[Part 2 - Apr 2016 Up!] My Experience with the Japanese Beyblade Community - Part 1/2

(Dec. 13, 2015  7:33 PM)Bey Brad Wrote:
(Dec. 13, 2015  7:28 PM)Wizard Wrote: Oh man, I feel bad for Wari-Bey now. First this Canadian guy hunts them down to study the ancient art of Beyblade like something out of a retro kung-fu movie, then he leaves and over time they keep getting visited and challenged by his other foreign minion sent to defeat his old masters.

Kei Can I have the rights to your story so I can make it a movie?

I don't think you need his permission considering how far away that is from what actually happened

You're right, I'm a bit off.

Kei went to Osaka to undergo intense training. After his master Oki felt he was ready, he went to Tokyo and was blessed by the Tokyo Miracle Boy. He used his blessing to challenge the members of the elite team Wari-Bey in hopes of showing who was the stronger Beyblader, but in the end they bonded over their love for the hobby. It's such a happy story DJ 2002


Edit: I wanna make this my avatar but I'd feel bad.
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It's great to hear you had a nice time, Kei! I went to Japan December/January 2012/13 (mostly stayed in Tokyo) and was surprised at how different the atmosphere was there. I got the sense that despite how packed together everything was, it was a lot more quiet and reserved than a big city in the USA would be. Did you visit any of the temples or Mt. Fuji, or was it just different cities and Beyblades?

Besides that one event with Uwik and co. in Singapore, the WBO and WBBA have always been kinda isolated, so I've always wondered who would come out on top if WBO Bladers took on the WBBA Bladers. The WARI-Bey members are some of the best in Japan, and you're one of the best in North America, so it's interesting to see how you went mostly even with them (Two 1st Places, a 2nd Place and a 3rd Place doesn't sound too different from your normal Toronto performances).

It's also interesting to see how the Japanese meta has developed independent of WBO influence, and what things they were able to figure out on their own. I was surprised by the lack of Odin, but I do remember someone here saying that Deathscyther Ring Claw could beat Odin Heavy Defense somewhat consistently, so Deathscyther vs. Odin is probably worth looking into. With the added incentive the WBBA system gives to Attack types I'm surprised more of them were not used seeing how prevalent Deathscyther was. Stationary Attack probably would have gotten the job done much safer than traditional Attack as well, but aside from that one woman no one seemed to have "discovered" it.

Did any of the WARI-Bey Bladers or other tournament players express interest in joining the WBO? It would be cool to get them on here so we could see an active WBO scene in Japan, but I can understand why they wouldn't want to join. Aside from a future collaboration in Japan in March/April, it would also be awesome if they were able to come to major North American events like at Anime North.

(Dec. 13, 2015  8:07 PM)Wizard Wrote: Kei went to Osaka to undergo intense training. After his master Oki felt he was ready, he went to Tokyo and was blessed by the Tokyo Miracle Boy. He used his blessing to challenge the members of the elite team Wari-Bey in hopes of showing who was the stronger Beyblader, but in the end they bonded over their love for the hobby. It's such a happy story DJ 2002

Probably better than anything the Beyblade: Live Action Movie could think up.
(Dec. 13, 2015  3:42 AM)Bey Brad Wrote: Awesome stuff, Kei! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this all up – was a really fascinating and enjoyable read.

It's amazing that WARI BEY is interested in running a tournament with us! I remember seeing them on the internet all the time when I was much younger, so it's so cool to see that they're still around.

With regards to how the Japanese community will accept us or not ... obviously, there are huge differences in how we see things vs. how large parts of the Japanese community might (for example, posting leaked information). At the same time, the Japanese community is not a monolith any more than ours is; I don't think any individual situation should be taken as representative of the entire community, on either side.

Love your video vs Masa. So intense. Hope I can somehow go with you next time.

I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Yeah, and it was cool for me to find out that several of the members have been around since way back then too, like Jumbo.

You're right. I think the different experience Kai-V had in comparison to me is an example of this. All I know is that the people I met were receptive–at least one some level–to us, and that it can only be to our advantage to pursue that connection a little further if it is at all possible. Smile

Defeating Masa with Valkyrie was definitely my proudest moment haha. I don't think I could even believe that last second Burst Finish happened at the time; that's why my reaction was delayed until Jumbo declared me the "WINNER!".

I told you the other day, but yes!! That would be so awesome. It was one of the best experiences in my life, and I'm certain it would be for you too.

(Dec. 13, 2015  5:13 AM)Wizard Wrote: This was an awesome read, it looks like you had a lot of fun. If you don't mind me asking, how did you even find the information for any of this before you went? Haha.

Originally I was going to go for a vacation, but my plans ended up changing towards the latter half of this year and I'll be going to Tokyo for two years to attend a language school (Everything has already been set in motion, just need to fill out my visa application, which isn't until March) starting in July. I definitely need to track down わりベイ once I arrive. I found Jumbo on Twitter pretty easily, I guess I'll try hitting him up when I land get there lol.

Do you know which wards of Tokyo the different events happened in? You didn't really mention that part, all you said was Tokyo. I'll be residing in Shinjuku while I'm there.

It was pretty easy! There's a list of upcoming events filterable by region on http://beyblade.takaratomy.co.jp/ and when I got there I just looked at the list to see what was happening every weekend. The only events I had planned to attend beforehand were the one in Osaka on 11/22 since I was meeting with Oki, and the one in Kyoto on 11/23 (which I unfortunately couldn't make it to). Just be careful when selecting events: some are limited to only Elementary School kids, but for the most part they are "Elementary Priority", which means you will probably have a good chance of playing.

Since you already have that in motion maybe there's nothing you can do, but I would have definitely suggested visiting Japan first for a couple weeks before making such a huge commitment. In any case, that sounds amazing!

If you're in Shinjuku you won't have trouble finding/getting to events. The subway system is very extensive and wide-reaching, as I'm sure you know. As for the ones I went to, I can't remember all of their precise locations, but BE POP was near Asakusa, Bunbuku Toys was near Ikebukuro I think, and Fujiya was a bit further up in the north of Tokyo ... All definitely easily accessible.

(Dec. 13, 2015  5:30 PM)The Supreme One Wrote: Wow, this is incredible! So glad that your experience with the Beyblade community in Japan was such a positive one, Kei. I'm surprised that some of the tournaments there were as small as ours, but it gives me hope that Beyblade isn't quite as dead over here as I presumed it to be. I plan to study in Japan in fall of 2017 and may do a summer abroad trip this coming year—hopefully I'll have the opportunity to connect with the Japanese Beyblade community like you. Here's to collaboration between the WBO and Wari-Bey in the future!

