Monday, November 22, 2010

Super Turkey Fighter IV

On Friday night, I originally had no plans in particular. Another ALT who lives near me named Phil invited a bunch of people over to his place for a small party and street fighter night so Emmet and I decided to go. I brought over some sticks and Super and we played on PS3. Most of the guys there were pretty much just casual SF players but it was still fun. I was mostly dominating all night and Emmet was probably doing the next best after me. As I got drunker I wasnt playing as well but it was fun. I knocked back lots of beers. Also Phil and his friend from back in NY were showed us some old demos and stuff they recorded in their bands back in the day. They were good. I also showed them an old demo I recorded way back in Junior High School with my old band. We all stayed up drinking till about 5 or something like that.

I was expecting to wake up at around maybe 10:15 to catch the train for Tokyo but everyone got up at around 8 cuz they were all planning to go to a wine festival in Tochigi. I have no idea how everyone got up so easily but I manned up and got up too cuz I pretty much had to heh. Emmet originally had to go apple picking with some of the teachers at his school but didnt really want to so he decided to make up some BS excuse and not show up so that he could go to the wine festival with those guys. I would have gone with them but today I was planning on entering the Johnny-o cup GG tournament at Mikado.

So, we got on the train together and then split up around ShinMaebashi and I rode the rest of the way to Tokyo myself.

I got there sorta early so there werent that many people there yet but there were enough to start playing casuals. Gradually more and more came and it got really packed. I was actually playing pretty well for most of the casuals. I took a couple games from Machaboo's Eddie and stuff. This time I entered the tournament with Gaku, the Robo-Ky player again. I didnt check how many teams entered exactly but I think it might have been 33, cuz there was a full 32 man bracket on the wall and only one extra team which had to do the zero-taisen match. Unfortunately for us, my team WAS that team, so we had to play an extra match.

So we played the first match of the tournament. Our opponents were a team of Jam and May. The JA player's name was Takeda and the May player's name was Yamamoto. I despise May and Gaku said he hates Jam so I said I would go first if it was Jam and he could go if it was May. I own RPS so we decided to see who they would put first. It was Jam, so I went first. I cant really put my finger on exactly why, but it didnt go so well. The guy just beat me as far as patience and footsies for the most part. I was playing really well all morning but didnt quite do so well vs the Jam player and lost. The 2nd round was pretty close and i could have had it but oh well. It was my first time playing against Jam all day. I actually probably would have done better vs May cuz I fought a crap load of Mays all morning and was actually doing fairly well. Anyway, Gaku went next and put up a good fight but he also lost to the Jam player, and with that, we were already out of today's tournament. You can see the video here.

As soon as we lost, Kyle (Stunedge) showed up. He was gonna originally enter but showed up late. It sucks that we lost but it did have one benefit. I had other plans today to go to the Final Roundbats Thanksgiving party/tournament. You may remember when I went to Final Roundbats the first time about 2 months ago. It was in a big lounge in an apartment building in Shinagawa. This time they were doing it again but would have an all you can eat Thanksgiving feast along with tons of alcohol. The tournament was scheduled to start at 5:30. I asked Kyle if he wanted to go and he said he was interested but then I told him it was like 4,000 yen and he lost interest and decided to just stay at Mikado and play one more game of BB. I saw him play 2 matches against the guy who won TvC at tougeki this year (he uses Litchi, and his name escapes me at the moment). Kyle did fairly well against him but lost both games.

I left Mikado at around 4 and made it to the lounge where the event would be taking place a little before 5 pm. There were already a good amount of people there and gradually more rolled in. In total, I think about nearly 30 people were there but only 9 of them entered the SSFIV tournament. Most of the guys who were there last time were there again, including Tokido.

So for the SSFIV tournament, my first match was against an Adon player. I dont remember his name unfortunately but he was a cool guy. He told me how hes actually a real amature Muay Thai fighter in real life and he was actually at Differ the same day as the fight I was at last weekend, except his fight took place later on at night so I wasnt around for it. Pretty funny. In any case, I won all 3 rounds straight and beat him to advance in the tournament with my Rose. My 2nd match was against Abelity's Abel. The rounds were fairly close and it was a good fight but I lost. In the 3rd round, we both had like zero health and I threw a slow soul spark from full screen and for whatever reason he did a whiffed anti air command grab and just took the fireball in the face lol. Everyone was laughing. In the final around, I had about 5% life left and he had maybe 20%. I activated ultra 2 and was blocking, waiting for his EX flip kick move cuz Abel players always use that when I have orbs out, and I forgot it was an overhead and was blocking low and got killed like a dumbass lol. Oh well. So the finals were going to be Abelity vs Tokido. However, since this was single elim (3/5 rounds, 1 match), they had me fight a battle for 3rd place against Scott Popular. He also uses Rose but instead of going for a mirror match he picked Cody on me. I won all 3 rounds so I ended up getting 3rd place which pretty much means nothing lol. The finals were 2/3 instead of one match. In the end, Abelity lost but he actually put up a really good fight taking a few rounds off of Tokido and even getting a perfect. He was playing really well tonight. So, Tokido continues to lead in points for the ranbats and will most likely be getting a free trip to final round. There will be probably like 3 more tournaments since Final Round is in March.

