July 3, 2019

2019 July and August Fighting Game Events in Tokyo

Previous: 2019 May and June Fighting Game Events in Tokyo | Next

Seems like I've gotten into the habit of tracking FGC offline events in the Tokyo area. This isn't a comprehensive list, but feel free to contact me if you want me to add anything. You also should try TopTier.gg which tracks fighting game locals around the world.

Very generally:

  • On Tuesdays there is a DBFZ, Tekken7, and Soul Calibur event run by Jiyuna and MajinObama at Red Bull Gaming Sphere, Map. It is actually officially sponsored as well!
  • On Wednesdays SFV (Fighter's Crossover Akihabara – FCA is the event name) at Akihabara ESports Square (the place, Map) starting from 7pm. There are usually around 20 setups, all with sticks. The place has a bar with food too.
  • On Thursdays there is usually a SFV event at Red Bull Gaming Sphere, Map or sometimes BeasTV's Jikoken TV with Fuudo.
  • Also on some Thursdays there is a DBFZ event orgaqnized by Kagecchi at Akihabara eSports Square.
  • Studio Sky (Map) announced on 2018-09-14 that they will be an open esports space, and as part of that I'm not yet sure of their schedule, but I add information about their events when I see it.
  • Shot Bar Lucy has different events on different days, and usually on Friday night is an all-night event featuring various games (Map), Calendar.
  • The Plaza Capcom at Kichijoji (Map) has the Capcom eSPORTS Club which has free SFV setups, and often runs events.
  • Game Bar Cross-up in Umeda, Osaka (Map) usually does SFV on Tuesday, Guilty Gear and BlazBlue on Wednesday, and KOF14 on Thursday.
  • Game Bar Bridge, in Tachikawa, usually runs some fighting game stuff. Their schedule is pinned to the gbbtachikawa profile.
  • Check Gaijin Gaming Brothers for information about Smash related events in Japan. I add Tokyo based events to my list, but they track events all over Japan with English information.
  • Syogepi-events has a Google Calendar of his events. He often runs platinum and under begginer friendly events. They have an English based guide to participating in their events.

I don't really track free play events or tournaments at arcades - there are lots of them. maplejpca tells me that there is a free play UNIST every Friday night from 8pm to 10pm at Sega Nishi Shinjuku. The arcade scene is vibrant, and you are likely to find competition at any arcade, but some are more well known than others. You might want to check out

  • Mikado Arcade, Map Takadanobaba
  • Taito Station Shinjuku East Exit, Map
  • Various arcades in Akihabara, Club Sega, Hey!
  • Various shops in Akihabara like the retro game store Super Potato, Map
  • Play Spot Big One 2nd, Map. Out in Chiba, but good place for 3rd Strike or Melty Blood. (Thanks Arlieth!)
  • Game Newton, Map. Lots of ST setups.
  • Your Warehouse, Map Kawasaki (For the crazy design)

If you are comfortable with Japanese, Kakuge-checker.com has a comprehensive list of offline, online, and other events going around all over Japan. I don't know how he/they/she does it.

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July 1, 2019

An interview with Akiki, Sako's manager and wife

When HiFight calls you out, I suppose you have to answer. This is an English translation of an article from the JP Alienware Zone.

まだeスポーツと呼ばれる以前、対戦格闘ゲームの主戦場はゲームセンターだった。多くのプレイヤーは全国各地のプレイスポットでしのぎを削り、メーカー主催、メディア主催の大会でその名前を轟かせていた。そんな時代から活躍し、今では最年長プロゲーマーと言ってもいい存在のsako選手は、現在FAV gamingに所属、『ストリートファイターV アーケードエディション』を中心に活躍している。

Back before things were called e-Sports, the main battle ground for fighting games were the arcades. People honed their competitive skills at local arcades all over the country, and won names for themselves at large tournaments held by video game makers and media companies. Sako has been competing since then, and is one of the active pro gamers with the longest history, cuurently concentrating on Street Fighter V Arcade Edition as part of FAV Gaming.

そんなsako選手の活動を追いかけていくと、マネージャーであり妻でもある「あきき」さんの存在に気がつくはずだ。彼女のTwitterをチェックすると、sako選手の動向はもちろん、FAV gamingのメンバーや対戦格闘ゲーム界隈の情報を積極的にツイートし、さらにsako選手が出場する大会は応援配信を行い、ファンと積極的に交流を図っている。

If you look into sako's history, you'll quickly notice the presence of "Akiki", his wife and manager. If you check her twitter feed, of course you will see information about sako and his activities, as well as lots of promotion of FAV gaming's members' activity and information about the fighting game world. She also runs streams supporting sako's appearances, and has lots of positive interactions with fans.

プロゲーマーのマネージャーのときはどのようにsako選手をサポートし、妻であり母であるときはどのように家族を支えているのか。プロゲーマーの家族とはどうあるべきなのか。

In this article she talks about how she supports sako as a professional gamer's manager, how she supports her family as a wife and mother, and what she thinks a professional gamer family should look like.

あききさんには改めてsako選手との出会いを語っていただき、プロゲーマーの家族としての過去・現在・未来を語っていただいた。

She also talks about how she met sako, and about the past, present, and future of her pro-gamer family.

sako on the right, Akiki on the left
sako on the right, Akiki on the left.

▲sako選手(写真右)と、マネージャーあききさん

Saki5時間ベガ立ち!?

1 When you first met sako he left you standing alone for 5 hours!?

――sako選手のマネージャーであり、プロゲーマーの奥さんでもあるわけですが、女性のプロゲーマーファンからいろんな質問がきたりしませんか?

You are both sako's wife and manager, do you get a lot of questions from female pro gamer fans?

Akiki I do! Lately I've started getting questions like "What should I do to marry a pro gamer?" But really, that's not how it is. The person that I married became a pro gamer. So I don't really know how to go about dating a pro gamer. (She smiles wryly.)

あきき 届きますね。最近は「プロゲーマーと結婚するにはどうしたらいいんですか?」という質問もくるようになりました。でも違うんですよ。私は結婚した人がプロゲーマーになったんです。だから、プロゲーマーとお付き合いする方法は私もわかりません(苦笑)。

I see (laughs). So when you met he wasn't a pro gamer. How did you meet sako?

――そうですよね(笑)。出会ったころはまだプロゲーマーではなかったですもんね。sako選手とはいつどのように出会ったのでしょうか。

Akiki: (Glancing at a FAV Gaming brochure) It's really embarrassing for me to be asked about this kind of thing by someone on the team. (Laughs).

We met at a (TODO: check) driver's license training camp. I thought I'd go to an all-inclusive (includes transportation fees, hotel fees, etc) driver's license training program, and the most convenient one was in (TODO: read) Nomikawa. That's where my parents live, and I lived on my own at Kobe at the time, and I thought I could visit my parents while getting my license, so I decided to go there.