It's because they were G4 events. If we were to use such a ranking system, many of our regular events could be considered that. Something like Anime North would be considered G1 for us probably haha.

Definitely do the trip sooner rather than later if possible! You won't regret it. Smile

(Dec. 13, 2015  10:16 PM)Wombat Wrote: It's great to hear you had a nice time, Kei! I went to Japan December/January 2012/13 (mostly stayed in Tokyo) and was surprised at how different the atmosphere was there. I got the sense that despite how packed together everything was, it was a lot more quiet and reserved than a big city in the USA would be. Did you visit any of the temples or Mt. Fuji, or was it just different cities and Beyblades?

Besides that one event with Uwik and co. in Singapore, the WBO and WBBA have always been kinda isolated, so I've always wondered who would come out on top if WBO Bladers took on the WBBA Bladers. The WARI-Bey members are some of the best in Japan, and you're one of the best in North America, so it's interesting to see how you went mostly even with them (Two 1st Places, a 2nd Place and a 3rd Place doesn't sound too different from your normal Toronto performances).

It's also interesting to see how the Japanese meta has developed independent of WBO influence, and what things they were able to figure out on their own. I was surprised by the lack of Odin, but I do remember someone here saying that Deathscyther Ring Claw could beat Odin Heavy Defense somewhat consistently, so Deathscyther vs. Odin is probably worth looking into. With the added incentive the WBBA system gives to Attack types I'm surprised more of them were not used seeing how prevalent Deathscyther was. Stationary Attack probably would have gotten the job done much safer than traditional Attack as well, but aside from that one woman no one seemed to have "discovered" it.

Did any of the WARI-Bey Bladers or other tournament players express interest in joining the WBO? It would be cool to get them on here so we could see an active WBO scene in Japan, but I can understand why they wouldn't want to join. Aside from a future collaboration in Japan in March/April, it would also be awesome if they were able to come to major North American events like at Anime North.

Oh yeah? When I got back I was immediately struck by how "open" Canada felt ... lol. We have so much space here. For the most part, everything is so efficient and compact in Japan; a necessity born of their lack of space. I miss the really small side streets.

On my next trip there I'm going to make a huge effort to go to Kyoto and visit the many temples there since I couldn't this time (got distracted for a couple days in Osaka by debit/credit card and money issues ...). There was some temples I visited in the Ueno district of Tokyo, though, yes. I saw Mt. Fuji very briefly on my Shinkansen ride to and from Osaka; so glad I did that instead of flying between Osaka and Tokyo. The scenery is breathtaking at times. I spent a lot of time just walking around and taking pictures that will hopefully find a place in my upcoming first solo photobook, met some friends, but other than that I also went to seven concerts haha: Yasuda Rei, Kamijo, girugamesh, Mono/Shellac, heidi/More/ZIZ (ZIZ is Kozi from Malice Mizer's band), the GazettE in Yokosuka, and then the GazettE again in Hachioji. But that's another story entirely. Smile

"Stationary Attack" was something I considered as well, but despite it giving you a decent chance I felt the win rate wasn't high enough based on my experience. It's easier to use, but felt more based on luck than taking the 'risk' to use an Attack type that can achieve a higher win percentage.

I think I asked them at some point if they would join if we had a Japanese forum, but honestly forget if they answered and what they said.
Wow! I think this was the best text I read here in WBO. That was a really enjoyable and beutiful reading! It's so cool to see how interesting and fun Beyblade is. Glad to know you had such a great experience in Japan! I think this was, in some way, inspiring to me. I'm trying to make Bayblade at least known here in Brazil, with my channel and all, it's a long process, but I'm happy with it, since very few people know and love the game as much as everybody here. Smile

Thanks for sharing your awesome experience, Kei! Grin
(Dec. 15, 2015  7:25 AM)Kei Wrote: Just be careful when selecting events: some are limited to only Elementary School kids, but for the most part they are "Elementary Priority", which means you will probably have a good chance of playing.
Is there any way of finding out beforehand whether or not a specific event was Elementary School kids only, or was it something you had to find out upon arrival?

(Dec. 15, 2015  7:25 AM)Kei Wrote: Since you already have that in motion maybe there's nothing you can do, but I would have definitely suggested visiting Japan first for a couple weeks before making such a huge commitment. In any case, that sounds amazing!

Well, that's why I was originally planning this as a (long) vacation. In the end, finances somehow worked out in my favor so I enrolled in a school. It's not like a college, I can withdraw and book a flight home if I need to, but even if I don't like it I'm planning to stick it out. Even in the worst of situations, you can still find some good.

(Dec. 15, 2015  7:25 AM)Kei Wrote: If you're in Shinjuku you won't have trouble finding/getting to events. The subway system is very extensive and wide-reaching, as I'm sure you know. As for the ones I went to, I can't remember all of their precise locations, but BE POP was near Asakusa, Bunbuku Toys was near Ikebukuro I think, and Fujiya was a bit further up in the north of Tokyo ... All definitely easily accessible.
What about the spot in the videos where you and wari-bey played on the side streets? Any clue what ward you were in? Do they normally set up there?
(Dec. 15, 2015  2:54 PM)BeyGa Wrote: Wow! I think this was the best text I read here in WBO. That was a really enjoyable and beutiful reading! It's so cool to see how interesting and fun Beyblade is. Glad to know you had such a great experience in Japan! I think this was, in some way, inspiring to me. I'm trying to make Bayblade at least known here in Brazil, with my channel and all, it's a long process, but I'm happy with it, since very few people know and love the game as much as everybody here. Smile

Thanks for sharing your awesome experience, Kei! Grin

Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much! If you keep putting in the effort into your channel and to reaching out to people on the WBO, I'm sure you can increase Beyblade's popularity steadily in your area at least. It certainly takes dedication. You should try to host a tournament sometime; even if you can't find enough Bladers on the WBO yet, try getting your friends or family to play! Beyblade is really a universally fun game, and you'd be surprised who might get into it if you showcase the intricacy and fun of the game to them in the proper way!

(Dec. 16, 2015  1:55 AM)Wizard Wrote: Is there any way of finding out beforehand whether or not a specific event was Elementary School kids only, or was it something you had to find out upon arrival?

