Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I Want To Believe

Friday evening I headed to Tokyo with Emmet. He has been feeling a little bummed lately so I told him I would go drinking with him in Roppongi tonight even though I dont really like Roppongi very much.

First, we headed to Shinjuku. Last week I left my PSP and my glasses at the manga kissa. I went there and was able to get them back which was pretty awsome. After that, we stopped by some watch store where Emmet got his watch adjusted and I helped him explain his situation to the shop clerk.

Then, we headed to Mikado where I played for a few hours. It wasnt that packed but there were some good players there. I think we left around 11 pm.

After that, we headed to Shinjuku to check out Current. On the way, we got some Burger King which I hardly ever get in Japan but the bacon cheese whopper was pretty tasty even though Japan BK prices are too high.

Current was once again full of random gaijin who I dont know and hardly any regulars, which unfortunately has been pretty common these days. One thing that was cool though was Emma put on a video of her dancing (shes a dancer, not the stripping kind) with a band at some live performance and she looked really good and did a great job. After one beer, we left and decided to go to Roppongi.

First, we went to some bar that is sorta clubbish called Heartland (probably cuz they serve have Kirin Heartland bottles, which is fine with me). The music was generic crap with a typical club beat. It was pretty crowded at first but sorta died down as the hours passed. We mostly stood at this one table and talked to a few people like this one guy from California who was traveling on business. This one young Japanese dude came up to us and showed us his business card cuz hes like a party promoter or something and did some so-so magic card trick and then Emmet did a better one so the dude started calling Emmet "sensei." There was also this dude from Sweden that the Japanese guy knew so he introduced him to us. I started talking to him about snus and metal. He doesnt like either lol! He quickly seemed like he didnt want to talk to me at all and went to get another beer and never came back. That dude was lame as fuck. We also talked to some girls here and there. The place was crawling with douchebags which is typical for somewhere in Roppongi.

We decided to leave there around 3 to check out another place. We walked around and ended up going to Gas Panic. I had never been there before but its one of the most famous clubs in Tokyo (there are also 2 of them in Shibuya). The reason I agreed to go was that there is no cover (which is the main reason I dont like going to clubs, unless the cover gets you unlimited drinks like at Pure). The drink prices there were a bit high (the cheapest thing on the menu was a bottle of happoshu - fake beer - for 700 yen) but otherwise it was fine for a club I guess. A couple girls that we noticed at the other bar were there now and started talking to me. I danced with a few girls here and there. Nothing really too noteworthy. At around 4:30 I decided I should get to bed cuz I had a tournament tomorrow. I went to find Emmet cuz our stuff was in the same locker. He was dancing with like the same girl most of the time and said it was good timing cuz he was about to go home with her, so I got our stuff out of the locker, he headed out with her, and I went to the manga kissa across the street...

Unfortunately for me, the manga kissa was full, and I dont know Roppongi well so I didnt know where another one was. The first trains from there run a little after 5, so I decided to just go to Shinjuku to sleep since I would have to pass back through there anyway on the way to the arcade tomorrow. Waiting for the train sorta sucked and I fell asleep but woke up in time to get on. I also fell asleep on the train but woke up RIGHT when it got to Shinjuku which was lucky as hell cuz if I missed the stop, who knows where I would have ended up and I certainly would have missed out on quality sleep. When I got back there, I went to the same manga kissa again. This time they wanted to check my gaijin card which is odd cuz they never did that before ever. Maybe it has something to do with me leaving my stuff there but I dont even know if they recognized me or not or whatever. In any case, I got a room and went to sleep.

The next morning I headed out to Hachioji at Amusement UFO game center. Today, there was a plan to go to this one BBQ that Sam's friend Emily was throwing. It was to start around 5. I had no idea when the tournament would end but I told Sam I would go with him, so he decided to just come watch the tournament and told me he was on his way to Hachioji and we could just go there together afterwards.

