Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Epic Drinkathon and Current's 9th Anniversary!

Friday after work was the welcome beer garden event for all the new Gunma ALTs. It was held in Takasaki at the usual place. Most of the ALTs I know came, as well as lots of new ones. I talked to a few new people but not that many actually. It seemed like there werent all that many new ones that came. I was pounding the beers pretty hard. I was there from 6 to 9 pm and probably had like 12 mugs of beer or something. I got pretty hammered. Unfortunately it started raining pretty like halfway through so everyone had to take shelter inside but that didnt stop me from drinking.

After the beer garden was over, lots of people ended up going to to Yamato, which is an awsome izakaya that has GIANT beers (like 1 liter mugs) for 400 yen! I had like 2 of those there and was already pretty sauced when we got there. Emmet and Jessie left early. I chilled with Andy most of the night. After it was over, we went back to his apartment and he let me crash on his floor. I dont even really remember leaving the izakaya cuz I was pretty smashed.

I woke up Saturday morning with a pretty bad hangover but I manned up and it eventually went away on its own over time. I also had black poo, and my esophagus hurt, but the pain went away like within an hour after I woke up. I took a shower and then Andy and I headed out to get some food. We went to this awsome beef bowl place. Ive eaten at all the major beef bowl chains (Sukiya, Matsuya, Yoshinoya) plenty of times but this was the first time I had a good beef bowl at a non-chain restaurant and it rocked pretty hard.

Andy had other plans today but would meet me later tonight at Current for the 9th Anniversary Party, so I said bye to him and headed to Tokyo on my own.

Today, before the party at Current, the plan was to go to Tokyo Game Night Final Roundbats, which is like a ranbats organized by some players and eventually they will send the person with the most points to Final Round in Atlanta. They already had a few sessions so some people already have a lot of points so at this point I doubt I would be able to even win in the long run, and even if I did I probably wouldnt be able to take the time off to go to Final Round anyway, but I just wanted to go to play and chill. It was for SSFIV btw.

I arrived in Shinagawa, where it would be held, and then from there I had to take a quick bus ride to the building. I arrived a little after 4 pm. It was at this big swanky apartment building called the Sky Crest Tower. A Japanese player who often posts on SRK, Bull410, lives in the building so he can use the lounge. When I got there, Scott Popular (who organizes this even along with Bull410) was the only one there and was still setting up. I cracked a beer and just chilled for a bit. I kept drinking from this point on for the rest of the day. The lounge was on the 37th floor so the view was pretty awsome. They had 2 TVs, one with SSFIV and one with an N64 hooked up which was sorta just like the casual fuck around games TV.

Eventually more and more people showed up and there ended up being like about between 15 and 20 people total by the end of the night. The SSFIV ranbat started at around 5:30 and at this point, only like 10 people were there, and only 8 people entered the tournament. Before it started we all took a shot (cuz thats the rules, I like how these guys roll), and then we got to it.

The 8 players in the tournament were
Scott Popular
Suicidal Grandpa
Ken (a Ken player from Germany)

The tournament was single elim, one match, 3/5 rounds

I fought Suicidal Grandpa first round. He used El Fuerte. I won the first round and lost the rest. Im not very familiar with how to fight Fuerte but im not gonna use it as an excuse. He won so props to him. All the rounds were really close though. I think they taped it so it might be online later. I dont remember the details well but Ill post it later if its uploaded.

Abelity (Abel) fought Ken and Ken won. He had a pretty solid Ken.

Tokido fought Scott Popular and Tokido picked El Fuerte and Scott played Rose. Tokido won.

Migeul fought Bull410. I cant remember this match but Bull410 uses T.Hawk. I forgot who Miguel uses but I think Bull410 won.

Next, I forgot what the 2nd round looked like but Tokido and Ken won their matches and they played in the grand finals. This time, Tokido picked his Akuma. I think Ken won a round but Tokido won the tournament (which wasnt really a surprise). I think Tokido is now leading on the scoreboard too and it will probably stay that way lol.

We pretty much chilled and played casuals the rest of the time. More people showed up later and like there were probably like at least 8 girls there which was pretty cool. None of them played fighting games really but they were drinking and chillin with us and they played some Mario Kart and stuff. We ordered a bunch of pizza's from Dominos and it was good as hell. I got nice and stuffed and full of beer, and everyone was cool to chill with so it was good times.

Oh and I played that Ken player in a money match and almost won but he made a comeback and I lost. It was only for 500 yen so no big deal. He said he thinks I have a good Rose.

We had to leave at around 10 cuz thats when the event ended. My plan was to then go to the party at Current. Lots of these guys wanted to keep drinking so I invited them to come along. That Ken guy was trying to get Tokido to come drinking but Tokido said he had plans to meet his sister or something tomorrow so he couldnt go. Ken wouldnt give up and he said "Man... I want Tokido to come so I can fuck him!" ...... "But, im not gay!!!" LOL! Perhaps he meant, he wanted to get him fucked up. ....Or maybe not! I really dont know but it was funny anyway.

When we all left, that dude Ken had some fireworks and was like trying to set them off in front of the building but people were telling him to wait cuz its kind of a bad idea to do that when we just were invited to that building and we would like to go back again. So as we were walking back to the station over some bridge, he started like setting them off into the river. He was really lagging behind and eventually most of us all made it to the station but Ken and Tokido were gone so we just went on ahead to Shinjuku.

So the group that went was me, Scott Popular, Calibur, Suicidal Grandpa, and Abelity. We arrived at around 11 pm. Current was already packed as hell! As is always the case with their Anniversary parties, this ended up being one of the best Current parties yet! Just about all the old school regulars came, some of which I hadnt seen in a really long time, so it was great to see everyone again and knock back lots of beers. However, there was one person who wasnt there which came as quite a shock to me, and im sure it will come as a shock to many of you as well. It turns out that as of like 2 weeks ago, Mogi has left Current for good. I dont know the exact details but from what I gathered, he quit his job at Current and has plans to eventually open up his own bar. I know nothing beyond that. According to Masami, he still has a good relationship with the staff so I guess he ended his job there on good terms. I guess I am happy for him if he is successful with his new bar, but Mogi was always such a huge part of Current, not having him there certainly makes it feel like something is missing.

So yea, but literally just about anyone else you may be familiar with that usually goes to Current was there, and in addition to all of them, I also invited Pachi who showed up later with 2 friends of his. We talked a bit more about what is going on at Ark System Works and what the future may hold in store for GG and BB. I hate to break it to everyone, but unfortunately at this time, they are NOT currently developing an online version of Accent Core. Pachi recently brought the idea up to the company president at a meeting and his response was just something along the lines of "That is an interesting idea..." which is sorta like the indirect Japanese way of saying "No".

But yea, everyone was getting smashed and I was no exception! Lots of dancing going on and people generally just being hype as fuck. I took lots of pictures so looking at them will give you a good idea of how things went down.

At one point, some dude was like headbanging so hard that he bashed his head on a bar stool and there was blood pouring down his face. He left, walked to the hospital, and later came back with a bandage around his head only to start drinking more! This mother fucker was hardcore!

They ended up staying open a little later than 5. I honestly dont even remember what time it ended. Once it was over and I said bye to lots of people, though, I rounded up a crew and we went to PSY.

On the way to PSY as we were walking down the street, we passed Pachi who was passed out in the middle of the street. I woke him up and he seemed ok after that. He walked with us up to the corner on the way to the station and said he was heading home. He had plans to go to a big festival in Koenji (the part of Tokyo where he lives) tomorrow. He invited me to come too so I told him I probably would hit up the festival, too.

PSY was kind of a blur but lots of people came and I was mostly talking to this one pretty hot half Swedish half Japanese chick whos here on vacation who I met last weekend. They ended up staying open till past 7 am!

After PSY closed, I wanted to keep drinking! So, the Swedish/Japanese chick, Jackie, Jackie's friend and I went to some Okonomiyaki restaurant for more beers and some food! We ended up drinking till 8:30 am! So I drank non stop from 4 pm to 8:30 am.... which is 16 and a half hours. This might be a new record or its at least damn close to the old one. I slept at the manga kissa after that quite comfortably.

When I woke up on Sunday afternoon, I surprisingly felt fine! No hangover, and no esophagus pain. Even though I drank WAY more throughout the day on Saturday than Friday, I think the fact that I paced myself more really helped. Honestly, after I woke up, I still felt a little drunk. Then I remembered that Pachi invited me to the festival, so I was totally in the mood to knock back a few more beers!

