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

Want Lists are located here. NPB Baseball Want List is located here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cool Pickups. No Cards.

I've been in Japan over two years now, and while I had arrived only a couple months before this video came out, I'd already heard many of these already.

Two years later, it's even funnier.

Before coming to Japan, I tried to include a funny video or photo in many of my posts, and now I'm going to try to do that again to some of my offerings. Hopefully I haven't used any of them before - I have some left from 2011 that I might not have posted.

I don't have any cards for today's post. Instead, I thought I'd share some of the other goodies I added to my collection this evening. You see, I love pop culture. In America I kept up with (though not necessarily followed) trends in music and movies, even fashion. It's a by-product of a love of entertainment and teaching anyone over the age of 12.

Since coming to Japan, I haven't been exposed to most of what's going on in the States, but I've absorbed some of the Japanese popular culture and I'm certainly aware of many of the popular movies and music that's come out. American movies are pretty popular here, and finding American-based items in Japan isn't hard. Some of it is pretty exclusive to Japan, too!

Most of what I grab comes from the capsule toy machines or crane games (UFO Catchers). Everything else is seriously overpriced. But two things I found today were a real bargain!
I'm not sure what I have from Ghostbusters. I think I used to have an ECTO-1 Hot Wheels car but who knows where that is now. As you can see I picked up a keychain for a little more than $1. I think this might have been a pricing error, because the others were a few dollars each, but I took advantage of the deal.

Just as cheap, and again possibly mis-priced, these key covers from South Park were a pretty cool find. I'd like to see South Park gachapon (capsule machine) toys, but for now Cartman and Kenny will have to do.

By the way, neither of these products appear to be Japanese exclusives.

Speaking of gachapon, I spent 300 yen getting a couple new toys.

At 100 yen, I couldn't resist this zombie. There were several different styles, and all looked pretty neat. I think the cheerleader zombie was based off Britney Spears.

This Bart Simpson head was 200 yen, but I was willing to pay the extra price. I really like the Simpsons, but I would prefer that Futurama and Family Guy have gachapon figures, as I like those shows more.

The Simpsons gachapon came with a paper (most gachagacha do) which shows the full set. I think I'd be happy with any of the Simpsons, though the Homer might be my favorite.

That's it for today's "haul" so stay tuned for something tomorrow!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Calbee Through the Years: 1977 Calbee

Calbee's late-1975 to 1976 issue was numbered as one gigantic set, released in several series. The 1977 release is a contrast to that, and the start of a three year run where each set stands independently. The nine different 1977 card sets are numbered independent of other sets, though they sometimes have their own series. There are two additional unique sets. In total, 933 cards were issued by Calbee in 1977. See below for details.
 The first set, similar to the 1975-76 issue, has a grey back with small stars around the border on most of the cards (#1-144). My sample above comes from the fourth series, cards 145-216; this series has a weed border instead of stars.

  • Cards 1-72 are "Famous Scenes" cards. Sample images I've seen from this series show some interesting game-time images.
  • #73-109 are "Path to Stardom" cards. Cards from this series (might all) have an inset photo on the front.
  • #110-144 are "Camp Series" using Spring Training images
  • #145-216 are "Open War Series" cards. Some cards have interesting images of players from multiple teams.

The next set is titled Pro Series, because the top line of the back of the card says "'77 Pro Baseball Card"; there are 251 cards #1-251 in this set. It can also be split into series types:
  • All Sadaharu Oh cards have the following text on the front (in Japanese): Sadaharu Oh, one leg batting technique
  • Cards 1-72 have two lines of text on the front, the top line reading "Pennant Race Beginning Special Collection". The ad box on the back is inside the weed border.
  • Cards 73-179 also has two lines of text on the front; the top line says "Aim to capture the pennant". The ad box on the back is outside the weed border, as you see in my card above.
  • Cards 180-251 have the same style of front as #73-179, but don't have ads on the back.