Yeah, on the TAKARA-TOMY Beyblade website where the list of the tournament is there is a column on the far right that lists any relevant tournament details. This is where they specify this type of thing.

(Dec. 16, 2015  1:55 AM)Wizard Wrote: Well, that's why I was originally planning this as a (long) vacation. In the end, finances somehow worked out in my favor so I enrolled in a school. It's not like a college, I can withdraw and book a flight home if I need to, but even if I don't like it I'm planning to stick it out. Even in the worst of situations, you can still find some good.

Good luck! I hope you can make a report like mine yourself when you go over there. Smile

(Dec. 16, 2015  1:55 AM)Wizard Wrote: What about the spot in the videos where you and wari-bey played on the side streets? Any clue what ward you were in? Do they normally set up there?

That was literally right beside the Bunbuku Toys shop. That's where they do their tournaments. If you look up the shop online (with the hiragana) you can probably find it ...
Stumbled across this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70VOrxOYUSQ
and now understanding what Waribey is it was pretty cool to see that one of their members was the world champion (peep his jacket in the final battle)
(Jan. 27, 2016  7:04 AM)Time Wrote: Stumbled across this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70VOrxOYUSQ
and now understanding what Waribey is it was pretty cool to see that one of their members was the world champion (peep his jacket in the final battle)

Yup, although I asked about Ryo specifically and apparently he doesn't play anymore. Unhappy

And as I mentioned in the OP:

Kei Wrote:Upon arriving we went up to the second floor where the tournament was to take place. ブレーダーMASA introduced me to keep・わりベイ, Rank 27. He is a member of WARI-BEY as well and apparently, his son was the winner of the Asia Championship in 2011! He happened to have a photo album on him filled with great personal photos from this event; I wish you all could have seen it!

Aaand last weekend RICK and MIYU won a couple of the G1 events in Tokyo.
thanks for sharing Kei!! sorry i can't read before [reason is written on my profile, why i'm away.
It's really an interesting read, even for someone like me who's a relative noob to the scene.
This is incredible.

I have been meaning to check this out since you told me at the last Burst tournament. I can't believe I missed this thread lol I feel like it should be stickied.

What a great read. I'm happy that you got a lot of exposure for the site and established a connection with the "WARI-BEY" (Haha so random!).

(Dec. 12, 2015  11:12 AM)Kei Wrote: In particular, I have to talk about Ruka (るか), a young Blader I met at this event. For some reason, he took a liking to me and after seeing me play called me ”equal to god” according to Yuuya.

Lmao easily the highlight of your post for me.
Thanks Beyonomics! Glad you enjoyed it. Smile

I'm leaving for Japan again tomorrow morning, so please expect "Part 2" sometime in the next month or so after I get back!
The official topic is for Japanese only, but apparently this is a picture from the Wari-BeyxWBO collaboration tournament that happened earlier today in Japan: http://ameblo.jp/chibikkoie/entry-12146404056.html

More here: http://ameblo.jp/koukisisyou/entry-12146337458.html
(Apr. 03, 2016  7:58 PM)Kai-V Wrote: The official topic is for Japanese only, but apparently this is a picture from the Wari-BeyxWBO collaboration tournament that happened earlier today in Japan: http://ameblo.jp/chibikkoie/entry-12146404056.html

More here: http://ameblo.jp/koukisisyou/entry-12146337458.html
Wow That's Really Cool. The First WBO Tournament in Japan With WariBey !!!
Also is this the place where the Burst Tour Also took place ?? They mentioned something about parking and Golden Excalibur available for Purchase and all ?
Not able to get that part Actually.
But Thanks for Sharing it Kai.
Cheers !!!
Burst.
Amazing. A childhood dream come true. Wish I could've been there, but I am sure there will be a "next time."
There will definitely be a next time!

I got back from Japan this past Sunday. Thankfully I spent several hours on the plane working on the second part of this report and got a large chunk of it completed, but I've still got a quite a bit of work to do before it is finished. Please stay tuned! Smile
(Apr. 13, 2016  7:30 PM)Kei Wrote: There will definitely be a next time!

I got back from Japan this past Sunday. Thankfully I spent several hours on the plane working on the second part of this report and got a large chunk of it completed, but I've still got a quite a bit of work to do before it is finished. Please stay tuned! Smile

Kei. what was excact reason you're going to Japan?

just for Beyblade or anything else?

sorry if i shouldn't ask but i'm really curious to know Smile
Read Part 1 - November/December 2015 Here
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My Experience with the Japanese
Beyblade Community

Part 2 [April 2016]



Hey everyone! Haven’t had as much time to post lately as I would have liked, but that is partially due in part to the fact that I returned from my second trip to Japan on April 10th and have been putting a lot of time into crafting this report! If you haven’t given the report I wrote from my first trip last year, please do give that a read first before proceeding with this one.

If you’ve been following any of the WBO’s social media channels you may have seen some of the snapshots I’ve been posting over the past couple weeks, but in this report I plan to expand on each of them: my search for the Dual Layers, TAKARA-TOMY events, WARIBEY, and most importantly, the WBOxWARIBEY event on April 3rd! I’ve put together a tournament video for the WBOxWARIBEY event that I’ve included later in my report, but if you’d like to watch it right away, click here!

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Tokyo, Japan - Friday, April 1st, 2016
Searching for BG-02 and the Dual Layers

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After having already planned the dates for this trip, I realized that I would be in Japan on April 2nd: the day the new Dual Layer Beyblades were to be released! After spending a few days in Yokohama and then moving to Tokyo, on April 1st I set out to first find a machine that dispensed the BG-02 Random Gachapon Layers. Unsurprisingly, I was able to find it in Akihabara in two places: Yodobashi-Akiba, and in one of the SEGA game centres. I also found one of the arcade machines where you can win the black Amaterios parts in Yodobashi-Akiba, but there was nothing left to be won … it was empty.

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I had hoped that maybe some stores would release the new Beyblades a day early, and had been told by Jumbo from WARIBEY that it does happen sometimes (although maybe usually only for small hobby shop store regulars who have a relationship with the owner), but wasn’t able to find any.

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Tokyo, Japan - Saturday, April 2nd, 2016
Dual Layers Released & G4 Tournament at Bunbuku Toys
おもちゃのぶんぶく

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The next day, I got up bright and early so I could be at a Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku when they opened to clear out the stock buy each of the new Dual Layer Beyblades (they weren’t all for me!) that had been released and still have enough time to make my way over to the Ikebukuro area to attend a G4 event at Bunbuku Toys.

