Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Misadventures of Rob #ReloadFULL EP16 - A very Suggoi! Loc Test!

Last I left off, was last wed or thursday. Wed nite consisted of me either sleeping or playing tales of vesperia. Thursday at school was the "everyone in school goes out and paints", so all the students went out and did some painting. Depending on their grade/class, they went to different places. I was with the first years. It was pretty boring from that point on, actually. Just sitting there watching them paint. This went on for like, the entire day. After that, i went home. i chilled on the computer until about 8:30 when another ALT, Maria and her boyfriend Bill came over to hang out and play some video games, we hung out, played some fighters, and then went they left at about 10.
Friday was a normal day, but sadly, after that we had ANOTHER Enkai, which is "everyone in the school wastes their friday night, spends a ton of money to eat average food and get hammered". So I went to that, luckily, i got the best seat i probably could have got because i was near the few people in school who actually like, talk to me, haha. It was ok, i was tired so I drank like, 4 bottles of coke. I also did it to kill the flavor of the fish. BTW i don't like fish, and guess what everything was. Fish, either raw or cooked. Awesome. For the amount i paid for that, we could have gone to a yakiniku all you can eat and i would have been in heaven. But overall it was pretty fun. Not how i want to spend my friday night, but I still made the best of the situation for what it was.
Saturday, i had to wait for the NTT guy to show up. AKA the internet guy. He eventually came and took about an hour to look through the apt and see what he had to do to get me internet. Its funny cause ive been doing everything in english from day 1, yet they dont care enough to have people call me in english (any phone call ive recieved has been in JP), and then this guy comes asking a buncha questions in Japanese. Thankfully I know enough to be able to talk to those people, cause otherwise I'd have been screwed. After they finally left, I headed out to meet Toshi at Denden. Before I went anywhere, I got a footlong sub at subway, and it was soooooo good. After that, I stopped by Sega Avion first because they were testing Tatsunoko vs Capcom, the new crossover fighter. I played for the first time, got 5 wins in a row before the machine automatically booted me. Waited there for Toshi, after he showed up, i played again and got 5 more wins. While i was waiting for Toshi, i ran into this arcana player, C-type. He was trying out TvC, he didnt care for it, but then he asked me if I went to the Suggoi loctest. I was like WUT? WHERE? It was at Athena which is about a block and a half from Sega Avion.
So we headed over there. I wrote out on SRK in the AH2 thread most of what happened and how it went, but overall, Petra got a lot better, the new Sound arcana is perfect for how i play, and i was winning a lot more. After spending a while there, we walked around the Den. I had some stuff I was buying for other people, like Yosh (Orka), so I went to various stores looking for what he wanted me to pick up for him. He's done a lot of favors for me, so I didnt mind doing stuff like that for him. We found what we were looking for, and stopped at various stores along the way. I picked up Vampire Savior for the PSP because i need more games to play on the train. After we walked around the den a bunch, we went BACK to athena and i played the loc test some more. After that, we stopped by Avion again and I played TvC once more. Got another 5 win streak and then we peaced out. I only eat subway once a week, so i was still in the mood, so we went back. Ate there, and then we played some JuBeat at this amusement place. That game is too fun. I didn't know before, but they had Ayaka's Real Voice in there, adding to the list another song I know. I'm getting better, and that game is really fun, so that was good. After that, we left. I wasnt really in the mood to play fighting games, so i wanted to walk around some stores or shinsaibashi or something. We went to the Don Quioxte or however you spell it, i call it the "Dawnk", thanks to my roommate at Gaidai (the good one, not the bad ones). Its 24 hours i believe, so we went and looked at all the random stuff there. They had some clearance games, but nothing good. They had some old CDs on clearance, nothing good. They had a lot of stuff, but nothing i really wanted to buy. While we were there, Toshi got a phone call that he had to meet a client or something and then go to America-Mura (mura is village). We met up with the guy and went to America-mura. That place had a buncha weird friggin people. It had a lot of drunk foreigners, some skateboarders all hanging out in this one area, and some freaks dressed up in crazy clothes. It was pretty much the scariest place I've ever been to in Japan. Toshi and the other guy went to some club, and I headed back to go to a manga cafe.
Before i went to a manga cafe, I stopped by this one arcade that was open till 1AM. I played some street fighter IV. That game is so hard for me, after 100+ matches i STILL dont understand it at all. Oh well. After i played that for a while I left. I went to find deals for manga cafe's. Eventually I found one i didnt know existed. It had an 8 hour package for 1200 yen. The cheapest yet. It was a mat room, too, which is the most comfortable. I got in there, paid for it. They had free drinks of course, free soft serve ice cream, and free assorted drinks, too. They had OJ, milk, strawberry milk, pineapple juice etc. Everything. It was so awesome. I just chilled there reading a video game magazine drinking some free OJ and melon soda. It was great. In the cubicle itself, it was a mat, so that was comfortable, and then there was this black chair thing in there, and then a black leather pillow. I actually got a pillow to sleep with now! I went on the internet for a while, drank some drinks and stuff, and then slept for about 6 hours. I got out of there around 8:40.
I walked over to Mr Donuts, got the usual 3 donuts and walked over to Athena. Unlike most places that open up at 10, Athena opens up at 9, so I was right on time! I stayed there playing Suggoi until about 12:15 or so. Then, i went over to Avion and played some TvC again. There were a couple guys there who were good so I lost a few times, but it was still super fun, way more fun than sfIV to me. I walked around a couple stores in denden for a while, then i headed back to Athena and played more suggoi. At about 2:30-3ish, i was getting kinda tired of playing and hungry, so i went and ate a beef bowl at matsuya. It was super good, as usual, and cheap. After that, i was kinda looking for something to do, so i went from arcade to arcade, even the random ones that dont really have fighting games and walked around. Eventually I ended up at Namba hills. They had this one prize machine with touhou wallscrolls. They even had a few reimu ones. Normally, i dont trust prize machines at all, but this was the one where you pull it down if you get it in the right spot, and its definitely do-able if youre good. There were a few guys already there, and they got one. I decided to play. You need to get it perfect 2 times at best to win the cheapest. Each credit is 200 yen. I got it perfect the first time. A little off the 2nd, but it pulled it down a bit. 3rd and 4th i missed, and the last one was perfect and I pulled it down. So for 1000 yen, i won a nice big wallscroll. Keep in mind most wallscrolls go for about 4000 yen here, its not like at anime cons in the states. Plus, if something can only be won from a prize machine, it tends to be more expensive that normal.
After that, I went to the top floor and saw some Aquarian Age Alternative in action. Ive always wanted to play that game, but I never tried it. It was only 100 yen a credit, which is cheap for that kinda game, so next time, i may invest in it, because it looks like a lot of fun. Pretty much, its a game where youre a wizard and you control a buncha other wizards or mages or whatever, in the form of cute girls. You play by getting these cards that you move around on this playing surface. Its crazy.

After watching that, I left Namba Hills. I walked over to the tekken place and waited for a bit. There were actually people playing (i went sometime earlier in the day when i was going to random arcades and nobody was playing) so i decided to play. I was pretty much in the same spot for 2 and a half hours. I got promoted 3 times in that one day, and I was doing really well overall. After that, I left and went home. Played some vampire savior on the train, game is hard without a stick, lol. Came home, hung up my awesome wall scroll and then went to bed.
Monday was a normal day at work. Stopped by the grocery store to do some shopping first, and then i went home and played Tales of Vesperia for the rest of the night. Today is prolly gonna be similar, but i have to throw "doing laundry" somewhere in there.
This was kinda short cause most of the stuff was already written about the loc test, but overall it was a lot of fun. Not sure how this weekend is gonna go, ill play it by ear tho.

-Rob

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Misadventures of Rob #ReloadFULL EP15 - Meeting up with old friends #2

Last I left off was Friday night. I ended up playing a bit of Tales, getting tired and taking a nap. This was at 7PM. I slept until 1AM. I woke up, and was like, omg, im so stuuuupid. Then i went on the comp until about 3:30 when I fell back asleep. Saturday morning I woke up around 8 something. Got up and showered all quickly. I was expecting a delivery in the morning from Horistore.com. I ordered an HRAP for the 360 from them, and they delivered it just fine. The stick is awesome and totally worth it. I got lucky because not 5 minutes after I was out of the shower, my doorbell rings. Thankfully, i knew in advance from TalimJP to have cash, so it went really smoothly. I got ready and stuff and played some matches of SCIV against the computer with my new stick to test it. Works great. Wish i had a person to play against
though, haha.

After that, I headed out to Osaka. When i was leaving from Ono city, i got down the stairs at the station, and these two girls (cute Japanese girls, college age or so) were looking at me and laughing or something as i was walking down, and they were watching me for a bit. I went over to stand and wait for the train. It comes, I get on at car 2, and they get on at car 1. They walk from car 1 through to car 2, and then sit down maybe 15 feet away from me. They didn't really glance over or anything, but one of the girls busted out an English copy of Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde. I wasnt sure if I should go and talk and be like hey, i noticed youre reading an english book, or if i should just keep to myself. I decided not to do anything, cause in all honesty, i heard its rude to randomly go up to people in the train, and its kinda weird, so i didnt really feel like doing that.

