Monday, June 9, 2008

The Ice Emperor and Mike's Fan Club!

My plan this weekend was to enter tournaments in Ibaraki prefecture, which is East of Tochigi. For Saturday, I was going to team with Shiratori and Ma (the Venom player we teamed with last time). Sunday, those guys would be busy so I had no team set at the moment.

Friday night I went to Vegas to play casuals. I was gonna meet up with Kyle there but he ended up calling me, saying he was busy and couldn’t make it. A number of noteworthy players were there such as HH, Kazuki’s entire team, Hase, Hot Zappa, Pink Female Slayer, and other various good people. There were lots of people so there was long waiting time to play. At first I was just feeling really off and kept losing most of my matches to HH, Kazuki, and Kiro (AKA Kifa by the way… Ki=kiro Fa = Faust). I kept getting owned by tick throws even though I was expecting them. My reaction time felt really sluggish. Eventually I beat some Faust in a mirror match and finally won one. Then I lost to a Baiken and a Venom but after that I managed to beat Kazuki. I asked Kifa what tournament his team would be entering tomorrow (there were several tournaments scheduled for this weekend). Much to my surprise, he said his team would be going to Sendai, which is FAR… maybe like 2 or 3 hours on the shinkansen… probably like 6 hours or more on the regular train. After playing for a while, the random street fighter player who I met at TRF just appears out of no where! He was the guy who was asking me and Matt all those questions about English and other stuff when I went to TRF after my Kansai trip for the first Tougeki qualifier. He asked if I remembered him and I said yea (how could I forget lol..). He proceeded to ask me another long series of questions, mostly about fighting games and the US scene. He said that he is interested in learning Guilty Gear and wants to learn Sol. He asked me if I was getting tired of Guilty Gear since its been around for so long, I said no (and this question is coming from a guy who only plays ST haha). He told me that a friend of his told him that this SBO will probably be the last year for Accent Core. I asked him if his friend works for Tougeki or something but he said no. So basically its just a rumor floating around. I honestly hope its not the last year for Guilty Gear since the game is still so popular. We also had a discussion regarding the best way to learn fighting games. Like reading vs watching vids vs playing. I eventually played some more matches and started winning a bit more. During that time, random SF guy just vanished and I never saw him after that. I played HH a bunch more times but just couldn’t beat him since I was just not playing very well that night. I eventually did beat him but it felt like he just let me win because he wanted to go home. I won all 3 rounds and it didn’t seem very hard. It was late so he probly just wanted to go home. I felt kinda insulted though that he would just throw a match. I pretty much stayed at Vegas until they started to turn off the lights and close the place down since I really wanted to practice as much as I could. After that I got some quick food and headed to Current.

When I got to Current, it was not like crazy packed but there were a good amount of people, most of which I knew. The Norwegian duo of Slightly pudgy guy (SPG) and 27 year old virgin (27yov) were there. I asked 27yov if he got laid last weekend. He said that him and the slutty chick walked around Kabukicho for a while looking for a love hotel but they were all full so he just gave up (and SPG told me he basically chickened out and this isn’t the first time this has happened). I told him its too bad because that slutty chick would have been gone by now. But then suddenly, the bathroom door opens and slutty chick comes out of the bathroom and goes and sits in the back of the bar! I was like “dude! Why arnt you talking to her?! You still have a chance!” and hes all just like “blablabla I give up, you go talk to her instead”. Im like… “dude, im not trying to hit that shit, go for it!”. He just kinda sat at the bar. Slutty chick came and said hi to me and asked me to sit with her and her 2 friends (the same Christian girl from last time and some other chick who looked pretty ordinary). I sat with them for a few mins and made small talk and then I needed to go buy another beer. Then I ended up talking to Rina for a while (another girl that I know that goes there often but havnt seen in a while). I guess 27yov had a change of heart cuz then he decided to go sit with slutty chick. Not long after, she was once again straddling his lap, making out. She kept trying to get him to dance with her but he wouldn’t get up. SPG was busy talking to this one other chick at the bar pretty much the entire night. Eventually Chip showed up at about 3 am and said he was at 16 shots earlier. Also, throughout the course of the night, Sushi was flirting with just about every girl in the place as usual and did some more of his ghetto magic tricks! I guess these girls were too smart or not drunk enough because they figured him out pretty fast. He still kept doing it though haha. He even tried to do the trick where he tries to make a bottle disappear by throwing it over his shoulder and having someone else catch it, but the dude he threw the bottle too totally missed it and it landed on the floor. Good thing he used a plastic water bottle and not a bottle of vodka like he did last time, that shit woulda been ugly heh. At about 4 am I decided to head out and go to sleep. Tomorrows tournament would take about an hour and a 15 minutes to get to, and I wanted to get there early to practice. Plus, the arcade is about 30 minutes walking distance from the train station, so Shiratori said he would pick me up and give me a ride.