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During my last trip, I had the wonderful fortune of being able to befriend a group of WARIBEY members–the famous Japanese Beyblade team–at a TAKARA-TOMY G4 event in Tokyo at Bunbuku Toys. So, it was fitting that my first event back in Japan would be at Bunbuku Toys!

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After finishing up at Yodobashi Camera, and with no time to test any of the new parts, Yuuya–my friend and host from Airbnb who was accompanying me–and I headed over to Bunbuku Toys for the event. We got there a little bit early to find Jumbo standing by the event area preparing for the tournament (he usually helps to run the event with the shop owner).


After exchanging greetings, Jumbo handed me a bag–the Beyblade one from the World Hobby Fair this year–containing two of the red Tokumei Beyblade Burst stadiums and two gold Xcalibur Force Xtreme! I had spoke to Jumbo during the WHF about purchasing the Xcalibur for me and that I would pay him back, but he ended up giving me the bag and the two stadiums as a surprise gift! I was happy to also have a gift for him: a WBO t-shirt!

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Soon afterwards, more players started to arrive, including Miyu・WariBey, Rick・WariBey, and their father who I had met last year. I also had WBO t-shirts for them. :)

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Once the Single Elimination tournament bracket had been constructed, the tournament began! In the first round I ended up being matched up against MASA・わりベイ (formerly ブレーダーMASA; he’s now a member of WARIBEY). It was a rematch of the finals of my second Bunbuku Toys event from last year! I beat him last time to clinch the tournament. But how would it play out this time?

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Going into the battle I predicted correctly that he would go for Deathscyther Heavy Defense. I could have gone for something like Valkyrie Heavy Xtreme–after all I defeated him last year in the finals using Valkyrie Heavy Accel–but instead took a different type of risk and chose to use Deathscyther Spread Revolve, which I had just picked up hours earlier and had no chance to test. I felt like it would perform similarly to Gyro which I had tested extensively, and also felt as if I would have a stronger launch than Masa, so it felt like a safe choice.

Unfortunately, despite it being clear in each round that I would win by outspin, I ended up losing 3-2. Masa won the battle via a two-point Burst Finish near the end of the fourth round when I was up 2-1, just as he was about to stop spinning … Disappointing way to lose–even more so when it is single elimination and you’ve traveled across the world to play haha–but it happens. Even though part of me is confident I could have won with Valkyrie, another part of me wanted to play conservatively in the early rounds knowing that this was a Single Elimination event. And I just had the unfortunate luck of being paired up against a strong opponent in the first round! Take a look at this video of the final battle:




I can’t remember too many specific details about what parts were used in this event, but can essentially sum it up by saying that the experienced players used Deathscyther Heavy Defense and the less-experienced players used more random combos, typically using some of the new parts that had just been released.

In the final round, Jumbo was paired up against Miyu. Miyu chose Deathscyther Heavy Defense, and Jumbo chose Odin ? Xtreme! I was a little taken aback, but after a second I wasn’t so much because while Jumbo often uses Deathscyther Heavy Massive, he also switches to more “fun” combos every so often, especially when he makes it to the finals of an event.

The first two rounds were over in a flash. To my amazement, Jumbo scored two KOs with Odin on Deathscyther! And this is what followed in the next two rounds:




The winner of the event was Jumbo by a score of 3-1!

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After the event I spent a lot of time playing for fun with Rick and the other kids there; somehow they ended up lining up to play me. I ended up playing a good 30 or 40 rounds in a row haha. While this was happening Jumbo handed me this awesome Beyblade Burst anime poster as another gift! I have no idea where he got it from, but it’s huge! The anime itself was scheduled to premiere in two days on April 4th.

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Perhaps the most interesting thing from a competitive standpoint happened after this event. Yuuya, Jumbo, and Rick/Miyu’s father were having a long conversation after the event and eventually, Jumbo kneeled down to open up his case and pulled out a small hand-made bearing-based device. He demonstrated two of them: one that Layers can be placed on, and one that Disks can be placed on. I’m not familiar with the exact method of construction for each of them, but they seemed to be comprised of two relatively simple parts: a tall metal bar for the bearings to spin on, the bearings themselves (varying size for the Layer version and the Disk version), and also probably some sort of ring at the bottom for the bearings to sit on so that they don’t just slide off the bar. I wasn’t able to get all of the details on the devices themselves or how precisely they are used–I believe it had something to do with how long any given part can spin on the device–but their ultimate purpose was clear: WARIBEY members use them to measure the balance or stability of any given part.

Using these devices, they can basically tune their Beyblades by choosing the part that has the least instability. They do this because Beyblade parts inherently carry variables due to the manufacturing process. In the WBO, we might test something like this by trial-and-error, but they have a slightly more scientific way of doing it which allows them to construct the “ultimate” version of any particular combination they choose (in most cases, Deathscyther Heavy Defense). This would become a big factor for me heading in to the WBOxWARIBEY event the next day.

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More Photos (Click to View)


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Ginza, Tokyo, Japan - Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
WBOxWARIBEY Collaboration Event
WBO x わりべいコラボレーションイベント

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The big day! Check out the Beyblade Channel video above which is a compilation of footage from throughout the event.

After returning from my previous trip, I felt a strong drive the make the effort to create an even more meaningful connection between the WBO and the Japanese Beyblade community. To accomplish this, in addition to having the Japanese forum on the WBO set up and rules translated–with the help of Bey Brad and ClaraM, I also had set in motion with Jumbo before I left, plans to host a WBO and WARIBEY collaboration event in 2016 when I returned.

After getting the Japanese forum set up, language pack installed, assorted rulesets and threads translated, deciding on the tournaments to be played on the day of the event, overcoming language barriers (often with the incredible help of Yuuya), having Jumbo pick the venue and design the trophies, everything finally came together on April 3rd!

Going into the event I was worried about how many attendees there would be, as not long before April 3rd, TAKARA-TOMY’s “Beyblade Tour” series of events was announced, with the first stop unfortunately taking place in Tokyo on the exact same date as our event. Fortunately however, we still managed to pull in around 20-30 players for each of the four tournaments! Jumbo had invited the entire WARIBEY team, so most participants were his teammates, but representing the WBO were myself, OkinawamTS (who made the trek all the way from Nara!), Yuuya, and his friend ito kyohei.

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Just before 9AM Yuuya, Kyohei, and I arrived at the venue on what was a foggy morning in the Ginza district of Tokyo. Jumbo had rented a large space in an office building for us to use for the day and had already begun setting everything up for the four tournaments we had planned that day.