Eventually I made it to Denden. I got a subway sub, and then I headed over to Athena. I played some arcana for a bit, and one match of Actress Again (the new melty, aka MBAA or AA) until Toshi showed up. There was the same Konoha player from last week that I was playing, and he was beating me pretty bad. Another guy wanted to play, so I watched and he almost won, but I saw how he handled Konoha. So the next match, I started playing better and ended up beating the guy a few times in a row. I talked to him a bit earlier, he used to go to ko-hatsu tourneys and i would see him often, but I usually beat him then, but he got a lot better since. Nobody else there was really that big of a challenge, just mainly the Konoha player. After Toshi showed up, we played some games for a little, watched some melty, and then walked around denden. Our quest for the day was to find some syringes for Toshi. He needed them for some computer thing he's doing, so we went to a buncha different stores and some hobby stores looking for stuff. Eventually we actually found some, which is a surprise cause Japan is so anti-drug that we figured they might not even be sold at all. It was in this figure building section on the 4th floor of this one store we rarely visit. We walked around and found another figure store. This one had Mario sound-drops for 315 yen. One of them was the coin sound drop, which Toshi wanted, but Super Position (main figure store) overprices everything and was charging like, 11 bucks for it. So that was pretty cool. We stopped by SCOT, and I saw another Asuka player who had like, 40 wins and like, 8 losses or something. I immediately played him and added another loss to his card. After that match he just left. Toshi played this one armor king player using Bob and was doing decent. Not much else was going on there except another small crowd for MBAA.

We went to pretty much all the stores and for the first time, i didnt see a single thing I wanted. We were both hungry so we walked back to Wendys to get some food. I got the usual, Teriyaki, BBQ, and frostie. After that, we were right near BIC Camera. We went in because I had a 40 dollar gift certificate that I knew worked there, so I was looking to see if they had anything. They had the Miki long hair PCV (i have the short hair one), but it was 5 bucks more expensive there than anywhere else. They also had the posable figures, but I wasnt really sure I wanted them. They didnt have any game stuff I wanted either. I kinda want one of those white GC controllers, but I already have a teal one, so I don't need another one. We started walking over to softmap to see if we could use the gift cards there, but first, we stopped at this one arcade. I showed Toshi the JuBeat, which is the music game where you have the 12 buttons, and theres a screen under the buttons and you have to hit the button after an image shows up on the screen saying PRESS BUTTON or something. Its crazy and its a lot of fun. We played that for a bit, and we both agreed it was like, the coolest thing ever.

After that, we headed over to Softmap and just as they were closing, we asked if we could use them there, and they said yeah, but we're closed, so I didnt get anything, but for the next time I go, I know I can use them. Sweet. After that, since Athena is right there, we hit that arcade up. I played a buncha arcana and was doing pretty good. Not too many people there tho, for a saturday night. The top players were probably all at the finals for the Examu 2v2 tournament in Tokyo, im guessing. I was beating whoever else was there tho, and then this one kamui player barely won, Toshi was taking off, so we said bye and stuff, then I played the kamui player again and destroyed him. After that, nobody played me and i just beat the game. I went to Avion and watched a bit of Street Fighter, and I played a bit of AA there, too. I didnt stick around for that long, but it was just enough to kill some time. I headed over to the Namco arcade for tekken, and there were like, 8 guys crowded around like, one or two setups, and then the people on the other machines sucked, so it wasnt worth playing. I headed on over to a manga cafe after that to get some sleep. They didnt have mat rooms like last time, instead I got a reclining chair with a footrest. Sadly, it didnt recline enough for me, so it was kinda hard to sleep. I still got a decent amount. I woke up in the middle of the night and my arm hurt, and i didnt know why. I figured it would go away after i went back to sleep, and after i woke up again, it was fine. I think i slept on it funny for a bit, since that was only a temporary problem.

After I got up and stuff, I headed out. I got some donuts at Mr Donuts like usual, but it didn't kill nearly enough time. I went to Athena after that since it was still before 10, and I watched the new Melty for a bit, but nobody else was playing anything, as expected. After hanging out there for a bit, it was finally after 10. I headed over to Sega Avion and played a bit of SFIV and Actress again. I met up with Kunai, who's a jet from Fukui-ken, turns out that there's a tournament at Avion that day, so he did his once a month trip to Osaka to play. He's pretty good, and he uses C.Viper. We ended up talking for a bit, and then at 11, I had to head out to meet some people in Kobe at 12. I barely caught the correct trains, and I ended up getting to Kobe a bit after 12. After 10 minutes or so, everyone else showed up.

The people I met with were Vat (short for Vatthana), a girl from Australia who I went to Kansai Gaidai with, Yuri, one of the three Japanese girls who studied abroad at DePaul, and one of their mutual friends, who I met for the first time, Maki. We didn't really have any "plans" so we kinda winged it. We went to a round 1, which is like, game center, bowling, karaoke, random stuff all in one building. We went to the Amusement floor, we all played Mario Kart 2 arcade edition, and i used this little Tamagochi guy or something, then I saw that this arcade had JuBeat also. I was super surprised, so of course i played a credit (and its only 100 yen too!) and instead of the normal 2 songs, I got 3 songs. It was a lot of fun. Then the girls played a game where you pretty much take some balls like, from a ball pit, and throw them at this giant screen where they have like, a bar with bottles on the screen, and then you whip the balls at the screen and then if you get it on the bottles, they shatter. Then they had a fireworks one where it goes on the air and you throw it at the fireworks going up and they explode. It was fun to watch both the game and the girls whipping the balls at the screen. We played a round of Taiko, but Vat liked normal, and i usually go for hard, so it was kinda easy, but still fun. I picked an idolm@ster song, of course, and they didn't know it, haha.

After that, we left there and walked around looking for a karaoke place. This one place had "weekends from 11:00-19:00 900 yen for 3 hours" deal, but it was advertising another store of the same chain like, 2 blocks away. We walked in the general direction of the other store hoping we would find it and we randomly ran across it thankfully. They even accepted all our student ID's (even my depaul one, tho part of me says i shouldn't use it cause im not a student anymore, even tho i still feel like one), but i got 150 yen off the already cheap price, so thats good. We did that for 3 hours, I sang a lot of the usual stuff thats already been listed, Nana, Beatles, random jpop etc.

After that, we were all kinda hungry, so we went to this all you can eat place. It was pizza and pasta, 2 hours for 1500 yen. We had to wait about 15 minutes to get in, and then we finally did. This place pretty much sucked. It took them 20-25 minutes to get us one small pizza or one medium sized bowl of pasta. So the service was super slow, and we didn't really get everything until the very end or unless we complained. I think its BECAUSE we ordered all you can eat that it took so long, we were bottom of the priority list. Also, right when we were getting there, a party of like, 30-40 teenagers were there also, probably all doing the all you can eat, so im sure they were busy. Anyways, I ate my fair share of pasta and pizza. It was decent, but not worth the wait and everything, tho we got to just sit and hang out, which was fun. After that, we all departed and went our own way.

Monday was a normal day of school, did more self introduction classes, and worked on a jeopardy game for my 1st year students. After school, I had to do laundry, so I threw the laundry in the wash, took a nap, woke up, and took all the stuff over to the dept store Saty to dry it. I had 20 minutes to kill, so i went and bought some cheap work shirts from the 100 yen store (they have stuff thats more than 100 yen, and the shirts were 500 yen), and some white t-shirts for 200 yen each. Then I went to Mr Donuts and got some donuts and ate them there. I freaked out the girl there cause she asked me right away if i was eating there, and i said yea, but she prolly thought i was just saying "hai" not knowing the answer. Then after everything, she does it like normal, as if someone was eating there, then she gets this scared look on her face and was like "this wasn't take out, was it?" and im like "no, its for here...?" and she was like "ok phew" and I was like O_o. I ate my donuts and then went and got my laundry and headed back home. I played some tales of vesperia until i fell asleep around 1AM.

Tuesday is a holiday, something about autumn equinox or something. Day and night become equal or something. I don't really care why, but I get the day off, so I'm pretty happy. I got up around 8 something, and got ready to go to Kyoto for the day. Im meeting Toshi at the A-cho arcade, which is my absolute favorite arcade. They have like, every game, and it's all like, 50 yen, even the ones that just came out on expensive cabinets like Street Fighter IV or Tekken 6. So at about 10AM I left. I got to the station around 10:05, and the next train didn't leave until 10:20. Got on that, got to Shinkaichi, which is the transfer spot for my text train, had to wait another 10 minute there for the next train. Then after getting off at my stop Juso, I saw a "semi-express" train leaving right when I got there, but i opted to wait for the limited express. Thankfully I did because I was pretty much going from one end of the train line to the other. 40 minutes for limited express, 69 minutes for semi express. A limited express showed up like, 10 minutes later. I got off at my stop, and i got up. I didn't really recognize the area since im not coming from where i usually do, but I walked a bit anyways trying to follow this map i copied from their site. I knew i was walking the wrong direction after a few minutes, so i walked back. Turns out that I was like, RIGHT there, less than a block away already, but the map didn't show how "to scale" it was and stuff, so i thought the distances were larger than they were. I made it around 1:10 or so. Toshi showed up about 20 minutes later while i was playing street fighter.