I slept at the usual spot, woke up at around 10, and headed to the train station. After a nice nap on the train I arrived at Tsukuba station in Ibaraki prefecture. Shiratori mailed me saying he might be slightly late since he had to work this morning. I waited around in front of the station for about 20 minutes. During this time, I saw Kaqn, Kishitaka, and Basara come out of the station together. I said hi to them and said I was waiting for my friend to give me a ride. They walked to the arcade. Eventually Shiratori showed up in his car. In his car was also Ma, our Venom player, and another guy whos name was Kosyou. I asked him if he plays Gear and he said yes, but that he was not very good and would just be watching today.

After a short drive we arrived at the Pink Panther game center. They had 2 cabinets and there were already a shit ton of people there. So much for getting lots of casuals in before the tournament. For a while, Hase had a win streak on one cab, and Basara had a win streak on the other. It was like some team Slayer beat down fest where they just kept destroying anyone who came at them. It reminded me of one of those cheesy 80’s action movies where the 2 partners stand back to back and a circle of goons surrounds them and they just destroy all of them. Eventually they did lose though. Shortly after the tournament started. Osaka B’s usual team with ASA and Shuumatsu was there, as well as Hase’s regular team, Heavy Metal Venom team, and the Kaqn team I saw earlier. 16 teams entered total. Ma signed our team up and I asked him what he put for the team name. He said we were called “Kori no Emperor” which means Emperor of Ice. I found this name extremely random and amusing. It was time for everyone to taste our frosty wrath. Our first match was vs a team of TE JA CH. Shiratori goes first against TE and wins. Up next he fights JA but loses. I decide to go next. I win the first round pretty convincingly. 2nd round, Jam comes at me hard and I lose in a close one. Last match was very close. I got Jam in the corner and finished it with a FDC kick overhead combo for the win. Finally it was me vs Chipp. Everyone on my team, of course including myself, hate Chipp. I figured id give it my best. First round I take it in a close match. Second round, it was down to a pixel, and I dove down on chip with a pogo forcbreak. He blocked it, but I managed to sneak in a overhead bagface punch off the pogo stance and it finished him off. Everyone was relieved because they all said they would have probly lost to Chipp. In between our next match, for some reason, Osaka B was playing SFII rainbow edition on some random cab full of roms. During this time, Kaqn OCVed some random team. Heavy Metal Venom team also wins their first game. Our next match was against a team of CH SL BA. This time Ma wanted to go first. Unfortunately, they put their Chipp player first. Ma said it would be impossible for him to win. Chipp beat him down pretty bad. I guess this is a bad matchup for Venom? I decided since I was able to take out the first Chipp, I would go ahead and give it a try again so I went next. I just played really careful and used really good zoning and managed to beat this Chipp player as well, much to my surprise. Up next was Slayer. I forgot who won which rounds, but it went to round 3. It was fairly close and I remember I threw a bomb and then it exploded and I air teleported over it and landed on slayer, I FRCed and tried a mixup but he blocked it. Then I ended up in the air and Slayer followed. He was doing a pressure string on me but I was blocking and FDing it. Then he ended the string with that Slayer hurricane kick move where he spins his cape. I would have been able to punish him after this but my finger slipped and touched the slash button for a second and my FD turned into a slashback on accident which ended up missing and I got hit and died… I was really confused because I was sure I was gonna take that round. What a stupid mistake. Shiratori went next but unfortunately got beat down by Slayer. That’s the end of that. Shiratori wanted to head out at this point so I told them I would go with since they offered to give me a ride back to the train station. As we were leaving, Osaka B team was fighting Hase team. On the way back to the train station, I asked Shiratori if he could team up again next weekend. He said he had work so he wouldn’t be able to enter. However, Ma said that he wanted to team up with me. He suggested we form a team with Kosyou. Kosyou claims he isn’t good but perhaps hes just being modest. Ive had people say they arnt good to me before and have it turn out where they are quite good afterall. He said he also plays Eddie which doesn’t hurt. I figured its worth a shot, so next Saturday I will team up with Ma and Kosyou for the Ibaraki finals tournament. After they dropped me off at the station I thanked them and said bye and headed to the train.

