Emmet and the girl came. We walked around a bit more, took some photos. Shortly after, we ran into the bartender from Propeller, the place where we often play poker. He was working at Dickens (another pub which is also owned by Master). He said Master was around so we went and had a beer at Dickens and talked with Master for a bit. One of the other guys we played with was there, too. He owns a snack bar called Chicago right across the street. We all decided that the next poker game would be on the 16th, so that should be fun.

After finishing our beers, it was time to head to Tokyo.

Tonight was Mogi and Masami's birthday party. Since neither of them work at Current anymore, the party was held at Big Time, which is the bar where Piko works now. This was my 2nd time to go there. Its a pretty small bar, but pretty nice. There was a good turn out and mostly all the people there were regulars from Current. I had a birthday shot with both Mogi and Masami.

The bar is sorta separated into 3 sections. When you walk in theres a small section with just one table by the stairs. You can go left where theres a little DJ area and you can go right where the main bar and tables are. At some point in the night, I was sitting at the table in the middle section by the stairs. Suddenly, this huge cloud of pinkish smoke just poors into the rest of the bar from inside the main bar area. I didnt know WTF was going on and was already drunk by then. I went inside there to check it out and to get my backpack, since everyone was starting to evacuate to the outside. It turns out someone had messed with a fire extinguisher devise.

As I was going up the steps, I asked this one dude what happened. He said something how his friend was holding the extinguisher. I really didn't know anything or even who he was talking about. I was outside talking with someone else and I said something how I heard that someone said their friend did something. Some crazy drunk white chick that was there suddenly over hears me and shes like "What!? You know who did this!? Come here!" She like grabs my arm and brings me over to where Piko and the other guy who work there are and shes all like screaming frantically, "This guy knows something!" and I explained the little bit I knew (which was really nothing) and then they just said thanks and asked the dude who told me his friend had it. There was talks about having to call the police or something but after a while. People were just sorta standing outside confused. Then this one guy left in a cab. This one other guy was all fucked up looking (maybe over exposure to the chemical, I dont know). I guess it was that crazy white chick's friend. She just started going off on everyone pointing at them and yelling shit about how its each persons fault for various reasons. She pointed at me and said "Fuck you for holding back information!" I was like "WTF I didn't even know anything!" She stormed off and wasn't seen again after that. I mean... I understand she was upset cuz her friend wasnt doing so well. I was also a bit upset since whoever did that fucked the bar up and put the party on hold and Piko is my friend, but id say pretty much screaming fuck you at everyone was a bit out of hand.

After a bit more waiting, eventually the smoke cleared and Piko just said it was OK to go back inside. Everyone continued to drink and people helped to clean up the mess afterwords as well. The rest of the night was fine aside from that residue being everywhere, It had a sour taste to it.

The party ended at around 5 and then tons of people headed to PSY. I drank there for a like over 2 hours maybe cuz I think I went to bed at around 7;30 am.

The next day I was a bit hungover. I mailed Ryoko and she said she was cool to hang out tonight but she had work till 8:30, so I had some time to kill before leaving Tokyo for my 3 hour train ride home.

I got some ramen in Shinjuku and then I stopped over at Mikado to play some GG. It was pretty much dead with like one single Millia player playing the computer. I never walked around to see who it as but he had 10 wins. I played him and won the first game but he was really good. We played about seven games. I dont remember but I think it was final score 4-3 in his favor. I then went to play some SSFIVAE. I played the same guy the whole time. He was using Ryu for the first match and I won, and then he switched to Ken and we played a few more. I won a few but he had more wins than I did.

After that, it was time to start heading out. On my way out, I ran into Satoshi who was just coming in. I told him I had to go back to Gunma and id see him next time. I walked to the station and then after I bought my ticket, I turned around and Satoshi was there, lol. He said it was dead so he decided to leave. I said bye to him and we got on separate trains. After I got home about 3 hours later, I spent the evening with Ryoko.

I still don't have my car back yet, but hopefully I will soon. Next weekend is another Final Roundbats and more poker!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Hell of a Lot of Birthday Week Drinking!

2 weeks ago I didn't write anything but I will sum up that weekend now.

On Sat, the 17th, I had to work because my main junior high school had its sports festival. This resulted in me missing SBO and Tokyo Game Show which landed on the same day. For the first time ever, the 2nd year students won the whole thing (the 3rd year students always win). After that there was an enkai in my town. Matt actually came to visit this weekend (he is now living in Sapporo and working on the JET program). He originally was going to come to visit his girlfriend but they broke up right before he came, so he had a lot of time to kill. He came by my school during the sports festival and I gave him my key so that he could chill and wait till I got off work. After the enkai, I headed home and drank a bit more with Matt. Ryoko came over to hang out as well.

On Sunday the 18th, Ryoko, Matt, and I went to a small charity concert in Numata. The guy who was promoting it is friends with Ryoko's father so he gave us 2 free tickets. Matt tagged along as well. The music was mainly played by a duo going by the names of Bob and Taro. One of them is a local ALT who has lived in Numata for many years. Their music style was kinda folky and mostly just acoustic guitar and some harmonic and vocals. Not exactly my style but it as good for what it was. The concert was surprisingly long though (about 2 and a half hours). It wasn't bad, just a bit long. I picked up a couple of CDs afterwords for charity. Hopefully they raised a lot of money.

After that, we returned to my apartment. I still had those fireworks I bought in Nagasaki Chinatown like 2 years ago in my closet. I decided that today would be a good chance to set them off, so we brought some beers outside to the lot in front of my house and set them off. Some of them were pretty awsome and some ended up being kinda disapointing but overall it was fun anyway.

After that, we went to an Izakaya in Numata to drink with Andy, Ryoko's sister, and one of her friends. Then we did karaoke all night.

On Monday afternoon, I dropped off Matt at the station and he headed on his way back to Sapporo. Monday the 19th was a national holiday and since I had to work Saturday, I got Tuesday off as well. This resulted in an epic all night poker game at Kiwi Cafe in Takasaki, owned by Grant, one of our poker regulars. I drove up there with Emmet and Ryoko came on her own later on after work. A bunch of new guys came this time and most of them pretty much had little to no experience and weren't every good. Throughout most of the night we had on average about 8 people playing at once which is pretty good. We played poker from like 6 pm to 4:30 am. One of the guys who brought his pretty cute wife, seemed like was most likely a yakuza. He got pretty drunk and as the night went on, he was playing worse and worse. He was doing ridiculous stuff like betting 10,000 yen pre flop and just kept throwing SOOO much money into the pot. He was trying to be intimidating but I just steered clear of him until I knew I had the nuts or close to it and ended up taking like 20,000 yen off him or something. I won a few big hands. There was one hand where he bet 10,000 yen pre flop and I had Ace/Queen but decided I didn't wanna take such a big risk pre flop in case the flop sucked for me and he actually hit something. By the end of the night, I was up 10,000 yen (about 120 dollars) which isnt bad. Its the most ive made playing in Japan at one game and it also ended my losing streak. Emmet won the most, I think maybe 25,000 yen or something. Ryoko lost about 16,000 yen and the drunk yakuza guy lost over 50,000 yen! LOL! I think he needs to rethink his strategy or at lest drink less next time. Overall it was a pretty epic poker game.

Tuesday the 20th I just chilled at home with Ryoko watching Fellowship of the Rings cuz she never saw it before.

Wednesday the 21st was my actual birthday. A pretty big typhoon was rolling through Japan and there were strong winds and rain storms in my area. Ryoko wanted to take me out to an all you can eat yakiniku restaurant. We thought about not going because of the rain but went anyway and were fine. I drank some wiskey, beer, wine, and was stuffed as hell. The food was top tier. Great birthday dinner. I also got a birthday apple pie with cream cheese frosting that Ryoko made me at work.

Thursday the 22nd I judged the Numata English speech contest for the first time ever. It was an interesting new experience but overall it was a nice change from the usual day of work.
That evening we had my real birthday drinking party since Friday was another national holiday. Ryoko, myself, and about 13 other friends got a private room at an izakaya and drank for several hours. I got some amusing presents (even though I wasn't expecting anything from anyone and just wanted to drink) such as some fine imported cheese, a good bottle of red wine, a peppermint nose inhaler, and a bottle of lube that is disguised to look like CC Lemon vitamin drink lol!

After the izakaya clsoed, some of us went to another bar and then eventually Andy, Emmet, and I drank all night at another bar. I crashed at Emmets.

On Friday the 23rd, I was already into this most recent weekend (another 3 day weekend). Having only a 2 day work week was pretty awsome.

I headed to Tokyo by myself cuz Emmet had other plans. Kyle (Stunedge) told me that some foreigners were still in Tokyo after SBO was over and wanted to drink with me the previous night but I couldnt cuz of my drinking party, so I figured id see if they wanted to chill tonight. On the way down there I mailed Kyle and he said most of them had already gone to Nagoya for Nagoya Street Battle (SSFIVAE tournament). I figured id just make the most of the weekend and see how it went.

I got to Mikado and was surprised to see Hellmonkey there. He told me he just arrived in Japan a few days ago. He said he graduated and came here looking for a job but was unsure exactly what he will do yet. He says he has enough money to just chill for a while without a job so I guess he might be around for a while.

We played a long set of casuals for hours. I started off strong with a big lead and then around the middle it was evening out where I would win a couple and he would win a couple back and forth for a while. Then he ended our session with like 4 or 5 wins with Baiken. I wasnt having trouble with his Eddie or Potemkin but his Baiken was tough. One of the hardest match ups for me. Either way, it was fun games and I enjoyed the session. We also got kebabs at some point which was good cuz I hadnt had one in like 2 months. This was my first time playing Guilty Gear since I returned from visiting the US and it felt good to play again. A few other top players were there as well.

After that, the 2 of us headed to Current to drink. It was actually pretty packed int here for a Friday when we arrived. We stayed for a few hours and it started to clear out, but then we headed to GODZ and eventually PSY and that was pretty fun as well. Hellmonkey went home at about 5:00 am. At some point after that, some wasted military dudes who just finished their service period were celebrating their asses off and just roll right in and bought like everyone in the bar free jagerbombs lol! I stayed till about 6:30.

