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My first time in a...

JAPAN | Friday, 14 August 2009 | Views [689] | Comments [2]

A electric tingle shot down my fingers as I rolled the choice over in my mind. What would happen if my parents found out!? "Its japan, no~one has to know.". I felt the anticipation reach across my gut and tighten. "You’re growing up" Well...I guess it wouldn’t hurt to just go in. "Everyone has a guilty pleasure"

I tried to force the guilt out of my mind as I skimmed through the door, getting as far away as I could before someone looked my way to see who had come in. A couple of men near the door smoking cigarettes didn’t bother lifting their heads from the shared conversation and I felt a relief as I faded into the dimly lit room. I wove my away around people and across empty spaces on the floor keeping my head down, looking for a place to lay low. I spotted a vending machine near an empty table and took a seat, involuntarily noticing the distinct aura the ashtray at the table seemed to be emitting. I got myself a drink and let my eyes adjust to the dark. In moments my eyes fixed on the opposite corner of the room.

Encased in bright neon the smooth pale curves reflected every hue, dancing in the alternating light show. I was transfixed. I felt the excitement reach down my neck and across my back, a quick shiver down my spine. I couldn’t stop smiling. Gundam P.O.Ds! (panoramic optical display) I took minute to finish my milk tea, and take in the scene. Japanese people from all stages, from t-shirts to business suits hammered madly away at arcade machines, Tekken, Virtual fighter, and even more I had never seen before. I walked casually towards the terminal and tried to look like what I was doing. I got my coins exchanged and attempted to figure out how to use the POD. After watching a Japanese man use it, he helped me get my pilot card, and I walked into the machine for the first time. The din of the arcade faded away as I seated myself inside the shell. I slipped in my card and deposited my 500 yen coin. Holding the twin joysticks was a childhood dream come true!

The display in front of me was a screen that came a full 360 degrees around, and reached in a arc to my left and right, like a bubble cut in half. It flashed to the menu screen and gave me a quick tutorial on piloting the virtual mobile suit. And then, my first game.

I tried my best to catch the Japanese instructions, but most of the controls I had to figure out on my own. I piloted my Zeon MS down a cliff and landed in the field below. "The match isn’t anything like I saw on the terminal...this must be a newbie match! 4 vs 4" I struggled to get my boosters working, and skimmed across the surface to find my first victim! I rounded a building and found two Federation Msuits occupied with a teammate. I smashed into them with my melee weapon. I could hear my cousin Leon’s voice when we were floating the river, making fun of the twins on the old GI joe movie. "We are getting attacked...FROM BEHIND!" The first two matches had me feeling pretty confident. I managed to receive a B class ranking. I slipped another 500 yen coin into the machine, "Why not?". The next two matches were 6 vs 6, the real deal!

I charged towards the Federation base, keeping an eye on the radar. I spotted a loner heading my way. I took a position on the cliff and began firing down. "Get the jump on em, keep moving forwards, all you have to do to win is get them to regroup first, then you take advantage of their retreat. That is what I learned from all my brothers advice at war games" He slipped under the overhang and I lost my visual. "Dang, he is either smart, or doesn’t know what he is doing." I waited for him to come up the cliff, but nothing happened, I spotted him running the left side on the radar. "Got ya," I jumped down, and took advantage of his exposed back, firing several rounds into his suit. "Dangit, he has an advanced model! That isn’t a normal federation mobile suit! Its not that he didn’t know what he was doing, the cliff was to high for him to boost it." I Boosted forward and hit him with my melee weapon, I saw him switch to his laser blade, "Oh, no you don’t!" He lunged forward and got ready to take a swing. I hit the twin boosters and soared upward "Death from above!" I gave him more rounds from my gun!


At this point, my inner geek was metaphorically streaking the neighborhood block like after eating the worm.

A few more shots!

A few more shots!

"There goes your shield!"

He switched to his gun, "Now its my turn!" I came in close and landed a few with my melee weapon, knocking him over. I watched the sparks fly across his suit as he started taking heavy damage. He switched again, and came at my side landing a few hits that knocked me over! I got up and back peddled hitting the boosters for more space, I switched to my gun and unloaded, and felt every geek gene in my body cheered as he exploded!

I whispered at the top of my lungs, sure in the safety of the pod sure no one would hear me "That’s what you get for rebelling against Zeon! I returned to my comrades, safety in numbers to finish the fight. My suits low health was picked out and I got taken out quickly. But I came back with a vengeance the net round at respawn!

I slipped out of the pod after 4 matches, some good, some bad, and started toward the terminal in a unexpected daze. I inserted my pilot card and upgraded my Mobile Suit with my hard earned points, and started thinking of a better strategy for next time. "Best to increase mobility and attack first, I’ll use a high defence Suit so I’ll have a well rounded fighter, then I’ll work on specialized Suits"

I gave a few 10 year old kids some high fives on my way out, after all I was one of them now, a real man!

I took to the streets of Tokyo with a renewed sense of ardor. With my pilot card tucked away in my wallet I was part of something bigger than myself, part of a invisible, but massive army of complete hopeless fans. But its okay, all that "wasted money" will come in handy when the fight against the apocalypse comes to rely on giant robots, we will be ready.

Tags: gundam, japan, tokyo



What a grand adventure! Thanks for sharing !!!

  Tammy Aug 14, 2009 11:21 AM


Hello! You had asked me how I was able to stay in a ger in Mongolia. Well here is an e-mail of a travel/expedition guy who can set it up for you. [email protected] I hope you have a great time :)

  yozoratadehara Aug 21, 2009 4:05 AM

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