We played for a little and then we got hungry so we walked around. There used to be a Wendy's in Kyoto, so we walked over to that area, and it was completely gone, we walked around looking for somewhere good to eat. We went to a Shakey's pizza, which is an all you can eat pizza buffet for like, 9 bucks, but they had too long of a line, so we didn't go there. We ended up just going to McDonalds, and I got a MegaMac. When I was ordering, the girl was talking to me in like, day 1 japanese, so I would understand it, but when I was talking to her and stuff, she never reverted to like "REAL" Japanese, and instead of just saying the price, she just kinda pointed to the screen of the register. And then she was waiting for me to get my money, but i already put it on the money thing cause im you know, not stupid and can handle simple things like ordering food. Whatever tho, not as bad as that guy who used english to me when im using Japanese to him. What if i was from a country that didnt speak english but I knew Japanese? I'd have been even more annoyed.

Anyways, we finished our food and went to a couple of stores. The stores are similar to the ones in Denden, except sucky and completely ghetto. Like, there's a softmap in Kyoto, but they're about 1/5 of the size of either of the Denden ones, and it didn't have that much in terms of games and whatnot. There was a Gamers there, which I'm not sure if I explained earlier, is pretty much your "high price anime store". They have like, everything, but it's all new. So even an old anime CD from 5 years ago, they're still selling for 30 bucks when you can go to a used store and get it for less than 10. And their games are way way way overpriced. Obviously all knew, but it's really bad, you can get the same games way cheaper new just about anywhere BUT Gamers, ironically. So normal gamers are kinda bad, but they have everything, so I guess people shop there for all their new stuff. However, this one was pretty ghetto, as i said earlier. It was on 2 floors, and it had some stuff, but overall, it really wasn't that great at all, so I dunno how it stays in business when I couldn't realistically see buying anything there as worth it.

We went back to A-cho and played some games. I did really well in Tekken, ok in SFIV, I won a few matches here and there, but it was pretty rare. I had fun tho, and it was only 50 yen a play. I mostly played Arcana and I was doing really well except against this one Catherine player, which was pretty much futile. I kept playing tho, and was still able to get rounds, so I was doing something right some of the time.

Time flew by because before I knew it, it was almost 8PM and we had to go to catch our trains back. Toshi was going mostly the same way I was, so that train ride back was fun but otherwise it was an average trip back. Got home and stayed up for a bit and went to bed. Wed, I had work and stuff like normal, more self introduction classes, and jeopardy classes and stuff. Everyone is always really surprised when I show them my family picture. Then again, this is a country where everyone is the exact same race, so seeing people of 2 different races having a kid prolly makes them all lol. Thankfully, we had an ALT meeting today at 3:30, so I got out of work at 3. The meetings are short, and we just talk about whatever for 15 minutes once a month, and I get out of work early. After that, I went home, vacuumed, and played some tales of vesperia. I ended up taking a nap, woke up and just have been on the computer since.

This weekend is more hanging out in Osaka, we'll see if anything exciting happens!

-Rob

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Misadventures of Rob #ReloadFULL - Meeting up with old friends from school

Ok, last I left off was after the manga café I stayed at overnight. I got up and it was a bit before 10. There wasn't really much to do, so I went and got some Mr Donuts for breakfast. I was hungry so I polished off 3 easily. It was about 10 by the time I was done, so I walked on over to Sega Avion, which is the Osaka HQ for Street Fighter IV pretty much. I got there, and there was just one other dude playing. I played him, won the first match then lost like, 5 in a row. I decided to head out after that, and I go over to Athena. I know nobody is gonna be playing AH2, but I decide to just head there anyways. I end up trying Fate Unlimited Codes. Last time I played the game, I used Rider. I wasn't really feeling it, so I decided to try again, but this time, using Saber. I ended up doing decent, she's pretty easy to pick up. I played that for a while, and when I finally beat the computer or whatever, I headed out. I went over to the Namco Prabo where I play Tekken. I stayed there until about 2:00.

At 2, I started walking from that arcade about 45 minutes toward Yodoyobashi station. On the way, I stopped at the book off that was there looking for some cheap deals on stuff. I didn't see anything game-wise, but then I checked the CD section and I found all of morning musumes old albums for only like, 250 yen each, marked down from 3000 yen. So I picked up their 2-5th album for like, 10 bucks. After that, I made it to the station and took the train over to Hirakata. By the time I got there it was about 3:40. I walked on over to the school, and it was about 4 by the time I made it. I had about an hour to kill, so I went up and looked for the teachers I used to have. I went to find my teacher, who you might know looks like a certain rock star from the 80's:

http://img411.imageshack.us/my.php?image=meatloafmr0.jpg
Sadly, he was in class, so I went and talked to another teacher I had for like, 40-45 minutes. After that, I met up with Mayumi, one of the three Japanese girls who studied abroad at DePaul. We walked on over to the Sandoru restaurant which took like, 30 minutes.
Sandoru is the place I used to eat at like, every single day when I lived there, its SOOO good, and since it was about 5:30 and the last thing I ate was a few donuts, I was starving. Its 3 decent size pieces of Teriyaki chicken, noodles, a piece of tempura chicken (which was changed to fish when I went, so I was sad-faced about that), a MOUND of rice, miso soup, some vegetables, tea, and all the water we want. All for like, 500 yen. I ate everything except the fish, which I only ate about half of. I was super full afterwards, but it was so worth it. After that, it was about 7, and so I offered up the suggestion to go Karaoke. We went and did 2 hours. Time flew by, and since we each sang like, an hour of songs, I'm not gonna list everything. I did a lot tho, and it was super fun. After that, we weren't sure what to do, and I had no place to stay for the night, so she invited me over to her place to crash there. I took her up on the offer and we took the bus back to her place. I was able to shower and stuff, and we just hung out and watched whatever randomness was on Japanese TV. We went to bed, and we ended up sleeping till 11AM. We got up, went to a nearby store for cheap breakfast pastries, and then around 12:30 we headed out. She had a class, and I was gonna head out to an arcade or something.


Her apartment was right near this used store I used to go to all the time, so I stopped by there, didn't see anything, and then went along this road called Route 1 for a while, stopping at stores along the way. Not really seeing anything I wanted however. After a long while, maybe an hour and a half to 2 hours, I finally reached the station. I stopped at Game Dino, the arcade I used to hang out at, and played a bit of Melty Blood cause my legs were killing me so I wanted to sit. After that, I was debating whether to go to A-cho, my favorite arcade ever, or to Monte Carlo, which is really good, and closer to home. I opted for Monte Carlo. I got there around 3:30, and I went over to the arcade. I pushed the button to open the doors. They didn’t open. I went over to the other set of doors. Same thing, they didn’t open. I was kinda unsure of why they were closed but I decided to get some food. Since the last beef bowl I had was so good, I went back to Matsuya, grabbed a bottle of CC Lemon on the way and had another tasty beef bowl and miso soup. I went around the other side of Monte Carlo trying to see whats up, and the doors there were open, and all the machines were shut off and people were inside doing construction work. Bummer. I wandered around for a bit, going to a few arcades in the area, but they were all dead, as expected. At 4:30ish I finally got the idea to just go to Kobe, which is about 40 minutes closer to home, where they have an arcade that I can play Tekken and Street Fighter at.

I finally got there, and walked around some of the stores there first, like the Kobe RASHOUMEN doujin store. I saw some cool stuff, but nothing worth spending my not-hard earned money on. I finally made my way over to the Sega Sannomiya THANKS arcade or SANX or however it’s spelled. I really wanted to play AH2, even if it was against the CPU, so I played one credit there against the CPU. After that, I headed across the street to “Magical” which is another arcade or something. They have everything for 100 yen which is kind of a bummer, but they have some games that are 2 credits for 100 yen. Sadly, Tekken and SFIV aren’t those games. Tekken is set to 4/7 rounds tho, strangely enough. They even had MvC2, which I played once cause someone left a free credit in the machine. Nobody played me sadly, but it was still kinda fun. Aside from that, I played Tekken for the entire night. I was doing ok, and then this one Bob player just kept beating me over and over and over. At around 9:00PM I left, and then took the trains back home. Got home around 10:45, went on the computer for longer than I should have and went to bed around midnite.

After that, it was Thursday, and my first official day of classes. I was supposed to teach 3 classes, but the two 3rd year classes I was gonna teach ended up not happening cause of tests or something. So I taught one class. It was a simple self introduction class that went really well. Before the day ended, one of the other teachers told me that I needed to pay 8,000 yen for the enkai that I went to at the sports festival. 800 yen for the sushi box lunch, 5000 yen for the dinner, and 2200 yen for the karaoke bar. After paying that, I had very little money on me. I went to the dept store Saty after school, and stopped by the dollar store. I picked up another shirt for work, another under-shirt and some rain pants, obviously if it rains. Since I have to ride a bike, I don’t really have any other alternatives. I got a mega mac to take home, and I bought a 1.5 liter bottle of OJ to drink at the grocery store there. I stopped at the ATM on the way home and got enough money for the weekend and stuff.

After I got home, I ate the mega mac, put up posters and such, and then I opened my copy of Tales of Vesperia for the 360 that I ordered. I ordered the English version of the Asia region. It has American voice acting, which is ok, but more importantly I can understand what the heck is going on, haha. Tho even in English, some of that stuff is confusing. I put my laundry in while playing, and hung it up after it was done. I ended up playing for like, 3 and a half hours straight, and once 11 rolled around, I powered it off and went to bed. I didn’t fall asleep for a while, so I’m a bit lacking on sleep right now.