The Giants Series set has 108 cards, issued in three 36-card series. This set is identified by the top line on the back, which says "'77 Giants Player Card". Backs have a weed border design. The first series has two lines of text on the front, like you see on my card above, and "Giants Pleasant Attack" on the back just above the Giants logo. The second and third series have fronts without text. The second series is labeled "Ganbare Giants" on the back and the third is called "Giants vs. Tigers". 
A 96-card series (numbered 1-96) was issued for Sadaharu Oh, commemorating his 756th home run. These are titled "19 Year Road to Glorious Number 756" or "Congratulations #756" on the top of the back. Cards 1-60 list all of Oh's home runs, as you can see in my sample card above, and have no border. The rest of the cards have the weed border.

Two local series seem to be pretty rare. First is the Nagoya Series, numbered 1-36. Each card in this series has the Japanese character for "Na" (名-) before the card number, weed borders, and an ad box below the weed border.

The other local series that is fairly hard to come by is the Osaka Series, numbered 1-144 and issued in 4 36-card series. Cards from the first two series (#1-72) have text on the front, while cards 73-144 have no text on the front. The cards have backs similar to different sets, but have the Japanese character for "Oo" (大-) on the back before the card number.

The Go Go Series is another Giants-only set, separately numbered #1-36 and identified on the back with "GO-GO" in English (the top line reads "Japan Recapture GO-GO Series"). The borders are small baseballs, like the Japan Series card below.
The Japan Series set of 45 cards (#1-45) are identified by "'77 Japan Championship Series" text at the top and the baseball border on the back. The fronts identify details about the game the photo was taken at; as you might expect this set is a recap of the Japan Championship Series.

The Hanshin Tigers hit 200 home runs as a team in 1977, and the 200 Home Runs Series commemorates that achievement with a 36 card set, #1-36. Fronts have no text; backs have baseball borders and the text "Destructive Power Threat from 200 Batters" at the top.

Two unique sets were issued in 1977. The second series of the Giants Series set included some "Craft Cards" which are unnumbered and have a different design. The fronts have the "Gambare Giants" text as found on the Giants Series set. The cards can be folded into a stand-up position, and the blue text on the backs give instructions on how to do that. There are 18 different cards for 11 players, as some players have multiple cards.

The oddest set from 1977 is the Stickers set. These are blank backed and have white backgrounds with a cut-out player image that can be used as a sticker. The player's name, position, and team name in parentheses are in a line of black text below the photo. Three teams appear in the set: Carp (2 players), Giants (15 cards for 13 players), and Tigers (8 players).
As usual, Calbee included Homerun prize cards using images from the Pro Series and grey-backed sets. Instructions of how to redeem the card for a prize is on the back, with expiration dates of 3/30/1977, 6/30/1977, 9/30/1977, and 3/31/1978.

Prizes include:

  • A green card holder picturing Shigeo Nagashima, with a schedule for the first half of the season on the inside covers
  • A red card holder with Sadaharu Oh, mentioning his 756th home run
  • A standing desk calendar with two months per page, each page including one player photo.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

New Release: 2014 BBM Buffaloes

The latest team set to hit shelves (as of last week) is the Buffaloes issue. The Carp and Golden Eagles sets came out this week.
 The cards have a white border and a team color frame, with a border at the bottom that also uses team colors. I like this design, though not enough to buy a set. I'm not really a Buffaloes fan, after all. The backs use a circle for the head shot photo, also pretty unique. While the layout follows the BBM formula, it does have a couple tweaks that set it apart from the others.

There are 90 cards in the set; cards 1-72 are regular cards as you see above, and 73 and 74 are mascot cards.
 Cards 75-81 are dual-player cards. I don't know exactly what this subset translates as, though possibly "Marching" or "Advancing" or something to that point.
The final nine cards, 82-90, form a puzzle titled "Focus Players" with a category for each player (Keyman, Expert, or Rookie).Only the text carries over from card to card, so it's not too exciting of a puzzle.

The lone insert set is titled B's Stars. There are nine cards, and each card has two photos of each player. They have a foil background with a design that changes slightly from card to card. 
 The set is paralleled with holographic foil in the set logo on the front, and serial numbered to 50 copies each.
 The autographed cards use stickers and it appears that there are 70 subjects in the set, including both mascots. A few players have print runs as low as 30 cards each, but a large majority are serial numbered to 80 copies each.

Each pack has 7 cards and retails for 400 yen plus tax; boxes contain 20 packs (8000 yen+tax) and each case has 12 boxes.