Thursday, September 30, 2010

Adventures in Nagoya

So, I left off last time when Jan and I got back to my apartment from Tokyo on Monday night. In the middle of the night, Jan woke up feeling really sick or something and we couldnt figure out what was wrong with him. On Tuesday, I had work as usual so I went to work and Jan just stayed at my place and slept all day. When I got home from work, he was still sleeping. He then woke up and said he was pretty much feeling better so that was good.

So, Tuesday, Sept 21st was my 28th birthday. Its not really a big deal or anything but I at least wanted to do something on my birthday, so I set up a small drinking party at a local izakaya (the "Yakitori place" near Gokan station). As soon as I got off work, Jan and I took a train over to the izakaya. I invited a few other ALTs and friends such as Andy and Emmet, and of course Ryoko. In total, there were 7 of us. We drank tons of beers and whiskey and ate some delicious nabe and other food and just talked about random stuff. The owner of the izakaya gave me tons of free whiskey, too. Ryoko brought a birthday cake from Fujiya where she works. I got good and smashed and it seemed like everyone had a good time so it was a successful birthday I would say. We stayed until about midnight and Jan and I took the last train back to my place and I went to sleep.

I had to work again on Wednesday. Jan pretty much just sorta explored my town a bit and played some SSFIV online while I was at work. As soon as I got home from work, we had to leave ASAP to go to the train station if we wanted to catch the next train (the trains in my town only run once an hour). As we approached the station, we could see the train just pull up on the platform across the other side of the stairs. We ran like hell and I managed to make it in time to stall the train and stand in the door and push it open so that Jan had enough time to get on just as the doors closed on us. It was about as close as it could have gotten.

3 hours later we arrived in Takadanobaba. We had kebabs when we were Roppongi last weekend and it turns out that Jan loves that shit, so I took him to the really awsome kebab place I always go to in Takadanobaba. We got a kebab and beer and it was good stuff.

Our bus to leave for Nagoya would be leaving around 11:20, so we had some time to kill. We headed to Mikado to get some games in. There were tons of GG players there. Akinori was there and he apologized to me for not showing up for the last chance qual. His phone was still broken so he couldnt contact me. It wouldnt have mattered anyway since my team didnt get picked so I didnt really care anyway. The US ST team was there playing ST and Jan talked with them for a bit. Also, KLT showed up for some GG, and also this new guy who was also from the US who just moved here but I forgot his name at the moment. I got one game of GG in with Jan and this was the only game we got to play the entire time he was here. I won, but he managed to take a round on me. I also played KLT for the first time in years and won. I also played against various other people. Kunihiro was there too and I played him a fair amount.

It was approaching the time when we should be leaving but Jan was still playing a match and wanted to finish it so we waited a bit. We left Mikado and got some quick beers at Lawson for the road. By the time we got on the train to go to Tokyo station (where our bus was departing from, cuz I got cheaper tickets that way), we realized that we were cutting it VERY close on time. Like pretty much to the point where we might not even make our bus. I had never taken a bus from Tokyo station before so I wasnt even sure what exit to go to and how far the area to board the buses were. When we got to Tokyo station, our bus was scheduled to leave in less than 5 minutes. We ran like hell and I found the place to board the buses by following signs. We found our bus and got on like a minute before it was ready to leave and were the last ones to get on the bus, lol! Thats 2 times that we got it way too close for comfort today, but in the end we got on, so I guess it worked out fine. I had a few more beers on the bus so that I could sleep easily and chatted with Jan for a bit and then eventually fell asleep.

In case I forgot to mention it, the purpose of going to Nagoya was for Nagoya Street Battle (NSB), which is a huge SSFIV tournament held in Nagoya. Many other US players that I know such as Fubarduck, Heartnana, Azrael, and Reno (even though the later 3 all live in Japan), would be going, so I figured it would be a good chance to meet up with them to chill, and the tournament sounded like fun, plus I had never been to Nagoya before, so spending a 4 day weekend out there sounded like it made sense.