Friday, earlier today, I woke up and went to work. I have 4 classes today, 3 self introductions and one 1st year textbook English. The textbook English class was cancelled for me, cause its just the teacher handing back tests and saying the answer. The other self introduction classes didn’t go as well as the first, but were ok. There was one student who was the “problem student” of the class, but overall the classes went well enough. I’m not really a fan of self introduction classes, I don’t really like talking about me for that long to a group of kids. Im just sitting in the teachers room right now and I had enough time to write this. There’s a typhoon around Japan, but it doesn’t really affect this area more than just slight rain, so after I get home I prolly wont be going back out. I’ll most likely just play Tales of Vesperia until I pass out (or ill pass out and then play Tales of Vesperia, we’ll see).

Tomorrow, I’m meeting Toshi in Osaka. Apparantly, him being MIA was just because he forgot his cell phone somewhere, then he lost it. I think it’ll be ok now, but yeah, after two short days of work, another weekend comes up, yay! Hopefully I’ll get decent sleep but I already know that’s not gonna happen, haha. That’s what naps are for tho, heh…

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Misadventures of Rob #ReloadFULL EP15 -The Sports Festival

Ok, i know it's been a while since I wrote.

I left off Wed. It was the same as Tuesday, went to school, got up, stayed there. Went back home, and surfed the internet. Thursday was also pretty much the same. Friday was the big preparation before the actual event. Friday night, however, was different from the other nights because it was one of the other ALT's birthday celebration days - Maria. I biked on over to the other building, we had cake and some people drank, and then we played this card game, which I forgot the name but involved making your own rock band and stuff? It was pretty fun, but around 10:00, because we all had sports festivals on saturday, we decided to leave. I went back home and stayed up later than I should have on the internet.

Saturday comes around, the day of the sports festival, and it ended up raining in the morning. I get to school at 7:30 and one of the teachers tells me its cancelled and being rescheduled for tomorrow. Im like, great. So my 6 day week turned into a 7 day week. Thankfully, Saturday was only a half day, and at about 12:30-12:45 I was able to go home. I got home about 1:15. I was tired, so i was thinking about taking a nap, but I really wanted to go somewhere and play games or something. I decided to go to Kobe. It's an hour and a half away. I got there around 3:20. I went over to this one arcade, and pretty much played Tekken and a bit of Street Fighter IV. Tekken was 100 yen a play, but it was set on 4/7 rounds. I was doing pretty well, and by the end I was on like, a 13 win streak before I lost. I played a Leo player for the first time right at the beginning. He was using a card that was like, 25-2. Its obvious he cared about his win record because he played me and picked Leo but didn't use the card. I ended up beating him 2-3 matches in a row or something, and then he left. There was a Lee player who was like, 80-25, and he was really good, we only played a couple matches, and it was about even tho. A Heihachi player who was like, 160-50 played me, and I ended up getting promoted rankwise from beating him like, 5 times in a row. He finally beat me at the end, and then I headed out. It was about 7:30 at that point, so I wanted to walk around before the shops closed at like, 8. I found a book-off, but they didnt have anything game-wise or photobook wise or anything, so i left. I went to the gamers and the figure store that was there, and they didn't have anything either. I then went over to the area where Melonbooks, RASHOUMAN (Rashabang) and the other anime/doujinshi stores were, but it was just about 8:00 so they were closing. On a Saturday night. At 8.

There was another arcade there, so I was just watching people play claw machines and fail at getting Wii's and other things. I dont understand what makes people think they can get a Wii when its 100 yen a play. The machine would need at LEAST 200 plays to break even. Obviously its gonna be next to impossible. After killing some time there, I went to the McDonalds, got a Mega Mac, and then went back home and went to bed.

Sunday, is the REAL day of the sports festival. Since it only rained a bit saturday morning, the ground was dry enough to have the sports fest. For those who don't know, here's a rundown on sports festivals:
All of the grammar school/middle school/high schools in Japan have one day in the school year where there's a sports festival. The students participate in various sports representing one of 4 teams/colors based off their homeroom, its generally a first year class, a second year class, and a third year class all in one group. It's more than just playing sports tho, it's all about teamwork, and all this other stuff. As a group, they have to all create cheers and do those cheers in front of the school and stuff. At the end, the team with the most points is the winners. And the most important note that I don't want anyone asking again: THEY DO NOT WEAR BLOOMERS, THEY WEAR NORMAL SHORTS. Moving on:

So I get there 7:30 again, weather is fine. At about 8:30 I headed outside and began waiting. Around 9, everything started. The students started off by marching around the field in their teams, with the best marching groups getting bonus points for marching better. After that, was the first year students relay. Then it was the 3rd year's "everyone has one heart" race. This involves a group of students, like, 15 with their legs all tied up to the people next to them, then as one class, they run. I was a "judge" in that event, so for one of the groups, I held a flag, and when everyone passed the finish line, I raised the flag. After that was the 2nd year relay. Then it was the 1st year "mukade" race (mukade means centipede). This is where there's wooden boards with 5 straps for people to put their feet in, and then they have to walk in tune with eachother. Then it was the 3rd year students relay. However, every year, the teachers participate in the race. It goes: Third year girls, third year boys, third year mixed. The teachers participate in the "mixed".

I run 4th, and keep in mind, i don't exercise or run ever. I stretched a bit but figured it didn't make a difference. Our team starts out with one of our gym teachers. He blazes through extremely fast and gets it to the 2nd teacher, who increases the lead by a bit, and passes it on to another teacher, and then passes it to me. I run, and successfully, without falling or injuring myself, run the 100 meters and pass the baton onto the next teacher. Apparantly, everyone said I ran fast and that I had good form, but I couldn't really tell how fast I was, especially cause our lead was so huge that I didn't have anyone around me. We were way way in the lead, even with the slow running female teachers when we get the 2nd to last person, who's the other gym teacher. He ends up going REALLY slow on purpose, letting the next fastest group catch up and get in the lead and then starts running and passes off the baton to the last person on our
team. He runs and it seems like he held back too and let the red group win, with teachers getting 2nd. It was obvious that we were gonna win, so I thought it was pretty funny and made it more interesting. No matter what place the teachers get, it has no effect on the score of the teams, its more just so we're in it too.

After that, was the 2nd year's "Phillips" race, where the rules are pretty much this:
One student, who has to wear a helmet, has to make his/her way to a cone, go around the cone and back. Seems easy right? Well, they can't touch the ground. This means that they have to have other students there to get them there. Ok, so someone can just carry that person right? No, when you're touching the designated student, you can't move your legs. So some ways of doing it are students forming a bridge with their backs and having the one student walk on them and then people go from the back to the front. Stuff like that. There was a lot of "take the student, and toss him forward", there was one group who put the one kid on everyones back as they were kneeling on the ground, and then just grabbed his arms and slid him forward. It was fun to watch.

After that, was the girl's dance section. All the female students participated, and they just do dances to certain songs. They got to wear a white shirt that had like, engrish writing on it (that was the theme for the most part it seems) and they didnt have to have their shirts tucked in. The first one was a techno song, it was cute. 2nd was a Parapara song by Minmi called Shanana. Catchy song, fun to watch overall. Some of the girls were really into it, others were struggling to remember the moves and were a little late, but its all good, it was fun to watch.

After that, was the boys ASAHI PRIDE, where they did a buncha gymnastics that would be too dangerous to do in the states. They start off by doing some easy stuff like balancing on one leg, etc. Then they go into pairs and the smaller student balances on the larger students shoulders, then they do a handstand and are held up by the bigger student, then they pull themselves up on the bigger students shoulder, then they literally stand on the other persons shoulders. Then its time for a group of 3, they do more handstand/stand on people's shoulders, balance people tricks. Then its time for a the spinny thing. 4 people in the center, 4 people hold onto them. Everyone runs in a circle, and then when the next whistle is blown, the outer students lift up their legs and because of the force of spinning so fast, theyre not on the ground. It's probably the coolest thing of the boys gymnastics. Then they get into groups of 5 and just do more extended versions of what they were doing in groups of 3. Then they do a tower where there's 6 people in a circle on the bottom, then 3 people on their shoulders, then one person on their shoulders and they all stand up. Thankfully, nobody fell cause thats pretty high up. Then they do the pyramid, 1st and 2nd years did 4 layers, and 3rd years did 5 layers. One of the 5 layer pyramids crashed, but the other ones were in tact. After that, was the 9 person tower i mentioned earlier, but on 6 people's backs who were kneeling on the ground. 3rd years had and extra layer on top of that of people leaning on the people's backs who were kneeling. Crazy high and crazy dangerous. Then it was time for the 8 story pyramid. They successfully did it, and it was really cool, but still crazy dangerous, haha. After that, they all took the gym coach and threw him up in the air a few times, it was pretty funny.

After that, it was the jump-rope challenge. 3 tries, the most successful team gets a buncha points. Then it was the "egg toss" thing, where there's a basket on a pole, and they throw a buncha balls in the air and hope it gets into the basket. After that, a buncha people, parents, whoever else then go to one of the teams baskets and do the same thing. At the end, they count how many are in there.

