Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Misadventures of Rob #ReloadFULL EP12 - Revisiting Old Places

Hey everyone,
Last I left off, it was Thursday or something, I don’t even know. Ill assume Thursday cause I had no reason to write on Friday. I think Thursday was the day where I just went to sleep, woke up, got another 200 yen big mac and then went to the place where theres free wireless and hung out there till I went back home, got some fried chicken on the way home then went to bed. Pretty much, I ate the exact same thing m-t. It was great. Simple cheap fried foods.

Friday at work was REALLY boring. I couldn’t even get in the mood to study Japanese so I just went on the internet the entire time. Finally that super long day ended and I headed back home. I think I took another nap, and then me and 5 of the other alts were going karaoke. We wanted to eat first, so we went to this Okonomiyaki place right near the apt where everyone else but me lives. I expected it to be expensive but I got this meat fried noodles thing for like, 5 bucks. Pretty good, and at restaurants here, there’s no tipping, which is awesome. After that, we went to the Karaoke place. Did 2 hours. I sang:
Sankou no Gaia by Nana
500 Miles by The Proclaimers
Kirakira by Aiko
Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler

The highlight was def Total Eclipse of the Heart. We went crazy and it was a lot of fun. After that, we all went back home and I went to bed ready for a busy weekend.

So for the weekend, my plan was to go back and visit the place where I used to live “Hirakata-shi” and go to every arcade and book/game/used stuff store that I knew of and stop at the “Sandoru” restaurant, which is what I used to eat almost every day when I studied abroad. The distance I had to walk was at least 8 miles, I would say. I started off by going to Umeda. It took about 2 hours, but I just played Tales of the World for the PSP the entire time, so it ended up going by quickly. For reference sake, the route I take is from Ono to this place called Shinkaichi. At Shinkaichi, there’s a train I can take from there to Osaka, with Kobe being on the way. The stop in Osaka that I get to is called “Umeda”. Umeda = Osaka, essentially, just not Denden town, which is a diff part of Osaka. Anyways, at Umeda., I was hungry as a fat kid, so I stopped by McDonalds and got another 200 yen big mac, since that deal is so cheap. I now had to figure out how to walk from Umeda to Yodoyabashi, which is the next stop on a diff train line, but its 200 yen to get there. Wanting to save 200 yen by walking 20 minutes or so sounded good to me. As I was walking, I ended up turning myself around and ending up at the Monte Carlo arcade. I decided that since I was there, I would play some Tekken. So I play some Tekken for like, 2 hours or so. I did pretty well, played against this one other guy who was a bit worse than me, but not bad. I ended up getting like, 7 wins on his Jack 6. I played a couple more people and eventually lost to this Kaz player a few times in a row so I figured that since it was about 1, I should head out.

Then I start to walk hoping I was walking in the right direction. I walked for about 15 minutes and ended up at another train station. I looked at where I was, I need to go south, and I ended up going east. However, because of that, I knew the exact direction I needed to go. I walked back to Umeda and ended up on this street, which had the same name as the train line I would take. I also saw a sign that was the direction I needed to go, and it said “Yodoyabashi,” which is where I needed to go, so I just walked there. After about 20 minutes, I made it. I took the train line there to Hirakatashi.

After I got there, first stop was Game Dino, since it’s attached to the station. That’s the arcade where I would go like, all the time, everyday on winter break etc to play some arcana and tekken and melty and stuff. When I got there, the layout was a bit different. They took out a buncha fighting game cabinets and put metal game slot machines in their places. Then they took the spot where the slots were and put these giant gundam pod things in its place. They still had some fighting game cabs, still had melty and the new T6 cabs (which are super nice) but no Arcana 2. I played some tekken, got a few wins, but people stopped playing so I played the computer and then left after that. I walked to this one area about 30 minutes away, but when I went up this hill to go on the street, it led me to a parking lot where the gates were closed. The street was literally right there and I couldn’t get to it. Not wanting to hop the fence in Japan (I totally would have done it back home), I walked back down the hill and had to walk two blocks just to get on the street. That was annoying. Another 15 minutes of walking or so and I ended up at the book-off/arcade/tsutaya. I went to the book-off first, I bought one Yaguchi Mari photobook for 105 yen. Then I went to the Tsutaya. Nothing there. I went to the arcade after that. At that arcade, I used to play Idolm@ster and sometimes Tekken. They moved around like, everything. Tekken got sent on the floor with the slots and stuff. I went up there. They had like, 4 cabs all next to each other back to back, so 8 machines total. The arcade was REALLY nice, it was just overall one of the nicest arcades out there, but nobody good was playing Tekken, so I just got some ice cream from the vending machine and left.

I walked another 15 minutes to another used stuff store. Walked around, didn’t find anything of interest so I left. I stopped by a Sega arcade where I used to play VF5 against a friend from Japan, Nate. However, I don’t play VF anymore. I was hoping they would have street fighter IV, but they didn’t, so I just used their facilities and then left after that. I walked over to Joshin, which is like, a dept store that has electronics and appliances and games and stuff. I didn’t see anything in the game section, but I spotted an idolm@ster figure. It was from the set that I cant find anywhere. I looked in their small figure section and saw that they had a sealed box for like, 6500 yen. After much debate, since I was still missing all but one figure from that set, I decided to get it. The box however, pretty much took up my entire bag. After that, I walked another 10 minutes to a different used store. This was a used everything store, from clothes, to figures, to games, to adult entertainment, to musical instruments. I went there, didn’t see anything that great, so I was about to leave. Then as I was going, I spotted a Hisui figure for 1500 yen. Master Chibi said to get him anything Hisui, so I picked that up for him since I knew it wasn’t the one he already had. I wrapped it in a T-shirt I had and then left.

Here is where the walk gets long until the next stop. I walked from my current location about 25 minutes toward the dorms where I used to live. I get there, see the school campus, see the dorms, see some of the new kansai gaidai students (just see tho, no interaction of course). I also stop in this clothing store right near the dorms called “Avail.” I go to the clearance rack and get a T-shirt that says “I’m bound to go whatever you say.” And I got this hoodie vest thing that’s super Japanese-y, and this crazy hoodie that’s red/white/blue and has a buncha stars on it. It also has a zipper that goes all the way to the top of the hood, crazy. They’re all 500 yen each, so 15 bucks is a pretty good deal. However, I had like, no space in my bag cause of the figures, so I ended up taking them out of the bag and just stuffing them in. At this point, I’m super hungry from starving myself for Sandoru. I went there after about 10 more min of walking, and it turns out they’re closed on sat/sun. So now, I’m without food and nowhere really near anything. I decide to still walk and continue. I walk to the next game store/adult entertainment 2-in-1 store which is about 15 minutes away. Nothing there. I walk to the next store which is like, 15-20 min down the line. I get there and don’t see much in the game section. A couple joysticks, but without anyone to play against, I don’t really need a 2nd one. However, I went over to the book section, and they had a buncha photobooks all neatly organized. They had them all for pretty much the same price, 1150 yen. That’s either a good deal or a bad deal, depending on the book. I decided to wait a bit before getting them, since my bag was full.

I go to the book-off 10 minutes away and I see a few photobooks in the 105 yen section. I knew I was gonna pick them up, as well as the other ones, but I needed space. So I went 10 minutes back to the other store, got the books, and then went to the parking lot area, took a seat in the bike parking area and quickly busted open my box of im@s figues. I just took each figure out of their boxes, and put the 10 figures into a small bag and shoved that in my bag. I took the two photobooks (One of Konno Asami, the other of Michishige Sayumi) and easily fit them in my bag. I went to the book-off and ended up seeing 6 books in the 100 yen area. This is good that so many for so cheap, but its really heavy. I managed to squeeze all of them in, and put the clothes on top of that before zipping up the bag. I decided not to open up my bag after that because it’s so perfect, meaning I couldn’t buy anymore, that, and my bag is ridiculously heavy at this point, which, well, is life lol. I walked to the next store, like, 10 more minutes and it’s a game store that’s open really late. It’s where I bought my 360. Didn’t see anything there either, so I walked about 15 minutes to a McDonalds (sadly, again) where I got 2 big macs. Devoured those and then went to my last stop for the night, which is the arcade “Nexus”. Its open till 5am.

It was about 8ish by the time I got there. I played Tekken for a while (Since its really the most fun game to play at this point, and always has people playing). I was going even with this one armor king player, we played like, 20 matches or so. Then this other guy played me. He was one of those guys with tons of cards. He played his crappy Armor King first and I owned it. Then he switched to his main card, which was Panda. He beat me like, 7 times in a row with stuff I’ve never seen. Then I beat him one match finally. He would get mad in the middle tho, I would hear him hitting the machine when I would get rounds from stupid stuff. He would always do the 1+2+3+4 charge after he wins (which is kind of a taunting thing I guess, I didn’t care) I just remember after one round I won, I did it, and I heard him hit the machine again, which is lols. After I beat him, he plays me again with like, Miguel or something, he beats me one match. I beat him, then he plays his Panda again, this time, I 3-0 it, and of course he hits the machine. After that, he plays another character, I don’t even remember, and I beat that too. After that, I play the computer for a bit and lose at stage 3 cause I’m tired as hell and wanna go to spa world. The dude is like, standing right behind me tho, acting all scary. I friggin lived in Chicago, so a Japanese dude trying to act all tough in his passive aggressive manner is almost a joke as far as I’m concerned. I get up, he’s just standing there like, staring at me. I look away, put my card and stuff away, and he’s still just standing there looking at me. I just say “Sumimasen” and walk right by him and head out to Spa World. Its about 9:45 by the time I leave, and I play my PSP all the way to spa world.I get to Spa world, and as usual, it’s the same as last time. I took some baths, washed up, etc, then went to sleep around 11:30. If I went later, I might not have got a pillow or a blanket. After an hour or two, I finally fell asleep until about 1:30. I watched an episode of Pokemon on the TVs they had and at about 8, I got up, cleaned myself up, etc and headed out of there. It was about 8:40 in the morning at this point. I walk to Mr Donuts like 15 minutes away, since it’s the only thing open, and get a few donuts. I walk 10 minutes to the Sega Arcade which I thought was open at 8, and it wasn’t. I head to Athena, since I know it opens at 9. However, I knew nobody would be there, so if I had to play, it would be against the computer. Of course, I get there and nobody is playing. However, I just want to kill time. I play through arcade mode against the computer and its about 10AM by the time I’m done. I also decide to play a credit of Otomedius. It was more fun this time than last time, and I lasted about 15 minutes on one credit, even tho I got E ranks, haha. I still don’t see what the touchscreen is used for, but whatever. After that, I walk on back over to the sega arcade, thankfully its only 5 minutes away or so. I play some Street Fighter IV. I go even with this one Akuma player for 6 matches or so, and then this Vega player rapes me. I played a few more matches in between that I think, overall I just remember playing for like, 45 minutes straight. It was super fun.

After that, I head over to the Namco arcade where I play Tekken. Its about 10 minutes away, maybe 12 or so. I get there and play Tekken for like, 3 hours or so. I get a buncha roulettes, and I played just a crap ton of people. I don’t really know Tekken players, so I don’t even know if anyone I played was a top player, but I played a buncha people. Playing people about my level is the most fun tho. I ended it by playing this one Bob player who just destroyed me, but I was able to get a few rounds in, so it wasn’t too bad. It was awesome. After that, I headed back to Athena to play Arcana. I go there, and play the most disappointing I’ve ever played Arcana. I wasn’t feeling it, and I was losing to scrubby stuff. I think I was too used to Tekken, haha. After a while, I start to get better and get my groove on, but overall, it was kind of disappointing. I played a bit of MB too. At about 5, I decided to get some food. I go to Wendys and get the usual, jr bbq burger, jr teriyaki burger, and a small frostie. After that, I debate heading home, and then I’m like, nah, more tekken. So I go to the Namco arcade again, since its right near the Wendy’s, and play Tekken until like, 7. I head out and play PSP all the way back home. I get home, unload my bag, open the figures and photobooks and head out to bed.

This morning, I had to be at work early (even though I didn’t HAVE to be here early for any particular reason). After that, I had to make a speech in English and Japanese at the opening ceremonies, and aside from that, since it’s the first day, everyone but me is busy. Awesome. On a better note, I can wear gym clothes and stuff to work for the next 2 weeks, as its prep for a sports festival!

That’s it for this week. Lotta walking, good exercise, and lotta fun shopping, and a very nostaligic day overall, going to all these places I used to hang out at.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Misadventures of Rob #ReloadFULL Ep 11 – Rob Reviews Fried Food

Ok guys, this is a 2 in 1 blog post. Im gonna post what happened this past week, and then give my super ultra happy special review of the food that ive been eating recently. Here we go:

So I left off Monday at work. As usual, nothing happened, and I left at 3. After work, I stopped by Eclat (pronounced eh ku ra in Japanese), which is the community center that has free wireless. The café area was open, and it had plugs there, so I wouldn’t have to waste my battery. I was there for about an hour before these two security guards came up to me and said that it was for the café customers only. I asked if it was ok if I was there if I bought a drink? They said that was fine, so I went and ordered an OJ. Glass of orange juice was 280 yen. I had 2 10000 yen bills on me, and 220 yen or so in pocket change. I give the girl one of the 10000 yen bills, and she’s like “do you have anything smaller?” I check my change again. Nope. I tell her that’s the smallest. And she’s all looking around like “o noez, wut shuld I doo?” After a bit, she sighs, and then takes it. Then she pulls a wad of bills out from under the register, asks me if 9 1000 yen bills back in change is fine, im like “uhh…yea…” and then gives me the rest of my change. She made it seem like she literally didn’t have enough in the register. I mean, I’ve worked in retail and had people pay with 100’s and me ask if they had anything smaller so I would have more change in my register (if I didn’t have a lot), and if they said they didn’t, I would say “ok” and give them their change. But this girl didn’t do that, she made it seem like she didn’t even have anything in the register. So after all that is said and done, I get my oj, go back and sit down and stay at the place until about 6ish or so. I stop by the convenience store to get some chicken, and I head home. On the way home, I notice that on “sun road” (a small shopping arcade type street with a roof, which is how I end my commute home instead of on a busy street) there were some lights and booths a block or so down, but I didn’t think anything of it.

As I’m just sitting at home playing single player mode Soul Calibur IV, I get a text from one of the other ALT’s, Cheryl. Apparantly, it’s a Matsuri (Japanese festival). This one’s focus was on the “bon dance” which is where there’s a tower in the center of this area, and people dance around it in a circle to like, a taiko drum and other stuff. It’s very traditional. There were a few booths set up that had like, takoyaki (octopus dough balls), ice cream, and little games for the kiddies. We watched like, 4 o-bon dances. It looked like kids from various schools. After that, we headed back and I did laundry. I wanted my stuff dry, so I went to Sati, where they have competent driers and hauled my laundry there, and spent 200 yen to get 20 minutes of awesome drying action, so I wouldn’t have to hang up my jeans. After that, I headed back and played spider solitaire or something until I went to bed.

Tuesday at work, I literally was on the computer the entire day. I went there at 8, stayed on the comp until 3. The principal and vice principal were both gone for the day (meaning I could have left earlier) but I was just surfing the internet, so no real need to leave earlier.

Tuesday night, I stopped by the dentists office and reserved an appointment cause of my cavities that I knew I had. That was quick. After that, I needed a haircut, so I stopped by the Sati dept store and went to the haircut place there. There were 2 guys doing haircuts, and 3 people in line before me, so it took a while waiting, but it was finally my turn. The guy I got was super emo, emo hair, dressed like zach…er…a metrosexual, and like, he always looked mad like he wishes he wasn’t there. You know you’ve seen people like that in retail, where the world is obviously against them and they have to say “welcome” and stuff like that, but they totally don’t even pretend to mean it. Yeah it was kinda like that. However, he was professional and asked me what I wanted and how I wanted it and stuff. That, and he did a good job, so in the end, I don’t care at all, cause as long as he gave me a good haircut (which is pretty rare for me in Japan) then I’ll take that over the fake friendly. It was cheap too, only 1470 yen.

After that, I got a big mac at mcdonalds. They’re only 200 yen now, and it’s a lot of food for cheap. I went back home, ate that. Took a nap after that, it was about 6 when I did that. Then I woke up around 6:45. Got changed into my pajama’s, brushed teeth etc, tried to fall asleep for the night, but of course, that woke me up, so I was unable to. I ended up just going to Eclat again to surf the internet. Thing is, it was closed, but wireless works from outside still. I got there, and who do I see? One of the other ALT’s sitting outside with her laptop. I sit down and we talk for a bit. Then like, 10 minutes later, two more ALT’s just happen to come on by and do the same thing. Pretty funny, 4 white kids sitting outside a community center in Japan with their laptops. After that was done, I headed back home and played spider solitaire until I fell asleep.

Wed, which was today. I get up about 10 minutes before my alarm clock is about to go off. Decide its not worth sleeping those 10 minutes, so I just sit in my bed and grab a random photobook and just look at that for a few minutes to wake myself up. Looking at pictures of cute Japanese girls in the morning does work a bit, haha. I get up, go to work. For the first hour and a half, I study some Japanese in the “lesser teachers” office (where all the newer teachers are, and where my desk is). I go on the computer for a bit after that, doing kanji flashcard/grammar practice, and goofing off on the internet. At about noon, I have to make a phone call regarding my internet. I decided to also eat lunch after that. After I ate, I didn’t feel like going to the other room to use the computers yet, so I study some Japanese. Just as I’m sitting there for like, 5 minutes studying, the principal comes out of nowhere and sees me studying (which is a good thing). This isn’t the first time that I’ve been studying and the principal just happens to come in at that time as opposed to when I’m goofing off or sleeping. I go back on the computer after a while. My dentist appt is for 4:20. I decide to just stay at work until 4. No point in leaving earlier. At about 3:20, the principal comes up to me and tells me that I’m gonna have to make a self introduction in front of the school (like 2-5 min long). After that, the principal, the coffee lady, and one of the math teachers end up just talking about whatever for a while. It was the most Japanese I’ve used with everyone since I’ve started working. At 4, I head off for my dentist appt. I have 4 small cavities on the bottom row of my teeth, two on each side. Apparantly, I have small cavities on the top row too, but that’s for next week’s appointment.

When I was in the states, I had a dentist appt right before I left. They said I had two cavities, and the cost without insurance for the fillings would be like, $170 and $165. I didn’t feel like shelling that much out, especially since the checkup alone was 80 bucks. Here, it was quick, they put “resin” in for the fillings, which is teeth colored stuff, meaning that it doesn’t look like I have metal or whatever in my mouth, it looks natural. I looked in the mirror and personally can’t tell a difference. That’s a good thing. And the cost for 4 fillings and the appt? 4320 yen. Super cheap. That’s half the cost of just a checkup in the US. Considering how much of a problem my teeth were giving me, this is totally worth it.

After the dentist appt, I stop by the 100 yen store to pick up some umbrella’s and a new button up shirt and T shirt and stuff. I get home, and look in my mailbox. There’s a slip saying that I have a package. I go to the post office and there’s two boxes from my parents:
One of them had my big fuzzy hoodie that some people reading this may remember me wearing during winter. It also had all my Nana CD’s and im@s CDs. The other one had a buncha candy – box of asst candy bars, bag of lemonheads, bag of airheads, two cans of slim-jims, two boxes of gum, and a ton of medicine (since Japanese medicine is weak). My parents are the best. This pretty much made my night/week. Even tho I have to be careful with sweets, I’m happy that it might not hurt to EAT them now, haha.

So if you remember a few paragraphs ago, I mentioned I had to make a phone call about my internet. Well, bad news on that one (this is copied from my post on other forums):

For those that don't know, I went straight to the YahooBB store (YahooBB is the main internet provider in Japan)in Nipponbashi, Osaka. I was looking at the prices and the guy came out and talked to me and helped me out and stuff. However, it turned into somewhat of a mess.Anyways, today I called the yahoo bb people because they said to call today to see what day they can come and install it.

When I first applied, they said they were gonna ship envelopes out to me with info and stuff.

Never got them, strike one.Then I went to the store after they called my cell. They messed up my address and it was a huge pain trying to fix it. (half hour long phone call in Japanese at the store where theyre having me describe exactly what my building looks like, everything thats nearby even tho they have the FRIGGIN ADDRESS)

Strike two.

When I went to the store originally, i was told that I didnt have to take a day off (i work until 3PM), that they can call me at work, and then come in the evening, around 4. Then, in that phone call, I was told I have to be there waiting from 1-5 no exceptions. So i would be forced to have to take a nenkyuu (paid vacation) day.

Strike three.

However, since I was close, I decided to let it slide, since I really want internet at my place.I called them today because I was supposed to call to tell them "hey, what day can you come to my apt, next week tues, wed, or thurs?"Apparantly, everything has been on hold because they didnt get a copy of my gaijin card. I even went there and asked the dumb broad behind the desk if they needed it, and she looked confused and said no, even tho i was pretty sure she did.

I said i was sick of all the crap and I told them to just cancel it. I shouldnt have to go this far out of my way because theyre retarded. Im just gonna use like i should have done in the first place (cept im 3 weeks behind everyone else whos already getting theirs and I have yet to even apply). Everything all in english, and a lot easier than dealing with idiots who keep telling me the wrong thing and then mess up everything and dont tell me until the last possible moment.Screw yahooBB, im gonna try to go with Flets Hikari if i can, because I dont want to give yahooBB my money after all this crap that their crappy employees are trying to put me through. They seriously wanted me to go BACK to the store 2.5+ hours away to give them a copy of my alien card, or to send one to them when they should have done that the last time i went 2 weeks ago, so instead of telling me, they just waited until i contacted them instead of contacting me to tell me that I would have to wait even longer and that they were unable to process anything without it.

Pisses me off, but whatever, with bbapply, things will work out better.Let this be a lesson, kids. The lesson? Use what seems easiest, which is bbapply for us.

On a happier note, I go to 7-11/family mart/other convenience stores often. Like, multiple times on a daily basis. I ALWAYS go before work. I get a drink for lunch, something to eat for lunch (if im not bringing a subway sandwich, that is), and something for breakfast. There’s always these two guys working, both middle aged, one balding and graying, and then the other guy. They’re always really energetic when saying IRASSHAIMASE (which is just what the Japanese say when people come into their store to greet them). Like, they almost sound too happy to the point where they’re making fun of themselves, but I can’t tell. Anyways, its always about 7:40 AM when I go there. After work, or after Eclat, I generally stop by to get a drink, or fried chicken, or whatever. I always see that same guy there. Not the balding guy, but the other one. He’s always there. Monday night, after stopping by from Eclat around 6PM. Dude was there. Yesterday, after coming back at like, 9:30PM from Eclat, dude was there. Today, on the way to éclat around 8, dude was there. On the way back, dude was there. And of course, he was there this morning at 7:40am. And he’ll be there tomorrow at 7:40am when I go, too. Dude is ALWAYS there. Then again, im not in Ono on weekends, so maybe he works long hours during the week but has weekends free, I unno. But when I go there, that dude is always there.

Anyways, the 2nd part of this post is my review of convenience store fried foods. It’s self explanatory, the rating system, that is, so I’ll just go ahead and do it.

Family Mart Fried Chicken – 100 yen
Quality (on a 5 point scale, 5 being the best) – 4
Quantity – 3
Price – 5
Overall – 4
Notes: This is boned chicken. It’s pretty good, but because it’s boned, it’s never as much as you think you’re gonna get. Taste is decent, and you can’t beat a dollar for a chicken leg.

Family Mart Spicy Chicken – 165 yen
Quality – 5
Quantity – 3
Price – 4
Overall – 4
Notes : The spicy chicken is really good, and unlike other “spicy” foods here, it’s actually spicy. It’s really good, and it’s boneless, but because of that factor, it’s also more expensive. It goes really well with a regular piece of fried chicken tho.

Family Mart Fried Potato (aka French fries) – 180 yen
Quality – 5
Quantity – 4
Price – 2
Overall – 4
Notes : I’m not a huge French fry fan, but these are seasoned SO perfectly. They go so well with the chicken, that it’s not funny. However, they’re expensive, but you get a decent amount of fries for the price. The thing that really bumps it up is how well it really compliments the chicken.

7-11 Fried Chicken – 165 yen
Quality – 5
Quantity – 4
Price – 4
Overall – 5
Notes: This is my favorite of the bunch. Boneless fried chicken. They’re a tad smaller than I would like, but because of the boneless, it’s actually MORE than it looks like, unlike the family mart chicken. Two of these is a perfect meal for me. The price is a bit high, but it’s because it’s so delicious. In the store, it even says like “voted #1 fried chicken” or something. Whoever voted was right on.

7-11 Fried Potatoes (aka French fries) – 175 yen
Quality – 3
Quantity – 3
Price – 3
Overall – 3
Notes: They’re ok, not nearly as good as the family mart. These ones are big giganto fries and you get like, 6-7 as opposed to getting a buncha little fries. Thing is, I don’t always want a fry the size of a hot dog. They’re also about the same price as the superior family mart ones. Oh well.

7-11 Pizza-man (pizza fillings inside a bun) 100 yen
Quality – 3
Quantity – 5
Price – 5
Overall – 4
Notes: This isn’t the most delicious thing I’ve eaten, but for only 100 yen, it’s pretty darn big. The chicken tastes way better, there’s no competition, but this is a good addition because it can fill me up more, but with less $.

So there you have it. There’s my review! Hope you enjoyed this special segment and some insight into the daily cuisine of the Rob.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Misadventures of Rob #ReloadFULL EP 10

So last I left off it was Thursday and I was at work. I feel asleep while at work, and the vice principal walked in on me sleeping on the couch, and just woke me up to give me a letter and then went back without saying anything. Him not saying anything is a good thing because if he said something like “Oh, did you not get a lot of sleep last night?” or something along those lines, it would have meant “DON’T FALL ASLEEP AT WORK!” but our school is really lax now (example, today I got in 10 minutes late and I still showed up before the vice principal, and the principal isn’t even here). It’ll probably be more serious and I probably won’t be able to be as lax during the school year, but yea, for now with summer vacation and me not doing anything productive (except studying Japanese for about an hour a day), I don’t think anyone cares.

I also got paid my 2.7K for surfing the internet and falling asleep at work today. Awesome.

After work, I was still tired, but I knew if I fell asleep it would screw up my sleep schedule, so I did some chores, laundry, etc, and kept myself up for a while. Then I went over to the community center where there’s free wireless and stayed there until my laptop battery died. I went to sleep about 1:00AM after playing a buncha spider solitaire and listening to a buncha random songs on itunes.

Friday rolls around, it’s not a normal day at work. Rather, there’s an English workshop from 10-12, so me and the other JET’s go to that, as well as the Japanese English teachers. It’s pretty boring, they demonstrate a few games but overall it just had me yawning. After that’s over, we have to meet the mayor of Ono City. First I grab some lunch from the convenience store across the street. At 12:30, a local newspaper comes to interview us, and we all have to answer the same question, which is like “What are your impressions of Japan? What else do you plan on teaching the kids aside from just English?” etc. Boring stuff. Then we go to meet the mayor. We all sit in this meeting room with big comfy chairs and talk in Japanese for about an hour and 45 minutes. I have a hard time listening after about 45 min-1 hour. So I’m kinda not understanding what he’s saying after a while, (because unlike English, where I can understand without thinking about it, I have to actively try to understand when I’m listening to people speak Japanese). After that’s done at about 2:45, me and another ALT were gonna head off to Osaka. She needs to pick up stuff for the internet guy coming, and I was gonna go just for company and to play arcana and whatnot. She has to do some stuff at the office first, so I take a 20 minute nap in the lounge. Afterwards, we get some ice cream at a local restaurant and then we head off.

I head back home. When I get in my apt, I check my mailbox. There’s a slip of paper that says that they had my xbox and tried to come by around 2:30. I give them a call, and I start speaking really bad Japanese, and the guy is like “AH, ROBERT?” and I’m like YES! I guess I’m the only foreigner on the delivery list and he remembered. He asked me if I was at home, and I said yes, he said that he could come around and drop it off again. I asked him about what time, and he said 7PM.

Now to those who know me, they know I RARELY cancel on anyone. If I say I’m going to do something, I stick with what I originally said for the most part. Example, if I have plans to hang out with someone for a Friday night, and another person says “hey, Friday night wanna hang out?” I’ll generally say that I’m already busy and already have plans. I don’t like being that guy who ditches out on plans. Especially for tournaments, if I’m able to travel, I make it very clear whether I can or can’t show, I’m never the last minute “Oh sorry, even tho I said I was able to make it, I can’t go” guy. So I had to text her and tell her that I wasn’t gonna be able to make it cause I had to wait for a delivery package. I said I was reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally sorry. She replied “That’s ok.” So I can’t tell if that’s a “That’s ok, don’t worry about it” or “That’s ok, you’re a jerk.”

So I took another nap from like, 5-6:30. I go on the computer for a bit and then the doorbell rings. Sure enough the guy comes with my xbox. It looks like they just completely replaced the motherboard and something else inside the system. My awesome im@s faceplate and im@s stickers on the side of my 360 all remained in great condition.

I go to plug it in, everything is ok. I turn it on, it turns on fine. However, I’m not getting a picture. I start to panic, and I look at the sheet, and it passed all the tests, so it couldn’t be the system. I figured it was my cords. Then I looked, and there was this small switch on the cord that go from the system to the TV. I flip that, and then everything comes up fine on the screen. I’m extremely happy that everything works, so I played a buncha N+ and Soul Calibur IV training mode. After that, I go to the convenience store and get some fried chicken, spicy fried chicken, and seasoned fries. It was less than 5 bucks for the meal, and it was one of the most delicious things I’ve eaten since I’ve been here. To those who know me, they know I like simple foods as opposed to intricate meals. The easier it is to make, the better, and if I can buy simple foods for cheap, that’s even better. Thankfully, convenience stores here carry fried chicken and stuff like that, so I can eat what I consider to be “normal foods” as opposed to just the crazy stuff that’s in Japan, since for lunch, when I buy stuff, I don’t always know what I’m gonna get. But when I buy fried chicken, I def know I’m getting fried chicken, and it’s damn good for damn cheap. After that feast, I take my computer and go over to the community center and go on the internet till my battery dies.

Saturday, for the first time in a while, I don’t have to be up at a certain time, and I don’t have to set an alarm and wake up to a horrible ringing. I wake up around 10:15. I get up, shower, clean around the house for a bit, and by 11, I’m out the door to Osaka. Mistakingly, I forget to take out the papers I had in my bag from work, so I have a few folders packed with papers before I even leave, making my bag heavy from the start. Oops. I head off to the train station, and instead of getting off at Namba, which puts me right near Denden town, I get off at Shinsaibashi instead, which is a 15-20 minute walk from there, and it’s a fun area to walk around in.

First thing I do is go to the book-off after getting to Shinsaibashi. I didn’t see any cheap photobooks, just expensive ones, and book off usually has the cheap ones, but not this one, so I only bought a 100 yen Morning Musume otome-gumi/sakura-gumi one. It said it had a poster inside, but with it being used, it’s a gamble if it’s gonna be there, and sadly it wasn’t. Oh well. Still worth a dollar.

After that, I walk through Shinsaibashi for a while, and stop at this shoe store. To those I was with in Tokyo, they know that I complained a lot about my hiker boots. Said that they’re great for snow, but they’re too heavy when walking and because I walk a LOT (especially on weekends), I wanted a pair of shoes. I tried talking to the guy who worked at this shoe store cause they had some cheap running shoes, but he was kind of a dick, so I was like “screw this, I’ll just go somewhere else”.

Next stop was the Sega Arcade in Shinsaibashi. It’s actually a pretty bad place for fighters cause they’re all 100 yen, and their only good deal is that Monday it’s 100 yen for 2 credits, but yeah, Monday’s im in Ono city, so…oh well. I went there anyways cause no matter where I go, Street Fighter IV is 100 yen. I go there, see a couple guys playing, one leaves, so I sit down and play. Dude is playing Rufus, and keeps doing stuff that I dunno how to beat, so I lost like, 3 games before I was about to head out. Before I headed out, I decided to use the washroom because the sega arcade bathrooms are extremely nice for a public place. After I finish, I wash my hands, and when I push down on the handsoap, it goes squirting right in my face and in my left eye. I washed my eye out for a bit, but it was kinda sore the rest of the day after that, and I have no idea if it became bloodshot or not. Sucked, though, I’ve had handsoap squirt at my shirt before, but its never gone upward at the perfect angle to hit me in the eye before. Damn Japan and their crappy handsoap pumps. I’m all about the foam soap cause I know that stuff wont spray everywhere and end up everywhere BUT my hand. To be positive tho, at least there WAS handsoap, lol. That’s all I’m gonna say on that matter.

After that, I walk around some more toward Namba. I stop by a Tsutaya (barnes and noble type bookstore, and this particular one has a game floor) looking for deals, but didn’t see anything so I quickly left. I went to the subway and got a Tuna sub, and it was, as usual, delicious. I stop by Sega Avion, the place where I won 2 SC3:AE tournies, and I see SFIV there. However, unlike the usual 2/3 rounds, this place is 3/5 rounds. Nice. I play there for a bit, there’s this Vega player who was mad good, and a Crimson Viper player who was also really good. They were way above my level, but I played them a few times anyways. I did about as good as I expected, maybe a little better. When I was playing on the cabinet next to the Vega player, he asked me if I was in a guild. I told him I wasn’t, and (he talked fast, so im not sure) but I think he either was inviting me to join his or was saying that it’s better not to be in one. Something like that. I just kinda pretended I understood and nodded and smiled. After that, I headed over to the hotspot for Arcana in Kansai, which is “Athena Game Center” in denden town. They’re having a tourney at 4PM, and it’s about 2:45 by the time I get there. The tourney, however, is 2v2. I play for a bit and get completely owned by everyone, it wasn’t even close. With me not having a partner, and just wanting to play, I figured that it wasn’t worth entering the tourney to play 2 rounds, lose, and then wait for the tourney to finish before I can even play another MATCH.