We arrived in Nagoya early morning at like 6 am on Thursday. The area around Nagoya station was pretty dull. We had time to kill, so we walked around a bit trying to find a manga kissa to kill time at and get more sleep since Nagoya Street Battle wasnt scheduled to start till around 11. We had no luck around Nagoya station and it was pooring rain. We decided to head to an area called Sakae which is known for its bars and nightlife. Those areas always have manga kissas so it was a good bet.

We took the subway 2 stops away and got to Sakae. We quickly were able to find a manga kissa right away. We checked in for 3 hours and were able to take naps and showers. I also checked online and found a map to the NSB venue so now we knew where to go.

We got some curry and then headed back to Nagoya station since thats where the NSB venue was close to. We walked around a bit and found it after we saw Daigo walking down the street. He had just exited the venue. Fubarduck helped us confirm the location as well.

It was at a huge building called Nagoya Winc, and they had a big ballroom type room rented out. It was already packed when we got there and they had tons of SSFIV setups hooked up. Lots of big name Japanese SF players were there, as well as Justin Wong's team (with Ricky O and Marn). My team for today was with Azrael and Reno. I met Reno before at Gods Garden 2. I have known Azrael from online and SRK and stuff but this was my first time to meet him in person. He was there and signed our team up but Reno's train was delayed so he hadnt arrived yet.

I played a few games of casuals while we waited for things to start. I did pretty decent winning some and losing some. I was about 50/50 against the Japanese players I fought. I lost in a close match to Heartnana's Sakura and I won in a close match vs Azrael's Chun. The tournament took forever to get started and finally got going at around 12:30. Also, Ono, the creator of SFIV was there at this event too, and he gave a speech before the event kicked off.

I took pictures of the entire brackets which you can see here, and here. NSB has a unique system where basically you register with 2 characters and you can choose which one you want to use before the start of the match but you must keep the same one if you win. I registered with Rose and Blanka but pretty much decided I would only use Rose anyway. Reno played Honda and Az used Chun. Our first match we had to fight a Ken player. I said I would go first cuz I know the Ken matchup fairly well. I ended up giving him a decent fight, but I lost both rounds. Reno went next and came pretty close but also lost. Az went last and came the closest to winning but was also defeated by the Ken player. Just like that, we were OCVed first round and were out. Kinda sucks but oh well. My skill level with SSFIV still isnt nearly as high as it is with GG. I think if I tried throwing more I could have done a lot better since I noticed Az was getting tons of throws off and I was being too conservative with my throw attempts. Anyway, the Ken player was really good so we just got out played, plain and simple.

I watched Team Spooky's first match (Jan, Fubarduck, Heartnana), and they did much better than us. Heartnana went first against a Dictator player and won in a really close match. He then lost to a Sagat player. Fubarduck went next with his Ibuki and pulled out one of the clutchest wins ever against the Sagat player. He then lost to the Chun player on the team. Last was Jan with his Gief, but unfortunately he was unable to defeat the Chun. Jan later told me that he kept messing up the input for Ultra 2.

After their team lost, Jan and I decided we might as well start drinking, so we walked to the Family Mart and bought some whiskey and made some sneaky whiskey cokes to bring into the venue since they didnt allow alcohol inside. We chilled and watch more of the tournament and played some casuals for a bit.

Eventually, a bunch of the US players wanted to get some food so we all went to this really good Miso katsu resturaunt (miso katsu is famous in Nagoya). Fabar, Heartnana, Reno, Az, Fubar's GF, another guy I just met, and I all went and got food. It was good as hell and I got a beer with it, too.

We returned to the venue in time to watch the rest of the tournament. Justin's team made it pretty far but they lost to Daigo. The finals ended up being pretty boring. Daigo's team won by Machi's Guile OCVing the other team.