Then, they handed me yet another gift! A mine red Samurai Changer MS, Samurai Changer MS (purple AR, black Running Core), and a silver Gaia Dragoon MS! So awesome. They had asked me the day before if there was any Beyblades I wanted, and I had just said vaguely “HMS” since it’s my favourite series and I couldn’t think of anything specific, but I didn’t really think they would actually do it! So generous.

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Eventually after everyone arrived, Jumbo gathered everyone and gave a small speech about our collaboration before we began. He passed it off to me, and I explained how incredibly excited I was to finally see this event come to fruition because for years we have called ourselves the “World” Beyblade Organization–having hosted events in Canada, the US, UK, Australia, Italy, India, Indonesia, and more–yet we have never really made a meaningful connection with the community in Japan. Yuuya then translated for me, of course. :) Then, I gave away a ton of new WBO Japanese Promo Cards and WBO BeyLogger Sheets that I had printed before I came to Japan.

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Because of the language barrier, there wasn’t too much in terms of organization that I was able to help out with. Players were given both a number and a colour–red or black–based on what they pulled from a deck of cards. I was Red 8, for example.

As mentioned earlier, for this event we had four tournaments planned for the day: Tag Team, WBO Tournament, Rising Battle, and Burst Cup. The WBO Tournament obviously used WBO rules, and the other three used TAKARA-TOMY rules, which meant Burst Finishes were worth two points.

Tag Team Tournament
You can find the precise rules for this tournament at the bottom of the opening post of the tournament thread, but essentially how it was to work was this: every player would be assigned a partner and each round would consist of two battles, and a third tiebreaker if needed. Before the round, each team would select who was going to play first, and then the second round would be the remaining two players. If after both of these battles, each team won and lost one battle, a four-Player tiebreaker in the Metal Fight Beyblade Wide Square Stadium would be played.

I was paired up with Hayate from WARIBEY, who I believe is Jumbo’s son (in my previous report I think I mixed up Hayate with the father of Miyu and Rick; so whenever I said I was playing Hayate, I meant Miyu/Rick’s father … but I’m not sure what his username is). He’s currently ranked 23rd in the country for total BeyPoints! He has 32 G4 Gold Trophies, 20 Silver, and 5 Bronze, so he’s pretty good. ;)

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Hayate is the guy beside me in the middle!


Before the event began, we discussed–largely with the help of Google Translate haha–our strategy. I told him that for Attack I wanted to use Valkyrie Limited Zephyr and for Stamina/Defense I wanted to use Odin Heavy Gyro. The night before I had tested VLZ and really liked how it performed against DHD, and OHG is an obvious choice. When I showed him the OHG however, Hayate asked me to hand-spin or light launch it on to a mini-BeyStadium that he had to check its balance. I had noticed before the event that multiple WARIBEY members were seemingly checking the balance of their Beyblades–using Chaos Heavy Defense, to be specific–using these mini-BeyStadiums (I forget where they’re from). I wasn’t able to fully understand what Hayate went on to try and communicate to me, but he specifically pointed out the line around the perimeter of Heavy as what we should be keeping an eye on. After testing on Heavy, he told me to try another one and ended up deciding that it was better, so I went with that one. I could see the concept behind what they are doing, but perhaps because something was lost in translation, I don’t fully understand how you’re able to discern balance by doing something like that. At least five different people were doing it, though … so there must be something to it.

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You can see one of the players using the mini-BeyStadium to test the balance of his Beyblade in this photo


1st Round, 1st Battle: Hayate (Deathscyther Heavy Defense) vs. Rick/Miyu’s Father (Valkyrie Heavy Xtreme)
I nominated Hayate to play the first battle of the first round, and unfortunately he ended up losing 3-1 against VHX via a Burst Finish and Self-KO. This put the pressure on me to win my battle.

1st Round, 2nd Battle: Kei (Odin Heavy Gyro) vs. Deathscyther Heavy Defense
I was put up against a relatively young child, but a) He’s a WARIBEY member and b) He looked pretty tough, so I wasn’t taking him lightly haha. That said, because he was young I took a gamble and bet that I could outspin his probably-tuned Deathscyther (which is what I guessed he would use) with OHG and still have a chance against Attack if he went that route. I ended up winning 3-0, much to the amazement and entertainment of Jumbo and others who were watching (since Odin doesn’t beat Deathscyther for them usually!).

With each team winning one battle and losing another, that meant we moved on to a Wide Square four-way tiebreaker!

1st Round, Tiebreaker: Kei (Wyvern ? Revolve), Hayate (Deathscyther Heavy Defense) vs. Deathscyther Heavy Defense x2(?)
Unfortunately I can’t remember precisely what our opponents used, but we ended up being the winners of this battle because of Hayate’s DHD. You might be wondering why I chose to go with Wyvern. Going into this battle I had the opportunity to watch how a few other tiebreakers play out and in each of them there seemed to be a ton of chain reaction Burst Finishes going on, leaving one Beyblade left standing. And the Wide Square Stadium itself creates such cool movement patterns with different parts; especially those like Unite. It was so cool! My thinking was that I would use something defensive/burst resistant to hopefully be on the winning end of such a chain reaction. And with Hayate using DHD, that was our insurance that we would have a chance of winning via OS should things not play out how I thought. They didn’t, as I believe both opponents also used DHD, so I ended up being outspun before Hayate ultimately won.

2nd Round, 1st Battle: Kei (Valkyrie Limited Zephyr) vs. Jumbo (Deathscyther Heavy Massive)
My chance for revenge! I lost to Jumbo last time I visited haha. He used the exact combo I predicted he would, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to execute with VLZ and ended up losing 3-1 after scoring one KO on him, and then being OSed, and KOed myself once while he was wall-saved. You can see a couple rounds of this in the Beyblade Channel video.

In hindsight, VLZ might have seemed better in individual testing than it is in reality against Stamina types. Zephyr needs to be launched at the perfect angle or else it will lose it’s flower pattern or not even have one to begin with; even more so than Xtreme, I find. That said, I do still think it is an interesting combo because with the vastly increased Stamina and sustained spin velocity it provides, it affords you the ability to launch at less than full power and still get in many powerful hits before it loses all power. Undecided on whether it is truly competitive or not yet, but it’s fun to play with. And in any case, I like Limited on Valkyrie; seems to have more synergy with Valkyrie than Force did, which I had also previously liked. Of course, this is just based on limited experience and not extensive testing in comparison to the popular Heavy.

