Japan is sweet man! Just yesterday we all went to Ryan's bday party Kyasao, chibita, the lot!It was good fun. We had an interview at Famitsu head office, got our free ver C blue mooks and various other goodies, got Kyasao, chibita and bun bun to sign the books, wicked. It's really, there is always challenges, and players are really good. There are a lot of people who use waiting tactics, but there's a good mix. We don't really get to play hardcore everyday just VF4 because there's loads to do. At the moment I'm second dan, but the the thing is, the players here have clocked up 1000s of challenges and I've barely broken the 100 mark. I've got 50% win percentage. Anyway, when you think you are the best in your local arcade and you think, YEAH I'm ready for Japan, think again punk. These players know so much more about the game and are more than willing to spend the extra time studying the game, I'm not like that, I just try to pick things up myself and ask people about certain things from time to time. With all the other VFs, sega released the frame data for all the moives in the game, this time round they didn't and the blue mook has all the data in it, from Kyasao and co's hard work, they had to work it all out themselves using high quality video equipment. Hard work. I would regard myself as a good player in the west, but when you come to Japan it's different, overall, you will definitely lose to the best players here, but you may beat an emperor from time to time, me, Ryan and uk-guy have all beaten emperors here, but overall they win many more times. Anyway I take my hat off to ryan because he has a 10th dan Kage, and over 6th dan Wolf, Jacky and Akira. If you are a talented games player, you will eventually learn the advanced tactics and should be able to get to 10th dan, you need to spend time, money, you need to have patience and your aim NEEDS to be that you want to become an emperor, and it's possible, very hard, but sometimes you are on fire. By the time I get back I might have spent a total of maybe 15-20 hours at arcades playing VF4. That is not enough to get you a high ranking. During this time also, you will not always be able to increase your rank while in the arcade, because there is one thing which really P****s me off when I'm in the arcade tryng to build up my rank honestly. You need to get x wins in a row against same dan or higher to go up a level. But when you get a couple of wins and the next maybe your title match, some wankers take their card out and then challenge with jacky or something, if they beat you (probably will because their aim is to break your streak so you have to start again) our flow is broken and you feel like going round and ramming his head into the cabinet glass. I managed to hold my self (she was too cute, nah just kidding, but there are a few female players who are good.) So on the days that you are really on fire, escaping throws left right and centre and just generally having faster reflexes than normal, you'll find a lot of punks going real low, and challenging with Jacky or Vanessa without a card. I would definitely agree with Ice-9 about the really shit feeling you get when you go down a rank or can't go up. If you're not there for long, just enjoy challenging and don't take it seriously. You need A LOT of patience. That's all I have to say for now, but if you feel like coming to Japan, bring some money with you, it's not cheap. Luckily my friend Dai helped us out a lot here with accomodation and getting around, so THANK YOU DAISUKE. Sorry about all the typos. And by the way, mr Bungle, you tramp, I'm loving it down here man HAHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHA you anorak. Thanks to everyone who reads VF.com except mr. bungle.