Here are the results

1st — Team Mad Catz
Daigo Umehara [Ryu/Guile]
Momochi [Ken/Guile]
Machi [Akuma/Guile]

2nd — Team Japan
Uryo [C. Viper/Sagat]
Staygold [Ryu]
Kuma [Dictator]

Tied for 3rd — Team Managers
-R- [Guy]
Nyanshi [Sagat]
Gonta [Cody]

Tied for 3rd — Team Blond Pig
Tokido [Akuma/E. Honda]
Kindevu [Cammy]
Eita [Akuma/Adon]

Tied for 5th — Team Legendary
Haneyama [Chun-Li/Seth]
Edesketsubat [E. Honda/Makoto]
Chakku [Rufus/Cammy]

Tied for 5th — Team Pizza Beast
RB [Guy/Rufus]
Kokujin [Ryu]
Korei [Boxer]

Tied for 5th — Team Evil Geniuses
Justin Wong [Rufus/Cammy]
Martin "Marn" Phan [Dudley/C. Viper]
Ricky Ortiz [Rufus/Chun-Li]

Tied for 5th — Team Napoleon
Freeda [Ibuki/E. Honda]
Ken [Rose/Boxer]
Riki [T. Hawk/Dictator]

When it was over, we said our goodbyes and headed out. Pretty much everyone except for Jan had to get going back home to their respective countries and cities. Jan and I were down to keep drinking though, so we headed back to Sakae. First, we got tebasaki (a special kind of Nagoya fried chicken wings) which was really tasty, and also that place had a decent micro brew on tap so we got that as well.

We walked around quite a bit looking for good places to drink. We started off going to another kebab place we randomly found and got beers there. It was good. I found this one rock bar online called 69 Rock You that seemed promising. We couldnt find it at first so we just tried several other places. Most places were actually closed since today in Japan was a holiday and a weekday, so the following day was a workday. We found a few places that looked cool but they were all closed. Most of the ones we peaked our heads into that were opened were empty or looked shitty. We asked about this one bar that looked cool to someone and he told us it was a gay bar so we were glad we didnt accidently go there lol. I found this awsome liquor store that had some micro brews and imports which is hard to find in Japan so we got a bottle for the road.

We eventually went to some like wild west kinda place where all the waitresses were dressed as slutty cowgirls which was kinda cool but aside from some table of girls that were sitting with eachother and a few random people, the place was pretty dead. We walked around for a really really long time looking for that 69 Rock You bar. A friend of Nozomi's (a friend from Current) named Miki, lives in Nagoya and was giving us directions how to find it. She told us to turn by some Lawson near a park. We walked past the park and found a Lawson but couldnt find the bar for the life of us. It was already like past 3 am or something and Jan was tired as hell and his flight was early afternoon the next day so he decided to call it quits and check into the manga kissa. I was halfway ready to give up and sleep or keep trying on my own so I flipped a coin and it came up that I should keep looking and drinking. I would be alone all day tomorrow anyway and if I woke up too early there wouldnt be much to do. I said bye to Jan as he checked into the manga kissa and set out again on my own.

I back tracked and eventually found ANOTHER Lawson that we missed cuz we were walking on the other side of the park. After finding that Lawson I found 69 Rock You pretty easily. Unfortunately when I got there, it was completely dead except for the bartender. The place was small but it was a decent bar and they played good music (mostly 80s rock and metal). I stayed for a few beers and chatted with the bartender and at around 4 am I was getting tired and bored so I just went to the manga kissa to sleep.

The next day (Friday), I woke up and took a shower. I walked around a bit looking for a good restaurant and eventually found a good place with cheesy fried shrimp and rice which was good. Then, I headed to Nagoya Castle for sightseeing.

Nagoya castle was pretty similar to Osaka castle except a bit smaller maybe. I took lots of pictures so they pretty much can describe it better than I can, so you might as well just check those out. I was there for a few hours and it was fun. I bought a souvaneer for Ryoko and some rice crackers for the teachers at my school that are flavored like tebasaki.

After Nagoya castle, it was mid afternoon, so I figured it would be a good time to check out Nagoya's arcade GG scene. Someone on SRK recommended I try an arcade called Urban Squre. I took the subway out to where it was. while I was on the subway, I was sitting on the end seat and this hot chick got on and was like standing next to me and rubbing her ass on my arm. We got off at the same stop and I sorta was getting the feeling she wanted to talk to me or something. I didnt know where the arcade was so I figured I might as well ask her. She never heard of it but seemed really friendly and wanted to help me out so she like started asking other random people if they heard of it. I had never experienced a Japanese person try that hard to help me find somewhere where they didnt know where it is. Most of the time in Japan, if people dont know where something is, they just make some shit up so that they feel like they are helping you, even though that in the end, it makes things worse after you are sent in the wrong direction. So, I was pretty surprised by this. I eventually told her that its cool and not to worry about it. I asked her where theres lots of stores and stuff so she pointed me in the direction of a shopping arcade. I totally got the vibe that I could have maybe invited her to go drinking or something tonight and got her number but since I have a girlfriend I figured it would be a bad idea so I just said bye and thank you and headed to the shopping arcade.

