Monday, April 21, 2008

Akihabara Club Sega and Game Chariot SBO qual finals weekend

My weekend started off as usual with the Friday night trip to Akihabara for casuals. I played a lot of matches and was doing ok but I noticed that my execution just seemed extremely off. It wasnt like I was just dropping a combo here and there... it was like my center of gravity was warped or something. Like I kept hitting diagonals when I was trying to just hit one direction and I kept getting empty normals when I tried to do specials. This pretty much plaugued me throughout the evening but I still managed to win a bunch of matches. Gin was there and I asked him if he was entering the tournament tomorrow but he said he had to work. The night ended with me playing against Haken a few times and losing. I was about to get up and leave but I said fuck it im gonna beat him and I played him again and won. Then a Slayer player who he was there with beasted on me for a few and eventually they all just left so at that point I just said screw it and left as well. I then proceeded to head to Shinjuku.

The number of people at Current was typical of a Friday night, pretty much what I was expecting. I said hi to everyone I knew and right away I noticed there was an unusual ammount of foreigners that I didnt recognize there. I was sitting at a table drinking with Masami and he told me that the group of foreigners was actually the 80's rock band Firehouse. It was completely random and unexpected. Firehouse isnt bad but I really havnt listened to them much since Jr Highschool to be honest and I never had any of their CDs. He told me there was a concert Saturday and Sunday night in Tokyo. I probably could have gone if I wanted to but id much rather play Guilty Gear honestly. The Firehouse dudes were mostly chatting with some Japanese chicks, 2 of which I know that often come to Current and the other 3 were girls I had never seen before. I didnt really get around to talking to any of them, they seemed like nice guys I guess but I just didnt feel very compelled to go start a conversation. Eventually after a while, the Firehouse guys left. One of the girls that I know, Ayami, went with them. I was talking with her friend Mai for a bit and I found out that the 2 of us have the exact same birthday (September 21st), and what makes this even stranger is that the new English teacher that I teach with now at Fujiwara actually has the same birthday as me too! WTF is with that? Random. After a little while it was time for another ghetto magic trick show by Sushi. I dont remember if I mentioned it before but from time to time, Sushi will bust out his random ghetto magic tricks. They only seem to work on drunk girls. Basically he takes a crumbled piece of paper and puts it in his hand. Then he goes next to the girl and makes a fist around the paper. He makes a fist with the other hand and then brings his other hand with the paper down on the fist 3 times sorta like hes using a hammer on a nail or something. However, after the 2nd time of bringing his arm back, he just lets the paper fly out of his hand and it just sorta lands somewhere on the floor in the back. When he opens his hand the paper is gone and the girl is all surprised and shit. Its rather hilarious because its like the most ghetto magic ever and they are still amazed. Sometimes he even runs back behind him and picks the paper up all fast to do the trick again and they dont even seem to notice him do it! He tried it on one of the girls I didnt know and she was all amazed. Then he tried it on the girl I was talking to who I know but she was too smart for that shit. Then he was gonna do it with a bottle of vodka. He motioned for me to go behind her so that he could toss the bottle of vodka behind him and I was supposed to catch it. By this point I already had like 5 beers so I wasnt too confident in my ability to not drop the vodka bottle, but luckely the girl was too smart and knew what was up so he didnt bother throwing it. He had done this in the past though and it actually worked on some wasted chick. LOL! After a while Ayami came back. I left the bar at about 3 since I wanted to get up early to enter the tournament.

Saturday. Today I had 2 options. I could either enter the final prelim for the A-1 series of tournaments which are the ones I have played in up to this point. It would take place at Akihabara club sega before the section finals. My other option was to go to Inage in Chiba which is about 45 mins east of Akihabara. Both tournaments were to start at the same time. I decided that the one at Inage would probably be easier since it was capped at 16 teams and the Akihabara one had no limit. I eventually arrived at Inage and there were only 3 teams signed up and they only had one cabinet. One of the teams there was my old team from the small Game Chariot tournament that I OCVed my way to victory in about a month ago. They were the Faust player Ojima and the ABA player Ryo, and were teamed up with a Potemkin player. I started off by playing against Ryo's ABA in a close game and lost. Once again, just as yesterday, my execution was still retarded and fucked up. I felt like someone put a curse on me or a had suffered a minor stroke or some shit. Then Ojima was telling me some ABA matchup tips like never use the swat forcebreak at all and block more. I played him again and won. I played against various people for a while and pretty much beat everyone there at least once or twice and eventually lost to Potemkin in a close game. During this time I recieved an email from HH who I had emailed way earlier in the week, asking if he would be able to enter the tournaments this weekend. He finally replied to my email just now saying that he would be entering... but with a different team. I didnt really know what to say so I just replied to his email with a frowny face. Needless to say I was pretty upset but honestly not very surprised. After all that shit with Basara's team this just felt like more of the same. At this point I realized that I cant and wont rely on ANYONE but myself. I dont care if I have to OCV my way into SBO, and I dont care how many times it takes, I will not give up, even with no consistant team. To quote Children of Bodom: "I dont give a flying fuck, mother fucker. I dont give a flying fuck, mother fucker. I dont give a flying, I dont give a flying, I dont give a flying fuck." That about sums it up. I had talked with Matt (Hintalove) Friday over email and he said he was interested in going to the quals this weekend. I called him from Inage and we discussed at this point whether it would be better for us to play in the Inage tournament as a 2 person team (seeing as how there would pretty much be no single people showing up to this) or to try at Akihabara to see if we could find a 3rd team member. After much consideration I eventually decided that it might be wise to try to get a full team at Akihabara. I told Matt to meet me there and figured that if Akihabara doesnt work out, we would have just enough time to get back to Inage. I left our names on the signup sheet to hold down the spot. Before I left, a few more teams showed up. I said bye to Ojima and told him I would be back if Akihabara doesnt work out.

