Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wrath of the Enkai

This Friday there was an enkai for my base school (an enkai is basically a big drinking party with lots of food at some fancy traditional Japanese style izakaya or ryokan). I went to the enkai and drank tons of beer and some other stuff like non stop. Every time my glass was even half empty someone would come and poor me some more. I got drunk pretty fast and enj0yed a good meal. Then I went to the nijikai which is like a 2nd Enkai in the same building where they have more drinking, snacks, and karaoke. I sang 3 songs cuz they always love it when a native English speaker goes and sings English songs. I did Queen - Hammer to Fall, Dream Theater - Another Day, and Guns N Roses - Sweet Child of Mine. After a while I was just totally wasted and a good deal of the teachers already went to sleep. This particular enkai was an overnight enkai so most of the teachers slept at the ryokan. However, I was fortunate enough that my apartment was less than a 5 minute walk from the location so I just walked home so I could sleep in my own bed. I stumbled home and passed out.

When I woke up I had one of the worst hangovers ever. My head was just pounding and I didnt have any headache medicine in the house. I took a quick shower and got dressed and headed toward the train station so I could head to Tokyo for the rest of the weekend. On the way there I stopped at the store and bought some headache pills. I wanted to get some food too but I only had a few more minutes until the train came so I had to hurry. I ended up making it to the train station about 2 minutes before the train arrived. I bought a bottle of tea from the vending machine on the train platform and boarded the train. I wasted no time taking the pills and started drinking the tea. I didnt feel like playing DS or anything until my head stopped hurting so I just started listening to my mp3 player and enjoyed the scenery. Eventually I started to feel a bit nautious. I knew it was a mistake to take pills on an empty stomach because when I do so it is often the case where I sometimes throw up. I figured I could handle it and I didnt want to miss my train. I kept drinking more tea hoping it would help but eventually I knew it was inevitable... I was going to vomit. So I got up from my seat to search for the bathroom. Not all trains in Japan have a bathroom on board but the particular line that goes out of my town happens to usually have a bathroom on at least one car. This time, however, I wasnt so fortunate. I walked through about 3 cars but couldnt find a bathroom. Finally I made it to the rear car and the urge was getting unbearable. We stopped at another stop and some people got off the train so there was a completely open seat, so I sat down. I rummaged through my backpack and grapped the clear plastic grocery bag that I brought with to put my dirtly clothes in. No longer able to hold back I was forced to throw up in the bag. Fortunately I was very descrete about it. I wasnt very loud at all, and no one was really looking at me so I am pretty sure no one really noticed. Since I had no food in my stomach all that came out was tea and it didnt smell bad or look abnormal. Unfortunately for the rest of the train ride I had to hold a clear plastic bag of pale yellow liquid in order to keep it from spilling. I sorta just covered it with my hand and no one noticed. When I got off the train I immediately threw it out in the closest garbage can. Luckely, I guess my body managed to digest part of the headache medicine because my headache was beginning to diminish. After I threw up I felt completely fine as far as my stomach was concerned so I got some sandwiches from the conbini inside the train station and felt much better. After boarding the next train the rest of the ride wasnt so bad.