Thankfully, this shopping arcade was huge, and after checking a map, I indeed found Urban Square, so in the end, that girl actually did help me out! On the way to the arcade, I passed a restaurant with a sign that grabbed my attention. In big letters it said "Tacos and Beer". Being one of the greatest combinations ever, it was easily enough to convince me to stop in for some food. They had a pretty extensive menu of mexican food, american food, and imported beers. I got a Bass ale and Chicken Burrito. The place was called Jerry's Uno. The Burrito didnt end up tasting as authentic as I would have hoped, but it was good enough.

After that, I eventually found Urban Square. They had 2 GG cabs and a Robo-Ky was playing on one so I sat down and played him. I think I beat him something like 10 times in a row until he eventually stopped playing me. I beat a few other random people and then this one yellow Anji player got on the cab and beat me in a close game. I was feeling sleepy so I went to get a redbull and then came back. I rematched him and won. Then he picked yellow Jam and I lost. Then I rematched him and won again. He was pretty tough. Then, I fought a Sol. I beat him twice, then he beat me like 6 in a row until I finally beat him again. He was also good. He stopped playing after that, I beat a few random people, and then it was kinda dead. A Slayer player was sitting at the cab next to me. I asked him if there were any tournaments going on anywhere today in Nagoya and it turns out that there was one happening at another arcade called Comtech Plaza in like 2 hours. He told me that there was also another tournament happening tomorrow at another arcade at 3 pm. I wanted to try to go to that one too but my bus ticket back to Tokyo would be leaving tomorrow morning at like 9 am so it didnt seem possible. I considered the idea of trying to change my ticket.

Anyway, I left Urban Square and took the subway over to Akaike station where Comtech Plaza was. While I was on the train, this one white girl was sitting across from me and kept looking at me. We got off at the same station. Then as I was walking, she was like right behind me, passed me by, then looked back and smiled at me for like a good few seconds. So, I took off my headphones and said hi. She started talking to me asking what I was doing and stuff and I told her how I was looking for an arcade cuz I was going to enter a tournament. She said she figured I was looking for an arcade cuz she saw my Nintendo backpack which she said she liked. She said she was from Australia and was here on vacation by herself or something. Turns out the arcade was right behind us in the opposite direction I was walking and she pointed it out to me. I got the impression that she was defenitely hitting on me but once again, it would probably be a bad idea to exchange numbers with her for Ryoko's sake and I didnt wanna be late for the tournament, so I thanked her for her help and headed to the arcade.

When I got there, they hadnt started signups yet. They only had one cab setup. A few players were there playing casuals. It was 100 yen for 2 credits. I got on and got like a 12 win streak and was wrecking all the people I fought. Finally, a pretty good Zappa got on and I beat him. Then he used his 2nd credit and beat me. I used my 2nd credit and beat him again. Then he rematched me again and beat me again. At this point, lots of players showed up so I didnt have time to play more casuals. I talked to a few people there cuz they were sorta surprised to see a foreigner there. Lots of them were saying how im really good and stuff after I beat them. I told them who I was and that I play at Mikado a lot and some of them had heard of me and saw some of my vids online.

Eventually the tournament started and 27 people entered. It was a singles tournament. I have no idea who any of them were, I dont think any of them were famous players or anything. One of the guys told me that the best players in Nagoya didnt show up to today's tournament but would be at the one tomorrow.

Anyway, my first match was vs Testament. They told me that this guy was the one who won the tournament they had here last time. I beat him both rounds.

Next I had to fight a Potemkin. I beat him both rounds.

Next I had to fight an Eddie player. This guy was pretty good and he almost won the first round but I made a comeback. Then I handled him well in the 2nd round for the win.

Next I had to fight a Slayer player. He was also pretty good but I won both rounds.

