Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Not Enough

On Friday after work, I headed to Tokyo. On the train on the way there, 3 other ALTs got on and sat with me (Emmet, Jessie, Phil). They were on their way to Takasaki to go to a beer garden event for the ALTs who will be leaving Japan next month. I was half tempted to just go with them but at the last minute I decided I would just go by myself to Tokyo as planned since I was still trying to avoid drinking sorta and I wanted to play Gear.

I arrived at Mikado and started off by beating a Venom twice. Then no one played me for a while so I just left to get a kebab. When I was at the kebab place ordering it for takeout at the window outside, the chef dude was talking to me. Then suddenly this random drunk Japanese girl comes up to me from inside the restaurant and starts talking to me for a while and just kept blabbering on about random shit. It felt like she was hitting on me. Then suddenly some other foreigner (he looked maybe middle eastern or something) pulls her away and brings her back inside to go sit with him (im assuming they were sitting together in there). It was pretty random. I ate my kebab quickly and then went back to Mikado.

I played more casuals for a while doing alright. Theres this one blue Robo-Ky player who is always there. He never enters tournaments but he is pretty good. I usually go pretty even with him. However, tonight, he was beating me a lot more than I was beating him. At some point he got like 8 in a row on me and i was really starting to get pissed off. I knew I was just playing bad cuz I was letting it get to me. I felt like I needed to cool down, so I went to get a beer at the Lawson outside. I slammed it real quick and went back in to play again. While it gave me a slight slight buzz, I still felt a bit pissed. I played him like 2 more games and lost and then I just didnt really feel like playing anymore. I felt like I needed to cool off so I decided I would head to Current for a little bit.

Originally I wasnt planning on drinking tonight but what can I say, Im a sucker for beer. Current was pretty decent for a Friday. A few regulars were there as well as randoms. Rob (the guy who used to be an ALT and now works for Square-Enix) was sitting at the bar and I ended up talking with him for a good portion of the night. He was getting some problems off his chest and just found out that someone who was pretty close to him was diagnosed with HIV, so he was pretty bummed out. As a result, we drank a lot. I ended up doing a few shots and he kept buying me beers and stuff so I got fairly hammered. Also, Michi was there and she said she is going to go see Metallica live in September when they come. I told her I would go too since I actually have never seen them live before. I dont really care for any of their stuff after the black album (the new one is decent but still not up to par IMO) but I figured it would be cool to go see the old tunes and stuff. Were gonna try to get seats around the same section.

Anyway, I left Current at around 4 am. I was only there for like 4 hours but I drank pretty quickly in the time I was there so I got pretty smashed. I headed for the nice manga kissa and went to sleep.

The next morning I had a hangover which I havnt really had in a while. Thankfully I had no black shits though.

For today's SBO qual, I had no team lined up. Akinori (Hevenly) said he could team with me but I couldnt find a 3rd so I just told him to forget it and figured I would go alone and see what kind of team I could find last minute.

Today's tournament was at Sega World Arkas. This is the arcade where Mugen works. Originally I was planning to get there super early to optimize my chances of finding teammates. Thankfully I actually made the RIGHT choice by going to Current and getting there at around 1 pm (the tournament was schedule to start at 3). When I arrived there at 1, there were only 2 people there for GG. Thats really really low lol. Actually... there was one other person there... Clay Gundam Man! Hes that weird guy who just shows up to tournaments to watch, doesnt talk to anyone, and just makes little Gundams out of clay the whole time. He is certainly a character, and his mannerisms sort of remind me of stalker girl (who thankfully didnt come today). Perhaps Clay Gundam Man and stalker girl should hook up... they would make a good couple, but I sorta worry how their kids would turn out lol.

One of the ACTUAL players who was there when I arrived was Komayuki (the ED who I teamed up with like 2 years ago in Maebashi with Umemura the English speaking Baiken player), and then there was some other guy I dont know. I played Komayuki a bit and did pretty well winning a few and losing a few. Over time, gradually a few more people showed up but even then they came in slowly and few and far between. I played more casuals against various people, espessially a lot against this one Millia player who I have seen around a lot before. I was mostly beating him. I played a few other people here and there as well. They had 2 cabs set up so once more people started coming it made it more difficult to get a turn in.

Initially I signed up by myself. As more people started coming in, I asked a lot of them if they needed one more teammate. I even asked Basara (Ogiwara) out of despiration lol but of course he had a team. Finally on an off chance, I asked the Eddie player Tsu. It turns out he had a 2 man team so he said I could join him. His other teammate was a Sol player named Sumagi, but he hadnt arrived yet.

Eventually more people came but in the end, there were only 8 teams (well, 9 teams... but the 9th team was just Takuya all by himself LOL). Even so, there were still a lot of top players, but many of the big names were absent today.

Right before the tournament was about to start, our 3rd teammate, Sugami, showed up. He seemed a little shocked that Tsu chose me for the other person on the team.

Mugen ran the tournament and did announcing. He couldnt enter though cuz he was working.

The first match of the tournament was Takuya vs Karun(JA)/AGF(AN)/HEVEN(VE). Takuya actually took out Karun but then he lost to AGF. He tried though. This match was the zero taisen (meaning like an extra match because it was an 8 team bracket).

The next match HEVEN's team played again and this time it was them vs Ain(KY)/Ririko(BR)/Teresa(JA)

I didnt see the beginning of the set but Ririko beat HEVEN and Karun to defeat the team. It might ahve been an OCV. In any case she was playing really solid.

For our first match, we had to fight Kusoru's team. It was Kusoru(SO)/JO/MI. The JO I dont know, and the MI was the same guy I was beating in casuals before the tournament. For those who dont know, Kusoru is the Yellow Sol who plays EXTREMELY unorthadox and does the most crazy shit. The stuff he does isnt always very efficient or safe but its certainly amusing to watch.

The first match was a SO mirror of Kusoru vs Sumagi. Sumagi seemed to play decent but Kusoru is just random and ended up winning.

I went next. I started off OK but in the end I just got hit with some of the most random shit. He caught me off guard and I ended up losing. I felt pretty ashamed cuz I usually am good at beating overly aggressive Sol players.

It was now up to Tsu to take them all out... and he did! He reverse OCVed them. It was close as hell though and he almost lost to Kusoru too but pulled out a win. Go Eddie!

Our next match was vs Umemura(BA)/Komayuki(ED)/Chipp player (will update name later).

Once again Sumagi went first and his opponent was Chipp. Sumagi lost again. I went next and played pretty decent and beat the Chipp player. Up next was Komayuki. Once again I played solid and I beat him as well. Finally it was Umemura. I hate Baiken but I fought really hard. I took him to the 3rd round and was like a couple hits from killing him. It was a long grueling round with both of us playing really carefully. I blocked shit in the corner for like 10 seconds straight and even made it out but he clipped me with something eventually and I lost. Its all good though cuz Tsu wrapped things up and defeated him.

We now were in the tournament finals. Since there was only 8 teams, we only needed to win 2 matches to get to the finals.

Our opponent was Ririko/Ain/Teresa

Before the match was about to start, Sumagi turned to Tsu and asked him something along the lines of "Is this team really ok if we win?" and Tsu was like "Yea lets do it!" I dont know if that question was because Sugami thought I was weak or if he thought HE was weak or something but whatever.

Once again... Sumagi went first... and once again... he lost. His opponent was Ain. Ain is a solid player. He doesnt often win tournaments but he just has really good fendamentals. For those of you who dont remember, Ain is the guy who I have refered to as a Japanese version of Floe (in both appearance and attitude, though Floe is actually nicer to me than Ain lol). Anyway, I have a tendancy to lose to Ain, Tsu asked if I wanted to go next and I said I would give it a shot. The first round I played really really solid. It literally came down to both of us with a pixel left. We zoned eachother for like a good almost 20 seconds with no one getting any hits in, until finally he hit me with something and I lost. It was SO close. The next round I didnt quite do as well and lost again. It was now up to Tsu to beat them all. Tsu played solid. It was a really close fight but in the end Tsu pulled off a win! Up next was the Jam player. Tsu started off strong taking round 1 convincingly. The next round he lost and then finally in round 3 he also lost...

We got SO CLOSE to qualifying this time. In retrospect I KNEW I should have let Tsu go first before me cuz I knew among those 3 that Ain would be the toughest for me to beat. I have played that Jam before at Mikado and usually could beat him, and Ririko and I go just about 50/50 even when we play, but I knew Ain would be rough. I thought saving Eddie for last would be good logically but in this case I think I was wrong.

After the tournament, I asked Tsu if he had a team for tomorrow. He said he didnt yet. He said he might be down to team with me again but that he needed to check some things first.

We stayed for a while and lots of people were there still playing casuals. They took the winning photo for the winning team and then they also took our teams picture for getting 2nd place. You can see it here on the tougeki site. (I just happened to be wearing the exact same shirt I was wearing last time when we won and qualified so I have the same one on in both pictures lol. Maybe its lucky...)

