Monday, September 29, 2008

Battle at Vegas! (and at Current?!?!)

This weekend started out much as the opposite of last weekend. Instead of having to stay late at work, I ended up getting out early due to a visit to the eye doctor after lunch. Seems my eye will be fully fine next weekend and I will once again be able to wear a contact lens in my left eye again. For the time being I have some glasses I recently aquired.

I caught the train an hour earlier than normal. Just like 2 weeks ago, I ran into Laura at Takasaki station so we caught the train again together. One of her old students that graduated and was going to High School now also ran into us so I ended up getting sandwiched between them as they chatted a bit. Laura said that her friend Dustin was having a small party somewhere near Omiya and said I could probly go but I said I wasnt really sure yet and id let her know later.

Anyway eventually I arrived at Vegas. I had plenty of time for casuals at Vegas. I started off by playing against the pretty good (and cute) female Sol player who is often at Vegas. While she put up a good fight, I beat her 4 in a row and then she gave me a nod as she left the arcade. At the machine sitting right next to me was FAB. I said hi to him and he said long time no see. I asked him if he was gonna enter the tournament here at Vegas tomorrow and he said he indeed would be entering, so I was having good hopes about a decent turnout. From there HH decided to have a crack at me. I started off by beating his Dizzy and then he tried his Ky on me. I beat his Ky once, lost once, and then beat him again. From there he eventually switched to Dizzy and started beasting. I ended up going 4 wins and 10 loses vs his Dizzy. A lot of my losses were pretty close and in the middle I kept fucking up small things that would cost me a round I otherwise had so I got a little pissed in the middle, but I regained my composure and pulled off a final win. After the final time of me beating him he took off. At some point, MIU showed up and said he was sorry for missing my birthday at Current (as I had sent him an email last weekend) and he wished me a happy birthday. I didnt get around to playing him and he didnt stay very long. From there I got 5 wins, lost to some white Johnny, who I immedietly rematched and won 3 rounds in a row for revenge... and this win was the start of what would in the end turn into a 45 win streak. During this winstreak, Matt showed up earlier and eventually Honnou also showed up a bit later. A good chunk of the streak was this extremely determined dude who kept picking Testament and Chipp against me. I kept beating him down but he just kept coming back for more. Towards the end, Honnou tried a few times against me but it was getting late and we sorta decided to go to Current and start drinking. As a result, I just left the machine without losing. At some point in there when it was starting to get late, I mailed Laura and told her I was just gonna drink in Shinjuku tonight but thanks for the invite. I went to go use the bathroom and then Matt and Honnou decided to play eachother a few times so I went to the conbini and got some corn dogs and a rockstar energy drink (they just started selling these in Japan, fuckin awsome! and they seem to be promoted Yoshiki of X-Japan lol).

Once the 3 of us arrived together at Current, as soon as I walked in I was surprised to see Monty there once again! He insisted on buying all 3 of us a beer right away too! Such a cool guy. He also immedietly apolagized for missing my birthday party but he had a good reason so its no big deal. iA friend of Monty's was also there, a Japanese guy named Kentaro. This guy has done roadie work for several big name bands and is (according to Monty) a phenominal drummer. He was talking about all kinds of music theory stuff and time signiture changes and whatnot and he really seemed passionate about it which is awsome. Plus he was a cool dude, so we drank with him as well. Monty was telling me that this dude can (and has multiple times) took an entire shot glass full of tobassco sauce without even flinching! Monty once gave him 5000 yen just to see him do it. Now THATS fucking metal! At some point I also accidently put my beer on top of a pack of snus that was sitting on the table and it spilled all over but I cleaned it up and Mogi busted out the mop and it was all good. Shit happens. That was the first time ive spilled a drink at Current. A few other regulars were there but it was a typical Friday as far as numbers.

