Monday, June 16, 2008

Random Select

On Thursday, Ryoko (my girlfriend) and I went to this really awesome waterfall area in Katashina, which is a town sorta in the same area as the one we live. I had never been there before. It was pretty amazing with lots of nice scenery. We took a bunch of pictures which I have uploaded to the pictures page. After that we went back to my place. I got an email from Ma (the Venom I teamed up with last week) confirming our plans to team up on Saturday. We sent a few emails back and forth and he was asking me to teach him English and kept putting all these smiley faces in his emails. He eventually asked me if I live alone. I told him yes, but that my girlfriend is here all the time so its fine, and that she was actually with me right now. He then said something along the lines of “Oooh I want to play too!” with various suggestive smileys. My girlfriend found this extremely hilarious and disturbing at the same time haha. I was getting the vibe that Ma was hitting on me 0_o. I changed the subject after that asking if he could team with me on Sunday LOL! Due to being broke, he cant btw since its too far from where he lives. Anyway, on Friday, all of the ALT’s (assistant language teachers) in my prefecture would meet in Maebashi for a conference that would last all day. They were having a clothes drive for the poor so Ryoko helped me go through my old clothes and we found a few things I didn’t need. Remember that pink doctor’s cosplay outfit that Ma gave me after he won it from a UFO catcher machine at the Fukaya tournament? Well it was pretty lame and crappy, but good enough to wear for a homeless person or something, so I figured id give it away. I also really didn’t need all those Dragonball ties I got from Rina, so I figured I could donate one of those too. In addition, I found an old sorta ashy grey suit jacket in my closet that the person who lived in my apartment before me had left there. As I was putting the stuff in the bag, I joked how if all these were worn together it would make a pretty hilarious suit. Ryoko wanted me to try it on. The result was a bunch of ridiculous pictures of me looking like some bum wearing a pink shirt with a yellow Dragonball tie and this ugly suit coat. I grabbed a bottle of rum to complete the look. She insisted on taking some pictures so I uploaded those too, haha.

So yea… Friday I went to Maebashi for an ALT conference instead of going to work as usual. It was pretty chill, got to see lots of people I havnt seen in a long time and didn’t really have to do any work. The conference lasted till like 4 pm and after that I headed straight for Tokyo. I arrived in Akihabara and went to Club Sega for some casuals. Andrew (722), the Bridget player from STL Mossouri, had just arrived in Japan earlier this week and would be living here for a while. He wanted to meet up here tonight. He arrived shortly after I did with some friend of his that I never met before. He told me his plan was to join a Japanese puppet troupe and then take a class at a school somewhere in Kansai and after that he would be doing some more puppet action. I forgot what his friend was doing, but he just started playing Guilty Gear not long ago. We played various casuals for a while. Lots of beastly players were there. I ended up beating some Slayer who had like 16 wins. Mike (the Jam player) was there, and we all played him a bunch of times but he was just too beastly to slay. He had like a 60 something win streak by the time we left Club Sega. Eventually at some point, Matt showed up. As it got later, Andrew and his friend had to leave. I wanted them to come to Current with us but Andrew doesn’t really drink and his friend wanted to leave or something so they headed out. Andrew was actually going to head to Nagoya the next day which is where he is gonna be living for a while. After playing at Club Sega for just a bit longer, Matt and I decided to head to Shinjuku.

We stopped over at Vegas for a few more games. Osaka B was there and we gave each other an epic high five and I sat down at the cab next to him and we did a little team Faust beasting. He had a sick mask on and said he had a cold. He eventually lost to someone so he went over to the other side to challenge me to some Faust mirror match action. He won like 2 or something, and then I won a couple and he eventually left. While we were at Vegas, I emailed Ma (the Venom player I was going to team with tomorrow) and asked him what time he would arrive at the tournament tomorrow. The Ibaraki finals tournament place was like a half hour walk away from the Ishioka train station or more, so I asked him if he could pick me up from the station since they had a car. He said it was cool and to be there at 11. Kinda early since it’s a 2 hour train ride from Shinjuku but I told him id be there. After a bit more playing, Matt and I left Vegas, grabbed some quick grub and headed to Current.