あきき:(FAV Gaming広報をチラっと見ながら)チームの人にこういう話を聞かれるのってすごく恥ずかしいですね(笑)。

出会いは合宿免許先でした。関西で合宿免許に行こうと思うと、交通費・宿泊費もろもろ込みで一番手頃なのが香川にあったんです。私の実家も香川で、当時は神戸で一人暮らしをしていたのですが、合宿免許がてら実家に帰れるからちょうどいいかなと思って、そこに決めました。

While I was in the camp, I went back to my parent's place and one day I stayed there so late playing games that I would have been late going back to the camp. When I went back, everyone was hanging out at the break area, and one of them asked me what I was doing that I would be so late. So when I told him that I had been playing games, sako got all quiet and said haughtily "Eh, games? What kind of games?" TODO: check haughty

合宿中、たまに実家に帰っていたんですが、ある日遅くまで実家でゲームをしていて、合宿所に戻るのが遅い時間になってしまったんです。戻ったら施設の休憩所でみんな集まってダラダラしていたんですが、参加者のひとりが「こんな遅くまで何をしていたの?」と聞いてきたので、実家でゲームをしていたことを話したら、静かに話を聞いていたsakoが「え? ゲーム? どんなゲーム?」ってエラい勢いで食いついてきたんです。

It seems like during the camp, he was a bit lonely because he hadn't been able to talk to anyone about games (laughs), and from the next day on he would greet me every morning.

合宿中、誰ともゲームの話ができなくて寂しい思いをしていたようで(笑)、翌日から「おはよう」って挨拶してくれるようになりました。

Even after that camp ended, we'd still get together with some of the members from that time in Osaka and have fun together. If we all went together to a game center, sako would start playing fighting games and he'd never stop! (laughs) At that time "Guilty Gear XX Reloaded" was popular, and sako would just keep winning on that first 100yen he put in, and a big line would build up on the other side of the cabinet. The other people didn't really know much about games, and so they'd say "well, we're going to check some other things out" and leave the game center, but I thought that since I had told sako that I like games, it would be rude for me to leave him so … So in the end I just stood there behind sako for three hours.

合宿が終わった後も、そのときのメンバーで大阪に集まって遊んだりしていたんですよ。みんなでゲームセンターに行ったりすると、sakoが格闘ゲームをやり始めると終わらないんです(笑)。ちょうど『ギルティギアXX#リローデッド』が流行っていた頃なんですが、sakoは最初に入れた100円だけで勝ち続けて、対戦台の向こうに列ができてるような感じで。他のメンバーはそんなにゲーマーなわけでもないので「じゃあ俺たち、他を回ってるね」とゲームセンターを出て行くんですが、私はsakoに「ゲームは好き」って伝えている関係上、離れるのは失礼かなって思ってしまって……。結局3時間くらいsakoの後ろでベガ立ちしてました。

Anyone that knows sako probably knows this, but (TODO: check) he only has eyes for games. On our first date I ended up standing behind him for 5 hours (laughs.) I killed the time by playing (TODO check) suku suku inufuku at the same game center.

sakoを知る方ならみんなご存知と思いますけど、本当にゲームに目が無くて。初めてのデートのときも私は5時間ベガ立ちですよ(笑)。同じ店内にあった『すくすく犬福』とかをやりながら時間はつぶしてましたけど。

When we started dating, he would come to my place sometimes. I also liked games, so I a playstation and a saturn. When he came over and saw that I had these systems and even some fight sticks, he said "Hey, you've got games! You've got sticks!" and by the time he had said that, he's been with me ever since.

付き合い始めた日に、うちに遊びにきました。私も普通にゲーム好きだったので、プレイステーションとかサターンとか持っているわけです。ア―ケードコントローラーも持っていたので、「なんや、ゲームあるやん! アケコンあるやん!」とか言い出したかと思ったら、その日からずっと居座ってしまったんです。

Akiki

2 Living in Kobe, Kyoto, Nomikawa, and getting married

神戸、京都、香川で暮らし、結婚へ

–You said that he would come over, but did you start living together just like that?

――遊びに来ただけのはずが、そのまま同棲生活に?

Akiki: sako used to go to work from my house (laughs). When I would come home from work, sako would by in a nearby game center playing fighting games waiting for me. I would go and wait standing behind him until he finished his game, then it would be closing time, and we could finally go and eat dinner together and go home.

あきき:sakoは私の家から出社してました(笑)。私が仕事から帰るとき、sakoは私の家の近くのゲームセンターで対戦しながら待ってるんです。私はそこでまたベガ立ちしながら対戦が終わるまで待って、閉店時間になって、それでやっと一緒にご飯を食べに行って帰りました。

We lived like that for a while, and then because of my job I decided to move to Kyoto. And then when I asked "What should we do?" he said we should go together, and we started living together officially from then. Well, we were already living together in Kobe, but (TODO check) it wasn't official, and this time we actually told our parents and got their blessing to start publicly living together. (laughs)

それからしばらくすると、私が仕事の都合で京都に転勤になることが決まったんです。そのときsakoに「どうする?」って聞いたら一緒に来るというので、正式な同棲がスタートしました。まあ神戸でもすでに同棲ではあったんですけどナシ崩しだったので、このときはちゃんと両親にも説明した公認の同棲という意味です(笑)。

While we were living in Kansai, at one point I needed to return to Nomikawa on account of my mother's illness. It doesn't sound great to say it this way, but in Nomikawa-ken … There's nothing at all near my parent's place. If you want to go to a game center where you can play fighting games it takes an hour by car. But sako still said that we should go together, and my mother's illness was such that someone had to be with her 24 hours a day, so I asked him to help out with my father's business and to help out around the house.

関西で一緒に住んでいた頃、私が母親の病気の関係でしばらく香川県に帰ることになったんです。こういう言い方するのはアレですが、香川県……とくに私の実家の周りは何もないんですよ。対戦できそうなゲームセンターへ行くとなると車で1時間以上かかるし。sakoはこのときも「一緒に行く」と言うので、母の看病も24時間ずっと誰かがついてないといけない状況だったのもあって、父の稼業を手伝ってもらったり、実家の手伝いをsakoにもお願いしてました。

TODO: check –Even though there was no game center nearby, it really says a lot that he would do that

――大好きなゲームセンターも近くに無いと言ってるのに、情に厚い良い話ですね。

Akiki: Yeah, his fighting game withdrawal symptoms were really something else back then. It wasn't like it is now, playing over the net was almost impossible back then, so all he could really do is play Arcade Mode. He would make these terrible faces, and so I would ask him "What's wrong?" and he would say in a strained voice "I … want to … fight someone." He actually really said that. (laughs). I have never seen sako with such a pained expression before or since then. He once made the hour drive out to the Nomikawa game center, but unlike the large arcades he used to go to in the city, there weren't many customers and fighting games weren't popular there, so he just played the CPU to the end twice, and then left. He came back a lot quicker than I expected, so I said "That was fast" and he said "nobody came…".

あきき:いやぁ、あの頃はsakoの対戦禁断症状が半端なかったですね。今と違ってネット対戦がほぼ不可能な時代なので、家でひたすらアーケードモードで遊ぶしかなかったんです。あんまりヒドい顔をしいるので「どうしたの?」と聞いたら搾り出すような声で「対戦……したいねん……」と。リアルに口に出してそう言ったんですよ(笑)。あんなに苦しそうにしているsakoは後にも先にも見たことはありませんでした。たまに1時間かけて香川のゲームセンターへ行っていたのですが、それまで通っていた都市部のお店と違ってお客さんも少なくて対戦も流行ってないので、ひとりでCPU戦を2周ほどして終わりだったみたいで。意外と早く帰って来たので、「早いじゃん?」って聞いたら「誰も入って来ぃへんねん……」って。

So, (TODO check) every once in a while he'd go back to Osaka for a week. I thought he'd go crazy if he didn't do that, and when he came back he always have this huge grin on his face. (laughs).

なので、見るに見かねて定期的に一週間ほど大阪へ行ってもらいました。そうしないと精神的に持たなかっただろうし。帰ってくるとニッコニコでしたね(笑)。

Well, we came together as a family in that kind of way, and when it came time to talk about marriage neither of our families were opposed.

