Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Break 2010 part 2 ("one more for the road!")

Wednesday, March 31st

We arrived in Osaka at Osaka station really early in the morning... something like 6 am. First thing we did was find a McDonalds and got a mega muffin set. I wanted to charge my camera but there were no outlets there to use unfortunately.

After eating, we took the train and headed for Kyoto. The plan today was to do some sightseeing. When we exited Kyoto station, for some reason suddenly everyone had to take dumps so we got that out of the way. Emmet rushed for the toilet first, and when we followed him to the bathroom there was a long line. Suddenly we heard him say "wtf theres no toilet paper in here" LOL! So the rest of us went to check out the toilet on the lower level. Turns out none of the toilets here had toilet paper either. Instead, you had to buy some tissue from some stupid vending machine. Luckily I already had tons of tissue thanks to the girl whos always passing them out at the pachinko place near Mikado.

After taking care of business, we headed out and got our all day bus pass for 500 yen. From there, we first rode to the area with Kyomizu temple. We made sure to get some beers first before heading towards the temple. This was now my 3rd time going to Kyomizu. I recommended we check it out since it was always one of my favorites. We got to the temple after some walking and seeing a giant statue on the way. It was pretty much the same as the other times we went but still cool to see again. I didnt bother taking any pictures of it cuz my camera was dead and I have enough pics of it anyway.

After leaving the temple, we went to look for the huge cemetery that I went to my first time to Kyoto. By now, my foot was hurting really bad again but I endured and we walked around a bit. Unfortunately we didnt find it, but instead we found another cemetery that wasnt nearly as cool but it was still interesting. We had to climb a ton of stairs to get up it. There was a grave of someone at the top who was probably very famous, perhaps a former emperor or some high ranking government guy from the past. I didnt get pictures but everyone else did so I will mooch them.

After climbing back down, we decided to just give up on the other cemetery. If people are interested in seeing pics of the one we were looking for, check the pictures from my 2008 trip to Kyoto.

After that, we decided to take a lunch break, so we headed to Teramachi shopping arcade. We got some awsome okonomiyaki at Mr. Young Men, the same place I always go to near a-cho. Most of us got the bacon, cheese, potato, squid one. Everyone pretty much loved it, and while we were there, I got to charge my phone. We got another beer there too.

From there, we headed to a-cho just to check it out really quick. Everyone was pretty impressed by it. There werent many people playing, but you cant expect much at like noon on a Wednesday. There were these 2 guys playing SFIV and one of them lost like 9 in a row and wouldnt get up after he lost, but then someone showed up and started playing GG so I went and beat him a few times, then he gave up and left. Later, another guy showed up, I played him several games, and I cant remember but he might have beat me like once with his Slayer out of like 5 or 6 games. While we were there, we also checked the tournament schedule they had posted on the wall. Unfortunately for me, it seems that a-cho runs GG tournaments on a bi-weekly basis, and it just so happens that the week I was there, there was no GG tournament. Luckily for Sam though, there was a Melty tournament scheduled for tomorrow, so he planned to go to that. I also played Sam in a random game of CvS2 after he beat to Japanese guys. It went down to the last character on both sides with his Dictator vs my Blanka and he won. Im so ass at that game lol.

After leaving a-cho, we decided to check out Ginkakuji temple, since I had never been there and neither had anyone else. We stopped at the conbini and got some beers for the road and then got on the bus. When we got on the bus, there were 2 empty seats, so Sam and I sat down in them. Suddenly, like right away, some crazy old man sitting behind us in a funny hat (looked like a gardening hat an old lady would wer with Hawaiian designs on it or something), starts yelling in broken English "Don't drink! Handicap seat! Stand up!" Over and over, and like grabbed our arms. First of all, I didnt notice those were priority seats. I NEVER ride the bus in Japan except when I come to Kyoto, so I didnt realize it at first. And even when I do sit in them on occasion on the train, I always stand up when someone who needs them gets on. 2nd of all, I figured drinking on the bus was ok since everyone does it on the train all the time (espessially old salary men coming home from work drinking bad happoshu). So we stood up, we said to him in Japanese that we were sorry and didnt know. Suddenly, the guy goes from being a pissed crazy old man, to a friendly crazy old man. He starts talking to Sam and asking him all these questions about where he lives and school and stuff and was all smiling and chipper. It was like a complete 180 and I think its just cuz he found out we speak Japanese. I understand why he got upset but he could have been a little calmer about it.