As we were walking there we saw Megu who was also going to Current. We caught up with her and went in together. Slightly Pudgy Guy (SPG) was there but 27yov didn’t come this time. Mogi, Masami, and Sushi were there as usual, as well as a bunch of various girls and some other random dudes. At one point, Megu went to one of the tables in the back and started painting her nails black. I don’t remember the sequence of events that led up to it, but next thing I know shes back at the bar sitting next to Matt, and shes painting his nails black too! I found this hilarious. Since it was for the sake of getting laid I guess its all good. I decided to be dick and egg Megu on. I asked her if she had any black eye liner and told her how Matt would look good if she put it on him! She thought it was a good idea, and Matt couldn’t say no lol! Matt was already looking somewhat borderline emo, wearing a collared shirt and one of those skinny ties and his hair was sorta combed how Peter Parker did his hair when he turned all emo in Spiderman 3. With the makeup and eye liner he sorta looked like one of those emo-goth hybrid kids. We took some hilarious pictures of him. I will upload that as well haha. Later on in the night, a bunch of people just showed up out of nowhere and the place got really packed. There were some foreigners and some Japanese people with them. When I was in the bathroom taking a piss, I noticed they had a flyer for an Avantasia concert in Tokyo. I had heard nothing about it till just then. I looked at the date and it was actually tonight! Which means it was already over. Soon after, I realized that the foreigners that just came in WERE Avantasia (but Tobias Sammet wasn’t there). The random Japanese people were just fans that came from the concert. Had I known about the show I would have liked to go since Avantasia is pretty sweet. (If you don’t know about Avantasia do a google search or something). I didn’t get around to really talking with them much. Im never the type to pester bands if they are busy talking with other people. I hate mindless fanboys that bother you just because you are famous and shit. Plus I wasn’t even at the show haha, At some point Megu offered to buy us all a round of shots of Jager. Im not one to turn down a shot so of course I accepted. Since she bought a round, I figured I might as well do the same, so soon after I bought everyone a round of Whiskey. It didn’t take very long after that for Megu to get really wasted. At about 4 am I decided I should leave since I needed to wake up at like 8:45 in order to catch my train. As I was leaving, Megu and Matt were sitting on the steps outside, Megu was pretty passed out. She had plans to go to Gifu prefecture in a few hours from then, she was gonna see a concert (the same band she saw when she went to Osaka). Luckily Matt was there and was able to help her buy her Shinkansen tickets and help her get on the train. I headed to the usual manga kissa.

I woke up at about 9:30. I set an alarm on my phone but it failed to wake me up. I checked the next train time and I would now arrive in Ishioka at 11:50. I emailed Ma and told him and apologized but he was ok with it. The tournament wasn’t scheduled to start until 2:00 so it was all good. I slept pretty much the whole way there on the train for like 2 hours. By the time I got there I felt ok. As I exited the train like half away, all of a sudden Shouji (the Testament player who won SBO last year on Ogawa’s team) just comes out of no where and starts comically running towards my, flailing his arms around. I was barely awake and it caught me off guard. He said hi, and with him was JT and RF, who came all the way from Kansai this weekend for today’s tournament. They were on the same train as me but in a different car. As we were paying for the rest of our train fair at the fair adjustment machine, Shouji noticed he was missing his wallet. He began to panic and started rummaging through a nearby garbage can in search of it. Unfortunately he failed to find it. He quickly told the train station dude that his wallet was missing. Ma called me saying he would be at the station in a few minutes. I grabbed a quick sandwich and ate it while waiting. He showed up shortly after. Actually it was Kyouso’s car (the other guy on our team, he plays Eddie). Ma was in the front passengers seat, and a female Jam player who I think is Kyouso’s girlfriend, was in the back seat. She said she remembered seeing me at the Sano tournament in Tochigi a few weeks back. After about a 10 minute drive, we made it to the game center. They had a 5 AC machines set up and people were already playing lots of casuals. There were several strong teams there. One interesting team was Sharon/Inoue/FAB. I asked FAB where Shoot and Nakamura were. He told me they couldn’t enter today so he will enter with Sharon and Inoue. Shuumatsu’s team was there as well. Hase’s team was there playing casuals with everyone, but they obviously would not be playing in the preliminary since they were one of the teams that would be playing in the finals (along with Kaqn’s team who won last weekend). This is a smaller block, only having 3 spots in the finals (as opposed to the usual 5 or sometimes 4). I got a good amount of games in before the tournament started, won some, lost some. There were lots of strong players there. This was also the first time I saw Kyouso play, and he had a solid Eddie (even though he told me he was weak last time when I met him. Typical Japanese modesty). Eventually, Shouji, RF, and JT showed up. Shouji busted out his wallet in triumph. He had left it on the train but somehow I guess the train station dude was able to contact the next station or something and they were able to find his wallet and get it back to him. Im very surprised he was able to get it back that fast. (I wish it would have worked out that way when I lost my camera a few weeks ago). One interesting match of casuals was Inoue vs Shouji in a Testament mirror match. Much to my surprise, Inoue actually beat him, but it was extremely close.