まあ、こんな形で家族ぐるみのお付き合いになっていたので、私たちが結婚するという段階ではどちらの家族も反対することはありませんでした。

You dated for about 6 years, and then got married when sako was 30. Does sako look after your daughter (now 5) at all?

――6年ほどお付き合いをして、sako選手が30歳のときに結婚されたんですよね。sako選手は娘さん(現在5歳)の面倒をみたりするのでしょうか?

Akiki: That's right. We're a double income family, and when I got pregnant, we had a serious conversation about how he would also reliably support the family. I pushed on him a bit to join a "daddy class" held at the obstetrician's, and I posted up clippings from childcare magazines in the toilet that he read. Why did I put them in the toilet? Because in all the other rooms his eyes were always drawn to the game screens. (laughs). Now we have games on your smart phone, but back then it was easy to get him to look at things in the toilet. But he really did study properly about child care, and he feeds her, gives her a bath, changes diapers, there's nothing he can't do when it comes to child care. His score on the papa scale is very high. (laughs).

あきき:そうですね、共働きですし、妊娠した段階でsakoにもしっかりサポートしてもらおうとしっかり学んでもらいました。産婦人科で開催しているパパ教室に引っ張ってって参加してもらったり、育児関連の雑誌の切り抜きをトイレに貼って覚えてもらったり。何でトイレかっていうと、他の部屋だとゲーム画面が目に入るからです(笑)。今だとスマホゲーがありますが、当時はトイレなら見てもらいやすかったんです。でもしっかり育児の勉強について来てくれて、ご飯を食べさせるのも、お風呂に入れるのも、おむつの交換も、育児でできないことは無いです。パパ偏差値はかなり高いんじゃないですかね(笑)。

Back when I was still pregnant, there wasn't a Capcom Pro Tour yet but sako was often invited to international competitions as a pro gamer, and we went together to Brazil. While we were there, I suddenly started to get bad morning sickness, and immediately I thought that I would have to go to a local hospital… It was really tough. When sako won the first Capcom Cup, for the first time I felt the baby move in the womb, and I felt like she was cheering for sako.

娘がお腹にいる頃、まだカプコンプロツアーは無かったんですけどsakoはプロゲーマーとして海外大会に招待されることも多くて、ブラジルに一緒に行ったときに突然つわりがはじまってあわや現地の病院にかかりそうになったりしたことがありまして……あれは大変でした。sakoが優勝した第一回のカプコンカップの時に初めて胎動があったり、お腹の中から応援を感じました。

The TRETA CHAMPIONSHIP AFTERMATH that sako attended and won in 2013.  Akiki suddenly got bad morning sickness and spent the whole time in the corner.  Still capture from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbvT7TGztKE
The TRETA CHAMPIONSHIP AFTERMATH that sako attended and won in 2013. Akiki suddenly got bad morning sickness and spent the whole time in the corner. Still capture from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbvT7TGztKE

▲2013年、ブラジルで開催された大会「TRETA CHAMPIONSHIP AFTERMATH」にsako選手が出場、優勝した。このときあききさんはつわりがひどくなり、会場の隅でじっとしていたという( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbvT7TGztKE よりキャプチャ)

3 Negotiating for a year to become a Pro (TODO check)

「プロ」の冠を得るため1年かけて交渉

–I believe he tried to become a pro after you got married?

――プロになろうとしたのはご結婚された後ということでしたが。

Akiki: The trigger was when Japan's only Pro Gamer at the time, Daigo Umehara, invited him to take part in the "GODS GARDEN Online" Super Street Fighter IV online tournament. Actually, we had a lot of arguments about whether he should or should not enter that tournament…

あきき:当時日本で唯一のプロゲーマーになっていたウメハラ選手に招待していただいて『スーパーストリートファイターIV』のオンライン大会「GODSGARDEN Online」に出場したのがきっかけでした。まあ、この大会にも出る出ないで随分揉めたのですが……。

–You argued?

――揉める?

Akiki: From the start sako didn't really care about winning or losing tournaments. He just liked to play games and wanted to get better and stronger. He didn't really have that feeling like "I want to win this tournament!" So for him he just thought that tournaments were a lot of work and annoying, so he didn't want to go. For that "GODSGARDEN Online" tournament, he had a direct offer but he just didn't want to accept it, and his gamer friends tried to convince him by saying that "You've got an invite from Daigo, that's a rare chance!" but I just couldn't get him to agree. Finally in the end I told him that I wanted to persuade him together with his friends, and he finally consented.

あきき:もともとsakoは大会とか勝敗にあまり興味がないんです。ただ自分がやってるゲームが好きで「上手くなりたい、強くなりたい」だけなんですよ。大会で優勝したい!という欲があまりなくて。なので大会は基本的に「面倒臭いからいいや」だったんです。さっき話した「GODSGARDEN Online」のときも最初はsakoに直接オファーがあったんですが、なかなか承諾してくれなくて、ゲーマーの友達が「ウメハラに招待されるなんてそんなチャンス無いんだぞ」ってsakoを説得しようとするんですけど、どうにも首を縦に振ってくれない。で、最終的に私に一緒に説得してほしいってことになって説得に加わったんですよ。

Since it is online, he can do it from home, and then when he finally accepted and tried, he won. And in the second tournament, he played a lot of matches directly with Daigo and he was able to win. Alex Valle, who run the American Gaming group "Tournament Legacy" saw that, and when Team Hori was starting up their gaming group they called us.

オンラインだから、家にいて参加できるから、ってどうにか説得して出場したら優勝して、続く第2回大会ではウメハラさんとすごい接戦を演じて勝つことができたんですね。これをアメリカのゲームイベント団体「トーナメントレガシー」を運営してたアレックス・ヴァイエさんが観ていて、これから「チームHORI」というプロゲーマー部門を立ち上げようとしている、と声がかかったんです。

He had been putting in so much effort into this each and every day, and right as I thought it would be great if we could make this into a career, this great opportunity came up. If he could win the crown of Pro gamers, then we would get more gaming jobs, and more than anything else this would be the best environment from sako who loves and is best at games.

毎日毎日あまりにも打ち込んでいたので、これが何か仕事に繋がったりするといいのになと思っていたところに、絶好のチャンスでした。「プロ」の冠があればゲームの仕事も増えるはずですし、何よりsakoが一番得意で好きなことに打ち込める環境ができるので。

–and he is still sponsored by the computer equipment maker Hori

――今もスポンサーとして継続している周辺機器メーカーのホリさんですね。

Akiki: Well, there are some unusual circumstances around that. Back then the "Team HORI" that we joined was the team that the North American Hori USA company sponsored. But there was a lot going on there, and that Team HORI ended up dissolving. But I thought, you know, he finally got to be a pro gamer, and he was finally able to do what he wanted to do, it was just a shame. So I asked for an introduction to the Japanese HORI from HORI USA, and I went to promote sako to them myself.

あきき:それが微妙に事情がありまして、このときに結成した「チームHORI」というのはホリさんの北米法人のHORI USAがスポンサードするチームだったんですね。ところがこのチームHORIはいろんなことがあって解体になってしまったんです。でもせっかくプロゲーマーになって、sakoがやりたいことができていたのに、もったいないと思ってHORI USAから日本のホリさんを紹介していただいて、私のほうから売り込みにいきました。

–So it hasn't continued all this time, you had to go and pursue it?