Finally it was the finals and I had to fight a Johnny player. I beat him both rounds as well.

And just like that, I had won the tournament! LOL I wasnt really expecting to find a random tournament here and come and win it but I did, heh. My prize for winning was a big back of Fujiya Home Pie and a box full of herbal tea bags.

I took a picture of the full brackets after the tournament which you can see here and here.

Lots of people gave me props, and then after the tournament ended, they told me that they were about to start a random 2vs2 tournament. I sorta promised Miki (Nozomi's friend) that I would drink with her tonight at 69 Rock You, and it was already like almost 11 and she told me she had to catch the last train home, so I told them that I was sorry but that someone was waiting for me so I couldnt enter. The comp in general wasnt that good so I didnt really feel like I was missing out or needed to prove anything so I decided to head back to Sakae to drink with Miki. I was glad that I went though cuz the players were all nice and I got to talk to lots of people and had fun anyway.

When I got back to Sakae, Ryoko called me cuz she missed me so I was talking with her on the phone for a bit while I was walking towards the bar. As I got close, I saw Miki coming from the opposite direction. I got there too late and she already had to head back home, so I told her sorry and said I would drink with her next time she came to visit Current. She said to say hi to Sushi for me and then left.

I figured I might as well go in and check out the bar anyway so I went inside. It was still dead this time but there were 2 dudes drinking there and the bartender was there again. I stayed there for maybe 2 hours talking with the guys and the bartender about random shit and listening to pretty decent music and had several beers. Eventually, I decided I didnt want to spend the rest of the night there so I headed out and went to look for some more places.

I found this one place called Bar Mexigan which was sorta more like an open restaurant than a bar but they had tons of good looking Mexican food and good beers and tequila. I got a beer and 2 tacos and the tacos were actually really good and fairly authentic (well, at not like super authentic but probably the closest ive had in Japan so far). Also, the guy who took my order there noticed my Symphony X hat and Children of Bodom shirt and it turns out hes all into metal and stuff we we had a short conversation about bands and stuff like that. He seemed pretty cool.

I enjoyed my food and headed out and then looked for another good bar. I wasnt really sure of where I should go so I eventually decided on this place called Devil Bar. Jan and I noticed it the previous night but we didnt go in. It turns out we probably should have, cuz this place was actually pretty cool. It was small but the bar was really long. It reminded me of PSY except the bar was longer and there were no tables in the back. The shelves behind the bar were really tall and packed with bottles. The most unique thing about this place was the lighting. It was very dark in there with just very dim soft sorta yellowish light. I really liked the atmosphere, and they were playing good music too! They played a huge long set of Mr. Big and a few other good rock songs. I wish I had gone there earlier. There were actually about 7 or 8 people in the bar too! These 2 dudes came in and were sitting next to me and we were talking with one of the bartenders about random stuff for a bit. They were both salary men in like their mid 3os probably and worked at the same company. I honestly dont even really remember what we really talked about. But, when they were ready to leave, they said they were going to a hostess club. I guess one of the guys had a reservation there or something. They asked if I wanted to come with and said they would pay for my cover and my drinks! I was like, sure, why the hell not! So I went with them to the hostess club.

This was the very first time I had ever gone inside a hostess club because they are really expensive. The place was really clean and looked really expensive. They escorted us to a table and soon after, 3 really hot girls came and sat with us. They didnt drink anything but just chatted with us for a while. About halfway through, new girls rotated in. They were also very hot. I got 2 beers while we were there. It was a pretty fun and interesting new experience. I cant say I would ever wanna blow my own money on something like that but if someone else is gonna pay for it, why the fuck not, right? The dudes were good on their word and paid for my drinks and cover.

When we left the bar, it was already light outside. The dudes said bye and headed for the station and I thanked them for paying for me and chillin. After that, I got a quick bite to eat by myself and then eventually headed for the station myself. Since my bus was leaving at 9 am, I wasnt gonna stay at the manga kissa tonight and pretty much just planned it so that I could sleep on the bus and wake up in Tokyo. Unfortunately for me, when I got on the train, I dont remember much except that I woke up at the end of the line pretty damn far from Nagoya station where my bus was leaving from. It was already almost 9, so there was no way I was going to catch my bus in time.