I congratulated the members of Ririko's team and told them good games. When I congratulated Ain, he said I was strong today. I think that was the first time Ain has ever talked to me without completely blowing me off lol.

Eventually after like an hour or 2 of casuals, Tsu told me that he was going to team with another team. It turns out that the team he decided on was the Millia and Johnny that he defeated in the tournament... (the guys that were on Kusoru's team). Sugami didnt win any matches but I played pretty well so I dont get why he would want to team with those guys over me considering he beat them... but maybe they are friends... I really dont know. Maybe he was watching me play casuals and didnt think I was doing well enough or something (I was doing decent but not like amazing). In any case, I actually already had a team lined up for tomorrow with Kunihiro and Akinori. I considering teaming with Tsu again cuz we did so well today, but in the end it probably might have been a dick move to ditch those 2 guys so whatever.

Shortly after that, I left and headed back to Mikado. On the way back, I mailed Sam. He said he would come chill at Mikado and get some food with me but was too broke to go drinking tonight. I also asked Liz if she wanted to get Ramen with us cuz I was really hungry so she said she would. When I got to Mikado, Akinori was there playing. I told him once my friends are ready we were gonna get ramen and I invited him along and he was down. Once Sam arrived, we met Liz at the station and the 4 of us got some awsome ramen. We talked a bit about various things while eating. Once we were done, Liz wanted to get drinks but Sam was broke and Akinori and I wanted to play casuals, so Liz went home and the rest of us went back to Mikado. Akinori paid for EVERYONES dinner which was super nice of him. I tried to pay him back but he wouldnt accept it so I told him I would get him next time.

Casuals at Mikado were fun. I did fairly well in general and didnt get pissed off this time. I told myself that if I lost to someone more then 3 times in a row that I should just go play someone else so that I didnt end up getting all pissed again. Sometimes taking a break from fighting the same person over and over can be a nice refresher. I think it results in me playing a bit less 1 demensional and also lets me cool down. Sometimes doing well against another player is a good way to get yourself back together so that when you go back to fighting the guy you were having trouble with, you can go back in with a fresh mind and it was working well this time.

Towards the end, I played Akinori a bunch of times and we were going fairly even. He was playing solid. He had to leave around 11:30. Then like right before Mikado was gonna close, Nanase showed up. I beat him twice. Then out of nowhere, Osaka B showed up. He played me with his Order Sol and beat me! I was surprised, his HOS has gotten way better. I rematched him and won. Then we ended up playing a bunch of Faust mirror matches. At this point it was already passed closing time and we were the only people there (Nanase was watching) other than the staff. I kept trying to leave cuz I felt like maybe it was time to GTFO but Osaka B was like "one more one more!". I beat him the last game we played and I think in the end we either went compeletely even or he was up by one game. In any case it was fun matches. I promised Andy I would meet him at Current cuz tonight was a metal event and he came to Tokyo just to go drinking but Osaka B wanted to play so I ended up leaving later than I planned to.

Anyway, I got to Current at around 12:30 and Andy was there. It was pretty much a typical metal event with a lot of the regular metal event people there. I talked to Andy most of the time and just enjoyed the music. At some point I even got down on the inflatable guitar action. Sushi kept trying to do this thing where he throws a plastic water bottle over his shoulder and then catch it behind his back with his other hand. He was failing pretty bad but eventually got it. Emma was really good at it though, and Mogi was the fucking master of that shit. I didnt see him fail ONCE! Then Sushi told me to try and me and him took turns failing a bunch of times until I finally got it and then I went back to sit down lol.

I stayed till when the metal event ended at like 4:30 and then Andy and I left. He decided to just go home so I headed to the manga kissa to sleep.

The next morning I felt fine cuz I didnt drink as much compared to Friday night. Today's tournament was in Nishi-Kanagawa at Gamer's Vision. This is the arcade where Kami-chan works (he might even be the owner, im not sure) and they are known for doing live streams. I didnt even know it at the time, but today's tournament would be streamed live in its entirety on ustream.

When I arrived in Nishi-Yokohama, I was walking towards the arcade and out of the corner of my eye I noticed another foreigner. Then he came up to me and I realized that it was none other than the French Anji player, Dream Maker! He had gone back to France but he said that now he is back in Japan and lives in Osaka. He said that he was on a business trip to Tokyo for the week and had a little down time so he said he came just to watch todays tournament and figured I would be there. We went into the arcade together.

When I arrived, Kunihiro was already there. They hadnt done signups yet. It was like around 1:45 or something and the tournament was scheduled to begin at 3. Today's tournament ended up being a bit larger than the other one with 12 teams. I did pretty decent in pre tournament casuals. There were some good players there today for the tournament, and some people like Ain and Taku who already qualified for the B-4 block finals were there to watch and hang out. Taku was playing a lot of Super Turbo against the computer between GG casual matches for whatever reason LOL. Akinori eventually showed up a little before the tournament started. I named our team The X-Files.

We had a pretty rough bracket ahead of us. Not only were we one of the teams that had to play a zero taisen match, our first match was against KA2/Ko1/Haken... and if we beat them... we would need to play AGF/HEVEN/Consome... yay...

Once I told Kunihiro and Akinori who our opponents were, they seemed pretty discouraged. I figured, whatever, im just gonna play. We ended up having to fight in the very first match of the whole tournament...

ElvenShadow(FA)/Hevenly(PO)/92(AN) (Kunihiro goes by 92 but in the video his name is listed as 9d... Kami-chan just read it wrong off the signup sheet)



For once, I decided to just go first. Every time I team with these 2 guys I usually anchor but this time I just felt like I wanted to give it a try first. Now... I am not really going to bother to go into great detail about the matches because you can see them all (and the entire tournament for that matter) here at the ustream for Gamers Vision. You can also watch just this match on youtube. Part 1. Part 2.

The first match was KA2 vs me. I played pretty solid, won the first round, lost the 2nd round, and won the 3rd round! Kunihiro and Akinori seemed pretty pleasently surprised, and the crowd seemed quite surprised as well.

2nd match was me vs KO1. This time I did even better and won both rounds! People were VERY surprised now and were getting pretty loud. I was surprised too. Kami-chan said I was strong.

3rd match was me vs Haken. I started off really solid and won the first round with a pretty solid life lead. Then the 2nd round, I started off solid as well. Rushing down Haken is a pretty bad idea usually because he is just pro at throwing out an answer to almost anything you do, so I tried to play it safe as possible by just playing mostly a zoning game and kept my distance. At one point I had him in the corner with a mini PO on him and he was down to about 25% health. I probably should have pressed him a little harder here. I dont feel like i utilized the mini PO as well as I could have. He landed a flick on me which knocked me away and then I tried to zone him more but he started absorbing my scalpel pull hits with hammerfall cancel and slideheading me and he got in and I eventually lost the round. The 3rd round was also really close. He eventually got a life lead on me and I started to make a bit of a comeback and hung on for a while. I tried to play really safe and patient but when there was about 10 seconds left on the clock, I knew that if I didnt start getting that damage in right there and then, I would lose by time over. I tried to get in on him but in the end he hit my last sliver of life away and I lost.

It was a good effort and I felt proud of myself in a way, but in another way I feel like I really failed because I was SO close and could have had it if I just played a little better. There was a point where I could have baited his burst when I was on pogo stance if I maybe used pogo backdash but I wasnt thinking of that at the time. This is all just thoughts after watching the match.

In any case, it wasnt quite over yet because our team still had 2 players left. Up next was Akinori (Hevenly). He started off the PO mirror match with a solid first round and won! Then for the next 2 rounds, Haken caught on to him and just simply out played him and won. Last was Kunihiro (92). He also started off very very solid. He was a pixel away from winning round 1 but lost. Then he won round 2! For round 3, he was down in life but REALLY put up a solid fight with good footsies and zoning but in the end, he went for an air combo and his air overhead (aka the "birthday cake" as tagged by KBnova) whiffed and he lost... If he had just got that one hit in the first round we would have advanced.

I felt a strange mix of accomplishment and failure after that. I just chilled and watched the rest of the tournament. Kunihiro and Akinori left right after we lost. Ochiai (Nice PO guy) gave me props for trying.

Since you can see the whole thing if you are really interested I wont go into much detail but ill just lay out some highlights.

Tsu reverse OCVed his first match after both his teammates lost.

Umemura team lost their first match.

KA2 OCVed AGF's team

Tsu team lost their 2nd match, this time the MI on their team beat a TE player but then an ED beat MI and JO and then Tsu beat ED but lost to IN.

The tournament finals were
KA2 team
JT(MI)/erushieranto D anoiransu(MA)/Ton (TE)
(JT told me before the tournament that he was going to enter by himself and I guess he joined these 2 guys last minute)

KA2 beat May
Ton beat KA2 and then Haken... and finally KO1!

I was very surprised cuz I thought KA2 team would win for sure... but Ton played really solid and sealed the deal. I dont think I have ever really heard of him before but he certainly did good.

I find it kinda hilarious that JT went from almost entering alone to joining the winning team and not even having to play in the finals lol.

