Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Hell of a Lot of Birthday Week Drinking!

2 weeks ago I didn't write anything but I will sum up that weekend now.

On Sat, the 17th, I had to work because my main junior high school had its sports festival. This resulted in me missing SBO and Tokyo Game Show which landed on the same day. For the first time ever, the 2nd year students won the whole thing (the 3rd year students always win). After that there was an enkai in my town. Matt actually came to visit this weekend (he is now living in Sapporo and working on the JET program). He originally was going to come to visit his girlfriend but they broke up right before he came, so he had a lot of time to kill. He came by my school during the sports festival and I gave him my key so that he could chill and wait till I got off work. After the enkai, I headed home and drank a bit more with Matt. Ryoko came over to hang out as well.

On Sunday the 18th, Ryoko, Matt, and I went to a small charity concert in Numata. The guy who was promoting it is friends with Ryoko's father so he gave us 2 free tickets. Matt tagged along as well. The music was mainly played by a duo going by the names of Bob and Taro. One of them is a local ALT who has lived in Numata for many years. Their music style was kinda folky and mostly just acoustic guitar and some harmonic and vocals. Not exactly my style but it as good for what it was. The concert was surprisingly long though (about 2 and a half hours). It wasn't bad, just a bit long. I picked up a couple of CDs afterwords for charity. Hopefully they raised a lot of money.

After that, we returned to my apartment. I still had those fireworks I bought in Nagasaki Chinatown like 2 years ago in my closet. I decided that today would be a good chance to set them off, so we brought some beers outside to the lot in front of my house and set them off. Some of them were pretty awsome and some ended up being kinda disapointing but overall it was fun anyway.

After that, we went to an Izakaya in Numata to drink with Andy, Ryoko's sister, and one of her friends. Then we did karaoke all night.

On Monday afternoon, I dropped off Matt at the station and he headed on his way back to Sapporo. Monday the 19th was a national holiday and since I had to work Saturday, I got Tuesday off as well. This resulted in an epic all night poker game at Kiwi Cafe in Takasaki, owned by Grant, one of our poker regulars. I drove up there with Emmet and Ryoko came on her own later on after work. A bunch of new guys came this time and most of them pretty much had little to no experience and weren't every good. Throughout most of the night we had on average about 8 people playing at once which is pretty good. We played poker from like 6 pm to 4:30 am. One of the guys who brought his pretty cute wife, seemed like was most likely a yakuza. He got pretty drunk and as the night went on, he was playing worse and worse. He was doing ridiculous stuff like betting 10,000 yen pre flop and just kept throwing SOOO much money into the pot. He was trying to be intimidating but I just steered clear of him until I knew I had the nuts or close to it and ended up taking like 20,000 yen off him or something. I won a few big hands. There was one hand where he bet 10,000 yen pre flop and I had Ace/Queen but decided I didn't wanna take such a big risk pre flop in case the flop sucked for me and he actually hit something. By the end of the night, I was up 10,000 yen (about 120 dollars) which isnt bad. Its the most ive made playing in Japan at one game and it also ended my losing streak. Emmet won the most, I think maybe 25,000 yen or something. Ryoko lost about 16,000 yen and the drunk yakuza guy lost over 50,000 yen! LOL! I think he needs to rethink his strategy or at lest drink less next time. Overall it was a pretty epic poker game.

Tuesday the 20th I just chilled at home with Ryoko watching Fellowship of the Rings cuz she never saw it before.

Wednesday the 21st was my actual birthday. A pretty big typhoon was rolling through Japan and there were strong winds and rain storms in my area. Ryoko wanted to take me out to an all you can eat yakiniku restaurant. We thought about not going because of the rain but went anyway and were fine. I drank some wiskey, beer, wine, and was stuffed as hell. The food was top tier. Great birthday dinner. I also got a birthday apple pie with cream cheese frosting that Ryoko made me at work.

Thursday the 22nd I judged the Numata English speech contest for the first time ever. It was an interesting new experience but overall it was a nice change from the usual day of work.
That evening we had my real birthday drinking party since Friday was another national holiday. Ryoko, myself, and about 13 other friends got a private room at an izakaya and drank for several hours. I got some amusing presents (even though I wasn't expecting anything from anyone and just wanted to drink) such as some fine imported cheese, a good bottle of red wine, a peppermint nose inhaler, and a bottle of lube that is disguised to look like CC Lemon vitamin drink lol!

After the izakaya clsoed, some of us went to another bar and then eventually Andy, Emmet, and I drank all night at another bar. I crashed at Emmets.