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2nd Round, 2nd Battle: Hayate (Deathscyther Heavy Defense) vs. Valkyrie Heavy Xtreme
With my first battle loss, Hayate needed to win! After being Burst Finished in the first round and going down 2-0, he was able to fight his way back and win 3-2 after several Double Burst Finishes in between his round wins by outspin. You can see a few rounds from this on the Beyblade Channel video as well.

We went to the tiebreaker … but honestly, I can’t remember exactly what happened other than the fact that we lost. That eliminated us from the tournament. :(

Was pleasantly surprised at how much fun the Wide Square Stadium was in this tournament with Beyblade Burst. Hopefully the upcoming larger stadium meant for this series will be good too!

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Worth noting that Yuuya and his partner ended up placing third in this event, gradually becoming known as the “Deathscyther Killers” through their use of Valkyrie Spread Defense and Valkyire Heavy Unite. There’s a ton of clips to prove this in the Beyblade Channel video. It was incredible haha. I was shocked that nobody seemed to be reacting to this however; nobody made the switch to something like Wyvern that would have a better chance against those combo. The best players just stuck with Deathscyther for the most part.

I still really love the WBO’s Team Format as well, but it admittedly isn’t as accessible as a Tag Team tournament like this. Maybe something to consider, although I would prefer it more if it wasn’t Single Elimination like this was. ;)

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WBO Tournament (Double Elimination)
Double Elimination was seemingly a bit of a foreign concept to everyone there, so there was some difficulty communicating how it was to work, and I was a little bit powerless to communicate certain specifics of how we usually do things, but eventually we were up and running with Double Elimination format for this event.

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1st Round (Winners Bracket): Kei (Deathscyther Spread Zephyr) vs. Minoboros Xtreme
This battle can be seen on the Beyblade Channel video. It was quite one-sided; Deathscyther was able to outrun (or KO) Minoboros with ease and I won 3-0.

2nd Round (Winners Bracket): Kei (Valkyrie Limited Zephyr) vs. Valkyrie Xtreme(?)
This round was a little bit more dicey because of the Valkyrie vs. Valkyrie matchup, but the speed and Stamina of Zephyr eventually allowed me to overcome my opponent’s Xtreme combo.

3rd Round (Winners Bracket): Kei (Odin Heavy Gyro?) vs. Chie (Deathscyther Heavy Defense?)
I can’t remember precisely if this is the correct combos, but Chie used DHD throughout the day and I’m fairly certain that I ended up losing to it with Odin. Chie is a young girl and apparently a G1 Champion, but I still felt like through launch power alone I’d be able to overcome her DHD.

It was probably at this point that, after seeing the bearing device Jumbo had the previous day, and the extent that morning to which many WARIBEY players go to find the “perfect” combo (many of them have multiple pre-built copies of DHD in their cases), that I started to feel discouraged. Using Stamina at all at this point started to feel like a losing battle since I couldn’t compete with the time many of them had put into perfecting their DHDs. It didn’t really matter how powerful my launch was. I also did testing with Rick at some point and was generally losing to Deathscyther, so from this point onwards I removed Stamina from my arsenal.

4th Round (Losers Bracket): Kei (Valkyrie Limited Zephyr) vs. Same Opponent as 1st Round (Minoboros Xtreme)
Going into this round, I figured my opponent–who was the same person I had played in the first round–would switch up his strategy. I chose Valkyrie Limited Zephyr because I thought I would have a chance if he chose Minoboros again (since I had just beaten Valkyrie Xtreme in the second round), and a chance if he chose DHD or something to that effect. Unfortunately, I ended up losing 3-2 and was eliminated from the event. Close battle!

Ultimately, Chie advanced to the finals as the winner of the Loser’s Bracket to play the winner of the Winner’s Bracket: Keep. This battle was DHD vs. DHD, so it was about as exciting as you might expect (I have video of the full battle, but didn’t even include it in the Beyblade Channel compilation LOL). I felt bad for Chie because Keep very clearly had an absolute monster of a DHD and seemingly had no trouble outspinning other DHDs throughout the day. Keep ended up beating her and won the tournament!

After this event we took a break for lunch!

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During the break, a member from the old Japanese Beyblade message board BEYBLADE RENAISSANCE–who will remain anonymous since he wanted his presence to be kept secret–and I were talking and he told me about a spinning top museum in Nagoya. I’ll have to go next time!

A little while before the break he had shown up to watch for a little while. Given that I couldn’t speak any Japanese all those years ago, I just lurked the site while it was active, but it was so surprising and cool to have this person show up at the event.

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Rising Battle Tournament
Tempted to say this was my favourite event, if only because of how exhilarating and fast-paced it was. The rules were relatively simple: within the allotted time period, Bladers had to accumulate as many round wins as possible. At the end of that period, the top eight Bladers who had accumulated the most round wins moved on to a final single elimination round to determine the winner.

In some ways it was similar to the format used at some G4 events in that if you keep winning you stay at the stadium, but it was better not only because of the top-cut final round, but because they had set up around five stadiums with five judges! So, everyone who wasn’t at a stadium would be lined up and wait for the next stadium to free up before they got another shot to start a new streak and collect more wins. Every time you won, the judge would stamp your card.

This was better too because it allows for ten players at a time to be having a chance to accumulate wins. In the TAKARA-TOMY G4 format, you’re stuck with one stadium which means a single player could run away with the entire event (as they often do). Of course, we were in an ideal situation; I doubt this type of format would work at G4 events with limited space and judges.

I had already decided to try and steer clear of Stamina types, but I realized quickly that this may actually be an advantage for this tournament because if you constantly play Stamina battles, you lower the potential number of rounds you can win since each win takes a longer amount of time to earn than a battle where you Burst or KO your opponent quickly. That said, it might balance out due to the higher level of difficulty when using an Attack type.

I ended up racking up 15 wins, alternating between mostly VHX, WSZ, and DSZ, which put me in a three way tie with Miyu and another player for the final two spots in the top eight. To decide who made it to the next round, we did a tiebreaker in the Wide Square. I went for VLZ, but ended up losing the first round. Miyu won, and then I lost in the second 1-on-1 tiebreaker in the Wide Square using VLZ again (we weren’t allowed to change; if I had known this before, I would have selected differently for the first tiebreak) despite getting a lot of good hits in.

So, I was on the outside looking in. It just wasn’t my day!