Eventually I arived at Club Sega. Matt had gotten there a little bit before me and the line to register was huge and the place was a fucking jungle. You could hardly walk and it took us a long time to stand in line to finally sign up. I asked the Club Sega guy if we could sign up as a 2 man team and he said it was ok, but then I asked him if there was anyone else there who needed a team and he said that there really wasnt anyone, so if we were to play at this tournament we would be stuck as a 2 man team as well. Considering that there were way more top players at Akihabara and the bracket would be massive, we decided it would be in our best interested to go back to Inage. We figured we might JUST make it. After a long train ride we finally got there but we arrived at 2:05 and the tournament was scheduled to start at 2:00. Luckily, they hadnt started yet and were just getting ready to make the brackets. Then I sorta did a double take cuz I saw Kaqn standing there. It seems this tournament wouldnt prove to be so easy afterall. Soon after, the tournament started and there ended up being a total of 9 teams. Our first match, due to random luck of the draw, we got a by. Our 2nd match was vs a team of Jam/Slayer/Testament. Matt went first with his HOS against Jam and lost. He was doing alright but he kept dropping combos. Then I went up against Jam. The first round was very close and we both had very little life left. Then we were in the corner and I threw him and thought the round was over. Then he escaped the throw and I wasnt expecting it and already took my hands off the stick. I got back on the stick but it caught me off guard and he hit me and I lost. However, the next 2 rounds I just zoned really well and won. Up next was Slayer. I think I lost a round but I ended up beating him as well. Finally was Testament. I won the first round. The 2nd round was going fine and I was winning. I almost finished him off with a well timed but far away swat forcebreak and he had a pixel left but then my execution haunted me again and he managed to come back and take the round. Round 3 pretty much was the same way... I basically lost by a pixel. I was pretty bummed because I had beaten him twice before the tournament started and knew I should have won. I hadnt eaten yet all day and Matt was hungry to so we just immedietly left to get some food.

We went to some place called COCO which looked like it was the same as the Curry resturaunt chain except this place sold all kinds of stuff and it rocked pretty hard. I had a top tier cheese quesadilla, some corn soup, and fries. Matt had curry and corn soup. After we ate we decided to go back to the arcade to see the results of the tournament. When we got back the tournament had already ended. I was surprised to find out that Kaqn's team (consisting of Ten (IN) and Denou (AX)) had lost to another team consisting of Hamashoo(JA), Eesu(ED), and Mio(SO). At this point the cabinet was on freeplay and everyone who was in the tournament was welcome to stay and play some free casuals. Matt and I were originally going to head back to Akihabara but we decided to first stay and play some casuals against Kaqn and the others. For a while, Ten's I-no had racked up a few wins and was eventually defeated and then Kaqn had like a 15 win streak. I lost to him twice and I think Matt lost to him 3 times but managed to take a round on him the 3rd game. I played him a 3rd time and surprisingly I actually beat him without losing a round and ended his streak. We played a bit longer and eventually decided to go back to Club Sega. I said goodbye to Kaqn and the guys and we headed out.

When we arrived at Club Sega the finals had already ended. Isa/012/Satoshi came out ahead as the winners. There were still tons of people there playing casuals on 7 cabs so we stayed for a while and got some good games in. At one point Matt wanted to buy a PS2 power cable for his slim PS2 but was having trouble finding it so I showed him where Superpotato was but unfortunately it was closed so we headed back for more games. Gin was there and I asked him if he entered the tournament but he said no and that he was just there for post tournament casuals. I managed to beat Ogawa again in a game of casuals but he was using Potemkin. Though not his Eddie, his Potemkin is still pretty buff. HH was there as well. At one point he was sitting right next to me on the other cabinet after I had beat Ogawa but he didnt say a single word to me the entire time. Eventually I lost to someone and went to the other side of the cabinet to play against HH, I wanted to remind him that im not a scrub. He was racking up a pretty big win streak. During this time I played him twice and lost in 2 close matches. The 3rd time I beat him. Then he came over to the other side and was just kinda standing in the corner and watching people play. I beat someone else and eventually he came over to the other side and rematched me and this time he won. He got another win streak and beat me a 2nd time. Matt wanted to go drinking and it was getting kinda late but I wanted to play HH one more time. The final game against him, I won all 3 rounds and finished the final round by perfecting him. It felt VERY good. As soon as I won I got up and just left the cab and we headed out to go back to Shinjuku.