After the tournament ended they started prepping a lot for the food. The games got shut off for a while and the table got covered in all kinds of traditional thanksgiving food. They had a 22 kg Turkey and this thing was a fucking monster. A lot of people showed up so at first I was sorta worrying they would run out of food, but in the end there were actually way more leftovers than I was expecting and I even ate 4 plates of food! I also drank a ton of beers, a mojito, and a bunch of rum cokes so I got good and buzzed. It was expensive but I got my money's worth for sure and it was good times. After dinner was over they hooked up the xbox back up and put on Tekken 6. Ive never even played Tekken 6 before so I wasnt really too excited about that and just kept drinking a lot. I played one match of it and lost for the hell of it. Then they hooked SSFIV back up towards the end but I only got one more match in before it was time to start packing up.

The party finished at around 10 and everyone went down and waited in the lounge. One of the dudes who I just met for the first time there had no other plans so I offered to let him come with me to Current to drink cuz he seemed like a cool enough guy. So, we headed to Current.

When we got there, it wasnt very packed but a few regulars were there. I went and sat at a table in the back with some people I knew like SPG Chris and Yuta. There was this other girl there sitting with them who I never met before named Kyla. She said it was only her 2nd time at Current. We talked a lot and shes actually really cool. Shes from Michigan and has lived in Japan for like 2 years or something. We have a ton of things in common from similar music tastes and also similar taste in movies and games and stuff like that. I can see us becoming good drinking friends for sure if she starts showing up at Current more.

Eventually Emmet showed up with this one girl who he met a long time ago at an international party. They were drinking at an izakaya earlier. Then, me, Kyla, and the dude who came with me went to the conbini and knocked back a bottle of whiskey and then went back into Current. We drank there for a while until near closing. Then I heard that tonight was Nozomi's birthday party at Zin and tons of people were going so a bunch of us headed there.

Zin was fucking packed. Even Sushi, Masami and (of course) Mami showed up after Current closed. Lots of other people I know went, too like Chip and Rob. Zin stayed open for quite a while, I think maybe till 7. We stayed until the party was over and then Kyla and I went to Tokyo loose for drink some more. I think we were drinking till at least 8. I dont really remember much from there heh.

The next morning I was supposed to get up and go to another Johnny-o cup tournament in Saitama but my dumbass set my alarm for 1 am instead of 1 pm on accident and I overslept. I was woken up to Gaku mailing me at 2:30 (and the tournament starts at 3) asking when I would get there. I felt really bad cuz I just totally fucked up. Theres no way I could make it on time now so I just told him the truth and apologized and he understood and found another dude there to team with us its ok. He said despite me fucking up he still wanted to team again for the next time so at least thats cool. I later mailed him and asked him how it went and he lost to Hayashi (footsies Ky). He told me the winning team was Karun and Chonari and 2nd place was Basara and Tourio. BTW, I didnt stick around to see the results of the Mikado one from Saturday but according to the Johnny-o cup website the winning team was Consome (PO) and Hotaru (KY) and 2nd place was Mitsurugi (ZA) and FAB (PO).

So, the next quals will be in 2 weeks from now and I will be going to those for sure, and this time ill make sure to not be a complete fuckup and sleep through the damn tournament.

Next weekend is Sushi's birthday party at Current, which always tends to draw in a big crowd so that should be quite fun. We will also be playing poker again in Maebashi next Sunday so next weekend should be good times as well.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Friday night was Ryoko's birthday. Instead of going out somewhere, she wanted to just chill with me at my apartment this year and wanted me to cook her a nice dinner. She said she wanted me to make her a special salad. I made her a salmon avocado pasta salad. I found some recipes online and this one looked pretty good so I made it based off that. It was my first time to make it and it turned out pretty well. I also got her an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins. We drank lots of whiskey and did other stuff.

The next day, Ryoko went to work and I headed out for Tokyo. I left at around 2. Emmet got on the train and rode up there with me. I enjoyed a whiskey coke and a beer on the way. I promised Emmet I would go with him to an international party this time. Originally I said I would go cuz I wanted to go to a Thanksgiving one. Unfortunately it turned out that there were none this weekend. I already told Emmet I would go, and had nothing else in particular planned, so I went anyway.

We had a little time to kill before it started so we grabbed another beer and drank it at Shinjuku Sportsland. I played a bunch of GG matches against an Axl player. I dont know who he was but he was very patient and good. I lost 3, then won 2, then lost 2. Then we pretty much had to get going. I sorta wouldnt have minded playing more but I was pretty buzzed and wasnt really playing my best so whatever.

