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.

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