After that was lunch, where they provided us with boxed lunches full of sushi. Some of it was good, some of it was tentacles. I ate what i could, and then after lunchtime was over, it was back to the sports festival. The music club/marching band did a few songs. It was fun to watch, it was all girls, and their uniform was pretty cute. It was a short white skirt, a red t-shirt, and a red beret. All the students in the clubs then marched similar to how they did in the beginning wearing their club outfits. After that was over, it was time for the PTA relay, where a buncha people i didnt know did a relay where you hold a ball on a tennis racket and run. This gave kids time to change again. After that came the shuffle relay, where two people had their legs tied together and did a relay. SImilar to the regular relay, teachers participated in the 3rd years relay. They got 3rd place out of 5.

Then it was time for boys "kibasen"
For Kibasen, watch this video for an explanation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAisPMJEb38 (watch from 1:10 on)
Instead of hats tho, they wore headbands. For about a minute or two, everyone runs around and then if you take another teams headband, thats a bonus point for your team for the final round, which ill explain later. The white team of the sports festival only has 1st and 3rd years, since theres not enough 2nd years to make 4 classes. The math teacher that went karaoke with me, the principal, and the english teacher grabbed me and was like, "hey, youre doing kibasen" and im like "umm ok". So because they have too few kids by 2, me and him joined the white team for a bit. The student at the top that we were holding ended up taking two headbands and not losing his, which is really good. When it got to the final round, me and the math teacher left and watched from the side, and he got two of the other first years to help him.

Now it was time for the final round, where one team battles another one on one until one loses. Theres a couple ways to lose, lose your headband, lose your teammates (they fall) or you, the guy at the top falls. And this gets violent like, students lunging at other students and throwing them on the ground, it got harsh. The white team ended up winning, which was really cool. I was watching from the white team area, and the girls were mad hype. We could use that kinda hype at tourneys, seriously. That was like NEC Melty Blood hype, no joke. Too serious. While I was walking to my seat, some girl who was with a buncha her friends was like "Herro" but didnt like, look at me and did it as i was mostly passed by, so i just ignored them cause they were acting like idiots.

After that, it was time for the girls event, the Tsunahiki aka TUG OF WAR. Since the white team had no 2nd years, whoever was playing the white team couldnt use their 2nd year students either. White ended up losing badly, so its all good anyways. Everyone thought the red team was gonna win cause theres this one big fat girl whos all strong and stuff, and of course she was the anchor, so it was expected that she would just take down the other teams, but the yellow team ended up being stronger. That was hype too.

After that was the last event, which was the relay where each team takes their best running 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year male and females. White team got 3 1st year and 3 3rd years. Blue team ended up winning that. The final scores were announced and Red team won! However, after the trophies were given, there was like, a mistake in the scores, so they took the trophies from the red team and gave it to the blue team which rightfully one. I was in the tent of the people who do scores cause it was shady but i was like, man, im not getting involved in that. No relation to me.

After that was cleanup/take down. Everything went as planned. I went back to the teachers room for a bit. Asked one of the teachers where the event was for the teachers that night, and she was like "oh its far, so ill pick you up from your house". Thing is, nobody told me that and it was about an 45 minutes before i had to be picked up, so i was like "umm, im gonna leave now then." I biked on back home, and as I was leaving, ALL the students were too, so I had to try to get out of the gates with a gazillion Japanese middle schoolers all on bikes. Some said bye, some ignore me, some just stare. I headed home, showered, changed, and got picked up by my English Supervisor.

We headed over to this place kinda far away. It was an enkai, which is essentially, everyone (teachers/staff) gets piss-drunk and makes fools of themselves. I dont drink, so I just had coke, but I remember everything that happened, allowing me to blog it, haha. Anyways, we started off with the principal saying some stuff about how it was a great sports day, the vice principal did a toast, and then we got to eat. There was a ton of great seafood, which ended up being not so great if you dont like seafood. I tried everything and just ate as much as i could, but yeah, sadly, Im not into all this expensive food. Anyways, soon after, one of the English teachers had to do a speech, and he did it in English and pretty much said that when I made my speech to the students, I wanted to learn about their culture. Enkai's are a part of Japanese culture where everyone lets loose, and he said lets all drink and let loose and enjoy that part of Japan. It was nice. Then it was MY speech. I didnt really know what the best thing to say would be, so I just thanked everyone for being nice to me. I mentioned how other ALTs have bad situations where stuff like their chair being switched out for a stool happens, and I just said that everyone has been really nice to me, and I appreciate it. I also said that I want to talk to everyone and laugh, and if im quiet, its not cause im shy or dont want to talk, chances are, i want to say something, but I just cant properly express myself in japanese. It went well I think.

After that, the teachers all started to kind of talk to me more, one of asked me what I was, and I was like "My dad is Japanese" and everyone was like "uh...wut?" I was like, what did you think i was, Indian? Apparantly yes. Anyways, we all talked and had a great time. Then it was time for the "revenge match" to see who wins the sports festival enkai. As teams, each of the teachers for the teams for the sports festival partnered up and created a skit where they all make fools of themselves. There was dancing involved, guys dressing up in skirts, guys dressing up in cat outfits, all this crazy stuff. They even made fun of the fat girl like, 3 times. It was awesome. Everyone got up and was singing the school anthem after that. The only thing is, when people were talking, ALL they were talking about was the sports festival. Im like, cmon, weve been doing nothing but sports festival practice for the past 2 weeks, stop thinking about it and just have fun and talk about like...LIFE. Oh wait, that is their life sometimes. Oh well.

After that was done, we went over to a Karaoke bar. It was like a karaoke box, just bigger. Everyone BARELY fit, but yeah. We all took turns singing songs and stuff. I wanted to do something everyone there would know, so I did Yesterday. The teachers did "challenge songs" from the sports festival, such as the songs their groups did for their cheer, or the song that the girls did the dance routine to. Pretty funny. Everyone was getting into it, some were drunk, some werent, but it was a lot of fun. After that, I walked home since I was somehow close enough. I got home around 10:25. At about 10:45, I heard the doorbell ring. My first instinct was "WHO THE HELL IS THAT" then I was like "wait, its japan, im not gonna get robbed". It was the Math teacher. Apparantly 8 teachers or so were at the resturant at the bottom of my building. Im on the third floor, first floor is a resturant/bar. I went BACK down and hung out with them and stuff. It was late and some of the teachers were straight up passing out, but I stayed up, not drinking prolly had a lot to do with it. I was just speaking the Japanese and enjoying myself yet again, tho i was still tired as hell. After that, I got back upstairs and passed the hell out.

Monday, earlier today, I woke up around 8:30. Stayed on the computer a while, and then showered and left around 10:20. I was gonna meet up with Toshi, but he didnt answer his cell phone or email since I emailed him yesterday. Hopefully nothing bad happened to him. I got to Osaka around 12:45. I stopped by Mr Donuts and had ummm...donuts. After that, I went to Athena. Played Tekken for a while, mostly just beating down scrubs. After a while, I was standing there watching and one guy just out of the blue asked me how old I was. I told him I was 22, and then he was like "Tekken is interesting, isnt it?" I was like "yeah" After a bit, i went up to the Arcana floor. Beat down some scrubs for a while, then lost to this one Konoha that was doing crazy fast mixups and stuff. I havent played many good Konohas and I always had problems with her in AH1, but I did ok. After a bit, i left to go walk around the Den. After walking around with Toshi, walking around it alone is NOT fun.

I started off at softmap, didnt see anything games or figure-wise, so I left. Walked over to a couple figure stores, didnt see anything, so I left. Went to Kbooks, saw a small Ako poster from Negima for like, 2 bucks, so I picked it up. Went to the doujinshi area of Comic Toranoano and picked up a couple doujins. Didnt see anything in the main store area tho. Went over to a buncha other stores where I also proceeded to see pretty much nothing. I got to SCOT arcade, and i stopped by because I cant resist games. Nobody was playing arcana there of course, but there was one guy playing tekken. I play him. He used Zafina, and it was one of my first times playing that whore, so I had no idea what to do. He pretty much did stuff Id never seen for the first 5-7 matches, so I was losing pretty hard. After that, I figured him out and got 8 wins in a row on him. He left, and it was dead after that, so I left. I went to the other softmap and again, nothing. I went to Rashabang aka RASHOUMAN aka HOUSES. This is my favorite store i think. I went to the 2nd floor where theres doujinshi. They have 200 yen bins, so I just got a couple from there that caught my eye. I didnt see anything else until I looked at their posters. They had a Tiana and Subaru poster thats pretty good size for 1200 for one, and 1500 for the other. I picked up the duo, so now I have some really good posters for my room which is kinda bare on one wall.

I went to the first floor and looked around. I found an Aoko plushie, so I picked that up to ship to Zar. I also found the im@s bible, aka the master guide or whatever. Normally its 2800, and thats a good price, but i said i was gonna wait till i found it for cheap. The place had it for 1800 yen, so I picked it up. From there, I headed back down denden towns main street toward the other side where Athena is. I played some arcana there for a while.