Eventually I arrived in Shinjuku. I headed right for Shinjuku Sportsland since there was a G3 ranbats singles tournament there today. I arrived about an hour before the tournament started. MIU was there to run it and I said hi to him and signed up and then began to play some casuals till the tournament started. The place was packed with top players so I knew this tournament wasnt going to be easy. A few big names that were there were FAB, Imo, Zero, Nakamura, H.H., Mike (the Jam player), Kazuki, Basara, Gin, Bleed, and other various good players. I looked at the current rankings list on the wall and FAB was in first place for points at the moment. Eventually they posted the brackets on the wall and I looked for my first match. I saw that it was against Zappa, and I thought to myself... ah thats cool I can handle Zappa. Then I looked at the player name and it said "Imo".... d'oh! Eventually they called my match. I played extremely carefull and cautious and I won the first round. However, the 2nd and 3rd rounds were sorta close but eventually I got destroyed by the mighty wrath of "I hit you once, now die for free" Raoh combos. I was sorta bummed but I felt that I at least played pretty well. I stayed and played causuals throughout the rest of the tournament. I thought FAB was going to win but he eventually lost to Bleed's Johnny. In turn Bleed eventually lost to Imo. I didnt see the finals because I was playing a match and I didnt even realize how fast the tournament was going, but eventually I noticed it was over. I asked someone who won and they said that Imo took the whole tournament. I didnt feel so bad losing to him after that since he owned everyone else too and I came fairly close to beating him. One odd thing I noticed was that during the tournament H.H. was using Ky instead of Dizzy. I actually beat his Ky in casuals a few weeks ago and I thought it was just his 2ndary. Maybe it is, cuz I played his Dizzy in casuals later on this day and lost, but for some reason he played Ky in the tournament. I played for a little longer and the players became fewer and fewer as more people started to leave. Eventually there was hardly anyone there so I left to get some food cuz I was starving. After I ate, I went to Vegas to play some more. Lots of people from the tournament were there playing, which makes sense since its half the price of Sportsland. I stayed and played more casuals there for the rest of the day until it got late and then I headed to Current.

Tonight at Current there was a metal event with guest DJs so the place was packed. Not so many of the usual regulars were there but the "metal event regulars" (the people that only show up when there are metal events) were all there. Chip showed up too and we had a good chat for a while. He was telling me about how in the latest Famitsu, Arc System works announced that they are making a new 2D fighter (not Basara X, something completely different). He said the name was Blue something... but couldnt quite remember. He said there were a few screens of like 4 characters that were announced and said the game seems promising. I made a mental note to check out the latest Famitsu tomorrow when I would go to Akihabara. We were also talking about his days when he worked for Capcom. I asked him exactly what he did when he worked on the SF games. He said he was the head sound effects supervisor and was responsable for creating some pretty well known sound effects. He did all the sounds for Gouki in Super SF2 X and he also did most of the sound effects for SFalpha 1 and 2. The DJs were having like this countdown of like some top 100 songs list (based on what exactly I have no idea, probably simply the DJs opinion) and while most of it was good, there was certainly some stuff I didnt agree with as far as the rankings it recieved. The number 1 song ended up being Judas Priest- Painkiller which is always a classic and never gets old so everyone was going pretty nuts during that one, plus by then it was late and everyone was fuckin wasted. Eventually it was closing time so I said bye to everyone and headed to MOS burger for a drunken Terkyaki Chicken sandwich combo meal. After that I headed to the Manga kissa for sleep. I set the alarm on my phone and passed out.

I woke up to my phone vibrating as it always does when the alarm goes off while my phone is in manner mode. I woke up, checked out of the manga kisa, and left. I headed for the train station and boarded a train to Akihabara. As far as I knew there was no tournaments today as I had asked around during the Sportsland tournament. I figured maybe Akihabara would have some random last minute one posted and if not, at least it would be a good spot for casuals as ussual. When was on the train I checked my phone and noticed I had an email from my girlfriend. Just the ussual hi how are you, I miss you sorta email, which is nice and I always like getting. However, after reading the email I looked at the time on my phone and it was only 10:30. I was like WTF! I had set my alarm for 11:30 and at first I thought maybe my phone was fucked up. Then I realized that when my girlfriend sent me the email, it made my phone vibrate, and my dumbass thought it was the alarm going off, but I didnt bother to check. So I ended up checking out of the manga kisa about an hour and a half early, resulting in me getting only 4 and a half hours of sleep. I figured I felt tired simply from the drinking (though this time I didnt have a headache at all) but it was simply a matter of getting less sleep than ussual. At this point there was nothing much I could do about it except drink more caffiene. When I arrived at Akihabara, club sega was pretty dead, as it wasnt even 11 am yet. Aside from lack of sleep, the other drawback to waking up early is that theres not much to do so early in the day. I decided to walk around to kill some time and explore other areas of Akihabara I hadnt been to yet. I found some other small arcades but they were also dead and only had like one GGAC cab. I got some food and eventually went to a Family Mart. I was still 50/50 0n going to the Iron Maiden concert that would be coming up in a few weeks. I like Maiden and all but the tickets were 9,500 yen which is a lot of money for one show. Eventually I decided that since I missed Nightwish and that since all Japanese metal concerts are pretty expensive, combined with the fact that I had a decent ammount of money that I would just go to the show, so I bought a ticket there. Lots of people from Current were going and they wanted me to go to so I figured why the hell not. After that I headed back to Club Sega and there were a few more people. I played a few matches but then people stopped playing me cuz there was just more cabs than players and I ended up beating the game. I decided to take break so I headed to Gamers to check out the latest Famitsu. Unfortunately when I got there I couldnt find Famitsu there at all. It must have been sold out or something cuz I dont see how Gamers wouldnt carry Famitsu, espessially when I buy Arcadia there from time to time. So I headed back to Club Sega and played some more.