――引き継ぎがあったわけでなく、あききさんの方から売り込んだんですか?

Akiki: That's right. By the way, back in 2011, nobody recognized "Pro Gamer" as a career. Just about the only Pro Gamer that was well known in Japan was Diago Umehara, and he his sponsors were all from overseas.

あきき:そうなんです。ところがこの2011年ごろって「プロゲーマー」なんていう職業が認知されているわけもなくて。何せ日本で知名度の高いプロゲーマーはほぼウメハラさんしかいないような状況で、そのスポンサー企業も海外メーカーで。

Hori originally was kind of like a factory for other peripheral device developers, so at that time they really just didn't get it. Even before I could talk about how contracting a game player could be advertisement for their products, I had to first get beyond the question of what a sponsored player even was, and if there are any benefits to them from that. I had to start from those first steps.

ホリさんというのはもともと、周辺機器を開発する職人集団の工房みたいな企業さんなので、このときはまったくピンと来ていませんでしたね。ゲームプレイヤーと契約することが商品の宣伝になるの?というところを検討していただく以前に、プレイヤーをスポンサードするってどういうこと? それメリットあるの?なさそう……という段階からだったんです。

Luckily I had a supporter within Hori, and so I would go around with them and talk about what kinds of things we would do, what kinds of publicity we could provide, and things like that. I went and made presentations many times, and after an entire year was able to sign a contract and start our relationship with Hori. Now in Japan pro gamers are recognized as a normal thing, and only in the past year or two has it started to get easier, but back then it wasn't smooth at all.

幸いホリさんの中にひとり味方してくださる方を得られたのでその方と一緒に、こんな活動をします、こういった宣伝活動ができます、っていろんなプレゼンをして何度も出向いて、どうにか1年がかりで契約したのが日本のホリさんとのお付き合いの始まりでした。日本でもプロゲーマーというものが一般に認知されたのなんて、ここ1~2年の事なので、当時の感覚で言ったらすんなりはいきませんよね。

–Spending an entire year giving presentations to a company, that doesn't sound like a manager's job, more like a producer! (laughs.)

――1年がかりで企業にプレゼンって、それはもうマネージャーというよりプロデューサーなのでは(笑)。

Akiki: No, no, that's how things work in our family. We each do the things that we have a talent for, that's how we normally operate. There are also things that sako can do that nobody else can, so we just have a different balance from other families (laughs). sako really loves games more than anybody else, he's really great at them, and so if he's going to shine the most in that position, that's where I want him to be.

あきき:いえいえ、そこは我が家のことなので。お互いが得意なことをやってるだけで、普通ですよ。sakoが他の誰にもできない能力に秀でてるから、他の家庭とバランスが違うだけで(笑)。sakoはほんとに誰よりもゲームが好きで、得意で、そういう場所に居てもらうことでsakoがいちばん輝けるんだったら、私としてはその場にいて欲しいし。

–So once he became a Pro Gamer, it wasn't like he could suddenly completely support the whole family on that income, right?

――プロゲーマーになっても、いきなりその収入だけで食べていけるものでは無いですよね?

Akiki: That's right, when he first became a pro gamer, the Capcom Pro Tour still hadn't been created, so he would go to individual tournaments around the world to which he was invited. He would receive some support for the travel expenses and receive some equipment, but for a while he had to also had to hold down a regular job at the same time. He would travel around and get results representing Hori, and upload videos introducing Hori's products, and gradually he started to gain more of their trust.

あきき:そうですね、プロゲーマーになったばかりのころはまだカプコンプロツアーがない時期だったので、世界各地で単発の大会に招待される形で活動してたんですけど、そういったときの渡航費の一部を支援していただくのと機材提供くらいで、しばらくは一般の仕事とプロゲーマーの仕事の掛け持ちでした。そこでホリさんの名前を背負ったゲーマーとして活動した実績を報告していったり、ホリさんの製品を紹介する動画をアップしていったりと、徐々に信頼を勝ち取って歩み寄った感じです。

–And can he support you now on just one job?

――いまはプロ1本で?

Akiki: That's right. Originally, when sako told the company that he was working at previously that he will start being a pro gamer, they accepted that. When he had to do work as a pro gamer, he was able to take time off, and his salary was reduced by the amount of time off he took.

But as the number of tournaments he was invited to increased, and he started to take part in more events, and other pro gamer types of work increased, the number of days off started to out number the days that he worked.

あきき:そうです。もともとsakoが勤めていた会社にもプロゲーマー活動をしますという話を通して、認めていただいていたんですよ。プロゲーマーとしての活動が入っている日には会社をお休みさせていただいて、そのぶん日割りで給料を少なくする、という形で。

でも大会に招待され、イベントに出演して、と少しずつプロゲーマーの仕事が増えてくると、お休みの日のほうが多くなってきたんですね。そうなると収入の比率も会社勤めの収入よりゲーマー活動での収入の方が多くなっていって。

――なるほど、目処が立ったので、ゲーマー一本でも行けるのではないか、と。

あきき:とはいえ、私たちふたりだけならすぐにプロ1本に絞ってもいいんですけど、娘がいるのでそこはしっかり計画を立てることにしました。2017年の春から、sakoの仕事はプロゲーマー一本になってるんですけど、プロゲーマーという仕事は水物ですし、いつどうなるかわからないので、イベント招待や賞金などの不定期収入ではなく、安定した収入源の確保をしてから専業プロにならないと、というところですね。

まずはsakoを通じて私も仲良くさせていただいているファミ通の豊泉三兄弟さんに相談をして、ファミ通で「せやなTV」という配信番組を始めさせていただくことに決めて、プロゲーミングチームSCARZさんに掛け合って、ホリさんにスポンサードしていただきつつ、SCARZに所属する形を作って、といった準備です。

『ストV』で強くなるために関東へ引越

――素晴らしいマネージャーです! 関東へ引っ越してきたのもこのタイミングですよね?

あきき:これはプロ1本に絞るから関東へきた、というわけではなく、『ストリートファイターV』のプレイ環境の影響もあるんです。2016年2月にゲームがリリースされてすぐ、プレイしていたsakoがボソリと言うんですよ。「これ、オフラインで対戦しないと強くなれへん」って。

ことゲームに関して、sakoが言うことには絶対に間違いないという信頼がありました。たとえそのときは誰も信じていなくても、最終的にsakoが言っていたとおりになる、というのをそれまで何回も見てきたんです。だからsakoがそう言うならそうなんだろうし、どうにかしてあげないと……。当時の関西ではsakoがオフラインで対戦練習ができる場が少なかったので、オフライン対戦の練習をするならトッププロが多い関東圏に行くしかないな、と。

もちろん思い立った瞬間にすぐ上京、とはいかないので、まずはファミ通さんの「せやなTV」の出演で定期的に東京へ来ている仕事を、sakoだけ前入りしてもらったり少し関東に残ってもらうなりして、オフラインの対戦機会を増やしてもらいました。月に数日程度ではありますが、ないよりあったほうが全然マシと思って。

その間、私は都内の住宅情報を見て回りました。関東にいるプロゲーマーの方々にどこが住みやすいか聞いたのですが板橋ザンギエフさんに聞けば「板橋だね」、マゴさんに聞いたら「横浜がいいって!」と皆さん自分が住んでいるところをプッシュしてきて(笑)、逆にどこでもいいんだな、と。

いちばんの悩みは保育園でした。待機児童問題ですね。都内は難しそうだったので、探す場所を埼玉にしたらどうにか入れる保育園を見つけることができたので、そこに引越を決めました。

この引越しやら仕事やらを1年かけて決めて、2017年に関東へやってきたんです。

――そして、2018年にはSCARZからFAV gamingへ移籍します。

あきき:はい、SCARZさんには本当によくしていただいて、契約更新時もいい条件提示をいただいていたのですが、提携企業さんのすみ分けなどの事情があって一度契約を満了とさせていただくことにしました。そのことを「せやなTV」でずっとご一緒させていただいているファミ通さんに話をしたら、FAV gamingで格闘ゲーム部門を立ち上げる話があるからどうですかとお誘いをいただきまして、現在に至ります。個人的にはSCARZさんとは今でも仲良くさせていただいております。

父親としてのsako選手、母親としてのあききさん

――sako家の普段の生活はどんなスケジュールなのでしょう?