At Athena, guy-girl, really good heart player, konoha guy from earlier, etc were there. Buncha people. I played a buncha people and I ended up doing a lot better than I used to do. Im playing safer, im blocking better, and im making better choices and getting more hits in. When I would lose, it wasnt nearly as bad as it used to be, its usually last round. I even won some matches which is rare for me, but slowly becoming less rare. Sticking with Petra really worked in the end, I think, because I think Im finally starting to move in the right direction toward how she should be played, and it feels natural, not forced. After a while there, I got hungry so I went to Matsuya and had a beef bowl.

The beef bowl was SOOO good. They gave me free miso soup too. It was a buncha food, and I finished it all, i was starving. All that for less than the cost of a mega mac (390 yen for the mega mac, 380 for the beef bowl). After that, I went over to the Namco arcade and played some Tekken. This time, there were sooo many good players there that I was getting wrecked. Tho playing them definitely showed me what I should and shouldn't do, and what I can and can't get away with, so Im glad. Im slowly getting better and better in Tekken also, which im glad about. I stayed there for like, an hour and a half and played most of the time, since there were so many setups, anyone was really able to play and sit down and session. After that, I walked over to this internet cafe.

This one is SOOO much better than the other ones. Its 1490 for the night, which is 5 bucks cheaper. 10 hours still. The floor isnt like, carpet. Its a mat, like a gym mat, but comfy. Theres a beanbag chair in here, too, and theres still free soda and blankets and stuff. Sleeping here is gonna be way better because I have a lot more room now. I think the only reason I got it was because its a monday and tomorrow is a work day as opposed to when I stay over on a Saturday night. It took a while to write this and Im tired, so im gonna go to bed. Night all, enjoy!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Misadventures of Rob #ReloadFULL EP14 - Meeting up with old friends

I left off Friday night. I went to bed around midnight or so cause I was definitely tired from never sleeping as long as I should.

I woke up saturday at about 8. My throat was kinda sore, but I didn't think anything of it, as it's happened before and then went away. I went on the computer till about 9:30. I showered and got ready and headed out around 10. When I showered, I realized I got sunburned from staying the sun for too long on Friday (I was standing in the sun for a while, it wasn't harsh sunburn, but it was still sunburn that I felt when I showered) Right when I opened my door, this roach fell out from between my door and the wall from the door crack. Scared the crap out of me, but at least it fell outside and not inside. I was like "whatever" and I headed out. I took the trains to Osaka, and it took about 2.5 hours to get to Namba, which is right near Denden. I played Tales of the World for PSP during most of the trip. Makes it go by really quickly. I'm always like "omg is it time to get off already?" when it gets to the last stop, even if its been an hour on the train. The reason I'm going to Osaka this time is cause a friend of mine, Toshi, from back when I studied at Gaidai, was back in Japan after a short vacation in the states. He was one of the 4 other people who composed the "Arcana/Denden" crew during my 2nd semester (the other 3 know who they are), and so I was looking forward to hanging out again. I got to the arcade that we had to meet at, Namba Hills, around 12:30. He was showing up around 1. I just played Tekken in the meantime. He shows up and then we head over to subway for lunch. I get the usual Tuna on white, but I get a footlong cause im starving. We hang out there for a while talking and stuff and finally we head over to another Arcade, Sega Avion.

Sega Avion is the arcade where I won 2 SC3:AE tournies, one last time I was in Japan, and one about a month ago. They're pretty much the hot spot for Street Fighter IV. We go there, and the crowd around the machines are huge. Its like, 20+ people surrounding the machines, plus the 6 people currently playing. It's not a tourney or anything, just a random Saturday. Not wanting to wait and with every other game being expensive as hell, we head to the nearby arcade "Athena". That's the hotspot for Arcana and stuff. There's a couple guys playing, nobody who's a top player. There's this one Yoriko player that's pretty good that I usually see when I come, and a buncha randoms. Toshi hasn't played Arcana since AH1, so he hasn't even played AH2 yet. He tries out Zenia against a couple random guys and does ok for his first time. I play against the other guys. Eventually, after a few times playing, I end up getting a 20+ winstreak on one machine, while Yoriko man is over on the other machine with just as many wins as I had. Eventually, he was beating people faster than I was, so he had about 25 or so. I wanted to play him, so I lost around 23 or 24 and played him. Went down to the last hit of the last round, but he was yoriko in Pent mode, so I couldn't really do much at that point.

After that, we walked around the Den for a while. We went to Softmap, looked at the video game stuff, then we went to the top floor of the Softmap where the "hobby" section with figures are. It had the brand new Miki figure from Idolm@ster there, but since the box was bulky I decided to pick it up later. They had a smaller Miki figure that's got posable limbs, and it was cheaper than the other stores so I picked that up. We browsed a few more stores, the Touhou store, Melonbooks, a couple figure stores, but didn't really find anything all that cool. Then we went to Super Potato, which is a normal game store on 1F, and all retro stuff 2nd floor. They had an HRAP2 for about 100 bucks. I was debating buying it, but i decided not to in the end cause I didnt feel like carrying it back.

After that, we went to the arcade called SCOT, which is on the other side of Denden (which is one long strip) from Athena, and Sega Avion, and the Namco Prabo where I usually play T6. I play a bit of tekken, and then I see someone playing Akatsuki Blitzkampf for the first time ever. I play against him and pick Anonym, cuz she's got guns and stuff. I end up beating the guy after picking her for the very first time. I play the computer for a bit, and then Toshi was all "dude, let's go to this medal arcade and play some Street Fighter."

We take the train over to meet his wife, Akiko, and a friend of hers, whose name I forgot. Akiko's friend (Ill call him PSG - Purple Shirt Guy for short), PSG had a nice van, so they picked us up and we drove over to this 7-11. We got some drinks, and me and Toshi got some food. I completely lost track of time, but it was already night-time by this point. PSG is a big DBZ fan, so he bought a buncha little boxes of DBZ toys and started setting them up on his dashboard. After he started driving, however, they all fell down and stuff. We reached the place pretty quickly. It was a GIGANTIC Bowling Alley/Game Center/something else, prolly Karaoke or pachinko or something all in one giant building. We go to the game center, and it's in this really nice arcade. It's made for mostly metal games and ufo machines, which are Japan's claw machines. Me and Toshi go play some Street Fighter IV. It's pretty dead at that point, but it was cool cause me and him got to play against each other for a while. I lost most of them, but my Chun leveled up quite a bit from playing him. At about 9PM, the "fresh meat" started coming in. Most of those guys are beginner/intermediate, so Toshi was taking them down easily. I was getting a few wins, but i'm not as good so I wasn't able to beat some of those guys. We did that for a while at which point I was getting kinda tired of SFIV. There's a TON of metal games there, too, so I said I wanted to try some out. Here's the premise on metal games:

Metal games are pretty much games that you play in order to win more metals. Once you win more metals, you can use those metals to win even MORE metals. However, most of the metals that you buy end up getting drained pretty fast, as winning is hard to do on some of them. The thing is, it's not just casino games. There's slots and stuff of course, there's computerized roulette, but there's also super fancy setups for some of them. There's a lot of ones that involve a pile of coins, and you put in more metals in order to push them down so they fall, and you get the ones that fall. It also generally has a way to get a slot thing going too, like when you push them down, if the metal falls in this certain spot, it'll give you slot credits, and then the slots go and if you win, you get a buncha metals and stuff. And what are the metals used for in the end? To play more metal games. Yes, it's an endless cycle of playing games to win metals just so you can play more games. It's like gambling but its a bit cheaper. The pricing of metals is something like this, if i remember correctly:
1000 yen - 80 metals
10000 yen - 900 metals

Something like that, there's stuff for 2000 yen, 5000 yen etc, the more you spend, the more metals you get. No, you can't redeem them for cash, you just have to keep using them no matter what. Now Akiko has about 7000 metals. Not 7000 yen worth of metals, but 7000 metals themselves. She's one of those people who keeps on winning and winning and winning to the point where she's pretty set on metals and doesn't have to spend any money to go play metal games all night (like she did with PSG).

Some other crazy metal games are things like this:
http://www.famitsu.com/game/news/__icsFiles/artimage/2007/09/13/pc_fc_n_gn/KN1_9106.jpg
I dont know what you have to do, but it prolly just involves putting the metals in and working your way up until you get lucky enough to get the center thing going, at which point you have chances to win BIG MONEY...errr...METALS.
The one Toshi said Akiko won most of her metals at is this one:
http://www.famitsu.com/game/news/__icsFiles/artimage/2007/09/13/pc_fc_n_gn/KN1_8639.jpg
Yea, that's Aliens, and it involves the same put-coin-in-then-coins-fall type idea. Some other crazy ones involve looking at this screen thats like a table, and you put the metals in, and that gives you ammunitition, and you shoot fish. If you get a small fish, you get a slot credit, where, if you win, you get metals. If you see a bigger fish or something, you may need a buncha metals to shoot it so it comes your way, cause just one shot wont nab it. Stuff like that.