I was hungry so I went to Sukiya. While there, I got some curry and ordered a beer. Since I already felt buzzed still, that one beer got me going again nicely. I had a little time to kill so I headed to Mikado. I beat some so-so Chipp player a bunch of times. Then I beat a Johnny and the Chipp back and forth. I was playing a little different than usual because I was buzzing good. Then I fought a Ky player and lost by a pixel. I went over to the other side and it was Kunihiro! He told me it felt like I was playing different than usual today. I apologized and told him I had been drinking and was about to go to a festival. At this point, it was already almost 5 pm so I told Kunihiro I was gonna head out and left. I grabbed another beer for the road.

I went to Koenji where I met up with Pachi near the station. The streets were FLOODED with people. He lead me to this one bar that was on the 2nd floor of a building with a big open window overlooking the street below. The people who owned the bar were friends of his. Everyone was doing nomihodai so I did as well. It was 3500 yen and they had Yebisu and black Yebisu on tap, self serve! I just kept refilling that shit so many times I lost count! They also had some free food like rice and nachos. Pachi introduced me to lots of his friends there. One of the guys was a BB player. Everyone seemed really nice and cool.

From the window we had a great view of everything going on down on the street and there were endless parades of dancers and musicians in their troupes with matching uniforms. We also went outside street side half the time too and cheered on people as they passed by. There were no mikoshi (portable shrine-like Japanese style parade "floats") but the musicians and dancers were getting hype as hell and had so much energy. Pachi said that this festival was Shikoku style and that they have it here every year as a tradition and its his favorite festival of the year. I got so plastered and was getting hype as fuck. Everyone there had tons of energy and it was overall a great time.

About 10 minutes before I had to leave to catch my train home, out of nowhere, Franchesca and her friend (2 girls that always go drinking at Current) showed up to the bar we were chilling in front of! I guess they somehow knew someone who worked there and were invited separately completely independent of Pachi and myself, which makes it a huge coincidence! It was cool to see them but I didnt really get to chill with them cuz I had to leave shortly after. I thanked Pachi and his friends and headed back home and made my train on time. I took a beer and some food for the road too so my train ride home was good.

I eventually passed out though, and I fell asleep on the last train and missed my stop. I was woken up 1 stop later by another ALT named John, who just happened to park his car there and woke me up before he got off. He totally saved my ass cuz he had to go back the other way and was able to drive me back to where I parked by the other station. At this point I was sobered up from sleeping for like 3 hours on the train, so once he drove me back I made it home with no problems.

So, overally this weekend was fun as hell and I consumed record amounts of beer. As of right now I feel just fine and as of sometime on Saturday my poo was already back to normal so I think that my condition really is healing fairly well. I just need to be careful not to drink too fast and espessially right before bed.

Next weekend is my school's sports festival on Saturday which means I have to work on Saturday. I will just stay around where I live all of next weekend so I doubt I will even bother writing a blog since there wont be anything noteworthy to mention. Ill update again eventually though.

Monday, August 23, 2010

GodsGarden 2.5

On my way to Tokyo, Emmet rode up with me as far as Takasaki and then got off there cuz he was gonna meet up with some girl and then go to Current later on.

King Low Tier (a long time GG player from Colorado who uses May and I-no), just moved to Japan and lives in Takadanobaba. I was supposed to meet up with him at Mikado today. When I got to Mikado, he wasnt there, but that Russian player who goes by the name Ninja and posts as Nuts on DL was there. I asked him if he saw a big black guy (KLT) and he said yes but that he already left. Ninja wanted to play me but didnt get a chance the last time we met so we got on an empty cab and played 5 games of Faust vs Slayer. He told me he wasnt very good and isnt used to playing on stick, but I was surprised. He was pretty tough. I won all 5 games but he got a couple rounds off me. He was with his girlfriend and they had to leave shortly after we played but it was good games.

Several other good people were there playing. I saw Gaku there and asked him if he wanted to team up again for the last chance qualifier but he said he wasnt sure if he can go yet so Ill wait on his answer for a bit. I ended up playing till about 11 and then I grabbed some Sukiya and headed to Shinjuku.

When I got on the Yamanote line to go to Shinjuku, I sat down and noticed it smelled a bit foul in the train. I looked to my left and the entire left side of the train car was completely empty of people because there was a HUGE pool of vomit in the middle of the floor. I was on the very last car, so in order to get to the next car, I would have had to walk through the vomit, so I was basically trapped. Fortunately it was only 2 stops to Shinjuku but it wasnt a very good smelling 5 minutes.

When I got to Current I was shocked to find that Andy was there! I hadnt even known he was coming to Tokyo tonight but he made plans to meet up with a girl he met at an international party. The bar was pretty packed for a Friday night actually. It was some random foreigner girl's birthday so that might have had something to do with it. Ayano was there too and I talked with her a bit. Bosch was DJing and playing some really crappy music for a bit but I think its cuz some of those random foreigners requested it. We started counter requesting some good stuff and eventually for the rest of the night they were rockin out and playing good music the rest of the time. Emmet showed up later too. Overall it was a fun night at Current. I hadnt been there for over a month so it felt nice to pop in for some beers. Andy's female friend had to leave on the last train and then Andy left a few hours later cuz he had plans to buy some stuff in Akihabara the next day and had to get back home at a certain time so I chilled with Emmet till about 4:30. After that, we went to PSY but Emmet left as soon as we walked in cuz he was hungry or something. I just chilled and had a beer and talked with some of the people at PSY. After that I left to go to sleep at the manga kissa.

Saturday I woke up with a headache, took a shower, and then headed to McDonalds cuz they were doing selling 200 yen big macs all weekend! After my meal, it was time to head to Asagaya. Today was Gods Garden 2.5, one of the biggest SSFIV tournaments in Japan! I had never been to Asagaya before actually, but I found the venue pretty easily. It was at a place called Asagaya Loft A, and it was basically a bar with a sorta medium sized extra room for events and stuff. The tournament wasnt scheduled to start till 5 but they opened the doors at 3 to let people in to practice a bit. I got there around 3:15. They had tons of setups lined around the walls of the room and then a main setup with 2 separate monitors for each player and a big projector in the center for all the main live stream matches.

To enter this event, you had to register in advance. I signed up with Rose this time. Originally when Super dropped, I was gonna main T.Hawk, but after like about 2 months of playing him, I decided I pretty much think he sucks and I also am not much of a grappler kind of player. I originally went back to Blanka who was my main in Vanilla. I just started playing Rose about a month or 2 ago and after sorta debating if I should main her or stick with Blanka, I finally decided I really like Rose and am going to main her from now on.

A few people I know from SRK were there such as Abelity, Scott Popular, and Bull410. I also said hi to Nemo and Tokido cuz they know me. I dont know most of the other SF player cuz I dont really go to SF tournaments ever. I played about a 9 or 10 game set of casuals against Abelity's Abel and we went fairly even with him maybe having one or 2 more wins. Then, they kicked everyone out at 4 to go line up outside to check our tickets and stuff.

After waiting for a while, I finally got back inside and played some more casuals. I fought against Bull410's T.Hawk and won. I also fought some Rufus player and got owned. I played another set against Abelity and this time I was winning more than losing and got a small streak.

Once 5 rolled around it was time to start the tournament. They kicked things off with a speech from some of the staff. I have no idea why, but they poured this disgusting looking concoction consisting of like Tea, Coffee, Soda, Milk, Redbull, and Beer or something. It was like some crazy mix of a bunch of shit. One of the staff members tried to chug a whole glass of it but failed. After that, he gagged a few times but held it down, lol. Then, they told everyone to report to their pools. Gods Garden is unlike most Japanese tournaments in that it is not single elim. First, everyone is divided into qualifying pools. There were a total or I think 8 pools with about 7 people in each pool. Every pool would be a round robin and then the top 2 players from each pool would advance. They had a separate TV for each pool and then also the main TV that was being run on the online stream also had some select matches chosen to be played on that as well.

They called my first match and last minute, they decided to put it on the live stream. I didnt really want to play my very first match on the stream so it made me pretty nervous. My opponent was a Guy player named R. You can see the entire match here (my match starts at exactly the 15 minute mark on the vid). I guess the guys announcing knew who I was cuz they mentioned that I was a Guilty Gear player. I didnt play as well as I would have liked. Mainly my execution was really off. I guess my button press timing was off a bit and I missed a few strings. Also in round one, when I hit with ultra 2, my soul throw attempt came out as crouching fierce. Round 1 was really close but I lost by just a bit. Round 2 was also fairly close and at the last part of the round, I tried to do ultra 2 but got a random EX soul reflect and got killed. If my ultra came out I probably would have won the round. I dont know why, but Rose's ultra 2 is just a double qfb punch motion which normally I would have no problem doing, but they made this particular ultra extra sensitive and unless you do it EXACTLY PRECISE you will get random soul reflects. This happens to me a lot in general when I play and I have seen plenty of other Rose players have this problem too. In any case, the Guy player was really good and he out played me regardless.