We got to the international party and it ended up being at the exact same place the last one I went to was at, but this time it was the good group that always has good food with the handle bar mustache chef dude. About a half hour after the party started, Pachi came too and drank with us for the rest of the night.

Nothing really special worth mentioning there. I drank about 8 drinks and pigged out. They had a 12 year whiskey there which was pretty nice. I drank a stout and some tequila, too.

We talked with a few regulars that go there and some girls. We left the party at like 9 and 2 girls went with us to Current. As we were walking back to the station to go to Shinjuku, Andy met up with us and we all went back together.

Today at Current, my main reason for going was to see my good old friend Antti! He moved to Dubai for work a while ago but was back in Japan again for a visit. Tons of his Finnish friends came to drink too, but unfortunately The Snus Man wasnt around. Megu came too and I hadnt seen her in a while. Also, Kunko was visiting from Osaka so I drank with her and Megu as well.
I dont remember when, but at some point I passed out for a little bit and got shit drawn all over me with a black marker. I didnt even realize it at first. Going to international parties seems to generally be a bad idea. I just try to get my moneys worth, drink too much too fast, and then pass out too early. I wasnt out all that long though and woke up again and was fine after that.

Im not sure what time it was when we left Current, but it was earlier than usual. The reason for this was that tonight at PSY was their anniversary party. It was pretty full but not as full as it has been at past PSY anniversary parties. It was 2000 yen to get in with 2 drinks so I got 2 tequila red bulls. They also gave out PSY wristbands which were pretty cool. Lots of regulars were at PSY as well.

It was honestly pretty fun and all, but in retrospect, I think I should have stayed at Current and hung out with Antti more. It might be quite a while till I see the guy again. Everyone I came with wanted to go to PSY so I just sorta went too (that was my plan anyway), but in retrospect it would have been good to do just a bit more drinking with Antti.

PSY stayed open really late. At some point I passed out a little again there and so did Emmet. Fortunately this time I didnt get drawn on again. They actually woke us up for once, probably cuz it was a party. Once they woke me up I ordered another drink and was fine. We left there after 7 pm. From there, Pachi and I got some Ramen at this one place I had never been to, but it ended up being good as hell.

After Ramen, Pachi left and went home. Normally at this time, I would be heading to the manga kissa. However, in only a few hours, I had to be at Ariake Differ for our friend Bloodbath's next kickboxing match. The last time I went it was good fun, but it was much later in the day. 10:30 is really early and I knew that I was gonna be drinking late due to Antti being in town and PSY's party, so I made the decision already that I was going to stay out all night and just show up there drunk! Emmet had already left PSY way before we did and decided to try to get a little sleep. I decided to check out Tokyo Loose. It was dead as hell so I just used their bathroom to pee and left. I went to McDonalds and bought a mcgriddle and listened to music for a bit but I ended up falling asleep. Luckily I set an alarm on my phone. I was probably only asleep for about 45 minutes. The alarm woke me up but I wanted a little more sleep so I slept again without setting the alarm. Luckily, a waitress woke me up and it was just about when I needed to get going. I met up with Emmet who had been sleeping at the Burger King until he got kicked out and then went to sleep on the street lol.

After we met up we headed down to Ariake Differ. In case you didnt realize it, Ariake Differ is the exact same place that SBO used to be held at (for 2007 and 2008, possibly earlier years too but 2007 was my first SBO). This place is actually intended for fighting like boxing and wrestling and not fighting games, so for once I was going there for the kind of event that is usually held there.

We got there a little late. Bloodbath's friend had our tickets and was waiting out in front. A bunch of other ALTs went to watch but were already inside. Fortunately it didnt start yet. I grabbed another beer and then we got our seats.

This time there were 11 matches. They were all kickboxing, no MMA. Bloodbath was the 3rd match to take place. It was looking a little bit even at first but as the fight went on, Bloodbath began to dominate. He knocked the guy down about 3 or 4 times and they finally called it and declared Bloodbath the winner! We were all shouting and cheering him on. I was still pretty drunk so it was extra fun doing so too.

Some of the other fights were pretty good too. I had a few more beers throughout the other fights as well to keep my buzz going. Emmet wasnt gonna drink cuz he always gets bad hangovers but gave in and got some beer. During one of the matches, one of the fighters was wearing red bull shorts so I yelled really loud to cheer him on "Red bull gives you wings!" and im sure he had no idea wtf I was talking about lol.

