omni’s SBO log (hella long)
Due to circumstances involving work, I couldnt leave for Japan until Thursday March 20th. Fortunately I was not alone, as Mike Creque (masaka) and Adam Jennings (kikin) were also traveling on the same day. Rumor has it that James Romedy was coming along but I heard he didnt get his passport in time and since he never showed up, one can only assume that is what happened.
I board Thai Airlines headed for Japan and right away, there is zero English being spoken on the plane. A small reminder that I am going to a foreign country. I order a coke to drink, and Im handed this metal thing that looks like the coke symbol, but written in Thai. Another small reminder that Im going to be far from home for the next few days. Luckily the flight was very empty, as every person had their own row I got to lie across 4 seats and fall asleep for some of the flight. I arrive without much drama and get off the plane, track down my luggage and go through customs to find Masaka and Kikin standing there smiling. We say hi and all that fun stuff, because we havent seen each other in a minute or two. We are Top Travellers and decide to follow David Dials tips of buying a phone card and exchanging our money. After some confusion we try to escape Narita.
Here in lies the 1st part of the RPG of Life (Copyright of Mark Flipmeign Acero) as we try to navigate in a foreign land without knowing the language nor the customs. We start heading down some stairs when I kid you not some asian girl asks me if she is going the right way. I’m all, ‘do I look like I would know?’ but I simply say, ‘I think so’ and we all walk away hoping we are going the right direction. We take the express train to Nippori and sorta not really figure out how to transfer to a JR line to find Takadanobaba (we end up going the wrong way for a minute or two) by using a complex game of my broken japanese and their broken english and lots of charades. We finally get off the train and look for the exit, so we walk up some stairs and we can’t find the exit anywhere. I’m all, ‘hrm…this does not seem good’ so I ask one of the workers where the exit is and he points down the stairs where I just came from. I’m all, ‘I know the train is down there, but I need the exit!!’ and he points downstairs again. Getting frustrated that he is not understanding me, we all head in separate directions looking for the exit. After around 10 minutes, we figure out that the man was indeed correct and the exit to the street was back where we started. I guess we were in the area of where you can only transfer to other trains. Dirty Japanese.
So after taking some random exit out of Takadanobaba I find a phone and give Kuni a call with my newly purchased phone card. I talk to Kuni and he tells me to call Bas. So I call Bas and he puts me on hold and gives me the phone to Valle. The problem is that no one is at the hotel and we have all of our stuff with us. We can’t get into the hotel because we don’t have a key and they are at some tournament at an arcade we don’t know. So we decide to meet up at More because Kikin remembers how to get there (ha!) so back on the trains for us. We get to More and those fools are no where in sight. More is hella small and smokey and there is no room for our luggage anywhere. Luckily I see David Gunter Dial and he has a room key so he takes us back to the hotel. Back on the trains and back to Takadanobaba we go. At this point I’m just grumpy and tired and all sorts of confused about what time it is and why I’m awake and all this stuff, so we just head straight to the hotel to put our stuff up and we give Bas a call again, they are still at Sportsland so we meet up there with them.
Walking into Sportsland was crazy. There had to be at least 10 Virtua Fighter 4 machines everywhere, with 2 hella cute girls on them playing and winning. At the end of each row there was also the Green Arcadia book tied to the pole so you could look up frame data while you were playing. And people wonder why Japanese players are so good. I walk around and see Ohnuki, who gets off the machine and hugs me and says hello. He is in the middle of his win streak in cvs2, owning fools up with N-Akuma. He didn’t look out of shape at all and I asked him if he was entering the 2nd chance CvS2 tournament the next day and he said no, just VF4. I say hi to John, Valle, and everyone else that is there. I start walking around the arcade just to see what they have and I see a Fighting Vipers 2, which I didn’t even know came out. We just kicked it there for a little bit and since we had to get up early, we headed back home.
Since this was my first night, I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going to stay. Not only that, since the tournament was the next day a lot of the Japanese players were staying with us. Going back to the hotel was Bas, Ino and Sawada who we all called Captain Sawada (Street Fighter The Movie reference) and everyone else. Since my stuff was in John’s room, I tried to stay there first, but there were like 10 people in there. I said fuck that and tried to stay in the GGXX room, which was huge and had plenty of room compared to the other rooms. They were all sorts of aprehensive and didn’t look like they wanted anyone else staying with them, so I said fuck it and went back to John’s room. The place was absolutely out of control with Ino sleeping on the floor somewhere, campbell on the floor somewhere and bodies everywhere. Bas asked me where I was sleeping and I said I don’t know and he goes, ‘right here!’ and on the bed slept me, Bas, Sawada and Choi. I think there were only 2 blankets or something because me and Bas shared one and Choi/Sawada shared one.
Since we are stupid, we stayed up until around 2 a.m. I think. I just remember Bas waking me up at 4:30 a.m so we could start taking showers and getting ready. 2.5 hours of sleep with jet lag, not fun. We finally get all 11 people up and ready and head out there. Along the way we see more and more Japanese players on the trains. We had to take around 3 trains and every stop, we kept adding more to our posse. We finally find the stop around an hour plus more later and we all get lost. We got like 9 japanese guys all staring into their arcadia magazines looking for where we are going, kinda funny. We finally find the place and start signing up for the tournaments. After filling out the paperwork we walk into the hall that it is located in which is absolutely huge. Way bigger than the UCLA building for Evolution. They have all the cabinets set up already one row of 8 for CvS2, 8 cabinets in the middle for the finals, another row of 8 for VF4 than around 12 or more cabinets for practice they were 100 yen to play, but they featured all the games that were there for the tournament. We walk around and say Hi to a lot of the Japanese players that were helping to run the tournament, such as GQ, Wakamatsu, Matsuda, etc. Meet up with Tokido, who hugs me and says hi and we talk about how he is going to win the tournament. Haha. Track down Liquid Metal and I apologize that I did not get to spend much time with him when he was in America and how I had to work 20 days straight right before I left for Japan. He said no problem. He told me how he didn’t enter the CvS2 2nd chance tournament because he knew his american friends were going to be in the tournament and he didn’t want to have to play against them.