The next morning (Saturday) when I woke up at the manga kissa, I was annoyed to find out that the showers there were no longer free to use and they were now charging 300 yen. Lame. I took one anyway.

After that, I headed back to Mikado. I played casuals all day. There were 3 foreigners there who I didnt recognize. One of the guys was from Sweden and 2 of them were from France. I talked to and played the Swedish guy and one of the French guys but im not sure if I played the other French dude. The French guy said he was friends with Dream Maker. They all seemed like nice guys. I won all my matches against them but they were pretty good. I invited them to come drinking later but they said they couldnt make it due to having to leave early the next day.

Eventually Hellmonkey showed up again sorta late. At this point, I already started drinking a bit. I knocked back a whole 180 ml bottle of whiskey that I had poured into a coke bottle and sipped one while playing. I was buzzed but could still play decently at least. This time I mostly played other various people. I got a nice win against Inoue's Slayer, Satou's Johnny, and Kuni's Baiken. Hellmonkey got some good wins against various good players, too.

This time, I left a bit earlier because tonight at Current was a metal event. Hellmonkey was originally going to go drinking with me but decided against it cuz he had plans the next morning. So, I headed out to Current on my own.

However, I got a message from Fubarduck saying that he was at NSB in Nagoya but was heading back to Tokyo and would meet me at Current later. He said it was his last drinking night in Japan and wanted to end his trip well.

Current was decently packed as most metal events usually are. Lots of metal event regulars came out as well as SPG Chris and some other people. It was cool drinking with Fubarduck. We talked a bit about the recent stuff that went on with SBO and how they made a mistake but its nothing that he hasnt said already online. I pretty much agree that while SBO made a big mistake this year, I still feel like it is a legit tournament and winning means something. The players who are hungry are still going to player their best regardless. I certainly have every intention to participate again if they run Guilty Gear again.

We drank at Current till about 4:30 when the metal even ended and then went to PSY. PSY was packed with people who came after the metal event. Not long after we got there, Toru and Natsume realized that it was my birthday recently. Toru went around from behind the bar and brought 2 tequila shots and we drank them together. Then, I turn around and Natsume has the bottle of tequila and poors me another shot. So I take it. Then he poors me another shot... and I take it! And then... another shot! Finally, some dude I dont even know sitting next to me signals him to poor me one more so I drank that one, too! I had just knocked back 6 shots of tequila all in a row within like 2 minutes. I was already pretty drunk but now I was completely wasted! To be honest, I dont even know how I was still standing or how I managed to stomach it! I felt like I was gonna throw up like right after the last shot, and then I tell Mandi whos sitting next to me that I had to go pee. She's like "Yea right" in a sarcastic tone, so I decide to man up and just wait it out. In like 30 seconds the nausea subsided and I managed to stomach it all. Im glad I did cuz I felt great after that.

Fubarduck headed out sometime at maybe like 5:30 or so. Lots of people stayed at PSY til really late. I dont even remember leaving exactly but I know for a fact that I actually didn't pass out this time which is pretty amazing! I must have left there after 7 am cuz the next morning when I woke up at the manga kissa, it said that I had checked in at about 7;30. The most amazing part of it all was... I didn't even feel that hungover! I mean... yea I was exhausted but I didnt have a headache really!

So, after that, I just headed back home early to spend the rest of the evening with Ryoko.

And that concludes about a week and a half of stuff. Within that week and a half, since I only had 2 days of work, so I drank most of those days. I think I need a good break this week. I will probably take it easy this coming weekend.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Laying Down the Wrong Card

The previous weekend, I didn't bother to write a blog post, but I will sum things up real fast. I spent the weekend in my town. There was a big event called summer splash at the Canyons lodge near my apartment. They had live music and lots of people came. A bunch of other ALTs ended up crashing at my place afterwords. We got a late night poker game going that lasted until 8:30 am. I was smashed as hell, and was playing really sloppy and drunk. We actually had a game scheduled for Sunday at 4:30 pm as well, so I only got like 6 hours of sleep and then we played poker AGAIN. It was good fun but I lost money that time as well. Ryoko was super nice and brought over tons of fried chicken, fries, and fruit for everyone to snack on while we played. She enjoyed playing with as as well and actually did pretty good for only her 2nd time playing.

Getting to the weekend that just passed...

On Friday night, I just stayed home and chilled with Ryoko. On Saturday, I got up and went to Tokyo. Today was the 4th Final Roundbats tournament of this season (I missed the 3rd one when I was in America for summer vacation.)

This time, they had a new venue (though they actually had it last time for the one I missed as well.) It was at the Hobgoblin British Pub in Akasaka. Overall I would say I liked it better than Soundstone. They had better drink specials and this time, they actually had pizza buffet again. It wasn't as good as Dominoes and the pizza ran out sorta fast. I think I got like 7 slices but they werent very big. I guess I had enough to feel not hungry but I could have easily eaten a bunch more.

Most of the regular crew showed up for this one. Tokido didnt make it this time though. As far as the tournaments go, I did pretty lousy overall. I havn't actually played any fighting games for a whole month, so I was pretty rusty. I didnt show up in time for MK9 (and I dont play it so I didnt care). For Tekken 6 (which I also dont play but entered cuz its free), I lost first round to some guy who seemed like he knew what he was doing. For MvC3 I lost first round to a guy using Ammy/Sent/Spencer. I was dropping all kinds of combos. For SSFIVAE, I played a T.Hawk first round and lost. By this time I had a few drinks and was being a little sloppy and threw out a bad Ultra 1 that got blocked which cost me the final round. I did take one round. The T.Hawk went on to take first place in the tournament against Abelity's Abel in the finals. I did have a lot of fun playing ST vs a lot of people, however.

After FRB was over, I went drinking in Shinjuku with Jude AKA Claw, and Abelity AKA Hafiz. We went to Current first, where we ran into Johan and Terrence. It was dead so after a while, all of us went to GODZ and then eventually PSY. Nothing too noteworthy to mention other than the fact that PSY and GODZ both got the new Dream Theater album, A Dramatic Turn of Events, and were playing a lot of songs off it. I've been listening to the album for a few days and overall I think its a good solid album and its starting to really grow on me. I would say that as of now, overall, I like it better than their previous album, Black Clouds and Silver Linings. The Count of Tuscany is still the man though. I drank till pretty late. I think I passed out for about 10 minutes or so. I woke up at like 5:30 and Toru, the bartender of PSY, showed me a passed out picture of me that he took. I wont be surprised if it pops up online lol. After finishing my beer, I headed to the manga kissa.

The plan for Sunday was to play poker at the Propeller Bar, in Maebashi. This is the place where we always used to play but its been a while since we had a game there. I took the train there and once I arrived at Maebashi station, I passed an ATM and decided I might want to get some extra cash just in case. I went in the ATM booth and got out my wallet and my ATM card was nowhere to be found. I never lost anything like that before in Japan. Since my ATM card cant be used as a debit card, and I doubt someone would be easily able to crack my PIN number, I wasnt stressing about it too hard, but I called up Ryoko to ask her advice what to do. She said I should call the banks corporate lost and found or whatever to cancel the service on the card. She texted me the number and I made the call.

The next like 20 minutes was one of the biggest wastes of my time. The woman who answered the phone probably had the worst hearing ever. The whole conversation was in Japanese and we understood each other just fine, except for one annoying thing. She was asking for all my personal information, so I had to give her my name, phone number and birthday. I can understand that maybe she may have a bit of difficulty hearing a foreign name but I was trying to spell it out for her letter by letter for a fucking eternity. I was like... "my last name is B O C Z A R" and she kept saying it back wrong like " P O C G E R" and im like no its.. "B O C Z A R" and shes like "P O Z D A R". Then I was like ok... lets do this one letter at a time. Im like, "B", and shes like "P" and im like... no "B as in bus" and shes like "P" and I was just literally face palming at this woman's shitty hearing.

After what seemed like eons, she finally managed to get my name right. Then she somehow couldnt understand me when I was giving my fucking phone number and birthday. How hard can it be to hear numbers!?

Eventually she got that down and finally found my information in the system. Then she put me on hold for like 5 minutes, got back to me, and said she needed like some sort of account number. I didnt have my bank book on me cuz it was in my apartment which is over an hour away. I told her I had an old ATM receipt and she has me read the info on that but then after wasting my time reading all that (and mind you she was having hearing problems with THIS too...) she said it wasnt enough information and said she couldnt help me and that I would have to call back again later. What I dont get is... why couldnt she have just fucking told me that in the first place? She puts me through all this and then finally tells me AT THE END!? After I put up with her deaf ass?

Anyway, I wasn't going to let it ruin my day and figured I would just take care of it when I got home at around midnight.

I went into propeller after helping a friend find parking, and eventually everyone started to roll in and the game went well. We had 7 people playing throughout the night, and most of the time we were playing 6 handed which is pretty good. Ryoko was gonna come to but she ended up doing something with her sisters and was tired afterwords and went home. The game was fun, but I lost a lot of money. I had 3 all in situations where I lost.

The first one, I was up against 2 people. The first guy flop comes up some cards, I dont even remember what they were but they were all diamonds. I had the ace of diamonds in my hand, and some other irrelevant card, I think it was a queen of some other suit. The small stack guy acts first and goes all in for about 1000 yen. I have about 3500 yen at this point and call. What I SHOULD have done is went all in instead of calling him, because Emmet was behind me in the hand with a bigger stack. Instead of calling, HE went all in since technically all I did was bet 1000. I already had a lot of money in there since there were big pre flop raises as well. I had 2 chances to get another diamond which is actually only like a 30% chance, but I decided to just gamble and hope it came up, because if it did I would have the absolute best hand 100% guaranteed. Unfortunately no diamonds came and I lost the hand. I was pretty salty after that but I kept playing and actually won it all back after a while.