Anyway, we got to the temple eventually and looked around and took some pics. There was a rock with lots of coins in a pond and we tied to see who could get a coin on the top part, the winner would get a beer... but no one could do it. The temple itself was cool but not that amazing, but the area around it was beautiful.

After leaving there, it was already getting around the time when most temples closed, so we decided to head back to Osaka. We went to the Umeda area. We knocked back a ton more beers on the train, and once we arrived, Sam and I, (and maybe Emmet) were already pretty drunk. I mailed Rob (Heartnana) and he reminded me how to get to Monte game center. We found it and went inside. There were a decent amount of people playing GG, so I played some matches. I only won one match. I was pretty wasted so it was really hard for me to play well at all. Sometimes I can play with a buzz fairly well but this was way beyond just a buzz. I was starting to get frustrated cuz I actually wanted to play matches and didnt really intend to get that drunk but it was too late, so after a few matches I cut my losses and we went to go drinking.

From there, we went to go looking for a bar that was recommended to me by Ken from GODZ called Midian. Anyway, this place was small and sorta gothy looking but not decorated nearly as cool or elaborate as GODZ. They had a big projector screen and I asked the guy to play some Opeth, so he threw on the live DVD which was cool. It was pretty dead about aside from one customer and the bartender though. We had maybe like one or 2 beers and before we were about to leave, some dude was talking to us in Japanese for a bit. Then Tony starting saying some crap in English and the dude just stopped him in mid sentence and said he didnt want to talk to him LOL! He did it in like a funny, non-douche way cuz Tony was being an idiot anyway so we had a good laugh at it.

After leaving there, we were already really tired from being up so early and mostly everyone didnt get much good sleep on the bus, so we looked for a manga kissa. I dont know the Umeda area well at all. We eventually found 2 places that were ridiculously expensive. My feet were really hurting at this point, and Emmet was starting to get pissed cuz he ended up bumming a cigarette off Sam and Emmet doesnt smoke like ever. We decided to take a cab back to the Shin Saibashi area cuz I am more familiar with it. Without much trouble, I took us to the manga kissa that I always used to stay at the other times I came, but unfortunately it was no longer there! We found another place down the street, and while it was a bit expensive, it was better than the other ones we found, and we were tired so we dealt with it. It was one of those crappy ones where they make you sign up for a membership card and fill out all your information even though we were never gonna go back there again anyway. After dealing with all the BS we finally got some sleep.

Thursday, April 1st

Today, the plan was to head to Nara. We walked back to Shin Saibashi station and took the train to Nara. We ended up taking a funky way cuz I didnt check the train map carefully but we made it there eventually. When we got there, we walked a bit and on the way, we saw another awsome okonomiyaki restaurant we planned to try out later on the way back. We sat by a pond and eventually, Emmet's friend Miki who lives in Nara came and met up with us. I guess they knew eachother back in New Zealand when she was studying abroad there. Shes only 20 but shes pretty hot. Since she lives in Nara, she was able to be a good tour guide and took us around. When Emmet introduced Tony to Miki, he just said his name was Mr. Chu-hi. This stuck the entire trip and she kept actively calling him Mr. Chu-hi, even when we werent around and was refering to him according to Emmet. To this day she still doesnt even know his real name lol.

First we hit up Nara park. It was more or less the same as the first time I went there 2 years ago. We fed some deer and took some pictures with them, including one of Emmet pretending to take one from behind. Dirty sheep fucker decided to expand his bestiality horizons lol.

Sam actually had been to Nara park before with his dad a few months ago. He spoke of a great legend that he witnessed himself. The mighty Sagat deer. This deer supposedly is missing one of his eyes, most likely as a result of fighting Ryu and eating a shin-shoryuken. Throughout our time in Nara, we would be heavily searching for this mighty warrior. Unfortunately, we never found him.