あきき:プロゲーマーの家庭、と言っても思っている以上に普通だと思いますよ。sakoは遅くても朝8時くらいには起きてますし。私は家事を朝のうちに一気にやるので、sakoが娘を保育園まで送って行ってくれてる間に食事の片付けをして、洗濯して、掃除して。片付いたら仕事です。sakoのマネージャー業務でFAV Gamingのオフィスに行ったりお取引先様との打ち合わせもします。

sakoは午前中に家で練習して、昼は必ず昼寝するんです。それは家にいるからとかじゃなくて、会社勤めしてた頃から昼食を速攻でかき込んで机に突っ伏してたみたいです(笑)。じゃないと調子が出ないとかで。

午後はFAV Gamingのトレーニングルームに行くか、対人戦よりも一人での調べ事を優先したい場合は家で練習して、夕方は娘のお迎えに行ってくれることも多いです。それで私が帰宅したら一緒に晩御飯を食べる、みたいな感じですね。

それよりもsakoが海外の大会で家を空けているときが大変なんですよ。普段sakoがしてくれていることもすべて一人でやらなくちゃいけないので。

――それでいてアメリカの大会だったりすると、時差のある中で応援配信をしたりしてますもんね。

あきき:そうなんです。でも台湾の大会など、時差が少ない大会はそれはそれで大変なんですよね。先ほど言ったように、FAV Gamingの仕事で事務所に行ったりする以外にも、sakoをスポンサードしてくれている企業さんへの報告書を書くなど週末の時間でやっておきたい仕事も多くて、娘を保育園に送ったら家事もしながら、各所とのやりとりを一斉にやってるうちに、もう大会が始まっちゃったり。

配信中に娘を迎えに行ったり、娘も配信に映って来ちゃったり。ウチのリスナーさんも娘にはよくしてくれますけど(笑)。

――円満夫婦ですよね。夫婦でケンカはあるんですか?

あきき:ありますよ! sakoは家族には気難しいところもあるので、小さなケンカはしょちゅうです(笑)。ゲームとは関係ない話でですが、めちゃくちゃ大ゲンカをして離婚届を書いたこともありますよ。私もこんな性格なんで、離婚届をつきつけて「ほら、あとはあなたがハンコつくだけやで。でも言っとくけど私ほどあなたのこと理解できる人は他におらんからね。」って。これは正直、本気でそう思ってますから(笑)。さすがのsakoもそこは自覚があって、そのときはひるんでましたね(笑)。

――5歳の娘さんは両親の仕事をどう捉えているのでしょう?

あきき:配信だったり、大会だったりとかの活動を理解してはいないですけど、『ストリートファイターV』を仕事でやっているというのはわかっているようです。私が台所から「パパ何してた?」って聞くと、どうやら『ドラゴンクエストライバルズ』をプレイしていたようで、「おしごとじゃないゲームしてた」とか言いますし(笑)。ただ「仕事」というものが何なのかは理解してないですね。

どんな子に育ってほしいかは……そうですね、やっぱり周りの家とは少し違う環境なので、何か言って来る友達なんかも出て来る可能性はあると思ってます。でも娘には強く育ってほしいと思っています。じつは私自身も、ちょっといじめられてたときがあるんですよ。小学高学年のときとか、ゲーム好きだったこともあって男の子の友達が多かったんですけど、色気づいて来た女子の中には、いいなって思ってる男子と遊んでるのが気に入らない女子もいて、集団で無視されたり靴を隠されたりしたんです。

そのときもわたしは何もやましいことしてないので明るく堂々としてたのですが、そうすると女子のほうからいじめるのを諦めちゃうんですよね。もし今後、娘が親の仕事に関して何か言われることがあったとしても、その時の私みたいにプライドを持って強い態度でいてほしいな、と思っています。もちろん、何かあれば全力で守りますしね!

▲FAV gamingのトレーニングルームで練習中のsako選手

プロゲーマーとして長く楽しく活動してもらうために

――カプコンプロツアーが始まると、週末はsako選手のチャンネルで配信をやられてますよね。最近はTwitchの公認をもらって大会の光景もミラーリングしながら。

あきき:大会のときは開催地が欧米だと昼夜が逆転してるので、朝方まで配信していることが多いですね。金・土・日と3日間続く大会だったりすると、3~5時間くらいしか眠れないことも多いです。でもそれくらい忙しいほうが調子いいですね(笑)。

――あききさんがやられている応援配信の個性的なところは、配信してる人がゲームの詳細にまでは詳しくないところですよね。だから自分では格闘ゲームをプレイしない、観る専門の人たちにわからない話がいっさい出てこない。

あきき:はい、私が専門的なところまではわからないですし、単純に応援したいという気持ちでやっているので、うちの応援配信のチャットにきてくださるファンの方もその雰囲気が好きで来てくださっているようです。私自身動画勢ですし、浅瀬の人はこういう見方でもいいんだよ、っていう見本になればいいなと思っています。

――そうなんですよ! sakoさんのゲーマー過ぎるふしぎな生態が語られたり、「sakoの試合を観てるとドキドキしっぱなしで吊り橋効果で倦怠期知らずですよ!」なんておのろけ配信になったり、あききさん自身もsakoさんというプレイヤーのファンの目線なんですよね。ああ、こういう乙女な観戦もアリな時代になったんだ、っていつも詳しい実況解説の配信と二窓にして聞いてます。

あきき:乙女という歳でもないですけど(笑)、やっぱり自分たちの一番得意な分野に集中して挑戦してるプレイヤーさんたちはかっこいいんですよ。この技の性能がどうか、とか、フレームがどうか、とか知らないけど見てる人がいたっていいじゃないですか。かっこいい技が決まれば「すごーい!」、応援している選手が勝てば「嬉しい!」でいいんですよ。普通のスポーツ観戦と同じだと思いますよ。サッカー観戦する人の全てがサッカーに詳しかったりプレイヤーだったりしないですよね? ボクシングだって実際にやっている人じゃないと面白くないかっていうとそんなことないですし。それと同じなんです。浅瀬だって楽しいんですよ!(笑)

詳しくなければ見てはダメとか、応援してはダメとか全然ないですから。好きな選手を見つけて、ぜひ応援してあげてほしいですね。

――応援配信でゲストに呼んでいたりしますけど、若手も個性的な選手が増えてきましたよね。

あきき:水派くんとか、もっちゃんくんとか……最近は若い子が可愛くてしょうがないですね(笑)。年齢のせいもあるかもですが(笑)、「ほら、何でもお母さんに話してごらん!?」って気持ちになりますし、実際若手の子もsakoや私にいろいろ相談してくれます。

プロを目指している選手の悩みも、以前とはだいぶ変わりました。大会に出たいけど支援してくれるスポンサーがつかないから、海外大会に行けないっていう相談もあるんですけど、sakoは「俺のときはそんな悩みどころか、発想すら出て来んかったけどなぁ。そういう時代になったんだ」って驚いてますね。

――そんなsako選手はプロゲーマーとしては年長のベテランになりますが(2019年現在で40歳)、今後どのようなキャリアを目指していくことになるのでしょう?