Eventually the place began to fill up a bit more and by about 3 pm it was packed. I was playing with my headphones on and I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and it was Ogawa. He said hello to me and then went around to the other side of the cabs and started playing. I was in the middle of a match against a Testament player that kept playing me over and over. I beat him about 5 times and then he finally got a win on me and then we started going back and forth. Eventually someone else got on the cab I was using so I moved to another cab. I decided to try to play Ogawa again since no one was playing him at the moment. I played him 2 times and lost. No one else got on the cab so I tried again. This time I managed to beat his Eddie once again, marking my 2nd win against his Eddie. He immedietly rematched me and won in a close match. Now other people started playing him so I went to another cab. I played for a while and had a streak and then I lost to someone and by then I noticed Ogawa had 17 wins. I figured I would give it another try. I played him one more time and much to my surprise I managed to beat his Eddie again! Marking my 3rd win against his Eddie and ending his win streak. As ussual he played me again right away and beat me. Lots of other people were trying to beat him now. I thought to myself (is Ogawa slipping or am I actually starting to get better?). The answer was clear when I saw Kazuki and Domi repetedly lose to him over and over as well as several other people. It seems that up to this point I was the only one who was able to beat him all day. I played him a few more times but I couldnt win again. Some matches were close, others I pretty much got pooped on. After like another 25 wins, someone else eventually managed to beat Ogawa, but I was playing a match on another cab so I didnt see who, but I am fairly certain it was Kazuki or Domi. I was starting to feel the effects of lack of sleep pretty hard now and noticed I was just getting tired of playing in general. I played a few more matches against various people and eventually headed out to go home. I said bye to Ogawa and left the arcade. The ride home was just 3 straight hours of sleeping on the train.

Thats it for this weekend. Next weekend is a mystery at this point. The new Arcadia for February doesnt come out until tomorrow, so I dont know the schedule yet but im pretty certain theres going to be at least some tournament somewhere in Tokyo that I will end up going to. At least this coming weekend wont result in me getting IKed by another mighty Enkai.

EDIT: Upon further inspection via online, the new Arc System works fighter is called BlazBlue and will be a hi rez HD 2d fighting game from many of the people work worked on Guilty Gear. The game sounds promising so far based on the little information out, but it will be playable in demo form at the AOU convention next month along with SF4 so I will make sure to try them both out and report on it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Girls, Girls, Girls

Took the train to Akihabara Friday after work. When I got there I noticed they moved a few things around. There was a long line set up with those dividers like they have at the movie theater to form lines. There were 2 cabs for what was either the full version of, or a test version, of some new game called Fate: Unlimited Codes. The game was 3d but played sorta 2d. It was fairly fast paced but for some reason didnt look all that interesting to me. It actually sorta reminded me of those X-men 3d fighting games that were made a while back. Though I know hardly anything about it so I wont judge it but I didnt bother to stand in line to play it. The line was long and I just wanted to play some gear. Unfortunately, as a result of having the 2 Fate cabs, the AC cabs were reduced from 11 to 6 to make space. Im pretty sure this is just a beta test so once its over im sure they will put the other AC cabs back. After a few hours of gear I headed to Shinjuku to go Drinking at Current.

There was a big party going on at Current for one of the girls' birthday. Almost all the regulars were there and it was good times. It was also sorta a Nightwish concert afterparty since the concert was earlier that night in Ebisu. I really wanted to go but I tried to buy a ticket the day before the show and it was sold out... bummer. I heard the show was good from pretty much everyone that went. I guess Ill just have to see them next time around. I saw them once in Chicago back when they still had Tarja as the singer and it was an awsome show. I stayed till closing like usual and went to sleep at the same spot as always.

Saturday, I woke up, got food, and headed over to Vegas for some casuals. Today there would be 2 tournaments in Shinjuku, one at Clubs Sega and one at Vegas. The Club Sega one starts at 4 and the Vegas one starts at 5. Pretty stupid for them to throw 2 AC tournys at almost the same time on the same day. They should have at least made the start times farther apart. I figured I would go to the Club Sega one first and try to play in both. While I was playing casuals at Vegas, Gin, the Slayer player, showed up and asked me if I was entering the Club Sega tourny, I told him yes, and he asked if I wanted to team up since it was a 2 on 2. I agreed and we headed on over to Club Sega. The tournament ended up being a 7 team round robin. Most notably, Isa and FAB showed up and teamed up together... talk about broken. There were some other good players like Basara (SL) and some other folks ive seen before but dont know their names specifically. MIU was there working as usual and ran the tournament. I played some casuals before the tourny and was doing relatively well, winning way more than I lost, though I still felt a bit off and wasnt landing all my shit. Gin seemed to be doing well too. First match we fought against a team of HOS and PO. I went first and narrowly lost to HOS (I beat this guy 5 times in a row in casuals before the tourny so I was pretty upset.... should not have lost). Then Gin went and lost as well. Bummer... So that kinda fucked our momentum fromt he start. Up next was a FA SL (Basara) team. We both lost to Faust, once again I should have won this one, it was very close and I just kept making stupid mistakes, like looking at the wrong meter thinking I head enough to RC and doing air teleport and then having it get blocked and not having meter to RC and getting killed. Up next was FAB and Isa. We both lost to FAB. I put up an ok fight but ive done far better against him before, once again I didnt play so great. Next was a team of AX and CH. We won RPS for the first time all day so they had to pick first. They chose Axl so I went first since I hate CH and would leave him for Gin if I lost. I beat Axl pretty convincingly and I also beat Chipp pretty good too, so Gin didnt need to play this time after all. Up next was SO and MI team. This time Gin went first and beat both of them himself so I didnt need to play. Last match was DI and SL. Gin went first and lost to DI, then I beat DI but lost to SL in another match that was too close that I should have won. So after that I guess it went into some sorta regular bracket tourny and they had us play against the HOS PO team again. This time Gin went first and beat HOS and then lost to PO, and then I lost to PO too.... in another extremely close match that I should have won. I was pretty much just in brain fart mode this whole tourny. Unsurprisingly, Isa and FAB won the tourny. So after it was over it was about 5 minutes after 5:00 so we left to try and play in the Vegas tourny. When we got there, the tournament had already started. However, the tournament was a singles tourny and was divided into 2 separate round robin pools, one of 6 people and one of 5. The first pool was about half way done but the 2nd pool hadnt even started yet. I asked one of the Vegas worker dudes if I could still enter and just be placed in the 2nd pool and that way it would even it out so they both had 6 players but the guy was being a total dick and wouldnt let me enter even though it wouldnt have affected the tournament at all and would have been extremely easy to just write my name in and draw a few extra lines on the round robin grid. So I was pretty pissed at this dickhead Vegas guy and just played some casuals at Vegas for a while. I played till about 11 and then headed to Current again.