Today, my team would be Akira (a good Axl player from Sendai... he usually just writes his name in kanji which is 明) and MK, who agreed to team with me again for today, and he also knows Akira which probably helped seal the deal. Neither of them were there when I arrived, so I signed us up. I decided on the team name "I Want to Believe" because I was wearing my X-files shirt and couldnt think of anything else heh. I went to the bathroom and then to Family Mart to get something real quick and then when I came back, both of them were there playing casuals. They had 4 cabs set up for today which was nice, so we got to play some practice games before hand. Today, lots of heavy hitters showed up, including 012's team, and Ogawa's team... both of which were the same teams as last time they entered. KA2's team was surprisingly not there, though. HEVEN, Consome, AGF was another good team too. Clay Gundam Man showed up too to watch. I think something like around only 9 teams entered but I dont remember the exact amount. I ended up breaking Hayashi's (footsies Ky) 12 win streak before the tournament started which was nice. I won a few other casual games too. I played RF and Ogawa like once each but was unable to beat either in casuals.

The zero taisen (extra match that had to be played before the regular 8 team bracket since there were 9 teams) ended up being Ogawa's team (Ogawa, RF, Shonen), vs some guys who I forgot who they are but it doesnt matter cuz RF OCVd them.

Our first match was vs a team of RO, MI, ZA. Akira went first and ended up OCVing them which was pretty awsome.

I dont remember a whole lot of specific details about what teams beat who other than Tsu's team (Tsu with a SL and MA player) was also OCVd by RF for the next match.

So, as a result of us winning and RF winning again, it meant we had to fight eachother for our next match! Lucky us. I wish I could have some epic story about how I beat Ogawa's team, but unfortunately Ogawa was in top form today and he ended up OCVing us in the order of me, Akira, MK. None of us took a round...

The tournament went on and finally the finals were...
012 (SO) / Nemo (TE) / Niga (SL)
Ogawa (ED) / RF (FA) / Shounen (TE)

Shounen beat Nemo in a mirror match
012 took out Shounen and then defeated RF as well!
Ogawa BARELY beat 012... and then he BARELY beat Niga for the win... but it was so close.

So, yea... I cant really say I was too surprised by the results of this tournament.

Unfortunately, now the tournament was over, but Sam hadnt even arrived yet, and he was coming all this way to watch. He eventually showed up and we stayed a little longer while we played casuals. I did well for the most part beating HEVEN (VE), Tsu, red Ky player who is often on Ruka's team, Akira twice, and a few other people. I lost to HEVEN's May finally and then we left. I said bye to Akira and told him that I would maybe meet up with him later at Mikado but that I had plans first. MK left and thanked me for teaming up today.

Sam and I headed out, but he was unable to get a hold of Emily cuz her phone was dead or something. Since he had no idea how to get to her place which was all the way in Yokohama, we decided we pretty much would be unable to go to the BBQ unless she suddenly called us back. So, we ended up meeting up with Emmet again in Shinjuku. He told us about how last night went. He said when he left the club he was surprised when the girl had a car there and her and like 2 other female friends of hers (both of which picked up guys of their own, one being some French dude and the other some Japanese salary man looking guy) all got in the car. She took Emmet back to her apartment which was all swanked out and they drank fine wine and stuff lol. She seemed like she had some money. Sam and I were joking about how he probably fucked some yakuza's wife and now there was going to be a hit out on his neck lol.

We went to some clothes store in Shinjuku near Club Sega cuz Emmet wanted to buy jeans. While he was taking forever trying stuff on, Sam and I browsed other stuff and we found this 500 yen bin of shirts. They all had really hiliarious Engrish on them. We both bought different ones. Mine is pretty awsome. It says stuff like "MIGHTY CLAWS", "gun barrel drilling machine", "rock a baby back and forth in one's arms gently", "probably one of one's bet bets would be to win", "track down the heinous brokers", relationship to be in a funk", and " pop and soul, I think that something smooth or funky would be great" as well as other varoius random phrases all over the shirt. Its black and green which is my favorite color combo and it was only 500 yen so why not lol.