I head out before the tourney starts and go walking around Denden to do some shopping. I stop by Toranoano (doujinshi store), and they have some touhou pencilboards, so I pick up a Reimu one shooting cards (or doing some 5C’s for the iamp players) for 300 yen. They have the plushies, but they’re completely sold out. Normally they’re 2650 yen or so if they were in stock. The Reimu one is awesome, she has “d” eyes (think arcana 2 Lieselotte). After that, I go to the Super Position figure store (the main overpriced figure store chain of Denden) right next store. They have the touhou plushies in stock, the set of Reimu/Marisa. However, they’re charging 28000 yen for the two of them. I pretty much told that store to screw itself and left. I stop by the Softmap (Game/electronics store) looking for games and anything now that my 360 is fixed, but aside from the new Tales game, I’m not seeing anything. I wanna wait till the English Asia version gets released for that, too before buying it. I check out the hobby floor of Softmap and don’t really see much either. They had a Lilith (Darkstalkers) PCV marked down from like, 5000 yen to 500 yen. I would have got it, but it would have been a pain to take home. Same with an Arika (Mai Otome) one from about 5000 to 500. If I didn’t live so far and it wasn’t a pain to bring them back, I wouldn’t have been able to pass up that price.

After I head out of there, I walk around a couple more figure stores. In the main super position store, I see a Tiana figure from Nanoha. Those who notice my usage of characters in recent games (Petra, Sion, Noelle) will see something in common. Girls with guns. I dunno why, but I’m all about them now. Tiana is the cute girl with guns in Nanoha. Most Nanoha stuff is crazy expensive now, and the PCV for Tiana is normally 5800, but this place had it for 5040 new. Normally, Nanoha stuff goes UP in price, not down, so I decided to give myself a day to think over whether I want it or not. I also saw the Touhou plushies there, too. Same chain, except that place had them for 15000 yen for the set. Still way overpriced, and I couldn’t justify paying that much for them.

I stop by the Touhou store, as I like to call it, and I see one of those limited edition keychains that Toranoano gives away or sells or something (dunno how to get it, but most places have it for 2500 yen or so) for 1000 yen. It’s a really really cute Reimu one, and she’s drinking tea and is all ^.^ about it. I stopped by the game/anime/manga/music/photobook/adult entertainment store A-too after that. I didn’t see anything there, but they played Nana’s album “Alive and Kicking” when I was walking around browsing, so that was really cool to have HeartNana hear Nana in a random game store. Didn’t see anything I wanted (no photobooks this time) so I headed out.

I go to another figure store, and I see the Hisui figure that I was gonna pick up for Master Chibi, but instead of 630 yen like the other place, its only 420 yen. Awesome. I also see one of the good im@s figures from the premium figure set for Haruka for 1600 yen. Sadly, I’m not gonna find it any cheaper, so I just cough up the price and get it. That means I only need Silver outfit Yayoi (Super position HAS it, but for 1800 yen) and Black/Gold outfit Chihaya (I am never going to find this figure unless I go back to Tokyo or get really lucky) to finish up the two units for my im@s figures.

I head over to Rashabang aka Rashoumen aka HOUSES. It’s essentially a doujinshi/figure/music/random stuff store. It’s awesome and I always see weird stuff I want for cheap whenever I go there. Usually in the 200 yen doujinshi box, haha. Anyways, I go over to the doujinshi games section, and I see that they have Party’s Breaker in stock. I look at the price – 300 yen. One of my favorite fighters ever and it’s 3 bucks. I figure I would buy it just to HAVE a legit copy, haha. I also pick up a few doujinshi from the 200 yen box.

After that, I stop by Animate, which is an anime goods store, essentially. I made the decision to buy the Kagami lucky star plush that I saw because I think it’ll add some awesomeness to my room. I pick that up, as well as a lucky star Stick Poster that I can just hang up wherever (I just grabbed a box, meaning random), and I also picked up a small alarm clock of Tiana (see gun girl paragraph from earlier). In the bathroom, the only clock that’s there is this ugly “Tide” clock that my pred left there. I figured I would give it some Rob personality, so the little clock might be a nice touch.

I check out a couple more game stores and stuff before heading over to some arcades. I stop by SCOT arcade, which used to be THE place for arcana (I played the 2nd place guy at sbo for arcana 1 there quite a few times) before Athena came around, since Athena is new. However, nobody was playing arcana, they were all at the tourney, and I didn’t really feel like playing games that I don’t play. I walk way on over to Namba hills, which is an arcade that used to also be really good for Arcana, but died out because of Athena. I play a few games of 3S. Yes, you are reading correctly. I saw this Yun player who was average (for japan) and I was like “why not.” So the inner Makoto Rob in me came out. I was actually playing really well. I won the first round, he won the next two, I won the next one with almost a perfect by getting a command throw into FP EX Hayate, him teching, me doing command throw into FP EX Hayate again, and him trying to jump and me hitting him again (knowing he was gonna jump) and stunning him. He had like, very little life left at that point so I just FP him and he was gone. It was pretty sweet. He would do a lot of Genei Jin, but always messed up the combo. I played a couple times, lost each time, but didn’t do so bad considering I don’t really play 3S, lol. After that, I see some kid playing KOF Maximum Impact Regulation A. I pick my team and I get destroyed. I didn’t even know what was going on, lol. After that, I see someone playing the 3S Samurai Shodown game. I give it a shot, its 100 yen for 2 credits. I pick the new chick with the broadsword, and im pretty much just doing random canned strings and throwing every once in a while. However, this game is GODAWFUL. It’s extremely slow, theres very few specials, the graphics aren’t even all that good, it’s just a train wreck of a game. Like, because it’s so bad, I actually had a lot of fun playing it. I was laughing so much because of just how bad the game was. I somehow win that match 3-2. The guy uses his other credit and picks my character (he used Haomaru the previous match). It goes 3-2, and he wins the match that time. It was a terrible fight, but it was so funny. I use my other credit and I pick Nakoruru. Big mistake. She doesn’t have a friggin bird. WTF AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITHOUT A BIRD? So I try slashing him, low damage, no range. I was having too much fun laughing at how bad it was, that I didn’t mind getting owned.

I head outta there and head over to another arcade that’s another one of those 100 yen for every game arcade, aka overpriced (but it’s 2 credits for 100 yen on the weekdays, so it’s only weekends that its overpriced). As expected with these arcades, most of the games are dead except random people playing them, and then Street Fighter IV has a buncha people playing. The line is way too long, so I just head outta there. Keep in mind tho, that these are the arcades that AREN’T based around the fighting games, unlike Athena which is. This arcade has like, all these crazy games you use cards to play, a buncha quiz magic academy machines, etc. Also, it has an entire basement area of pretty much all medal games which is like a casino almost. Slots everywhere, roulette, blackjack, pachinko, etc. Just with medals instead of real money. Its fun to watch people play those games, but not something I wanna spend my money playing. Also, the top floor of that arcade has all the newest racing, shooting, music games etc, and a TON of UFO catcher machines. I love watching people play those, too. It’s amazing how much money people will put into UFO catcher machines without winning anything.

I head outta there and go over to the Namco Arcade that’s nearby (yes, there’s lots of arcades in this area, yes, I pretty much know all of them). There, they have Tekken 6 on the super super nice cabinets, 4 head to head setups (so 8 cabinets total), 100 yen for 2 credits, 3/5 rounds. Pretty much the best deal around for tekken. I haven’t played T6 all that much up to that point, and just wanting to play SOMETHING familiar, I sit down and play. Surprisingly, I start to do well. Like, 5-7 wins each credit well. I got a buncha winstreaks. There were obviously a couple of guys there who are better than me, but for the most part, for the lack of T6 experience I have, I was doing pretty good. My card had like, a 40% win ratio going into the arcade (I played against this one random Zafina player a lot in Tokyo and he was just doing a ton of stuff I’ve never seen before, and I got owned a lot because of that). Plus, because of the 2 credit thing, if I beat someone once, chances are, I beat them again. About this time, I feel like I finally got used to a lot of Asuka T6 stuff, specifically combos. Because of the bounce system, combos are different, but I was getting used to Asuka’s combo’s and ending after the bounce with run up b+4,2, which grounds them right in front of me for the sickest wakeup ever. If they roll back and I do d/b+4, they get launched a little, I can then go for 1+4 and if that hits, I get free 2,1,1+2 bounce run up b+42 into the same crazy wakeup. If they get up immediately with a kick, d/b+4 or d/b+3 usually interrupts. If they get up blocking immediately, obviously they just gave into my mixup game and I now get the deadly mix/low mixup game where ducking gets MAD punished into crazy damage. So my win% on my card went from like, 40% to about 65% after all was said and done. I also used my cell phone to change my Asuka color and add her name in and stuff, and so that was pretty cool. They also had those small movelist things you put on the cabinet with each character and like, 3-4 moves, so I grabbed the ones that had Asuka, Christie, Julia etc. Prolly just gonna thumbtack them to my wall.

After I left there, I headed back to Athena. It was about 10:30 at this point, figured that the tourney was over for a while, so maybe there weren’t that many people there so I might be able to get games in. I headed back there, and Yuta and Kouya were there. The machines were on freeplay event mode, but right when I got there, they switched them back, which is fine by me. Everyone else left then except Yuta and Kouya. I played Yuta for a bit, and Kouya asked me why I didn’t enter the tourney. I said that I was prolly the weakest person there, since I’ve only been playing for a month while everyone else was playing for a lot longer, and I didn’t have a partner. If it was singles, it’s different, but I don’t like bringing people down. I also just want to play and session. He also asked me why I picked fire, but I had a hard time telling him that I’m waiting for ver 2.2 and I’m expecting love to become weak, while fire will prolly stay the same WHILE trying not to lose to Yuta, lol. After a couple matches, Yuta heads out, and I play Kouya until the arcade closes. He uses Kamui and various arcanas. I play my usual Fire Petra. The score is about 20-5, and I was having too much fun actually getting to session with someone better for a long period of time to get annoyed at losing. I felt myself getting better, so I was pretty happy. After we were leaving, he asked me if I was gonna enter the next tourney, and I was like “yeah, I’ll enter it next time”. My old partner from the big Acho 2v2 tourney still cares, aww, lol. It was pouring outside, and Kouya didn’t have an umbrella either. I had my cheap 100 yen store umbrella, and my small portable one, so I just gave him my cheap one, and headed off to a manga café to go get some sleep.

I get to the manga café, and I grab a pillow and two blankets, which I didn’t know they had last time. I set one blanket up for under me, and the other for over me. However, since I’m paying for it, I decided to use the internet first. I go on AIM, and IRC, and surf the net talking to some people. One of my buddies online, who’s a friend of one of my friends in Japan (he introduced us cause we’re really similar personality-wise and interests-wise) so I asked him about the Tiana figure. Obviously, one figure-fan asking another whether a figure is a good buy or not is a bit biased, but still, I wanted a second opinion and he was the only one online. He said that it sounded like a good deal, and that I should do it, so I was like “cool, im going for it.” I got some free melon soda (again, see paying for it, so why not) and drank some free glasses of that. After a buncha time spent talking to people on IRC and aim, I went to sleep. It was kinda weird sleeping on the floor in a small cubicle, but at least I had privacy and a pillow/blanket. I woke up, got more melon soda, surfed the internet some more, and brushed my teeth and stuff before heading out.

It’s about 10:30 at this point, so it’s still kind of early. I head over to a sega arcade along the way, but it’s mostly ufo catchers, and doesn’t have Street Fighter IV. However, it has one arcana 2 cabinet in the corner, which is a complete waste, and they should just give it to me because nobody is ever gonna go there to play ah2. Ah well. I stop by another small arcade just to see how much it changed since I was there a year and a half ago. It had T6, but no AH2, and obviously no street fighter IV, since only mostly sega arcades have it at this point. There were a few guys playing T6, but they were kind of a group and friends, so I didn’t want to bother them, and figured I would rather play at the much nicer namco arcade. I stop by there, and nobody is there, so I just head out. I go straight to Athena, and there’s this guy playing AH2. His Lilica looked kinda scrubby, but I went to play him anyways. We went back and forth. A lot of the stuff he hit me with was stupid mashing 2A nonsense, and I felt like all the improvement I made the day before went out the window because I was getting hit by stuff I KNOW I shouldn’t have gotten hit by.

After an hour or so, I was getting hungry so I went over to Mr Donuts and had some lunch. On the way back from Athena, I stopped by a sports store that had cheap shoes. I went up to the guy (he looked about 18?) who worked there, and asked for some help with the shoes. Told him the size and the style I wanted, and the one I wanted (since my feet are so big for Japan, they actually don’t have a lot of 10.5, rather, they kinda stop at 10, so I have to settle for that), was all the way at the bottom behind the staircase, making it really hard to get it. He got it tho, and was extremely polite and pleasant about it. I tried them on, they fit, they were cheap, only 3500 yen, and they look cool (imo). I paid for them, the guy said I spoke good Japanese (I guess I spoke it well enough to get exactly what I wanted). I decided to head over to super position again just to check to make sure that the figure I wanted was actually the right price, the 5040 yen price of a 5800 yen figure. I checked, and sure enough it was. However, my bag was full, I was already carrying another bag with shoes in it, so I kinda wanted to get another bag. I went BACK to the store, and the same guy helped me again, I got a blue/gray Nike bag (one that all the people my age carry around), and it’s light, but really sturdy. I opted for the smaller one, since I don’t need a gigantic one, just one big ENOUGH, so I paid for that, too. I put the shoes in there and then headed back over to Athena since it was really close to there.

There was a Yoriko player there with 8 wins. I play against him, he wins the first match. He’s not terrible, but compared to some of the other Yoriko’s I’ve played against (like the ones who do super pent at every possible moment perfectly everytime, and then spend the rest of the round destroying you in pent mode) he was average. I win the next game and end his streak. He played against me a few more times, and we went about even. Then, the Lilica player from before comes BACK. We play again. This time, however, I decide not to play like an idiot and just play patiently and smart. I end up streaking the guy. 5 wins, then he gets one, then I get like, 5 wins again. Pretty much, how it should be. That made me feel better because I KNEW I could play smarter and that I should be winning most of the time, but I felt like he was scrubbing me out and I couldn’t do anything about it. So being in control most of the time felt really good. After that, there was this Time Saki player who was there. I’ve seen him before, and while he’s not terrible, he’s 90% time gimmicks. He’ll constantly backdash, and do stuff like 5B 5C (on block) 6D 5E 6D combo. And he does a lot of 6D flashkick, and I don’t know exactly which side he’s coming on, so I got hit by that a few times. I 3-0 him the first match, playing carefully etc. He 3-0’s me the next two matches with all these random time gimmicks. I tell myself to stop being stupid and so I play a lot safer and look for when he backdashes and I get like, 4 wins. He gets another match, and then I end up winning 3 or 4 more or so, mostly just by spamming j.E, since if he backdashes that, I’m safe, and most of the time, because of the weird timing, it just hits him, and it hits him when he’s setting up 5[E] and whatnot. Either way, j.E saved me that match. Plus he didn’t tech after it hit, so if I was still in the air, I could airdash forward and OTG j.E him for a lot of damage (think Fiona 5C otg 5C), and if I was on the ground, I can dash forward and do 2E for roughly the same damage. After that, he left, and I ended up just beating the game and leaving.

I go to super position, I get my figure and I manage to stuff that box, and my pair of shoes in the new bag. I stop by Kbooks and I see a phone strap of Chi-chan from Ichigo Mashimaro. I had one of them on my DS a long time ago, except that DS got lost on a boat, and is probably in the ocean somewhere, so I pick up another one to throw on my current DS, since it was only 2 bucks, I figured why not. I decide to go home because if I stopped to play more tekken or something, I wouldn’t want to stop, so I go to subway and eat dinner there. I get a footlong to take half of it home and eat it for lunch at work (which is now). Speaking of Subway, in the past week, I’ve had it like, 6 days. Last Tuesday, I went to Osaka, and had it at Umeda station. Last Wed night, I was on Denden town, so I got a footlong, ate half there, brought the other half home. Thursday at work, I ate it for lunch. Friday I didn’t have subway. Saturday, I ate Subway after I got to denden. Sunday night, I had subway, as I just said, and then I’m about to eat this sub I have. BTW they’re awesome. I wouldn’t have it so much if it wasn’t so friggin delicious. The tuna here tastes better somehow. I get: Tuna on white bread, lettuce, slice-type cheese, and a pepper/salt combination. It’s super good and it’s not too much more expensive than back home. 8 bucks for a footlong.

I head back home, unpack everything, open up the lucky star poster, I ended up getting 2 in 1! One is Kagami/Tsukasa/Konata during Christmas, and the other is of Konata. I thumbtack the Reimu figure up right under my Reimu charm that I bought last year at the touhou store. I set up my figure, and take good care of the box and stuff, so if the price of it increases 2-3fold and I want to sell it, I have the box and stuff. After that, I go to bed, and here I am at work. I fell asleep again, studying Japanese always makes me tired. Like, I was so tired I was trying to MOVE and I couldn’t. There’s no nearby convenience store or vending machine, so I couldn’t just grab a coke, I have to already have planned to bring it.

Sorry this is so long, but hope you all are enjoying reading these! Leave comments! Aim me if you have questions! Email me at xctalimu at gmail dot com if you have anything else to say! Whatever! <3

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Misadventures of Rob #ReloadFULL EP9.5 - Tokyo Part 2 + Denden

(Part 2)

Continuing from where I left off last: At about 9:45, I’m on my way to Akihabara. Today is somewhat of a free day. There are no tourneys or anything; I don’t plan on going to SBO that day, so I was free to walk around Akihabara until I felt like leaving. I wanted to go to Joybox later that day, but since it was only 10:00, I had plenty of time. So I start by walking over to the Comic Toranoano store there. By the time I got there, it was about 10:00, so things were just opening up. However, I had to use the bathroom so I stopped in this one arcade first and used the bathroom before I went to Toranoano. Even tho it was 10AM, and the arcade was JUST opening, there were still guys running inside and going up the escalator to play some Gundam against each other and stuff. I think I saw a few guys playing some fate unlimited codes as well. After I left there, I went to toranoano. I went to the used doujinshi floor and picked up about 2000 yen worth of cheap doujinshi. After that, I went to animate trying to find cool stuff, like a phone strap, or a screen protector, but nothing. After that, I made my way over to the cheap figure store I went to last time I was in Akiba. Im specifically looking for this set of idolm@ster figures that were released last year that became kind of rare and expensive. I went to the store hoping to find them for cheap, but they were pretty expensive there, so I decided not to pick any of them up. I picked up a small figure of Amu from Shugo Chara for pretty cheap. I walked around random places in Akiba some more when I stumbled across this random figure store I never knew about, and it turns out that they had some of those idolm@ster figures I was looking for at reasonable prices! So I picked up Ami and Yukiho. Im not going for the entire set, I just want to make the two units that I used often, which was Ami/Yukiho/Yayoi and Miki(short hair)/Chihaya/Haruka. I also saw a Mizuki figure from Comic Party. The set that this figure was from is about 700 yen for a random box, and most of the figures individually I would see for around 1200-1800. However, this place had Mizuki (the one I wanted the most) for 400 yen. I also saw another Amu from Shugo Chara for even cheaper than I thought that they would sell that figure for, so I picked that up too. After that, there was ANOTHER figure store there, so I had to go in, of course, and there I saw the Short Hair Miki figure for half the price that the other places had it for (900 yen as opposed to 1800 yen). I picked up that figure and then left that place.

After that, I went to the arcade for a bit, the same one that the big 3v3 tourney the day before was at. It was 2 credits for the price of one, which was really cool, and 7 machines all set up. However there weren’t THAT many people playing. I played for a bit against a few people, but did way too many matches against the CPU. I finished up there after beating the game and headed over to KBooks. I walked around Kbooks a bit the day before, but I didn’t really see anything, and it was way too crowded. It was a bit less crowded today, so I got a chance to look around more. I’m not as big into anime seiyuu or anime music as I used to be, I mostly just like doujinshi and some figures. I thought that I would avoid buying figures here, but I couldn’t help but to keep getting ones that are cheap and cute. When walking, however, I managed to see a really nice Sion figure with her holding her gun. Normally that figure would be like, 40 bucks, since its kinda tall, so I wanted to see what they were selling it for. It was only 1050 yen, so I grabbed it and walked around some more. Didn’t see any small figures I wanted, so I looked at the doujinshi section. Didn’t see any that grabbed my interest except one, so I took those to the register. The guy asked me if I had a Kbooks card. I had one from like, last time I was in Japan, and I wanted to see if it would still work, and sure enough it did. I now have some Kbooks points! I was just about ready to leave to head to joybox, when I get outside, and it is POURING outside. Not just slight rain where if you walk fast, you’ll be ok, it was like, walking 15 seconds in that will get you soaked. So I go back inside of the area where kbooks is at, and walk around the other stores there, just to kill time. I condense the shopping bag I have and my other bag into one, so I was able to empty out the unnecessary bag and get rid of some of the garbage in my bag. After a bit, it was raining a little less, but still heavy. I just took the empty paper bag I had and just covered my head and walked about 30 seconds to the train station across the street. Normally I always carry an umbrella, but I forgot it on this trip, as it’s in my other bag, since normally I only use one bag. So I get on the train and make my way toward Shinjuku so I can go to Joybox. It’s pretty close, so I’m there soon enough, and it’s still raining a bit. I again use my paper bag as an umbrella and walk toward Joybox, but I haven’t really eaten yet, so I get some Wendy’s first. After that, I ditch my paper bag umbrella in their trash can and walk quickly over to Joybox.

There’s a few players there playing already, Tomo, Kamei, The Pianist, etc. I wasn’t doing too bad. Unlike casuals for the 3v3, this was all 2/3 rounds, not 3/5 rounds. It made it easier to win a match, but it was still really short. However, I managed to win a few matches against some of the SBO qualifiers, and most of the matches I played against everyone else, even Tomo or Bashii (Fiona sbo qualifier), I would at least take it to the last round before I lost. I feel like I got a lot better by playing them. Granted, I’m still not that great, and I have a long way to go, but I feel like I can definitely do it now, and that I just need to play hard and step my game up. Overall, I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with Petra than I used to, before it kind of felt like I was used to Lilica’s normals, and now the more I play the more I feel like I’m used to how Petra’s normals work, and their difference in speed, range, etc. I play for a couple hours, and then at about 5:00, I send a text to TalimJP asking him if he wants to meet up.

He apparently just got off work or something, and with no reception in joybox like I thought, after about a half hour or 45 minutes, I head outside and get a phone call from him. We decide to meet up at Tokyo station and take that over to Chiba (where he lives about 45 minutes away). We chat about whatever and we get to his stop. We stop by the JUSCO, which is like the Japanese Walmart (cept its actually good and not full of crazy idiots) and pick up some groceries. We bring them back to his place, and his 11 year old son, Luke, wants to come along, too. So we get him, and we’re meeting up with another guy, Jeff, (who goes by Exclamation Point on caliburforums) at the station. We all meet up and go to this family restaurant for dinner. They have a nomihoudai, which is “all you can drink”. This is quite rare in Japan. Unlike normal fast food restaurants where you can get a cup and have as many refills as you want, you can’t refill your drink in Japan. And it’s mostly Ice when they give it to you anyways. I don’t know how Japanese people go through meals with so little to drink, but whatever. So we get our drinks, me and Jeff get Melon Soda, TalimJP gets hot cocoa, but puts ice cubes in it to make it chocolate milk. His son gets a mix of melon soda, calpis, coke, ice tea or whatever. It was the color of that vegetarian drink “Grass”, which pretty much is grass, just in drinkable form. Don’t really wanna know how that drink he had tasted, but whatever, I used to do the same thing when I was 11, lol. We decided on what we wanted so we pushed the button. As I was about to order for myself, Luke started ordering for me instead, however, he started ordering the wrong thing, so it was cute that he was trying to order for us English speaking people, but he almost ordered the wrong thing. We got it taken care of tho. We sat around and talked and ate and stuff, I got some orange juice, then more melon soda, then more orange juice, etc. My meal was a “Chicken Rice Typhoon” or something like that. It was rice with small pieces of chicken on it, a sauce, and random vegetables that didn’t really looked like they belonged, but were there anyways. It was ok, not the best thing I’ve ever eaten, but it wasn’t too bad. After that, we headed back to TalimJP’s place to play some Soul Calibur IV.

At this point, since I have only a bit of experience, I’ve been playing as Tira cause I find her the most fun. We started playing, Jeff was using Mina and doing crazy good stuff with her deceptive range and damaging lows. However, he blocked a lot, and after a while, that led to me doing a buncha critical finishes. TalimJP still says he hasn’t played much SCIV and is getting used to Talim’s new moves. He wasn’t doing too bad for the little experience he had. I still feel Talim is very lacking (this comes from an SCII Talim player tho, lol) so I give him props to sticking with his character. Luke was also playing, and he used Astaroth. He still kinda mashes, but occasionally it seems like he knows what he’s doing. He’s very animated when he plays tho, and when he gets a throw, he always yells “BUSTA!” It’s pretty funny. TalimJP would be telling him he needs to block, and Luke would be like (in Japanese) “Nah, I don’t need to, I’m fine” which is lol. Then he was looking through the strat guide and looking at people’s ages. He said (JP) “Voldo is 50? That’s old!” TalimJP said “That’s not THAT old…” Then Luke was like “That’s like a Salaryman…”

After playing a bunch of SCIV, we played some 4 player Halo. After a few games of Luke and Jeff destroying me and TalimJP, we finished that. It was around 12:45 at that point. To get to tougeki on time for the last chance qualifiers, I had to be up at 4:30. So I went to sleep and got a little bit of sleep, while the other guys kept playing. I woke up, and TJP and Jeff were still up. I took a shower and got everything ready, said bye and I headed off to SBO.

I’ve never been to the area where SBO is, but I drew myself a map and it seemed pretty easy. I got there, it was about 6:20, no problems no anything. However, I forgot to use the washroom before I left, so I wanted to go to the convenience store across the street to use it there. I went in there, place was packed. There was a 25 minute wait for the restroom. I waited in that line, used the bathroom and then bought a couple things to eat. I finally got in. I paid the $20 ticket fee. I then went around from place to place trying to find what I need to do to sign up for LCQ (Last Chance Qualifiers.) I finally got the packet that has the guidebook and stuff, and it was 1300 yen. I signed up for Arcana 2 just fine. Thing is, Ryan (Fubar) was running super late. Cutoff is at 8, and he said he might not make it until 8:15. I tried to sign up for him and they wouldn’t let me. However, he thankfully got there on time. I saw Mike (Elvenshadow) and his team. However, their third guy was running late, so they had this tall Japanese guy who speaks English stand in for the other guy. That guy eventually showed up and they got to play.

Eventually, it was time for the LCQ to start. We get there, theres over 100 people signed up for arcana LCQ. There were 2 foreign spots (spots given automatically to foreigners) and only 2 foreigners entered. When they announced that, everyone looked at me and Ryan, it was pretty funny. So we were the first two spots. Afterwards, there were 30 more spots. To anyone who got a spot, it was like they won the lotto. It was that hype. After all was said and done, the brackets were finished. I was in spot 32, and Ryan was in spot 29. If we both won first round, we would play each other, which wasn’t too bad, cause one of us would move on. Anyways, I won my first round against a Heart player. Ryan played a Lilica player and almost won. I played his opponent. He won the first round, he was about to beat me the 2nd round, but then he dropped his combo. Right as he was homing toward me to throw me, I did fireball explosion which was more than enough to kill him. It’s the final round, and sadly, he peaced me out with a lot of j.E and turtling. After that, we decide to go to Comiket

Comiket is about 15 minutes walking from SBO. We get there, and its about 9:30. There’s literally crowds an crowds of just people. If you took a helicopter and looked from above, it would look like an ant infestation, just giant waves of people. Anyways, I guess it opened around 10:00AM. Once 11:00 rolled around, we were almost in, 11:15 we were in, and then by 11:30 we made our way to one of the halls and were buying doujinshi. We bought stuff for about an hour and 15 minutes. Then we had some lunch. I had some very average spaghetti. After that, we went and browsed around some more. We ended up sitting down for a bit cause we were tired. Ryan was nodding off, so I let him sleep for a bit. Then I started to nod off and before we knew it we slept for like, 45 minutes in the comiket sitting area. We both felt like crap when we woke up, and we walked around one more hall before heading back. All in all, I probably spent a good $150 there, which is about what my budget had space for. After we got back, it was about 4:00. Arcana 2 Finals were just starting, so we ended up watching that.
First match was Tomo (Best Catherine in Japan) vs Gen-chan (stone Clarice). Tomo destroys bovy.
Next was Nizukichi (super cheap Angelia) vs Bovy (Top Kira). Nizukichi wins pretty easily.
The next match was a surprise. It was Tanukichi (Saki player and my pick to win the whole thing) vs Henvoke. The thing is, the guy who beat me and Ryan in LCQ was Henvoke. I thought he was kinda average when I played him, and here he is, top 8. They start to play, and Tanukichi’s controls mess up, so we wait a bit. Eventually it gets fixed and they play. Henvoke 2-0’s him and moves on.
Last match was another Saki player vs another Clarice player. Clarice player barely wins.

After that, Tomo plays Nizukichi. Almost loses, after Angelia does this crazy long elaborate setup with only a little bit of health left, and Catherine does one full screen tiger shot and nails Angelia for the victory. Henvoke destroys the other Clarice player.

In the final match, it was the closest it could ever be. Tomo does a SUPER long combo and leaves Henvoke with a pixel left and tomo only has like, 15% life left. Only a bit of time left, and Tomo spins with Catherine, Henvoke does super, but it hits from behind, so the first two hit, the third hit whiffs, and the fourth hit nails Catherine for the win. Henvoke now won SBO. The guy who beat me and Ryan in last chance qualifiers with a turtle Lilica wins SBO. Crazy.

After that was Melty Blood last chance. I know only 2 teams in the entire tourney. One of them is Deguchi, an AH Konoha player and his partner, and Kubo/Kou’s team. Kubo is my hero in the MB world. He’s the best Sion. His partner is the legend known as LONG HAIR GLASSES MAN, famous for his long hair and glasses. Both teams end up being in top 4, both win their match and end up playing in finals. Kubo’s team takes it with a perfect on the last round against Deguchi’s partner. It was really cool.

After that, me and Ryan headed out to meet up with BAS (Japanese CVS2 player) and Justin and a buncha other Americans. We headed to Shibuya before Guilty Gear finals (which was fine because I saw the two games finals that I wanted to see). Before I left SBO, I bought a Blazblue fan set. It comes with a pretty Blazblue bag, a blazblue Tote bag in addition, a poster of each of the 10 characters, and a fanbook/artbook. The guy also gave me two Sol guilty gear phone straps. So I dragged that, along with my bag full of doujin, figures, and clothes, on the train to Shibuya. We met up with BAS, and went to this arcade where everyone else was. We all hung out and stuff at the arcade for a bit before heading off to this crazy restaurant. It was in the basement, and it was themed like a prison. It was dark, gloomy, and the doors were jail cell doors. One of us had to be handcuffed as they took us in, so one guy was all too willing to do it, it was pretty funny. A couple times, the lights just completely blacked out and extremely loud music started playing. People shooting cap guns out of nowhere, it was pretty wild. We ordered, got our food, hung out, did all the fun stuff. It was a really cool place overall, kind of expensive, but worth it for hanging out with all the other guys in Japan. After that was done, I had to head to Shinjuku to take my night bus back.

Not knowing exactly where I had to go, I left early. I got there around 10:30, and my bus leaves at 11:30. I find the place pretty easily, and what happens is you line up, tell them your name, and they tell you your bus #. However, I had no idea what was going on most of the time, and since I didn’t really have much info, or a ticket, I was hoping I could even make it back at all. At about 11:15, they started asking people to line up for the 11:30 bus. I went there and told her my name, and she was like “oh, I dunno if we have anyone by that name…” and then I said it again clearer and pointed to exactly where my name was on her sheet, and she was like “o ok.” Then I waited until they called my bus. I got there, put my bags in, and was in that “partly asleep, partly awake” state for most of it. Couldn’t 100% fall asleep cause I was sitting up, but I got some sleep in. Eventually I arrived in Umeda at 7:15, which is still 2 hours from where I live. I got back around 9:15, unpacked a little, and then around 10:00 I went to sleep for about 6 hours. After I woke up, I felt like crap, so I kinda layed there in bed for a while before I finally got up. I showered and attempted to use the internet, but the wireless I was leeching ended up going byebye, so I ended up going to the community center where there’s free wireless to go on the internet there. My computer lasted about an hour and a half on it’s battery before I had to head back home. I went back home and typed part 1 until I was too tired and then I went to bed.

Tuesday at work was very much the usual. Go to work. Use the internet. Go home after 7 hours. The thing is, after I got back, I realized that Wed wasn’t a normal day of work, rather it was a half day in Kobe from 1:30 – 4:30. I decided that instead of doing absolutely nothing here in Ono, that I’m gonna go to Osaka for the night. Around 4:00, I’m at the station on my way. I get to Osaka around 6. I stop by the arcade Monte Carlo, but nobody is really playing Arcana, so I head out of there. I go to Denden town and go around some figure stores for a bit. I don’t really find anything, so at about 8ish, I head over to the main arcade for Arcana. Even tho it’s a random Tuesday night, there’s a buncha people playing. There’s this one guy who mains Heart who’s really good. There was also this crazy good Yoriko player. The two of them had streaks, one on each machine. I play against the Yoriko player, since I have no experience vs her. I did ok, I would get to the 5th round on a lot of the matches, but I just couldn’t take the match win. The guy would do super pent perfect like, everything, so I couldn’t really do anything to him on wakeup, and in Pent mode, I couldn’t do like, anything to him. However, I still managed to win rounds, just not matches, haha. I played a bunch there against various players until everyone left around 11:30.

Afterwards, I walked over to Spa World about 20 minutes away. They were having a deal where it’s only 1500 yen a person. I planned on staying overnight so total for the overnight stay there, it would be only 2500 yen, which is a steal as far as I’m concerned. Unlike the last two times I went where the men’s floor was the Asia themed floor, this time it was the European themed floor. I went around all the different area’s, the first part had a bath that had bubbles coming in the center, so it was kind of like a Jacuzzi. I sat in there for a while. Then there was a normal sauna, which was 39.5 degrees. I stayed there for a bit. I went in some various other baths, the coolest one was outdoors, and they had a big waterfall. I stood under that and it felt like I was getting massaged. They also had lawn chairs set up inside the bath, so you could lay there, but inside the bath. It was awesome. After about 45 minutes of going to various baths, I went to the big room where all the reclining chairs were set up. I slept there until about 8. Afterwards, I got up, washed up, got in more baths, etc. I had to check out by 9, so I only had a limited amount of time to sleep, which is why I was up so early. After taking more baths and getting changed and everything, I was out around 8:45.

I took the trains over to Kobe where the meeting was. I tried to find the building where it was being taken place, but after about 15 minutes of looking around, I got bored and walked over to Sannomiya, which is the “fun” district. They had a comics Toranoano, and an Animate that I haven’t been to yet, so I went to those. I picked up a bamboo blade phone strap that featured broke girl. After that, I walked over to this sega arcade and played Street Fighter 4 for about an hour or so. I got a Chun-Li card, and even tho it was like, noon, other people were playing. I thought that was cool, so I played them. They were about my level, and I ended up going 8-3 that day. That gave me enough game $ to buy a color change, so that was cool, plus it was fun being able to play a lot. I left there, ate a quick beef bowl at Matsuya and tried to find the place again. I walked further, and then I saw a buncha foreigners standing in front of a building, so I knew I found the right place.

The orientation itself was only so-so. Some of it was very useful and good to know, others made me want to go to sleep. After that, I went BACK to Osaka and straight to Denden town. I got there around 6. However, there was a problem with my application or something for my internet, so I went back to the YahooBB store and tried to find out the problem. Apparantly the address was wrong, so I had to talk to this lady on the phone for a while to find out what I had to do. Everything got solved, but about 2 minutes before the call was over, my brain was fried from all the Japanese, so even easy stuff I knew I could understand I was just unable to. Eventually, it got taken care of and I should have internet by early Sept. After that, I went back to the good arcade, called “Athena”. There was again, that really good Heart player, but he was using only his side characters like Elsa. I had problems with it because I’ve never played a good elsa, so he was winning, but I was getting more used to it after a few games. I played until 9:20 when I had to head back home. I stopped by Subway to get some food, and by the time I got on my train, it was about 9:47. I got home around midnite and pretty much went straight to bed.

I woke up this morning SUPER tired cause the past few days and the weekend was all a huge lack of sleep. I slept for like, an hour here at work this morning. I was just that tired. I need to do laundry today, but aside from that, with no internet or 360 yet (tho it did get delivered to Microsoft, so that’s cool that it made it), I’m probably just gonna go to bed really really really early. Thankfully I can sleep 2 hours later than normal tomorrow because instead of work, I have an English orientation from 10-12, and then meeting the mayor after that. This weekend I have 2 arcana 2 tournaments. I will probably be going to them just for the all-day arcana, but unless something more urgent comes, my weekends are devoted to arcana, lol.

BTW pics of my apt and everything will come once I get internet in my house. Internet has been going in and out here at work, so I’ve had plenty of time to write this essay (prolly took close to 3 hours from start to finish, including eating lunch, surfing other sites and stuff too)


Monday, August 18, 2008

The Misadventures of Rob #ReloadFULL EP9 - Tokyo Part 1

PART ONE – Tuesday - Friday
Hey everyone, this weekend was super crazy, so this is gonna be EXTREMELY LONG, but bear with me. Ill separate it by days to keep track of everything. I don’t have the internet right now (Guess the person I was leeching from got wise to it while I was in Tokyo), so I’ll just assume we left off on Tues night.

Tuesday, I get home from work. I was really tired at work that day, so I’m like “I’ll just take a nap after I eat and surf the net a bit.” So around 5:30, I take a nap. I wake up around 10:00PM. I’m like “yea…” so I get up, brush my teeth, go to the bathroom, and then go back to bed until I have to wake up for work at 7:00AM. Then when I wake up after 13.5 hours of sleep im like “WHY DID 7:00 COME SO EARLY?” I think it was partly lack of sleep, and partly the fact that I exercise a lot everyday by just biking to and from work 20 minutes in 95 degree weather. It takes a lot out of me, so my body is tired as well as my mind.

So at work on Wed, nothing is happening, and at about 1:00, the principal and vice principal were both gone. I’m just sitting there surfing the net (I was studying Japanese earlier, and got tired, and I was talking to some of the other teachers for a while, so I was just taking a break). At about 1:30, one of the professors is like (obv in japanese) “It’s hot…Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream…” and then he goes to the freezer and gets one. Then he asks me if I want one, and I’m like “sure” I get a Calpis flavored one (Calpis, pronounced “Cal, like “calorie” and pis pronounced like “piss” (The similarity to how it sounds like “cow piss” sways many foreigners from drinking the stuff, but I like the taste so whatever). Calpis is kind of like a creamy taste, but not gross like cream soda. They have both Calpis water and Calpis soda, and I usually get the soda cause it tastes better imo. After doing a sudoku puzzles online, it’s about 1:45, and that teacher is like “what time do you leave?” I said “3pm”, and then he’s like “even when the principal and vice principal aren’t here?” I’m like “umm, I dunno…” Then he’s like “You shouldn’t have to be here if they’re not here, you should just head out early.” I’m like “Do you think its ok?” and he’s like “Yeah, it’s fine, you can go.” So I head on out and head back to the apt.

At the apt, I surf the internet for a while, and then I’m debating heading out to Kobe (about 1.5 hours away) to play some Street Fighter IV or something, and then I call one of the other ALT’s cause he asked me to call him about something, so I give him a call. Apparently my predecessor left some stuff in the apt, so I had to go get that. We get to talking, and he says he bought SCIV for the ps3. Thankfully, I brought my stick and my pelican adapter cause he says he only has one controller. I go over there, and we play for 2.5 hours or so. He’s one of those guys who beats his friends, but hasn’t really played anyone high level, so he wasn’t bad, and it gave me a lot of time to learn new characters and stuff. I ended up picking Tira most of the night, and she’s atm, the closest thing resembling a “main character” that I have. After that, I headed back to my place to eat and then surfed the net until I went to bed.

Thursday comes around, it’s the day I head to Tokyo. I go to work at the usual time, around 8:00. Unlike most days where I’m a few minutes late (so I’m not waiting outside for the doors to open), I was a couple minutes early. The coffee lady was there, and all the doors were locked and stuff. So she says I can sit in her car in the AC until someone comes. We wait until about 8:30 and finally another teacher comes, as well as the Vice Principal. We were debating just leaving because nobody was there, but we stuck it out I guess, lol. Most of the people weren’t there because there’s this big festival called “o-bon” or something that weekend, so people take like, that week off of work, especially teachers because its summer break. The vice principal actually had the day off too, but he came in for a few minutes. So he leaves after about 15 minutes. Aside from me and the coffee lady, there’s 2 other teachers there. I ate breakfast, surfed the net, played sudoku, whatever. At about 11:30, I was like “Ok, I have a trip today, so I’m gonna head out early, bye.” Especially since the VP and Principal aren’t there, no real reason for me to be there till 3.

So it’s 11:30. I bike to the dept store, and pick up a couple things I need to mail my 360. I get back home, surf the net for a bit, take care of a few things, and then I pack up my 360, go to the post office and mail it out. I go to the convenience store to pay my electric bill, which you would think its weird, but it’s very convenient, so the stores serve their purpose. <3<3<3 Convenience stores. Anyways, after all is said and done, it’s about 1:00, and I grab my bag with clothes and stuff for the weekend and head out.

Now I was planning on going to SBO for a while, but didn’t want to reserve anything until I got the days off approved from the principal. He approved them, but that was on Monday (it took a while to ask, I didn’t want to do it the first day I was there, you know?). So Monday, I check the bus sites for overnight buses. Nothing. Not a single one from Osaka or Kobe to Tokyo the day I want to go. Im like “Well, there’s gotta be another way to get there…” because I didn’t want to spend 180 bucks on a bullet train. Overnight bus was anywhere from 50-80 or so, which is a lot better. I end up looking online at this site that tells you where you need to go, and I find out that I can take this convoluted 11.5 hour trip of mostly local trains and one semi-overnight train and it’ll be about 100 bucks total (which, including the 10 bucks to get to Osaka, is only 10 bucks more than the most expensive overnight bus). I decide it’s the only way I’m gonna get to Tokyo, so I gotta do it. I wrote down all the directions I might need in my little blue notebook, and I made sure to bring that along. However, I was able to book a night bus back from Shinjuku, Tokyo to Osaka, so I was happy about that, knowing I would only have to do the crazy ghetto local train route once, and not have to spend a ton on a shinkansen (bullet train) back.

I bike to the station, and my directions say to Kobe, but I decide to kill some time in Osaka (which overshoots Kobe, but there’s a “better arcade” there). So I go to Umeda in Osaka, by that time it’s about 3:30 I would say once I get there.

I walk around and find Monte Carlo, which is one of the best arcades in Osaka. It’s kinda like the A-cho of Osaka, 50 yen for a ton of games, but it’s not quite as nice as A-cho. I play some Arcana there for a couple hours. I run into Deguchi, who’s a Konoha player I knew from last time I was in Japan. He was kinda surprised to randomly see me at the arcade, lol. I talked to him for a bit, he told me he qualified for Melty Blood SBO, which is cool, we played a bit of arcana, and then around 5:30 I headed out to get some food or something. I’m walking around and I run into a Namco arcade. I go inside, and they have one Street Fighter IV machine, with like, 3/5 rounds (most are 2/3 rounds for 100 yen), and there’s like, no line. Me and one other guy. So I play there for a while, and eventually the other guy leaves, so its just me and the guy who keeps winning. My train from Kobe toward Tokyo leaves around 7:12, so I was like “ok, it takes a half hour to get there” and instead of thinking “I should get there early” I tried to cut it as close as possible. 6:40 rolls around, and I’m like “omg, I’m not gonna make it in time” after I realize I still have to walk to the station and wait for the train. I then look at my directions and “Osaka” is the next station, and the train I need to get on for that leaves at 7:42, so I realize that if I went back to Kobe, I would have went backwards just to go back to where I was.

After un-panicking, I go to the station, and there’s a small bakery and a grocery store there. I get a coke, some Koala Yummies, and some Pringles for the trip. At the bakery, I get this pizza bread thing, which ends up being really good, this cream cheese bread, which is pretty good, too, and this donut which ends up being not soft enough. After that, I was full, so I got on the train. Because I was already in Osaka, I was ahead of schedule. Once I get on the train, it’s just one fare because it’s all part of the same train owner, it’s all “JR trains” from that point on. So I take a train, look at my directions, which say to get off at this station, then take the same line to the last stop. The train I was looking at right in front of me said it was going to my destination, and it looked like I didn’t have to transfer, so I save a transfer. I get on that train, it’s pretty long, like 90 min to 2 hours, I don’t remember. Then when I get to that station, I go to the bathroom and then look for where the next train I’m supposed to take is. I end up finding the schedule and it says the train is gonna leave at the time that was on my watch. There was construction, so I had to go around this construction thing to get to the train I needed. Before I realize that, the train I was gonna get on goes zooming by. The next one is a half hour after that. I sit down and wait. Eventually the train comes, it’s about a half hour long. I then transfer to another one which is about 90 minutes long, and goes through Nagoya, which is a major city in the middle of the main island of Japan. When I finally get to the end of that, it’s the last transfer. I get there around 12:15 (Yes, it’s been about 5.5 hours since I was at the Osaka station). At this station, there’s a night train that goes once a night from the station that we were at all the way to Tokyo station. On there, you can reserve a seat at the station so you can just sleep on that train.