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Miyu, Yuuya, and Chie. Yuuya ended up walking away with a complete Spriggan Spread Fusion Black Ver. after he won the Fusion in the giveaway and the others who won the other parts gave him the rest! I also let him keep a BeyLauncher of mint that he broke the handle of haha


Burst Cup Tournament
This event was a basic single elimination style tournament. The rules were TAKARA-TOMY standard, but for some reason they modified them and allowed player switch Beyblades if they wanted after every battle within each round.

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By the time this event began, my confidence was already pretty much shot since I had done relatively poorly throughout the day. I fortunately got a by in the first round due to the uneven amount of players, and I won my second round match-up, but was then put up against Keep who ended up either winning or placing in every tournament that day. Keep had used Storm Spriggan ? Xtreme and Odin ? Xtreme (a couple players actually used this throughout the day, in addition to Jumbo’s use of it at the G4 even the previous day. Seems to be their counter to VHX) in at least a couple battles that day, but predominantly he was leaning on his perfect green Deathscyther Heavy Defense. I decided to take a huge risk and try the Light Launcher with DHD against him (I had been using the BeyLauncher all day) … but I self-KOed in the first round LOL. Next two rounds I switched to Valkyrie Unite as I had been liking how it did against Deathscyther in the Tag Team tournament (Yuuya’s partner had been using it), but I ended up losing both rounds and was eliminated from the event. Should have gone for VHX or stuck with DHD instead of trying something I hadn’t tested yet; just made some weird decisions that day and was feeling kind of down by that point.

Part of what might also partially explain a weird choice like this is the low tolerance they have in Japan for taking time to choose your Beyblade. When we were preparing to start the WBO tournament earlier in the day, Jumbo couldn’t really understand why we allow Bladers three minutes to prepare and choose their Beyblade for a battle. He said it should take only 30 seconds at most, or something to that effect. I didn’t necessarily agree because there is certainly value in allowing players a little bit of time to make a proper, informed decision about what they are about to use–it’s arguably the most critical point of any battle: the selection process–but I can see where he is coming from because everybody in WARIBEY at least has cases with pre-built Beyblades, and they don’t generally seem to switch out to that many different ones throughout any given event. In WBO events–for Toronto at least–it isn’t uncommon to see Winning Combos lists where an individual player used five or six combos throughout the day, but in Japan it seems like they max out at around three. I could have taken more time to make my decisions during the WARIBEY events, but in the moment, I felt bad because everyone else was generally ready quite quickly.

Awards Ceremony
After a long day which saw us play through four tournaments, Jumbo started the awards ceremony. The winner of each tournament was presented with a custom-made trophy with the WARIBEY and WBO logos, tournament name, and Pegasis symbol (for some reason haha) on them. Take a look!:

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Most of the physical prizes (including a Hasbro Beyblade Metal Fury Triple Battle Set?? lol) were reserved for a random giveaway to all participants at the end of the event. I had my eye on the sick Bakuten Shoot Beyblade clearfiles you see here …

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And I won the blue Daichi one you see on top! They have a Coro Coro logo on the back; they’re sooo old and awesome. Rick and Miyu’s father also gave me the Gold Light Launcher he won, helping me to complete my collection of the Gold/Silver/Bronze Light Launchers. :D

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More Photos (Click to View)

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Osaka, Japan - Sunday, April 10th, 2016
Joshin Kids Land G4 Event
ジョーシンキッズランド

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But my journey wasn’t finished yet! After moving from Tokyo and spending a couple days in Kobe, I made the move to Osaka for my last three days or so in Japan and was able to squeeze in one final event before heading home at Joshin Kids Land near Shin-Osaka Station.

Joshin is basically a big department store and this event was held in the kids/toys area. I got there about ten minutes before it was scheduled to start and the first person to notice I had arrived was Bey Masa (different than the Masa from Tokyo)! I met him way back at the beginning of my previous trip in Osaka at the first event I attended. Once he noticed me we exchanged greetings from afar and he turned to OkinawamTS who had been standing beside him to let him know I had arrived.

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There was around 20-30 players for this event and the format was actually similar to that first event I attended back in November of last year in Osaka: within the hour whoever had accumulated the most round wins would be the victor, and you stayed at the stadium until you lost, at which point you would move to the end of the lineup and wait for your next turn.

As you would expect, there was many players who used slightly random combos, but there was also several players using Deathscyther Heavy Defense and even one or two with Odin Heavy Defense. Unlike the WBOxWARIBEY event however, I did not see a single Valkyrie Heavy Xtreme, or anything on Xtreme for that matter. This could be due to the nature of the event format however: whenever you lost a single round, you would go to the end of the line and have to waste a good 10 minutes or two before getting another chance, which is valuable time when you’ve only got an hour to accumulate victories.

The starting line up was decided by the order of registration, so I ended up starting near the end of the line. By the time I got to the front, one player in particular had begun to dominate the field using Odin Heavy Defense. Luckily for myself however, right before I was to play him, his launcher malfunctioned in the battle with the player in front of me and they counted it as a loss … no reshoots allowed, I guess lol.

Once my turn came up, on my first go around I won approximately seven battles consecutively before losing via Burst Finish to an aggressive Storm Spriggan combo using Wyvern Spread Zephyr. Throughout the tournament, I alternated between Wvyern Spread Zephyr, Odin Heavy Gyro, and also Deathscyther Heavy Defense a couple times.

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When my next turn came up, I again was about to play the player who was dominating everyone with OHD (seen in the grey t-shirt above) but he miraculously lost again before I could get a shot at him. Then, I went on a run and won around 15 rounds in a row switching mostly between Wyvern Spread Zephyr and Odin Heavy Gyro. The loss that finally sent me to the back of the line was against OkinawamTS; he chose DHD, and being a little bit bored using the same combos over and over, and being satisfied enough with my current winning streak to take a risk, I went for VHX … but it didn’t work out haha.

I made it to the front of the line one more time and scored three more wins before losing to a totally random Burst Finish against a Kaiser Kerbeus stamina combo against my OHG.

The final results in terms of total wins were:

1st: 25 wins (Kei)
2nd: 23 wins
3rd: 16 wins
4th: 8 wins

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After the event one of the kids noticed my WBO BeyLogger sheet, so I handed out what custom WBO BeyLogger sheets I had left to many of the kids who had played in the event. Bey Masa also asked for one and asked me to sign it. Then, all of the kids ended up asking me for my autograph as well. :cool: I showed one of the young girls and her father who were playing the WBO and also one of our Beyblade Channel tournament videos from Toronto, and we all played for fun for a while (of course, I was doing amazingly with Attack combos in that no-pressure situation lol), and then I headed back to Shin-Osaka Station with Oki and we parted ways from there!

