Monday, November 26, 2007

DF2 2007 weekend

Due to the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving I had no work on Friday, which means 3 day weekend. After work on Thursday, all of the Gunma prefecture ALTs were meeting up in Maebashi, the capital of Gunma, for a Thanksgiving feast at a resturaunt. I headed for the train station and stopped at 7-11 on the way to buy a drink, we were allowed to bring 1 500 ml alcoholic drink to the resturaunt. Since I wanted to get hammered I decided to go with hard liquer instead of beer this time. I bought a 500 ml melon soda bottle and a bottle of whiskey and proceeded to drink half the bottle of melon soda and then poored the whisky in to fill up the rest of the bottle. It didnt end up tasting very good but I figured it was worth a shot. So anyway, I got on the train and 3 other ALTs that lived in nearby towns on the way to Maebashi got on and we sat together. Theyre names are Liz, Breanne, and Laura. Liz is a friend of mine and we hang out from time to time. Breanne I met once or twice before and Laura I met for the first time. After the dinner everyone was pretty much planning to spend the rest of the weekend in Tokyo. However, the dinner ends at like 9:30 and the last train out of Maebashi is at like 11 something, and people were planning to go drinking around Maebashi after the dinner. Liz and Breanne were gonna split a hotel room for cheap, its only like 4000 yen at Toyoko inn if you check in after 12. Laura needed someone to split a room with and asked if I wanted to, so I figured it would be the best alternative since theres no manga cafes in Maebashi and going to Tokyo so late on a Thursday night after all the arcades closed seems like a lesser alternative to drinking with these people so I agreed. We got to the dinner and there was tons of great food, 4 turkeys, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, carrots, peas, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. I had like 5 plates or something and got a nice buzz from my drink, I ended up having an extra beer too that I had in my backpack, no one noticed so it was all good. After the dinner we took a cab to a bar in the area called Dickens and had a few beers. Eventually we ended up going to Takasaki instead of Maebashi (its extremely close) to stay at the hotel there since they had more rooms avaliable. We checked in and went to our rooms, and went to sleep (there were seperate single beds, nothing happened for all of you with dirty minds, I have a girlfriend after all). Next morning I woke up and brought all my clothes into the bathroom to go take a shower, Laura was still sleeping. I put my pants on the sink, they were the same pair i wore the day before so there was still all my stuff in the pockets. Suddenly... my camera fell out of my pants pocket....... and into the toilet..... and now its fucking broken. I was pretty bummed since I just go the camera and got a lot of use out of it (as you can see from my photo page) but now I pretty much cant take pictures anymore which totally sucks. So anyway, eventually we both finish taking our showers and getting dressed and go down to get free hotel breakfast. Liz and Breanne werent down there so we figured they left early. Me and Laura went our seperate ways since she was going somwhere else and meeting up with a friend to go hiking. I got on the train and finished the last 2 hours of my 3 hour train ride to Tokyo.

I decided to go to Akihabara first since it was still early in the day (about 1 pm when I arrived) and was the only place I knew there would be comp. There was a decent crowd there but most people were there for a melty blood tournament that was going on. I emailed Matt (Hintalove) on my phone to see if he would be going to any tournaments this weekend but he said he was pretty much busy the whole weekend. I stayed at Akihabara for several hours and then it was time for me to go to Tachikawa since there was a ranbats tournament going on at OSLO game center. On my way out of Club Sega I noticed a large group crowded around the UFO catcher machines in the front. I was pretty shocked to see what actually turned out to be a fucking UFO catcher TOURNAMENT in progress. There were brackets posted on the wall and a guy even announcing shit on the mic. It seemed like 2 people just went head to head at the same time on different machines and whoever got the most items from the machine before time ran out was the winner. I watched for like a few mins and then that was enough so I took the train for a 45 min train ride to Tachikawa and played some casuals for a while when I got there. The tournament was a 2 on 2 and I got randomly paired with a Sol player named Sekido. We ended up playing against a team of Johnny/Dizzy first. Sekido went first and lost, then I went and lost as well. It was close but I felt like I should have won. Oh well. So I stayed for a bit longer and played some more casuals till about 11 pm and then I figured it was about time to head to Shinjuku for some drinking.