Not long after the tournament eventually started. They used 2 of the cabs to run the tournament while the other 2 were used for casuals. They had it set up for 100 yen to play but you get 2 credits, so everyone got to lose twice before they got off the machine. I was playing against this one Slayer player. I don’t know who he was but he was solid. I lost to him in the first match but then I played him again and won. As we were in the middle of our 3rd match, Ma tells me to get off the machine because its time to play our first tournament match. Our first match was to be against a team of Slayer, Faust, and Jam. However, little did I know that the Slayer player that I was just fighting was actually the same Slayer player we would have to fight first. And in addition to that, my team mates told me they wanted me to go first. The other team put Slayer first. So we went from playing a game of casuals and literally 30 seconds later im playing against him in a tournament match. I don’t really like playing someone im about to play in a tournament literally right before the match. Basically, both rounds were close but I ended up losing. I played ok but did a few nervous mistakes and Slayer isn’t very forgiving to say the least. It was now up to my team to pull through. Ma went next with his Venom. He did ok but also was taken down by Slayer. Finally, Kyouso went but Slayer once again proved to be too powerful and destroyed his Eddie as well. I certainly wasn’t expecting to show up to this thing and get OCVed 1st round by some random Slayer but… that’s how it happened, unfortunately.

We stuck around for a little longer. Right after I lost my tournament match, there was a cabinet that was abandoned since someone had to go play their tournament match. After the CPU killed the unattended character, Shouji wanted to play against me so we both got on the cab. Much to my surprise, I beat his Testament first game. Then we played again and he won. Finally we played one more and I beat him! So I was able to beat the Testament that won SBO last year but failed to beat some random Slayer. Go figure. After this I won a few more and then lost to May (big surprise there). Not long after, Ma wanted to leave because he was broke and was mooching games off his friends as it was. Everyone decided they wanted to leave so I either had the choice of staying and playing casuals and then having to walk back later, or just leave now and play casuals somewhere else. I chose to go with them, since walking would have sucked and I might have even gotten lost. On the way back, Ma and Kyouso agreed that if they have free time next weekend that they would team up with me again. They will mail me later this week and let me know if they can do it or not. I thanked them for giving me a ride to the station and headed back on a 2 hour train ride. (By the way, I wasn’t there to see the results obviously, but RF/JT/Shouji won the tournament and have now qualified for SBO, 2nd place was Kaqn’s team)

On the way back, Matt mailed me and told me that he was going to an Izakaya in Roppongi for nomihodai (all you can drink) for a birthday party for some American dude he goes to school with. He said that they reserved a certain amount of spots but someone canceled so he asked me to come. I really didn’t feel like playing much Gear after getting OCVed first round so I said fuck it, I’ll go. I had a little time to kill when I got back so I went to Vegas for about an hour and played a little bit of casuals. Nemo was there rocking his Testament but I didn’t get around to playing him. At one point, Ogawa, Imo, HH, and Mike just showed up together out of no where, stay for like 10 minutes and don’t play a single game, and then just leave. It was pretty strange. That one pink Axl that I sometimes encounter at Vegas was there, I beat him a couple games and beat a few other people, had a small streak, and eventually lost to some red May player. There was also some green Testament there who I lost to pretty bad. After that, Matt mailed me and told me to meet him at Shinjuku station.