The next bad hand was I got dealt Jack Queen. Flop comes up 2 Jacks and some low card. 2 other people were in the hand. I was slow playing it and no one was really betting much. The turn comes up an Ace and one guy bets a sorta high bet of like 1000 yen or something. I put him on an ace and figured I had this. Other guy folded and I went all in. He called. The last card didnt matter. I turn over my Jack expecting to get big money and then he owns me with Jack Ace and a full house. Shitty beat. I just couldnt have put him on Jack Ace given the way things went down.

The last big hand I lost was the final hand I played. I pretty much just was getting impatient, I had pocket Jacks again at this point and I just got hustled.

In any case, I have been on a bit of a poker slump the last few games I played, but I will learn from my mistakes. Its all good.

Anyway, I rode the train home and made it back to my place. A little after midnight, I called the bank company again and this time a different dude answered the phone. I did everything the exact same way as last time (except now I had my account info) and the whole thing was done in 5 minutes because this guy WASNT FUCKING DEAF!!! With that done, I went to sleep.

Yesterday, I got a call from the bank that someone found my ATM card and brought it to the Numata police station. I went there after work and got it back, and today I went to the bank and had them re activate it. It turns out I simply just left it at the atm at my local bank. Im not quite sure why the person who found it would bring it to the city next to the town I live in, instead of the local police station, but I guess im glad I got it back and that nothing was stolen.

Anyway, next weekend is Tokyo Game Show and SBO finals but I cant go this year because my school's sports festival is on the same day and I have to work. Since theres no GG this year, im not as upset as I would be otherwise but it still kinda sucks. Matt will visit Gunma so I will hang out with him a bit, and we have another poker game scheduled in Takasaki next Monday (I get Monday and Tuesday off next week) so at least it will be a fun weekend.

Heres hoping next game I know what cards to lay down in poker instead of laying my ATM card down.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Current's 10th Anniversary party, Koenji Matsuri, Beer Garden, and exhaustion

Well, its been a while since I updated my blog. As I mentioned before, I went back to the USA for about 3 weeks. I really don't feel like writing a detailed account of everything that happened when I went to the US but I mostly spent time just visiting various family and friends. Ryoko came with me for the first week and then went back on her own ahead of me. Some highlights include, my friends Nate and Sarah's wedding. It was at a brewery and they had a Super Mario Bros cake. Easily the coolest wedding I've been to. I saw a Chinese traveling Circus at Navy Pier which was pretty interesting. I played Warhammer and Warhammer 40k for the first time in like 4 years LOL. It was pretty fun and nostalgic. I got a few poker games in as well. Ryoko played with us and I taught her how to play since it was her very first time to play poker. She actually did quite well and came out with a little money. Ryoko and I also did some planning for our wedding which will most likely be in 2013 Spring. I know it seems far off but we have a lot of planning to do and its no big rush to be honest.

I also went to EVO which was good times. I mainly went just to hang out with people I hadn't seen in a while. I got to do a lot of chillin and got some casuals. I entered Marvel 3 and SSFIVAE. For Marvel I got DQed into losers cuz I was too busy playing Steve H in a money match and lost track of time. Then I went 1-1 in losers. As for SSFIVAE I went 2-2. I also entered the GG side tournaments. I got 3rd place in singles (losing to RF and AKA) and I got 2nd in teams. I teamed with my friends Jesse Gomez and Rod "Honnou" Delareza. I originally was supposed to enter with Latif and Pozer Wolf but they were both off busy playing other games when teams was starting so I just ended up entering with another team. Overall, EVO was good times.

After EVO, I was a guest on the Midnight Carnival Guilty Gear podcast. The episode can be found in the archives if you are interested in listening. Despite having some mic trouble it was fun to have the chance to be on the show. Check the link on my links side bar.

In addition, we had the Chicago Heart 3 tournament event created by Heartnana. I ran the GG singles and teams tournaments. They were both kinda small but a few out of state players came and it was just good times anyway. I got first place in both singles and teams. I entered some other games and didnt do amazing, placing somewhere in the middle for Marvel, and SSFIV and getting peaced out in Soul Calibur II cuz I just randomly entered it for fun, LOL.

I pigged out on lots of awsome food and drank tons of awsome beer while I was away as well. Despite being told not to by doctors due to having gout, I took my meds the whole time and pretty much felt just fine so I think I have the problem under control. I will take another blood test soon to see how the uric acid level is going.

So that about sums up the gist of how I spent my summer vacation. Good times for sure.

Now... getting back to Japan.

The first weekend after I got back, I just relaxed around home. I had dinner with Ryoko's family at her house.

The most recent weekend that just happened was a pretty epic drink-a-thon. I havn't touched any fighting games yet since I left America.

On Friday, we the Gunma ALT welcome beer garden party. It was pretty much the same as previous years. All you can eat and drink for like 3000 yen from 5-9. I talked to a few new people and some old friends and it was good stuff. After it was over, there was a 2nd party at Yamato izakaya. I ended up crashing at my friend Leo's place with a few other friends after that.

The next day after everyone woke up, we sorta all just took it easy lounging around having a few more drinks and watching random stuff on the internet. We also got some good lunch at Saizerya.

Eventually, Emmet and I took the train and headed to Tokyo. This weekend was both Current's 10th anniversary party and also Koenji Matsuri. We got to Tokyo a little after 6 pm and got off at Koenji in hopes to hang out at the Matsuri for a bit to pre-game before going to Current. Unfortunately it ended at 6 and we didnt know. There were still lots of people around though so we just had some drinks on the street in front of a small bar.

Eventually at around 9 or so, we headed to Current. Just like every previous year I have gone, the Current anniversary party didn't fail to deliver the hype. The place was packed and mostly all of the regulars came out to party. I did a lot of drinking, dancing, talking, and drunkenly sang more metal songs with people than I probably should have, because by the time I left Current with a bunch of people to go hit up PSY after the party ended, my voice we pretty shot.

As soon as we got to PSY, Emmet and I both ordered a beer. Unfortunately for Emmet, Sachiko was playfully hitting him calling him "baka" over and over as she often does, but this time she sorta got a bit carried away and spilled his beer all over. Emmet looked pretty pissed and just straight up left the bar. That was the last I saw of him for the night. I talked briefly to Sachiko after that and she didn't seem very remorseful about it.

The rest of the time at PSY I just talked with various people. Towards the end of the night as the bar was clearing out, I was talking to this one girl named Yukina. I wanted to keep drinking and her and 2 of her friends were going to an izakaya to keep going, and Natsu and Toru (the bartenders) said they would catch up to us. I thought Toru had my number but I was mistaken so he never made it but Natsu joined us for a little while.

I talked a lot with Yukina and shes a really interesting person. She's a professional majong player and she told me that she taught Daigo Umehara how to play majong. She said hes like her little brother. I never even brought Daigo up in the conversation and she just brought him up out of nowhere so I know she must be telling the truth. At that point in the conversation, she didn't even know I played fighting games. Though after she brought up Daigo I asked her if she plays any fighters and she said she used to play Super Street Fighter II Turbo with Daigo back in the day. She said she was a Chun player but shes retired now. In addition to that, she regularly plays poker and helps run regular poker events. Shes been to Vegas like a zillion times and has participated in some pretty big high stakes tournaments. She invited me to come to one of her games sometime and since I never can seem to get enough poker action in Japan, I certainly plan to take her up on that offer one of these days. She said they have some games that are like 100/200 blinds which is perfectly fine with me. They run some higher stakes ones too but I'd probably prefer the 100/200 yen blinds one... at least for my first time playing with them.

We all ended up drinking at that izakaya until like 10 am which was pretty ridiculous but it was fun. I went to the manga kissa to sleep after we left there.

3 hours later... I get woken up by a call from Emmet. We had plans to go to Koenji Matsuri again today and I still really wanted to go. It was a REALLY hard decision to make because I was exhausted as hell but I knew this matsuri only comes once a year and it was awsome last time so I just manned up and got out of bed and met up with Emmet outside.

We showed up when the matsuri was already about half way over but we still got to catch tons of the action. At first we just sorta walked around but eventually I was able to find the spot where I stood last year, right in front of the bar where Pachi's friend works. It was a great spot because all the parade traffic goes right through there and there was room to stand comfortably. Just like last year, endless troupes of musicians and dancers paraded through the streets with tons of energy and awsome outfits. I took plenty of photos.

I unfortunately wasn't able to find Pachi until the festival was just about to end. He was nearby but was standing in an area that I couldn't get to due to it being to crowded. He was there with a girl who was perhaps his girlfriend, though I'm not sure. I only had time to say high to him briefly due to the parade traffic. He said he had plans to go to Akihabara with the girl he was with so I just told him I would catch him next time.

Emmet and I got some more drinks and food at a little restaurant nearby after the parade had officially ended at 6. Once again, even though the parade was over, the streets were still flooded with people. After eating at the restaurant, we sorta just kept drinking on the street. We were both drunk and were sorta just hitting on random girls as they walked by LOL. More like Emmet was actually the one hitting on him and I was just playing along as the wingman for fun. Just harmless jack-assery. We chatted with a few random girls but nothing ever came of any of it other than some slight amusement.

Once 8:30 rolled around, we pretty much had to get going, so we got on the train and headed back. I was exhausted as hell since I was running on 3 hours of sleep and had drank a lot all weekend so I passed out pretty quick. Emmet passed out, too. I did, however, set 2 alarms on my phone so that I could wake up when we got to Takasaki to make sure we didn't miss our transfer. I guess I was just too drunk to notice my phone vibrate... twice, and as a result, we were woken up by the train conductor telling us it was the last stop and to get off the train. There is only a 2 minute interval to transfer to catch the last train to my town, and by the time we were woken up, it had already departed. Fortunately for us, there was still one shinkansen left. It sucks cuz its much more expensive but we could still make it back and I sure didn't feel like sleeping at the station on a bench. So, we got on the shinkansen and then just took a cab from there. Emmet crashed at my place and left early in the morning to go to work cuz getting home for him would be too hard from where we ended up.