The 3rd and 2nd to last fights were a bit of a surprise. They were female fights! This was my first time seeing a ladies kickboxing match but it was pretty cool! Emmet and I put 100 yen side bets on the last 3 fights. It started cuz before the first female match started, a bunch of confetti got shot into the ring. One of the girls got more confetti so Emmet said he thought she was gonna win just cuz of that lol. So I bet him 100 yen the other girl wins. As we were watching the match, we both thought the girl I bet one was going to be declared with winner but somehow his girl won anyway. The girl I bet on the 2nd time won. Then we bet on the last match which was 2 dudes and Emmet's guy won so he came out 100 yen ahead.

After the fight was over we said bye to everyone and were about ready to go home. I grabbed another beer for the road. We stopped off in Shinjuku and went to Burger king. I got another beer. Then finally after that we headed back.

When we were at Shinjuku station, I had to pee, Emmet said he would go ahead to the platform and wait there. I mailed him asking him what platform he was on. He told me and I headed there. As I was going up the steps he told me to hurry cuz the train was about to leave. I was tired as hell and trusted Emmet knew what he was talking about, so I got on the train without paying attention to where it was scheduled to go. As soon as we got on the train I fell asleep cuz Emmet said it would go all the way to Takasaki. A little over an hour later, I wake up and was quite confused as to why we were in the middle of Tochigi just past Oyama! Emmet said "Well, I could have sworn it said it was going to Takasaki!" I gave a bit of a face palm and was too tired to even care. I really wanted to get home but at this point there was nothing else I could do about it but wait. We finally got on a train heading back and eventually transfered to the correct train after wasting over 2 hours. I slept a good amount of the way back. I finally made it home around 10:30 pm.

I slept about 8 hours at home but since I skipped an entire night of sleep I am still feeling pretty exhausted right now as I type this.

So I ended up drinking almost non stop (aside from small passing out intermissions) for over 24 hours. Probably the longest drinking session I have ever had. It was fun for the most part but I sure am tired and will probably try avoid doing that again. I also am gonna lay off the international parties. Its just not really worth it honestly. Im definitely gonna try to play some more fighting games next weekend and will enter both Johnny-o cup tournaments.

At least the fight was cool and it was good to see Antti and Kunko again.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Distant Worlds

So I wasn't really originally gonna do a blog post this week but the weekend turned out way more epic that I ever could have imagined. Lots of surprises came my way so here it is.

Earlier in the week on like Tuesday or something, I got an email from Kyle (Stunedge) who informed me that the GG Johnny-o cup would be beginning next weekend! I didnt even know about it. This year it will be even more epic than ever. There will be a 2 on 2 tournament with qualifiers. There will be, I think, a total of 12 qualifying tournaments held over 8 days, every other weekend. 2 stores will have tournaments at the same time on the Saturdays and one on each of the Sundays, and from each tournament, top 2 advances to the final tournament. So I think there will be a total of 24 teams if I am not mistaken. So every 2 weeks, with 2 days of tournaments (Sat and Sun) meaning 3 tournaments per weekend, there will be 6 teams that qualify total in a weekend. This weekend is the first set of tournaments, the following will be in another 2 weeks and so on until the final week.

Then, starting in January the singles tournament quals will begin and these will work like that have in the past with a points system that determines who makes it in. The grand finals and main events will take place over a 3 day weekend in March. There will be the final 2 on 2 tournament, the singles tournament, special team tournaments, and other events! It should be truley epic, and it totally revived my will to play more again since my motivation has been a little low since SBO ended. The great thing is, right around the time this all ends, it will be about time again for the next year of Tougeki quals, so its year round GG tournaments for me starting now!

Skipping ahead to Wednesday, it was a national holiday so there was no work. Emmet and Ryoko came over to my place and we drank and watched The Social Network (the Facebook movie which actually ended up being pretty decent), and the Tom Green goes to Japan special. They both crashed at my place.

The next day our plans were to go to Nikko, a place in Tochigi prefecture (which is right next to Gunma), that is considered one of the best places in the world to view autumn leaves. It was quite a drive out there and lots of people were expected to go, so we got up early and headed out.

I drove on the way up. Dont remember how long it took but it was at least over 2 hours. We saw this really big waterfall that was like 100 meters high. Emmet and I brought a 700 ml bottle of whiskey along to split while we were sightseeing since Ryoko promised to drive home so I could drink.

From there we saw some temples and stuff and it was pretty cool. I took a bunch of pictures on Ryoko's iPhone cuz my camera battery was dead. The leaves were also pretty epic on the drive there and around the temple area. This temple is actually where the see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil monkeys originally came from and they can be seen on one of the temples. Unfortunately we got there pretty late and we didnt know that the stuff closed at like 4:30 so we only had like an hour to see stuff so we missed a lot, but it was still a good trip.

Going back was a nightmare because everyone left at the same time so we were stuck in traffic for hours. Good thing Emmet and I were drunk, but I felt bad for Ryoko but she had a good time so it was alright. On the way back in the car, I emailed Kunihiro and asked if he wanted to team with me for Johnny-o cup. He said he couldnt do it but then I mailed Gaku (the awsome Robo-ky player I teamed with before) and he said he was happy to team up. I already had made plans to play poker again this Sunday so I would just enter the Saturday tournament but I will try to enter all the rest of them after this weekend.