So with my first match as a loss, it was a bit discouraging but I still had a chance to make top 2. My next opponent was a Claw player named Route . Surprisingly, I handled him pretty easily and won both rounds! My next match was a Cody player named Karono. I did well against him too and got another win! My next match was against MahShojoZangitan (Magical Girl Zangitan), who is one of he best Zangief players in Japan. I was expecting to get outright owned in this one but I actually put up a pretty good fight. I ALMOST won round 1, and round 2 was still a decent showing on my part but I still lost. After that, I had to fight a Dictator player named Titimonda Honda. Dictator (and probably Boxer) are like the hardest matchups for me to win, so I knew this was going to be rough. I struggled pretty hard against him and didnt win any rounds. At this point my record was 2-3 so it seemed as if my chances of making top 2 were already shot. I had one more match left though, against an Akuma player named Asuka. I won both rounds, making my final record 3-3. It would have been cool to qualify for the top 16 but I guess I at least did decent and didnt completely scrub out. The 2 players who advanced from my pool were Zangitan and R.

These are the people who qualified in each pool.

A group
1st HIROPON (STH) 2nd GGsen (HKN)

B group
1st tokido (GOK) 2nd Nao(BRG)

C group
1st Nemo (CHU) 2nd tk584 (ADN)

D group
1st Haneyama (CHN) 2nd Arai(BRG)

E group
1st Maho syoujyo Zangitan (ZNG) 2nd R (GUY)

F group
1st nakanishi (RYU) 2nd Tonpi (CVP)

G group
1st Aqua (IBK) 2nd Hisaya (KEN)

H group
1st tomato (CDY) 2nd keke (CHN)

After the pools finished they had a short break. I pretty much started drinking from here on since I already lost. They had Suntory Premium Malts on tap! They also had Suntory black on tap too! Fuckin delicious! I also ate some Fish and Chips. They wouldnt let us leave once we entered or we couldnt get back in so I was stuck eating their food, but it wasnt bad.

Before finishing the regular tournament, they ran the ladies tournament, which consisted of only 3 players... a Juri, a Claw, and a Sakura. All 3 of them were pretty cute and they seemed like they werent too bad at playing either. The Claw player ended up winning. After the break, I fought against some Fuerte player in casuals and beat him 7-2. I continued to drink throughout the rest of the time. I got a good buzz going and probably ended up drinking about 10 beers by the time the event ended but I kept my buzz at a level to where I could still play pretty well. The winner got an arcade stick as a prize.

From here, the tournament became a regular 16 man bracket but it was double elimination and best 2 out of 3 instead of just one match like in pools. Grand finals were 3 out of 5. They had occasional breaks in here as well in which time more casuals were played. I fought a Gief player and went 2-2 with him. Also during another break I played Abelity again and we went pretty much even again this time. Most of the time just kept drinking though. I also got some chieck and fries. Here is basically a summary of the rest of the tournament after pools.

Stage 1
Tomato (CDY) 2-1 Aru (GUY)
tonpy (CIV) 2-0 GGsen (HAK)
Nakanishi (RYU) 2-0 Hisaya (KEN)
Shojou Mahou Zangitan (ZAN) 2-1 tk584 (ADN)

Losers Stage 2 Results
tomato (CDY) 1-2 Shojou Mahou Zangitan (ZAN)
Tokido (Akuma) 2-0 Nao (Claw)
Nakanishi (RYU) 1-2 Arai (Claw)
tonpi (CVI) 2-1 Hiropon (STH)

Losers Stage 3
tonpi (CVI) 2-1 Tokido (GOU)
Arai (Claw) 2-1 Zangitan (ZAN)

Losers Stage 4
Arai (Claw) 2-0 keke (CHU)
tonpi (CVI) 2-0 Haneyama (CHU)

Losers Stage 5
Arai (Claw) 0-2 tonpi (CVI)

Losers Finals
Aqua (IBU) 2-1 Tonpi (CVI)

Grand Finals
Nemo (CHU) 3-0 Aqua (IBU)

Final Results
1. Nemo (Chun-Li)
2. Acqua (Ibuki)
3. Tonpy (C. Viper)
4. Arai (Claw)
5. Keke (Chun-Li)
5. Haneyama (Chun-Li)
7. Zangitan (Zangief)
7. Tokido (Akuma)
9. Tomato (Cody)
9. Nao (Claw)
9. Nakanishi (Ryu)
9. Hiropon (Seth)
13. TK584 (Adon)
13. Hisaya (Ken)
13. GGsen (Hakan)
13. Aru (Guy)

You actually can watch the entire stream here.

There were a lot of really clutch and hype matches and I had a lot of fun watching and drinkin some beers. One of the clutchest matches was Zangitan va tk584 (ADN) who pulled out a really good last minute clutch win. I felt kinda bad for Zangitan though cuz he got stuck fighting Seth in winners first match which is like a really bad matchup.

Also, the super hype announcer dude was fucking awsome this time. He stop commentating somewhere in there and just sat and watched. I think he got pretty drunk. Him and this other dude who was also drunk kept shouting random shit and were especially giving Zangitan a hard time. It was pretty funny.

I was glad Nemo won since I know him and he is a fellow GG player. I was sorta rooting for Tokido as well though but Nemo took him out. It was a good fight. I thought Tokido would have given him a harder time though.

After it was over, Nemo got like a bunch of awards and money and some of the other top finishers got money too. I played casuals against this one Gen player named Matsudaira drill (he used the shirtless costume with yellow color) for a while. We started off going 1-1 and then I broke away and got a 4 win streak on him. He told me I was really good! I was really surprised cuz I actually dont feel like I know how to fight Gen very well. We had to stop playing because he got called over to play some request matches on the stream against various people. Apearently this guy is pretty popular or something. Also, near the end, I asked Tokido if he would play me in casuals cuz I have never played him before. He played me in 5 games and I lost all of them but I was able to take a couple rounds. His Akuma is sick. I just couldnt block his shit. In any case, it was good experience. Tokido is a really nice guy.

The event finished up at 4 am. I went outside and talked with Abelity and grabbed a beer from Lawson and we waited for Bull410 to get his stuff. We then went to McDonalds where I had another beer and a 200 yen big mac. By now, the trains just started running so I headed back to Shinjuku.

I wasnt quite ready to sleep yet so I went to PSY lol. I stayed there for about an hour till it closed. There were a lot of people there and some regulars like Eli and Ken from GODZ. It was fun. After that, I just went to the manga kissa, but I stayed up for like an hour surfing the net.

On Sunday, I had no particular plans other than playing GG casuals at Mikado. I had 2 more 200 yen big macs and then headed to Mikado. I was shocked to see that it was PACKED with GG players and it was only like 2 pm. They had 12 AC cabs set up and they were all full with people waiting. It turns out, today was a 4 on 4 GG team tournament. There was no particular reason for it, but Nage wanted to set it up so they let him run it. I had no idea it was going on, but luckily for me I was able to enter. I signed up and I was paired with a random team. My team ended up being MK (JO), and a Zappa player and a Chipp player, both of whom I didnt know.

Our first match was against Takuya (FA)'s team. There was a Millia, a Sol, and an Axl on his team but I dont know their names. Chipp says hes inexperienced so he wanted to go first. His opponent was Takuya. CH lost both rounds. Next Zappa went. He won the first around and lost the next 2. Then MK said he hates Millia so he just got on the machine next. I hate Millia too and its a bad matchup for Faust but oh well. He won a round and lost 2 rounds. Now i had the responsibility of OCVing a 4 man team... yay. In the FA mirror vs Takuya, I won the first round, lost the 2nd round, and won the 3rd round. Up next was the Millia player. Lucky me. I lost the first round, made a clutch comeback to win the 2nd round and lost the 3rd round but it was pretty close. I dont know who the guy was but he was really good. Oh well. It was just some random tournament I didnt know about so whatever. I had fun anyway.