After the train ride, I headed to Akihabara to play some casuals since it was still early in the day. I called Kyle and told him I would go there to play casuals and to meet me there. When I arrived, Ogawa was there and was playing as Slayer. He had like 50 something wins. There was another Slayer player sitting next to him who also had a 50 something win streak. I think it was Asaha, the Slayer Ogawa teamed with last week. It was another 80’s action movie Slayer moment. I played against Ogawa’s Slayer I think like 3 times and on the 3rd time, I ended his win streak at 60 wins! Right after, Ogawa came over to the other side of the cab and told me it was a good match and that I was strong and played well. However, he was like making sure that I knew that he doesn’t player Slayer seriously and doesn’t plan on it. He seemed a bit embarrassed. I asked him if he was going to enter any tournaments tomorrow but he said he wasn’t going to be able to. At some point, Osaka B showed up and I asked him who had won the tournament we were just at. He said that Hase’s team had won.

I figured for my team the next day, I would team with Kyle and find one more person. I emailed about 5 different people in my phone, including Gin. Gin seemed sorta interested but said he wasn’t sure. It turned out he was actually at club sega too and I just didn’t see him. I went over to him and asked and he asked who our 3rd was. I told him it was Kyle and then he suddenly seemed rather reluctant to team with us, saying he was probly going to be busy. Umemura also replied apologizing for not having contacted me for a while, saying he had lost his phone and also that he already had a team for tomorrow. Eventually Kyle showed up. I told him that as of now, I had no team lined up for tomorrow. I asked him if he would team with me and we could try to find a 3rd. I figured he was gonna say yes, but he said that he didn’t feel like he was strong enough. He said he wanted to train and play casuals more instead and hoped to do better at a qualifier in a few weeks or something. I tried to convince him that while practicing is good, he shouldn’t just give up on trying to enter tournaments right now, as there are only a few weeks left and hes not gonna become an EXTREMELY large amount better between now and a few weeks by skipping tournaments to play casuals, espessially when all the best players are gonna be at the tournaments anyway and he can always play casuals at those after they are over. He seemed pretty set in stone on not entering so at this point I was stuck with no team. It seemed pretty hopeless but suddenly while I was playing a match of casuals, I got a very unexpected email from none other than MIU! He said he had the day off tomorrow and asked if I wanted to join his team. I was rather surprised since I wasn’t expecting him to have free time so I hadn’t even bothered asking him to team since the last time I saw him. He said that we would be teaming with a May player named Roupa and that he wanted to enter the Hachiyoji tournament which is part of the Tokyo C-3 block. I was originally planning to go to the next B-6 block which is the Ibaraki one I was at today, but that one was packed with strong players too, so it didn’t really seem to matter which one I went to, either way there was gonna be a bunch of beastly teams. Of course I agreed so now I was set for tomorrow. I told Kyle it all worked out so to not worry about it. After a few more hours of casuals there, it started to die down. Eventually Kyle went home. There was a point where I was sitting at the cab next to Osaka B and both of us had racked up pretty decent win streaks with Faust. So we had our own little Faust partners 80’s action movie moment. I told him that I wore one of those ugly Gundam ties to work earlier in the week and he found it amusing. Eventually Osaka B lost to a Jam player and a few matches later I lost to an I-no player. It was getting late so I said goodbye to Osaka B and I decided to go to Vegas and see how the comp was over there.