あきき:それはsako自身が考えることでありますが、私としてはどういう形でもいいのでゲームに関わっていてほしいと思っています。あの人はゲームしてる時が一番幸せそうなので。sakoがゲームを楽しんでくれればそれでいいかな、って。これは現在もですが、乗り気でない仕事だと、あんまりパフォーマンスが出せないんです。

なので、私のほうでこれは重要な仕事になるはずだからsakoにやってほしい!という仕事で、本人が嫌がる場合は、「だったら面白そうだね」と思ってもらえるように、ちゃんとプレゼンします。それでもsakoがNOというならば、その仕事はお断りさせてもらっています。ちゃんと納得して、楽しんでほしいんですよ。

――ただただ頑張って、という感じですか。

あきき:うーん、なんていうか、「頑張って!」なんていう言葉も本当はしっくりこないですね。これ以上どれだけ頑張ればいいんだ!っていうくらいの努力を日々しているのは知っているので。それはsakoだけじゃなくてプレイヤーみんなが頑張ってて、でも勝つ人がいれば、負ける人も必ずいる世界なので。だからsakoには楽しんで戦ってほしい、ただそれだけです。

もちろんそうやって楽しめる格闘ゲームであっても、今後『ストリートファイター』シリーズの新作が出たとして、そのゲーム内容がすごく反射神経に傾倒したものだったとしたら、じゃあ年齢的にどこまでできるんだろうな……というのはもちろん考えなくはないです。そういうあらゆる状況を考えて、私としては少しでもsakoが活躍できる場所は増やしておきたい。配信もそれで始めたんですよ。sakoは最初は「そんなん何を話したらいいかわからん」とかいって何も話そうとしなかったです(笑)。

――スタートしたころ、話してるのはあききさんだけで、sako選手はお地蔵さんでしたよね(笑)。当初と比べたら本当にたくさんしゃべってます!

あきき:だいぶよくなりましたよね?(笑) 話せればいろんな仕事ができるようになりますからね。

――……なんというか、想像してた以上に敏腕マネージャーでありプロデューサーですね……。

あきき:いえいえ、ウチの話ですから(笑)。旦那が活躍してくれないと困るのはどこの家も同じですよね。若手プレイヤーを応援しよう、ファンを増やそうというのも、eスポーツ業界の発展がどうとかの仰々しい話しじゃなくて、sakoがイキイキできる業界が続かないとうちの旦那さんが抜け殻みたいになっちゃいそうだからですよ(笑)。

――ありがとうございました。これからもsako家を応援しています。

聞き手:大地

■関連リンク あきき Twitter https://twitter.com/akikiwww sako Twitter https://twitter.com/sakonoko sako Twitch https://www.twitch.tv/sakonoko_game FAV gaming https://twitter.com/fav_gaming ストリートファイターV アーケードエディション http://www.capcom.co.jp/sfv/

June 28, 2019

The 200th Fighter's Crossover -Akiba- SFV local

The weekly SFV local at Akihabara eSports Square, called Fighter's Crossover Akihabara, had its 200th anniversary last week. There was a special event for it, with pizza, games, and giveaways. I wrote a bit about it.

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June 24, 2019

A variety of interesting FGC events in June in Japan 2019

Over the weekend there were many interesting FGC things going on. As a Street Fighter fan, that is what I'm primarily interested in.

I'm not even talking about Thaiger Uppercut, or The Fight.

Two tournaments took place that will send the winner to EVO in Las Vegas, Grapht's GGGCup and the Fukushima Gaming Day SFV tournament. One of those was held at a traditional Japanese Hot Springs resort. The College representative team for the JP Street Fighter League was decided, and a few more Arcade qualifiers happened. WE-R1 held a tournament at Round1 on Arcade Hardware, and we got to see some high level Alex play, and SNK had another one of their Samurai Shodown streams, this time with a tournament featuring some well-know pro players.

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May 10, 2019

JP 2019 Fall Street Fighter League

Fall 2019 SFL College Arcade banner

On Thursday, 2019-05-09 (as far as I can tell) Capcom released details about the upcoming Fall 2019 JP Street Fighter League.

It has some changes from the Japan Capcom Street Fighter League Powered by RAGE that ran from January 26th to March 21st in 2019 (or from December 4th, 2018, if you include the Beginner Class Auditions). If you hadn't heard of these events, I wrote extensively about them on my personal blog, which as a personal blog for a random dude just writing about hobby stuff, rightly should not be read by many people. It was a really interesting and fun series that followed on in the footsteps of the 2018 RAGE All Star League Powered by Capcom (note the intentionally different naming) and was a pre-cursor to the currently running Capcom Street Fighter League currently running in America. I couldn't find an official link for that, which shocks me, but read this cool article about Toi by Ginni Lou.

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January 30, 2019

The Japan Capcom Street Fighter League powered by RAGE

Table of Contents

1 What is the Japan Street Fighter League powered by RAGE?

2019-01-26 JP Street Fighter League Team Captains

Back at Tokyo Game Show 2018, one of the announcements was a Street Fighter V team three on three league. The Japanese version has three classes of members, one on each team. I wrote about the team composition in a post about the Beginner Class selection, and also mentioned the High Class member selection process in another blog post. Here is the basic information though.

Each team will have one of:

The team play will take place in January and February of 2019. The team captains drafted team members in the Team Draft show streamed on OpenRec.tv on January 26th. I haven't seen too much about this - except for some HiFightTH clips that were likely hard to understand without more context. I don't mean to throw shade on HiFightTH - the guy is amazing and you should support him on Patreon if you have the ability.

How does the tournament work? The teams accumulate points during round robin League play. The three teams with the highest point total advance on to the Grand Finals. Players in each respective class play each other, and point values differ based on that. Each set is a first to two.

  • Beginner Class FT2 winner scores their team 1 point
  • High Class FT2 winner scores their team 2 points
  • Extreme Class FT2 winner scores their team 3 points

Note that because of this, there really is a balance between teaching the team members, and just trying to coast by on the individual performance of the team captain. It is likely that the win rate (well, I guess I should talk to The Game Twok or finish reading Fighting With Numbers 2019 first) for the team captains will be around 50%, so if they can focus and teach their team members to consistently win, that is a probably an easier path to points than trying to train to beat the other pros more consistently. There is relative strength in the different captains, but I'm convinced this structure makes the Beginner and High class members important as well.

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January 27, 2019

Zangief Festival

20190127 Zangief Festival 20190126 Zangief Festival Honoka

On the first public day of the JAEPO (Japan Amusements Expo and part of Tokaigi 2019 Game Party Japan out in Makuhari Messe exhibition center, there were lots of video game, and more importantly to me, fighting game related events. One of those was the "Zangief Festival" set up by the TV Show Ariyoshieeeee (broadcasts Sunday nights at 10pm on TV Tokyo) and Detonation Gaming on the AU Stage. It was streamed on Youtube (see below for links to the video), but was essentially a festival of all things Zangief. I took a few notes below.