I stuck around till 9 playing casuals. Kunihiro showed up later but he didnt know about the tournament either. I got a lot of good games in and beat some good people. I beat Kazuki's DI the only time I played him. I also beat Melon's ED, his KY twice, and his SL once the only times I played him. I played Gaku a few times and lost 3 and won 1. I lost to Kunihiro's Anji like 4 times. There was this one Jam player that was talking to me. He was pretty good and got like a 19 win streak but I ended it on my 2nd try. I also played Ain only one game and I beat him again! This time he didnt get all pissed and slam the cabinet but he didnt rematch me. I think the biggest win streak I got was like 12 or something that day. Also, Ogawa was there and I fought his Eddie only one time. I lost the first 2 rounds but then I came back and won the next 2 rounds. Taku and a few other guys were sorta watching and when I won the 2nd time I heard him yell "reach!" and then he was like kinda cheering me on for the final round. It was really close but I lost. Oh well. Oh yea and also before the tournament, Ogawa came up to me and randomly asked me how to say "Ganbarimasyo!" in English so I told him its basically "Let's do our best!" Also, Kakishi (AB) was there and I asked him if he could team with me again for the last chance but he said he probably wont be able to enter at all.

Oh yea, and I didnt watch the rest of the team tournament cuz I was busy playing casuals, but the winning team ended up being Inoue (OR), Satou (JO), Maruken (BA), Kazuki (DI).

At some point I ducked out to get another big mac and I ran into King Low Tier in the ally! He said he ended up having to leave early on Friday cuz of school related stuff but that he would start having more free time around the middle of next week. He said he hasnt really been playing any fighting games but that he is gonna start playing GG and probably Melty pretty seriously now that hes in Japan. He went with me to get a big mac and then he left cuz he had to go back and do more school stuff.

So yea, I played a bunch of other various casuals too. When 9 rolled around, I had to take my train back so I said bye to a few people and left.

Next weekend on Saturday, there will be this Tokyo game night Final Rounbats thing going on. Scott Popular, Bull410, and Abelity invited me to come. I knew about it and sorta wanted to go before but I was busy with quals. Now that I have nothing in particular going on I can go check it out. There will be a SSFIV ranbat and casuals for other games and pizza and stuff so it sounds like fun. After that is Current's 9th Anniversary Party! It should be hype as fuck, so I am going to have a pretty busy Saturday next weekend!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Vacation in Kyushu 2010

I usually go back to the US to visit during the summer but this year, tickets were too expensive, so Ryoko and I decided to travel to Kyushu; one of the small southern islands of Japan. Our destinations would be Fukuoka and Nagasaki. We planned things a bit late, so airfare was already pretty high, so we decided to just take an overnight bus.

August 5th

We left for Shinjuku on the train I always take. Our bus would leave from Shinjuku station. Before heading there, we stopped in Takadanobaba and I took Ryoko to the good kebab place we usually eat at. I had a beer and Ryoko tried this Turkish liquor similar to Greek Uzou (which is like a black licorice flavor). We had a little time to kill so I popped my head into Mikado. A GG ranbat was going on. I was too late and didn’t have time to enter but I played a few games of casuals. Also, Akinori was there playing so I introduced him to Ryoko. The first game of casuals I played, I grabbed the stick and the whole thing caved into the cab lol. I played a few games on another cab and then we pretty much had to go cuz our bus would leave soon. We headed to Shinjuku and made it on the bus like 5 minutes before it was ready to leave.

The bus was a lot nicer than the ones I usually take when I travel to Kansai. There were only 3 seats per row (as opposed to 4) so the seats were wider and there was more room between them. This would be about a 15 hour bus ride. I brought a few beers on the bus. I played some Phoenix Wright on my DS and listened to some music. The rest stops didn’t sell any beer so I had to make do with the few cans I brought on, but it was enough to get a buzz before I fell asleep eventually. Also, after a certain time, they put like these curtains around all the seats so that everyone was blocked off from each other in their own private cubicle. It sure would make it easy for someone to fool around in those if they wanted to. Just sayin… lol

August 6th

We arrived in Fukuoka at about noon. We couldn’t check into our hotel until 3 pm, so we started off by just looking for it for the time being and exploring the area cuz Ryoko had a big luggage and we wanted to see if they could at least hold our bags for us. We found it after a bit of walking and a few beers on the way. They were nice enough to hold our bags.

After dropping off our bags, we got some ramen, which supposedly is one of the foods famous in Fukuoka. It was pretty good but I think Hokkaido ramen is better, and honestly even the place near Mikado is better but it was still good. After eating, we went to this one shrine called Kushida-jinja. Took a lot of pictures. Then we found a shopping arcade and walked around in there. I found a really good looking US style burger place. We didn’t eat there but I kept it in mind for later.

Eventually 3 rolled around so we headed back to the hotel and checked into our room and got to take a shower finally after that long bus ride. After getting ready, we headed out again and went to Canal City.

Canal City is a huge famous shopping mall. They had all kinds of cool stuff in there. I found this one store with micro brew beers so we got a few of those as we walked around. Also one of those caricature artists like you find at amusement parks was there so we paid like 1000 yen or something and she drew our pictures. It was pretty cool. Though she made my hair black and my eyes brown. I guess shes not used to drawing foreigners. Otherwise it looked good and we are even holding our beer bottles.

After exploring Canal City for quite a while, we were hungry so we went back to that shopping arcade and tried that burger place which was called LA Diner. For some reason they had a Miller beer sign but they didn’t even sell Miller beer (not that I would want some anyway cuz they had better beer than that there). I got a big burger with lots of shit on it and the meat was really good and I also got these giant onion rings. It was some of the best greesy food Ive had in Japan.

After that, we went drinking. We kinda just walked around this one area near the hotel and found like this one decent bar. The atmosphere was kinda nice but not many people. I asked them if they had any rock and the closest thing they had was visual K so they played some of that which was OK I guess. The beer was good and the prices were decent. It was like a 400 yen table charge but then EVERYTHING on the menu was 400 yen. The guy who owned it was younger than me and said his business was really successful. Sorta gives me hope for the future about opening my own bar someday. Also some group of people came and I guess it was this one girls birthday and they sang to her and gave her a cake. Ryoko was a little worried about my drinking all day so we had a long talk about that too, but I assured her that I felt fine and promised id cut back if it started to hurt, so after that it was all good.

After we left that bar, we found a small arcade. I was already drunk by now. They didn’t have GG, but they had vanilla SFIV so I tried to play that but the guys on the machine wouldn’t get up when they lost so I just said fuck it and left. We then went to this one other bar that had a lot of foreigners and it was a little more western style I guess. The DJ there played some Michael Jackson for us cuz they didn’t have any rock heh. We got some drinks and also some pickles (like regular western style pickles which are sorta hard to find here so I enjoyed it a lot). After that, we headed back to the hotel.

August 7th

We woke up and ate at this one restaurant where I ate some really good fish. Then we headed to the Hawks Town Mall which is another big mall. The Hawks are the local baseball team. We came here today because they have a trick art museum inside the mall with all kinds of cool optical illusion art and stuff. You can see some of the artwork in the pictures we took. Lots of the stuff looks like its 3d but its not. Other things look like one thing and then another based on how you focus your vision. It was pretty cool. We also found this one store at the mall and Ryoko bought a pretty hot bikini there for cheap cuz it was on sale. I got a cool t-shirt too. There was an arcade in the mall but the only fighting game there was Tekken 6 so Ryoko and I played a few other games together. Also I did Purikura for my very first time. (Purikura stands for pring club and its those photo booths targeted at young girls you find in Japanese arcades that you can like decorate the pictures after you are done). Ryoko and I did it together and had fun messing around with it and then she got some free hair scrunchy thing for whatever reason. There was also this cool bungie cord trampoline thing at the mall that looked fun as hell but the line to use it was fucking long so we gave up on that but it would have been cool to try.

After that we went to a very famous temple called Dazaifu. We took a lot of pictures there. Not much to say about it other than it was pretty cool. You can see it in the pictures.

After leaving there, it was already getting late so we went to get dinner. We found another really great area with lots of bars and restaurants and stuff in the Tenjin area. We walked around a bit there and I found a Taito Station. I could tell it was a good place cuz SBO quals were held there (they still had the sign up for it). I went to the basement and they had tons of fighting games. They had 2 GG cabs and someone was playing on one so I got on and fought him. I was already pretty buzzed at this point from drinking all day but whatever. It was a Ky player and I beat him twice. Then this HOS player got on and beat me. It was 2 credits for 100 yen so I used my other credit to rematch him and won. Then he played me one more time and I lost. He seemed pretty good. I probably would have won if I hadn’t drank so much but its all good. Ryoko was playing UFO catchers on the upper floor while she was waiting for me. I didn’t wanna make her wait long so I just played those 5 matches and then found her and we left. She won a few small stuffed animals which was cool though.