This time when I walked in to Current, the place was packed again. At first I thought, aw sweet this is gonna be a good night. Then I started looking around and noticed that almost everyone in there was like 40 years old or older... which is extremely rare for Current as most people that go are in their 20s and 30s. Then I noticed that instead of playing metal, they were playing random old Japanese pop songs. Mogi proceeded to explain that there was some special pop star event going on and these people like payed have this party there or something. I figured id have a beer anyway since I was already there and then just go to GODZ or something. Then this one chick who was younger, probly in her late 20s, started talking to me, I guess she didnt know about the event either. We talked about random bullshit for a bit and then I told her I was going to GODZ. She said she was staying there since the event would end soon. I was like.. whoa really? So I asked Mogi and he said the event would end a little after 12. So I figured I could put up with about an hour of this crap. There was this other dude who was like 20 who I had seen in there before who was friends with the girl I was talking to. We talked for a bit too and he was telling me how he had this band called Fair Lady that played like 80's style metal and they needed a bassist and he asked me to join his band. I told him it would be cool but that I lived 3 hours away and wouldnt really be able to like practice and shit with them very often so it was pretty much futile. Eventually all the old people started to shuffle out and they started playing classic rock. The bar never got too packed since most of the regulars were there yesterday and dont often go twice in a row, but eventually Chip showed up and we talked for a bit so it was cool. The girl I was talking to before had another friend of hers show up and the 2 girls went to get a table to talk for a while. After a while I noticed that I hadnt seen her for a while. I got up to use the bathroom and I opened the door and she was in there just sitting on the floor. I guess she had too much to drink, which was odd since she didnt seem drunk at all before. So her friend helped her out of the bathroom and she just sorta passed out on the floor near the door. I went in my backpack and got my little pillow that I always bring for when I sleep at the manga kisa, I let her use it since it didnt seem very comfortable. In any case, eventually it got late and she woke up and was feeling better and it was time to leave so I said goodbye to everyone and headed out for sleep as usual.

The next day there was a tournament scheduled at Shinjuku Sportsland that I saw posted last weekend. I wanted to play so I headed over there. It was still kinda early so there wasnt really anyone there. I decided I would go to Vegas instead to play casuals first since there might be more people. Vegas had a couple players, not many but enough to play. I played some games and most of the comp was pretty weak. One thing I noticed, however, was that there were like 3 female players there. I was pretty surprised and had never seen any of them before. Eventually it was getting closer to tournament time so I went back to Sportsland. When I got there, there were a few more players but still not that many. Once again most of them were female. Eventually there were probably like 16 female players there! I was pretty amazed and had probably only seen maybe like 5 of them before. Some of them were pretty good, most notably a Dizzy and a Slayer, both of which ive seen before. So it was about time to sign up so I went to go sign up and then the Sportsland guy told me that I couldnt play because it was a girls only tournament! I guess I should have realized that but I didnt bother reading the details since ive never encountered one of these before and it didnt even cross my mind. There were only like maybe 3 or 4 other guys there just playing casuals. So I stayed and played casuals throughout the tournament. I was beating most people and getting lots of wins, most of the comp was so-so except that the Dizzy and Slayer managed to beat me a few times. Actually the Dizzy was exceptional and is one of the best Dizzys ive played against outside of Kazuki and H.H. She ended up winning the whole tournament as well which came as no surprise to me. I also had a big win streak and this one male Ky player played me and I basically triple perfected him. Then he kept playing me over and over and he started to step his game up. He squeezed in one win and I was kinda pissed so the next match I took every opportunity I could to taunt him. I was straight up taunting him for like the next 4 matches and kept beating him. I think he eventually got pissed when I taunted him and also dizzied and perfected him and then he stopped playing me. Maybe that was kinda a dickish move on my part but I was getting pretty tired of playing there and didnt really give a fuck. After a while I decided I would just go to Akihabara since the comp would be better and I wanted a change of environment. It was taking a while for people to play me after a while too. When I arrived at Akihabara they still had the setup the same way with only 6 cabs but there were plenty of people there playing. First thing I did was sit down at a cab I saw was empty on one side and played against a HOS player. I beat him in a close match. Then after the match Ogawa came around to the other side and told me that I am getting a lot stronger. I was like wow that was you? I told him thanks but I still am not that strong. Then I beat this one really good I-no player like 4 times in a row and played a bunch of other games. Losing a few, winning a few. The rest of the night was pretty typical. I stayed till about 8:20 and then headed for the train station to go home.