After leaving there, we went to Mikado. The other guys didnt really seem like they wanted to go and spent most of the time we were there sitting outside drinking beer. I played some good games of casuals. Kunihiro showed up. I told him I was sorry that I was teaming with another team this weekend but he said it was OK and wished me good luck. He was beasting with his Sol for a while and won a lot of games with it including against Ririko's Bridget! I actually lost to his Sol my first match against it, then I won, and then he switched to Anji. I think we were like 1-1 with FA vs AN and thats all we played cuz I played other people too. Ogawa was there and various people were trying to beat him with no success. I came the closest and took it down to the last round and he had like maybe 5% life left but I lost. After that, he just got up and left for whatever reason. I played some good mirrors with Osaka B and RF too. I didnt beat RF but I got some games on Osaka B. It was pretty good there tonight in general and lots of good players showed up. Akira eventually showed up later too.

One person I was surprised to see there was Pachi! Pachi was on the winning GG SBO team in 2005 with Ogawa and Kaqn. He pretty much retired from playing after he won. Now he works for Tougeki staff and also works for Arc System Works. I said hi to him and we started talking. It turns out he really likes making friends with foreigners because he says they are very open and talkative. I also really likes drinking, so invited him to come drinking with us at Current tonight and he agreed. We played a few more games of casuals. Pachi tried to beat Akira a couple times but couldnt. I also played Akira like 2 games and lost this time. I played a couple vs other people too. Eventually we decided to head out and leave. I said bye to Akira and told him we would meet up tomorrow. I invited him to go drinking too but hes not really a drinker and decided to just go to the manga kissa. Emmet, Sam, Pachi, and I headed out to go to Current.

While at Current, we sat at a table in the back. It was really dead in there at first but more people showed up gradually. I was shocked when we walked in to find that they werent playing music at all but had the world cup game playing on the TV with the sound on. This was the first time I went into Current and no music was being played. The game ended within like 15 minutes though and then they put music on and it was normal again.

I talked to Pachi quite a bit about various things. Hes a really cool guy. Actually, I know A LOT of information about what is going on at Arc System Works right now. I pretty much know what is in store for the future of Guilty Gear and Blazblue. A lot of this stuff is pretty much top secret and I promised Pachi that I wouldnt tell anyone, so unfortunately for all of you reading this, I really cant give you too many details, but I can say a few things that you might find interesting. First of all regarding the rights issue to Guilty Gear and the whole deal with losing the rights to SEGA... basically around the time when they were making GG overture, SEGA owned the rights to all Guilty Gear games from GGX and up. This meant that Arc still owned the rights to all characters in the ORIGINAL GG. Thats why in overture, we dont really see much of the cast. Pachi confirmed that Arc now DOES own the rights to all the GG characters once again at this time. Whether or not they are making another GG game, what kind of game it is, etc, I cant give you specific details about (but I do know). However, Pachi said that Arc still cares about GG and that even though now they are focusing on BB, they havnt abandoned the series. Pachi worked on BB:CS and is responsable for most of the balance changes as well as pretty much creating Hazama (everything except his actual design) and also fever mode and other things. Pachi said that he really loves GG though. There are some things in store for the future of BB that I know now, but I cant say them because I promised him I would keep it a secret. I REALLY want to let the community know whats up, but I also want to maintain a good relationship with Pachi and I made a promise, but just know that there is hope and if you love GG, keep playing it, because its not dead yet! He also stressed that Arc System Works cares very much about the arcade scene. They care very much about the tournament scene, keeping arcades alive, and things like that, so you can pretty much be sure that they wont release any fighting games as console only.

I havnt touched BB since like a few weeks after CS came out. Ive just been focusing on GG right now. Maybe I will buy CS now that its out on console and try to play it once SBO is over. I asked Pachi who he thinks is the best for a Fuast player to use and he said Arakune, which is who I used in CT, so maybe I will give him a shot again and learn the new version of him.

We also talked a lot about how it was when his team won SBO in 2005 and he told me a lot about Ogawa. Pachi considers Ogawa to be a very good friend. Pachi thinks Ogawa is a genius, and I dont disagree. However, he says that Ogawa sometimes lacks confidence in himself. Its hard to believe that even someone as amazing as Ogawa sometimes can have confidence issues. I suppose it happens to everyone sometimes. He obviously has the talent and the skills required to win. Pachi said that he was sort of like the team's Coach in a way. He gave his team mates a lot of moral support and helped them work on their mental training and state of mind to really pull through. While Pachi, of course, had a very good Faust, he says that the way he supported his teammates mentally and morally was really his main strength on the team. He says a lot of people hate on Ogawa because they think he is too good and they are jealous. I have sorta seen this first hand so I have to agree. I personally think hes a pretty nice guy and cant hate on him at all.