We walked around a bit more looking for a place to eat. We eventually found this really good looking yakitori place. It was huge and packed as hell. There was a small line to get in. 2 foreigners waiting in line said the place was good as hell and that they go there often. We decided to go eat there. We only waited to get in for about 10 minutes. They all kinds of great food and the prices weren’t bad either, and they had black kirin on tap which is always good. Ryoko drank an entire bottle of red wine too while we were there.

After that, we went looking for bars. We then found this one other bar that was all like tropical looking and they had a big screen TV sorta like at PSY where they were showing a DVD that was just like beautiful scenes of nature and stuff as like background. Ryoko ordered another wine and the glass ended up being HUGE. I got some beers. By the time we were done drinking there, Ryoko was already really drunk.

After we left there, we stumbled down the street and found like this park area that no one was in. We sat down there for a bit. Then some stuff happened that I will not write about in this blog but it was fun times lol.

We eventually made it back to the hotel and passed out.

August 8th

Today, we woke up and checked out of our hotel. It was time to head to Nagasaki for the 2nd half of our trip. We took a limited express train so it took about 2 hours but it was nice and comfortable. The view from the window was awesome with lots of great scenery. I knocked back a few beers on the train too.

After we arrived at Nagasaki station, we took a cab to our hotel, which was a little far from the station, but ended up being in an area that was way better than the area near the station anyway. Our hotel was also literally right next to Chinatown which was cool. We stayed at the Washington hotel. Since it was already like near 3 pm when we got there, we were able to check in right away.

This was like honestly one of the hottest days I have ever experienced. The heat was scorching and it was humid as hell too.

After checking into our room, we walked to this Wharf area called Dejima Wharf that was lined with bars and restaurants and there were lots of cool ships parked there with a nice sea view. It was early in the day so not many people were there but we got a quick icecream and a hotdog.

Then, we headed to this place called Glover Garden. It’s a historical site left from Thomas Blake Glover who came to Japan from Europe in 1859. You can click that link if you wanna learn more about him but basically he was one of the key people in the industrialization of Japan and he also helped to found Japans first brewing company which would later become Kirin Beer co. The place was full of nice gardens and old houses. They looked very western with old European influence. Nagasaki was one of the only places in Japan that often did foreign trade a long time ago and they often trade with Holland. As a result, there are many buildings there with a Dutch looking influence and Nagasaki also has street cars (like trolly style, the train bus hybrid looking things, which is the only place I have seen them in Japan).

After leaving Glover house, on the way out, there was an area with a bunch of shops. We went inside for a bit and I found some more different local micro brews. I got a bottle of the Dunkel and it was pretty good. There was also this other shop that had crazy Halloween type masks and trick stuff. Like they had various devices that shocked you like those joy buzzer things. The dude tricked me into trying the fake lighter and Ryoko got tricked into using the fake pack of gum.

After that, we headed to Chinatown for dinner. We looked around a bit and then decided on this one restaurant that was pretty awesome. I got the sweet and sour pork and it was pretty fuckin good.

Then we went lookin for a place to go drinking. We figured we would go back to Dejima Warf and see how it was at night, and it ended up being full of people so it was pretty cool and the night view was pretty awesome. We had a few beers and sat by the water and enjoyed the view and nice weather. Then, we went inside another bar over there and had another drink. It was all sea and ship themed. The tables were like glass on a big wooden barrel and you could see inside and it was full of shells and stuff like that. It was a nice atmosphere.

Then we walked around a bit trying to find more bars away from the Wharf. We found a decent area but most of the places around there ended up being snack bars and hostess bars.

We found this one bar called Lock Stock. It ended up being empty (aside from the bartender) when we went in but we figured we would at least have one drink. The atmosphere was actually really cool and they had all kinds of cool figures and stuff decorating the bar. It reminded me of like a rock bar mixed with a manga culture bar I guess. They were showing anime on the TV. Anyway so were drinking, and suddenly the power just goes completely out. The bartender checked the hallway of the building outside and it seemed to only be the bar we were in. He tried to flip the circuit breaker to get the power back on a bunch but he couldn’t get it to work. We sat there in the dark for like 10 minutes until we finally just finished our drinks and said we were gonna leave. The bartender said the drinks were on the house but told us how much he would have charged us and between the small mini sized bottle of wine and the one beer I had, the charge came to almost 3000 yen which seemed ridiculous. There must have been a table charge and that wine must have been really expensive or something. I felt bad for the guy so I gave him some money anyway (but not the full 3000 yen. That was pretty steep given the wine was pretty standard and all I drank was one regular beer).

After that, we ended up going to this one place that was a darts bar. Ryoko had never played darts before but I taught her how and she ended up loving it so we played several rounds of darts and just drank a bunch and it was fun.

After that, we headed back to the hotel.

August 9th

Today, we woke up I turned on my TV in the hotel room to see that there were all kinds of reporters at Heiwa Koen (Peace Park), which is basically a big memorial built on the remains of an old prison that was demolished by the atomic bomb. The park was built very near where the center of the atomic bomb blast hit Nagasaki in 1945. We were planning on going to see this today, but we had no idea that today was August 9th, the exact day the bomb had dropped on Nagasaki, so everyone was going there in memory of that day for its anniversary.

Before heading to Heiwa Koen, we ate at Sasebo Burger, a sorta small but famous burger chain in Kyushu. The place was just a tiny little stand but the burgers were fuckin AWSOME! Id say the LA Burger place had slightly better meat, but Sasebo just had awesome ingredients and the way that they made it was overall just a little better, and it was HUGE! It had like everything on it plus egg, cheese, and thick Canadian style bacon. We also got fried cheese potato things and thick garlic fries with it too which was really good. The place wasn’t even indoors so we sat outside on patio furnature. The weather was a little overcast so it wasn’t hot out today thankfully. There was like this little shop next to where we were sitting outside and they were showing Tom and Jerry episodes on the TV so I could hear the sound effects and music from that the whole time we were eating lol.

After eating, we headed to Heiwa Koen vie the street car trolly things. It was really cool and was only 120 yen for a ride. When we got there, the place was PACKED with people and tons of reporters and journalists both Japanese and foreign. It was raining but we had an umbrella with us (and so did just about everyone else there). It was hard to even walk around. They had a bunch of pictures with wreckage from the bomb and victims and also lots of statistics and historical facts. I was actually feeling pretty emotional seeing all that stuff. It looked so devastating and being there really made it hit harder. Things like this just make me hate the current wars going on right now even more. When all those civilians died it really was a tragedy. There was another area with TONS of paper crane origami chains made by people in memory of the tragedy. Then there was this huge tent with tons of chairs and people. They probably had some more official speeches and stuff going on there earlier that we missed. Beyond that was a huge statue. I took a lot of pictures. As we walked back, there was this huge bell and this old man was talking in front of a large group about how things went down back then. Then the old man gave the rope to pull the bell out to the crowd and a bunch of people all rang the bell together. The ringing of this bell was at the EXACT moment that the bomb fell on that day. The fact that we came here on accident this day and walked by the bell the exact time the bomb dropped is pretty nuts. I taped this on Ryoko’s iphone and will upload the video later. After this, we headed out.

Our other plan today was to go to a small village WAY out there by the ocean to board a boat to see wild Dolphins. The journey there would take a while though. First, to get back to Nagasaki station, this time we took the street car trolly things. We got to the station easily and then we had to take a train for about 6 stops to another town. From there, we had to take like a 2 hour bus ride to get out to this sea side village. However, our timing kinda sucked cuz the bus wasn’t gonna come for another 40 minutes when we got to the bus station, so we walked around a bit to kill time. We tried to find a combini forever cuz I wanted a redbull and the grocery store by the station didn’t sell it. We eventually found this weird combini I had never seen before called Every One. It had a blue and yellow sign with this pac-man looking dude on it. I got my redbull and then it started pooring outside so we got an umbrella too. We only had 10 minutes to get back to the bus station at this point so we hurried a bit. We ended up making it in time and then the bus was like 15 minutes late on top of that.

The bus ride seemed like it took forever. The scenery was fucking amazing though cuz we were driving by the ocean and stuff. We drove through this one village called Obama. It’s the same village that perhaps you have read about in the news before when Obama was first elected president that likes him so much cuz they have the same name. There were all these banners along the road that said “I heart Obama” with this goofy cartoon looking Barak Obama pic on it. I managed to snap a photo of one from the bus.

After a while, I started to feel a bit sick for whatever reason. I really wanted to get off the bus. Also, we had a 4 pm appointment to ride on this boat. Basically it’s like a tour guide kinda thing. You pay something like 2500 yen a person and the boat takes you out to a spot in the ocean where tons of wild Dolphins can be seen. We had a reservation but it seemed like we weren’t gonna be on time. We called the place and they said we were pretty close so they would wait for us.