After the tournament ended, I asked Tsu if he would be down to team with me again next weekend. I was pretty certain he would say yes, espessially after I had a pretty good showing and the fact that his teammates didnt do that hot today. Much to my surprise, he refused my offer and said he would team with someone else next weekend. I dont know if he already actually promised someone or if he just didnt wanna team with me but I was kinda bummed about that. It sorta made my mixed feelings of accomplishment and failure lean more towards the failure side.

I stayed and played casuals until about 8:30. Some of them were some good matches, some werent. I won a game vs Ain which I cant even remember the last time I beat him so that was cool I guess. I kept almost beating Kami-chan and fucking stuff up last minute (like getting a drill kick when I wanted to FD to bait a super) which costed me some wins but oh well. The winning team was there till the end and was knocking back a few beers while playing to celebrate I guess. Before I left, I said bye to everyone quickly and Kami-chan thanked me for coming out, and the other guys waved and said bye. I said bye to Ain too and he just sorta like waved which looked more like he was shooing me away lol... that guy cracks me up.

As I was heading home on the train, I reached in my backpack for my PSP to get down on some Suikoden II... and my PSP was NOT in my bag! I already wasnt in the greatest mood and this didnt help. As soon as I got to Ueno station to transfer, I called the manga kissa to see if they found a PSP and luckily they did! It turns out that I left it there on FRIDAY night. Since I didnt play it the whole time aside from Friday on the train GOING to Tokyo, it just now realized it was gone. After describing it and telling them what games were in the case and stuff they said they would hold it for me and that I could pick it up next weekend. I was pretty relieved about that cuz losing my PSP would have sucked pretty bad.

So, I played some DS isntead. When I got to Shibukawa which is about 30 minutes from my stop, the train stopped and they said it was no longer in service due to rain or something (which was odd cuz the rain stopped...) and everyone had to get on a bus that just followed the tracks and stopped at each station. I eventually got home but it was like almost an hour later than I normally would have (like 1 am). I went right to bed after taking a shower.

The next morning I went to get my glasses (which I usually only wear for work) out of my backpack and I noticed that THEY were gone TOO! I called the manga kissa again and they had my glasses as well LOL! Man... I really need to be more careful. I blame it all on that hangover.

I was worried that despite a fairly solid showing, that people would still think I suck and wouldnt wanna team with me. I got an unexpected mail from the Axl player Akira (明) on Monday night. He asked if I would team with him for next weekend. He is a solid player so I agreed. I didnt know till now, but he lives in Sendai which is really far. So its pretty dedicated of him to travel to Tokyo. We will have a May player that he knows for Sunday (I dont know who but ill trust Akira's judgement, plus May is a really good character...) and were still looking for one more person for Saturday. He said he saw the livestream and suggested we get Kunihiro cuz he said he looked really good (and Kunihiro is a really good player, he just chokes often in tournaments but he did beat Niga last week and ALMOST beat Haken this time). Unfortunately Kunihiro already told me he couldnt enter on Saturday so we are still thinking about who our 3rd will be. Hopefully we can get someone really good.

So I guess even though I failed, I did gain a little respect in one way or another. In any case, im not ready to give up yet. Im just gonna keep playing and hopefully eventually I will come out ahead. Sometimes I just wish I was a little more consistent.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Skin o' My Teeth

Matt, Emmet, and I headed to Tokyo after work on Friday at the usual time. At Mikado, there were players but it wasnt that busy. Kunihiro was there beasting on lots of people. I played him a bunch that night and only managed to beat him a few times. He was playing really solid. I didnt have a team decided yet for this weekend. I asked him if he could join me and he said that he could play on Sunday but not Saturday. So for the Saturday tournament, I figured I would pretty much just show up by myself and try to find a team.

We only stayed at Mikado till about 11. Chi (one of the bartenders from PSY) invited us to go to this club in Shibuya with her and her friends. A bunch of dance groups would be performing on stage there tonight and one of her friends was one of the dancers. She said she could get us in for 1000 yen (its usually 3000 yen there) and there was nothing special going on at my usual bars so I said why not.

When we got to Shibuya, we had a little time to kill before we were going to meet them. We walked around looking for Donkihote and found the club as well on accident but didnt go in yet cuz we needed to wait for Chi. I totally forgot to bring a hat this weekend (and I ALWAYS have a hat) and it was rainy all weekend so I wanted to buy one. I got one at Donkihote so it was all good.

Eventually we met Chi and her friend in front of Shibuya station and then went to the club together. We stood in line to get in, and then when we got to the door they told me I couldnt come in cuz I was wearing sandals. I already knew that lots of clubs wont let you in with sandals, which is why I ASKED Chi in advance if I would be ok with sandals. She said yes... she was mistaken. So, I just told them to wait for me for like 5 mins, and I ran to Donkihote which wasnt that far from the club. I just rushed down the shoe section and asked some dude working their to direct me to their cheapest pair of shoes. I pointed me to some crappy converse all star chuck taylor ripoffs that were only 790 yen. I got the biggest size they had (27) which was a little small on me but was good enough, and then I ran back to the club where they were still waiting. We were all able to get in with no problem after that.

The club was pretty packed. The music was standard club crap that I dont really care for. However, the dancers were fuckin hot! There were several dance groups and they were very um... talented heh. Most of the dance groups were girls but there were also some dudes who I couldnt give 2 shits about. I tried to keep it slow on the drinking but I had a few.

At some point, there was this black dude who came up to us and he showed us this Uniqlo commercial that he made. Hes like a dance teacher and directed the thing. When he asked my name I said my name was Joe... I dont know why lol. Then he asked where I was from and I was like "New York". He was like, "I'm from New York too! Where from?" I was thinking like... oh shit, Ive never even been to NY, oh well.. "I'm from Albany" figuring he was from somewhere other than Albany. I was right. Luckily he didnt ask me anything else about where I was from LOL. He seemed pretty wasted but was cool enough I guess. Eventually he just started like dancing around us and sorta fizzled off somewhere else.

Sometime after 3 am, Chi wanted to go to another club where it was like 3000 yen for all you can drink. I was planning on going to bed before 5 cuz I had a tournament tomorrow, and I didnt wanna spend that much for such a short time espessially when I was trying to cut back on the drinks for my ulcer. Everyone else decided to go, but Emmet almost stayed behind but went with them at the last minute. So, I just stayed at the club I was already at by myself for like another hour. I danced a little bit and talked to a few people but thats about it. I went to the manga kissa and we to sleep at about 5 am.

The next day, I woke up to hearing Emmet talking on the phone. He was like 2 booths down from me in the manga kissa. I was about to leave for the tournament and he decided to tag along since he had nothing better to do. We tried to wake Matt up to come with us but he was totally out of it and too tired to go so we left him at the manga kissa. When we tried to wake him up he was acting all shocked in like this comical fashion that amused us.

Today's tournament was at Game OSLO in Tachikawa which I have been to before several times. When I got there, I signed up alone hoping to find a team. Ruka was there and I asked him who his team was. He said had a 2 man team. I asked him if I could join. He said to hold on a sec and then went over and talked to Kishitaka. Then he said he was gonna team with Kishitaka. I guess maybe Kishitaka was there alone too. Oh well. Then these 2 other guys came up to me and asked me to join their team. One was a Potemkin player named Kero and one was a Slayer player named Kuma. Both of them were pretty much unknown players. I agreed to join them. Kero said he remembered me from a qual last year in Kanagawa where I teamed with a friend of his. They named our team something along the lines of "Eleven Shadow-sensei has joined our team!" LOL...

Lots of good teams were there. A total of 18 teams entered. They had 4 cabs for GG. While we were waiting for the tournament to start, Emmet was playing 3S. He fought a Ken player who turned out to be Ain. I think Emmet went 1-2 against him. Also, Ririko was there with this other hot girl. I asked her if she played GG too and she said she was just there to watch Ririko play. She said she thinks the game is cool but its too difficult for her to learn.

Anyway the tournament started and our first match was against BOB(ED), Taku(SL), Kishya(FA). Pretty beastly team.

Our Slayer went first against Taku in a mirror match. Taku beat him up. Then, our Potemkin went and he actually beat Taku! Potemkin is good against Slayer but thats still a nice accomplishment. Up next was BOB and he beat our Potemkin. Finally I went against BOB. I played ok but in the end I lost. I felt like I could have done a little better but oh well.

I didnt really bother writing down details about all the stuff that went down but the finals was

BOB's team
Zero (OR) / Kanata (SL) / Kadeko (MA)

and BOB's team ended up winning the tournament. You can see the full brackets here.

After it was over, Emmet and I pretty much just left cuz Emmet was going to go to an international party and it was gonna start soon.

On my way back, I got a mail from Matt. He was spending the day with his girlfriend. She lives in Maebashi (they met back in Oregon when she was living there as an exchanged student and now she is back in Japan which is the main reason why Matt came to visit). They sorta had a fight before he came so he had only seen her once up to this point which was pretty shitty but she agreed to come see him in Tokyo today. They had just finished getting it on at a love hotel in Okubo and were going to go to an izakaya. I was hungry and I hadnt met his girlfriend yet so I agreed to go meet them there.