Overall it was a great weekend but I am still feeling tired as hell after that one even now (and its already Tuesday as I type this). The worst part is, my voice is still all horsed and fucked up from so much hype at Current and I had to start teaching classes again on Monday which certainly made things a bit more difficult but I'm managing to get by, and hopefully my voice should be back to normal by tomorrow.

Next weekend I will just be drinking around my town since there is a lot going on here and nothing in particular going on in Tokyo... so I probly won't write a blog post again next week, but I'll be back eventually.

Peace.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Johnny-o Cup 2011

Alright, well I don't have much time to type this so I'm gonna keep it brief.

Friday, I ended up having to work late and didn't end up making it out to Tokyo until about 10 pm. I headed right to Mikado and played casuals for 2 hours until they closed. I had plans to go see the doctor at Takadanobaba hospital in the morning so I decided not to go out drinking in Shinjuku cuz otherwise I would be committed to staying out really late due to manga kissas being full. So, instead I got some food and then just sorta walked around Takadanobaba drinking some wine and listening to music for a bit. I eventually found a small bar and went in there and talked with a few random Japanese people while I was there. I went to bed at around 3.

I woke up the next morning and from the Takadanobaba manga kissa and went to the hospital. I got a blood test done to check on the condition of my gout and stuff. I wouldnt know the results until Tuesday.

After the hospital, I grabbed some food and headed to Mikado. It was about 1 pm and the place was packed with people playing casuals and they had tones of cabs set up. Today's events were the 2 on 2 and singles tournaments which you could only enter if you qualified in advance. I didn't, so I just played casuals all day to practice for the 23 on 23 tomorrow in which I was playing in. I got lots of good games in and there were a lot of great players I hadnt seen in a while that came out for this event. I didnt watch the tournaments but the results were

singles - 1st place Mitsurugi (ZA)
2on2 teams - 1st place FAB (PO) Karesedo (ZA)

I stayed until about 10:30 pm and then got some food and headed to Current to drink. I met up with Emmet there who was also with Bloodbath and another guy named Nick who I never met before. Current was pretty good actually and there were some good regulars there. However, Pachi wanted to go drinking in Roppongi and so did Emmet and his crew. I sorta wanted to stay at Current but they all sorta coerced me into going with them. I flipped a coin to decide and it was off to Roppongi.

We started off at Heartland. It was pretty boring but the guys convinced some sorta old chick to leave with us. Then we ended up back at Gas Panic which I wasnt happy about but oh well. I split a whole bottle of wine with Pachi at the conbini before going in so that I could save money since Gas Panic is too expensive. It was a typical lame night there for me. Within 5 minutes of getting inside I lost sight of everyone I came with and wondered why I even went. I drank til closing and tried to make the most of it.

When it closed, I went back to Shinjuku to sleep.

Sunday, I woke up and was feeling a bit hung over. I only got like 6 hours of sleep cuz I head to be at Mikado for the 23 on 23. I was told it would start around 1:30. I got there before that. It didnt end up starting till around 3 pm. I was a bit nervous because I didnt think it would take very long to finish, so I had other plans later at night. Today was Ayano's birthday and she invited a bunch of Current regulars to go to an izakaya for her birthday. She made reservations in advance so I had to be there. I just figured id see how things went and hope I could show up on time.

So anyway theres really no reason for me to go into a whole lot of detail about the 23 on 23 because im sure they recorded the entire thing and the vids will be online eventually. Ill go ahead and just post the way it went down though.

In case you dont know how a 23 on 23 works, heres the gist of it. There are 4 regions (Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa) and each has a team. There are 23 characters in GGAC and each of the 23 players plays one of the 23 characters. For whatever reason, it also seems that there is some sorta representative of the arcade the team had their quals at who is like a bonus member and they can use whatever character.

To start off the Tokyo team (my team) fought the Kanagawa team and the Chiba team fought the Saitama team. Both matches were going on at the same time on different setups. For a full list of players on each team, you can go here http://game2d.web.fc2.com/ggxx/
click on ランキング and scroll down to the table that shows the team members. The spots that are blank were filled out the day of the event by people who could represent those characters. I dont remember who they all are but maybe the Mikado site will update it later. As for our Jam player (since its blank on there as of now) we had Mike. Our Robo-Ky was Johnny-o cuz I guess イル couldnt make it. Also, Kanagawa team had 2 Fausts (Osaka B and Kishya since Osaka B was their rep) and we had 2 Slayers (Taku and another guy whose name I dont know who was the rep).

Heres how our fight against Kanagawa went.
Tokyo Kanagawa
RO < AN
SL(?) < AN
BR > AN
BR > BR
BR > ZA
BR > AX
BR > CH
BR > RO
BR > KY
BR > MA
BR < FA (Osaka B)
BA < FA (Osaka B)
TE > FA (Osaka B)
TE < IN
FA(me)< IN
AN > IN
AN < SO
CH < SO
OR < SO
KY > SO
KY > JA
KY > VE
KY > SL
KY > BA
KY < ED
SL(Taku)< ED
MA < ED
MI < ED
DI < ED
JO > ED
JO < JO
PO > JO
PO < MI
AX < MI
SO < MI
ZA > MI
ZA > TE
ZA > DI
ZA > OR
ZA < FA(Kishya)
IN < FA(Kishya)
ED > FA(Kishya)

It went down to our very last player vs their very last player and Tsu (or ED) pulled out a great win and took it for our whole team! We advanced to the finals. As for my match, I usually do better vs I-no. The first match was REALLY close and I was playing pretty nervous and not 100% and didnt do so well in round 2 and lost. Oh well.

After that, there was an intermission. Time was running out and I knew by this point I wouldnt be able to stay till the end of the tournament if I wanted to make it on time for Ayano's birthday. I figured I would just try to play early on and would have to leave early after I lost.

In the finals we played against Chiba and at that time, Kanagawa fought Saitama for 3rd place. Heres out it went down.

Tokyo Chiba
RO < KY
SL < KY
FA(me)> KY
FA(me)< AN
AX > AN
AX > MI
AX < SL
AB < SL
TE > SL
TE < RO
BR > RO
BR > TE
BR < CH
JA > CH
JA > OR
JA < BA
KY > BA

After the Ky vs BA match, I had to go. I just explained to my team that I hadnt thought the tournament would take this long and had an appointment that I couldnt cancel and they completely understood and thanked me for playing. Endo actually left right after Mike beat him as well so I figured it wasnt so bad. It was pretty hilarious when Mike beat him too, cuz before the match, FAB was questioning Mike if he could take Endo and Mike was just like... fuck this shit, and went up there and just raped him and jokingly rubbed it in Endos face. Each round he went up to him and put his arm around his shoulder pointing to Endos dead Chipp. It was espessially funny when he IKed him lol. As for my match, I did well against Ky winning both rounds. Vs Anji. I won a round but overall I was playing pretty nervous and not as solid as usual and lost. Im not very good vs Anji.

Anyway, I left there and made it on time for the Izakaya. Some Current regulars like Mitchi, Mai, SPG Chris, Sachiko, Johan, Andy, and some people I didnt know were there. Also, Mogi came and it was the first time I had seen him since he quit working at Current. He seemed genuinely happy to see me. Ayano showed up late for her own party unfortunately. The menu was fixed for everyone and they didnt have wine, so I ended up eating some foods Im supposed to avoid and I also drank Gin Tonic the whole time and had quite a bit of it. At one point they brought me a whole pitcher of it lol! The party lasted 2 hours and it was fun talking to everyone and hanging out.

After it ended, we all went outside and made other plans. Some people went home, others decided to stay out and drink. I went to this bar called Big Time where Piko works now. Its also in Shinjuku (which is where the Izakaya was as well). I went there with Ayano, NZ Andrew (who was the same guy I arm wrestled a while back in a draw), Michi, Mai, and Mogi. The place was small but pretty decent. They had a big screen TV playing softcore Eastern European porn for some reason which was funny to watch in the background lol. I asked Mogi why he quit Current and he basically said it was cuz Sushi always gets too drunk and does stupid shit and Mogi was sick of dealing with it so he left. Appearently Sushi does it often because I recently also found out that Masami quit 2 weeks ago cuz Sushi was harassing some girl and when Masami tried to stop him, Sushi told him to fuck off and quit if he didnt like it, so he did. Mogi works at a place in Roppongi now. I told him Id like to come check it out sometime and give him a visit. Im sure id have more fun there than Gas Panic lol. Ayano and NZ Andrew wanted to check out Current, and Emmet was there, so I figured Id go with them.

On the way to Current, we found a dead crow on the street and NZ Andrew took pictures of it for like 5 minutes cuz he said he wanted to draw it later. Emmet left Current and we ran into him and the girl he was taking back to a love hotel on the way there. He told us the place was dead and when we got there, we saw that he was right. It was Sushi alone and like one other customer. I mainly talked with NZ Andrew about fighting games because he was not so familiar with them and he had a lot of questions about them. The music was boring and the place was dead so we didnt stay long. NZ Andrew and Ayano opted to go to sleep. I left and figured id go check out GODZ. Also, Emmet left his bag at Current and asked me to get it for him so I had to carry it around with me the rest of the night.

It turns out GODZ was closed tonight cuz the previous night was their Anniversary Party (which I wanted to go to but got dragged to Roppongi instead). I ran into Jackie out from. He said he was going to PSY so I tagged along, We were the only ones there besides Natsume who was working the bar and one other guy, but it was much better than Current and Natsume played us tons of awsome music. We had some interesting conversations about various things. One unfortunate thing that Jackie told me was that soon the laws will change for manga kissas and they will be open seating only which means no more comfortable flat rooms. Its really going to suck when that happens. Jackied bought me a drink and kept bumming me cigs and Natsume gave me half a pack that someone left there. I managed to stay out drinking with only 4000 yen left and still have enough to sleep. I didnt have time to go to the ATM after leaving Mikado but I just skimmed by on the skin of my teeth. I left at about 4 to go sleep, but the manga kissa was full so I got a salad at the 7-11 and sat out front eating it while some Nigerian dude kept trying to promote his club to me for like the next 20 minutes. I finally managed to get to sleep at 5.