We eventually got off the bus and we were about 10 minutes late, but we rushed to the place and thanked the other people for waiting and then we all got on the boat. I felt better once I got off that bus.

There the other passengers on the boat were all together in one group (there were about 7 of them) so they all sat together in the front and Ryoko and I got the whole back of the boat to ourselves which was cool. The view from the boat was great. I took lots of pictures. We went about 10 minutes out from the shore. There were tons of other boats out there with people doing the same Dolphin watching thing too. It didn’t take long for a bunch of Dolphins to show up. You could see them in large groups swimming around, many of them diving up from the water and then back into it. It was a pretty cool experience and we took some pics and I video taped a good 10 minutes of it on Ryoko’s i-phone. I will upload it to youtube and post it later. Overall it was just a really nice relaxing time and we both enjoyed it.

After we headed back, Ryoko was feeling sea sick. The other group asked us to take a bunch of pictures of them so we did. We looked around in the dolphin place gift shop for a bit and the checked the bus time for the next bus back. It was coming in one minute so we rushed back to the bus stop and made it in time. Ryoko slept most of the ride back. I just checked out more scenery from the window.

After we FINALLY got back to Nagasaki city, it was already late so we looked for a place to get dinner near the station. We ended up going to a fish restaurant and I got some good fish with rice and soup.

After that, we decided to look for a new place to drink. Ryoko wasn’t gonna drink at first but was feeling better after she ate. We walked for a while from the station but there wasn’t much around there so we ended up taking the street car trolly thing back to the area near our hotel. We walked around a new area we hadn’t discovered yet. There were tons of bars but most of them were snack bars once again. I was almost ready to just give up and go to this one so-so lookin blues bar but then we decided to go down another street just down from where our hotel was cuz we saw some lights. It turned out that this street had a bunch more bars and we ended up finding this one really awesome bar called ExcaliBar.

This place was pretty small, maybe a little bigger than PSY. There were about 4 people sitting at the bar and 2 guys working there. They were playing all kinds of rock and metal and the place was decorated pretty cool. This foreign couple was sitting next to us so I asked them where they were from and stuff. They were from Italy and were traveling on vacation. They told me that after this, their next destinations were going to be Kyoto and Nara and then Tokyo. The dude likes rock bars so I recommended him all my usual spots back in Tokyo like Current, PSY, and Godz. I also recommended some good places to see in Kyoto. They seemed like pretty nice people. The staff was cool too. The owner told me that he once owned 3 rock bars here but his employees were being sloppy with drug use and the cops busted them so he shut the other bars down. ExcaliBar was still going strong after 10 years and he said the place was really profitable. He said opening a rock bar is easy, you just have to find a good location. He said opening one in Tokyo is rough, but in a place like Nagasaki its easy to do, Another thing for me to think about in the future.

The bartender saw that I liked Alice Cooper so he put on this one CD called Butchering the Beatles. I never heard it before, but basically it’s a cover CD of all metal versions of Beatles songs. Lots of awesome people were on there like Alice Cooper, Geoff Tate from Queensryche, Yngvie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Lemmy, and more. We ended up listening to the whole thing, and I just kept slammin beers and Ryoko was drinking some pretty big high balls so we both got good and drunk. We talked to the staff a bunch and he said how like hes not used to foreigners going there that can speak any Japanese and its always just tourists so he was really surprised and happy to have a foreigner come in there that he could have a conversation with. It was my best drinking experience of the whole trip and I would go there again for sure if I ever went back to Nagasaki.

After finishing up there, we took a short walk back to our hotel and…

August 10th

This was the last real day of our trip. We woke up and decided to check out Confucius Shrine and Museum of Chinese History. I took a lot of pictures so theres not really a need to go into too much detail but it was really beautiful. Lots of awesome statues and architecture. We went inside too and there were lots of historical artifacts on display. Ryoko bought some souvenirs at the gift shop there as well.

After that, we walked back through China town again and got the best pork bun I have ever had in my life, and also a mango shaved ice thing. We also went into this Chinese fireworks store. They had tons of awesome stuff. Im not talking about like sparklers and bottle rockets (well they had those too but…), they had the heavy duty serious shit. As a Ryoko and I stocked up and bought a ton of those to use later when we got home. This one old lady came up to me when I was looking around at stuff and starts making these ridiculous fireworks gestures and sounds, and then I just bust out some Japanese and she felt dumb for trying to communicate with me like that lol. The staff was all a bunch of old Japanese ladies and they were really surprised that I was speaking fluent Japanese to them cuz they said they NEVER see foreigners speak Japanese around here. I guess Nagasaki doesn’t have many foreign residents or something.

The hotel was holding our bags for us cuz we had already checked out at this point, so we went back there and got ready to leave and then headed to the station. We bought some souvenirs at a shop at the station but had to hurry cuz our train was leaving in like 10 minutes.

We had to take the bus back tonight from Fukuoka so we went all the way back there again on the limited express train for another 2 hour trip. Ryoko started to not feel so good again and slept most of the way. I played some DS mostly.

After we got back to Fukuoka, we didn’t really have much time to do a whole lot. We went to a place to buy some souvenirs near the station there. Then we went to go find a place to eat. I wanted some pizza and found this one restaurant in like this basement part of the station. It looked so-so from the picture but the pizza ended up being fuckin great! AND I got this GIANT frosty mug of dark kirin half and half with it which went down nicely. Ryoko still wasn’t feeling well so she just got a cheese omelet and some tea.

We now had about 20 minutes before we had to get on the bus. I wanted to buy some quick beer before we got on. We searched and searched but we couldn’t find a combini ANYWHERE! It didn’t make sense cuz there were tons of shops and we were near Tenjin station, one of the biggest stations in Fukuoka. Ryoko was getting really tired so I told her to wait cuz we found the area where we had to go for the busses. I told her to watch the big luggage and I would be right back to buy beer for me and water for her. I eventually found a Family Mart WAAYYY down the street. At this point we only had 10 minutes before we had to get on the bus, but I figured if I hurried we would be ok. I sorta ran to the Family Mart, got the beer, and then headed back to where the bus station area was. Problem was, I couldn’t remember exactly how to get back there. It was a big sea of buildings and everything was sorta blending together. Then I started to panic. There was only like 3 minutes before our bus would leave. If we missed it we would be stuck here. I tried to call Ryoko but she didn’t pick up her phone. I was frantically sorta running around trying to find the station. I saw the sign for the station and the all of a sudden Ryoko bursts out of this department store attached to the station and yells “Mike!” and then sorta starts frantically running around and then she leads me through the department store, we run up like 4 escelators, im lugging her huge heavy luggage, and we run down this hallway and somehow the bus station is on the 3rd floor of the building we were in. As we are running through there, we can hear them calling our names on the loud speaker cuz the bus was about to leave. We dashed up to where the bus was (Ryoko had gone to find it earlier when I was looking for the combini), gave them our tickets and got on the bus, and it left like 30 seconds after we got on. I was so out of breath and sweaty and tired, but I was so fucking relieved we didn’t miss the bus. After I caught my breath, I cracked open the frosty beer and thought about how glad I wasn’t stranded there. In retrospect, buying that beer wasn’t really a smart idea, but when we first planned to go buy it, it seemed like we had tons of time. It just turned out that there were not combinis anywhere around. I felt bad cuz Ryoko had to run and wasn’t feeling well but in the end we made it and she wasn’t mad at me, but it didn’t take long for her to fall asleep after we got on the bus even though it was only 7 pm.

On the way back on the bus, I stayed up for the next 5 hours playing Phoenix Wright on my DS. I eventually slept at midnight and then didn’t wake up again until we arrived in Shinjuku.

August 11th

We got back to Shinjuku at about 11 am. We were both exhausted and just wanted to get back home. Ryoko was still feeling sick. I got some quick Burger King to bring with on the train and then we got on the usual train I take home and made it back to our town after a 3 hour ride. Ryoko’s older sister picked us up from the station and then we went home.

Overall it was a really fun trip and I got to spend a lot of quality time with Ryoko and we had a lot of good memories. Aside from her getting sick at the very end and us almost missing the bus, everything went pretty well.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The End of 2010 Tougeki Qualifiers (and some goodbyes)

On Friday, the 2 new ALTs in my town came to my school with my supervisor so I met them for the first time (Laura, and May, both are from Australia). My work day pretty much just involved me helping them get situated with some things and translating some stuff for my supervisor cuz her English isnt so good. We ended up finishing a bit early so I was able to get an earlier train to Tokyo. And with this moment, I was officially on my real summer vacation for almost the next 2 weeks. (I used some vacation days).