We went to another temple, walked around Nara park some more, I got some awsome caramel ice cream, and then we got to the the Kotokuin Temple, home of the biggest Buddha statue in the world known as the Daibutsu. I went to this temple last time I came but I was stupid and didnt pay to go inside so this was actually my first time to see the great statue. This thing truly was massive. There were a bunch of other cool statues too. You can see them in the pictures so theres not much reason for me to get into detail. There was also this pillar in there and people were trying to crawl through the small hole in it. I guess it grants good fortune or something. At the gift shop in there, I bought Ryoko a cute plushy deer as a souvenir. As we exited, there was another statue in front. The statue is said to grant healing powers. If you touch the statue on the part of its body where you want to heal yourself, its supposed to make you feel better. Since my foot hurt, I touched its foot, but it didnt do anything lol.

After that, Tony bought a Hanya mask from the gift shop for 1000 yen. It was made of ceramic and looked pretty cool. From there, we walked back and went to the okonomiyaki restaurant. It was really good, but a little more traditional, where as Mr. Young Men has more varied styles of okonomiyaki. We got another beer with it too.

After finishing there, we needed to head back to Kyoto so Sam could make his Melty tourny at a-cho. Emmet opted to stay behind cuz Miki said she would let him crash at her parents house where she lives. We were extended the offer as well but decided there wasnt much else to do in Nara and would rather just go somewhere else.

Sam, Tony, and I took the train back to Kyoto. As we were getting close to Kyoto station, we realized that there was no way we would make it to a-cho on time. The tournament was already about to start, so Sam gave up on the idea and was a little bummed out. Instead of getting off there, we just transfered to Osaka which was a big waste of time cuz we could have just gone directly but oh well. We knocked back more beers and headed to Nanba, where we eventually met up with Rob (Heartnana) and Andy (who had just arrived on the Shinkansen like an hour or 2 earlier) at Athena game center near DenDen town. Athena is a good place for anime style fighters but they dont have any SF games. They had 2 GG cabs but no one was really playing so I played a match of Melty vs Sam, even though I hadnt played Melty in years and never touched the new version before. It was still fun to just mess around on and of course I got schooled. Then Rob played Sam for a bit and went undefeated against him but Sam enjoyed the comp. Eventually some guy did get on the GG cabs, and I played him in something like 10 games in a row and won each one. The thing was though, was that the stick I was using... the housing wasnt bolted down to the cab, so the entire stick housing shifted left and right in addition to the stick moving normally. The stick actually worked, but since the housing was not bolted in, it made doing motions extremely hard and was laughable. I dont know how I managed to go undefeated against the guy given the situation but it was still pretty fun lol.

Eventually we left and headed over to try to go to the famous cheese curry place that Rob always raves about in his blog. For whatever reason, it was closed, so we just settled for some CoCo curry which was good too.

After that we played some more at Nanba hills. Its a nice arcade but was pretty dead. There was one guy there playing GG and I beat him like over 10 in a row without losing. He wasnt bad though so it was fun and I glad he kept playing me and he picked lots of different characters.

I think after that, it was getting really late, so Andy and Rob decided to go to sleep at the manga kissa. Rob also showed us where a bunch of good manga kissas are so we wouldnt have the same problem as last night again. The funny thing is a few of them were extremely close to where we stayed last night, I just dont know the area that well.

Sam, Tony, and I went to go drinking so I took them to Rock Rock. On the way there, Tony decided he wanted to save some money, so he slammed another 8% 500 ml lemon chu-hi! After a few more beers at Rock Rock, Mr. Chu-hi was back! Shortly after we got inside the bar, Yoko, one of the bartenders, was surprised to see me show up so she said hi and we talked a little. There was a punk rock event going on tonight, and the place was fairly packed, especially for a Thursday, but unfortunately almost everyone there was a foreigner and most of them were guys. Not that us being there helped that at all but thats besides the point heh.