I got some food and then I arrived at Current (my usual bar) a little bit after 12 and was surprised to see that the place was packed. Usually Friday is a bit dead compared to Saturday but this time it was the opposite. Chip was there with a couple of his friends as well as a few of the other regulars. Chip said that Mayuko (the girl we drank with last time) was at this other bar right around the corner from Current called Gravity. After a few drinks we all headed Gravity for a beer for a change of environment. This place was pretty empty, it was nice but much smaller and not as good as current. It was another rock bar. We had a beer and all talked for a bit. One of Chip's friends was an old friend from back in Osaka who was visiting for the weekend and was going back tomorrow. After a beer we all headed back to current for some more beers. Mayuko stayed at Gravity and said she would meet up with everyone at current later. Last time me and Chip hung out he had mentioned the video game bar called 16 shots. I tried to find it earlier before heading to Current because I wanted to check it out but I couldnt find it, so I asked him where it was. He offered to take me there so I said sure why not. So after some more beers at Current, me, Chip, and this one other guy who was into video games took a cab over to 16 shots, which is about a 15 minute walk from where Current was. We got to the bar pretty fast and it ended up being a very small place, the capacity was probably like 15 people total. All the seats were used up but we went in and stood. There was a large projector on the wall displaying various footage from oldschool 8-bit games, and next to the bar there wsa a sit down oldschool table top arcade cabinet, they were drinking and playing on the cab. They played video game music and there was pretty much game stuff all over the bar. It was pretty sweet. Everyone that goes to the bar is someone who works for the video game industry to some degree. Everyone seemed to recognize Chip, I suppose he goes there quite often and im sure some of them knew him from back when he worked for Capcom. The manager of club sega, MIU's boss, was also there and said he reocgnized me from when I would sometimes go to the arcade. I talked for a while with these 2 guys who worked as game music composers. Their names were Jumpei Isshiki and Toshiaki Fujino. One of them told me that he was also a Dream Theater fan and often would listen to Dream Theater for inspiration when he wrote game music. We talked for a while about various things like what our favorite games were and consoles they liked. They said that their favorite console to develop for was the Dreamcast because it was very easy and cheap to do so. They all seemed to dislike the PS3 saying its too expensive and difficult to make games for. They like the Xbox 360 actually. One of them told me he currently works on DS games and wishes his company would do more work on the 360. They also asked if I was going to DF2 and I said that I was, they wished me luck in the tournament. (I had forgotten to mention earlier that there is one more last chance qualifier that takes place before the DF2 main event starts, I decided I would enter). So after chilling there for a bit we said goodbye and they gave me their business cards and then me and Chip and the other guy who went with took a cab back to Current. When we got back Mayuko was there and the place was still packed. We stayed till closing time at 5 am and then decided we would all go to Roppongi for some more drinking. Me, Chip, Mayuko, and the other guy who went with us to 16 shots all took a cab to Roppongi and went to get some food and then to a bar called Bar Milwaukee. It was a fairly average bar, but they had Sam Adams and I was pretty happy since I used to drink it a lot and its been a long time. It was 1000 yen a bottle but I bought one anyway cuz I was too drunk to give a shit. One of the guys who worked there seemed to know Chip so I got hooked up with another free Sam Adams after I finished the first one. We chilled for a bit there and eventually it was like around 7 am so we all went our seperate ways. I headed back to Shinjuku to stay at my usual manga cafe there.