I arrived at Mikado a little after 7 pm. I got some good casuals in. I didnt know, but Gaku told me that tomorrow's tournament had registration already start a week ago and there was a 16 team limit. Since there was a good chance it was almost full already, I told him I would go to the arcade tomorrow morning before it opens and wait to register so that we could guarentee we get to play. Also, my team for Saturday was going to be Gaku and Melon using Slayer. We were still unsure about who our 3rd would be for Sunday cuz Melon at first said he wasnt sure if he could enter. I asked a few people during the week but no one else could do it among the ones that I asked. On the way to Tokyo on the train, Melon asked if he could join us for Sunday too. I told him maybe, but that I had to ask Gaku first. Gaku told me he already promised Kakishi, an ABA player that he could be on our team, so I told Melon that we would team with Kakishi, but it was ok. Melon eventually found another team for Sunday. BTW, Kakishi is the guy who works at the Lawson next to Mikado. Hes a cool guy, and his ABA is pretty sick, so I was cool to team with him. Also, Satoshi was talking to me for a bit about various stuff. He's a pretty cool guy. I beat him on my 2nd time playing him and he came over saying how im really tough. We played a few more and mostly went even with him maybe winning one or 2 more than me. Otherwise, nothing in particular worth mentioning comes to mind. I ended up playing till closing. After that, I went to the usual manga kissa and slept.

Saturday morning, I got up and headed to Sega Twinstar game center in Iidabashi. I had never been there before but found it with not too much trouble. I got there about an hour before they opened so I just sat outside and played some Phoenix Wright on my DS until the guy came and opened the place up. When I went to register, it turns out that only 8 teams had already signed up, and I was the only one there at the time, so we were able to sign up easily. I guess I didnt need to get there so early but I had nothing else to do since I wasnt gonna drink last night anyway.

After signing up, I had lots of time to kill. No one was playing GG there so I left. I went to a book store to find this one Japanese study book for Emmet cuz he asked me to get it for him as favor (hes in New Zealand visiting for a couple weeks right now). I couldnt find it there. Oh well.

Also, today was pretty much the last day I would be able to see Cynthia and Liz before they left Japan for good. So I made plans to meet up with them later.

I got some food and killed some time eating. I went to Mikado but no one was there so I walked around outside a bit but it was fucking HOT as hell so I eventually went back. Some scrubs showed up eventually and I beat them up a little and ended up playing the computer for a long time. After a while, some decent people showed up and I played casuals until it was time to go to the tournament.

I headed back to Twinstar and lots of people were there now. My team showed up shortly after. I was pretty disapointed to find out that only 11 teams entered, meaning I came early and waited outside for nothing, but it wasnt really a big deal other than being really hot outside. Stalker girl showed up to this one, too.

Since there were only 11 teams, some teams got a bye first round, and luckily our team ended up being one of them. Our first match was vs Consome's team. His teammates were a Slayer and a May player. I dont know their names.

I went first and they put their May first. This was the one character on the team that I didnt want to fight but I played solid and won! Next was Slayer. It ended up being close as hell in the very last round. I hit him with crouching punch and did crouch slash, into crouch dust, and then I wasnt sure if he was too far away to hit him with another crouching slash to go into the air combo so after the crouching slash I waited a split second and he teched so I just air threw him and got the win but it was close as hell. Finally vs Consome, I won a round and it was a close match, but I lost. Next was Melon with his Slayer. Despite it being a bad matchup for Slayer, Melon just danced around everywhere and played the matchup fuckin solid as hell, not really giving Potemkin a chance to strike back by using lots of hit and run tactics and good tricky teleport and dandy step shenagins. We won our first match!

For our next match we were already in the semi finals. Our opponents were Hayashi (footsies Ky) / Kuni (BA) / May. This was the same team they used last week when we beat them.

This time we decided to have Melon go first. His opponent was Hayashi. Unfortunately Hayashi won. I went next. I played fairly well but Hayashi was just on point today and I couldnt beat him. Finally Gaku went but he was unable to beat him either this time. Bummer. Just like that, we were out.

The finals ended up being Kuni's team vs Ain's team (Ain (KY) / Ririko (BR) / green TE player whos really good)

Hayashi was seriously the fucking man today because he OCVed Ain's team, too... in the order of Ririko, Ain, TE!

Since I hate Ain, I was glad to see him lose. After the it ended, everyone pretty much just went back to Mikado. I was gonna go play but then I got a message from Liz and Cynthia saying they wanted to meet up now so I went back to Takadanobaba station and met up with them at a super market. We got some snacks and then headed to Liz's place. We ended up watching a movie they rented called 500 Days of Summer. I had no idea what it was. Not the greatest movie but it was watchable I guess. We talked a lot, too. After the movie, we walked back to the station together and I said bye to them for the last time. They said they will be visiting Japan again at some point though. I was a bit sad to see them go cuz they were 2 of the first people I ever met when I came to Japan. Seeing them leave made me really feel like I have been here for a long time after all.

After that, I just headed back to Shinjuku to sleep at the manga kissa cuz it was already passed midnight.

The next day, the tournament was at Shinjuku Sportsland, which is right across the street from my usual manga kissa, lol! I got some McDonalds breakfast and played DS there for a while cuz it was cool inside and hot as balls outside. I also went to another book store and was able to find that book for Emmet. I also bought a new wallet cuz my old one was smelling like mold and was falling apart anyway. I got a good deal on one for 300 yen cuz one of the zippers was broken lol. It works fine so its all good.

Then, I headed to Sportsland and by now, there were some people playing, so I pretty much just stayed there from this point on and played casuals. One of the best matches I played all day was vs Ain's Ky. I only played him one time but I beat him both rounds! Suddenly after I won, on the other side of the cabinet I heard a loud BAM!!! sound. Ain really must think I am that bad because he slammed that cabinet REALLY hard! Then after like a few seconds he did it again! I was literally just laughing out loud! I couldnt help it! Considering how much I hate that guy for always being such a prick for no reason, it felt SOOOO good to know I pissed him off that bad! It pretty much put me in a good mood for the rest of the day LOL!

After a little while, this guy from Russia who posts on Dustloop under the handle Nuts was there and he said to just call him Ninja. I talked with him for a bit and he seemed like a nice guy. He was there with his girlfriend and just came to watch the tournament today. Eventually, Sam showed up too. He has nowhere to live now because his apartment contract expired at the beginning of August and he would be leaving Japan for good on the 4th. He stayed at Pachi's last night and would come stay at my place for a few days starting from today, so he came to watch the tournament and would go back to Gunma with me afterwords.

Also, Kyle (Stunedge) showed up to watch for a bit, too! From now until at least a year or more, Kyle will be living and working in Japan.

TONS of people came to this final SBO qualifyer. 32 teams entered which is almost 1oo people! It was packed and hot as fuck in there! Clay Gundam man showed up too but vanished early, and stalker girl showed up again, too.

I got some casuals in early when I arrived but after a while, getting a turn in was just imposable, even though they had 6 cabs going.

After a lot of waiting, they finally started the tournament. Our first match was vs a team of Reid (JO) / O2 (AX) / MI whos name I forgot

We had Gaku go first this time. He beat the MI player and then lost to JO. Then we had Kakishi go next with his ABA because he says hes bad against Axl so we saved me for last. He beat the JO and then he played solid as hell and beat O2's AX as well, so I didnt even need to play.

There was a LONG wait till our next match. I mostly just watched and talked to people cuz getting a turn on casuals was like imposable.

Eventually they called our next match and our oppenents were SO / JO / SL. I dont remember their names, but all the guys on the team looked like hosts from a host club with their fancy Cloud Strife lookin haircuts and "fashionable" clothing, lol. Since I didnt play last time, and I know all of those matchups fairly well (except Slayer is a terrible matchup), I opted to go first. First I fought SO. I won the first round. 2nd round was close but I did a sorta sloppy forward HS and it whiffed and he killed me. 3rd round I zoned him really well and won. Next I fought JO. I won the first round. 2nd round I made a bad decision going on pogo stance and got hit by his super and lost. 3rd round I got my shit together, played really solid and beat him up. Last I fought Slayer. This one I just played the matchup well and took him out and achieved an OCV! For some reason my team didnt really seem to care lol. I guess they were sorta expecting me to win or something and were mostly focusing their attention on the match being played next to us (most likely because the winner of that match would be our next opponent).

