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

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Card Shops in Japan: Mint JAC Odawara

Last summer, I visited the Tohoku region Mint locations, which I thought had completed my tour of all the Mint card shops in Japan. It turns out that I've forgotten about at least two. And since one of my focuses this year will be to update/complete the Card Shops in Japan series as best as possible, what better way to ring in the New Year than to visit a new card shop?
That's right, I spent part of my New Year Day holiday at a card shop. (They also have a lot of puzzles.) Awesome, huh?
Mint Odawara's singles start at 40 yen, which makes it one of the cheapest in Japan. It's a "mall" shop, which usually means that the selection is pretty limited, but I was very happy with what they had in stock. There were several smaller boxes of cards to sift through with recent US products, and a very small stack of oversized cards like box loaders.
Some people have been talking about box bottom cards from the 1980s, which I love, but the box loaders are nothing more than the modern equivalent of those junk wax era oddballs. I bought all of the box loaders I found; the top picture is cards I don't need, while the bottom picture is ones I do. I'm sure I'll find a use for the ones I don't need, or trade them away somehow.
I couldn't remember if I have one of these back in the US. It's a replica jersey made of vinyl.
As you can see, there are six in the set, and I wouldn't mind getting a full set. But this set me back 1000 yen, and prices on eBay aren't any better.
It turns out I overpaid a little for this, given the going market rate on eBay and as listed in my SCD. But this Action Flats card and figure from 1999 was needed for my type collection. There are also "away" and "classic" uniform versions, which I didn't know at the time. If I find myself back in Odawara anytime soon I'll check stock for the variations (I doubt I'll find any). Despite the lack in quality, it might be fun to have a full set of these too.
These two cards went into my type collection as well. Yes, I got a Yount numbered to 50 for only 40 yen. I would have scanned these, but they're too thick to fit through my sheet-fed photo scanner.
All of these thick cards were bought with the thought that I could use them in my collections, but that turned out to be false. I would like to build the Canvas Collection insert sets but I think they're too large and pricey to fit in my budget. It turns out I need a Nolan Ryan in an Angels uniform, not Mets or Astros.
I collect this beautiful lady's cards, and I found two full sets I need at reasonable prices. One of them (on the right) includes all the short prints and box loader cards, which was an added bonus. And I wasn't aware of the set on the left!
 Future Bee was a card brand from 1998-2001 or so. They didn't really bring anything new or interesting to the Japanese card community, which probably explains why they didn't last. ColleCarA is also responsible for several non-sport and idol card sets, though. This is a promo from their 2000 card set, distinguished by the card number on the back and the gold foil background.
 I still need several Future Bee cards for my type collection, as their sets included inserts, parallels, autographs, and relics. The card on the left is an insert from 1998, while the middle is a 1999 base card. On the right, the Bobby Rose is a 2000 insert I needed.
 I have the SGN Tomonori Maeda set listed as a 2014 release, though the back of this checklist card shows it as being issued in 2013. I can't remember exactly when it came out, but I believe late 2013 is more accurate.
 NPB Card Guy posted a checklist of SCM promo cards which I recently used to build my own want list. I found several cards from that list at this store in a binder,
I scanned the backs of this card and the preceding one to show the card numbers.
 If you can't tell, all of these cards go into my "Women in Sports" collection.
 Speaking of women, I got a gigantic pile of AKB48 and SKE48 cards a couple months ago which put me close to completing a few sets. The store has a good collection of *48 cards so I was able to find one I needed for the first AKB48 set (there were more but I was looking at the cheapies only on this visit).
 A couple more singles of Yuko for my collection. I'm not sure about this set.
 A couple Yukiko cards for my collection.
 Next, a bunch of AKB48 cards from the second series. I had much better luck here, though I need more cards to begin with.
 That card on the left is acetate and see-through. I love clear cards! The backs are missed opportunities though, as they could have arranged a camera from behind to show the other angle.
 I still need a bunch of cards from this set, including the first 50 cards or so. I'm not sure why I was missing the first part of the set.
 And this reminds me that I should try again to get tickets to a concert. I have yet to see an idol performance live.
 This is one of the box cards from that complete set I talked about earlier. This is an extra that will go into my type collection. While the store's collection isn't as extensive as others, there were several sorted boxes of idol singles and dozens of complete sets.
 Back to the US cards, I really liked poking through the stacks and finding cards I needed. The store doesn't bust boxes, but it's common for box busters in Japan to just give (or possibly resell, cheaply) their unwanted cards to the store. I saw a ton of Panini Prizm and Bowman Platinum, which hints that someone must have opened a few boxes of each at the store and pulled out the hits for themselves.
 Three 2015 Diamond Kings for about $1. That's a pretty good deal.
 NNO Ginter-back mini for 40 yen? Needed no more! And there was a good bit of Panini Elite which gave me a couple more type collection singles.
But most of you won't go to Japanese card shops for US cards. I realize that. The store has a lot of boxes holding singles of BBM and Calbee cards. I was looking for some 1998 BBMs that I needed, but I didn't find them. However, that box had a ton more 1999 singles than 1998. It's safe to say that most sets after about 2000 will be well-represented.

I'd really like to revisit the store in the near future to poke around some more. I doubt I'll find as much as I did a few days ago, but it'll be a nice stop on the way to or from Nagoya.
Odawara is a stop on the Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka. So tourists with a train pass will find this store very accessible. From the east exit, use the pedestrian underpass and bear left up the escalator. Mint Odawara is on the third floor of the EPO building; there's a Don Quixote across the alley and a Tower Records with a Hobby Off next door.  In my map above, the red line represents the underground shopping arcade area, with the blue-purple line being the above-ground walking route.

The store appears to be open 365 days a year, 10:00-20:00. The Japanese address is 神奈川県小田原市栄町2-9-39 小田原EPO 3F


  1. The issue of SCM that I have has a complete? listing of all the card shops in Japan from what I gather. This is one topic I really enjoy following on your posts as it seems like an adventure.

    1. The SCM card shop lists are pretty complete. At least, they include all the member shops of the JSCA. I think there are a couple not listed in the book, and some of the shops are not retail shops but mail-order/website/Yahoo Auctions only. It's been a lot of fun finding the shops, but I occasionally come across dead ends, or at least empty buildings.

  2. Cool, might be in tokyo again in a months time so fun to read this !

    1. Sweet! If you get to the card shops what will you be looking for? Maybe I can guide you in the right direction.