When I arrived at Vegas, HH was there again, and much to my surprise, Shouji was there! (Shouji is the Testament player who was on the 1st place SBO team from last year). I hadn’t seen him since like DF2 weekend, hes a cool guy. There was a decent amount of people here as well. I had also gotten an email from my friend Liz who was in Tokyo and she wanted to meet up for some drinks, but said that she couldn’t stay out all night. At this point it was about 9:30. Matt said he would arrive in Shinjuku at 10 so I just told Liz I would meet her at Current at 10 and told Matt to go directly there.

When I got to Current, much to my surprise, there was a special event going on. Unfortunately it was a Disco/ tribute to Prince event…. That’s right, Current was playing nothing but disco and Prince music. To top it off, the place was packed with people, but aside from the guys who work there (Sushi, Mogi, Masami), and Liz, I didn’t know who a single one of these random fucking disco people were. They had some guest DJ who was all groovin to his disco and gettin down behind the DJ area heh. I talked with Liz for a bit about random shit. She said she had a date with some guy who lives in Yokohama tomorrow whos he met on a rafting trip not long ago. She said she had spent the day in the library researching Universities and plans to try to get into Harvard after JET. Goodluck with that! It certainly wont be easy, but anythings worth a shot. At some point in there, Matt showed up. We were sorta thinking about getting the fuck outta there cuz the music sucked and they were showing some whack-ass Prince music video of a bunch of dudes doing coriagraphed dance routines dressed as Batman and Joker (there were multiple Batmans and Jokers). Plus the music was like WAY too loud and we could hardly talk. We figured going to GODZ might be a better alternative. Matt wanted to stick around cuz Megu was supposed to meet him there soon, but he mailed her and told her to go to GODZ instead so we headed out.

On the way to GODZ, Liz decided to just go to the train station since her last train back was going to be coming somewhat soon. When Matt and I arrived at GODZ, just as we were about to go instead, he received an email from Megu saying she didn’t wanna go to GODZ because the music there is too loud. Current was just as bad tonight with that but the music was crappy. But then Chip mailed me and said he was going to Current as well, and so did this one other regular girl named Saeko, so we figured, fuck it, lets go back to Current. However, at this point it was only like 11:30, and we were pretty close to Vegas, so we decided to go play a few more games of GG before going back to Current.

There were still a decent amount of people at Vegas including HH and Shouji. At this point I had already had like 3 beers so I was feeling pretty buzzed. As a result, my playing was much more aggressive. And because my play was much more aggressive, this time I was doing very well against HH. My problem was that he was just getting too much garbage out on the screen and kept getting me pinned down and I would just die to his mixups. This time, I just kept stuffing his summons and just rushed him the fuck down and I beat him. Then he beat me again in a close one but then I beat him again pretty convincingly. After that, Im not sure who it was (possibly HH?!), but some Faust player played against me and I destroyed him. I don’t think Matt was really in the mood to play. He was having trouble against a Testament player and was getting pretty pissed off. He slammed on the machine kinda hard when he lost. I had to go take a whiz from all the beer I drank so I asked Matt to watch my game. As I was going to the bathroom I passed by Shouji who said hi as he was heading for the GG cabs. When I got out of the bathroom, Matt was playing my Faust against Shouji’s Ky (I don’t know why he was playing Ky). Naturally, since Matt doesn’t play Faust, Shouji had 2 wins and was about to take the 3rd round. I quickly got on the cab and switched with Matt and was able to salvage the round and win. I won the next round as well. The last round was like down to a pixel but I lost. We stayed for a bit longer but soon after we figured it was a good time to go back to Current since everyone would be there soon.