Thats about it. Next weekend I will go to a drinking party for my base school Friday night and wake up and head to Tokyo in the morning. There are plenty of tournaments on Saturday and Sunday and im sure I will at least go to one of them on each day.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dream Theater for the win

This was the longest weekend ive ever spent in Tokyo spanning from Friday night to Wednesday afternoon. Monday was a holiday and I took 2 days of work to go to a Dream Theater concert on Tuesday. I arrived in Akihabara for casuals Friday evening. Matt (Hintalove) met up with me there for a bit. I played for a while and then headed to current for drinking. Stayed till closing time at 5 am and went to sleep at the manga cafe kisaten as usual. Saturday I woke up, got some food, and headed to Shinjuku Sportsland for the G3 ranbats singles tourny that was being held there. The place was packed with top players. Much to my surprise, MIU was there and he was gonna run the tournament. I played some casuals before the tourny and was doing ok but my execution was espessially bad for some reason this day. I was playing ok but I kept dropping combos or failing to block simple things for some reason. My first match was against an Axl player. First round I was playing extremely carefull and the round ended with a time over and we both had a pixel of health left, except mine was like just slightly more so I won the first round. Next round I lose. 3rd round was going pretty well, then I was doing a regular basic air combo and I failed to jump cancel kick into another kick, which is like the easiest thing ever. After that Axl air recovered and I got hit with some shit and lost. I stayed and played casuals for a bit more and then I realized I was missing my passport. I was pretty freaked out so I left and re traced my steps that day and I found it luckily. Then I headed to Las Vegas to play more causals since its cheaper to play there. A lot of the people who were at the tournament moved to Vegas to play. I played for a while and eventually MIU showed up and he was asking me if I was gonna go to EVO this year. I told him id like to but I dont know if I can really afford it but I said maybe. Eventually it started to die down and was getting late so I went to GODZ for a beer and then Current again. Good times, got drunk as ussual and talked to the regulars.

Next day I woke up and headed right to Akihabara since there was a tournament at Club Sega. When I got there there werent that many people there. The tournament was to start at 1. I played casuals for a bit and had a win streak going. Originally I thought it was a singles tourny because it didnt say anything about teams on the poster for the tournament, but it turned out to be a 3 on 3 so I asked someone to take over my game cuz I needed to find a team. I randomly asked around and found 2 team mates; A Jam player named Kaneko and a Johnny player named Ikeda. Eventually the brackets were made.... which wasnt very hard... since only 4 teams signed up. So the tournament was a 4 team round robin. Our team went first against a team of FA, ZA, SL. We lost RPS so we had to choose who went first blindly. We couldnt decide so we just did a 3 way RPS among our team and I ended up winning so I went first. I pick my character and their Faust player ends up going first. I made short work of him and then it was time for Zappa who I also beat fairly quickly. Finally came the Slayer player. He ws a bit tougher and managed to take a round on me but I beat him for the OCV. Next we had to play a team of SO, AX, JO. Once again we lost RPS and once again we did our own RPS to see who goes first.... and once again I win so I went first again. This time Sol goes first on me. First round was close but he managed to squeeze in a win and I was like, fuck this im not losing to some random zombie Sol, so I won the next 2 rounds. Then came Axl and then Johnny and I owned both of them pretty hard. The announcer was commening on how quickly I kept beating everyone heh. Finally for the last team we won RPS. I told the other 2 guys that to be fair I would just go last this time since they didnt even have a chance to play yet. so Ikeda goes first. It was a team of SL, PO, and ZA. The SL and PO were guys I kept beating in casuals before the tourny and they were pretty decent. The ZA was some random hot chick ive never seen before. Ikeda ends up narrowly beating their whole team with his Johnny. So my team OCVed the entire tournament. It was pretty much a massacre heh. Poor Kaneko didnt even get to play in the tourny. So we got awarded the usual laminated plastic card that said we won the tournament and they took our picture and then they put 3 free credits in the machine for our team to play against eachother. I went first against Kaneko, beat him without losing a round then same with Ikeda. After that I just stayed on the machine and played for a while and more people started to come to the arcade. I guess 1:00 is too early to start a tournament or something. Then eventually Ogawa comes out of no where and comes up to me and says hi. We talked for a bit about random stuff like beer and christmas and then he went to go play. I played for a bit longer and then went to get some food after I eventually lost. I came back and played a bit more and then I noticed that no one wanted to play Ogawa, there were lots of people waiting around on the other side of the cab but no one wanted to get on and play. He had a good number of wins already. So I got on the cab and gave it a shot. I won the first round. 2nd round he came back at me hard and won. However... I played very well and took the 3rd and 4th round, marking my first win of a full match against Ogawa's Eddie in casuals. People around me seemed rather surprised as was I. Then he immedietly played me again and this time he beat me. I was gonna play him again but then other people wanted to play him so I went to another empty cab and just stayed on there the rest of the time with another streak. I played really well all day and was like in Bozac install or something. No execution problems like the previous day and I was playing smart too. Eventually it got late so I left and went back to Shinjuku for more drinking.