After that, we sat together for a bit and talking about playing music. Matt plays some Guitar and I play some Bass and Honnou also plays some guitar as well as Kentaro playing drums. Monty said if we actually wrote like 40 minutes of solid material that he could get us an opening act spot on almost any show he books as long as it was good stuff. We certainly toyed with the idea and Matt and I decided that next weekend I will bring my bass to his apartment and store it there so we can try to jam a bit together. Obviously this is all just speculation as I have no idea how good Matt is at guitar and I have no idea how good of material we can come up with, but its certainly worth at least looking into given the fact that if we really were able to come up with something good and click together we would have a lot of opportunity. Also, Mogi had mentioned that there would be a big party at Current tomorrow night and said to make sure I was there. I asked what the occasion was and he said, Sushi wasnt going to be there. I dont know why thats a reason to party since Sushi is a pretty cool guy. Maybe he was joking or maybe its cuz its his boss but in any case, im always down for a big party. Eventually as the night was about to end I bought Monty a shot of Jagermiester before we headed out. Everyone else went home but Matt, Honnou, and I decided to go hit up PSY for another hour of drinking. Not much noteworthy to mention here except that I kinda started to nod off towards the end. I dont really remember much there. After getting McDonalds breakfast, I went back to Matt's place to sleep since its nice to be able to take a shower the next day. Honnou was gonna come too but Matt's place has no internet and he needed to check stuff online so he hit up the manga kissa.

I woke up in a panic and checked the time. It was 4:55 pm and the tournament was to start at 5:00. The chances of us getting there in 5 minutes was not gonna happen but I still wanted to try. Matt decided to sit around and eat a bowl of fucking cheerios instead of hurrying and was complaining that he couldnt enter anyway because he didnt have 2 valid forms of ID. I was confused as to why the fuck he would need that to enter a tournament and then suddenly I woke up again.... but this time for real. It had all been a nightmare. I checked my phone and it was like 11 am LOL! The dream inspired me to set the alarm on my phone to make sure we DIDNT live that dream as a reality incase Matt's alarm failed. I also had a fucking headache so I popped a pill before going back to sleep.

At 3;00 pm we awoke to Queen's Fat Bottom Girls as my cellphone alarm did its job. After getting ready to go, we stopped and got some awsome Indian food and headed to Vegas for the 2 on 2 tournament that would be going on. Upon arrival I noticed they moved the GG cabs to the far corner in the back by the big screen TV so they could have it set up for the tournament. The place was packed with tons of GG players and among them were several big names like Kazuki, Inoue, Mitsurugi, FAB, Taku, HH, and Natsume just to name a few. I promised Matt and Honnou that I would team up with one of them but Honnou hadnt arrived yet and it was getting close to start time. I called up Honnou and asked him if hes still coming and he said he was almost there. I told him I wanted to sign up right now so I told him I needed to figure out a fair way to decide who gets to be on my team between the 2 of them. Originally I was just gonna have them play for it but we had no time for that so I just had them play RPS over the phone. Matt threw out a scissors and then I asked Honnou what he had out and he said rock without knowing what Matt had out. With a crushing blow by Honnou's mighty rock to Matt's sharp but fragile scissors, the result was determined and I signed up myself and Honnou as partners under the team name Rock Inn Current! I told Matt to just go ask around and I said I was sure he would find someone. He comes back like a few minutes later saying he is teaming with Mitsurugi! (he had no team mate) Looks like Matt had no reason to complain as Mitsurugi is a beast.

Soon after, the tournament started. They had divided everything up into several small 3 team round robin pools. The winning tream from each pool would be placed in a regular single elim bracket from there. Honnou and I were in pool C so we went up fairly quick. In our pool was a team of Suneo (SL) / Iikeni (AB) and of Yootsuu (RO) / Areshikusu (ED). Im pretty sure ive never heard of any of these guys. The 2 other teams went first against eachother. Areshikusu's Eddie pretty much just raped both of the guys pretty easily. After that, we were to face the team of SL/AB. I just told Honnou to go first and do his best and I will take care of anything that he doesnt take down. First match Honnou goes with his I-no against the Slayer and wins the first round, loses the 2nd round in a close match, and comes through with the win in round 3. Good shit. Up next was ABA and though it was fairly close, Honnou wasnt able to take him out. I went in next and finnished the job for the win. For the final match of the pool, Honnou won RPS so we got to have them reveal their first character. They said Robo-Ky would be first. Honnou said its a bad matchup for him so I told him I would just go first this time. First round was going well at first and I had a good lead. RO had about a pixel of life left and I went for a pogo forcebreak over some missles but he was able to recover in time to block. I did a bag overhead (p) and he blocked it, and then I followed it up with a pogo hit (ff) and he squeezed in a fucking super DP and it killed me.... The 2nd round wasnt as good and it ended the exact same way. I went for the force break and he supered me out of the FF pogo attack! I was pretty pissed at myself for losing to the exact same shit twice, but ive never had that happen before. The window to squeeze that in there is so small since those 2 attacks actually combo but that super is like 2 frames startup so I guess I should be more careful. Anyway, Honnou gave it a good try but lost 2 rounds and just like that we were out of the tournament. I played some casuals after that for a bit and got a few wins. Matt and Mitsurugi's team was in the final pool. First match, Mitsurugi went first and just took both guys out pretty easily. Their 2nd match was against FAB (PO)/Taku (SL) team. Lucky them. Matt went first against Taku and the first match he was just put in the corner and kinda had a brain fart and just got perfected. The 2nd round he did a bit better but he fucked up a few of his combos and could have done better if he didnt. After the match I pointed the the floor and told Matt he dropped something. He looked down and I said... oh wait its just your combos! LOL Mitsurugi went up next and actually took out Taku despite the bad matchup. The final match with FAB was extremely epic and went down the the last hit of the last round. Both of them had like no life and Mitsurugi got Raoh out, but FAB's pacience proved to be too great and he squeezed in a final hit vs Zappa for the win.