I was honestly feeling disappointed after having not done so well at Bunbuku Toys or the WBOxWARIBEY event the previous week, so being able to do well at this event was a nice way for me to end my second trip to Japan!

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Final Thoughts
Looking back to the WBOxWARIBEY event, after it ended, I gave out some more of my remaining BeyLogger sheets (but kept some for the event in Osaka), hung around the room for a while, and then finally we all gathered together for a group photo.

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Shortly after, we all filed out of the building, and headed our separate ways. I felt a strong sense of sadness not knowing when we would meet again, but simultaneously incredibly happy to have been able to see this collaboration through to completion. There was unfortunately some issues getting all of the members to sign up on the WBO–mostly due to some cultural differences regarding giving out information online, if what Yuuya tried to explain to me is true–which I don’t think can be resolved, but regardless, I consider this event a success if only because it started to bridge the gap between us by at least forging the beginnings of a stronger connection between the rest of the Beyblade community and the one found in Japan.

I highly encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go to Japan over the next few years (at least) to make the effort to go to an event in Tokyo and try to meet WARIBEY members, and just Japanese players in general. I’ve been playing Beyblade for over a decade, but seeing WARIBEY in action this time in particular made me realize that there is another level I–and probably most WBO members–just haven’t reached yet in terms of dedication to perfecting your Beyblades. It was discouraging at first, but in the end, I respect them immensely not only because of the extremely evident tight-knit nature of the community they have built that spans generations of grandparents, parents, and children, but because of their dedication to competitive greatness throughout the history of Beyblade in Japan.

Can’t wait for next time.
Incredible writeup, Kei! And the video came out so, so well. Probably my second favourite tournament video in our history (the first being the BOTS event from Toronto). Smile Was cool to see so much Xtreme!

Not a lot to add since you were incredibly thorough as always, LOL. I agree with Jumbo that three minutes is too much, though. Wink
(Apr. 30, 2016  8:31 PM)Bey Brad Wrote: Incredible writeup, Kei! And the video came out so, so well. Probably my second favourite tournament video in our history (the first being the BOTS event from Toronto). Smile Was cool to see so much Xtreme!

Not a lot to add since you were incredibly thorough as always, LOL. I agree with Jumbo that three minutes is too much, though. Wink

Thank you! Yeah, they really seemed to have no fear of using Xtreme at all.

Haha, well three minutes is debatable, but 30 second is way too low!
Ha. Reading this makes me want to go to Japan to check out what's going down! (especially the "Handsome Boys" that helped you win the Amaterios lol.) The overall look/popularity of it on the streets. The general respect they give each other when playing (not like "those" kids that generally trash talk when they have a bey and when they lose they flip out). It's really amazing to see events in countries like Japan that show beyblade is really popular and brings people together for fun, especially, from your post, when parents who grew up playing Bakuten Shoot watch their kids play burst, or even play with them. Hopefully this kind of community rises when Burst is out internationally!

Also... I've heard of importing Japanese beys, stadiums, and accessories... but never the Hasbro stuff (aside from the Rev-up launcher), especially with a wonky stadium like the triple battle set...
(Apr. 30, 2016  10:02 PM)SuperKirby64 Wrote: Also... I've heard of importing Japanese beys, stadiums, and accessories... but never the Hasbro stuff (aside from the Rev-up launcher), especially with a wonky stadium like the triple battle set...

I know during the Plastic generation a lot of Japanese Bladers (like Jumbo) really coveted obtaining Hasbro-exclusive releases like the dual-coloured Hyperblades, or the Engine Gear versions of some Plastic Beyblades that didn't use them in their TAKARA-TOMY release. So, I'm sure it's like that with some of the MFB releases too!
(Apr. 30, 2016  10:07 PM)Kei Wrote:
(Apr. 30, 2016  10:02 PM)SuperKirby64 Wrote: Also... I've heard of importing Japanese beys, stadiums, and accessories... but never the Hasbro stuff (aside from the Rev-up launcher), especially with a wonky stadium like the triple battle set...

I know during the Plastic generation a lot of Japanese Bladers (like Jumbo) really coveted obtaining Hasbro-exclusive releases like the dual-coloured Hyperblades, or the Engine Gear versions of some Plastic Beyblades that didn't use them in their TAKARA-TOMY release. So, I'm sure it's like that with some of the MFB releases too!

Haha, that is true. There were a lot of cool hasbro things that japanese beybladers would LOVE to import... As long as they're not importing Beywheelz/Beyraiderz lol...
Great write up, Kei! It is amazing to see the very active Beyblade community in Japan, along with many adults playing! I am glad that the WBO got to host a tournament in Japan, even if communication is hard.

The rule variations are interesting to say the least, with so many different exceptions and such. The 'win or to the line' one was unique, and the tie breaker in the Wide Square stadium is a fun idea, too. It would pretty fun if the WBO had all these formats, but resources (such as stadium, space, etc) can be the problem. Just great to see what it's like in different tournament scenarios.


(Apr. 30, 2016  10:07 PM)Kei Wrote: I know during the Plastic generation a lot of Japanese Bladers (like Jumbo) really coveted obtaining Hasbro-exclusive releases like the dual-coloured Hyperblades, or the Engine Gear versions of some Plastic Beyblades that didn't use them in their TAKARA-TOMY release. So, I'm sure it's like that with some of the MFB releases too!

I remember reading a post from ye olde Tamer Brad from back in the day about how he traded 8 Hyperblades for a huge box full of HMS (MSUV, SCMS, WBMS is only some of them IIRC..), haha.
Inspirational as always, Kei. Just makes me smile to know this is going on. Japan is really not that far from Australia - and the flights are cheap - so let me know when you're going next time and I'll meet you there!

Also, interesting how the Japanese bladers don't seem to shake hands after each battle. You did - but your opponents seemed surprised by it. I remember shaking hands was frowned upon when I visited Japan years ago but I also noticed the traditional "bow" was very rare. In your videos, I only noticed a mild hint of a bow when the winners received their prizes. I guess everyone is just cool with winning/losing and happy to move on?

When I think about it, shaking hands is a bit... Eew. I mean, those hands go everywhere no matter who owns them. Smooshing yours with someone else's seems a bit unnecessarily gooey for a public interaction.