We drank for a while and Sam and I sat at the bar eventually. Then at some point, Mr. Chu-hi comes up to us and starts bragging about how he just felt some chick up in the bathroom! I was shocked to hear this, especially since he's a virgin. Our initial thoughts were pretty much just, good for him. However, not long after this we decided to check out another bar. As we were leaving, the girl who he said he felt up in the bathroom was near the exit. She was a slightly chubby white sorta punky lookin chick from England. As we were leaving, Mr. Chu-hi goes up to her, grabs one of her tits and says "one more for the road!" .... and the girl had this look of disgust on her face. Then he left and for whatever reason she starts like sorta hitting on Sam and running her fingers through his hair but he wasnt about getting with her so we just left.

Outside the bar, I explained to Mr. Chu-hi that feeling up a chick in the bathroom who doesn't wanna be felt up by you is not something to be proud of and probably something you should learn not to do. He was like "well we were just talking after I got out of the bathroom for a few minutes and then I just went for it and grabbed her boobs" LOL! (Rock Rock has a duel sex bathroom with 2 separate toilets that share one common sink area) In any case, we werent going to let him live this one down and squeezed in as many "one more for the road!" jokes as we could for the rest of this trip. He felt kinda dumb but maybe he will learn something next time and not act like a creepy drunken pervert. Hes not a bad guy, he just has no game.

After that, we headed to a brand new bar not far from where Rock Rock is located, called Diamond Rocks. It was recently opened by one of the ex-staff members of Rock Rock named Nobu (aka Novv). This place turned out to be cool as hell. It reminded me of PSY a lot as far as size and atmosphere. The music was kinda low volume but the stuff they were playing was awsome (big variety of metal and rock) and it was a great place for talking. Novv remembered me from last time and was really cool. Mr, Chu-hi passed out on the bar shortly after we arrived, but Sam and I stayed and drank and talked till about 4:30. There were some other people there too which was cool. This one really hot chick was there with her boyfriend and Sam talked to her a bit until her boyfriend came back from outside. The bar was decorated really nice and they even had a Jo-Jos poster on the wall which I took a picture of. If I go back to Osaka again I will certainly hit this place up.

After drinking there, we woke up Mr. Chu-hi and went to another manga kissa that Rob showed us which had way better deals and got nice mat booths to sleep in. I slept pretty good.

Friday, April 2nd

After waking up, I was able to take a nice shower, eat some awsome free ice cream from the manga kissa, and then we eventually all got ready and headed out. We met up with Andy and Rob in DenDen town, and then from there, we decided to go get some lunch at Outback Steakhouse. This was Rob's suggestion and he said they had BBQ ribs, which are like imposable to find in most places in Japan, so I was totally down for it.

After a sorta long journey with a lot of walking, we eventually made it to Outback, but unfortunately it wasnt opened for like 3 more hours. So with that, since we were in Umeda, we headed to Monte game center to kill some time playing fighting games! The comp was pretty good today and there was a good selection of GG players. I started off with a 7 win streak and then started getting a few smaller streaks here and there until someone would beat me once and it would start again. I played about maybe 5 or 6 different players. Everyone else played other stuff mostly.

After about 3 hours of playing, we made it back to Outback and this time we were able to get in no problem. The 5 of us got a table and we ordered 2 bloomin onions and I think like everyone got ribs except for Tony. We had a good chat about Tony's "one more for the road" shenanigans last night and everyone got a good laugh/face palm combo out of it, except maybe Tony lol. The ribs werent the best I ever had... maybe slightly on the dry side, but they were no where near bad, and still tasted really great. I probably will never find better ribs in Japan, but I guess I am a bit spoiled since ive been to some great rib places back in the US (if you are ever in Chicago try Gale Street Inn... place is dope).

Anyway, we killed both bloomin onions. I ate my full slab, pretty much all my fries, and I ate my cole slaw and like most of Sam's too cuz he aint down with the slaw. I also got a nice Kirin stout with my meal. It came out to be slightly expensive but was well worth the money and I didnt mind paying it one bit. Going there was definitely a good call. Rob even hooked us all up with a 15% discount so that was awsome.

After this we went back to Monte for a few more hours and played more games. The comp started to get a bit better and I was still mostly beating everyone. There was this one guy there who was playing Sol, and he was pretty good, but after I beat him like twice, he switched to HOS. I think I might have fought this guy last time I came last year. We were going pretty even at first, maybe even with me having a slight lead in games, but then he started to get some mini streaks on me and I would beat him and he would win a few more... etc. I dont know who he is, but he plays EXTREMELY careful and the matches were really fun and challenging so I enjoyed fighting him. Andy was playing GG for a bit too, and almost beat him and ended up getting a small win streak of his own on a different cab with his May.

Eventually I got a message from Emmet saying that he was coming back to the area of Osaka we were in soon. It was about 9 or 10 pm at this point. He spent the day at Universal Studios Japan with Miki. He wanted to meet up in Nanba and then go drinking. I still wanted to play for a bit so I told him one more half hour. Once we finished up, we all headed back out together back to Nanba and met up with Emmet by the bridge area where we stayed at the manga kissa the first night.

At this point, it was already getting pretty late. Andy and Rob didnt want to go drinking and had plans to stay at Spa World so they left our party for the night and we would meet up again tomorrow. The rest of us (Sam, Tony, Emmet, and me) went to Club Pure in Osaka. Emmet really loved the one in Shibuya, but it closed down. He wanted to go really bad so we all agreed to check it out.

Just like the one in Shibuya, this one was 3500 yen for all you can drink all night, so I was down with it. The security here was surprisingly tight. They IDed all of us (which almost NEVER happens at bars in Japan) and even patted us down for guns and shit LOL! I felt like I was back in the US again.

When we got inside it was still sorta early so not that many people were there yet. We were able to grab a table inside of like a little cave area that was right outside the dance floor so you could easily see out. It was a pretty cool setup. We managed to pretty much keep this spot on lock all night, which was good for me cuz my foot was still killing me.

Emmet started off strong by getting a drink with a shot to accompany it every time. He eventually started to get drunk really fast so he switched to beer. Sam and I started off slow by just getting regular mixed drinks, and my plan was to eventually switch to beer cuz its better on my ulcer, but we ended up doing the opposite and switched to long island ice teas with shots of tequila on the side! Tony on the other hand, was probably ashamed to turn into Mr. Chu-hi again and didnt wanna get another "one more for the road" so he drank beer very slowly and didnt even get drunk. The rest of us surely got our moneys worth.

Throughout the night, lots of people came to our table to sit with us cuz we had the VIP spot basically. There were only like 3 tables in the whole bar and people kept peaking in cuz they wanted to sit there, so they either had to stand or sit with us, which was a cool way to meet people at the very least. We always had someone keep the seats on lock when other people went to get a drink (and it was usually Tony, but he didnt mind).

At some point in the night, I dont really remember anything anymore. But unlike just about every other bar ive been to in Japan, Club Pure has a no sleeping policy, and I guess after enough long islands and shots, I eventually passed out, cuz I woke up standing in the ally with Tony. He said 2 security guards dragged me out of there. Pretty lame. Eventually after a little bit, they let me back in. I remember it being packed as hell when I re-entered.

Pretty much from there, I dont remember the rest of the night at all. I just know I was smashed as hell. Luckily I managed to get my backpack from the storage locker cuz I had no recollection of getting it. I do remember going back in to try to get Emmet cuz it was almost closing time and Emmet being wasted as hell saying how they were gonna be open for several more hours and that he wanted to stay.

So Sam, Tony, and I left. Tony claims that Sam and I had no idea where we were going and was leading the way. He could be right that we made a wrong turn but we would have figured it out. Wouldnt be the first time I drank myself silly and found my way back just fine. At some point, Emmet messaged me or something or someone, and we found him laying down in the middle of the street ready to sleep. I guess we got him up and took him to the manga kissa. I dont even remember checking in but sure enough we made it there. At least we all got our moneys worth from Club Pure, thats for sure!

I'm going to cut it off here and save the final epic chapter for tomorrow.

SPOILER ALERT: Mr. Chu-hi ain't done yet!


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