After this, we had a choice to stay and watch the rest of the tournament but Honnou had another suggestion. Editor of popular gaming blog Kotaku, Brian Ashcraft, had recently written a book called Arcade Mania! which is about Japans arcade scene. Today in Ikebukuro would be the release party for this book and Honnou sorta knows Brian from talking with him sometimes online. He said they would have 500 yen drinks and free snacks with no cover and suggested we go. Sounded like a pretty good idea to me, so we decided to go head on over there.

Eventually after a little walking we found the place, it was at a bar called Pause. The place was mostly packed with foreigners with a few Japanese people here and there. They had lots of copies of the book on the wall on shelves as well as various pictures from arcades around Japan. I recognized Mikado in one of the shots. We mingled with people for a bit and I was introduced to Brian Ashcraft by Honnou. Some of the people there seemed really cool and we had some nice chats. While we were there, Matt and I both had 3 drinks each. I had a Kirin Heartland beer, a rum coke, and a red wine. The book was only 2000 yen which isnt expensive at all and looked really cool so I picked up a copy and Honnou did as well. We both got our copies signed by the author.

As it started to get a bit later, we decided to leave and get some mexican food! However, the place we went to ended up being packed full so we couldnt get a seat. As a result, we got some Thai food instead and it was pretty awsome anyway. I got a vodka-grapefruit while we were there (they had a pretty limited drink menu but it was good enough). After that, we headed to Current.

Upon arriving at Current at just a little past 11 pm, the place was already packed! I knew about 80% of the people in there and tons of regulars showed up. Ja and Mu were there, and I hadnt seen Mu in like months! After greeting everyone, we got our drinks. Matt and I were sitting having our first beer and Matt made some smartass comment about how I passed out last night at PSY, calling into question my ability to drink alot. I told him I would drink him under the table and with that, we were engaged in the very first Rock Inn Current DRINKING BATTLE!!!(please read with echo effect). We started a check list that kept track of how many drinks we both had and we had to keep up with eachother. If one of us was to pull ahead, the other had to fucking catch up, no lagging behind! Since Matt cant handle shots and would probably lose for free if he had to match me in shots, we decided he could chug a beer in place of me taking a shot. I was also one drink ahead of him since I had that drink at the Thai place and he didnt have one so he had to drink an extra one too. We also decided that snus plays a factor into this as it gives you a wicked buzz, so we had to match eachother on snus intake as well. The final rule was, you only get one vodka redbull since the caffiene helps a lot too. Throwing up means an instant loss. This was on the honor system since neither of us would know if someone threw up in the bathroom. This epic battle would last throughout the night! In addion to this, as soon as Yago showed up we engaged in a side bet! Yago seems to always take off his shirt without fail after he has had enough to drink. Matt said he would take it off at 1:30 on the dot, while I said more like 2:30. Whoever was closest had to buy the other a drink.

At some point, I look over at Yago, and within a few seconds he went increadible Hulk on us and that shirt was history! With the classic trademark Yago shirt-taken-off look on his face, I quickly took a look at my cellphone and the time was exactly 1:31! FUCK! I lost the bet, but honestly the fact that Matt called it out so perfectly both had us laughing our asses off for a good while so I had no problems buying him a beer. Good call on that one. Ill rematch him next time perhaps.