Guess what I forgot to do? It’s almost as if I intentionally want to make this trip a misadventure and not go smoothly. Anyways, so after getting on and realizing that I didn’t have a seat reservation ticket, I ended up just standing up in the area where you can talk on your cell phone between the train cars. I sat down there after a while and the other guy who didn’t have a seat either ended up asking me if I spoke English. I was like “yes?” So we start talking. His name was Masato, and apparantly, the reason why the overnight buses were all full was because everyone was going to “Comic Market” (aka Comiket). It’s the biggest doujinshi convention in Japan, and happens 2x a year, once in summer, once in winter. Masato was also going, so we were talking about comiket, manga, anime, games, etc. We ended up killing an hour and a half by hanging out and talking, so that was really cool because it made the trip go by a lot faster. His English was about as good as my Japanese, so we kinda went half and half, haha. After that hour and a half, it was about 2:15AM. We haven’t slept yet, and I’ve been up since 7AM. The train stops for about a half hour at the station, so we got out, I got some water, he smokes a cigarette. After we get back, we see two empty seats next to each other with no bags there (as in, no indication of anyone sitting there). So we go there, and we’re like “Hopefully nobody comes, and hopefully the conductor doesn’t come to check our tickets.” So nobody comes, so we weren’t in anyone’s seat. Then the conductor comes, and checks some other people’s tickets in the car, and walks by us. So we’re like “hell yeah, free seats, lets sleep for a couple hours.” Since I have a hard time sleeping sitting up, I get maybe an hour and a half of sleep. The other guy is out like a light. I have to wake him up when we get to Tokyo, and his eyes were bloodshot, it was pretty funny. He says that he’s gonna head over to comiket, and I say that I’m gonna try to find a manga or internet café in the area to get some sleep for 4-5 hours or so.

So Masato heads out, and I pay about 8500 yen to get out of the station. I leave and walk around, I find a couple internet café’s, but they’re crazy expensive so I’m like, I’ll walk around some more. Just then, Arturo (Sabin) sends a message to my cell phone and was like “where you at?” So after a few messages, he says that I can head over to his girlfriend’s place and crash there for a while. I head over there. By the time I get there, it’s about 6:30. The place is extremely small, and while his GF is gone, she said “no AC.” This place is on the 3rd floor, and its SUPER hot in there, and really stuffy. Like, just sitting there sweating type hot. I sleep for about an hour on a couch that was way too small, and he says I can go upstairs and sleep on their bed which has a fan. I’m like “sure” and I sleep up there for about 3 hours. I was still really hot and sweaty and stuff. I take a shower, and get dressed for the day. We head out after about a half hour to Joybox, which is THE arcade for Arcana. Nobody is there, of course because it was still early. Me and Art play each other for a while and then Ryan (Fubarduck) calls and asks where we are, and says he’s on his way to Joybox after we say we’re there. After a half hour or so, he shows up, and the three of us session for a while. It was pretty fun, we’re all at about equal levels. After a couple hours there, we have to sign up for the big Arcana 3v3 tournament in Akihabara. It’s essentially the reason why I got there Friday as opposed to Sat/Sunday since SBO is on Sunday for Arcana.

We get there, and there’s 7 machines set up all in a row. We register our team as “Team Spooky,” since we all owe a lot to Vic. We were all hungry, so we went to this curry place right near there. It was packed, so we have to wait a bit to sit down, but we ended up getting seats after a few minutes, and we get our food. After we’re all done, we head back to the arcade. There’s even more people there. We all start to play, and we’re pretty much getting wrecked. Every once in a while, we get rounds. I won only one match before the tourney. Then again, I only played like, 7-8 because It was so crowded and took forever to even play a single match, even with 7 machines. I saw a buncha SBO qualifiers there, so that was pretty cool. I played a match against Metal Slime, and it was pretty much training mode for him. Kira is the character I’m worst against, it feels like no matter what, I’m always getting hit and owned. I dunno what to really do in that match, but that’s what practice is for I guess, lol. Gotta step it up. Anyways, the tourney starts. We play against a team of a Dorothy player, a beastly Kira player that I saw at Joybox when I was there for Tokyo Orientation, and one other guy. Dorothy player goes first on their team, and Art goes first on our team. Art gets 2-0’d. I go next. I almost win the first round (way up in life most of it, then I choke at the end and lose it), and lose the 2nd round. Ryan goes next, and loses both rounds, too. So we end up getting OCV’d by this Dorothy player. Ouch. We were hoping just to not get OCV’d, but whatever, it can’t be helped. Art was really sad about it, but whatever, stuff happens, just gotta keep playing. We shook the Dorothy player’s hand and then I watched the tournament some more. In the middle of it, I was kinda getting bored, so I played some other games, Tekken was 2 credits for 100 yen, so I played that a bit. I was playing some Zafina player who would be losing most of the match, then do all this crazy stuff I’ve never seen and win. Oh well. I beat him after a while, and then I lost to his Bryan which did only like, 2 moves, so I figured it was time to stop.

When I got back, it was semi-finals. The winning team ended up being Bovy (Kira player who qualified for SBO), Cariba- (Heart player who uses crazy arcana’s like plant), and this one Elsa player who I didn’t recognize. Cariba- wins most of the matches that he plays, if they get to him, he generally just beasted. However, in the semi’s, he lost to this one Catherine player, maybe Fujii, and then it was the Elsa player against the Catherine player, winner of the match goes onto finals. Last round, Catherine is up in life, about 40% to Elsa’s 10%. There’s only about 7 seconds left. The Elsa ends up doing something weird and grounds Catherine, and then does the OTG hammer super. At this point, there’s about 2-3 seconds left, and then he immediately does her DP super, which ends up hitting Cathy and bringing her down to like, 5% life right as time runs out. It was so crazy and intense.

The other team in Finals had a Catherine player, I think, Kanda (who’s the Time Lilica who I stole everything from), and this one sick Zenia player who resets you for pretty much your entire bar if he hits you. In finals, bovy gets beat. Cariba- beats Catherine, then goes 2-1 against Kanda’s AH2 Time Lilica (which was cool, but ultimately not as strong as AH1 Time Lilica). Then Cariba- plays against the Zenia player. The Zenia player gets the winning combo chance, 2AB super, and then goes to homing cancel the super and finish up the combo, and he DROPS IT. Cariba- then comes back and wins the round that he should have lost. Cariba- then wins the next round for the tourney win. The guy was sooooo strong that day.

BTW the other guy I played in Osaka was a Cariba- imposter and not nearly as good/cool. Sorry for confusing other people, it was just a different Heart player.

After the tourney, I was standing there looking at the past tourney brackets, and they had a buncha free stuff from Examu, so they give me some of it. I get a Petra coaster, and 2 heart coasters to give to the other people on the team since Ryan and Art left by this point. He also gives me the thing you put on the machine saying the moves for the character/arcana for Angelia. It was cool. Petra coaster was by far the coolest thing though. I end up seeing Kouya, and I talk to him a bit, and he introduces me to this one guy. We start talking for a bit, he’s really cool and stuff. I ask him his name after a bit of talking and he’s like “Tokinomiya Rei” and I’m like “O SNAP!” and tell him that I watched his youtube vids a lot. He thought that was really cool, and say saying that he was originally just gonna keep them on Niconico, but he’s glad that he put them on youtube now. I ended up also meeting Cariba-, who’s a really nice guy. I tell him that he was probably the strongest one that day, and I saw a buncha his vids also. For arcana 1, we always saw him using weird Arcana’s, and I told him that Americans were like “what is this?” and were amazed by him winning with such strange arcana combinations. He says something about character love and using what you like using works. They ask what I think about AH2 Heart, and I say that at first, she looked weak, but I think she’s pretty strong now after seeing what she can do.

I also met Pincho, who was really cool, and he started talking to me for a bit. He introduced me to a guy who wanted to talk to me about the American scene and stuff. Apparantly he works at Examu in the foreign dept or something, and wanted to get more info about the US scene. I told him that pretty much, its not as popular as in Japan cause not only are people less into fighters here, but all little girls doesn't have a ton of appeal here. However, I said that there's a lot of people who like anime who bought the game because it reminds them of that sort of thing. We talked for a bit and he gave me his business card, so I can email him whenever I want to if I want to talk about examu stuff.

After that, I go and play against some more people. I play Nezukichi’s Angelia (3rd at SBO), and I get 2 rounds and almost win the match (it’s 3/5 rounds). After that, I play against White’s Clarice for a while, It’s so crazy hard to beat. He bursts at the right time like, everytime. However, I was still able to get some rounds against him, and after playing for a bit, I ran outta 100 yen coins. It was about time to close, so everyone left, and we all said bye to each other. Overall, I got better as the night went on, while not winning matches, I was getting more rounds, and it was closer than it was before. That, and I was more consistent with my combo’s than I normally ever am. Thankfully Petra is pretty easy in the combo department unlike Lilica, haha.

It was about 11:45 at this point. I go to Matsuya and get a beef bowl. After that, I go to any manga café/internet café in the area that I know of so I can sleep there for the night. EVERY SINGLE ONE (went to like, 5) was fully booked. Damn nerds. Stealing my cheap place to sleep, lol.

I decided to walk down a different busy road from the one akihabara is on, but parallel to that road. After walking for 10 minutes, im like “omg, its 12:45, I can’t take a train back to another area in Japan cause they’re all shut down, all the places I was gonna sleep at are booked, I have no idea where I’m gonna sleep.” Yay for misadventures. I see a police box, debate going in there to ask if there’s any capsule hotels or anything nearby. Then I just happened to see a sign for a capsule hotel. It was 3700 for the night, so I was like “SOLD!” I go in there, check out time is 10:00 unfortunately, even tho check in time is 5:00PM, and I got there at 12:45. Not a huge deal, but whatever. I fill out the sheet, show him my passport instead of writing down my address and stuff. Put my shoes in a locker. Then I get the key to another locker to put my stuff in. I put my bag in there. I take the elevator up to the 5th floor where my capsule is. I brush my teeth and go to the bathroom before heading to bed.

I head over to my capsule. The way each floor is, is that there’s about 32 capsules, 16 rows with two capsules one on top of the other. Mine is on the top, so there’s this ladder-ish thing. I get in there. There’s no door or anything, just a screen to shut. I pull the screen down. There’s a small TV in there, with headphones. There’s a light adjustor, and I can turn the TV to radio. There’s a small shelf, and enough space to sit up. They have a pillow in there that’s decently comfortable and a blanket that was big enough to open up and wrap around me. There was also a clock/alarm there so I didn’t have to use my own. I set it for 9AM since check out is 10. It’s about 1AM, so I go to bed and I’m COMPELTELY out (as in, don’t even wake up) until 9AM when my alarm goes off.
My alarm goes off, and im still really tired. I sleep another 10 minutes, and then I turn on the TV to wake myself up. They’re doing Olympics coverage. I watch that for about 10 minutes before I finally get up and out. I go to my locker, grab my change of clothes and head to the shower. It’s a communal shower area, so I go in and it’s one of those showers where you sit on a stool and can shower yourself with a removable shower head, or put water in a small bucket and pour that on yourself. I did a bit of both, cleaned myself up and stuff. I brushed my teeth with the disposable toothbrushes they have there as well. There was a giant bath also (you can only go in after you’ve cleaned yourself), so I go in after I finish washing myself up. I stay there for a few minutes and head out. I get changes and shave and brush my hair etc. I get everything ready and I check out around 9:45.

After I leave, I begin to make my way to Akiba for a packed Saturday…