Moving on to Friday. I had to work on Saturday morning from about 8 to 12. It would be the day of the annual PTA ping pong/volleyball tournament at my school where I work, so I just stayed home on Friday night. Ryoko was busy out drinking with some friends for a birthday party but I couldnt really go cuz I had to get up early. I just stayed home. They have this new limited time only Pepsi in Japan right now called Monte Blanc. It has like a sorta sweet nutty chestnut hint of taste and mixed with whiskey fucking really good! So I was enjoying those all night. I ended up watching for the first time, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and some really bad British horror/comedy called Lesbian Vampire Killers. Lets just say I am glad I was drunk while watching both of them lol!

The next day at work, we had the tournaments. I entered the ping pong one, as I have done every year. I was on the adult team (with teachers and parents). I wont bore you with details but we ended up winning the whole thing. yay. It ended at around 11:45 and the next train wasnt for another hour. Unfortunately, the only way I was going to be able to make it to Mikado on time for the tournament (which would start at 3 pm) would be to take the shinkansen, so I did. This was only my 3rd time riding the shinkansen since its expensive and I try to avoid it.

After a smooth ride, I made it to Mikado at about 2pm. Signups just started and I was the first to sign up but the place was already packed with people playing casuals. I got some good practice matches in. Woody (Udei, however you wanna spell it) the TE player was there and asked me if I wanted to team up cuz he had no partner but I told him I already was teaming with Gaku.

The tournament started at 3. I checked the bracket and luckily, my team got a bye first round! Unfortunately our first match after that was going to be against En (SL) and Maruken (BA). A beastly team indeed.

After some more practicing, eventually they called our match. We played RPS and I won. Unlike the 3 on 3 tournaments where you only get to choose your side if you win, this time they let you find out who will go first on the opponents team, so I opted for that. They decided to put En first. I hate Baiken more than Slayer and Gaku is the other way around, so I went first. I lost the first round after getting hit by like one single counter hit into super which lead into a corner combo that did like 80 life lol... I played well the 2nd round and managed to take him down with a clutch comeback. The 3rd round actually ended up being really really close and I got him down to about 10% health but in the end I got hit in the corner and died. It was one of those rounds where I sorta felt like it slipped through my fingers but at least it was a good showing. Up next, Gaku went. He lost won the first round. Then he won the next round too, with a good comeback! Fucking epic! Against Maruken, however, he didnt quite fare so well and lost both rounds. Maruken was just fucking on point. You can see the match on niconico here.

So we lost our first match, but to a team like that I dont feel to ashamed. Especially since that very team went on to win the entire tournament. 29 teams entered and pretty much all of them were pretty beastly. I took pictures of the whole brackets so I will put them up on my pictures page. Feel free to check it out if you want to know how people did. The 2nd place team was Shyo (FA) and Sho (MA) (LOL at the names), so I guess they qualified too if I am not mistaken.

I stuck around after we lost and played casuals for quite a bit. I was doing well for the most part, but I couldnt beat Hayashi (footsies Ky). He was beasting and got a huge win streak and every time I played him I lost. Oh well. Other than that I did pretty well.

Later on Kyle (Stunedge) showed up and he wanted to grab food after he played BB for a bit. I wanted to get kebabs but he wanted to go to a beef bowl place so we played RPS for it and I lost, so we went to his place. The funny part was, it was the place right next to the kebab place but I had never gone there before. They portions ended up being fucking huge and the food was really good, but I over ate and my stomach hurt after eating there cuz I finished it all. Also, while we were there, Woody showed up and sat next to me at the counter. He was with this one MI player whos name I dont remember/know. I asked him if he ever found a partner but he didnt unfortunately. Kyle was telling me stuff about his job working at Sony. I cant really say much about it. He did tell me he works pretty long hours though. I dont really look forward to becoming a salary man in the future and would rather avoid it if possible but we will see how things turn out.

From the restaurant, Kyle left cuz he had plans and then I headed back to Mikado to play a bit more. I played for a few more hours. I felt like drinking a bit so I was sipping on a hit flask of whiskey a bit but I didnt really get drunk or anything, just a little buzz, so I was able to play just fine. I talked with Gaku before I left and he said he pretty much is down to team with me the entire rest of the time so I may just stay teamed with him. Hes a great player and a nice guy so I see no reason not to.

I mailed Pachi and he said he was down to drink tonight. Tonight at Current was a metal event! I left Mikado a little after 9:30 and got to Current at about 10. It was already fairly packed when I got there. Lots of good regulars showed up and also all the usual metal event heads. Pachi rolled in later on and was already drunk from drinking somewhere else and fell asleep on the benches in the back.