After we got back to Current, quite a few regulars were there now. Slutty chick was there again. Megu showed up soon after, as well as Chip, and Mai. We stuck around for a few more beers and all talked for a bit about various things, trying to tune out the shitty disco music. Eventually we all decided it would be a good time to GTFO. Chip wanted to go to GODZ and I was all for it. However, Megu wanted to go to visual kei bar and Matt wanted to stick with her, so our party split up into 2 groups. Matt, Saeko, and Megu went to the visual kei bar, and Chip, Mai, slutty chick, and myself went to GODZ. GODZ was pretty decent, there were a few people there and they were playing good stuff. There was this one other girl there, and slutty chick kept dancing with her all sexual and shit. She then proceeded to tell me that she isn’t bisexual. She said she had sex with a girl before but didn’t really enjoy it. She certainly seemed to enjoy dancing with this girl though haha. So I asked her if she slept with 27yov last night and she said she totally didn’t. I told her he was a virgin since this would be the last time any of us would see her since shes going back to England in a few days. She totally didn’t believe me haha. At some point, somehow, a random rubix cube was busted out by someone. Chip proceeded to tell me he ownz rubix cubes. About 10 minutes after he said that, I look over and he did infact own the rubix cube! All 6 sides were the same color! Pretty amazing shit, I was never good at those things. I also noticed he was wearing a Chopstick Tattoo shirt (the tattoo company in Osaka, I met the owner when I was at Rock Rock before). At about 4 am I once again decided I should get to sleep since I wanted to get up early for practice tomorrow. I said goodbye and headed out.

I woke up the next day at 10 again. I took the train and got off at Tachikawa station. If you were paying attention, you would remember that I said todays tournament would be in Hachiyoji. So you might be asking… why would I have gotten off at Tachikawa? That’s a good question, and the answer is: im a dumbass and mixed up the train stations. Both of them are on the same line and are only about 4 stations apart. However, for whatever reason, my brain was just thinking Tachikawa. I went into the arcade where I had played at in Tachikawa before (game OSLO), but it was dead. I asked the guy where the Tougeki tournament was and he told me it was at an arcade down the street. I went into the next arcade but it was also dead. Then I emailed MIU and asked him what the arcade was called, and he said it was called TOMATO Hachiyoji. At this point I realized im a dumbass and got back on the train and headed to Hachiyoji. Unfortunately im not the only one who made a mistake today. I arrivedat TOMATO game center only to find it was also the wrong arcade. I then asked the dude there what arcade its really at and he said UFO, which is the same arcade in Hachiyoji where I had played in a tournament a long time ago, the first and only time I had been there. I knew where it was so it didn’t take long to get there after this point. I probably arrived there at about 12:30. The tournament wasn’t scheduled to start till 2 so it was ok. When I got here, there were a good amount of people. They had 3 cabs setup. The usual FAB team was there, and there was also a team of Yosaan and Kami-chan, but this time they were teamed with Minami-Chipp instead of Imo, who was not there. Some other good players like HEVEN, Masutani, HH, Kusoru, TEN, and others were there as well. Gin was there as well afterall and had found another team, some guys I didn’t know. I guess he just didn’t wanna team with me cuz I was gonna have Kyle on my team. His loss. He was surprised when I told him I was teaming with MIU today instead. I asked MIU, who had already registered our team, what our team name was. He said he named the team “Mike’s Fan Club” LOL!!! Sweet…