The next day at Mikado was the random 5 on 5 team tournament. While I was there, I asked FAB if our team won the 23 on 23 but he apologized saying we lost. I told him there was no need to apologize. I entered and they put me on a team and it ended up being a 6 man team cuz it was like the team of guys who showed up later than everyone else. The tournament still took a while to get started. I figured that once again I would have time to play, but a crisis came up and Ryoko needed me to come back to Gunma tonight so I had to leave before my team even got to play their first match. I was gonna be on a team with Nakamura but I told him I had a situation to deal with and had to leave. He understood. Its ok though cuz now they had a 5 man team just like everyone else so I didnt have anything to really feel bad about.

I headed back to Gunma with Emmet who was at Mikado for a bit and got his backpack bag from me. I was really tired, sore, and hungover. Im not gonna get into details about the crisis I had to deal with but lets just say its still unresolved.

I got my test results back on Tuesday over the phone and my uric acid level is down to 4.0 which is pretty low so the gout meds seem to be working. Unfortunately I am still having a lot of fatigue and pain from it. I hope that goes away soon and I also hope that the doctors didnt mis-diagnose me.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Tomorrow, I leave for Chicago and will stay in the US for 3 weeks. I will also be at EVO. Should be good times and I am really looking forward to it. Ryoko is coming with me for the first week in Chicago as well. I wont be updating my blog for probably a month at least.

Also, I will be running a Guilty Gear tournament Chicago at the Chicago Heart 3 tournament event which is being organized by Heartnana. If you are still hungry for some GG action after EVO or just wanna come chill, please come support the event!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More Final Roundbats Action

Friday night, I drank in Numata with Emmet, Bloodbath, Phil, and some teachers from one of Emmet's schools. We started off at an izakaya, ended up going to a snack bar, and then went to a few other bars. I crashed at Emmet's cuz he lives in Numata.

I woke up the next day after only like 6 hours of sleep. I had to leave to catch the train to Tokyo to make it in time for today's Final Roundbats 2 tournament. I slept on the train most of the way.

Once again, the event was held at the Soundstone bar. This time, they had a lower turnout than last time. I think it might have been due to a Tokyo SBO qual for SSFIVAE going on at the same time. Lots of the regulars showed up as well as Abegen, Kusoru, and a few other Japanese players. The even was once again being streamed by GodsGarden.

I showed up pretty late and figured I would have already missed MK9 and Tekken 6, but since I dont play those games I didnt care. However, it turned out that due to the lower turnout, they hadn't even started the tournaments yet. I entered all 4 just for the hell of it since the general admission fee covers all entry fees.

I played casuals for a bit. I was feeling kind of out of it so I ducked out to the conbini to get some redbull and some red wine. I slammed both of those and chased it with a salad and then went back inside. I felt much more refreshed after that. Soon after, they started MK9. Due to the low turnout, every single match was streamed this time. This was literally the very first time I had ever played MK9 at all. I had to ask Bull410 how to do special moves and throw right before my match lol. I picked Scorpion just cuz I used to use him in MK Trilogy. Obviously I lost my match, though I didn't care in the slightest.

The next game was Tekken 6. Last time at Final Roundbats was my first time playing that game, so this was only my 2nd. I picked Jack-6 again and fought against that one robot chick character who shoots the missles. She kept spamming them from full screen and I tried to block it and kept getting hit and realized it was unblockable. So I tried jumping over them and then someone told me "yknow... you can just crouch under those" LOL! So once I did that, he stopped spamming the missles. I ended up actually winning a round but in the end I still got bodied of course. Once again, I didn't care at all. I bet the people watching the stream had a good laugh at that though.

For my first match of the MvC3 tournament, I fought someone who doesn't really even play the game at all and won pretty easily. I went with the same team I used last time of Ammy / Hsien-ko / Sent. Recently I started learning Doom like a few days before the tournament but Im not good enough with him yet so I just decided to stick with the team I was familiar with. For my 2nd match in Marvel, I had to fight Abegen. He used his signiture She-Hulk / Thor / Tron team. I actually played well and most of my stuff came out as intended during the first match and I won. Funny thing was that Hsien-ko on point actually ended up doing most of the work after Ammy died. The 2nd match was pretty close but I dropped some opportunities that could have won me the match. The 3rd match I just got raped cuz I failed at blocking and ate death combos. Abegen is really good at Marvel so I did better than I was expecting to I guess.

For the SSFIVAE tournament, my first match was against a Japanese Zangief player. I played pretty well and managed to beat him 3 rounds in a row. For my 2nd match, I had to play a guy who was just learning and sorta just came to hang out and watch. He used Guy. I won that one as well. For my 3rd match, I was now already in the top 4. My opponent was Abelity's Abel. He's always tough and we always have some pretty close fights. I won the first round but he won the next 3. I just wasn't doing a good job of getting out of his pressure. I now had to fight Jude's Claw for 4th place. Jude actually had a great first match of this tournament where he beat the guy's Viper who was in the finals last time. It was a really clutch fight. Things didn't go so well for me vs Jude. He beat me and took 3rd, so I ended up with a 4th place finish.

I stuck around and played casuals for a bit longer. They delayed all of the finals until the very end of the tournament this time so that everyone would watch. The offical results list will be posted here eventually and you can see the entire stream here on the GodsGarden ustream site. I dont remember who won all the tournaments but Abelity pulled out a first place victory in SSFIVAE. Good shit.

After the finals were over, Scott told me that the next Final Roundbats will be at a new venue which is actually in Tokyo and in a more convenient location. It will have lots of microbrews on tap and also they make pizza there so hopefully the new venue will be a bit better and the turnout will be bigger next time. I wont be able to go to the next one though because I will be visiting Chicago during that time. I will go to the 4th one though which should be at that place again.

I stuck around and played casuals for a bit with Jude's Claw in SSFIVAE. This time, I was doing much better and actually won more games against him than I lost. I wish I played better against him in the tournament. Oh well.

Jude decided to come drinking with me so we left together to get on the train. Another guy named Niko, who was in charge of filming and photography at the event, walked with us and rode the train with us as well. He was the one who made the recent mini documentary video about Final Roundbats, which can be seen on their blog site where the results will be posted. It was very well made.

Pachi wanted to originally drink with me in Shibuya and Emmet was just there but decided to head to Shinjuku because he picked up some girls at an international party and wanted to bring them to Current. I told Pachi to meet us at Current and said we would maybe go somewhere else from there.

When we got to Current, Pachi was already there. Emmet had no girls with him and didnt look so pleased. He said that when he was at the train station in Shibuya, he ran off to buy a ticket without telling the girls (and the random Japanese guy that was with them as well), and when he came back, he couldnt find them anymore. It was really crowded so they probably lost him. Emmet said that one of the girls was really into him, too so he was really kicking himself. He said that the Japanese guy was trying to cockblock him all night and kept telling the girls he was a play boy (which Emmet is lol) so that dude might have played a hand in it.

Current wasnt super great but a few people I knew were there. We stayed for a bit and talked to Pachi, but Pachi decided he was really tired so he went back to drink near his place. So, Emmet really wanted to go to Roppongi. Jude and I didnt mind so we ended up taking a cab out there. As soon as our cab pulled up, we got rushed down by 2 massage girls and 3 Nigerians at the same time and this was before we could EVEN LEAVE OUR CAB! WTF!!! We tried going to this one place called first bar that I can tolerate but it was being renovated. Then we tried going to 911 but they changed the name and now didnt allow people in with shorts which I was wearing... so I ended up getting dragged to Gas Panic which I really hate. I slammed a bunch of wine on the way there and before going in, so at least I was pretty wasted. As soon as we got inside, Emmet dissapeared into the sea of people and Jude and I hung out and talked for a while. I eventually went and danced a bit. It was pretty lame overall but oh well... Current was sorta dead anyway.

After Gas Panic closed, I took the train back to Shinjuku and slept at the manga kissa.

I spent all day on Sunday just playing GG casuals at Mikado. Kunihiro showed up and I played him a bit. A few more good regulars were there, too. It wasnt super packed up there were enough people to get some good practice in.

So thats about it. Next weekend is a 3 day weekend as well as the Johnny-o Cup tournament, and I will be playing on the Tokyo team for the 23 on 23. Should be good times.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wine is Fine?

So, I was at work on Friday and about 15 minutes before I was going to leave, the doctor called from Minakami hospital and said that my blood test results were already done. So, after work, I headed to the hospital and talked to the doctor. I was pleasantly (and a bit skeptically) surprised to find that my uric acid level had already dropped as low as 3.9. This is a big jump from 10.7. I guess the medicine was working. The doctor said that I should reduce my dosage to 100 mg a day for the Zyloric. Unfortunately, I still have a lot of pain in my joints (mostly my legs and feet) but he says that the nerves are going to continue to be agitated by the uric acid crystals as my body continues to slowly break them down. Basically, my blood is no longer depositing new uric acid into my joints, but there is still plenty of old uric acid still stored in my joints, so I may continue to suffer gout pain for a while. I told the doctor that I had been trying to avoid drinking and he said that I could drink red wine. He said that red wine wont raise my uric acid level and I should be fine drinking it normally as I would any other alcohol. I just need to make sure I stay hydrated pretty much and I should be fine. I was quite pleased by this news. Even though I don't drink it often, I actually like red wine so im more than happy to drink that over nothing and at least I can still get drunk.

The doctor also said my iron levels were still quite low, so he gave me another injection of Fe. He said to come back in about 2 weeks for another blood test.

After seeing the doctor, I headed to the store and bought a bottle of red wine for the evening. I spent the night chilling at home drinking with Ryoko. I drank the whole bottle while Ryoko drank some whiskey.

When I woke up Saturday morning, I felt fine for the most part. I still had gout pain but it was no different than I felt before I drank the day before, so the wine seemed to have no real affect on my gout. Fuck yea!

Ryoko and I had some spaghetti that I cooked together and then she had other plans for the rest of the day to hang out with her lady friends for a girls night out where they will gossip and talk about girl stuff so it was no guys allowed. So as a result, I went to Tokyo alone.