After winning SBO, Pachi felt like he had accomplished enough and wanted to focus on making fighting games and helping out the scene. Right now he says his main goal is to make the fighting game scene bigger, get new players involved and see the scene thrive. All the SBO after parties every year are mainly organized by Pachi and he really wants to develop a sense of community in the fighting game scene. I think all the things he is doing are really great. Also, he says he is really good friends with Joe Higashi, the French Chipp player. He said he was watching the EVO live stream from last year, and when Joe Higashi and I played in the top 8, he had a hard time deciding who to root for since Joe Higashi is one of his best friends and I am a fellow Faust player who lives in Japan. Pachi was also saying how he only considers 6 foreign GG players total to be on the same level as the Japanese and he said that I am one of them which made me feel pretty good. I was amused by who he deliberately DIDNT mention, but I will leave that up to your imaginations heheh. You can all have fun trying to guess who he named. It doesnt really matter though since its just one man's opinon. I will say though, that he says he thinks Latiff is the strongest player outside of Japan. He really sees potential in him. I certainly agree with him that Latiff is a great player.

At some point during the night, we noticed a couple all dressed up in a fancy gown and a nice suite. I was shocked later when I went to the bar and got a closer look that it was Mayuko and Mikey! They said they were at the Australian embassy for some kinda banquet or something. They bought me a beer and it was nice to see them. I didnt really have a chance to talk with them much cuz I was talking with Pachi and they were doing a lot of dancing but it was good to see them anyway.

Also, Shuji was there and he got back from the Sanosphere festival in Switzerland where he saw the big 4 (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax), as well as a ton of other bands that were there at that show. He got some special one of a kind T-shirt that wasnt even for sale but he stood and waited and begged for it for like a half hour till they finally let him have it lol.

Anyway, I drank with Pachi till about 4:00 and then I had to get going to make sure I made it to the tournament tomorrow on time. He understood completely. Right before I left, Chipp showed up and I introduced them to eachother. Since they both work in the gaming industry in some capacity I figured they would like to meet eachother. Pachi said he likes drinking so he said we should drink again sometime. I certainly would be down for it. I got his email so ill keep in touch.

I headed to the manga kissa and went to sleep.

The next day I woke up and headed out to where the tournament would be... or so I thought...

I followed the map that I printed from the tougeki website. On this map, it showed that the closest station from the arcade was Sagamihara and that it was a bit of a walk. After I arrived, I realized that I had been to this place before and I remembered that the last time I went there I had trouble finding the arcade. Well... I walked a bit and got suspicious... so I called the arcade and asked them how far it is from the station ( I didnt specify which station). They said about a 1 minute walk. So, I went back near the station and walked some more where they said it would be. I didnt see it. I called them again and asked which station was the closest. They said it was Sagamiono station. The map was WRONG! So at this point, I had about a half hour to get to the tournament... I called Akira and told him how the map was wrong but that I would get there ASAP. I checked the train times on my phone and luckily it would only take about 15 minutes to get there.

So... I got to Sagamiono station about 15 minutes before the tournament was scheduled to start. Akira met me at the station and showed me where the arcade was, and it was really easy to find.

For today, instead of MK, our other teammate is a friend of Akira's who also lives around Sendai. He is a May player named Game (he spells his name in katakana as ゲイム, which is odd cuz usually in katakana it would be ゲーム). I wasnt sure who he was at first but Akira introduced us and it turns out ive seen him around a lot before. I remember seeing him a lot at sportsland when they had G3 ranbats going on. He has a sick May. He said he remembers me too.

Today's tournament only had 12 teams, but a lot of beasts showed up. This was the first time Kawin entered this year. Also, Satoshi was playing Eddie for some strange reason. Masutani came too, but he just came to watch. I actually asked him and he said he quit GG and only plays BB now. The other person who came just to watch was Clay Gundam Man again... and today was his most epic appearance yet. I will get into that later.