Matt said to meet him at Alpha Station so I went there to kill a few minutes. Aside from a few people playing BB, it was dead as hell. No one was playing any games I play so I just left and ended up meeting Matt in front of Shin Okubo station. We went to this one izakaya I went to before with Ryoko.

I noticed Matt's GF was putting a lot of eye drops in. Later when she was in the bathroom, Matt told me how when he pulled out, he accidently squirted it in her eye LOL! I found this amusing. However, despite that, and the fact that Matt overslept for an hour when he was supposed to meet her today, she seemed like she wasnt angry with him anymore which was good.

We had some good food, and despite the fact that we got there around 5, I still pounded a few beers. Every time you ordered a beer at this place, they gave you a scratch and win ticket. On my very first try, I won! I got some card that (according to the waiter) was worth 2000 yen in free beers at several izakayas! I was pretty happy about that. (However, later I showed it to Ryoko who explained it to me in more detail that the card only gives you half off 1 beer for each person in your group one time for a value up to 2000 yen. So basically it just means everyone in your group saves 150 yen... big fucking deal... POS card...).

Also, I played against Matt's GF in Puyopuyo on DS and she tore me a new asshole. This girl is like broken at that game. I managed to beat her only one time out of a bunch and she had the handicap on, lol. I hardly ever play that game but she was still a beast.

Eventually Andy joined us as well cuz he had just arrived in Tokyo. We stayed there till about 8 pm or something like that. After that, we headed to Mikado for some games. I needed to take a break from drinking cuz if I kept it up from 5 pm to my usual drinking time without stopping, I would be pooing some tar for sure.

While at Mikado, I mailed Akinori to try and get a full team for tomorrow and he said he would be glad to join, so I was set for tomorrow. BTW, KA2 has a beastly Johnny. I played him in casuals and he beat me like 2 or 3 times before I beat him. I dont remember much else about casuals that night but I got like a 10 win streak or something and my last match of the night was vs Batako or Chonari (im not sure which) and i won. We left at around 11 pm cuz we found out it was Hide's birthday tonight at GODZ from Ai who wanted to meet us there before she had to leave on the last train home. Hide is one of the owners of GODZ.

Before going to GODZ we got some kebabs for the road. A bunch of wasted people came out of an izkaya across the street looking a bit upset cuz Japan had just lost their game in the worldcup that night. (BTW the world cup is HUGE here. Pretty much everyone seems to care about it).

We got to GODZ and it was pretty packed. They were pretty much playing live Megadeth the whole time. Hide got a birthday cake and everyone shot confetti poppers at him and he did the whole blow out the candles and stage dive off the bar deal. Ai was really happy to see us. Hibiki showed up too. We only stayed for like an hour and after Ai left, we left shortly after to go to Current. On the way to Current we ran into Terry and 2 other people who just left there to go find a club somewhere in Shinjuku. We said hi breifly and then went on our way.

When we got to Current, we met up with Emmet and sat at a table in the back with him and this Italian dude who he met in Roppongi at the international party so they came to Current together. They also appearently came with some girls, but the Italian guy said Emmet was saying the word "fuck" in like every sentence cuz he was drunk, and he said it so much that the girls got offended and went home, LOL!

A few other people I know were there so we drank with them a bit too. Nothing much else to say really about the night, but it was fun. We left Current at around 3 and headed to PSY. Emmet didnt go with us and went to a love hotel with Sachiko instead.

On the way to PSY we ran into Terry's 2 friends and they were asking if we saw him recently but we hadnt. Appearently he got lost at the club or something.

PSY was pretty full for its size. We sat at the bar and talked with Jackie for a bit and just kinda chilled. It was fun and I stayed till about 5 and then decided I had best get to sleep so I could make it to the tournament. Andy and Matt stayed behind and kept drinking.

The next day I woke up and headed to the tournament. Sam said he was gonna me up with me on the way but he never ended up coming.

When I got to the tournament (which was near Fujimidai station at some arcade that was hard to find), Kunihiro was already there. Standing right next to him was creepy stalker girl. I went over to say hi to Kunihiro and she thought I was like going to talk to her so she starts babbling a bunch of stuff while im speaking to Kunihiro. After I was done talking to him I said hi to her breifly to be nice. I checked the signup sheet and was dissapointed to find that 16 teams had already signed up and that today's tournament was limited to 16 teams. There was a waiting list though in the case that some team didnt show up. I signed us up on the waiting list. I played a few casuals and talked a bit to the Nice PO player (his name is Ochiai, I just found out) and Shuoji the TE player. Akinori showed up and I went outside to meet him at the station to show him the way. When we got back inside, they told me that one team wasnt going to come so we got lucky and were able to enter. While I was playing casuals, creepy stalker girl was like watching me like a hawk and clapping no matter how good or bad I played lol. At some point she comes up to me with her little note pad and instead of showing me a little picture this time, she wrote down some stuff. I was like "whats that?" shes like "its your team!" She copied my team name and the names and characters of the players on my team into her notebook. I was just thinking like "wtf"... why would she write down my team and show it to me!? This girl is strange as hell! Luckily as the day went on she didnt really bother me much. I find it odd that she is supposedly friends with Nemo's wife yet I have never seen Nemo interact with her at all (or ANYONE interact with her for that matter). Something is certainly strange about her.

Our first match of the tournament was vs TE SO SL. The bracket didnt list the player names so I didnt know who it was. Then they called our teams to fight first round. I played RPS to determine sides and my RPS opponent was none other than Nemo. Lucky us.

Kunihiro went first vs the SL player and got perfected first round. However, he played really smart and careful and was able to actually beat him! Up next, was their SO player. Kunihiro lost. Then Akinori went with his PO. He won the first round, lost the 2nd round and ALMOST won the 3rd round but lost by a pixel. Last was me. I lost the first round but a little bit. Then in the 2nd round we both had a pixel left and he was running at my while I was in the corner. I threw out a jab as he was running towards me but he did like a last second frc gun flame and I got hit and lost.

After the match, I looked over to see who the other guys on the team were and the SO player was 012 and the SL was Niga. I sorta suspected that it was 012 by his play style and the color so I wasnt that surprised. However, the fact that Kunihiro took out Niga is pretty remarkable.

After our match, 012 was playing casuals while waiting for his team to play again. Several people and I fought him and he got like a 20 win streak. I eventually beat him and ended it at 20 wins. I stayed for the rest of the tournament and watched and played more casuals. I almost beat Consome in a casual match too but I dropped a combo cuz my pogo forcebreak didnt come out and i lost. Oh well. MK was there and he was with some other team this time. Isa didnt go though. I havnt seen Isa enter since we played in the b2 block finals. I had asked MK earlier in the week if he wanted to try and form a team with ASA and me but he said he didnt know ASA so he didnt wanna join and then ASA couldnt go either which is why I had no team coming into the weekend. Oh well.

Anyway, in the semi finals...

Ka2 (JA) / Haken (PO) / Ko1 (MI)
Ochiai (PO) / Kishitaka (SO) / En (SL)

Kishitaka almost beat Ka2 but he dropped a combo and lost and then someone yelled "Kiiishiiitaaakaaa!!!" really loud like Darth Vader "NOOOOOoooo!" style. It was pretty funny.
Then En beat Ka2.
Next was Haken vs En. This match had so much walked back and forth footsies. It came down to like 8 seconds left in the last round and En pulled out a clutch win! Haken looked upset. Then En lost to Ko1 and Ochiai gave a great performance and beat Ko1 for the win!

The finals was En's team vs Nemo's team.

En ended up OCVing the whole finals in the order of Niga, Nemo, 012. En was on fuckin fire today. You can see results here on tougeki site.

After it ended, I said bye to Kunihiro and he said he would be down to team again next Sunday. I left with Akinori and we rode back on the train together. He was planning to go practice more at another arcade. We parted ways at Ikebukuro. He agreed to team with me again next weekend either day so Sunday I will keep the same team. Not sure about Saturday yet.

After that, I went to Shibuya to meet up with Matt and Andy, and Matt's friends Mari and Eriko whom I met a few times before. We went to the same awsome izakaya we went to last time we chilled with them during Matt's birthday. We ate a lot of good food and I had a few beers.

We left there with barely enough time to get the last train back home. Matt realized he was low on money and couldnt afford a ticket in the case that they checked our tickets on the train. We had to go to 7-eleven. We found one, but walking back to the station I realized that we werent going to make it unless we ran. We started running when we got to the intersection before the Hachiko exit and ran through the station and made it to the platform JUST as the last train was pulling up. If I missed this train I would have been screwed. Good thing we made it but we probably should have left a little earlier heh... oh well.

Between almost not getting into the club Friday, almost not being able to enter Sunday's tournament, and almost missing the last train home, I certainly got lucky in a lot of ways this weekend. In addition to all that, despite all the drinking I did, somehow I didnt have black poo which was another miracle lol.