After arriving in Tokyo I headed to Mikado. I was surprised to see that they were taking sign ups for a GG tournament. It was a 5 player team tournament. I signed up on the list alone to be paired with a team later. Shortly after, some guys came up to me and asked me if I had a team yet. I said no, so they asked me to join their team and I agreed.

My team was:
Me (FA)
Ojima (FA)
Tsu (ED)
Robo-Ky player (cant remember his name)
Millia player (also cant remember his name)

I have teamed with Ojima and Tsu before and they are both really good. The Robo-ky is usually kinda decent but today he was playing extremely solid. He beat me twice in casuals before the tournament.

Our first match was vs a team of
Kakishi (AB)
Gaku (RO)
HOS
MA
ED

Gaku and Kakishi are great players and the other guys were pretty good but I dont know their names.

Our MI player went first and beat HOS.
Then May beat our MI player.
Then our RO player beat May.
Kakishi beat our RO, Ojima, and myself. I did alright but fucked a combo up that sorta cost me.
Up last was Tsu and he beat Kakishi, Gaku, and the ED player for the win!

We advanced to the 2nd round.

I noticed that while we were playing our match, that on the cab next to us, none other than Shinjn the Swedish Baiken player was there! I was surprised to see him and said hi. He said that he was just in Tokyo for a few weeks and would be leaving for Kansai after that for about a week and then returning to Sweden. We had a discussion about the current state of the European GG scene. He said that there arnt really any majors anymore and people lack motivation to play very hard. He said that his local scene still plays, but that people have no inspiration to really play competitively since there are no tournaments to practice for and that people just sorta play and hang out sometimes. He said most of the European GG players arnt even playing anything else. They just don't have any GG tournaments to keep them motivated. Its a real shame but the US scene seems to be more or less the same as far as people not playing much GG. Hopefully the community can take more initiative to run their own majors to increase interest again. I also hope that The Midnight Carnival GG podcast will inspire some people to play again more. I realize that is very difficult to get the scene going again and what it really needs is AC with good online (or a new GG) but until then, hopefully people will come out and support the big GG tournaments that people actually DO throw such as Evolution GG side tournament, Chicago Heart 3, and other majors in the US and Europe that people make an effort to throw.

Anyway, our next match in the team tournament was vs the team of:
Nage (FA)
Ochiai (nice PO guy)
Hayashi (footsies KY)
Ain (KY)
JA player whose name I don't know.

We found out that their first player would be Jam. They asked me if I could handle Jam. Funny thing was, I played against this guy about 3 times before the tournament in casuals and lost all of them. However, I didn't feel like he was unbeatable and just needed to step up my game. I said I would go first and would handle it. So, I payed really solid and ended up winning both rounds. If I remember correctly I even dizzied him in the final round.
Up next I fought against Hayashi. I predicted he would start the round by throwing a stun edge and he did, so I air dashed over it right away and cought him with a string of normals. I was doing alright but I sorta made a few execution mistakes and I could have won the first round but sorta screwed up and it cost me. The 2nd round I lost as well, unfortunately.
Hayashi continued his reign of terror and in turn took out our RO player, our MI player, and Ojima's FA all in a row. Finally Tsu's ED came to the rescue and took out Hayashi but unfortunately was defeated by Ain's Ky. Nage and Ochiai just chilled in the background.

Unfortunately that as the end for our team in the tournament. We all thanked each other for teaming up and then I went back to playing casuals for the rest of the night. I fought Karun's Jam and beat him on the first try but then he went and played me 3 more times and beat me. Oh well, at least I beat him. It always feels good to do so since he's a hater. I played a bunch of other matches and players as well but dont remember much noteworthy stuff. Ochiai played me once with his Ky (his 2ndary) and beat me. He has a pretty solid Ky actually.

BTW... I didn't see the finals but I am pretty sure that FAB's team won the tournament. I forgot who was on it but it was all really good top players like Mitsurugi and some other people.

I stayed till closing and then got on the train. Soon after, Ochiai, Ain, and one other guy got on the same car and sat across from me. Ochiai said hi and good game from earlier. I rode 2 stops and then said bye to Ochiai who by that time was already starting to pass out on the train.

I then went to Current. Tonight was a metal event. It was a fairly standard metal event. Not as huge as some of them have been but not the worst one either. A few regulars were in and out throughout the night. This one chick got really drunk and her boyfriend broke up with her, so she was sorta being babysat by her friend. One of the DJs was wearing an Iconoclast shirt which was awsome, but he didnt play any songs from it while I was there unfortunately. Also, some chick was wearing wings and devil horns. and had a tight leather outfit with a concealed sword in her satanic looking cane... which was pretty awsome, but I was lazy and didn't take any pictures. I talked to various people and chilled drinking wine. The staff was a little confused at first when I ordered the wine cuz they thought I couldn't drink at all but I explained that wine was OK. Other people were just surprised to see me drinking wine simply because I pretty much never order it at the bar, but it was all good. Unfortunately Current's wine is 600 yen a glass and isn't very good wine but it got me drunk so whatever.

I stayed at Current till around 3 and then I headed to GODZ cuz some people were there earlier and said it was really packed and went back there. Unfortunately when I got there, most everyone had already left and it wasnt so packed. I sat next to Indian dude and chatted with him a bit. One thing that sucks is that GODZ's wine is 800 yen a glass which is really expensive but its slightly better quality than the wine at Current. I paid for my wine with a 5000 yen bill and Kenji put it on the counter under an ash tray while he poured the drink and forgot about it (but he did give me my change). Later, Hide, the other bar tender, came by and asked if it was the 5000 yen that I paid. I said it was. He the proceeded to put it in the register and was going to hand me change (4,200 yen) but I told him that I already got change from Kenji. A few seconds later, Kenji walked by and overheard our conversation and they both thanked me for being so honest saying that a lot of people would be dishonest and try to get the free money. I told them I like their bar and didn't wanna screw them over. They thanked me and played 2 songs off of Iconoclast without me even asking lol.

Soon after, Chip showed up. He was at Current earlier. We talked for a bit. He was telling me how he was going to go to the Amorphis show last week cuz the bassist invited him (since he knows him) but he couldnt end up going but at least got to meet up with him in Osaka for drinks (as Chip was traveling at the time). He was also telling me about some sorta new rock bar in Osaka thats run by a transsexual lol. He said its not very good.

I stayed at GODZ till about 4;15 when my wine was finished (I sipped it slow). I then considered going to PSY but there was a sign outside that said it was Michael Jackson night and i could hear "Heal the world, make it a better place..." blaring from within the door. I wasnt really in the mood to listen to that so I considered going back to Current, but the problem was that on metal event nights they finish up at 4:30. I walked towards there and someone who was at Current walked by and he told me that everyone was already leaving. I sat down in the smoking area by the McDonalds and had a smoke while I thought about what to do. Then Mandi and this other chick walked by and saw me and insisted I go to PSY with them lol. So... I did. Fortunately, even though it was Michael Jackson night, I guess they got it out of their system and didnt play anymore MJ songs while we were there and took lots of requests, which is what PSY is always awsome about. I had another wine (which is unfortunately also 800 yen at PSY but also better than Current's wine) and chilled for a bit. Other than the 2 girls I came with and myself, there were about maybe 4 other customers in the bar, plus Toru and Natsu. I stayed till a little after 5 and decided to call it a night and went to the manga kissa.

The next day I got up and headed to Shinjuku Sportsland because the new fighting game Aquapazza just came out in arcades and I wanted to try it out. I would have tried it at Mikado but they didnt get it. Upon arriving at Sportsland, there was some kind of Gundam game event going on and they had like 20 cabs set up near the entrance of the 3rd floor, and it was really hard to get passed the sea of people in the way.

So, Sportsland had 2 cabs of Aquapazza. There were 2 guys playing against the computer, one on each cab, and neither looked like they knew what they were doing yet, so I decided to play against one of them to try the game out. I tried out 3 different characters (I dont remember the names... one was the archer girl, one was the samurai girl, and one was the barbarian looking chick with the sorta heavy lookin sword). The game feels kinda stiff and generic but to be fair, I didn't really know what was going on to well. I havnt really read up at all about the game before playing it. The thing I guess that I liked about the game most were the assist system. It reminds me of MvC1 where you choose your assist before the battle starts (except its not random like in MvC1... but I know there were codes to get passed that in that game). The game only has 10 characters and 4 of them are generic looking school girls. I may have more appreciation for the characters if I was actually familiar at all with the separate series in which they all came from (as they are all from other games/manga) but I am not, and find most of the cast to be sorta boring and generic looking. The guy I fought was using the big sword girl. I managed to beat him in that mirror match and then lost. I lost with the other characters I used. The game could end up being good but I really dont know if I feel like investing time and money into learning it. None of the characters seemed to appeal to me and the engine feels kinda generic.

I figured I would check out Club Sega Shinjuku since I hadn't been there in a while. They had 4 Aquapazza machines and they were all being played, once again by people who sorta seemed like they knew what they were doing. I watched a bit but didnt play. I was sad to see that Club Sega Shinjuku now only has 1 GG cab. Also, MIU was there working. I wanted to say hi to him but he was busy announcing a match for a tournament he was running for work so I didn't want to bother him (I dont remember what game it was).

After that, I went to Takadanobaba and I got an awsome cheese pizza and salad at Saizerya (which is actually a great meal for my gout) and then headed to Mikado. Mikado was dead as hell as far as GG. Only 2 guys playing. I beat them once each and they left. I didnt wanna wait around since there were no GG players in sight. Actually, Kyle (Stunedge) mailed me earlier saying he was now living in Ikebukuro for about 3 months and invited me to come hang out. He said he would be playing at Ikebukuro GIGO today. I asked him if there were any people playing GG and he said there were, so I headed over there.

They had 3 GG cabs and they were all full when I got there. Also, that one Jam player dude who has the hot girlfriend who plays Sol pretty well were there. I gave them a nod hello. They were playing on another cab though so I didnt get to play them.

