Japan 2010 write up

So I really went to Japan in the middle of August for a couple of weeks. Still feels so unreal... I mean, the fact that I'm back in Italy now feels unreal. Everything else was just as expected. Even if I missed a few good places, I had the chance to see a lot of Tokyo and enjoyed it in pretty much every aspect. I also could experience things that are not exactly touristic so I'm really glad, even if I had to sacrifice a lot of my 3rd Strike time. I won't go into details here, but it felt right that way, so I didn't play much but I'm ok with it. And I was able to fully attend one of the best 3rd Strike weekends ever, I guess. I'll miss Tougeki but really I can't complain, Cooperation Cup this year was so much bigger, maybe I'd say more important also. Whatever...

First interesting thing was Dan'isen at Versus during the Coop. Cup weekend (on Friday). I went there early and found like... 10+ 3rd Strike machines to play on. I was shocked in a good way, and I was even more when I started winning during the real thing. I wasn't really used to cabs too so... Well, it didn't last long. I soon found players I got stuck to, and the Dan'isen format is just as cruel as it is fascinating, so I never got out of the first isle of cabs where we were fighting between dans 1-3, I guess. But I'm not really sure. Anyway, a lot of people started coming and eventually the wait to get a turn in was too much, so I kept sucking and sucking, lol. A lot of the top players where there already, even from outside Tokyo. I think the whole Kansai expedition was there already. I played Chinta and he's just too smart. Then I played CASA for a few matches and after winning my first one she came on the other side to talk me and it was really nice. She was friendly to me all the time and I really appreciated it! I had small talks (small indeed) with other players as well (MOV, RX etc.), but really nothing much. Some guys can't really speak english too, and it's kinda not easy for them to deal with a situation like that, I think. After a while I felt such a bad player that I stopped any form of interaction anyway :/
So sorry TheShend, I wasn't really able to spread the news that you love them all, but I'm sure every 3s player knows that, lol.
Too bad also because people like Koshun, Rikimaru and Raoh looked really friendly all the time, but whatever. Yeah, I was mainly interested in Chun players, of course. And I've got to say that Koshun really impressed me the most. He might not be the best out there but his play style is awesome and actually solid at the same time. I also got to see him play Hugo for a while, lol!
Anyway, that day I also met Ryan (let blood run on SRK) who also went there all weekend and is a really cool guy. Also solid, experienced and clever at the game! Good times, too bad we missed some extra 3s stuff but that was my fault.

Saturday it was pre-Cooperation Cup day, so a same character 5on5 tournament. I wrote about it on SRK, so I'll just copy/paste:

Went there today with let blood run for this pre-cooperation cup tournament. The atmosphere is just... I can't really describe it. The love for the game is still so high you can't imagine, and Versus is like second home for so many players.
Anyway, I arrived there early and they asked me if I wanted to sign up. I didn't know it was possible but sure I was down for it, so they hooked me up with a random team (and the characters were all different). They had 8 groups of 3/4 teams each, most of them were "regular" same-chara teams though. I was in the same group as Boss team, so you can imagine how it went. MOV+Riki were in the same group as Nuki's team. Once again MOV beat Nuki so easily it's unreal. Anyway, top 8 was:

Oro team vs. Yang (KO) team
Dudley team vs. Ibuki team
Chun (MOV etc.) team vs. Elena team
Q team vs. Makoto team

Semi finals:
Chun vs. Makoto (went down to last match, round and pixel MOV vs. Boss, crazy stuff)
Yang vs. Ibuki (Kuroda arrived just in time to give this team A LOT of advices and tips during the matches)

Makoto vs. Ibuki

Higa is a genius, and somehow it seemed like team Ibuki could have made it but I think Haitani shut them down completely after a few matches. Fun moment, the Ibuki team had to choose the next player and the crowd suggested Kuroda, lol.

So yeah, team Makoto really won, after all. There also were so many sick moments from the low tier teams, so many. Q, Hugo and Necro were fantastic. I'm not into Remy that much, but even that team was on fire.

Looking forward for the real thing tomorrow!