Anyway, Matt will go back to the US on Wednesday. It was fun times chilling again. He plans to maybe visit again in November or something. Next weekend is 2 more tournaments around Tokyo so hopefully I will do better next week.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Andy

On Friday, all ALT's in Gunma had to go to a seminar in Maebashi that lasted the whole day until about 4 pm. After it ended, Emmet and I left together and met up with Matt in Takasaki and then we rode the train to Tokyo together. Emmet went to go drinking with some girl when we got to Tokyo.

Matt and I got to Mikado a bit earlier than usual due to starting from Maebashi. I mailed a few players throughout the week trying to find a team for this weekend. One of them was Udei. He didnt reply but when he saw me at Mikado, he said that he was trying to form a team with HEVEN and that if HEVEN was down, I could be their 3rd. Unfortuantely, he mailed HEVEN that night, and HEVEN already decided he would enter with other people (Ain, and someone else, I forgot). Kunihiro said he would enter with me but Udei doesnt know him and said he didnt feel very motivated to go so he said he wasnt gonna enter afterall. I needed one more, and the other people I asked couldnt do it. Akinori was a maybe and didnt give me a straight answer. I called the arcade and registered our team in advance just in case since they were taking registration by phone and I was concerned that it might fill up.

Casuals was fun that night. I cant really think of anything in particular worth mentioning.

After leaving Mikado, Matt and I got ramen and then headed to Current. It was pretty good for a Friday. I drank, but I made an attempt to pace myself. I got a buzz but never really got very drunk at all. We chilled with Chris and a few other regulars. Matt and Emmet ended up getting into an argument about morals that I didnt hear most of cuz I was talking with Michi and Shuji for a while. I guess the argument got resolved eventually though without anything really bad happening.

We went to PSY a bit earlier and I only ended up staying till 5 am cuz I wanted to make it to the tournament on time tomorrow. Matt ended up going to Karaoke with some of the PSY staff until about like 8 am or something.

I woke up the next day in the good manga kissa. I got a mail in the morning from Akinori saying that he couldnt make it afterall. Then I mailed Kunihiro and he said since we only had a 2 man team, he was just gonna sit this one out. I figured I might as well just go and try to find a team there since I had nothing else to do anyway.

I was on my way to the tournament at got to Shinjuku station and them Emmet mailed me and said he wanted to go with me. He never wants to go to tournaments but I guess he had nothing else to do so I waited for him a bit. It got the the point where I couldnt wait any longer or I would be late so I left. I told him how to get there so that he could meet me there later but he got lost and never showed up. Today's tournament was in Kanagawa about an hour by train from Shinjuku.

I made it to the arcade about 20 minutes before the tournament was scheduled to start. I was able to find a 2 man team that let me join them. I dont remember their names, but it was a guy who played Testament and this hot girl who played May. Both of them said they had only been playing GG for 6 months so they said they werent very good. Oh well, at least I could enter.

Lots of good teams were there. I was lazy today and didnt take pictures of sign up sheet or brackets, but a good majority of the top players who have been entering recently were there in some capacity.

Our first match was vs Satoshi (PO) / JT (MI) / Karun (JA).

first the female May player went vs Satoshi and lost. She didnt seem that bad though and played better than I thought but she didnt win any rounds.
Next the Testament player went and played much worse than our May player. He was constantly dropping combos and trying stuff that didnt even work. He lost pretty bad.
Finally I went. I knew this team wasnt going anywhere but I figured I might as well just try for fun. The first round I got him down to about half life but then he got in on me and I couldnt escape. The 2nd round I got him to like a pixel of life left and he was in the corner. I messed up a pressure string and something whiffed on accident and he was able to capitalize on that and bustered me and I lost. Oh well, I didnt really care honestly.

After I lost, I played casuals for a while on the extra cab they had. I beat this one Jam player a few times and he started talking to me. He asked if I was ElvenShadow and I said yes. He said he was from Kyushu and that he recently moved to Tokyo for school. I was surprised he has heard of me, I guess he must have seen some of my vids online or something.

Mugen was there again with the same Dizzy player on his team. He said hi to me and we talked a little. This time, instead of Kakeru, they had En on their team. Not a bad trade if I must say so. Funny thing is, they had Kakeru in the name of their team. I wonder if they originally were gonna enter with Kakeru and then got En last minute. Mugen's team made it to the semi finals but they lost to Maruken's team.

Anyway, eventually it was the finals so I went to watch that. It was...
Maruken (BA) / Satou (JO) / TEN (IN)
Kishya (FA) /AGF (AN) / Taku (SL)

Maruken OCVed them and his team won the first preliminary of the B-4 block.

After the tournament, I played a few more games of casuals and then it was getting late so I headed back to Mikado. On the way back, I stopped in Shinjuku and bought some cigars for Andy since today was his birthday!

Emmet was there waiting, playing random games. I played some casuals for a while. I fought Karun about 4 times and lost and kept like ALMOST beating him but he would just get comebacks. Oh well. I beat FAB though which was pretty good. Not much else to mention I guess.

Eventually Matt, Sam, and a few of Sam's friends from his school showed up. They all were planning to go drinking at this place that had 100 minutes of nomihodai for 1000 yen! Thats a great deal! So, at around 9, we left there and headed to Yotsuya where the place was.

Before going to the place, we met up with more people in the park that Sam knows and ended up rolling in there like 15 people deep. One of the dudes was like this incredibly flaming gay dude that Sam kept jokingly making fun of and it was pretty amusing.

This place had self serve all you can drink beer. I ended up slamming ALOT of beers while we were there. I sorta lost count. By the end of the 100 minutes I was feeling really good. I know I am supposed to watch out for my ulcer so I was planning to just get really drunk there and then slow down the rest of the night. It didnt really work...

So when our time was up, everyone pretty much split up. The flaming gay dude was like "Im off to 2-Chome!" which is the gay neighborhood in Shinjuku LOL! The way he said it was just hilarious. I guess everyoene else just went home or something. Sam, Matt, Emmet, and I went to Current.

We met up with Andy shortly after going to Current. He just got to Tokyo or otherwise he would have went with us to the other place. Current was pretty good. Snus-man and some other Finnish people sat at the table next to us. I ended up using a little snus cuz I was drunk and being stupid but I didnt leave it in that long. We also ended up talking to these 3 random Japanese girls and one Japanese guy for a bit. One of them was hitting on me pretty hard. She wasnt very attractive though and after I told her I had a girlfriend she sorta let up a bit. At some point, Sam disapeared and said he got a random booty call and was going to a love hotel! How often does that situation happen? I guess hes pretty lucky.

Anyway, we all ended up going to Karaoke together down the street from Current for like 2 or 3 hours. It was pretty fun. The fat girl ordered a TON of food. I had some more beers cuz they opted for everyone to get nomihodai again... I knew it wasnt a good idea but I didnt wanna argue with everyone. The singing was fun though I this time I actually got to request plenty of songs.

Out of the group of people we didnt really know, only one girl was there by the time we left cuz all her friends bailed early. The bill ended up being over 30,000 yen which is alot! That girl ended up having to pay for all her friends on her credit card. I hope they pay her back.

After that, the girl went home, and the rest of us went to PSY. We stayed till closing. I was pretty tired and knew I had already probably drank too much. Emmet was tired too so we left. Matt ended up going drinking with a bunch of people until NOON the next day! WTF! He drank from 9 pm Saturday night to NOON on Sunday! Thats 15 hours! Why the fuck doesnt HE have an ulcer?! Andy went with too but he only stayed out till like 8 or something and then went home. Matt said he crashed on the floor in Jackie's office after they tried to play SFIV on his xbox but failed cuz Jackie was too drunk to figure out how to plug in his arcade stick. LOL! Oh well... Anyway, the nice manga kissa was full so Emmet and I stayed at the old shitty one.

I woke up with really bad heartburn and my ulcer hurt a bit. I knew I made a mistake and drank too much. I took a dump at the manga kissa and the color was normal. Today, there was no SBO tournaments around here. There was one in Aichi which is really far but I didnt have a team so I wasnt gonna bother going.

After leaving, Emmet and I got some food at Lotteria. I hate Lotteria. Its the worst burger chain in Japan, but they currently have a monstrosity called the tower cheese burger. It has 10 patties of beef and 10 slices of cheese! WTF is that shit!?!? Considering Lotteria has really crappy meat, I had no desire to eat that shit so I got a shrimp burger which was still not so good. I definetely enjoyed watching Emmet whoof down that whole thing though. It looked extremely hard to eat. I got a good picture of him holding it up before eating it. He said he felt a bit queasy after eating it but he didnt throw up to my knowledge.

After leaving there, Emmet went home and I went to Mikado. I took another dump there and this time it was black. I knew I drank too much last night. I guess I need to be more careful next week.

I pretty much just played casuals the whole day there. I got a long set in with Yuuta, the Testament player. He said I was good. He ended up getting a big streak on me at somepoint though but whatever.

Mikado also had another one of those Super Turbo match analysis things going on on the big projector with guys like explaining it frame by frame. It ended after like 2 hours or something.