I beat some other Jam and then Kyle challenged me with his Ky and I won. Then some May player beat me twice. At his point Kyle wanted to go check out another arcade cuz he wanted to try Aquapazza. They had 2 cabs at Gigo but they were all full and the people seemed like the knew how to play pretty well already. So Kyle, myself, and his friend who was another BB player that was with him, went to the other arcade, Game Safari. They didnt end up having Aquapazza so we just gave up and went back to GIGO. Shortly after, Kyle said his girlfriend wanted to spend time with him so he left. I continued to play GG. I got a 14 win streak, mostly against some HOS who was very persistant and not bad but he couldnt beat me, and a Baiken, and a Ky. Then, no one was playing me, so I beat the game. I decided I would give SSFIVAE a try. I played some Master Ibuki who beat me up.

I went back to play more GG against some Eddie player. I beat him 4 times and then he quit. He was the only one left playing and no there was no one else to challenge me. I beat 4 stages vs the computer and then just gave up on waiting and got off the cab. I watched more Aquapazza and some dude was using the mage chick character and tearing it up. He had 17 wins and was already doing stuff that look broke. She seems like a great zoning character. Maybe I should have tried her out. I didn't really feel like paying 100 yen a game though vs that guy. I played a little more SSFIV and lost to the Ibuki like twice more. Then I fought this one Ryu who was really good and he beat me and he also was beating the Ibuki over and over. I think the Ibuki was starting to get pissed. I fought a Zangief and won and then I had to fight the master Ibuki again and I beat him this time. I think he was getting angry and started to play sloppier. He played me again and I lost. I fought the Gief a few more times and won and then finally lost to him. At some point I went and got more Saizeriya which was right next GIGO, too. Kyle never came back. Once it was time to leave I just headed out and took the train home.

Overall it was a pretty fun weekend. Got some good GG games in, and I am very glad that I can drink again (even if its just mostly red wine). I'm unsure about my plans for next weekend since there's nothing going on yet as far as I know but I will post again if something cool happens.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Gout Battle Continues (plus live Finnish metal and the crazy old doctor)

Before I start this blog post I just wanna quickly plug the new weekly Guilty Gear podcast called The Midnight Carnival. Its hosted by old school GG players KBNova (Kenji Bliss), J1n (Jason Kim), and Klaige (Travis Nible). Please tune in and check it out!

Two weekends have gone by since my last blog post.

After I was diagnosed with gout over the phone by the doctor 2 weeks ago, I figured it would be good to get some medicine for it. I went to Tsukiyono hospital (a local hospital in my town) and explained to them that I was diagnosed with gout by a doctor at Takadanobaba hospital. They took my word for it but they did another blood test. They wouldn’t know the results until later but they went ahead and prescribed me 100 mg of Zyloric and gave me about a 2 week supply. (A quick note, Zyloric is a brand of the drug allopurinol which is used to lower uric acid levels which causes gout. Using it while you have gout in the first place can actually make gout worse at first. I found that after starting the drug my gout was a little worse but in the long run it should help.)

The follow day (Friday, June 10th) was Andy’s birthday celebration. He was going to have a sorta birthday party in Takasaki at a fairly new restaurant called Kiwi Café. Kiwi Café is actually owned by Grant, the New Zealander who we often play poker with in Maebashi. I decided I wasn’t going to drink to try to get my gout back under control so I drove there. About 20 people showed up (all other ALTs) and we had all you can eat pizza. The pizza was actually excellent and was some of the best pizza I’ve had in Japan. Since I couldn’t drink, I ended up smoking cigs most of the night. We stayed there till about 11 and then about half of us had plans to do karaoke. I was able to leave my car in front of Jen Park’s house (she is another ALT who lives near there). I noticed around this time that I was having another gout flare up. Im not sure what triggered it but it was either the smoking or too much pizza.

When we got to karaoke, everyone wanted to get the all you can drink package for the room. I originally wasn’t going to drink but I caved in and ended up getting a glass of red wine… which led to many glasses of red wine. Wine is supposedly the least harmful alcohol for people with gout problems. I was already having a gout attack so I figured a little wine wouldn’t matter much. It’s difficult for me to not drink when everyone else is getting drunk and having fun, plus I don’t really like doing karaoke sober. Also, the karaoke room next to us was like this huge party size room and it was full of like 30 drunk Japanese people in their 20s. They invited many of us to come hang with them and it was just rowdy as hell in there; pretty amusing. Karaoke was fun and because I drank, I couldn’t drive home, but was pretty tired anyway. A few people were already crashing on the floor at Jen Park’s so she said I could crash there too.

I got up the next morning and drove home. I spent the rest of Saturday spending time with Ryoko at home and not drinking. Also, the new Symphony X album, Iconoclast, leaked on the internet that day so I DLed it and listened to it a few times. I must say, I think it’s a really solid album and there isn’t a single song on it that I don’t like. I wouldn’t say it’s their best work and it certainly isn’t flawless, but I am really digging it and will be enjoying it for a long time. Ryoko slept over and then on Sunday we went to a petting zoo that has lots of farm animals. It was alright I guess. There was this guy from New Zealand who was in charge of the sheep dog show which I found amusing. He LOVES the sheep! They also had homemade icecream there that they make from their own cow’s milk and we split a cone. For whatever reason, I was having another bad gout attack on the way home. It might have been the icecream that caused it but im not sure.

Anyway… skipping ahead to the most recent weekend (June 17th – 19th)…

On Friday (the 17th), we had the Gunma ALT seminar in Maebashi which is a mandatory meeting for all the JET ALTs in Gunma. Its divided half into the people who will stay next year starting in late July (which includes me… and this will be my final year on JET since 5 years is the max) and the other half which is the people who will leave JET. The meeting lasted all day and was your typical same old JET meeting with nothing really worth noting. After the meeting was the farewell party for all the departing ALTs. It was at the rooftop beer garden in Takasaki. I decided I would try drinking again to see how things went now that I was on the medicine for a while. Since beer is the worst alcohol for gout, I drank whiskey the whole time. The whiskey ended up getting me smashed pretty quickly since they made the drinks (highballs and whiskey cokes) using large size beer mugs and put 2 shots of whiskey in each drink. I was drinking them at the pace everyone else was drinking beer and by the end of the beer garden (at 9 pm, 4 hours later) I was feeling pretty smashed.

The plan after this was to head to Tokyo for the rest of the weekend. I rode the train up there with Emmet and Bloodbath. I passed out on the train at some point but by the time we made it to Tokyo I was feeling much better. Bloodbath had other plans, but Emmet and I headed to Current, Godz, and PSY, where we drank until about 5 am between the 3 bars. Not really much worth noting at any of the bars. It was just a pretty standard night of drinking. I requested Iconoclast at PSY which sounded awesome at the bar. We both passed out near the end at PSY. I woke up and Emmet was still passed out so I just went ahead to the manga kissa to sleep.

On Saturday, when I woke up, I was still feeling pretty hung over. I ended up drinking way more than I should have the previous night and was really regretting it. Though I didn’t feel any gout pain last night (probably due to being wasted) I was now feeling it quite heavily. I made myself get up early so that I could go back to Takadanobaba hospital to consult with the doctor about my gout in person for the first time since he originally diagnosed me. He showed me the results of the test and said that my uric acid level was 10.7 mg/dL which is very high. He said that I really should just out right stop drinking for a while. Given that I felt hung over as hell and had pretty bad gout pain, it seemed like good advice. I told him that I went to Tsukiyono hospital and got the 100 mg of Zyloric. He said that that was fine but said I should probably increase the dose to 200 mg. He asked if I wanted more from him. I told him that I would just go back and get it from my local hospital since it would just be easier that way, and I had enough pills to last through Monday, so it would be fine. I should have just gotten them from him, but I will get into that later. He said I should come back in like 2 months for another blood test to check my uric acid levels.

I was pretty tired after leaving the hospital cuz I only got like 6 hours of sleep and was feeling pretty hung over honestly. I went to the manga kissa in Takadanobaba and got a 3 hour package and slept for another 3 hours.

I got some ramen and then I killed a little time playing Guilty Gear at Mikado. I left at around 4;30 because today, I had other plans. I had a ticket to go see Children of Bodom and Amorphis in Yokohama. I took the train out there. I put my backpack in a locker at the station cuz I knew the lockers at the venue would all be full. It was a smart idea aside from the fact that my umbrella was in the locker and I didn’t realize it was raining until after I left the station. On top of that, the map I printed to see how to get to the venue was also in my backpack. I had to just wing it. It looked a bit far on the map from what I remembered so I asked a bus driver if his bus went there. He (for whatever reason) didn’t even know what the venue was (it was called the Yokohama Bay Hall). I ended up just walking in a direction and spotted a guy walking and listening to his headphones who looked like he would be going to the show. I asked him if this was the way to the Yokohama Bay Hall and he said yes, so I just kept walking that way. Eventually I saw a big group of people who all looked like they were going there as well, so I just kept walking the way they were going and I got there soon after.

They forced me to pay 500 yen for a drink ticket after I went inside, which sucked cuz I couldn’t drink alcohol today. I tried to get a redbull with it at the drink counter but they wouldn’t even give me that, so I just got a regular coke. After getting the coke, I turned around and suddenly saw Masami. He said he was here to see the show and that Sushi was here as well. I spotted him shortly after and said hi.

Not long after that, the show started and I got closer to the stage. Amorphis was first to go. This was my first time seeing them live. I’m not quite as into Amorphis as I am into Bodom so I don’t know all the song names that well but they played a good hours worth of songs and it was good stuff. The vocalist has awesome long dreads and does wicked helicopter head banging.

There was an intermission, during which time I had a quick smoke and talked to Masami for a bit longer. He told me that Sachiko was actually here as well so I found her and said hi. Shortly after, Bodom came on. This was my 4th time seeing Bodom live. They always put on a good live show. I think the latest album is so-so. It’s better than Blooddrunk but still not as good as their first 4 albums which I like the best. Overall, they played a good mix of everything though (except no songs off of the first album which kinda sucks). Here was the set list.