After more waiting, they called our next match. The team was SL / AN / IN. I didnt know who they were at first cuz the names they used were different but it turned out to be Ogiwara (aka Basara), Domi, and that really good Black color I-no player who I had mentioned before in the past. This time, Kakishi went first and his opponent was Domi's Anji. Kakishi played really solid and won! Up next was Ogiwara's SL. He tried his best but Ogiwara took him out. Gaku hates fighting Slayer so I went next (despite the fact that its a really bad matchup for me too). I was going pretty even with Ogiwara the last time I fought him like 2 weeks ago or so, but this time he just stayed on me, I couldnt zone him out, and I couldnt get him off me and he just pummeled me in the corner and shut down my escape attempts. It was now up to Gaku to save our team. he fought well but he also got pummeled by Slayer, and with that, it was the end of my 2010 SBO qualifier experience (except for the last chance qualifier if I am lucky enough to get selected from the random drawing to play in it, but I will be there for sure to at least try). I was a little bummed out, but not really that upset. We all played solid and tried our best but thats just the way shit goes.

At this point it was like already past 5 pm and I hadnt eaten since like 9 am or something so I was fucking starving! Sam, "Ninja", his girlfriend, and I went to get food. At this point, Kyle already was gone. We just went to McDonalds cuz Sam was broke and needed to get 100 yen menu.

After eating, we headed back. We were just in time to see the finals of the preliminary.

Hase (SL) / Woody (TE) / Venom (I dont know his name)
Kazuki (DI) / Limekey (AN) / blue Slayer whos name im not sure of... I think it starts with an O)

Kazuki beat the Venom
Hase beat Kazuki, SL, and then finally Limekey to wrap things up.

With that, the preliminary had ended, and area finals would begin shortly. The winning team of the preliminary was Hase (SL) / Woody (TE) / Venom player (dont know his name)

They said there would be like a 20 minute break before the finals, so Sam and I decided to go to Yamada Denki and I ended up buying BBCS for PS3. Now that SBO quals were over, I figured I might as well try out another game for fun. I had hardly played BBCS up until now (I literally hadnt played the game since like 2 weeks after it came out) so Sam and I figured it would be something else to play while he was over other than SSFIV.

We made it back in time before the finals began.
There were 7 teams so just like last time, it would be separated into a 8 team bracket with one team getting a bye. The lucky team to get the bye this time was Isa / 012 / Taku (as if they needed a bye, lol)

First match was

Hase team
Karun (JA) / Kishitaka (SO) / En (SL)

Karun beat VE
Hase then beat Karun, Kishitaka, and finally En! Hase was just beasting today!

next match was...

Kuni (BA) / Hayashi (KY) / May
Mugen (BR) / Zero (OR) / Dizzy (same one that was on his team before... gold and black color

Kuni beat DI
Zero beat Kuni after Zero got perfected first round and just came back like it was nothing
Zero then beat May
Hayashi beat Zero
Mugen beat Hayashi in a VERY CLOSE clutch match that went down to the wire.

next was...

Maruken (BA) / TEN (IN) / Satou (JO)
HEVEN (VE) / AGF (AN) / Kishya (FA)

TEN beat HEVEN which was pretty shocking
AGF beat TEN
Satou beat AGF
Kishya beat Satou
Maruken beat Kishya

next was the 2nd round (semi finals)...

Isa (ED) / 012 (SO) / Taku (SL)
Hase team

Venom beat Taku (I was shocked)
Isa beat VE, then Hase, and finally Woody (but Woody put in a really good effort)

other semi finals match was...

Maruken team
Mugen team

TEN beat Zero!
Mugen beat TEN
Maruken beat Mugen and DI for the win

grand finals...

Maruken team
Isa team

TEN beat 012 (wow TEN did really well today)
Taku beat TEN
Satou beat Taku (wow another surprise IMO)
Isa beat Satou
final match was Isa vs Maruken. It went down to the 3rd round with both of them with almost no life left. I dont exactly remember what happened but they were both in the corner fumbling around with a few hits getting in but not getting full combos and lots of air teching going on, and honestly it looked like both of them had a chance to take it at one point but in the end, Isa didnt do a full combo and Maruken air recovered and clipped him to get the last final hits in for the win!

Maruken / TEN / Satou is the final team to make it into SBO for GG (excluding the last chance qual in September)!

Isa looked really disapointed. He sorta just face palmed a bit for a while on the cab after losing.

As soon as it ended, it was already about 9 pm and Sam and I had to catch our last train to get back home. Pachi showed up to watch for like the VERY last match so we said bye to him quickly and also bye to "Ninja" and then headed to the station and made our train.

We stayed up for a few hours playing SSFIV and went to bed.

The next day we just played SSFIV and BB all day. We unlocked Mu-12 which took way longer than it should (stupid story mode I dont give a shit about...). I learned the new Arakune combos and stuff. Sam messed around with Hakumen. We played some matches and stuff. Nothing too noteworthy but it was fun. We stayed up playing till about 5 am.

The next day (Tuesday), we went to Numata Matsuri (festival) which goes on for 3 days. This was the first day. Sam and I took the train there and we met up with Andy at Numata station and walked to the festival. Ryoko's dad was running his own kakigori (shaved ice, like a snow cone, or a slurpy, whatever the fuck you call them), booth. Ryoko and her sister Makiko were helping work there. We got some free kakigori and walked around the festival eating good food and seeing lots of dancing and mikoshi and stuff. I didnt drink at all but I still had fun. We also ran into some other ALTs and chilled with them for a bit. There was a giant Tengu mask mikoshi too that only girls are allowed to carry and Jessie carried it. Sam and Andy had to leave on the last train around 9. I walked them part way back to the station and then said goodbye. This is the last time I would see Sam for a while because his year in Japan is up and he has to go back to the US. He plans to do JET in a year so hopefully he will be back. I stayed till the end at 10 with Ryoko and her family and helped them serve some kakigori. After that, Ryoko's sister gave me a ride home.

The next day I was scheduled to go see the doctor. They were going to put the camera down my throat threw my nose again to see the status of my ulcer. It wasnt as bad as last time cuz I was knowing what to expect but it still sucked. It turns out that my ulcer is no longer and ulcer! The doctor said I just have sores in my esophagus now and will continue to suffer from symptoms for a while but that it is healing! He told me I was now allowed to drink beer as long as I didnt over do it and I should try to stop drinking 2 hours before I sleep. Also he said to just try to avoid greasy food and not over eat. If I do those things and keep taking my meds, I should heal soon! Not drinking for 2 weeks seemed like an eternity to me already so I was so happy to get the OK to drink.

After that, Ryoko came over to my place for a bit and we did some last minute planning for our trip to Fukuoka and Nagasaki. After that, we headed to Numata Matsuri again. Today I would help work in their kakigori booth all day. I had a good time getting all the free kakigori I could eat, and I drank beers all day and got free food too. It was a fun day being able to see the festival from the shade of the booth as all the people and mikoshi passed by. I got to take some nice pictures, stayed good and buzzed from sucking down beers all day, at lots of good food, and the kakigori was refreshing and I could make it as syrupy as I wanted and mixed whatever flavors I wanted too! It was an awsome day. After that I went home and slept.

So now I am finally writing my blog cuz I had some down time after my busy long weekend. Tonight, Ryoko and I will leave for Tokyo and then take a busy to Fukuoka. Its a 14 hour overnight bus ride. Airfare was already too expensive and we sorta planned this kinda last minute, but it should be a fun trip. We will get back to Gunma on the 11th. Maybe I will blog about my trip with Ryoko (even though there probably wont be much fighting game stuff involved). We will see how it goes. Either way it should be a ton of fun and I have never been there before. The fact that I can drink now makes it even more awsome!

So thats the end of SBO quals... Even though I didnt qualify again this year, I really have no regrets. I got won a red ticket qualifying for a block finals for my first time. I made it to the finals in preliminaries 2 other times. I teamed with a ton of great players this year. I think I have gained a lot more respect in general among the GG community in Japan. When I consider the fact that this was like the hardest year so far to qualify since there were only 16 spots, and I look at all the great top player SBO veterans that didnt even make it in this year, I think I did a pretty good job. So now that GG SBO quals are over, I might try to play some other games a little more often, but I will always continue to play GG in any case. It was a fun qual season and hopefully GG will be back in SBO next year. Im gonna do my best to qualify in the last chance qual though, so maybe its not over yet! But anyway, thanks to everyone who supported me and sorry for letting you down.

With Sam, Liz, and Cynthia leaving, im a bit sad to see more friends leave Japan, but hopefully more cool people will come soon.

Anyway, I will post again sometime after I get back from my vacation in Kyushu. Keep playing GG everyone!