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

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

What is this? A glove for ants?

Yesterday, I showed off a nice piece of art I found at the local recycle shop. But that's not all that I've bought there. I also came away with some much smaller souvenirs: ones that I had never seen before.
First, let's start off with some mini figurines. These little guys I have seen before, and I have a couple of the tiny ones. Now I have a few more. The Clemens is a 2005 Corinthian mini figure, while the rest are SportsClix kind of things. (I wish I had gotten a better picture or scan of that pamphlet.) I believe those were found in gacha-gacha vending machines, or they could have been sold in little boxes. I considered for a brief second trying to put the set together; I could have come close just with the selection at the shop. But I wisely decided against it.

The little guys are also made by Corinthian, by the way, and in their original little bags. Left to right, Ken Griffey Jr., Chipper Jones, and Randy Johnson.

Next, three little baseballs. One side shows a player's name and jersey number (Mike Piazza, Chipper Jones, and Sammy Sosa).
The other has the player's team logo. Each ball has a little strap attached so you can put it on a phone or phone case, or a bag.
These straps are little plastic baseball caps. They don't have any players, but the detail is amazing given their size. Each one is about the size of a piece of popcorn (as are the baseballs above).
And here are some tiny jerseys with straps. And now you can probably tell where these came from. The fronts of the jerseys are designed to look like teams' home or away jerseys.
Backs continue the design, along with a player's name and jersey number. Ichiro was wearing #51 for the Mariners back in the mid 2000s, while Bernie Williams was Yankees #51. But I got two Chipper Jones jerseys, both home and away! And a Pepsiman jersey.
These gloves are tiny, and have straps as well. I have Ichiro, Chipper Jones, and Mike Piazza.
Finally, these are little metal plates that look similar to baseball cards, but also have straps to attach to your phone or bag.
Despite being really small, the backs include a team logo, photo, and lots of text. As you can see if you enlarge the photo, these were issued in 2004 by Pepsi. My guess is everything other than the Corinthian mini-figures were included free with various Pepsi products.

Boy do I miss those days, when I could walk into a supermarket or convenience store and find free toys hanging from the necks of soda bottles. I see some free items, but now they are nicer-quality and require bigger purchases. And they aren't related to baseball.

Would you hang one of these from your phone?

Monday, April 26, 2021

Hanging Thing

As I shift from school to school, one thing I try to do is visit some of the local thrift shops. Depending on the area, I can sometimes find a lot of old, traditional Japanese things, or I come across piles of baseball knickknacks. 

The biggest one in town here in Matsumoto is a branch of a chain called BookOff. This particular location has housewares, clothing, hardware and electronics, collectibles and toys, and even an automobile/motorcycle section. And in the back of the store, I found some hanging things.

"Hanging thing" sounds really generic, but it's the literal translation of "kakemono". Japanese sometimes uses really simple compound words to describe things. But instead of getting into the language, why am I bringing this up?

Well, "kakejiku" (hanging scroll) is the more common name for a particular item in a stereotypical Japanese home. These are used to mount and display paintings and calligraphy. I found several kakejiku, and picked out one that appealed to me.

It came in this nice lightweight wooden box. 
Opening it up, you can see it is a scroll. They typically have specific sections and parts. The top is the "heaven" part, while the bottom is "earth". The bottom has a "jikugi" rod, which the scroll is wrapped around when rolled, and another rod and other pieces are found at the top, including hanging thread and tassels. 
I hung this up for the photo, and I left the tassels hanging in the front so you can see everything. The painting itself is framed by wallpaper-like gold paper, and additional fancy paper frames the top and bottom. If you enlarge the photo above, you can probably see the detail on all of the different papers, and of course get a better look at the image itself.

I chose this particular one because it has a lot of color and a very nice nature/river scene, but there is also a man in a boat, an old house, and four mythical creatures. I'm pretty sure this is an original painting (not printed), but if it's not copied from another work, it's certainly based on it. Four gods in a landscape is a relatively common theme. I didn't buy it as an investment, anyway. Eventually, I hope to have it displayed somewhere, along with my Chinese scroll that is definitely a (nice looking) reproduction.

These are often displayed in nicer homes in a Japanese-style room; most formal rooms have an alcove used for hanging these and displaying nice vases, wood, or other aesthetically-pleasing items.

It's no baseball card, but it is a nice item in my collection!

Until next time...

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Winning An Unfair Fight: 2008 Stadium Club

I present to you: Clayton Kershaw. This card is arguably the key card in the 2008 Stadium Club set. Max Scherzer is giving him a run for his money, though.

And it's mine, now. With that purchase, I now have a full set of 2008 Stadium Club! To be honest, my set is a bit of a Frankenset.

2008 Stadium Club is a 184 card set, but cards 101-150 have photo variations, making a full set 234 cards. But Joe DiMaggio was removed, so a full set is 233 cards. #151-184 are rookie autographs, like Kershaw above. Every third card #1-150 (3, 6, 9, 12, etc) is numbered to 999 copies, as are the photo variations. Rookie autographs were only found in hobby packs. Confused, yet?

There are several parallels. For non-autographed cards, First Day Issue Hobby are numbered to 599 copies, while Retail versions aren't serial-numbered and found one per pack. There are also blue, gold, and platinum Photographer's Proof parallels for all cards #1-184, numbered to 99 or less. 

Finding all of the variations and stars in regular base form was actually much more difficult than picking up parallels here and there. I especially relied heavily on retail First Day Issue cards for the /999 base cards and photo variations. There are even a couple Photographer's Proofs in there!

I'm definitely glad to knock this set off the list! I still need to finish a few Topps throwback sets. Perhaps those are my next focus. What set has been nearly impossible for you to finish?

Until next time...