I got to Current and talked to a few people there. There was this one exceptionally strange girl there. She was young, probly around my age I guess. She had a broken arm in a cast and harness. She has this strange way of talking... all slow and just really weird, like she was either mentally handicap or just stoned out of her mind. When she arrived she lugged this big luggage in with her. She was pounding the beers pretty hard but insisted she wasnt drunk when I asked if she was. I talked with her for a bit and she kept saying the same things. I asked her what her favorite band was and she said "I like Manson". Then I asked what else shes likes and shes just like "I like Manson".... and im like... anything else? Is that all? And she just said yes. Then she just kept randomly saying she liked Manson every once and a while. She was like leaning over the bar all slouching and shit and when I talked to her she would look into my eyes all intensly and shit... it was pretty strange to be honest. She actually was quite attractive but she was just straight up weird as hell and there was something wrong with her. Eventually she passed out right on the bar and other people that I know were starting to leave so I decided to head out. I sorta nudged her to wake her up to say goodbye to be polite but she was out cold. I said goodbye to everyone else and left. I then headed to PSY bar for a bit and stayed till about 6:00 am. I went to the Manga kissaten and usual and this time I managed to fill up my points card, entitling me to 3 free hours there whenever I wanted to use it.

Next day I pretty much had no plans. It was a Monday and it was a Japanese Holiday called Coming of Age Day in which everyone who turns 20 years old that year dresses up to celebrate the passage into adult hood and the fact that they can now legally drink. Many girls could be seen walking around in Kimonos. There were no tournaments today so I went to Ginza to just walk around and kill time. Got some Subway cuz I hadnt eaten it in like a year or something heh. Then I called up Matt to see what he was up to and we ended up meeting up at Ikebukuro GIGO for some casuals. We stayed for several hours and I did generally well, only loseing a few times. I kept getting a few small win streaks of about 10 wins and then I got like one streak of 27 followed by another one of 17 and then we decided to leave and get food. We went to this Pizza place down the street from there that had American style pizza and we rocked the Bacon and Cheddar pizza and a beer. It was damn good. We stayed for a bit and talked about random Guilty Gear stuff and then we left and Matt went home. I headed back to Shinjuku again. I went to Las Vegas to see if there was anyone there. There were only a few people, I beat them all in casuals and then they started to leave and no one was playing me anymore so I just got up and left and headed to Current again. This time it was completely dead in there. I walked in and it was just the owner Sushi tending bar and his girlfriend was sitting at the bar and this one other guy was there. I talked with them for a bit and had a couple beers. Sushi brought up the strange girl from the previous night. He said that she had been in there before but the other times she had gone with her boyfriend and was much less strange. We came to the conclusion that they probly broke up and that she was depressed or something. He said she never drank that much before either. At the end of the night the previous night she ended up being woken up and just kinda ended up stumbling out of the bar with her bit luggage. Sushi said she was asking about hotels in the area but he said there werent any very close. She had told me she was gonna crash at a friends house but I guess she was lying or it fell through. I felt kinda bad for her, hopefully she made it somewhere safe. We chatted a bit more and then the other guy left and I didnt really feel like staying there anymore cuz I was really tired and it was just dead. I went to PSY bar to see if it was worthwhile but it was also pretty much dead. I had one beer and left. I then just decided to go crash out at the manga kisa early and get a lot of sleep so that id feel refreshed for the concert. I used my 3 hour card and stayed for a total of 9 hours.