I woke up the next day at around 2 pm. Today there would be a 3 on 3 at Club Sega Shinjuku so I took a short walk and headed right over there since the tournament was scheduled to start around 3 pm. I arrived and there were already a lot of people there. MIU was working as ussual and would run the tournament. I played casuals for a bit and then eventually MIU gathered all the extra people and helped everyone form teams. I was put with a Ky player named Ai (even though Ai is a girls name, he was not a girl, in fact he sort of looked like a Japanese version of Floe. Of course Kindebu is the original Japanese Ari but this guy comes damn close). The other team mate was a Jam player. This tournament was pretty hardcore, there were people from all over Japan since they had come for the weekend to play at DF2. Ogawa was not present. Tournament starts and first match we fight ABEGENs team. It was a team of Po, Zappa, and I was told they had an Axl player by my team mates. We win RPS so they put Zappa first. Our Jam decides to take on Zappa so we let him go first. He loses in a close game. I decide I can take him out so I go next and beat him, finishing him off with a teleport back door. Next up is ABEGEN but this time he got his revenge from last time and beat me. Once Po knocks you down it can be very hard to come back. Ai goes next and beasts with his Ky, he turned out to be a very good Ky player actually. He slays ABEGEN and then for some reason the Axl player on their team didnt play, I have no idea why but I guess they ended up being a 2 man team, so we won the first match. Up next we had to fight a broken ass fucking team consisting of NO, Dogura, and Machaboo. We lose RPS this time, but the Jam player decides he wants to go first again so he picks Jam and the first character selected by the other team is Venom. Jam put up an ok fight but proves to be no match for NO. I go next again figuring Ai made a great anchor last time. We battle for a bit but NO is too much of a beast for me to take out. Up next is Ai who also fails to defeat Venom, leading to our team getting OCVed by Mr. N-Otoko. Dogura and Machaboo just chilled. So I decided to watch the rest of the tournament since there were some great matches. The top 3 teams that made it to the semi finals were Osaka B/012/Niga team, NO/Dogura/Machaboo team, and Nemo/Asabasu/and a good Potemkin player but I cant think of his name at the moment, he used the blue color Po. The whole tournament was single elim but for the top 3 teams they had it be double elim. I forgot exactly what happened but the 2nd/3rd place battle was between OsakaB team and NO team. I dont remember exactly how this went down but I do remember that NO and Dogura lost and Machaboo beasted with his Ky ftw. Finals were Nemo team vs NO team. Nemo went first vs NO and defeated him with his Testament. After he won he stood up and raised his arms all dramatic and starting getting all hype, and then people were just all getting really into it. Then Nemo goes next against Machaboo, I believe, and beats him as well. Dogura goes last and this time Nemo is defeated. Asabasu also falls to Dogura, and the Potemkin player goes last and takes out Dogura. Nemo team wins the tournament. After the tournament people played casuals there for a bit but then everyone started to clear out after maybe an hour. Osaka B told me they were all going to Las Vegas game center because its 50 yen per play and Club Sega is 100 yen. So I said goodbye to MIU and asked him if he was going to play in the last chance qualifier before DF2, he said he was actually going to be running the tournament so he wouldnt play. He gave me a hearty long ass hand shake and I headed out with Osaka B and a few other people and we walked over to Vegas. Normally Vegas has 4 cabs but one of them was going to be used for DF2 so they only had 3. It was packed and took a while to get games in. I stayed and played casuals for several hours until about 11:30, but then I just got too hungry and had to get some food. I ate and then went back to Vegas and played for a little bit longer and then decided it was time to go drinking again!

I went to Current again to see what was up. I was surprised to see that the place wasnt that packed tonight. I suppose it was becuase Friday was so busy instead this time. The guy who took me to GODZ last time was there (his name is Taka) and we talked and chilled for a bit. We decided we would go to some other bars since Current wasnt very lively that night. We walked around Shinjuku and he took me to this area called the Golden district which is basically like a block or 2 of a bunch of small ally like side streets and every single building is a bunch of small bars. The entire area has nothing but bars and there were probably over 200 of them. We walked around and just sorta checked out the different variety of bars there but didnt go inside any of them. Then we grabbed some Takoyaki from a small stand and headed to this one bar called PSY that he sometimes goes to. PSY was alright, sorta small but not extremely small. There were a few people there, one of them was a guy he knew. There was also this foreigner from New York that started talked to me, he said he was in Japan since 5 weeks ago and would go back in about a week. We just talked about our experiences in Japan and how it was great how safe everything feels here. I said bye to the NY guy and then headed back to Current. I had a few more beers and left at around closing time. Headed for the manga cafe as usual and passed out.