And tomorrow came. It was a long, long day and it was worth being there every minute. The event was streamed live so I won't go into much details, but congrats to Mester / Raoh / Jiro / Matsuken / Takayuki for pulling out an unexpected and spectacular win... It was really great to attend it in person. MOV / Rikimaru / Boss / Ochibi / Kowappa was the team to beat, but also Kokujin's team was on fire. Honestly, I didn't think Kokujin could lose that day. He was mad hype all the time, during every Tengu Stone people started beating the floor following his lead and such, and when he had to play, he was just out-smarting/jungling/whatever everyone, one after another. But that wasn't even enough. Incredible tournament.
At some point I was jut sit on the floor watching some matches and this asian guy came out of nowhere speaking perfect english. So I answered his question and then asked him what's the deal, lol, so I found out he's actually MegamanXZero from Holland! Oh well, so good to meet another fellow 3s player from Europe. He told me the usual story, when SFIV came out their 3s community completely switched to the new game. That's bad :/
We'll never drop the game here so I felt kinda lucky for that, even if the situation in Italy is just... Let's not even talk about that. But yeah, at least we'll keep having tournaments and stuff. I also wanna try something like dan'isen because it has potential even here. We'll see... Anyway, glad to meet him as well.

Ah, I wrote about this as well on SRK... So here we go again:
I was stupid enough not to ask who got Tougeki's special spot. But given that Matsu is already qualified I'd say the team is probably going to be Jiro, Mester and Raoh. Raoh is... I don't know, he's definitely not as good as the other Chuns and he does a lot of crazy random shit because he likes to do so but... He's always at the right place at the right time. This is his 3rd win at Coop. Cup and now he probably gets to qualify to Tougeki as well. He's got some magic :o

Tournament was so great and I'm glad there was a good live streaming. So many things to say that I'm probably going to forget 90% of them.

YAMA. This guy is definitely the best 12 now. I've seen him take down so many people and so many characters every time. And I think his "random" team (signed up on the spot) got to the final bracket as well. He's that awesome. Oh, and he's NOT Yamazaki.

Thanatos teamed up with the same Elena player as always for preliminar (2 spots were open). Yes, a 2 man team again. On a 5on5. I don't get it but he's awesome. Btw, they were OCVed by... Yama.

Jiro is that big.

Kuroda: yeah, every time you see him he's the same. Same clothes, same umbrella-plastic bag setup. Super-pale. He never really plays, not even one game. But... He looks kinda ok with the world :o
Always talking with someone, always helping out teams or players while they play and stuff like that.

Oh, Rikimaru looked quite pissed off for how the tournament went, I felt bad for him. Always yelling and hyping it up, he takes 3s so seriously. And honestly everyone here does, that's what makes events like this so godlike. You could have said that it was a free win for Neo Champion Road or whatever it's called, but no, every good team was here to do their best and all of the top teams knew that they could win. And most of the times they were screaming like crazy...
Oh, talking about that, Kokujin is the loudest as usual. During tengu stone the crazyness reached its max, lol. They were like hammering the ground or something. And... I couldn't believe he eventually lost. He was in total destruction mode, you've seen it. Amazing.

It's worth noting that they had an extra floor all weekend long for higher grades of dan'isen and the tournaments. So it was like... 10+ machines for freeplay in the 3rd floor + tournament setup with 4 other machines on the 4th floor. A 3s paradise.

So, outside of that special weekend I had a few other chances to play 3s, but nothing too noteworthy. Too bad I missed Sportsland freeplay, Mikado freeplay (I think) and Game Bingo tournament... I really wanted to go to that one but had other things to do and I don't regret it. Ryan went and placed very well (I think 4th) in the singles tournament as well. Good shit! Other than that I had another short dan'isen experience and I went to Mikado a couple of times. Enough to get a grasp on japanese 3rd Strike and to try and see so much sick stuff I can't even tell (I won't say who is always sleeping and who was sleeping on who, lol), but not remotely close to enough to level up seriously. But it's all good.

Mikado is great, by the way. I really like Takadanobaba and Mikado is just your perfect "default" arcade. Other than 3s they have other good stuff like Arcana 3, BlazBlue and of course Guilty Gear. It's like the place to be for Guilty, I guess. They had some tournaments when I was there and it was BIG. Plus they have random events for old games, a lot of shooters (I saw Akai Katana and it didn't really impress me... At all) and generally a lot of interesting people is there all the time. They also have some girls seriously into shooters, in particular that interesting hybrid that is Senko no Ronde. Good stuff.

That's pretty much it, I guess, and I'm tired of writing anyway :/
The trip was overall just as great as expected, and 3s was just a part of it. But since I don't plan to stop playing it anytime soon... I guess there's no rush, and there will be other chances to come back here and learn more. Hopefully soon. In the meanwhile, Fran is there until the end of September, so good luck to him and to us and eu teams at Tougeki!