On Friday the 23rd, I was already into this most recent weekend (another 3 day weekend). Having only a 2 day work week was pretty awsome.

I headed to Tokyo by myself cuz Emmet had other plans. Kyle (Stunedge) told me that some foreigners were still in Tokyo after SBO was over and wanted to drink with me the previous night but I couldnt cuz of my drinking party, so I figured id see if they wanted to chill tonight. On the way down there I mailed Kyle and he said most of them had already gone to Nagoya for Nagoya Street Battle (SSFIVAE tournament). I figured id just make the most of the weekend and see how it went.

I got to Mikado and was surprised to see Hellmonkey there. He told me he just arrived in Japan a few days ago. He said he graduated and came here looking for a job but was unsure exactly what he will do yet. He says he has enough money to just chill for a while without a job so I guess he might be around for a while.

We played a long set of casuals for hours. I started off strong with a big lead and then around the middle it was evening out where I would win a couple and he would win a couple back and forth for a while. Then he ended our session with like 4 or 5 wins with Baiken. I wasnt having trouble with his Eddie or Potemkin but his Baiken was tough. One of the hardest match ups for me. Either way, it was fun games and I enjoyed the session. We also got kebabs at some point which was good cuz I hadnt had one in like 2 months. This was my first time playing Guilty Gear since I returned from visiting the US and it felt good to play again. A few other top players were there as well.

After that, the 2 of us headed to Current to drink. It was actually pretty packed int here for a Friday when we arrived. We stayed for a few hours and it started to clear out, but then we headed to GODZ and eventually PSY and that was pretty fun as well. Hellmonkey went home at about 5:00 am. At some point after that, some wasted military dudes who just finished their service period were celebrating their asses off and just roll right in and bought like everyone in the bar free jagerbombs lol! I stayed till about 6:30.

The next morning (Saturday) when I woke up at the manga kissa, I was annoyed to find out that the showers there were no longer free to use and they were now charging 300 yen. Lame. I took one anyway.

After that, I headed back to Mikado. I played casuals all day. There were 3 foreigners there who I didnt recognize. One of the guys was from Sweden and 2 of them were from France. I talked to and played the Swedish guy and one of the French guys but im not sure if I played the other French dude. The French guy said he was friends with Dream Maker. They all seemed like nice guys. I won all my matches against them but they were pretty good. I invited them to come drinking later but they said they couldnt make it due to having to leave early the next day.

Eventually Hellmonkey showed up again sorta late. At this point, I already started drinking a bit. I knocked back a whole 180 ml bottle of whiskey that I had poured into a coke bottle and sipped one while playing. I was buzzed but could still play decently at least. This time I mostly played other various people. I got a nice win against Inoue's Slayer, Satou's Johnny, and Kuni's Baiken. Hellmonkey got some good wins against various good players, too.

This time, I left a bit earlier because tonight at Current was a metal event. Hellmonkey was originally going to go drinking with me but decided against it cuz he had plans the next morning. So, I headed out to Current on my own.

However, I got a message from Fubarduck saying that he was at NSB in Nagoya but was heading back to Tokyo and would meet me at Current later. He said it was his last drinking night in Japan and wanted to end his trip well.

Current was decently packed as most metal events usually are. Lots of metal event regulars came out as well as SPG Chris and some other people. It was cool drinking with Fubarduck. We talked a bit about the recent stuff that went on with SBO and how they made a mistake but its nothing that he hasnt said already online. I pretty much agree that while SBO made a big mistake this year, I still feel like it is a legit tournament and winning means something. The players who are hungry are still going to player their best regardless. I certainly have every intention to participate again if they run Guilty Gear again.

We drank at Current till about 4:30 when the metal even ended and then went to PSY. PSY was packed with people who came after the metal event. Not long after we got there, Toru and Natsume realized that it was my birthday recently. Toru went around from behind the bar and brought 2 tequila shots and we drank them together. Then, I turn around and Natsume has the bottle of tequila and poors me another shot. So I take it. Then he poors me another shot... and I take it! And then... another shot! Finally, some dude I dont even know sitting next to me signals him to poor me one more so I drank that one, too! I had just knocked back 6 shots of tequila all in a row within like 2 minutes. I was already pretty drunk but now I was completely wasted! To be honest, I dont even know how I was still standing or how I managed to stomach it! I felt like I was gonna throw up like right after the last shot, and then I tell Mandi whos sitting next to me that I had to go pee. She's like "Yea right" in a sarcastic tone, so I decide to man up and just wait it out. In like 30 seconds the nausea subsided and I managed to stomach it all. Im glad I did cuz I felt great after that.

