Diary of a Gamer: Latif in Japan part 1
Latif gives insight into the life of a professional gamer as he travels to Japan.
Hello everyone, my name is Abdullatif AKA RZR Latif and this will be the first in series of stories that I will be writing about my trip to Japan. First off I want to tell you all why I went to Japan. I went to Japan because myself and both my teammates BT Dieminion and EG Pr rog qualified for SBO “Super battle opera” tournament, the qualifier was being held in LA, California and ran by Super arcade and streamed by Level up. Moreover, I always wanted to showcase and test my skills over there since Japan is considered to have the best players at Super Street Fighter 4 AE 2012 “SSF4”. The last reason was to hang out and chill with my cousin who is studying a master degree over there. There will be 4 main parts in this series which will include my practice method for the tournament, the Japanese scene and culture, places I visited, other tournaments I participated in and many other things I did.
Part 1: SBO Qualifiers & Week One of Japan
For those who don’t know what SBO is, it’s a tournament that is held in Japan once a year that features a wide variety of fighting games. In order to participate in the main event you have to qualify for it and you can achieve that by winning the qualifier tournament. For SSF4, SBO tournament had a 3v3 single elimination format style. My main highlight of the qualifier event that when my teammate Kevin “BT Dieminion” pretty much OCV’d “ One character victory” the whole tournament, I was very amazed by his unrealistic performance and it was funny that myself and Eduardo “ PR Rog” only got to play 1-2 matches.
From left to right: RZR Latif, Kevin “BT Dieminion”, EG PR Rog
So the day of my flight I thought it would be good to stop by in Phoenix, AZ and get some matches with team hazmat and see what they were up to, it was a lot of fun chilling with them before boarding the long flight. One of the coincidence that I had was meeting up with Razer Kian and Razer Collins a LAX airport, was completely random and funny.
Razer Kian and Myself
After a long flight from all the way to Arizona, I finally reached my destination: Osaka, Japan. My cousin that I had not seen in a while came and picked me up from the airport; we went to his apartment first to unpack my bag and rest for a bit.
A funny thing that happened was when I saw -his apartment I asked him where his bedroom was. All I saw was a small living room and didn’t realize that his living room was pretty much his whole apartment! I felt little bad asking where his bedroom was.
So after I unpacked my stuff, we went straight down to SBO business. Fortunately, my cousin lived about 10 minutes away from the best arcade in Osaka which was called “Sega Avion”. This arcade hosts a lot of the best players from all over Japan, so luckily for me it was a great way to fight against the best on a daily basis before SBO. A few notable names to mention that showed up were players such as Uryo “Best Sakura”, Cantona “Best Zangief”, Dogura “Best Bison”, kog “Best T hawk”, Amiyu “Best Gen”, Noriyasu “Best Dhalsim” and many other amazing players. First day I didn’t get to play a lot of players since I showed up late at night but I still got to play some great
matches mainly against Uryo and Cantona. The matches between me and Uryo were amazing and very close, final score ended being 6-1 in my favor.
First match of the set between Uryo and RZR Latif
I really wanted to play some more matches but unfortunately he had to leave early. Cantona also really impressed me with his amazing play style that was mainly based on incredibly fast reactions to every attack I did and the ability to read every movement. It’s really hard to explain such thing in words so I will leave you guys with some matches to watch instead.
Later on that day my cousin and I went to eat some real Japanese food, he told me that Osaka is famous of Yakisoba so why not try some. Honestly I think the yakisoba that I had was probably my favourite dish that I ate in Japan.
Yakisoba in Osaka
So pretty much I had the same routine for the next four days prior heading to Tokyo for SBO. It was hard for me to go to anywhere during the day since I was fasting for Ramadan. The day of August 2nd I booked my ticket to Tokyo so I could catch up with everyone else over there and get ready for the main event.
A funny and frustrating thing that happened was when I tried to meet up with one of the White Tower guys from Kuwait “Maan”, I was supposed to meet up with him at the train station at Ikebukuro, Tokyo. We talked the day before on Skype about when and where we would meet up. What sucks was that his phone doesnt accept international phone calls! It finally worked after we sent text messages to each other.
As soon as I boarded the train I text him saying that I had already arrived in Tokyo and said “trip was about 2 hours and 30 minutes long” there was no response. Then I arrived at my first stop and I text him again and still no response! This happened until I reached my final destination which was Ikebukuro, and after a million texts there was still no response. I had no clue what I should do since it was my first time over there so I waited at the place where we said we would meet for little bit less than two hours. After waiting that long I decided to use my awesome sign language since it’s rare to see a Japanese person who understands English. After barely finding someone who understand what I wanted to say I finally found the place where White tower stayed at, but it didn’t matter since there was no one over there and the gate requested a password or a key to enter. I assumed that they were at the arcade in Shinjuku so I decided to try to find where the arcade was, I had no clue where Shinjuku was and at that point, I didn’t give a damn.
The language barrier was a big problem and I didn’t have anyone to help me find my way. I finally found my train so I could go to Shinjuku, it would have been easy to find if I had known how the train system worked.
Right before I boarded my train I hear someone shouting my name and looking extremely tired and sweating as much as I was. “Yes!” I said, I finally found Maan, or should I say he found me. What had happened was his international messaging service was cut off the day I left! So every text I sent he couldn’t reply back so he was looking all over for me as much I was looking for him. It was fun running through the train station though!
Team White Tower from Kuwait “Aziz, Gannon, Moe, Maan”
In the next part I will continue about the main event “SBO” and how my experience was..