Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Just Yuko

Idol cards continue to be a big thing in Japan, but I gather that they had their peak about 10 years ago. And just like any other trading card release, the hits are the big draws and the justification for high pack prices. Autographs and relic cards are common, though these card sets also can include kiss cards and polaroids. "Cheki" cards are quite common in idol sets, and even the women-in-sports set Real Venus and the recent JWBL release by Epoch included chekis. On the less-rare side of the spectrum, in addition to regular base cards, most releases include SP cards as part of the regular set or as separately-numbered insert sets and foil or facsimile autographs.

Yuko Ogura is my focus for idol cards, and I've gathered a few rare cards of hers. I have a framed photo (a premium given to purchasers of cases or large numbers of boxes), autographs, and a cheki. And of course some costume cards, like the newest addition below.
 Cards usually indicate which part of the wardrobe the relic comes from, and sometimes (like here) which part of the piece (this is the top portion of Yuko's shirt). For certain pieces of wardrobe (swimwear/underwear), the location is even more specific.
This is Costume 1, and as you see the back is a puzzle that should take up three cards. A full set of three cards would then include the full outfit (actually, just the shirt). Bomb is a common brand for idol cards; many idol sets don't include issue year but a little research can help. I know this is from the 2002 set, and is not my first from the release; card 3 is the bottom of the shirt, indicating that card 2 will be the middle. I also have three other cards from the at least 8-card set, meaning I need (at least) three more for the full costume set. Oddly enough, I don't have the base set but I do have the framed signed photo and a special box loader card.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

These Baseball Cards are Special

 What is this, exactly? Well, reading the English it's a 2014 card of a Hawks player, Nobuhiro Matsuda. The "Special Baseball Card" indicates something, well, not normal. And there is a Hawks copyright on the back, with no other copyrights.
 Here's another card, again. The Japanese text on the front says "ゼッタイ俺がやる" which read together basically means "I'm gonna do it!"
 These three cards are team issued cards of the Hawks from 2014. I don't know how they were distributed, but were possibly given out to fan club members or season ticket holders. They're shiny foil on the front; it doesn't show right in the scan but "Special Baseball Card" and the player's name and jersey number is in gold foil. The backs reuse the front photo along with very basic information and a facsimile signature.

The cards originally came in red foil resealable packs with the Hawks logo on the front. Based on a prior purchase I'm guessing three cards came per pack.
How about one more? This has a little bit more information: Miyazaki 2016 Spring Camp Special Baseball Card. So it was probably a stadium giveaway or sold at spring training last year. The backs are just black and white with and advertisement for a Hawks app.

These are more YJA cards. The three cards from 2014 each had a duplicate in a lot of six, while the 2016 card was a separate bundled purchase. Unfortunately, the cards aren't in the best condition, though that doesn't show in the scan since it's basically the borders/corners. They're manageable, and for the price I paid I can't really complain.

Friday, January 20, 2017

That's a Lot of Frosted Flakes!

Cereal isn't that big in Japan. Western breakfasts in general aren't that popular here, with many of my students stating that they prefer a bowl of natto and rice to a plate of eggs and sausage. But that doesn't mean that Wheaties are tough to find. Actually, I don't think I've seen Wheaties here, but corn flakes of various varieties can be found in supermarkets and many convenience stores. (Pro tip: plain corn flakes are very common; if you prefer sugar-frosted flakes, the type Tony the Tiger recommends, be sure you get sugar flakes. Chocolate corn flakes are also available.)

For about five years, Kellogg's tried to entice more people to switch to a less-traditional Japanese breakfast by including trading cards of MLB players. Below is the 2007 set in its entirety.









As you can see, the cards have completely Japanese backs other than the copyright line at the bottom. And while the ten players included are ten of the best in baseball that year, one notable missing name is Ichiro. There are three Japanese players, however.

I got this full set plus several duplicates of this year and 2008 in a lot purchased through Yahoo Japan Auctions. I was hoping I'd need some of the '08s but unfortunately it wasn't to be. Still, I feel like I got a good deal overall, and I now have some trade bait of most of the above cards. And this gets me one step closer to meeting one of my annual goals!