Woke up the next day at around 11. I decided to go look for the Code Club Complex where DF2 would be held today. It turned out to be extremely easy to find and was basically just down the street from the Manga cafe I just slept at, how convenient. So I headed to Vegas which is also right on that same street and there were already some people there playing. I played there for a while I needed to find a team mate so I started asking around. A bunch of people already had team mates, but then I played against this one Dizzy player. I beat him but I could tell he was good and knew what he was doing so I asked him if he wanted to team up. He was happy to join me so now I was set for DF2. We played for a big longer and then headed to the Code Club Complex at about 10 minutes before 3 pm, which was the official start time listed for the event. When we got there, there was a huge line of people the stretched around the corner of the building into like this hallway area. We waited for a long time, maybe like 45 minutes to an hour. While we were in line I asked my team mate and some of his friends who Ogawa was teaming up with since I heard different rumors online. He told me that it turns out that Ogawa would not be playing in DF2 all since his parents forbid him from participating due to his epilepsy. From what it sounded like, he might not be allowed to play in any tournaments anymore, though I guess he is still allowed to go to Club Sega Akihabara for casuals. I dont know if this is permanent or temporary but I guess we will find out in due time. Eventually they let everyone in and it took a while for everyone to register and get their badges and program guides and sign up for the tournaments. I was told by my team mate that we might not get to play due to the large ammount of teams that were going to try to enter the last chance, and only 28 spots existed. The venue was pretty packed and there were TONS of people. I recognized teams from all sorts of quals I went to, and pretty much every ladies team that ive seen were there, including the one from Niigata. The venue was actually a night club from what it looked like. There was a small stage area but aside from that there were some clusters of a few cabs and some lounge areas for sitting, and they also had a full bar and some vending machines and tables. I tried to take pictures on my cellphone but I dont think it even has a flash, I tried to find it but its not there, and the lighting at the venue was dim so the pictures came out pretty hard to see. There were also booths where they were selling stuff. One of the booths was selling the SBO DVDs, I bought the GGAC DVD. There were also a few cosplayers, a girl dressed as Heart, and girl dressed as that chick with the whip and purple hair from Melty Blood (sorry I hardly play that game) and there was this one dude dressed as Slayer. I saw a Bridget too. Osaka B also was there with a paper bag on his head, not a full Faust costume, just the paper bag. Eventually after tons of waiting they started the Arcana tournament. People sorta chilled and watched it for a while and then after hours of waiting they finally got Guilty set up.... and the last chance qual which was scheduled in the program guide to start at 3 pm ended up starting at like 6. So we checked the backets and our team was selected to play after all. First match we were put against a team of Sol/Po. We won RPS and they picked PO first, so my team mate told me he was better vs Sol than PO so I just went first. I beat Po and Sol as well for the OCV. My team mate was pretty excited. Up next we had to fight Testament/Chipp team. This time we lost RPS and my team mate decided he wanted to go first this time. He fougt in a close match vs Testament and I thought he was going to win but Testament pulled ahead and won. After that I went but I also fell to the Testament player. I kept guessing wrong at the start of the round and was just never really able to regain solid control of the match. This offically ended my DF2 experience for 2007. I watched the rest of the matches for the qual. Nakamura's team got far but eventually lost and I didnt see it happen since there were like 3 matches going on at once and tons of people crowded around so it was hard to see. I also saw ABEGEN and Kishitaka's team (the one I played against in the game chariot videos) lose to this one Johnny player who was beasting earlier that day at Vegas, he had like 20 something wins and no one could beat him.. not sure who he was. Eventually in the end Roo's team ended up taking the last qualifiying spot, his Bridget was on fire. I forgot who the other team was that he defeated, it had a Jam on it. So by now it was about 8 pm... the regular DF2 bracket tournament hadnt even started yet, and I had to catch a train that leaves at 8:38 to head back home to Gunma since I had work the next morning. So basically I had to leave before the tournament even started, I was pretty upset because the original schedule in had the top 4 starting at 7:15, which would easily end with enough time for me to watch the whole thing and catch my train, but it didnt work out that way so I had to head out. I said goodbye to MIU and he gave me another 20 minute long handshake. Then I headed back to the train station and took the train home. On the way back when I arrived at Takasaki to transfer trains I ran into Liz, she was on the same train as me the whole time but she got on at Ueno and was on a different car. We took the same train back from Takasaki to go home and talked for a bit about our weekends. She told me that the trains on the Takasaki line were delayed earlier that day due to a "human accident", or in other words some dude offed himself by jumping in front of a train. Appearently this is not that rare in Japan. Kind of a depressing thing to hear about but I guess thats life. Liz got off at Numata and I got off at the next stop and made it home. Overall it was a long and busy weekend and I had a lot of fun, but i was upset that I didnt get to watch DF2. I checked online and I guess Koichi(IN)/Haaken(PO) won. Im also still pretty bummed about my camera being broken. I wanted to take so many pictures this weekend but I missed the chance. So now there might not be any more new Japan pictures on my page for a while. I may get a new camera but I dont know if I want to put out the cash for it just yet. I guess Ill see what happens.

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