Eventually Matt showed up and was pretty beating from drinking so long. We played till late, got some kebabs, went back and played a few more and then it was time to go home. Not much else to go into detail about.

Next week there are 2 tournaments in Tokyo so I will try to enter both. No idea who my team will be but hopefully it will work out better next time.

Monday, June 7, 2010

No Regrets

So this is it, the B2 block finals weekend.

I headed to Tokyo with Matt and Emmet on Friday night on the usual train. We stopped by at Mikado and played till about 11 pm. There were a fair amount of decent players there so I got some good practice. I started off doing really well and got a 10 win streak. Then after I won, the game suddenly just froze. I went and got an arcade staff member and they rebooted the machine but it was taking forever, so I just went to play on another cab. I played a few more games, getting lots of wins. I only lost 4 times the entire night which is pretty good (against Udei once, NOB's Slayer after I beat his Sol, and I forgot the others). Then, at some point, Osaka B yells "Shadow-sensei!" So I go over to him. He was playing on the cab that froze on me. He told me since the machine froze on me earlier I could take over his game. He had 11 wins. The match vs a Robo-Ky was just starting up. I figured why not, so I took over his game and beat the Robo-Ky. Then I beat him again, and again... and again, until there was eventually an 18 win streak. This RO player was pretty bad honestly. I was starting to get suspicious. No one else was getting on the cab, just the same RO player who had just lost 18 in a row. I respect his determination I guess but I was getting pretty tired of fighting him. I asked Osaka B if it was the same RO player the whole time and he made like this funny frustrated face saying "Yea, he wont go away!" lol! So, he probably figured he might as well dump the game on me lol! I cant really blame him and it was kinda funny. So after beating him the 18th time, I got a match vs the computer to start up and I went into IK mode and got off the cab as fast as I could (as this is often the indication that you are leaving your game), yet a few seconds later, the guy put another credit in the cab anyway. I just got the fuck outta there and went to go play someone else real fast heh. Though eventually I did look over and someone else challenged the RO player so its no big deal.

Anyway, we stayed till 11 and then after that we headed to Shinjuku to go drinking at Current. I am still trying to watch out for my ulcer, so I agreed to go drinking but figured I would make somewhat of an effort to take it a little slow. Since Matt is only visiting for 3 weeks I pretty much have to go drinking (and I want to too, I just need to be careful).

Current was pretty good for a Friday night. On the way there, we ran into Ayano, Taka, and a few other guys who were just getting back from a Nile concert. They said it was a good show and stuff. We all headed to Current and got a big table together and chilled. A few other regulars were there as well. Chris showed up and so did Yuta, that girl that Sam is friends with. I guess her and Chris are sorta making out with eachother a lot as of recently. I stuck to beer all night and just tried to pace myself. I never really got very drunk but I at least had a good buzz going.

We left and went to PSY at around 3. It wasnt very packed but there were a few people there. I started to fall asleep towards the end since something about the atmosphere in PSY just makes me sleepy. After that, we headed to the nice manga kissa.

The next day we woke up at around 2 pm. I felt fine and didnt have any dark black stools so I didnt drink too much. It seems I am safe to drink as long as I dont go crazy. We all took showers and by the time we got out of there it was almost 3 pm. This is the time that today's SBO qual at Game Ace was scheduled to start. We originally were planning to go watch, but we figured by the time we got out there it wouldnt really be worth the trip, so we got some Shakey's pizza lunch buffet and went to Mikado instead.

Since most of the good players were probably at Game Ace, it wasnt that packed at first but there were some players. I asked who won last weekend on Sunday (since I couldnt go) and the winning team was Mugen (BR) / Kakeru (SL) / 池田 華菜(DI) This is most likely the Dizzy players real name. I forgot his gamer name but it starts with an S. He uses the black and gold color. So this is another good team we would possibly have to face.

So anyway I ended up playing against a DI player a bunch at Mikado this day. He also used the black and gold color so I had suspicions it was the same DI player on Mugen's team, but I wasnt sure. I was doing very well at first against him getting perfects and stuff but eventually he started to adapt and then we were pretty much going even. I got some games in vs the guys on Mitsurgi's team too. I fought Nage in a FA mirror and won and then he rematched me and beat me. I also beat Ina's Millia on my first try but then rematched him like 5 times and couldnt beat him again. After the Game Ace tournament ended, tons of people that were there started to pour into Mikado. I asked someone who won today and the winning team (much to my surprise) was RF (FA) / Ogawa (ED) / Shonen (TE)! This team is very broken and I was surprised that they came all the way from Kansai but I guess since its the block final weekend and slots are scarce this year, it makes sense. So now there was a chance we would have to face this beastly team. Also, while I was at Mikado, someone came up to me and asked me if I remembered him. I said, sorry but not and he started speaking in fluent English and said he was Umemura. Umemura was a Baiken player from Maebashi in Gunma who I teamed up with once 2 years ago. I hadnt seen him in so long I didnt recognize him. He congratulated me on getting into the block finals. He said he would be entering tomorrow with Komayuki the Eddie player. He said he lives in Tokyo now. We wished eachother luck for tomorrow. Its kinda odd though cuz I still have his email in my phone and I have contacted him before about teaming up but he never replies. Maybe I should have asked him if he changed his mail but I forgot to. Oh well.

This time we only stayed and played until about 9 pm. I kinda wanted to play longer but Matt made plans to hang out with Sawa at an izakaya so I figured I might as well go too. We all met up at Shinjuku station. Sam came as well and brought a friend of his named Emily who used to work with him at Anime Expo and is currently studying in Japan. Sawa also brought a friend of hers but I forgot her name. So the 6 of us headed to an izakaya. We drank and ate there for a few hours and just talked and stuff. I had maybe like 4 beers within the almost 3 hours we were there, and for me, thats taking it really slow cuz Matt and Sam drank double that. Eventually Emily left a bit earlier and then Emmet showed up. He was at another izakaya drinking with some girl. Aside from someone throwing up all over the izakaya bathroom, it was good times.

After that, we headed to GODZ cuz Chris said Current was a gaijin fest and he was drinking at GODZ. Chris wasnt even there when we got there but maybe about 10 people were in the bar. The played some good music and we stayed for maybe an hour. It was alright. Then, we went to Current. It wasnt as bad as Chris said and some regulars were there. Also, Ai came to hang out and I havnt seen her in like a whole year. Ai is really cool so I always like drinking with her. Terry was there too and he bought me a tequila shot. I already did a shot with Sam when we went in and I am trying to lay off the shots but I figured one more wont hurt since I didnt really even feel that drunk.

We all went to PSY at around 4 or something. This time Chi was working and Matt was very happy to see her. Sam was pretty wasted when we got there. So was Emmet. Infact, Emmet passed out shortly after we got there. I took advantage of this by barrowing a black marker from Natsume and drawing penises all over Emmets face and the back of his neck. He didnt wake up at all lol! These are the laws of Shinjuku drinking. After Emmet woke up, Matt told him he had penises all over his face but Emmet was a pretty good sport about it.

At about 5, we went to Karaoke. I wasnt gonna go but I figured why not. They wanted to stay for 2 hours but I wanted to get enough sleep and practice time for tomorrow so I only stayed for an hour. I wasnt really drunk at all anymore at this point. Me, Terry, Matt, Sawa, Emmet, and Sam all went to Karaoke. I requested some songs but NONE of them got played for some reason. I think there was a problem with the machines there or something. So I basically sang one song someone else requested along with them and thats about it. I would have been better off going to sleep early but oh well.

The next day I woke up at the manga kissa. The wait for the showers was too long so I just headed right for Akihabara. I got a kebab and then went to the arcade. When I got to Club Sega (the old one), the preliminary for today was just starting soon. It was PACKED in there. I think something like 36 teams entered! Just about everyone came for this one. They were running the tournament on 4 setups and they also had 2 setups for casuals. The line to play was really long, so I went to HEY! to try and get some practice games in.

For whatever reason, HEY! had their GG cabs hooked up to the big high def cabs they have for BB and there was a huge amount of lag. I won like 4 games and then decided to just leave cuz the lag was fucking with me. After that, I went to the new Club Sega down the street and they had 3 setups going there that were regular and lag free. A few other top players were there like Ka2, Ko1, Haken, and Satou. I played Satou in one game and lost. I also played Ka2 and Haken twice and lost but both times I did better than the first attempt. I beat a few various people as well. Matt eventually showed up as well and was watching me play at new Club Sega. MIU showed up too and I was talking with him for quite a while. I also got a message from Andy. He was busy all weekend but decided last minute to come watch me play in the tournament. He arrived a little after. He was looking to buy a PS3 arcade stick so I showed him a few good stores to look for it at in Akihabara. I had to get back to old Club Sega though cuz the finals would be starting shortly.

When I got back, I witnessed the very final match of the preliminary which was AGF Anji vs Nemo's Testament. AGF won and Nemo looked pretty bummed out. So the winners of the final B2 block preliminary were AGF (AN) / Consome (PO) / BOB (ED).