• Not My Funeral
• Bodom Beach Terror
• Needled 24/7
• Shovel Knockout
• Roundtrip to Hell and Back
• In Your Face
• Living Dead Beat
• Children Of Bodom
• Hate Me!
• Blooddrunk
• Angels Don't Kill
• Follow the Reaper
• Downfall
-------------------------
• Was It Worth It?
• Everytime I Die
• Hate Crew Deathroll

Highlights for me were Bodom Beach Terror and Children of Bodom.

After the show, I tried to head out quickly to beat the rush of people leaving. I grabbed a quick sandwich and yogurt at Family Mart to eat on the train ride back and headed back to Tokyo. By this point, my gout was starting to get worse.

I headed back to Mikado and figured I would play Guilty Gear until they closed at midnight. I got a lot of great games in. There were a lot of good players there. I guess there was another #reload tournament earlier in the day that I missed due to the concert and lots of them stayed after to play Accent Core. I played a few vs FAB but couldn’t beat him this time. Overall, though, I was doing quite well against everyone else I fought. Near closing time, Satoshi showed up and said hi to me. He seemed happy to see me since I hadn’t seen him in a while. He had just gotten back from the US since he entered the recent Revelations tournament where he won both the BB and GG tournaments. We made some small talk and then I headed out since the arcade was closed.

So now I was faced with a tough decision. I already was 100% committed to not drinking tonight so my decision would be rough. Tonight at GODZ was Hide’s birthday party so I knew it would be pretty hype and really wanted to go. However, I knew that I wouldn’t have much fun if I can’t drink. I decided I would go to Game Versus (the arcade that’s open all night in Nishi Nippori) and try to play some fighting games at least. This place is known for its 3rd Strike competition (which I don’t really play at all and am not good at) but the last time I went there they had some Street Fighter IV cabs so I figured I could at least play that.

When I arrived at Game Versus, I was disappointed to find that they didn’t have a single SSFIV cab (not even Vanilla) set up. No Guilty Gear. They didn’t even have 3rd Strike for some reason! Everyone was playing Super Turbo! I guess they switch their games out pretty often. Don’t get me wrong… I like Super Turbo. It’s a classic game and I enjoyed it a lot back in the day. However, I know I don’t stand a chance against the kinda guys who would be playing ST all night at the arcade until 5 am. I never practice the game and knew that if I decided to stay I would just get destroyed at ST for the next 4 hours straight. So… I decided I would try to catch the train back to Shinjuku. Luckily, the Yamanote line was still running.

I arrived back in Shinjuku at about 1 am. I figured I could at least pop into GODZ and say hi. When I got there, it was really packed. Lots of people that knew me were there so I chatted with them a bit. I ordered an oolong tea and just sipped on that the whole time and smoked some cigs. Chris and Sachiko were supposed to be there but they already went home. Hide was WASTED when I got there. He thanked me for coming to his birthday party and then soon after proceeded to dry hump some chick on the floor with her ankles behind her head. I assume they were friends cuz they she was smiling about it and laughing so it was all in good fun, but it was pretty hilarious and random for sure. It was like right in front of the bathroom door, too lol. After being there for like an hour and a half, drinking my 650 yen oolong tea and smoking cigarettes sober while everyone else continued to get more and more wasted, I decided I might as well just go to sleep. My gout was hurting really bad at this point anyway. I said goodbye to the people I knew and headed out.

I got to the manga kissa and as expected for 2:30 am, it was already all full. I assumed this would probably happen. I checked about 5 other manga kissas and they were all full as well. Big surprise. I didn’t really wanna go back to GODZ so I decided to at least check Current out. That was a mistake. There were 2 customers at the bar who I don’t really know, and then just Emma, Masami, and Mame working while Sushi also sat at the bar. I ordered a tomato juice, much to Mame’s surprise, and explained to them about my condition. They said I was drinking like a fish last night so they were surprised to hear it, but they understood and felt bad for me. I told them I might have to quit drinking for as long as 2 months (since that was when my next uric acid test would be) but I was actually unsure how long I really needed to stop. In any case, I stayed until about 4 am sipping my tomato juice, drinking cigs, and making small talk. I finally headed out and decided to give the manga kissa another try. It was still full. I went to McDonalds and got a small fries and killed some time eating it and listening to my mp3 player. At 4:30 I tired one more time and was successful in getting a room… finally. I was exhausted and every joint in my body was aching. It felt great to finally sleep.

(So you can see how this whole gout thing is really fucking my weekends in Tokyo. If I go to bed early at like 12, I wake up at like 8-9 am when nothing is opened and its boring as hell. If I hang out for a little bit but then try to sleep I have to wait until 5 am cuz the manga kissas are full. If I drink I fuck myself. Maybe next time I should just man up and stay at Game Versus and take my beatings.)

On Sunday morning I woke up after 9 hours of sleep. I only meant to sleep 8 but my alarm didn’t wake me up. I took a shower and headed out. I got some spinach curry and then headed to Mikado where I spent the rest of the day playing GG casuals. It was actually pretty much dead at first (and this was already 3 pm… so you can see why I wouldn’t wanna wake up at like 9 am on a Sunday…). Gradually, a couple GG players rolled in. I played against this one HOS player and beat him like 15 times in a row. At some point he started getting pissed and taunting me and slamming the cab. He wasn’t even that bad but I guess he thought I was some random gaijin scrub and was getting pissed at losing to me so many times. He eventually gave up and moved to another cab. I fought a few other people and beat them and then eventually beat the game with like a 25 win streak.

I went and played a little SSFIV against a Claw player but he beat me up pretty bad. I also fought a Ken and Juri player who I beat about 4 times and then eventually no one played against me so I beat the game.

I went back and played GG for the rest of the day as more people started to roll in and it was finally getting busy. Kunihiro showed up and I played him for a while at first. I played a lot against Kuni’s Slayer as well. We went pretty even. I lost the one match I played against Hayashi. I went pretty even with really good black I-no. I also went 1-1 with Satou’s Eddie. I played a lot of other matches vs various people as well and for the most part did good. It was fun times.

When it was time to go I got some quick yogurt and pasta from Lawson for the ride back home and got on the train.

So that concludes the most recent weekend.

On Monday, I went back to Tsukiyono hospital to get more Zyloric for my gout. I figured everything would go smoothly but I was quite mistaken. When I went in to see the doctor, it was a completely different doctor. (Ryoko tells me that this hospital actually doesn’t have regular doctors on staff cuz they have a hard time finding permanent ones so they just take whoever they can get to fill in…) This guy was really, really old. He started off by trying to speak some broken English and asked me where I was from and how long I was in Japan. I just replied in Japanese and he eventually started speaking Japanese, thankfully. I told him about my gout situation and asked him what the results of my blood test were when I originally went to get the meds about 2 weeks ago (I hadn’t seen the results yet). Midway through explaining my situation he asked me AGAIN where I was from and how long ive been in Japan. I found this a little odd but answered anyway. He got out the chart and struggled to find the information on it. The nurses had to help him out. He eventually found that data and said that my uric acid level was only 5.3 mg/dL. This makes no sense because it’s impossible for your blood’s uric acid level to drop that quickly in a matter of days (it was only a few days between when I took the test in Tokyo and at this place). I asked him if there could be a mistake. I had him call the doctor at Takadanobaba to confirm that it was 10.7 when I went there. He left the room, came back later and said that the doctor there indeed said it was 10.7. So… he decided to do another blood test and urine test.

So I got the test done, and after the drew me blood and I peed in the cup, he asked if I could just wait for about 20 minutes to find out the results. I found this to be rather odd since the blood test usually takes much longer but agreed and waited in the hallway. He called me back in about 20 minutes later, saying that the results showed that my uric acid level was now only 3.7. This made absolutely no sense because that’s even extremely low for regular people who have no problems. On top of that, I had no idea how he could have gotten the data so quickly. At this point, we had a long discussion bout gout and he claims I don’t have it and that my joints are sore from working too hard and he said that I should run and exercise every day and it will cure my problem. I started to get a little more suspicious about this guy when he asked me a 3rd time when I came to Japan and how long I have been here. On top of that, within like this 15 minute conversation, he must have asked me how often I drink alcohol about 5 or 6 separate times! And each time it was like he asked as if it was the first time. Ive worked in a retirement home before and this is the kinda thing I would often see with dementia patients. I think this old man wasn’t quite right in the head.

In the end, he told me I didn’t need the medication anymore and sent me home empty handed. The last thing he said to me while I was waiting by the front desk to pay the bill was asking me how often I drink one more time…. I was pretty pissed that I just wasted like 2 hours of my day on the shenanigans of some crazy old man and had no more Zyloric either.

So… I told Ryoko what happened and she said that Tsukiyono hospital sucks and that I should just not go there anymore. I decided that on Tuesday, I would go to Minakami hospital (even smaller hospital with just one doctor on staff, but he seems competent), I went there and told him the situation about getting diagnosed in Takadanobaba and everything but I left out the part about the crazy old man at the other hospital. He diagnosed me with more meds in addition to the Zyloric and was very helpful in answering all my questions. He also did another blood test and said to come back next Monday to find the results out. Also, according to the doctor in Takadanobaba, I also have iron deficiency anemia, which basically means a lack of red blood cells due to low iron. This is often caused by bleeding from stomach acid problems so I already sorta knew I had this. I told him and he gave me a straight up injection of iron into my blood. He told me that if I stay on the meds and watch my diet that my uric acid levels should return to normal in about 1.5 to 2 months. One good thing was, when I asked him about not drinking alcohol at all, he told me that it was ok for me to drink some red wine. So, it seems like I actually don’t have to give up drinking completely after all. I think im still gonna take a weekend or 2 off for real this time though but at least the next time I go to Tokyo, I can have some wine at the bar and not be completely bored.

So, hopefully this gout bullshit will be over with soon enough. I can't believe im only 28 and have so many health problems though. I dread to think how fucked up my body is gonna be when im an old man (if I even make it that far...)