I walked to the station and we took the train to Roppongi. After we got there we waited around for a bit and eventually found his friend (I think his name was Casey or something). He had his Japanese girlfriend with him. After walking a bit more we met up with the rest of his group. When we all got to the Izakaya, there was like me, Matt, Casey, this one Japanese dude, this black dude from Canada, and then like 7 Japanese girls. All of these girls claimed to have boyfriends but that didn’t stop them from being extremely flirty. We stayed for about 2 hours, had some great food and I drank a shit load. Probly had like 7 beers and a gin tonic that was just sitting around after they cut off the drink orders, I figured if no ones gonna drink it I might as well. When it was time to leave, everyone was gonna go to some club in Roppongi but im not much for clubbing and Matt and I both wanted to go to Current so we headed back to Shinjuku.

When we got to Current it was surprisingly dead. Taka was there, and that girl Beniko who works at the S&M bar was also there, but she didn’t stay for very long. There were a few other random people too. Since Current was pretty much dead, Matt and I decided to go check out GODZ since some random people that were there told us there was a party going on there. When we arrived at GODZ it was pretty packed. One of the guys who works there was celebrating his birthday. Aside from lots of random people I don’t know, Heidi was there. There was also this big drunken Japanese oaf guy who was friendly but kept talking all loud and spitting in my ear when he talked. Eventually he left. I was happy. They played tons of great music and I was already shit faced and everyone was just going nuts headbanging and screaming and shit. It was good times. My voice is kinda shot right now. At some point Heidi went to PSY which is down the street from GODZ. At about 5:30, Matt and I decided to head over there as well. There were a few people but shortly after, GODZ closed so most of the GODZ crew came to PSY and it became pretty packed. I guess they kept the place open later than usual. I pretty much was talking with Heidi after that for the rest of the night. Matt was talking with various people but at some point he passed out. I was just completely wasted after having been drinking since 8 pm and was getting tired so I had 2 vodka redbulls to finish off the night. Matt left since he was so tired and then shortly after, I think it must had been a little after 7:30 am, after I finally left the bar. Ending my nearly 12 hours of hardcore drinking, I stumbled over to the manga kissa and got some sleep.