Our first match was vs a team of FA BR SO. I dont remember their names. We decided that I would go first this time. I played really solid and beat all 3 of them in the above order for the OCV! My teammates thanked me and said I played really well.

Unfortunately, our next match was KA2, KO1, Haken... who had showed up this time. Given how close I came to beating them last week, im sure they were determined to shut me down more than ever now.

We decided that ゲイム would go first. He said for him, that the toughest match would be Millia. Funny how they put KO1 first as well. So ゲイム tried pretty hard and did ok but wasnt able to take out KO1. Since among the 3 of them, Millia is actually my worst matchup and Akira said he is ok with Millia, Akira went next. He tried but KO1 once again was too much. I now had to do what I came just short of doing last weekend and OCV this team. KO1 was on fire today, and while I put up a decent fight, I just wasnt able to take him out this time. He used some crazy shit on me like doing bad moon and then RCing it into crouching slash for an instant overhead to low mixup. I cant recall the last time, if ever, I had a Millia player use this on me. This lead into the kill combo which finished me off. So, I guess KO1 got his revenge. He wasnt about to let himself get peaced out by scrubby American Faust twice in a row lol. I didnt let the loss get to me though. I felt like I at least played will today for the most part. Ill just have to do better next time.

I stayed and watched the rest of the tournament. Heres what went down...

HEVEN OCVed Nemo, Niga, 012! It was really a great showing by HEVEN I must say! Lots of people were applauding him after that, including myself. Some guy yelled "HEVEN-san, よろしくお願いします!!" after he won lol.

The Faust player Sho beat Kawin, Goro, Satoshi which I was surprised. Maybe the reason Satoshi played ED was cuz he teamed with Kawin.

Sho's team later lost to KA2 team.

AGF / Consome / HEVEN
Tsu / Ruka / Red Ky

red Ky beat AGF
Consome beat red Ky
Tsu beat Consome
HEVEN beat Tsu
Ruka beat HEVEN

great job by those guys for taking out HEVEN's team

The finals of the preliminary were KA2 team vs Tsu team
Haken OCVed them... too bad.

There was an intermission after the preliminary was over so I got a quick snack. I was talking with ゲイム and Akira about if they would like to team again. Next weekend there are no tournaments really near Tokyo but there are 2 in Nagano and the one on Sunday is the block final. Akira said he probably cant make it next weekend. At first, ゲイム was down with the idea but later he thought about it and changed his mind. Seeing as how Sendai is really really far and Nagano is even farther from Tokyo on the opposite side, I can understand. However, ゲイム said he will team with me in 2 weeks when theres a 3 day weekend in Tokyo so I will team with him again for sure.

After the intermission was over, I sat back down to watch the block finals tournament. Udei showed up just to watch the block finals and I was chatting with him a bit. Also, sitting next to me to my right, was Clay Gundam Man. He was hard at work making little gundams or something out of clay as usual. This guy almost certainly suffers from either some sort of mental retardation or social disorder. I dont think hes completely mentally handicap because he shows up to these things and finds them all by himself with no aid from anyone else... but he kept making strange noises and when he gets excited from watching matches he starts screaming shit out that I cant even understand. I never saw him directly talk to anyone really but he certainly was shouting his fair share of random shit and making lots of loud pitched squeeling noises and stuff. I turned to Akira at some point and asked him what was up with this guy, he said to just not worry about it lol.

Anyway, there were 7 teams in the block finals.

First match was...

Haken, KO1, KA2
M-uya (MA), JT (MI), green TE player (the team that won Gamers Vision last week)

M-uya beat Haken
KO1 then beat the entire team. Once again, the man was on fire.

next was...
Taku (SL), Kishya (FA), BOB (ED)
Ririko (BR), Ain (KY), black Jam

Taku beat black Jam
then... Ririko beat Taku... and Kishya... and BOB! WOW! Ririko was fuckin BEASTING! It was really hype. She got a huge round of applause as well for her great performance on that one.

Up next
RF, Ogawa, Shounen
Satou (JO), Maruken (BA), TEN (IN)

RF OCVd them...

Haken team
En (SL), Kishitaka (SO), Ochiai (PO) (aka Nice PO guy)

Haken OCVd them. The last one left on the team was En. He put up a really hard fight and REALLY tried but he fell short.

