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

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Card Stores in Japan: Mint Sapporo

It's been a couple weeks since my Sapporo trip, so it's high time I told you about the one known card shop in town.

If you've been following my posts about card shops in Japan, you know that the Mint brand is big here - there are franchises all over Tokyo and the country. So, naturally, the only current store in Sapporo is a Mint location. In fact, it might be the only store in all of Hokkaido; apparently there is some kind of store in Obihiro but it may or may not deal in Japanese baseball cards. I guess I'll find out on another trip.

The Mint Sapporo store has a large amount of gaming cards; perhaps half of the store contains display cases and such for them. The other half of the store has a bunch of binders of recent releases (including base set singles) and a display case or two of cards. A large amount of space is devoted to boxes and packs but it looks somewhat empty - it's just too much shelving for the stock they want to keep.

Located in a mall of sorts (it's above a pachinko parlor, but there are plenty of other stores in the building too), most Tokyoites won't want to bother with this location. But if you're a Fighters fan, or looking for some local cards, I will tell you this is a good source.

The display case itself has a lot of Fighters cards inside; you'll find inserts, relics, and autographs at slightly inflated prices I'm sure. There is also a binder with a bunch of oddball Fighters issues.
 This looks like some sort of giveaway card from a 2006 game against the SoftBank Hawks.
 The back is pretty cool, with an apparently hand-drawn logo and hand-written note. Of course, they are printed on the card but I enjoy the look. No manufacturer or copyright information is given, so I have to assume this was issued by the team, possibly commemorating the game, thus meaning the card would have been issued later (possibly early the next year).
 Lawson is a convenience store in Japan, similar to 7-Eleven; they are also big sponsors of the Fighters. This card is from 2007 and there are several cards in the set.
 I have no idea how they were issued, but they might have been part of a promotion in Hokkaido-area Lawson stores.
 Here is another card that must have been given away; the back states (in very tiny print) "Not For Sale". The design is basic but attractive.
 No Lawson logo here, so this might have been a stadium giveaway or promotion at a Fighters team store. The last year listed on the card is Heisei 16, and given the full-year stats this was probably issued in 2004 (Heisei 17).
 There's no doubting this card was issued along with Lawson in 2009. It's an interesting photo; the rest of the cards from this year that I saw had normal game shots. The back is even more interesting, in some ways.
 There is a schedule with August, September, and October regular season games on the back, but it contains a 2003 copyright, which must refer to the logo itself. The columns give month, date (and day of the week), start time, Loppi code, and opponent. The Loppi code is used to quickly look up events on the ticket-ordering machines or online. These cards may have been given away for free at Lawson, or given to purchasers of tickets earlier in the season.
 Without translating, I'm not really sure what this card is for. I'm not sure if they're thanking us, or Inaba. He was the 2006 Japan Series MVP and this card may somehow be related to that.  The Fighters won the Japan Series in 2006, the only time they have done so, though they returned to play in the series in 2007, 2009, and 2012. They also won the Japan Series in 1962 as the Toei Flyers.
 Again, lots of text on the back, including the the katakana word "sapota" (supporter); this makes me think the card was given to fans, or exclusively to the Fan Club members.

My budget was tight, so I wasn't able to get something from every set I saw. There were a couple oversized cards that I skipped on due to cost. But I found one card at a great price:
 This is from the 1998 Calbee set, but it's the First Edition version. I picked this up pretty cheap, especially given the crazy-high prices I found at other stores.
You'll see this card again whenever I get to 1998 in my Calbee posts! There weren't too many vintage Calbees, but they may be worth thumbing through if you're in the area and want any.

I grabbed one more thing, which I'll save for tomorrow.

Mint Sapporo is open daily 10:30 AM to 8 PM. You can find it on the fourth floor of a Gaia pachinko building - you should go in the door to the side of the pachinko parlor to find escalators and elevators in a less-smoky, quieter environment. The lobby has a few crane (UFO catcher) game machines. To get to that building, take the subway to Susukino Station, go out Exit 2, make a U-Turn back to the corner, turn left and follow the large street (Sapporo-Ekimae Dori) north three short blocks to the covered shopping arcade; it's the building on the corner, on your left. There is a Lotteria on Ekimae Dori so I believe you have to go around it into the shopping arcade to get to the entrance. Or maybe you can get in some other way - three sides of the building face the street.


  1. Thankfully the Fighters keep their website news releases back several years.

    According to the site, Lawson stores are also Fighters' ticket agents, and the first 100 people to purchase a ticket would receive one of the special Kensuke Tanaka schedule cards.

  2. The 2007 Lawson Baseball Card set was 12 cards. There is a listing for the set on Yahoo Auctions right now. From the listing, they were also given out at Lawson stores with the purchase of a game ticket.

    Also, the card with the red feather was likely received in return for a donation to the Central Community Chest of Japan, a relief organization that did a lot of work after the tsunami and earthquake in 2011.

  3. I am glad old news is kept... I hate finding a link to a news article that seems to have disappeared. Text doesn't take up that much space.

    It makes sense that the cards were a premium with ticket purchases or donations. Thanks for the research!

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  5. The Sapporo Mint shop is now on the 3rd floor of the Norbesa building (with the Ferris Wheel on top -- same building as Laox). Minami 3-jo Nishi 5-chome 1-1, Chuo-ku, Sapporo. That is still in the same general area.

  6. Michael - thank you for the update! I hope to return to Sapporo sometime in the next year or two to check it out. It seems like Mint has been moving or at least rehabbing several of its stores.