Fubarduck headed out sometime at maybe like 5:30 or so. Lots of people stayed at PSY til really late. I dont even remember leaving exactly but I know for a fact that I actually didn't pass out this time which is pretty amazing! I must have left there after 7 am cuz the next morning when I woke up at the manga kissa, it said that I had checked in at about 7;30. The most amazing part of it all was... I didn't even feel that hungover! I mean... yea I was exhausted but I didnt have a headache really!

So, after that, I just headed back home early to spend the rest of the evening with Ryoko.

And that concludes about a week and a half of stuff. Within that week and a half, since I only had 2 days of work, so I drank most of those days. I think I need a good break this week. I will probably take it easy this coming weekend.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Laying Down the Wrong Card

The previous weekend, I didn't bother to write a blog post, but I will sum things up real fast. I spent the weekend in my town. There was a big event called summer splash at the Canyons lodge near my apartment. They had live music and lots of people came. A bunch of other ALTs ended up crashing at my place afterwords. We got a late night poker game going that lasted until 8:30 am. I was smashed as hell, and was playing really sloppy and drunk. We actually had a game scheduled for Sunday at 4:30 pm as well, so I only got like 6 hours of sleep and then we played poker AGAIN. It was good fun but I lost money that time as well. Ryoko was super nice and brought over tons of fried chicken, fries, and fruit for everyone to snack on while we played. She enjoyed playing with as as well and actually did pretty good for only her 2nd time playing.

Getting to the weekend that just passed...

On Friday night, I just stayed home and chilled with Ryoko. On Saturday, I got up and went to Tokyo. Today was the 4th Final Roundbats tournament of this season (I missed the 3rd one when I was in America for summer vacation.)

This time, they had a new venue (though they actually had it last time for the one I missed as well.) It was at the Hobgoblin British Pub in Akasaka. Overall I would say I liked it better than Soundstone. They had better drink specials and this time, they actually had pizza buffet again. It wasn't as good as Dominoes and the pizza ran out sorta fast. I think I got like 7 slices but they werent very big. I guess I had enough to feel not hungry but I could have easily eaten a bunch more.

Most of the regular crew showed up for this one. Tokido didnt make it this time though. As far as the tournaments go, I did pretty lousy overall. I havn't actually played any fighting games for a whole month, so I was pretty rusty. I didnt show up in time for MK9 (and I dont play it so I didnt care). For Tekken 6 (which I also dont play but entered cuz its free), I lost first round to some guy who seemed like he knew what he was doing. For MvC3 I lost first round to a guy using Ammy/Sent/Spencer. I was dropping all kinds of combos. For SSFIVAE, I played a T.Hawk first round and lost. By this time I had a few drinks and was being a little sloppy and threw out a bad Ultra 1 that got blocked which cost me the final round. I did take one round. The T.Hawk went on to take first place in the tournament against Abelity's Abel in the finals. I did have a lot of fun playing ST vs a lot of people, however.

After FRB was over, I went drinking in Shinjuku with Jude AKA Claw, and Abelity AKA Hafiz. We went to Current first, where we ran into Johan and Terrence. It was dead so after a while, all of us went to GODZ and then eventually PSY. Nothing too noteworthy to mention other than the fact that PSY and GODZ both got the new Dream Theater album, A Dramatic Turn of Events, and were playing a lot of songs off it. I've been listening to the album for a few days and overall I think its a good solid album and its starting to really grow on me. I would say that as of now, overall, I like it better than their previous album, Black Clouds and Silver Linings. The Count of Tuscany is still the man though. I drank till pretty late. I think I passed out for about 10 minutes or so. I woke up at like 5:30 and Toru, the bartender of PSY, showed me a passed out picture of me that he took. I wont be surprised if it pops up online lol. After finishing my beer, I headed to the manga kissa.

The plan for Sunday was to play poker at the Propeller Bar, in Maebashi. This is the place where we always used to play but its been a while since we had a game there. I took the train there and once I arrived at Maebashi station, I passed an ATM and decided I might want to get some extra cash just in case. I went in the ATM booth and got out my wallet and my ATM card was nowhere to be found. I never lost anything like that before in Japan. Since my ATM card cant be used as a debit card, and I doubt someone would be easily able to crack my PIN number, I wasnt stressing about it too hard, but I called up Ryoko to ask her advice what to do. She said I should call the banks corporate lost and found or whatever to cancel the service on the card. She texted me the number and I made the call.