I woke up the next day feeling much more refreshed. It was about 11 am and I had a lot of time to kill before the concert. I went to Vegas right away cuz its accross the street from the manga kisa but no one was there, i was too early to get any Guilty in, espessially on a Tuesday morning. So i got food, walked around Shinjuku and bought a Cuban at a cigar shop, and just headed to the area where the Budokan is to kill time before the concert. I walked around and eventually found the Budokan. They had barely started setting stuff up so I walked around the area there. The whole area was surrounded by a nice forested park kinda place with nice paths and beautiful scenery. I took a shit ton of nice pictures and just enjoyed a good walk. There were a bunch of old people sitting on benches painting scenery and stuff. After a while I headed back outside of the Bodukan area to find some food. I grabbed food and walked around a bit more and ran into a gamesworkshop store which I found rather hilarious (for those who arnt familar, gamesworkshop makes the table top strategy war game called Warhammer). It was getting close to the time of the show so I went back to the Bodukan and now there were tons of people wating outside to get in. They had a booth set up selling merchandise. I walked around and talked to a few people. There was this older couple there that had this big banner they made that said something like San Antonio Dream Theater fans or something. They said they flew all the way to Tokyo from Texas just to see this concert... thats pretty hardcore. I dont really get why since Dream Theater tours the US pretty often (this is my 6th time seeing them) but whatever. Eventually they let us in and I found my seat which was on the 2nd balcony 3 rows from the front all the way to the left side of the stage. I could see pretty well. The Budokan was an amazing venue and the place was completely packed, the show was certainly sold out. It was the biggest concert ive ever been to and the energy was amazing. DT played excellent and James LaBrie's vocals (which sometimes live can be a bit questionable) were at the top of their game. The setlist was...

1. Constant Motion
2. Never Enough
3. Surrounded (extended)
4. The Dark Eternal Night
Keyboard Solo
5. Lines In The Sand
6. Forsaken
7. The Ministry Of Lost Souls
8. In The Presence Of Enemies
9. Home
10. Misunderstood
11. Take The Time
12. Shmedley Wilcox Medley: I.Trial Of Tears II. Finally Free III. Learning To Live IV. In The Name Of God V. Octavarium (Razor's Edge)

Overally the setlist was alright but I was pretty disapointed they didnt play a single thing off of the Awake album since its pretty much my favorite one. It was nice to see the new material live though and In the Presence of Enemies was absoloutly phenominal live. Seeing Dream Theater is always great, espessially when they play for nearly 3 hours like they did this day.

After the show I headed back to Current. I honestly just wanted to go home but it was 9:30 and I need to leave Tokyo by 8:40 if I want to catch the last train back home so I was stuck there another night. I was getting tired of being out there that long and wanted to see my girlfriend. When I got to current I lit up my Cigar and enjoyed it immensely. A couple of guys (I think they were Australian or something) that were at the DT show came into current and we had a good chat about the show and stuff. Eventually they left and then one of the regulars, a girl who goes by Ja showed up. She was surprised to see me there during the week. We sat and talked and drank together for several hours and also talked with Mogi, the bartender and then we eventually both left and I went to the ussual place to sleep.

I woke up the next day and wanted to get some last casuals in but there was pretty much no comp anywhere. I headed to Ochanomizu to buy a bass amp since I finally brought my bass over from the US when I came back from xmas. I found a great deal on a small used 10 watt amp for about 3000 yen which is perfect since my neighbor is an old granny and I cant blast it too loud anyway. On the way back home I stopped at Akihabara one last time for some more games. There were a few people there but I was beating all of them and then they stopped playing me so I just left and went back home so I could enjoy the rest of the evening with my girlfriend. So thats about it.... I found out that Nightwish is having a concert Friday night of this week in Tokyo as well but I dont know if I can make it on time, but I will most likely be heading out there anyway for more tournament action. Hopefully I can play as good as I did on Sunday again.