I was talking with my friends Sachiko and Johan, and Sachiko was telling us that her mother plays violin in a symphony orchestra and that tomorrow, she would be playing in the Final Fantasy live concert called Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY Returning home. I didnt even know this show was going on, but she had 2 extra free tickets that she got cuz her mom is playing there and she invited Johan and I to come along! In case you didnt know, I have been a pretty hardcore Final Fantasy fan ever since I was 5 years old and played FF1 on the NES, so for me, this was a big treat! I even saw the show when it was called Dear Friends: Music from Final Fantasy back when they came to Chicago in 2005 at the Rosemont Theater. That show was amazing so I knew I was in store for a treat! Johan and I decided we would leave Current at around 3 am since we had to meet Sachiko in Yurakucho (near Tokyo station) at 11:45 to get the tickets and go in. I didnt wanna miss out over a couple extra hours of drinking. I drank a good amount before that anyway due to lots of whiskey, strong drinks, and Terry buying a round of tequila shots cuz hes the man.

So I headed to the manga kissa at around 3. The one I like was full so I went to the old cheap one and just dealt with the less comfortable seats. I was drunk enough so I passed out just fine.

I woke up and grabbed some quick McDonalds for the road as I headed for the station. While I was on the train, it seemed like I would probably arrive like 10 minutes late. Luckily Sachiko was running even more late and wouldnt get there till 12:05 so it worked out ok. Unfortunately for Johan, he mailed me saying he was too hungover and decided not to go, so it was just gonna be me and Sachiko.

I waited in front of Yurakucho station for a few mins and then she showed up. The place the show was at was right next to the station. It was at the Tokyo International Forum Hall A. The show already started at 12, so we were just a few minutes late. When we got inside they had already started playing. We werent able to go to our seats yet because we had to wait for the song to end, so we stood by the door for the first song. They had a big screen above the stage that was showing footage from FF games and artwork and stuff. It was really classy.

Here's the setlist as best as I can remember.

Final Fantasy Crystal theme
Final Fantasy series Main Theme
FFVIII - Love Grows
FFXI - Ronfaure
FFV - Dear Friends
FFIX - Vamo' Alla Flamenco
FFVII - Aeris theme
Chocobo Medly


FFVII - Bombing mission opening
FFVII - regular battle theme (piano solo)
FFX - Zanarkand
4 different songs from FFXIV (I am not at all familiar with FFXIV)
FFVIII - Man with the Machine Gun
FFVI - Terra's theme

FFV - Clash on the Big Bridge (Gilgamesh battle music) (this was the encore and the first time the song was ever played in concert!)

hopefully I didnt forget anything but I might have forgotten a song.

The show was done by the Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra, the KEIO University Choir, and various special guest musicians. Nobuo Uematsu (main composer/writer of Final Fantasy series music) was also in attendance in the crowd in the special seating area. We had really good seats front and center and Nobuo Uematsu was only about 10 seats away from us to my right. They had a special pianist come in for the FFVII battle theme and a special acoustic guitar player for Dear Friends and Vamo Alla Flamenco. They also had a really talented (and beautiful) singer named Susan Calloway who sang on one of the FFXIV songs.

The highlights of the show for me were easily Dancing Mad and Clash on the Big Bridge. I literally shed a few manly tears because Dancing Mad was just that fucking epic. I never could have imagined how awsome that song would sound with a full orchestra, choir, and beastly organ. FFVI is my favorite Final Fantasy game (and probably my favorite game of all time actually, except for maybe Guilty Gear, but they are totally different and theres room for both :P), and that being one of my favorite songs from the game was just an awsome surprise. I didnt even know about the Distant Worlds music CDs that were already out, so this was the first time I heard this version of it and it just blew me away. And Clash on the Big Bridge is another all time favorite and being among the first people ever to hear this new orchestral version of it live was just amazing!

If I had to have one complaint about the setlist, its that they didnt play anything from FFIV, which is another one of my all time favorites and has a great soundtrack, but its ok, they played tons of other great stuff. They also didnt play anything from FFXII or FFXIII but I dont really care so much about either of those games... they were both so-so and the soundtracks were not so memorable IMO.

Anyway, you can see some more information about the show here.

And now... for the biggest surprise of all! After the show was over, I of course had plans to go play poker. The game was scheduled to start at 5 and the show ended at 3, which would give me about just enough time to make it there on time. Then.... Sachiko asked if I could stay just a bit longer. I said sure... but why? She said... because because of her mom being part of the orchestra, we were now able to go back stage and meet the legend himself, Mr. Nobou Uematsu! One of the greatest (if not THE) greatest game music composer of all fucking time! I felt like it was a fucking dream honestly. Her bother was there also with some friends, so all of us got escorted back stage into Nobuo Uematsu's dressing room and we got to talk with him a little bit and we all got to take pictures with him! You can see the pictures on my pictures page. He was a totally nice guy. At first, someone asked him if we could take pictures together and he was like "Zettai dame!" which means like "absolutely not!" but then he was just like "just kidding!" lol! When I told him I was from Chicago he told me how Arnie Roth, the conductor is also from there and stuff. He was a totally nice guy and I was so honored to have a chance to meet him. I also met Sachiko's mother and thanked her many times cuz I was honestly so grateful to have this random chance just come out of nowhere for me!