Since I said I wanted to play some Metal games, Toshi got 30 metals from Akiko. We went and played this crazy bingo game. It's so hard to explain, but ill do my best:
You bet in incriments of 10 usually. You get a bingo card with a buncha numbers. The card is 5x5, and the the 4 squares on the top right, top left, bottom right, and bottom left can all be rotated. Three balls shoot after everyone made their bets and stuff. The balls shoot into this area that has a buncha holes for the ball to fall into, with each hole being a number. The lesser numbers are on the outside, and the 21-25 are closest to the center, meaning theyre the easiest and most frequently hit. After those three balls go in, you can move your numbers around and stuff. You want 3 in a row at least, so you want to rotate them to either get 3 in a row, or to make it easy to get 3 in a row. There's bonuses if you get it a certain way, or under a certain condition or whatever, but for the most part, you just want 3 in a row. If you get 3 in a row, you won. If you get 4 in a row, you get 3x the winnings, and 5 in a row is like, 10x the winnings or something. They also have a jackpot if you get the top center, bottom center, center center, left center, and right center, for like, 30,000 metals. Doesn't happen too often obviously, but the option is there. Those are the ones you can't flip around tho. If you started at 10, chances are, you're only gonna win 10 back. However, after you get at least 3 in a row, for the next round, it gives you a chance to upgrade no matter what. As in, you bet what you won, and it'll give you higher earnings based off a "random" spin. It's computerized, so i dunno how random it really is. Anyways, you then do the same thing again, but with higher odds. Obviously two 3 in a rows gives you points for both of them. We were there for quite a while, prolly around an hour or so on that bingo thing alone on just the 30 metals cause we kept winning. In the end we lost it all, but it lasted for quite a while.

After that, Akiko gave us more metals and we headed over to Horse Racing. It's the same concept as betting on horses at a track. You sit at a comfortable reclining chair with a place to put your drinks and stuff and you get to see the horses, their popularity, odds, etc, and you can bet on them on a screen in front of you. There's also a big screen that shows the race itself and stuff. It's pretty cool and very relaxing imo. You can bet just 1 metal if you want. It's the same concept as in, best odds mean better horse generally, but lower payout. The payouts can be anywhere from 1.5 times what you bet up to like, 200x+ what you bet. Meaning if you bet 10 on a horse thats 200-1 odds, you win 2000 metals. That doesn't happen very often, but on the scoreboard it says that the guy who won the most at one time won like, 93,000 metals on one race. Crazy. After that, it was about time for the arcade to close and we were out of metals. I lost all mine at the track, haha (all 15 of them).

Akiko then put her metals away into this bank they have. You have an ID number, a password, and even a handprint recognition thing to get your metals. You dump them in, and it tells you how many you dumped in, and your new total. You dont have to carry them with you, and if you have an insane amount like 7000 it makes it easy to manage.

After we were all done there, we went over to this place called "Bikkuri Donkey". Bikkuri means "(to be) surprised" So the Surprised Donkey. They had meatloaf esque steaks there (no, not the meatloaf I usually would link you guys to, the other type of meatloaf). I got a steak that had cheese on top, it was pretty good. It came with fries and creamed corn. The thing is, there were only 4 fries. Why bother putting fries on if you're only gonna add 4? I'm almost insulted that they even gave me fries, but gave so little. They're pretty much saying "Hey, there's some fries just to let you know we have some, but you can't have a real amount of fries, you can have 4." Seriously, who goes and is like "I want 4 fries to go, please." After we ate there I was exhausted and my sore throat was kinda hurting. Akiko needed "10 minutes" to fix up the place (cause I was staying there overnight). Me, Toshi, and PSG went to the 7-11 again, and then to this store called the QQ. Q = Kyuu = 9. 9 in Japanese is Kyuu. Q = Q. Therefore it's the QQ because everything is 99 yen. I didn't get anything, i was too tired.

Finally we went back to their place. Toshi said he had cats, so I was prepping myself for sleeping with cat allergies, but apparantly they just stay in a cage all day on the opposite side of the house from where I was gonna be sleeping. When I got in there, Akiko laid the room out all nice and stuff, apologized that its so narrow in her Japanese way, and of course, apologizing because she's letting me stay at her place. I didn't feel like doing the usual "Oh no, everything is so perfect" type conversation, i was just like "i'm really skinny, so it's cool." That made her laugh at least, and she was like "that's not the point!" or something. I still thanked her, obviously, but I'm well aware of the cultural thing they do when they say something like that, so I don't need anyone messaging me saying "YOU WERE SO RUDE". Besides, I know them well enough to joke around. She even had like, a universal charger so I could charge my phone. It was awesome. I slept from about 1:30AM till roughly 8:30AM. I woke up, and found the button up shirt i tossed on my bag was hanging up all nice and neat on a hanger. Akiko said she did it while I was sleeping and i was like "yeah i was way too tired, I didn't hear a thing." Apparently they played games or something in the other room while i was sleeping and I didn't hear a thing. I was exhausted.

After I got up and stuff, my throat was killing me, so I got some nice hot tea and honey from Akiko. My throat felt a little better, but it was still a pain. At about 9:30, after everyone was up, we were all leaving again. Akiko and PSG were going to the metal arcade again because there's an event there or something, and me and Toshi wanted to go back to the den. PSG drops us off, and we take the train over to Denden. We stop at the Sega Avion first. Its sunday morning, so not a lot of people are playing Street Fighter IV. It's also 3/5 rounds instead of 2/3 rounds, so more bang for the buck. We play against each other and a few other people. We do ok, then this one awesome Guile player shows up and just destroys us. Then we play a few other people and they pretty much decimate us. Once the crowd got too big, we headed out of there. I was hungry, so we went to Mr Donuts. I got a strawberry whip french (french cruller with strawberry custard inside and then strawberry frosting on top), an angel french (same thing but vanilla custard and chocolate frosting), and a french cruller (just glazed with frosting). They were all good. brb, im in the mood for Mr Donuts, so im gonna head to the department store and pick some up...
25 minutes later, im back, and with donuts in hand. I polished those off as well as a couple of slim jims. After we went to Mr Donuts, we headed over to the Namco arcade where I usually play T6. It was kinda dead, tho, so I only played against a few people before I beat the game and was done. Toshi played the computer a bit. Since that was dead, we head out. We head over to Athena and play some AH2 for a bit. Not really a lot of good players, so I just get a small streak against scrubs. I decided I wanted to pick up that figure from yesterday, so we head over to softmap. I pick it up, and i want somewhere to put it away. We also forgot my umbrella back at Athena, so we decided it's a good idea to head back there. We head BACK to Athena and I sat at the Otomedius machine in the corner and put it in my bag and stuff. We played some more AH2. I got 7 wins in a row with Zenia (showing Toshi how to combo with her and stuff) and then this good Saki player came along and got like, 8 wins against me and my Catherine, Mei Fang, Lilica, and Petra. After that, I finally won. Then I played a couple other guys who were decent, won. Played Saki player again (who was using Angelia) and I won. Then he played Saki again, and I beat him for the 3rd time in a row. Adapting and playing smart/patient FTW. I played a few more times, lost to a different Angelia player after like, 8 wins in a row. We decide to check out Tekken. The reason I haven't been playing T6 at Athena is because its 100 yen a play for 1 credit. However, since sept 1st, they lowered it to 50 yen a credit, making it worth it to play there. I play there for a while, most of the good people I played against used Armor King, but I got better and was beating some of them every once in a while. Toshi headed out while I was there playing Tekken, and i stayed for maybe another 45 minutes playing tekken. I went back upstairs and played Arcana 2 again for a bit. Nothing exciting, and I was getting really tired and my throat was still feeling kinda crappy. When I got to the bottom floor, I saw people playing the UFO games. Since Athena is at one end of Denden, all their claw machines and prize machines had anime/manga/game related stuff. Some of the stuff just looks absolutely impossible, and it probably is. Some stuff looks really difficult, but do-able, and then the cheaper things look a lot easier to do. There's this one machine that has just one hook for the claw, the back one, and these poles where the figure is hanging onto the pole at the tip by this ring. The thing is, the heavier the figure, the harder to move the ring. The claw is also really weak, so even if it looks like its about to fall, you're not gonna be able to do it. I saw a buncha people try to get this Fate figure that's pretty rare now I guess. Some people even got it in spots that i was SURE would make it fall and nothing. I've deemed it impossible, and the thing is, it always looks like you can get it. Also, at this arcade, because stuff is more expensive, if you put 20 bucks in the machine, the attendant wont just give it to you (well, move to it a spot where you have to breath on it and it falls) like they do at other arcades. You gotta work for it if you want it, lol. There's also ones with keychains thats essentially a smaller version of the one I was just talking about. Short poles with like, 4-6 keychains on it, and this arm reaches forward, grabs them, and pulls forward very softly. The thing that makes this one winnable is if you can get the keychain over the top of this small cork they have at the end. You can't pull a keychain off it its not over that cork. However, once it gets over that bump, it'll definitely come off if the other keychains push it. I saw a buncha people try it, but none of them really got the idea. One person even left one that made it over the cork. I didn't want that one, so I didn't go for it, but I would have got it if I wanted it.