So you might be asking, what about the Sunday tournament? Well the only tournament going on in the area is in Tachikawa, but it starts at 6 pm. Because of that, chances are even if I did find a team (which at this point I still didn’t since the other guys couldn’t enter) I probably wouldn’t have time to play. The last train from Tachikawa leaves at 8 pm and the tournament would more than likely take longer than 2 hours. However, with nothing else to do I figured I would just show up and check it out anyway, maybe play some casuals, and if I found a last minute team I would try to enter, but I certainly wasn’t counting on it. I must have woken up at about 2 pm or something like that. I headed to Tachikawa and walked around for a bit looking for the arcade. I had never been to this particular arcade before but according to the map I checked ahead of time, it seemed like it was close. Turns out I was wrong. I walked to probably about 4 different game centers near Tachikawa station asking for directions to Tachikawa MU (the place the tournament was at). Eventually I ended up at this one place called UFO which was down the street from Tachikawa OSLO. They had one cabinet and a few guys were playing AC so I figured maybe they would know. I asked the dude that worked there that was up there near the cab and he told me (just as all the other places did) that the place was extremely far, probably about a 30 or 40 minute walk from Tachikawa station. (Japanese people often have a habit of giving you directions to places even if they have no clue where these places are. I think they do it to be polite so that they don’t come off as being unhelpfull but unfortunately it really just causes people to get lost. Knowing this I tried asking at several places.) This guy seemed like he knew what he was talking about as the other Guilty Gear players had confirmed this. I pretty much had given up on going to the Tougeki tournament at this point, but then something random happened. The arcade dude that was up there told me they were actually just about to start a Guilty Gear AC singles tournament at the arcade I was at right now. Figuring I had no time to make it to the other place, I decided to enter. This wasn’t really a big tournament (only 9 players) and I had no idea who any of these guys were, but I figured why not. So they started about 10 minutes after that. It was an 8 man regular bracket with 2 people having to play against eachother in an extra match. There were 3 Slayer players, a Ky, a Robo Ky, a Chipp, an Axl, a Testament, and me. First match, blue SL beats KY. Up next RO beats black SL. Then it was my first match which would be against AX. One of the sides of the cab had a fucked up monitor that was kinda too dark, and the kick button felt weird (though it worked fine for the most part, just felt strange like… not firm). I won RPS and chose the shitty side cuz I didn’t realize it was shitty. However, I won the first round, the 2nd round, lost the 3rd round, and won the 4th round (it was set on 3 rounds). After that, white SL beats CH. Then TE beats blue SL. My next match was vs Robo Ky. I won RPS again and this time I chose the better side. The Robo Ky player was pretty decent. I won the first 2 rounds, then he won the 2nd 2 rounds. I finished him off in the last round for the win. After that it was already the tournament finals of me vs Testament. I ended up losing RPS so he chose the good side. Despite that, I still managed to beat the shit out of him and just beat him 3 rounds in a row, dominating every round. That was the end of it. I somehow end up accidently just winning some random singles tournament I didn’t even know about LOL! The players didn’t seem to know who I was so they were all just kinda like WTF, and they seemed to think I was cool or something. The arcade dude said as a prize for winning the tournament, I could chose one single item from any of the UFO catcher machines in the whole arcade for free. Most of them were filled with pretty much just about of anime related stuff. I ended up choosing a Rei Ayanami Evangelion zippo lighter. Its actually really nice. The artwork is sweet and zippo lighters are the shit. Its actually something I can use so I was cool with that. Espessially since it only costed 50 yen to enter the tournament haha.

After the tournament was over I decided to go head to game OSLO, which was about a minute walk down the street. This is the place I went to before for the SB2 qualifier the weekend I crashed at Toru Kawazoe’s place with Basara, Nanashi, etc etc. Right away after I walked in, I was surprised to see that Spikey Hair Potemkin (aka Kawin, aka, Yoshio, aka Kai) was there working. I didn’t even realize he worked there but it makes sense. However, since he was at work, he didn’t have spikey hair so I guess he wasn’t actually spikey hair potemkin today. They probly wont let him do it at work or some shit. Anyway, he told me that everyone was pretty much at the MU Tougeki tourney but he confirmed that its really far and that I wouldn’t have time to go. I told him how I randomly won some singles tourney down the street on accident, he thought it was pretty funny. There were still some decent players playing at OSLO today though. Actually, Zero showed up eventually among some other people. I did pretty well for the most part, though I only got to play Zero one time, and he beat me with his Potemkin. I wanted to play against him again but he lost to some Eddie who I then played against and beat like several times in a row, but Zero went on another cabinet at this point. After getting about 7 wins I had to leave so I told the dudes on the other side not to play me again. It was already like 10 minutes to 8. I headed back to the train station and got on the train with a few minutes to spare and spent the ride back studying Kanji. When I arrived at Takasaki to transfer, Cynthia was there again and we chatted for the last hour of my trip home.

What a fucking random weekend this was... This weekend was pretty disappointing as far as Tougeki goes since we lost so quickly. However, I had a ton of fun anyway. My 12 hour drinkathon was pretty epic, and winning a random tournament on accident was amusing. Next week I will be entering tournaments for Tougeki on both Saturday and Sunday for sure. I am not 100% sure on my team yet but I will most likely team with Ma and Kyouso again at least one of the days. This is the final stretch folks. There are only 3 weekends of qualifiers left. Better make it count.

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