Tonight at Current was surprisingly packed with lots of people. Right away when we entered there was this random young wasted Japanese dude that just started talking to us. He says it was his first time there and he just kept going on and on about all kinds of stuff. There were a lot of people I knew there and I went and said hi to them all. Firehouse was also there again, sitting at a table in the very back. Matt and I were talking with Megu for a bit and the young wasted guy kept talking with us too. As the night went on, his Japanese was getting harder and harder to understand, but not just for us, because Megu said she didnt understand half the shit the dude was talking about either. He was only on like his 3rd drink and was already destroyed, just talking about how he was going to drink until he died or something. I went around talking to more various people and eventually Megu was kinda wasted so she wanted to take a short nap on one of the benches in the back. At this point a lot of the people that were there earlier, including Firehouse, had cleared out. At one point the wasted dude went over and was like pestering Megu while she was sleeping so I went over there to sorta like draw his attention away from her. Shortly after he passed out as well. At about 4 am, Chip showed up with Sawa. They said they spent most of the night at 16 Shots. After another hour of drinking it was time to leave at 5. The wasted guy wouldnt wake up so Sushi, Mogi, Chip, and Matt lifted him up and physically removed him from the bar and put him on the floor outside the front door. I found this hilarious since this guy was such a jackass so I took some pictures of it on my cellphone as they hauled his ass out. Shortly after he was put outside he sorta woke up in a daze and eventually collected himself enough to stumble off. I said goodbye to everyone and headed out. Matt went back to the train station to go home and I went to the manga kissa as usual.

The next day I woke up and my head hurt a bit. It wasnt all that bad though, nothing a little time and a headache pill couldnt fix. Today would be the final prelim in the B-1 Chiba qualifier series followed by the finals. After a long train ride I arrived at Game Chariot about a half hour before the tournament was to start. I emailed Matt and he slept through his alarm and also had a hangover so I was on my own to find a team. Luckely when I went to sign up, I saw that there was a 2 man team consisting of JT and the venom player I had teamed up with along with 012 when we won that Akihabara tournament before winter break. I found JT and asked him if I could join their team today and they said it was cool. I guess having me is better than having no one hah. I played a few casuals before the tournament and this time my execution no longer felt like I was under a curse as it had for the entire weekend up to this point. I guess getting a hangover is somehow a cure for bad execution. Is there anything beer cant do? The setup at Game Chariot was really nice. They had 6 cabs for casuals and then 2 cabinets in a seperate area off to the side kinda set up in a way where they were slanted side to side rather than outright head to head with a huge flatscreen TV in the middle for viewing. I took a picture with my phone that ill upload soon. im pretty sure everything was taped though I have no idea exactly how much of it will end up online. 24 teams entered the prelim. Our first match was against SO KY and HOS. They told me to anchor and JT went first with his Millia (im pretty sure he used to play Eddie a long time ago but has been using Millia since ive known him). JT ended up OCVing their entire team with not too much trouble. After that we waited a little bit longer and I played a few more casuals and then it was time for our next match. Our opponent was Hi (Ba)/Torinotake (TE)/ and a Zappa player whos name I didnt catch. This time our Venom player went first against Hi's Baiken. He won the first round, and the 2nd round was almost his, he needed one more hit but just couldnt land it and lost. 3rd round he lost once more. I went next. I tried zoning him but he was able to get in on me and I also fell to his Baiken. Finally JT went and unfortunately lost as well resulting in our team getting OCVd. I wonder if things would have turned out different if our Venom got that last hit in on the 2nd round but I guess ill never know.

After that I was pretty hungry so I went to the Family Mart nextdoor to get some food. I was sitting outside on the step in front of the arcade eating my Yakisoba and Nakamura came out of the conbini with some fried chicken and started talking to me. He asked who my team was and how we were doing and I told him we lost to Baiken and stuff. I wished him goodluck in the finals. Nakamura is a nice guy. After that I headed back inside and played some more casuals for a bit. Eventually it was time for the top 3 teams to face in a round robin to decide the winner of the prelim. One of the teams to make it was Zero/Haken/Minami-chipp which didnt surprise me considering they won a prelim in the A-1 series before. The team that beat our team today was also one of the top 3. The last team was Nanashi/Maruken/Kai (previously known on my blog as "spikey hair potemkin"). First match Zero's team was OCVed by Kai, though Kai went 2nd, I didnt see who played first and lost. I was surprised to see Kai beat Haken in a mirror match. Up next, Zero OCVd Hi's team. When he was fighting Torinotake, he slashbacked an EXE beast and did this crazy IAD loop combo that brought him from one corner all the way to the other. It seriuosly looked like the kinda stuff youd usually see Jam do to Potemkin and was pretty awsome seeing HOS do it to Testament. Then it was Nanashi team vs Hi team. First was Nanashi vs Torinotake which resulted in Nanashi winning by just a hair. Then Hi proceeded to defeat Nanashi, Kai, and then beat Maruken in a Baiken mirror match which also shocked me. The result was a 3 way tie, each team having one win and one loss, but Zero's team had the best record as far as wins/losses per set so they won.

After that there was a brief intermission as they prepared for the finals tournament which would be a 5 team round robin. During this time I seperately asked both JT and the Venom that I teamed with if they would want to team up again for next weekend but both of them said they will not enter next weekends tournament, which is Japanese for "no, I dont want to team up with you again" most likely. Granted I didnt actually do anything for the team this tournament but in all fairness we did get OCVed by the same guy. Oh well. As I said before, im not gonna depend on anyone else anyway. For all I know they really wont enter next weekend but it doesnt matter.

It was now time for the finals to start. Just about everyone gathered around and was watching. These were some pretty hype finals. The 5 teams were, OsakaB(FA)/FAB(PO)/Nakamura(MI), Nemo(TE)/Koichi(MI)/Endo(MA), Zero(HOS)/Haken(PO)/Minami-chipp(CH), the 4th team I cant remember exactly but they had a Testament player and a Potemkin player I think. The final team was actually just a lone Sol player, whos other 2 team mates, for whatever reason, were not at the tournament... so he was forced to play all his matches alone. I honestly dont remember the entire results of every match of the 5 on 5 round robin but here are some highlights. The lone Sol player lost to every team he played against. When he fought against Endo's May, he got forward punched out of a riot stomp into dizzy combo and got IKed/perfected the first round. He then proceeded to counter-perfect May. Unfortunately for him he was not able to win the 3rd round, and while it wasnt a perfect, he did end up getting IKed again by May. None of the other teams were able to beat Nakamura team or Nemo team. Both teams had a perfect win record up until the final match of the tournament in which they were to face eachother. I honestly thought that from the start, one of these 2 teams were going to win the tournament, though I was kinda rooting for OsakaB cuz he plays Faust and hes always really nice to me and same with Nakamura. FAB is like fighting a tank so I wasnt expecting that anyone would be able to take him down. Nemo is actually really cool too, but I dont really know Koichi or Endo very well so I kinda rooting for OsakaB team. Unfortunately when the finals finally started, there was very little time before I had to leave to catch the last train that would allow me to make it back home tonight. Up first was Endo vs FAB. Endo put up a good fight and there were some good rounds, but FAB came through. Up next was Koichi. I thought for sure FAB was gonna beast but Koichi just mixed him the fuck up and he just got rushed down hard and lost. Up next was OsakaB. Millia is a very bad matchup for Faust but I guess they didnt want to do a Millia mirror match so they put OsakaB next. I wasnt very surprised to see him struggle with this fight. He lost to Koichi 2 rounds straight. At this point I had to leave. I really wanted to stay and watch but it was a matter of minutes until my train left so I just quickly took a picture of the brackets on the wall (which I will post later so you can see) and ran the fuck out to the train platform. I caught my train on time and enjoyed a long 4+ hour train ride back to my town. Upon checking online, it seems that Nemo's team defeated Nakamura though it isnt clear if Nakamura won the mirror match and lost to Nemo or if Koichi beat him.

So that about does it for this weekend. Next weekend a new series of qualifiers will start, and this time they are based in my very own prefecture of Gunma as well as some in the neighboring prefecture of Tochigi. At the same time while these Gunma/Tochigi ones are going on (they are B-3), there will also be a series in Kanagawa (the prefecture south of Tokyo, these will be the B-2 series). My main goal is to qualify in Gunma. I think its going to be a much easier time since less extremely strong players are probably going to travel to Gunma but honestly I really cant say. I am expecting to see a lot of Saitama players and maybe even some from Tokyo. Though I think most of the strong players will travel to Kanagawa because its closer for them. Matt says that he will go as well so for now I at least have a 2 man team. I dont know the likelyhood of finding any other good players that are willing to join me in Gunma but I guess Ill just see how it goes when I get there. The bottom line is, if im gonna qualify I need to do it myself. Any help is just a bonus.

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