It was so crowded in there that I couldnt even see if MK and Isa were there so I mailed MK. He told me they were both in there somewhere lol. Soon the tournament started.

To set up the brackets they had each team draw a number. There were 7 teams and it was organized into an 8 team bracket so one team got a bye. Isa drew a 4 and our first opponent was to be Maruken's team. Isa was really excited that we would be fighting this team. I guess he was confident we would beat them. The team that ended up getting the bye was Mugen's team and the winner of my first match would be fighting them next.

So, our team was the very first match to play in the tournament, and I was the very first player to play. TONS of people were watching and Shoot was on the mic announcing. Shoot is like one of the hypest announcers ever.

Anyway, here goes the results.

ElvenShadow (FA), MK (JO), Isa (ED)
Satou (JO), TEN (IN), Maruken (BA)

I went first vs Satou. I pretty much was nervous and played really conservative and kinda scared and ended up losing. I felt pretty bad but just got up and didnt really say or do anything. MK went next in the JO mirror match. Much to my surprise, not only did MK beat Satou but he beat him DOWN! He won both rounds completely one sided.
Up next MK went against TEN. Once again, he played extremely solid and took out TEN. Unfortunately, MK lost to Maruken but it was a good effort. In the final match of Isa vs Maruken, Isa won the first round well. He was off to a bad start in round 2 but got it together and pulled out a win! We advanced passed the first round! After seeing how hard MK and Mugen were fighting, I knew I needed to stop being so nervous, step it up, and just play my game like I always do. I was determined to do better next time.

Up next was...

Ogawa (ED), Shounen (TE), RF (FA)
Ka2 (JA), Ko1 (MI), Haken (PO)

Haken handled Ogawa like he was just another Eddie! I saw Haken beating tons of Eddies earlier today. He must really know that matchup. I was just surprised to see Ogawa go down so easily! Next, Haken fought Shounen and lost. Then, Ka2 fought Shounen and got a clutch win after hitting Shounen with a corner mixup, ending up really high above him, and somehow blocking Shounen's gold burst. The final match was Ka2 vs RF. RF put up a decent fight but Ka2 just kept hitting him with nasty counter hits into death combos.
...and just like that, Ogawa's team was eliminated first round! I was cheering for Ka2's team cuz I didnt really wanna fight Ogawa's team lol. Most people were cheering for Ka'2 team actually. As Ogawa, RF, and Shounen walked out, they didnt look very happy at all.

Up next was...

Inoue (OR), FAB (FA), Machaboo (TE)
AGF (AN), BOB (ED), Consome (PO)

If I remember correctly, Inoue lost to Consome, and then I think Machaboo OCVed the whole team.

Up next was our 2nd match

ElvenShadow, MK, Isa
Mugen (BR), Kakeru (SL), 池田 華菜(DI)

We were discussing who should go first. Isa said he figured they would either put Dizzy for Slayer first. If it was Dizzy, I would be best to go cuz MK says he hates Dizzy. If it was Slayer, MK said he can take Slayer and Slayer is a bad matchup for Faust. In the ended, we opted to have me go first again.
First match was me vs Slayer. I started off playing it safe with a backdash into crouching punch. I proceeded to zone him pretty well. I got hit a few times but I was able to keep him out most of the round and I pulled off a win. The 2nd round I started off super jumping to just get away and landed with an air dust. I was able to hit him with a standing punch which was able to combo into sweep into air combo and from there I got him away and played my zoning game and was able to beat him again! After I won, the crowd got pretty hype and Isa and MK were very happy and gave me lots props.
Up next was me vs Dizzy. I tried to play it like I was when I was practicing against Dizzy before. Started really patient just waiting and keeping good spacing trying to wait till he threw out a summon to stuff it with a far slash, but he managed to keep me out with a bubble and was able to start filling the screen with garbage. He started rushing me down pretty relentlessly and I pretty much got owned the first round. I turned to Isa and said not to worry and that I would get this. The next round started off with him catching me off guard with some pokes and he was able to keep rushing me down for a while. I blocked A LOT of mixups and was in the corner at some point with almost no life left. However, I was able to escape, and from this point he was pretty much just trying to chip me and cheese me out with all kinds of garbage and projectiles on the screen. I continued to just dodge and evade them for quite some time. At some point he threw out the fire super, and I did the air teleport and landed next to him. From there I was able to start rushing him down. I just continuously rushed him down with mixup after mixup and made one of the most epic comebacks ever! People were getting loud and HYPE! Pretty much at this point now the entire room was like cheering for me. I was pretty in the zone so I didnt really even hear the crowd but Matt told me that everyone was cheering and he people yelling shit like "sensei ganbatte!" and shit. As for round 3, I dont remember many details about it specifically but it was a much cleaner. Every time I got a hit in people were making all kinds of noise and stuff. In the end, I got a forward punch counter hit in and did an air combo off of it that finished him off. The whole room erupted once I won. Isa and MK were going nuts and like patting me on the back and all kindsa shit like that. I gave a thumbs up to Matt and Andy who were sitting across the other side of the crowd.
And from here... now I had to fight Mugen. I am not that knowledgable about the Bridget matchup and Mugen has always been really hard for me to beat. I pretty much never get a chance to play him in casuals. During this match the crowd was still getting hype every time I got a hit in. We played a lot of zoning games against eachother, and it was drawn out pretty long. I was mostly getting hit when he rushed me down. I kept making the mistake of getting hit by the sparks from kick start my heart. In the end, it was sorta close but Mugen defeated me.

As soon as I stood up from the chair, despite losing against Mugen, like EVERYONE in the arcade gave me a huge round of applaud. I wish I would have gotten the OCV but it still felt good knowing I contributed something.

Up next, MK went. He played a pretty careful and patient game and was just dancing around the yoyo the entire time. MK took round 1! Unfortunately Mugen got the best of him and defeated MK in rounds 2 and 3.

Finally it was time for Isa. Isa mainly was trying to get little Eddie in on Mugen while hiding under the ground. Mugen did a good job of constantly killing little Eddie, forcing Isa to pretty much either run away and wait for little Eddie to come back. Isa wasnt really able to get in on Mugen otherwise because flying above Mugens head is just a death wish with all the good anti air pokes he has to hit him out of flight. Isa tried to zone him with the drills too but Mugen was just super careful about not getting hit, and Isa just never really got little Eddie to work for him enough. The times when Isa DID get little Eddie to start hitting Mugen, most of the time, Mugen was able to block most of the stuff. In the end... Isa lost to Mugen...

...and with that, we were officially out of the tournament. Of course I was disappointed, but I feel like I did my best and thats all there is to it. I have no regrets. Given how beastly every team that in the 7 team finals was, I dont think it could have possibly have been any harder of a block finals. Given that fact, I think we did pretty well. Previous years, block finals only had like 2 or 3 teams, making it much easier, but now that this year GG is only 16 spots in the grand finals in September, its just way harder to get in.

After we lost, I walked over to where Matt and Andy were to watch the rest. As I walked past a bunch of people, tons of them were giving me props and telling me I played really well.

The next match was...
Ka2 team
Inoue team

Inoue lost to Haken
Then, Machaboo beat Haken, Ka2, and Ko1. This is the same thing that happened with their match vs AGF team. Inoue loses first and then Machaboo gets an OCV. Machaboo was no joke today!

Finals was

Inoue team
Mugen team

Inoue OCVed them in the order of Dizzy, Slayer, Bridget.

And with that... Inoue / Machaboo / FAB are the winners of the B2 block and will be playing in the SBO finals. The funny thing is, FAB didnt play a single match this entire tournament! Lucky him!

Once it was over, everyone sorta just walked around talking to various people. TONS of people came up to me and gave me props saying I played very well and they were impressed. Isa said he was very surprised with how well I played. However, he said he will most likely be forming a new team the next time he enters, but he said he doesnt even know when that will be. MK on the other hand, said he might be interested in teaming with me again. He seemed genuine enough about it, but he said next weekend he cant enter, so in 2 weeks I may team with MK. I talked to the Dizzy on Mugen's team and he said it was a really good fight. He said that it WAS infact him that I was playing against yesterday at Mikado. Mugen also said it was a good fight. I told him that if he ever needed one more for his team that I would be happy to join. I dont know if that will ever happen though heh. In any case, I think I gained a lot more respect today from the community as a whole. Even if we didnt win the SBO spot, I won a little respect which is at least something.

Andy recorded the finals so I will link that once its uploaded. Also, he tried to ninja record my matches but you cant really see whats going on cuz someones head is in the way, but Ill probably just upload it anyway cuz you can see me playing and the crowd and stuff so it will give people an idea of how things looked and the general atmosphere of the tournament.

After the tournament, MIU showed up saying that he missed it cuz he was studying English outside, but he heard what happened and congratulated me for doing well. After that, MIU, Andy, Matt, and I went to get some food at restaurant. MIU said how he has been trying to study English more lately and stuff. He also said how hes still considering if he will go to EVO or not.

Nothing much else really worth going into detail about. The meal was good. After that, it was pretty much time for us to get headed back to Gunma or we would miss the last train. We said bye to MIU and then headed back.