Interesting points in the video:

  • 1:10 General introduction to the Zangief Festival from the Ariyoshiiii show. After that are some clips from the show when they were playing SFV, and a trailer for their Jan. 27th episode where they will be playing SFV.
  • 30:00 Aru introduces Itabashi Zangief and Tanaka
  • 45:30 Itabashi Zangief vs. Tanaka Zangief match
  • 54:00 People from the crowd (Zangief only) come up to play against Tanaka
  • Shuu vs ItaZan
  • 1:34:00 Ends.
read more (1341 words)

January 4, 2019

A grab bag of Japan SFV news: super interesting pre-Capcom Cup Gachi-kun vs. Tokido FT5

There has been a bunch of random news out of Japan that I've wanted to talk about, but I haven't had the time. I try to tweet something every once in a while when I see something interesting on twitter, but I can't always keep up.

So here is a post with a smattering of interesting news I've seen about SFV in Japan lately.

Misc JP News
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Capcom Street Fighter League Powered by Rage Beginners Class Auditions

The candidates for the Beginner Class Street Fighter League

1 What is the the Capcom Street Fighter League Powered by Rage?

This is the new three on three team league battle that Capcom Announced at the 2018 Tokyo Game Show / Japan Premiere. It will use SFV's team battle mode, and each team will consist of three members: an Extreme class member, a high class member, and a Beginner member. OpenRec and Abema.tv (which really are the same thing, just using two different interfaces to present the content) have been broadcasting an audition series for the beginner members. I thought I would take some notes about them.

Who are the extreme class players? If you guessed it might be similar to the captains from the RAGE Street Fighter All Star League Powered by Capcom, you're right! Here are the Extreme Class members:

  • Itabashi Zangief (Capcom Pro Tour 2018 #2 finisher)
  • Tokido (Capcom Pro Tour 2018 #13 finisher)
  • Fuudo (Capcom Pro Tour 2018 #17 finisher)
  • Mago (Capcom Pro Tour 2018 #17 finisher)
  • Daigo Umehara (Capcom Pro Tour 2018 #25 finisher)
  • Nemo (Capcom Pro Tour 2018 #25 finisher)

The High Class players haven't been announced yet, but it says that they "are under 22 years old as of 2019 March 31st, and will be selected with a strong emphasis on their ability". So that should be interesting - making sure they are under 22 years old injects some younger players into the mix.

What about the beginner class? They are "People who have started to practice recently, and will play seriously from now". There were interviews November 13th, 2018 that reduced the pool from 30 people down to 18 people. They are all models, actors, idols, or comedians who have not ever played, or only just played a little bit of Street Fighter. So now they are entering into a series of auditions / competitions to reduce their number down further to the final six selected.

Episode # Broadcast Date Link Challenge
1 2018-12-04 OpenRec.tv N/A. Just pass the interview to get in.
2 2018-12-09 OpenRec.tv Perform 3 CAs in a row in training mode.
3 2018-12-16 OpenRec.tv Clear 10 trials in Challenge Mode.
4 2018-12-23 OpenRec.tv Play 100 matches.

This series of shows will select the seven players for the draft that will be used for the six teams.

read more (4228 words)

December 25, 2018

2019 January and February Fighting Game Events in Tokyo and Fukuoka

Previous: 2018 October, November, and December Fighting Game Events in Tokyo | 2019 January and February Fighting Game Events in Tokyo

Seems like I've gotten into the habit of tracking FGC offline events in the Tokyo area. This isn't a comprehensive list, but feel free to contact me if you want me to add anything.

Very generally:

  • On Tuesdays there is a DBFZ, Tekken7, and Soul Caliber event run by Jiyuna and MajinObama at Red Bull Gaming Sphere, Map. It is actually officially sponsored as well!
  • On Wednesdays SFV (Fighter's Crossover Akihabara – FCA is the event name) at Akihabara ESports Square (the place, Map) starting from 7pm. There are usually around 20 setups, all with sticks. The place has a bar with food too.
  • On Thursdays there is usually a SFV event at Red Bull Gaming Sphere, Map or sometimes BeasTV's Jikoken TV with Fuudo.
  • Also on some Thursdays there is a DBFZ event orgaqnized by Kagecchi at Akihabara eSports Square.
  • Studio Sky (Map) announced on 2018-09-14 that they will be an open esports space, and as part of that I'm not yet sure of their schedule, but I add information about their events when I see it.
  • Shot Bar Lucy has different events on different days, and usually on Friday night is an all-night event featuring various games (Map), Calendar.
  • The Plaza Capcom at Kichijoji (Map) has the Capcom eSPORTS Club which has free SFV setups, and often runs events.
  • Game Bar Cross-up in Umeda, Osaka (Map) usually does SFV on Tuesday, Guilty Gear and BlazBlue on Wednesday, and KOF14 on Thursday.
  • Check Gaijin Gaming Brothers for information about Smash related events in Japan. I add Tokyo based events to my list, but they track events all over Japan with English information.
  • Syogepi-events has a Google Calendar of his events. He often runs platinum and under begginer friendly events. They have an English based guide to participating in their events.

I don't really track free play events or tournaments at arcades - there are lots of them. maplejpca tells me that there is a free play UNIST every Friday night from 8pm to 10pm at Sega Nishi Shinjuku. The arcade scene is vibrant, and you are likely to find competition at any arcade, but some are more well known than others. You might want to check out

  • Mikado Arcade, Map Takadanobaba
  • Taito Station Shinjuku East Exit, Map
  • Various arcades in Akihabara, Club Sega, Hey!
  • Various shops in Akihabara like the retro game store Super Potato, Map
  • Play Spot Big One 2nd, Map. Out in Chiba, but good place for 3rd Strike or Melty Blood. (Thanks Arlieth!)
  • Game Newton, Map. Lots of ST setups.
  • Your Warehouse, Map Kawasaki (For the crazy design)

If you are comfortable with Japanese, Kakuge-checker.com has a comprehensive list of offline, online, and other events going around all over Japan. I don't know how he/they/she does it.

I will also track events in Fukuoka in January and February for people who might be headed to EVO Japan.

read more (6284 words)

September 27, 2018

What might the Capcom SFV Arcade Cabinet mean for SFV in Japan?

Capcom announced that they would release an Arcade Cabinet Version of Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition at the Japan Premiere. The audience was super excited about it. I've been living in Japan for the past 12 years or so, and had some thoughts on the announcement. I've been a big fan of street fighter since I first ran into it at a local Pizza Shop in West Windsor, New Jersey, and played a lot of Champion Edition, Super, and Super Turbo through college. Then I went off to grad school, and doing a PhD took up a lot of time, so I didn't get to play much. I kind of missed SF3 more or less. I did have a summer internship in Japan where I played a bunch of Zero2 in the arcades, but I would only occasionally go down to China Town Faire in New York, and when I did I usually played Super Turbo. So I was out of the scene for a while.

When I moved to Japan, that was just when CapCom was running location tests for Street Fighter 4, and I went to one of those. It was great. I played a whole bunch online for years. I never knew about the scene there though because it isn't obvious how you are supposed to learn where all the action is at. I would just go to my local arcade after work, and play there. When Street Fighter V came out, I got that and played online. In the past two years though, I heard on the Jump In Podcast about the Akihabara eSports Square offline local, and I realized that I wish someone had gathered up information about locals and arcades in English. So I started to do that. I also started to write blog posts about offline events happening in Tokyo, hopefully to help others find out what is going on. As a Street Fighter fan living in Japan, I'd like speculate a bit about what this announcement might mean.


read more (2530 words)

September 26, 2018

2018 October and November Fighting Game Events in Tokyo

Previous: 2018 August and September Fighting Game Events in Tokyo | 2019 January and February Fighting Game Events in Tokyo and Fukuoka

Seems like I've gotten into the habit of tracking FGC offline events in the Tokyo area. This isn't a comprehensive list, but feel free to contact me if you want me to add anything.