On our way out we also passed by the singer, Susan Calloway. I talked to her a little and she was nice enough to also take photos with us. She's from Detroit so she's been to Chicago several times.

After that, we all headed outside. I had to get going so I said bye and thank you again to Sachiko and left.

So I got on the Yamanote line and it was packed as hell so I was standing really close to the door. When we got to Tokyo station, some woman was getting off the train. I was listening to my iPod and when she got out, the cable for my headphones got snagged on the button of her coat and she ended up pulling my ipod out of my pocket, and it fell out and land on the tracks beneath the train and the platform.... As soon as I realized what happend I said "FUCK!" really loud a few times and the finally someone tried to help me saying that I could get a station attendant to get it back. Once I realized it was in a place where the train wouldnt actually run it over, I felt fine. I went to get staff and some dude said go wait for like 10 mins. So I am waiting for this guy to show up and suddenly another train pulls off and strangely enough, Sachiko and her mom get out lol! They asked me wtf I was doing standing around there and I explained the situation and showed them my ipod down there on the tracks. They waited with me and chatted a bit until the station staff came with this long claw arm thing and got my ipod back. Luckily it still works fine.

So that situation was a little annoying and it delayed my trip a bit, so I ended up getting to the poker game at 6 pm. They were already playing. We had a new guy this time and one of the guys from last time wasnt there. Andy wasnt there yet but he showed up later. I won my very first hand (and it was a pretty big hand) and got off to a good start. When Andy showed up I beat him on a big hand on the river and he was a little dissapointed about it but I understand his frustration. I was up a lot for a while but made a few bad decisions and lost a few semi large hands within like 15 minutes of eachother. Later on I got a sorta big hand off Emmet. At the end of the night, I was up 2600 yen which is better than last week but I could have won much more if I didnt get sloppy at that one point. Emmet was the big winner of the night again making a profit of 11,000 yen. It was good times once again and I wanted to play longer but unfortunately we had to get home on the last train. We will play again in a few weeks.

So yea, thats the end of the weekend. It certainly was full of surprises and was an amazing weekend I will never forget!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010: Welcome To My Nightmare

The previous weekend, I was too busy/lazy to write a blog post. I went to the GODZ/PSY escape from the bar which was the staff and regulars of those 2 bars doing all kinds of special gigs and playing various cover songs. The first one was 2 years ago and was at the same place, Shinjuku Marz. Lots of friends came and I chilled with Andy and Ledbloodrun most of the time there. I got REALLY drunk cuz I brought 2 whiskey bottles in a was spiking my whiskey redbulls I ordered there. After it was over there was an after party nomihodai all night. Andy and letbloodrun went home but Emmet showed up. Most of the night is just a big blur and I hardly remember anything.

Anyway, moving on to the weekend that just ended (Halloween weekend)...

I headed to Tokyo after work. I went to Takadanobaba and got a kebab right away. After I finished, I only had a 10,000 bill to pay with and they didnt have change so they said I could just pay next time cuz they know me pretty well at that place. I figured I should just pay them now so I went to Family Mart and bought a beer to make change and went back and paid them the 500 yen.

After that, I went to Mikado. I already had a few beers in me from the train ride but was still sober enough to play ok. I played for like a couple hours and then Emmet contacted me saying he was just arriving on the train now. I left and met up with him at Shinjuku station. From there, we got a few beers to pregame before heading to the bar and were drinking them outside. This this one Swedish dude I know named Yohan showed up with a bunch of friends and they knocked back a beer with us outside, too. Then we headed to Current.

Since tomorrow would be Halloween, as expected, it was pretty dead in there. We stayed for like a beer or 2 and then Emmet and I decided to just go to Roppongi cuz I didnt really care either way.

We got there and went to that bar called Heartland. It was kinda crappy. Then we went to Gas Panic and that was pretty crappy too, but at least I saved money cuz I did most of my drinking for the night on conbini beers.

We left Gas Panic once the trains started running again, and headed back to Shinjuku to crash at the manga kissa.

The next morning I woke up around 2 or something. I figured I might as well just start getting my costume ready. This year, I dressed as Alice Cooper, one of my heroes and one of the best damn vocalists and song writers, ever. period!