So... unfortunately I didnt qualify for SBO...yet. But, theres still plenty of chances left. One of the best parts about qual season is the fun of actually playing in all the quals, so at least I have like 2 more months of tournaments to look forward to. Maybe I will be able to assemble another amazing team. If not, I have still have a lot of solid players I can team with, so dont count me out just yet.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Final Hour Draws Near

On Friday night I headed to Mikado as always. I played some casuals and got some good practice. It wasnt that packed but there were still some good players. Kunihiro was there and I got a few games in with him too. I dont really remember anything in particular worth mentioning. Before leaving though, Osaka B and I were taking turns trying to beat some Jam player. I think we both tried like twice each. I was about to beat him but I dropped a combo and lost and then I could hear Osaka B yell "sensei!!!!" from the other side of the cab where he was watching lol! After that match it was closing time so I said bye and left.

After Mikado closed, I went to Sportsland for some last chance games since they are opened till 1 am. A Jam and Millia player were there fighting eachother. I got on the cab after one of them lost and beat them over and over without losing until the place closed. Then, I went to the manga kissa. I am still trying to avoid drinking a bit to let my ulcer heal so I got the 10 hour package and used the internet for a bit. I found some old vids of me playing in the recent G3 Johnny-o cup 5 on 5 tournament. They got the finals where we lost to Tanabata's Slayer, and also they recorded the match of me beating Kishitaka but unfortunately they didnt get the 3 other matches before that in which I also won. So yea, I killed like 2 hours just fucking around on the internet before I slept for the other 8 hours so that when I woke up it wouldnt be too early for anything to be opened.

I woke up the next day and headed to Mikado again. It was pretty dead aside from like maybe 4 guys playing GG. This one Slayer player who I think I know from somewhere but dont remember where came and played me. I think it was maybe Rod's friend who works at Game Moai. He was there with his girlfriend. I beat him maybe like 5 in a row and then he was asking me what he can do to improve his game in the Faust/Slayer matchup (which is totally in Slayers favor lol) so I gave him a few pointers. Then, I headed out to go check out today's SBO qual in Yachiyodai (which is about an hour away in Chiba).

I got to the game center about a half hour before the tournament was scheduled to start It was at Hap 1 Game Citta, I teamed up with Stunedge here last year when we lost to HH/Ririko/Masutani team. MK was there and I said hi to him. Nice PO guy was there too and was surprised to see me and said hi as well. Also, before the tournament Deno and one other guy had a 2 man team and asked me to join their team but I told them that I couldnt enter because I was already on a team that won one of the block preliminaries. Unfortunately for them, I dont think they ever found a 3rd and they didnt end up playing. Also, there was no creepy girl this time! There was only one cab setup to play. It was on freeplay so people just took turns getting on, playing one match, and then getting off to let two more people play one match. I got 2 games of casuals in before the tournament. The first one was vs Ruka (AB) and I beat him. I also fought a default color May who I have seen before (I think he teamed with Osaka B before or something) and I lost to him. A lot of of the big name teams that havnt won a block qual yet were there. A total of 11 teams entered. I couldnt get a picture of the signup sheet to post with full team list because the signup sheet had people write down their phone numbers on it for whatever reason, so the arcade staff wouldnt let me take a photo due to protection of personal information, which is fair enough I guess. I wrote down the match results though so heres how the tournament went.

Kishitaka (SO), En (SL), Limekey (AN)
HEVEN (VE), Consome (PO), May player (same guy I lost to before the tournament in casuals)

HEVEN beat Kishitaka
En beat HEVEN, Consome, and May

Next, that pretty good Yellow I-no was there and his team lost to some SO and VE who I have no idea who they were.

Jam Ojisan (JA), Yuuta (TE), Ryuuma (OR) (same team we beat in our block finals except they changed out Hamashyo's Jam for Jam Ojisan's Jam)
Ruka (AB), Takuya (FA), Yellow Anji who I mentioned before

Jam Ojisan beat Yellow AN and Takuya
Ruka beat Jam Ojisan
Yuuta beat Ruka

Maruken (BA), TEN (IN), Satou (JO)
Karun (JA), Nice PO guy, same Slayer the had last week

Maruken OCVed them in order of Karun, PO, SL

Kusoru (SO), some JO player, MI player I beat in that casual match last weekend after Sundays tournament
Sho (FA), Udei (TE), some SL player

JO beat Sho
SL beat JO
Kosoru beat SL (Kosoru played wacky and frantic as usual winning the 1st round with a dragon install comeback and he totally blew round 2 where he could have won if he just played a bit more... safe lol. He won round 3 though)
Udei beat Kusoru and MI

After this match, I went to get a snack and came back to see Limekey finishing off Shu (ED) 's team (they had a bye first round so this was their first match)

Jam Ojisan team
random unknown SO, VE, KY

Ryuuma OCVed them

Maruken team
Udei team

TEN beat Udei
Sho barely beat TEN
Satou beat Sho with 3 seconds left on the clock in a clutch win
SL beat Satou
Maruken beat SL

We now were in the finals which was a 3 team round robin

Jam Ojisan team
Maruken team

Yuuta beat Maruken (and received a bit round of applauds. He kept trying to bait bursts so much that he even did it when Maruken had no burst out of habit lol!)
Yuuta also beat TEN (and received another round of applaud)
Satou beat Yuuta (and once again everyone clapped for Yuuta, which had now become a running gag)
Satou also beat Ryuuma and the finally Jam Ojisan

Kishitaka team
Jam Ojisan team

Ryuuma beat Kishitaka
Limekey beat then beat Ryuuma, Jam Ojisan, and finally Yuuta (and they clapped for Yuuta losing again lol)

Final game was...
Maruken team
Kishitaka team

Satou beat Limekey
En beat Satou and TEN (perfected TEN in round 3)
Maruken beat En (perfecting En in round 3) and Kishitaka for the win

Maruken / TEN / Satou won today's tournament. Another strong team I may have to face next weekend.

As soon as the tournament ended, I said bye to MK and left to go back to Mikado. The train got delayed and took forever to get back but I finally got back at around like 8 pm or something.

It wasnt crazy packed but there were more people there now. Inoue was playing a long set vs Nage. I played Mitsurugi and almost won but fell short. Let up for the tiniest bit and that guy will fuck you up! At some point after losing a match, I was watching them play for a bit and then they stopped. I dont know if it had something to do with Inoue not wanting me to watch the FA matchup vs him for ideas or something but it seems weird that they just happened to stop once I started watching a lot lol.

I went to get some food at Lawson and when I went there, I was surprised to see that this one ABA player that I know (he was on Johnny-o's team last weekend) is working there now lol! He said he got off work at 12 which sucks for him cuz thats when Mikado closes.

I went back into Mikado and was eating my food and then HH came up to me. He was asking about my team winning the qualifier cuz he saw the results on tougeki.com. I think this is like the first time HH actually smiled when he talked to me and seemed unusually cheerful or amused or something lol! He congratulated me (though im not sure if it was sincere or not but I will give him the benefit of the doubt). I asked him if he quit GG cuz he hasnt entered any quals yet and he said his main game is BB and he is focusing on that, but he says he still likes GG and will eventually enter a qual for that if he finds a team and it doesnt conflict with his BB qual schedule or if he already qualifies for BB.

At some point I was fighting Consome a few matches but I couldnt beat him. Nage lost to him a few times too but finally beat him in the end. Then I played Nage in a mirror match and won. I also beat Udei. Then, this one Jam player fought me and I beat him twice. He didnt seem that good. Then he rematched me and beat me and suddenly was playing really well. We played a few more and I won a couple but then he beat me a few in a row. Strange how he went from seeming not so good to like really solid over the course of just a few matches. Its all good cuz i need the Jam practice.

Once again, I stayed till closing and then I left and headed to the manga kissa in Shinjuku. I got a call from SPG Chris who wanted me to come drinking with him and this one girl named Yuka who is friends with Sam who I met 2 weeks ago. They both talked with me on the phone a bit but I told them how I couldnt go due to my ulcer but mostly for another reason. Tomorrow, some of my students were having a band concert (like school brass band) and they personally asked me to come watch. I didnt really want to give up my Sunday and a full day of casuals but I also didnt wanna be a dick so I told them I would go.

So, I went to the manga kissa and slept and woke up at like 8:30 am and took the train back home in the morning and went to their concert. It wasnt all that exciting but all the students were really happy to see me there so I guess it was worth going. I spent the rest of the day just sitting at home playing Final Fantasy XIII cuz I felt like taking a break from SSFIV. So... I dont know who won Sunday's tournament yet but I guess the results will be on tougeki.com later this week.

As of writing this, it is now Tuesday morning ( I was too lazy to write my blog yesterday), and last night, Matt has returned to Japan for 3 weeks and is now staying at my apartment.

Well... next weekend on Sunday is the big day... the B2 block finals. I dunno whether or not were gonna win it but im just gonna show up and play, and whatever happens, happens.

Wish me luck!