Very generally:

  • On Tuesdays there is a DBFZ, Tekken7, and Soul Caliber event run by Jiyuna and MajinObama at Red Bull Gaming Sphere, Map. It is actually officially sponsored as well!
  • On Wednesdays SFV (Fighter's Crossover Akihabara – FCA is the event name) at Akihabara ESports Square (the place, Map) starting from 7pm.
  • On Thursdays there is usually a SFV event at Red Bull Gaming Sphere, Map
  • Studio Sky (Map) announced on 2018-09-14 that they will be an open esports space, and as part of that I'm not yet sure of their schedule.
  • Shot Bar Lucy has different events on different days, and usually on Friday night is an all-night event featuring various games (Map), Calendar.
  • The Plaza Capcom at Kichijoji (Map) has the Capcom eSPORTS Club which has free SFV setups, and often runs events.
  • Game Bar Cross-up in Umeda, Osaka (Map) usually does SFV on Tuesday, Guilty Gear and BlazBlue on Wednesday, and KOF14 on Thursday.
  • Check Gaijin Gaming Brothers for information about Smash related events in Japan. I add Tokyo based events to my list, but they track events all over Japan with English information.

I don't really track free play events or tournaments at arcades - there are lots of them. maplejpca tells me that there is a free play UNIST every Friday night from 8pm to 10pm at Sega Nishi Shinjuku. The arcade scene is vibrant, and you are likely to find competition at any arcade, but some are more well known than others. You might want to check out

  • Mikado Arcade, Map Takadanobaba
  • Taito Station Shinjuku East Exit, Map
  • Various arcades in Akihabara, Club Sega, Hey!
  • Various shops in Akihabara like the retro game store Super Potato, Map
  • Play Spot Big One 2nd, Map. Out in Chiba, but good place for 3rd Strike or Melty Blood. (Thanks Arlieth!)
  • Game Newton, Map. Lots of ST setups.
  • Your Warehouse, Map Kawasaki (For the crazy design)
read more (7308 words)

September 24, 2018

My comments on the 2018 Japan Premiere and Tokyo Game Show

I was a volunteer for the 2018 Japan Premiere, which was held at the Tokyo Game Show. I took a few pictures, and thought I would write up me experience here.

read more (4882 words)

September 23, 2018

A series of Momochi Tweets about the 2018 Japan Premiere

At this year’s Japan Premiere 2018 Momochi tweeted a bunch of interesting tweets. I’ve collected and translated them here. English after the embedded tweets.

read more (667 words)

September 14, 2018

Studio Sky transforms into "Gaming Office Studio Sky"

2018-09-14 at about 2pm JST, Momochi announced that Studio Sky is undergoing a change.

Here is a rough translation.

read more (445 words)

August 21, 2018

August 17, 2018

A report on the signing ceremony for the "Japan and Saudi Arabia eSports Match" agreement.

4gamer.net posted an article about a new Japan - Saudia Arabia eSports venture that will take place in January 2019. Ian Walker started an interesting twitter thread about the FGC and taking money from Saudi Arabia. I think he has a good point there, but since this is the second time I've seen someone talk about this article, I thought I would put up my translation here so people can see the source, and then talk a bit more about the implications.

My translation follows. As always, all mistakes are my own, I'm not a professional translator, etc. I haven't done any real editing on this, and it is a bit rough in places.

read more (905 words)

July 26, 2018

Why would a 5th grade girl enter a Pro Gaming team? We ask her what she thinks about it.

Fugu here. I thought this was an interesting article, so I decided to translate it. The US equivalent school year might be either 5th or 6th grade. All errors are mine, I'm not a professional translator, constructive criticism is welcome. In interviews like these, the interviewer will often directly address the intervee by name, I might drop that to make for a more natural sounding interview at times. If I use "you", it will generally be ths subject of the interview, Honoka-san, unless it is clear from previous context. Please see the source article at inside-games.jp for a much nicer formatted version with nice pictures.
Momochi (left), Honoka-san (middle), Touru-san (right)

Momochi (left), Honoka-san (middle), Touru-san (right)

read more (3752 words)

July 25, 2018

2018 August and September Fighting Game Events in Tokyo

Previous: 2018 June and July Tokyo FGC Events| Next

Seems like I've gotten into the habit of tracking FGC offline events in the Tokyo area. This isn't a comprehensive list, but feel free to contact me if you want me to add anything.

Very generally:

  • On Tuesdays there is a DBFZ, Tekken7, and Soul Caliber event run by Jiyuna and MajinObama at Red Bull Gaming Sphere, Map. It is actually officially sponsored as well!
  • On Wednesdays SFV (Fighter's Crossover Akihabara – FCA is the event name) at Akihabara ESports Square (the place, Map) starting from 7pm.
  • On Thursdays there is usually a SFV event at Red Bull Gaming Sphere, Map
  • On Friday there is usually a SFV event at Studio Sky (Map). Studio Sky announced on 2018-09-14 that they will be an open esports space.
  • On Sunday there is usually a SFV event at Studio Sky (Map).
  • Shot Bar Lucy has different events on different days, and usually on Friday night is an all-night event featuring various games (Map), Calendar.
  • The Plaza Capcom at Kichijoji (Map) has the Capcom eSPORTS Club which has free SFV setups, and often runs events.
  • Game Bar Cross-up in Umeda, Osaka (Map) usually does SFV on Tuesday, Guilty Gear and BlazBlue on Wednesday, and KOF14 on Thursday.

I don't really track free play events or tournaments at arcades - there are lots of them. maplejpca tells me that there is a free play UNIST every Friday night from 8pm to 10pm at Sega Nishi Shinjuku. The arcade scene is vibrant, and you are likely to find competition at any arcade, but some are more well known than others. You might want to check out

  • Mikado Arcade, Map Takadanobaba
  • Taito Station Shinjuku East Exit, Map
  • Various arcades in Akihabara, Club Sega, Hey!
  • Various shops in Akihabara like the retro game store Super Potato, Map
  • Play Spot Big One 2nd, Map. Out in Chiba, but good place for 3rd Strike or Melty Blood. (Thanks Arlieth!)
  • Game Newton, Map. Lots of ST setups.
  • Your Warehouse, Map Kawasaki (For the crazy design)
read more (4433 words)

July 13, 2018

Capcom supports SFV as an eSports game in Japan

A note on word choice: I used the word "eSports" here a lot. People have strong feels about that word. I don't mind it so much, and I could just as happily write "popularizing fighting games" or something. I certainly don't think eSports means you need to wear a suit, I think you generally should always be respectful of people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation, but eSports probably does have more of a monetary aspect in it than the grass roots does.

I've noticed lately that Capcom Japan has been doing some good things to support SFV as an eSports vehicle. A lot of people are concerned that any eSports activity around fighting games should keep in mind the grassroots origins of the Fighting Game Community, and I agree that is important. I do think there is space for a variety of content around Fighting Games, and while I love the Open Tournament format, I also see room for other kinds of events and entertainment. I'll write a bit about some of what Capcom has been doing, which is decidedly on the eSports side of things, but I still think is good for fighting games, and the community at large.


read more (3796 words)

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