I sorta designed my costume to be like his Welcome To My Nightmare costume. I originally was going to go with what he has on on the album cover, but I couldnt find a white vest, so I sorta improvised and designed it off of what he was wearing in the actual music video for the song. So I had a black top hat, a long black wig, painted my face like Alice, wore a red collared shirt, had a white bow tie, and black suit coat and pants. I think it turned out pretty well.

When I finished getting ready, Emmet showed me something online. Currently there are some legal disputes involving the filming of The Hobbit movie in New Zealand. I dont remember all the details honestly but it has something to do with Warner Brothers having permission to film there or something. You can read the information here and here. So anyway, just for the hell of it, Emmet made some flag in MS paint that has the New Zealand flag combined with the WB logo. He sent it to some people and somehow it wound up being on TV at some political debate and and the guy was so dramatic about it! Here is a link to the actual video. Pretty funny shit.
Other related links are here and here.

Anyway, Emmet got his costume ready there, too. This year he went as a skeleton. He painted his face and had a skeleton outfit to wear. It looked pretty good.

So, after getting ready, we grabbed some BK and then had some more time to kill before the international party so we headed to Sportsland where we had a couple beers while I played GG. I did well and was mostly beating people up. It was fun playing there drinking while dressed as Alice Cooper lol.

After that, we headed to the international party in Harajuku. Unfortunately this one wasnt being run by the good group so there was no food. It also had crappy drinks but I made due drinking canned high balls while we were there. It wasnt as good as last year's pregame Halloween international party but there were still some good costumes there and decent people to talk to, and I guess I drank my money's worth. One of the best costumes there was some dude dressed as Thriller Michael Jackson. I got a good photo with him (and took good photos of some of the other good costumes there).

The party ended at 8:30 and then we headed to Current. We got there pretty early, and when we arrived, it was pretty fucking dead... I honestly consider Current's Halloween parties to be one of the best parties of the year, so my expectations were rather high. I was pretty disapionted to see it so dead, espessially since I remember that last year when we got there around the same time it was much more packed. I think most of this could be blamed on the typhoon that was going on outside. Halloween pretty much got owned by the typhoon. Andy was gonna meet us there but at the time when he mailed me, I was pretty gutted about how bad the party was going so I told him not even to bother coming and to just go to the ALT party in Takasaki.

I dont remember when exactly, but at some point the party picked up and more people showed up. Probably around midnight. I was already sorta bummed and in not the greatest mood but gradually over time, lots of regulars showed up, and while it probably was the least packed Current Halloween party among the 4 that I have gone to, it ended up being pretty fun anyway and there were lots of good costumes and good people there. A few notable regulars who I would have expected to come were not there, but it was still good times. I took a ton of pictures so its probably best to just let them do the talking for me since they capture the night pretty well.

So yea, overall it was still a really fun party, I just let my expectations get too high and the typhoon certainly weeded out a lot of the people that im sure would have gone otherwise.

After Current closed at 5, a large group of us headed to PSY. Emmet ducked out around this time to go shack up with some girl.

PSY was good and some of the people there had good costumes, too. This one girl, Eli, was dressed like a clown so I took a picture with her of me looking afraid, cuz Alice Cooper has a song called "Can't Sleep, The Clowns Will Eat Me". Good times.

After PSY closed at 6, about 10 of us went to Tokyo Loose for more drinking. I passed out there for a bit unfortunately. Thats what I get for starting to drink at 2 pm. I woke up eventually and we all left at around 8 or something. After that, I headed to the manga kissa.

I woke up the next day and got some curry, and then I headed to Akihabara. Ryoko's birthday is coming up soon and she wanted some sorta facial cleansing Panasonic Nanokia (nanocare?) steamer thingy. Its appearently some new beauty fad going on in Japan right now (I saw them advertising the exact same one she wanted while I was riding on the train on my way to Akihabara lol). Honestly the thing probably doesnt even work (and its not like Ryoko needs it anyway IMO), but its what she wanted to thats fine. She always gets me awsome presents so its all good. I shopped around at a few stores and got the best deal at Yodobashi Camera. It was expensive but oh well.

After that, I headed to Club Sega and played there for a while. Got some good games in and only lost a few times the whole time I was there.

Around 8 I got hungry and went to get a kebab and it rocked. Then I headed back go Club Sega to kill the last hour before I had to leave. I was surprised to see suddenly that Kyle (Stunedge) was there playing BB. I said hi to him and we talked for a bit. He played me in a game of GG with his Testament and I won. I played a few more after that and then I had to get going so I said bye and headed out.

On the way back, they checked my ticket on the train so I was kinda salty about that but oh well.

So yea, it wasn't the greatest Halloween ever but I still had a good time.

Next weekend I have to work on Saturday and were gonna play poker again on Sunday in Maebashi so I probably wont even head to Tokyo. Not sure if I will bother writing in the blog next week but if it turns out interesting enough maybe I will.