What I went for instead was a Miku Hatsune phone strap. It looks like this:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Miku-Hatsune-Phone-Strap-2-New-Cosplay-Lovely_W0QQitemZ180286739462QQcmdZViewItem
Except its not bootleg. The way that machine works is that all the prizes are in bags, and those bags are tied at the top. Then there's this cord thats tied to the bag, which has a round plastic thing on top (for the purpose of being able to be pulled down). That's attached to a cord or rope, and that goes through this plastic area that holds the item in place. The way you win is you get this arm in the right spot (between the plastic suspending it and the top of the ring) so that when it goes down, it pulls the bag down, and once all the cord is pulled, the item falls and you win. However, getting it in that little spot is kinda hard. Anyways, I wanted that phone strap, and its 6 plays for 500 yen. After 6 plays, I got it mostly down. I got another 500 yen (since I commited myself, and 1000 yen for a phonestrap is average price) and within 2 plays of that, the phone strap fell. I went for a 2nd one with the remaining 4 plays, but wasn't able to get it in that small spot. After that, it was getting late, so I headed out. Before I left the area, I stopped by a Book-off (used book/music/other stuff store). I didn't see any books, a couple overpriced photobooks that I didn't get, but I saw that they had Buono Singles. They had Renai Rider first press with the DVD, and the newer "Kiss Kiss Kiss" single for only 500 yen each, which is about 1/3 of their regular price. I picked up both, and headed outta there. There was this one really dirty old guy who was buying porn and had a pink hello kitty backpack. He was ahead of me in line and MAD staring at the CDs I was buying. It was kinda weird. After that, I headed to the Big Tiger (game store) next door. They had a teal gamecube controller (which i haven't seen since the last time i was in Japan) for about 20 bucks. I need one anyways, for when I play the Wii at other people's place, and for when Dan brings his Wii over when he visits. After that, I needed food, so I went and got Wendy's for dinner.

Wendy's now has a small Chili for 99 yen, so i got that, a jr BBQ burger, and a small frosty. It was 3 bucks, and the chili was really good, especially considering my throat felt like crap. I took the train back home, tried sleeping a bit on the 40 minute train, but that didn't go that well. I slept a little tho, so i was awake enough for the hour long train. I played my PSP the entire way back. After getting home, I went online for a little, and went to bed.

Monday I woke up, throat still felt sore. I had mail in my mailbox that said to go to the post office to pick up a package. I went to school, took medicine there for colds and stuff, but it didn't really help. I spent the day watching the sports festival practice and stuff. After school, I watched the basketball club in the gym. At 4:30 I headed on out. I went to the post office, and got my letter. It was my 5000 yen voucher (in 5 1000 yen forms) thats useful only at certain stores. One of them is the big department store i go to, Saty, the other is the main grocery store I go to, Max Value. At least if I go shopping, I don't have to spend money. I was gonna buy a Brita filter, but tap water seems good enough for me at this point, so I might not need a Brita...i have plenty of time to use those so im not worried. I could just do 5 $10 shopping days at the grocery store just as easily, haha. After that, I went to the 100 yen store across the street and picked up some candy for work and a pack of 70 pairs of wooden chopsticks for lunch. After that, I went to this place called "Taiko Bentou", which is just a small store that has various meat/rice type dishes. I got Katsudon which is a piece of Katsu (fried pork) with an egg, and vegitables cooked on top of it, all on top of a bowl of rice. I ate the katsu and left about half the rice, it was warm so it wasnt too bad for my throat, but I wasn't feeling too great overall and I just wanted to get home and sleep. I got home and slept from about 6PM until 9PM. I woke up and I felt like crap. Worst I've ever felt waking up ever. I tried to go on the computer to keep myself awake, and wasn't really able to. I took some Nyquil and went to bed around 10. I slept until 7AM and woke up, and was still really tired, my throat hurt, and i ached all over.

Tuesday rolls around, which was today. I went to school, and at school, I got an email saying my broken phone has been fixed. Today's schedule was the same as yesterday, so I watched people do stuff all day and then watched the Volleyball club after school was over. At 4:30, I biked on over to the Softbank store, and switched my temporary cell phone with my real one. After that, I headed back home and it was about 5:30. I ate some fried chicken I bought at the convenience store and have been on the computer since (aside from that break for donuts I took). This took a while to write, but yeah...my throat still hurts so I'm probably gonna go to bed early and hopefully cure myself of this.

The sports festival that my school is preparing is this saturday. I have to participate in a 100M dash, be a judge for one of the group's events, and prolly more things that they're gonna make me do. Then at the after-party, I have to make a speech to the teachers (since the last one was for students). Even tho its a 6 day week, I have sunday off, of course, monday is a holiday, and they're giving us tuesday off of school/work too (i guess to make up for saturday). Then it's a 3 day week where I pretty much just give self-introductions. Yay. Not much going on this week, so I don't see myself blogging it, but if I do, it'll prolly be short cause my day consists of going to work, having some sort of errand I need to run, then coming back home. Joy of all joys, lol.

Hopefully this week ends well as in, I'm not sick at the end of it, lol.

-Rob

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Misadventures of Rob #ReloadFULL EP13 - Karaoke with coworkers and pictures

Hey all, I know I haven't updated since monday, but not much has been going on, really. Monday I stayed at school until 5:30 to use the internet, and then I went home, did laundry, ate etc. Boring stuff.

Tuesday at school is testing for the students for their summer assignments and gym class. I watched that, but I'm not supposed to write details about school or whatever on here, so i'll just skip to after school. I stayed until about 4:30, which is what my English Teacher Supervisor said. I went home, did laundry, and I think I went to bed early or took a nap or something cause of lack of sleep on the weekend. Another boring day.

Wednesday same thing at school, stayed till 4:30. I'm at least doing stuff at school, so that's nice. I like having stuff to do, but not having stuff i have to do, if that makes any sense. Essentially, i can just watch the kids do whatever, and it's cool. After school, I had a dentist appt at 5. I went to that, he filled out the last two or three cavities i had. After that, they gave me the bill. 2030 yen. Less than 20 dollars for two fillings. Thank god I waited instead of getting it done at home. now I don't have to worry about getting fillings, and it was cheap. It was quick and easy, too. After that, one of the other ALT's, Rai, called me up and wanted to see if I wanted to go get some food. I wasnt doing anything, so I was down. We went to the Softbank store first. Softbank is our cell phone company. My phone would randomly turn off when I shut it, and the display light randomly wouldnt go on. I had to exchange it, but I couldnt just do an exact exchange, I had to give them the phone, they give me a phone to borrow until they text me saying my phone is ready. The thing is, the phone I have right now is actually better than my normal phone, even tho its older. Oh well. Life goes on. Afterwards, we ate at the Okonomiyaki place right under my building. I already ate, so i didnt eat anything, Rai said it was prolly the worst Okonomiyaki she's had here. Oh well. That's what happens sometime when you try new places. We hung out at my place after that for a while, I made some edamame and we chilled. She said she even wanted to play DOA, so we played that for a little, but it was kinda weird cause i kinda know what im doing in those sort of games and dont always feel like losing on purpose.

After that, I pretty much went to bed. Thursday, same thing at school. Left at 4:30. Got home, ate some fried chicken, and took pictures of my apt and stuff. Here's the link:
http://s428.photobucket.com/albums/qq1/ArcanaHeartNana/
After that, a different ALT, Maria, called us all up and wanted to see if we wanted to go get ice cream. I'm not one to say no to that, so I head out to get some ice cream. We walk to the department store where everything is (including a baskin robbins) and so we go there. I get a cookies and cream ice cream sandwich, and it was sooooooo good. A bit expensive for what it was, but worth it for the taste. After that, we went up to the toy store area, and there's a Taiko Drum Master machine, so me and another ALT played that for a credit. Afterwards, Maria wanted to get some groceries, and i could always use more CC Lemon, so I picked up some more drinks and stuff. Went home, used the internet and went to bed.

Today, Friday, School was long. Practice for the sports festival all day. Outside most of the day. I talked to the other teachers more than usual though, which is nice. Always good to use the language i'm studying. That morning, one of the math teachers told me (in Japanese, it pretty much boiled down to) Your English supervisor and the principal, your house, tonite, coming. I was like...? He then said that it was for the Karaoke that we're gonna go to, because when people at the school and stuff ask what I like, I say Karaoke, as it's always a safe answer, and I actually do enjoy it. I guess they planned it and didn't tell me until the morning of that we were going. Thankfully, I had nothing planned, so I was actually happy that we were gonna go out. I head home at 4:30 and around 6ish, my English Teacher Supervisor calls me and says she's on her way. I meet her and the principal, and then we go pick up the math teacher. We head over to the Karaoke place, "Sky" and go for 2 hours. The principal doesn't sing, and instead sits there and smokes and drinks lots of beer and stuff. He wasn't into singing, but he's into drinking and I guess just going out. Me and the other two teachers sang a bunch tho. I did:
Piano Man by Billy Joel
Mikazuki by Ayaka
Yasashisani tsutsumaretanara by Matsutouya Yumi (I learned this song from idolm@ster, but it's also the theme song to Kiki's Delivery Service apparantly)
Hey Jude by The Beatles
Suddenly ~Meguriaete~ by Nana
We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel
Kirakira by Aiko
and Making Love Out of Nothing At All by Air Supply

The math teacher and the principal all drank a bunch, and he got little pizzas, fries, and an okonomiyaki and stuff. It was cool. In the end, it was about 13500 yen, and the principal ended up treating us all of course. I thanked him very politely both at the Karaoke place, and as he was getting dropped off. Then my English Supervisor dropped me off back at home, and here I am! I had a lot of fun, and it's very different going with teachers and principals than with friends, but Karaoke is still Karaoke, meaning its still fun. Glad my school likes me, cause some ALT's are in a crappy situation where the other teachers hate them. :D

-Rob