Ogawa team
Ririko team

black Jam beat Shounen!
then RF beat black Jam, followed by Ririko, and finally Ain. RF was just murdering people all day

before the final match started, I went to take a piss. RF, Ogawa, and Shounen were in the bathroom discussing who they should put to go first. It was kinda funny just being in there peeing while they were huddled around the sink talking strats lol.

Haken team
Ogawa team

KA2 beat Shounen
RF beat KA2 and KO1
Haken beat RF! (this was seriously some CLUTCH shit! I wish they had this match on video. Haken won by flicking the kitchen sink item (bedpan, whatever you wanna call it) TWICE like in the last 10 seconds of the match! First time he did it, he was able to get in and close the distance on RF. 2nd time, he was right near RFs face in the corner, he flicked that sink into a counter hit into the winning combo with like no life left! WOW...)
Final match was Haken vs Ogawa. Ogawa started off strong with a one sided victory in the first round. In round 2, Haken answered with a PERFECT on Ogawa! Last round, Haken tried but Ogawa was just too much for him and the king finally took his throne once again into the halls of qualfied teams.

During the finals, EVERYONE was cheering AGAINST Ogawa's team! Though I already pretty much knew it, what Pachi said was true. Lots of people hate on Ogawa because they think he is just too good. I see the same thing happen on SRK all the time in regards to Jwong so its sorta the same mentality I suppose. Of couse this doesnt apply to EVERYONE in either situation but you get the idea.

As soon as the final match of the finals ended, Clay Gundam Man stood up and just started SCREAMING shit at the top of his lungs to the point where he was like basically making a scene. Most Japanese people are pretty passive in a situation like this and just ignore it but Satoshi was just like... fuck this shit and he yelled "urusei!!!!" like really loud, which basically is the equalivalent of yelling "SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!" LOL!!! It was sooo funny. The dude looked a little shy but then he start screaming random shit again. I dont know if this guy just gets off on the excitement or if he actually knows whats going on and was rooting for a specific player or what, but he seemed pretty upset by the outcome. Maybe Clay Gundam Man is just another Ogawa hater. I would hate to see how he would react if someone destroyed one of his clay gundams or something.

I cant really say I was surprised to see Ogawa, RF, Shounen qualify. I would be more shocked if they didnt make it in this year. That team is just too broke.

Once the tournament ended, everyone started just mingling and talking. There was no extra cab to play casuals on at this tournament. I think a lot of people were trying to decide on new teams to form and stuff. I wasnt really able to find anyone else new to team with. I made a little small talk and congratulated a few people who played really well and stuff. I thanked Akira and ゲイム for teaming with me today. I think most people pretty much were planning on going to Mikado but it was about already time for me to leave to take the last train home so I just said bye and left.

On the way out, I stopped to get some Curry at CoCoIchiban to kill some time cuz I had like a half hour.

Since I was coming from a different place, my recommended route to get home was different. Once I got to Hachioji, I realized that I fucked up. The directions that printed out to get the last train home were for if I was going home from Sagamihara station but I went to Sagamiono cuz the info was wrong. As a result, I missed the last train from Hachioji that goes directly to Takasaki. I thought fast and saw that there was a special limited express train going to Shinjuku. As it pulled in, I ran up and asked the conductor what time it arrives in Shinjuku. he said it would arrive at like 9:06. That would get me there 6 minutes before the last train I usually take from Shinjuku! I lucked out! It cost me an extra 500 yen but I was glad to pay that over being stranded in Tokyo for the night when I had work the next morning.

In the end, I made it home just fine.

So, next weekend there is a tournament on Saturday and Sunday in Nagano prefecture. There are no tournaments in Tokyo. I plan to go to the Nagano one. At this time, I am still deciding on my team but it seems I will be able to at least enter with someone. Not sure if I can go both days yet but I should at least be going to Sunday. Even though Nagano is a little far, lots of good players already said they were going to go, so it will still be just as tough as ever, but thats no reason not to go.

So remember the teachings of master Pachi... believe in yourself and you can win. Confidence is a huge part of the game. Also... dont give up on the GG scene yet. Lets keep it alive! You never know what the future has in store.

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