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« World Broadcasting Heroes: Adventures in Ikebukuro - Day One »

Hey what's up everyone? Team World Broadcasting Heroes -- Fubarduck, Marden Blake and myself -- made it to Japan about a day or so ago all in one piece so I wanted to give a quick update as to what's going on out here. Nothing below is super-mind blowing as we spent a good 12 hours simply getting settled and shaking off the jet lag but I hope to keep this series going over the next week or so you can follow along with our adventures out here and eventually paint a full picture of the trip. I'll be taking photos (with my iPhone so excuse the quality) and publishing videos on YouTube to keep ya'll in the loop.



The flight itself was a little over 10 hours but compared to when I went in 2009 for SBO it felt a lot shorter. This is probably because I was with friends and was able to catch up with Fubarduck on all the FGC happenings in Texas, opposed to sitting next to a random stranger. A lengthy strategy RPG on the PSP combined with a few well placed naps didn't hurt either.

Inside the Narita ExpressMaking it to the hotel on the other hand was a different story. While the trip on the Narita Express -- a train that goes from Narita Airport to Shinjuku and beyond -- was pretty smooth, once we got to Ikebukuro (four stops from Shinjuku) we ended up getting a little lost. As expected, it was very crowded and lugging about 100 lbs of stream gear up and down multiple flights of stairs made me wonder if my 29 years on planet earth was going to end right then and there. 

By the time we got to the hotel (Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro) it was about 4PM JST but that means it was 12AM PST and the jet lag really started to set in. That said, we still had a lot ahead of us so this was no time to sleep. In fact we decided to set up all the stream gear to make sure everything was still in working order and give everyone a live update as to where we were. For those of you who watched the broadcast, forgive us if we came off as a little a loopy. We were all pretty disoriented at the time due to the travel but I was pretty happy all the streaming gear was still functioning. 

Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro EntranceAfter the short stream we decided to scope out our surroundings and head outside as we had to wait a an hour or so before meeting up with Frieda to record the latest episode of Amalgame TV. We hit a coffee shop to keep the energy levels up and marched on to the nearest Taito Game Station. This was a pretty run of the mill arcade out here which means it had about 6 head to head SSF4 cabs, a Persona 4 cab, 4 Tekken Unlimited Tag Tournament 2 cabs and of course a bunch of Gundam Vs. cabs. Fubar played a few matches of SSF4 and after getting owned up by a C. Viper we decided to move on. 

The plan was to meet up with KSK and we all roll down to the Godsgarden studio but by the time Frieda showed up I was about done as I felt like passing out on multiple occasions. Marden and I parted ways with Fubar and Frieda, grabbed a quick bite and headed back to hotel. Fubar was out for another six hours but you'll have to wait for our first entry into our video series to hear more about his day one experience which is pretty interesting to say the least. Subscribe to us on YouTube to be the first to see it when it goes live.

Onigiri: pick your poison! We woke up at the ass crack of dawn due to the time difference and didn't waste anytime getting work done. Marden and I headed back out and I scooped up some onigiri and a meat bun for breakfast before recording the first episode of World Broadcasting Heroes. If you come to Japan for your first time and are a little lost on as what to eat onigiri -- sticky rice wrapped in seaweed with salmon or tuna in the middle -- will definitely get the job done. You can find plenty at any Family Mart or 7-11 and they only cost about a buck or two. 



RED CameraSo, Marden has a brand new badass RED camera that's worth like, $245,000 and has been recording a ton of footage along the way. We found an alley way that made for a decent setting to record the recap and let it rip. This was pretty exciting as we felt like our plan of releasing a video series on the trip was becoming more of a reality now and lugging around the camera wasn't all for naught. 

At this point we felt would be a good time to harass Fubar and kick him out of bed to keep the momentum going and record his segment of the show. He wasn't too happy about it but eventually came around after indulging in the "all you can eat breakfast" at the cafe across the street. By "all you can eat" they mean "make as much toast as you want and that's it" but Fubar didn't seem to mind the absence of scrambled eggs and pancakes. 

Cute board that shows the weather, where hotel guests are from etc. After recording the video segment we were all getting very hungry. We headed back to the hotel to update IPW and handle a few responsibilities before grabbing some ramen at a spot that was about a 15 minute walk away. It finally started to rain, as the weather reports said it would but the hotel staff was nice enough to lend us a few umbrellas to aid us on our journey.  

Ramen Ticket MachineThe ramen was very good and like many other restaurants round here, you order via a ticket machine near the entrance. The machine has photos of each dish so even if you can't read Japanese you can still get by for the most part. Pop in about 750 yen for noodles and some extra toppings, give your ticket to the front and you're good to go.




Metal Gear Shirts at UNIQLOOn our way back we made a few pit-stops. First up was UNIQLO -- which is kinda-sorta like Urban Outfitters in the States -- as I had to grab a few of their Metal Gear 25th Anniversary t-shirts they had on sale. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of the MGS series so I was pretty hype about this. I bought two! 

Finally, Fubar guided us to Game Safari which I'm sure many of you have heard of. It was packed with Gundam Vs. Extreme Full Boost players at the time (big surprise) and the SSF4 machines were mostly empty. The TUTT2 machines on the other hand had a good rotation of players so I decided to hop on and give it a shot.


Tekken Unlimited Tag 2 Cabs -- Players on Each SideI'm pretty crappy at Tekken but was able to land a few B + 1 counter hits into a day one combo with Steve Fox before eventually getting mauled by a random Asuka. Fubar told me the dude's name on his card was "My Life is a Complete Failure." Well, if that's the case, what does that say about the life of the white guy you just roasted on the other side of the cab? :(

In any case, Tekken Unlimited Tag Tournament 2 looks freakin' awesome. I feel its a huge improvement over Tekken 6 graphically, with some nice visual improvements to the characters and some amazing looking stages to boot. I might be in the minority here but I also really liked the fact I was able to play solo mode as well. If I was forced to pick two characters I probably would have been completely lost but being able to tinker around with Steve -- the only character I know in that game -- made it a lot more accessible for a Tekken noob like myself. I really hope this game takes off when it hits the states!

Game Safari Entrance. Yup, it's a Zebra's ass. Well, that's it for now. We're about to head to Shinjuku to play some KOFXIII and perhaps some VF5: FS if I'm lucky. It will probably be another day or two before my next post once we land in Osaka but I hope you guys enjoyed this read so far.

All in all the first few days has brought back a bunch of memories from 2009 and put a lot of my life into perspective. So much has changed since then and so many opportunities lie ahead. Travelling always has been and continues to be a very therapeutic experience. 

If you guys have any questions about Tokyo or Osaka hit me up on Twitter over the next few days: @haunts. I'll see what I can do to answer them. Later!

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