In addition to all the other aswsome regulars there, Maiyuko came! At one point I was having a chat with her and she told me she was going to be marrying Mikey, the Australian dude that she brought to the bar a little over a month ago who I chatted with for a bit. I guess they knew eachother for over 5 years but Mikey was married and got a divorce a little while ago and she always had feelings for him. Came as a bit of a shock but I hope stuff works out for them. Maiyuko and I both sorta had a crush on eachother back when we first met through Chip but since I had a girlfriend, nothing ever happened between us (though it came close...) and she moved back to Hokaido for the longest time. In any case, I never got to finish my conversation with her cuz Matt showed up and interupted but its ok cuz he didnt know better. So i never got to get a lot of details about it but if shes back again next time Ill find out more. I just hope it works out well for her. Mikey seems cool so hopefully it will.

At some point I also was told I get to DJ again! I didnt even ask to but they said I could have 20 minutes, which is better than nothing! My set was...

Symphony X - Out of the Ashes
Circus Maximus - Sin
Dream Theater - Don't Look Past Me
Diabolical Masquerade - Death's Design, 2nd and 3rd movement (tracks 5-12)

The rest of the night had all the classic elements of a great night. Mogi and Masami stage diving off the bar, people busting out inflatable guitars, lots of dancing, tons of drinking and great conversations. When 5:00 finally rolled around and we had to leave Current, Matt and I were even at I think what was like 13 or 14 drinks each (I dont have the checksheet with me while typing this), and I think we both did like 5 or 6 snus. I didnt end up doing any shots so Matt didnt have to chug any beers. We decided to keep it going and headed to PSY!

When we arrived there, Heidi was there and at some point, Mai from Current came too! One of the bartenders from GODZ was there as well. Matt and I both ended up having one more drink and one more shot. However, Matt wanted another vodka redbull but I already ordered a beer. I told him id let it slide so he had his vodka redbull and I had my beer. I also proposed we both had a to a shot so we both ordered a shot of vodka. However, my dumbass accidentally knocked my shot over so I ordered another one but changed it to whisky cuz I like whisky better. In the end, when PSY closed, we both ended up drinking the same ammount of drinks. I think it came out to about 16 or something each. We were considering trying to find the Izakaya where Yago works to drink even more but we didnt really remember exactly how to get there and both of us were pretty fucked up so we just called it a draw for the night and agreed to rematch again another time. I headed to the manga kissa went to sleep and Matt went home.

The next day I woke up without a headache but I had one of those body futiegue hangovers. I got some food and then headed to Vegas. I mailed Matt and asked if he was coming out for casuals but he must had still been asleep cuz he didnt reply till a couple hours later. I also asked Honnou if he was coming but he said he had other plans. However, I loaned him a bunch of money all weekend and he got it recieved into his checking account this morning so he stopped by Vegas just to pay me back. During this time I was standing in the doorway of the mens room waiting for some douchebag to finish taking his epic 15 minute long shit. Eventually after Honnou gave me the money and headed out, the guy was still in there so I walked over to Mikado just to take a dump in their toilet. There was a ST tournament going on but I didnt really stay to watch. I went back to Vegas and eventually Matt showed up and we pretty much just spent the entire rest of the day playing casuals. I looked at the brackets for the tournament from yesterday and it seems that FAB and Taku won. Not much of a surprise. Most of the time I spent there was playing against that one pink Axl who ive mentioned before (who I just found out actually works at Vegas) and these 2 Johnny players who were friends. One was brown and one was green. The green one was a bit better. There was also this Sol who was decent who got in on the action. For a while the Johnnys were dominating but then I pulled ahead and went through the rotation and got a nice streak. Meanwhile, Matt was engaged in a long epic struggle of HOS mirror matches against this hot HOS chick who is around sometimes (theres several female HOS players but shes the hot one).

Once 8:30 rolled around I had to leave so Matt headed to the train station with me since he had to go home and do homework. I pretty much just slept the entire way home as I often do.

...and so concludes another epic fucking weekend. I had tons of fun. The drinking battle between Matt and I will get run back again, possibly even next weekend! There also is probably a Guilty Gear tournament going on somewhere. I will make sure to hit that shit up as well!

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