Eventually the tournament started. For their first match of the tournament, FAB’s team was OCVed by TEN! I was shocked. Our first match came soon after. It was against a team of BA ED KY. MIU went first. Before our match he seemed really fired up and excited to play. He beat the fucking shit out of Baiken, baiting like every single one of her counters. Up next he went against ED. He won the first round. In the 2nd round, he was getting beat down by Eddie but he made a huge come back when he did a tigerkneed Volcanic Viper which was blocked and then he RCed it like just off the ground, landed into a command throw, and did a huge sidewinder loop that just destroyed Eddie. He also did this awesome mixup earlier where he jumped over his head, and backdashed to the other side, and hit with a RCed VV into another sidewinder. MIU was busting out his bag of tricks. He went next against KY but unfortunately he lost. I went next against KY. I lost the first round in a close fight. I was determined to win so I just played really tight and patient and ended up winning the next 2 rounds. After I beat KY, Yosaan and his team came and shook my hand and gave me props. For our next match, Roupa went first with his May. Our next opponents were a team of IN FA MI. Roupa proceeded to just lay on the May bullshit and OCVed their entire team! Our 3rd match (which was now in the semi finals) was against Kami-chan’s team. Roupa went first again and managed to beat Kami-chan 2 rounds in a row! Up next was Minami-chipp. Roupa takes round one. He then loses round 2. Round 3 was close as hell and both of them just needed to land the next hit for the win. There was lots of dancing around but eventually Minami-chipp snuck in the last hit and won. I was to go next so I figured I would do my best against Chipp as I did yesterday. Minami-chipp is much better than the other Chipp’s I played (one of the best Chipp’s in Japan). I did ok the first round but lost. 2nd round I kept getting mixed up in the corner and I couldn’t see him because he did “find me!” and the color he chose was blending in with the background really well. I sorta panicked and I lost. I figured MIU would be able to clean it up. Round 1, MIU gets perfected! Ouch… round 2 was closer but MIU lost once again…. And that was the end of this tournament for us. This is now the 5th time ive lost in the semi finals of an SBO qualifier. Blah…

It was now time for the finals, which was a 3 team round robin. The 3 teams were Kami-chan(SL)/Yoosan(IN)/Minami-chipp team, HEVEN(VE)/BOB(ED)/and some Axl player team, and Masutani(VE)/Kiyap(ED)/and some Dizzy player team. Since there were 3 cabs going on at the same time for the earlier part of the tournament, I didn’t see who some of the other big names lost to but these were the top 3. First match, HEVEN vs Minamai-chipp. HEVEN takes round 1, Minami takes round 2, HEVEN perfects Minami round 3 (maybe VE vs CH isn’t a bad matchup afterall!?!). Up next, HEVEN beats Kami-chan 2 rounds in a row. Then Yosaan beats HEVEN 2 rounds in a row. Yosaan then does the same to the Axl player but in the end BOB takes out Yosaan 2 rounds in a row for the win. The next match was Yosaan team vs Masutani team. First was Kami-chan vs Masutani. Kami-chan wins round 1, Masutani wins round 2, Kami-chan takes round 3. Kami-chan then fights Kiyap’s ED winning round 1 but then losing the next 2 rounds. Yosaan then defeats Kiyap, ending it with a burst grab. Finally Yosaan takes out the Dizzy player for the win. Final match was Masutani vs HEVEN team. BOB ends up OCVing their entire team in the order of Masutani, DI, Kiyap without losing a single round! Ouch… So there you have it, HEVEN/BOB/some Dizzy player win today’s tournament. There are still several tournaments left for the C-3 block though.

After that I stayed and played casuals for the rest of the day. I told MIU to contact me next time he was able to team up again and he said he would. I asked Roupa if he wanted to team next week but he says hes going on a trip to Hawaii so he cant. At some point I left to get some food at a place called “This is the Burger, Hachiyoji” which had these giant fucking burgers. I got the “Tachikawa Burger” which had just about everything on it including egg and ham. Aside from the burgers they have at King Kong burger in Omaha, this is the biggest burger ive ever eaten. I finished the whole combo meal and was stuffed as hell and had sauce all over my face haha. After cleaning up in the bathroom, I played some more casuals for the rest of day, getting some good wins here and there. Eventually I had to catch the last train.

On my way back I slept for most of the way. When I got to Takasaki, both Liz and Cynthia were there and we took the same train back to our town and talked. Liz told us her date went alright and they went to a Ramen Museum (lol) in Yokohama. So next week I have a team set for Saturday but don’t know whats going on yet with Sunday. Im sure ill figure something out. This weekend was fun and I did well in the tournaments for the most part but just need to push myself a little harder next time. Don’t count me out yet!

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