I headed back to Nagoya station and it was already 9:30. I went to the ticket office and asked them what my options were. I was still considering maybe staying in Nagoya for that other GG tournament today (which was now Saturday) at 3 pm. The guy told me the last bus other than overnight buses back to Shinjuku left at 5 pm. I figured 2 hours probably would be cutting it too close and didnt want to end up missing another bus (since I had to buy a new ticket and wasted 5000 yen, and if I missed it again id just be blowing another 5000). I also was really fucking tired and by the time I finished talking to this guy, it was already past 10. I knew even if I stayed for the tournament, I would be too tired to do well at all, so I figured I would just leave now. I got a ticket for the next bus which was scheduled to leave at 11 am. I got on the bus, passed the fuck out, and made it back to Shinjuku at around 5 pm.

I was still a bit tired but I just manned up and drank a redbull. From there, I headed to Mikado for some GG. There were lots of players there. It turns out the Russian team was still in Tokyo and they were there playing at Mikado. I said hi to them. I played Overkill again and won. I also played Goga's Chipp again twice and this time he beat me once and I beat him once. He has a pretty solid Chipp. I played against various other Japanese players, but I cant really recall any matches that are worth mentioning. I stayed at Mikado till about 11 and then felt like drinking, so I headed back to Shinjuku.

I was hungry and was walking towards Current and noticed this place called Ale House something something. Ive passed it a zillion times but never went in, but I felt like eating pizza and the menu they had on display outside had some pizza on it that looked decent so I went in. The place was sorta like a HUB (pub/restaraunt). It was really packed but I got a seat at the bar. I got the pizza, and also they had this micro brew on tap there that I had never heard of called Swan Lake Ale. It was brewed in Niigata and it ended up being one of the best beers I have ever had in Japan. I had a nice hop flavor and was 6% abv. The glass was a bit small though and it was 750 yen a glass but I enjoyed it. The pizza was also ok but it had too much mayonaise on it.

After that, I headed into Current. There were a fair amount of people there. Mai and Yoshie were there but they left for the last train a bit after I got there. I talked with Rina and this pretty cool Finnish dude for a bit. Also, Pachi mailed me and wanted to go drinking tonight so he eventually showed up too with a friend of his that works at an arcade.

Also, Emmet showed up with the same girl he hooked up with last week from Gas Panic in Roppongi. This girl was fucking crazy. She was already drunk when they showed up. She seemed like a total whore. She was flirting with like every guy there, and was like giving Emmet lap dances and shit, and was like putting her foot up on some dude's crotch and shit. She was just pretty insane. Emmet said he still has claw mark scars from her nails accross his back from last weekend! LOL

So anyway, the rest of the time at Current involved lots of drinking and good times as always. After it closed, I rallied up a big group of people and we headed to PSY. Emmet had already left to the love hotel. PSY was fun and it was pretty packed. Somehow, Natsume knew it was my birthday a few days ago and gave me 2 shots of tequila on the house! That guy rules.

After PSY closed, I hardly remember things but I rallied about 6 people to go drinking some more and took them to Tokyo Loose cuz its close and was still opened. The time at Tokyo Loose was pretty much just a big blur.

I woke up Sunday afternoon at the manga kissa with a headache and the taste of vomit and McDonalds breakfast in my mouth. So, I can kinda guess what I did after leaving Tokyo Loose. I have no idea where I threw up but there was no vomit in the manga kissa so I guess I must have done it on the street (hopefully). It was already like past 3 pm. I was supposed to play poker with Emmet and some other guys in Takasaki today at 5 but it was already too late to make it on time and I was really hungover so I decided to just go home.

I took the train home and Ryoko came over and we spent the rest of the evening together and I was glad I did that over poker. I will try to play poker with those guys the next time.

So, there you have it. Thats my first ever trip to Nagoya. Despite a few bad things that happened, overall it was a very fun trip and Im glad that I went.

I honestly dont have any plans yet for the coming weekend and I dont know exactly when the next time I will write my blog again, but if something worth typing about comes up ill post again. Until then, keep playing Guilty Gear!

No comments: