Friday, May 23, 2008

Placement Location

Hey all! I finally found out my placement for the JET program!

I'm gonna be living in Hyoga prefecture, in the town of Ono.

I didn't know where it was before i looked it up, and ill assume most people reading this don't either. Anyways:

I requested Kansai area, which is the lower part of Japan, where i stayed when i studied abroad.

Ono is about an hour and 20 minutes northwest of Kobe. Kobe is about 40 minutes west of Osaka. This means im still pretty close to Osaka (where i used to go every weekend), which means it's a good placement. It's also somewhat rural, so hopefully that means ill get a decent sized place for cheap. Ill find out once my predecessor contacts me, though. But this means that im not gonna be stuck in some little island in the middle of nowhere, and that im close enough where i can easily take a weekend trip to Osaka or Kyoto when i want to.

Small update, but good news nonetheless!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

ACEN weekend

So for those of you who know me, which is most people reading this, i went to an anime con this past weekend. It's called "Anime Central" or "ACEN" for short. I'm not really big into anime anymore. There's a couple of series i've seen recently, but it went from being a major hobby of mine to a more suppressed hobby. So I didn't go to this one to buy stuff like i normally do. Especially after being in Japan for so long, things seem so much more expensive that I can't justify it. In addition, since i'm watching less anime, there's not as much I want, and the fact that I'm moving to Japan for JET means that I don't need to buy anything because i can't take it with me anyways (unless its like, one small figure or something). I went with the intention of doing my job and pwning n00bs in the games.

At this convention, I volunteered to be staff for spotting bootlegs, as i've lived in Japan for a year, and had one of my friends pretty much taught me how to spot them. Normally, i would staff in the game room running tournaments, as that's my specialty, but the Department Head of gaming never responded to my emails, so i ended up going with Exhibit Hall staffing. I was not quite "promised" but "almost guaranteed" to get a room at the hotel, as well as 5 free badges for people i know.

However, it turns out that #1, I don't get a hotel room because the people in charge of booking them didnt book enough, so we got screwed. #2, we only get 2 free badges, not 5. So that's a huge difference. Nevertheless, i stuck with it. Anyways, ACEN finally rolls around. Thursday is mainly for getting your badge and doing pre-con stuff. So i went there and found where i needed to be, and sat at a table for a while. Of course, from the beginning, things go wrong. There were supposed to be way more badges for the dealers at the con, but they ran out of them, so some dealers were complaining. I ended up getting sent on a wild goose chase that led me with not getting more of them, and just pissing off people who were super rude and snotty to me. I pretty much gave them a verbal, very sarcastic "thank you, excuse me for asking a simple question" type response, and i left. After that, a couple hours passed and we FINALLY got our hotel room. By "we" i mean my friends Mike and Alex. So a bunch of us go into the room, like, 7-8 of us. There's no connection to the TV that we can hook up game systems to, so there's pretty much no point in staying there doing nothing. Another guy comes in and sees a ton of people and starts talking to us about how much acen sucks. We agree. We end up going back to my house so we can play games there. The 3 guys who were gonna stay with us in the room end up getting their own motel room about a mile away from the con, so it works out for them. The rest of us cram into this one small room, though i just stayed at home thursday and slept in my own comfortable bed. In addition to the room fiasco, where they didn't give anyone any information for a while, and just stuck random people in random places instead of looking at the roommate request forms, there was the staff badge issue, where staffers didn't get their badges.

Friday rolls around, and i wake up, and my sister is up. I hitch a ride with her to the con, and i go off to do bootleg inspection for a while. Me and Alex (mostly Alex) takes care of them and stuff, people get mad, whatever. I spotted a Hori Arcade Stick for $130, and they normally go for about $170-200. I figure i can use it and sell it later. After we finish working, we get permission from the department head to leave, though he says to come back and check back after i finish my first tourney. I go off and play in the Melty Blood tourney. I use Sion, the only character i really play in that game, and I win the tourney pretty easily, I don't think i lost a round, then again, it was single elim and there were only 11 people. The game room itself didn't open until 2, which is super late, so not much was really setup when i got there. The games were all on high def TVs, meaning that any system that wasnt a PS3 or 360 lagged. When you're playing fighting games with tight inputs, any amount of lag matters, so it made some games unplayable for me. Thankfully, Melty Blood was done on a laptop, so there werent issues there. After i played some random games, i saw Naruto 4 setup on a TV. It was kinda laggy, so we decided to go back to my house and get a gamecube and another copy of the game. While we're there, we grab my 19 inch CRTV, so there's no lag. We play on that for a while, and it's pretty fun. The Tekken 5 DR tourney starts, i somehow win even though i haven't played that game in a long time. I played it a lot in Japan, and i didn't get WORSE, so i guess that makes sense. Still surprised me, though. It was weird, most of the time, the first match was close, like, 3 rounds to 2 rounds (i win), and then the 2nd match was usually 3-0 me. That happened against like, 3 different people. But whatever, i still won the tourney and didn't lose a match. After that, Soul Calibur 2 started. It came down to the last hit of the last round of the last match against Ari aka fLoE, but i managed to win. So that's 3 tournies i won. I played Guilty Gear sometime in the middle of that, but i lost first round really quickly to an ABA player. Aaron, aka AKA, the guy who inspired me to play Ino was there, and he told me ABA is a really bad matchup for Ino, so ill have to do better next time. After the SC2 tourney, i went to the hotel room and went to sleep.

Saturday - After about 4 hours of sleep, i woke up at 8. Got to the dealers room about 9. Walked around a bunch before it opened at 10. Did a lot more walking around casually with friends than the bootleg stuff, but if there was a problem, i took care of it. Met up with Phil and Yosh and we hung out and walked around. Yosh bought a buncha stuff, as did Phil. Brett (one of the study abroad students at Alex's school in Japan) was also there, and we walked around a bunch too. We agreed that Denden town was much better in every possible way. At 2PMish, the Naruto 4 tourney was supposed to start, so i went to that. It was on my non-laggy TV, and i ended up doing the brackets and running the tournament. I won that in a close finals against Ted using A.Nana at first against his Kisame, and then having to switch to Tenten, and afterwards he switched to Itachi vs Tenten, and i took it in a close match. After that, i went back to the dealers room to deal with more bootleggers. After about an hour or so there, i went back to the game room because Billy was running the Naruto EX2 tournament. I used Nana the entire way through, and won against Eric in the finals. It was single elim 1 match the entire way through cause Naruto EX2 takes so long that we figured that was the best option. After that, we went to Giordano's, by we, i mean Billy, Ted, Eric, Mike, Tom, Yosh, and myself. We went back to the con, and did the Arcana Heart tourney. Lilica didn't let me down, as i won that tourney also. I then played in the King of Fighters: Maximum Impact Regulation A tourney and got 3rd place there. Also played in Street Fighter EX3 for one set and got 3rd cause i took over someone else's spot. After that, i played Arcana until the game room closed at 4, then i went to sleep until about 10 the next day, Sunday morning.

Sunday, I got up, packed all my stuff up and brought it with me to the exhibit hall. Left it at the booth and then walked around and dealt with the bootleg problem one last time. After that, i just causally walked around with friends until it was time for the SC3 tournament. I left and did that. I got 2nd place, losing to Damien, one of the (if not the) best Soul Calibur 3 player in the country. He owned my Cassandra, but i put up a better fight with Lynette, so i'm not disappointed. Anyways, after that, i went back to the dealers room, said bye to people, went to Giordano's again with Brett, Alex, and Andrew (ShardZ). After that, i went home, at this point its about 6PM, i slept until about 11:30PM, wake up for a couple hours, and then go back to sleep for school. I made it through school without falling asleep or being too tired, so that's good, cause i expected much worse.

Overall, the con had a lot of problems, but I had a lot of fun with the tourneys and stuff, so it evens out. Not the most fun, but overall, it was a good time mostly from seeing everyone again. It's late and im STILL kinda tired, so im going to bed. Laterz.