The next like 20 minutes was one of the biggest wastes of my time. The woman who answered the phone probably had the worst hearing ever. The whole conversation was in Japanese and we understood each other just fine, except for one annoying thing. She was asking for all my personal information, so I had to give her my name, phone number and birthday. I can understand that maybe she may have a bit of difficulty hearing a foreign name but I was trying to spell it out for her letter by letter for a fucking eternity. I was like... "my last name is B O C Z A R" and she kept saying it back wrong like " P O C G E R" and im like no its.. "B O C Z A R" and shes like "P O Z D A R". Then I was like ok... lets do this one letter at a time. Im like, "B", and shes like "P" and im like... no "B as in bus" and shes like "P" and I was just literally face palming at this woman's shitty hearing.

After what seemed like eons, she finally managed to get my name right. Then she somehow couldnt understand me when I was giving my fucking phone number and birthday. How hard can it be to hear numbers!?

Eventually she got that down and finally found my information in the system. Then she put me on hold for like 5 minutes, got back to me, and said she needed like some sort of account number. I didnt have my bank book on me cuz it was in my apartment which is over an hour away. I told her I had an old ATM receipt and she has me read the info on that but then after wasting my time reading all that (and mind you she was having hearing problems with THIS too...) she said it wasnt enough information and said she couldnt help me and that I would have to call back again later. What I dont get is... why couldnt she have just fucking told me that in the first place? She puts me through all this and then finally tells me AT THE END!? After I put up with her deaf ass?

Anyway, I wasn't going to let it ruin my day and figured I would just take care of it when I got home at around midnight.

I went into propeller after helping a friend find parking, and eventually everyone started to roll in and the game went well. We had 7 people playing throughout the night, and most of the time we were playing 6 handed which is pretty good. Ryoko was gonna come to but she ended up doing something with her sisters and was tired afterwords and went home. The game was fun, but I lost a lot of money. I had 3 all in situations where I lost.

The first one, I was up against 2 people. The first guy flop comes up some cards, I dont even remember what they were but they were all diamonds. I had the ace of diamonds in my hand, and some other irrelevant card, I think it was a queen of some other suit. The small stack guy acts first and goes all in for about 1000 yen. I have about 3500 yen at this point and call. What I SHOULD have done is went all in instead of calling him, because Emmet was behind me in the hand with a bigger stack. Instead of calling, HE went all in since technically all I did was bet 1000. I already had a lot of money in there since there were big pre flop raises as well. I had 2 chances to get another diamond which is actually only like a 30% chance, but I decided to just gamble and hope it came up, because if it did I would have the absolute best hand 100% guaranteed. Unfortunately no diamonds came and I lost the hand. I was pretty salty after that but I kept playing and actually won it all back after a while.

The next bad hand was I got dealt Jack Queen. Flop comes up 2 Jacks and some low card. 2 other people were in the hand. I was slow playing it and no one was really betting much. The turn comes up an Ace and one guy bets a sorta high bet of like 1000 yen or something. I put him on an ace and figured I had this. Other guy folded and I went all in. He called. The last card didnt matter. I turn over my Jack expecting to get big money and then he owns me with Jack Ace and a full house. Shitty beat. I just couldnt have put him on Jack Ace given the way things went down.

The last big hand I lost was the final hand I played. I pretty much just was getting impatient, I had pocket Jacks again at this point and I just got hustled.

In any case, I have been on a bit of a poker slump the last few games I played, but I will learn from my mistakes. Its all good.

Anyway, I rode the train home and made it back to my place. A little after midnight, I called the bank company again and this time a different dude answered the phone. I did everything the exact same way as last time (except now I had my account info) and the whole thing was done in 5 minutes because this guy WASNT FUCKING DEAF!!! With that done, I went to sleep.

Yesterday, I got a call from the bank that someone found my ATM card and brought it to the Numata police station. I went there after work and got it back, and today I went to the bank and had them re activate it. It turns out I simply just left it at the atm at my local bank. Im not quite sure why the person who found it would bring it to the city next to the town I live in, instead of the local police station, but I guess im glad I got it back and that nothing was stolen.

Anyway, next weekend is Tokyo Game Show and SBO finals but I cant go this year because my school's sports festival is on the same day and I have to work. Since theres no GG this year, im not as upset as I would be otherwise but it still kinda sucks. Matt will visit Gunma so I will hang out with him a bit, and we have another poker game scheduled in Takasaki next Monday (I get Monday and Tuesday off next week) so at least it will be a fun weekend.

Heres hoping next game I know what cards to lay down in poker instead of laying my ATM card down.