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.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Four Square Times Two

Do you remember four square?

Not the math theorems. Not the motorcycle. Not the cigarette, writing method, architectural style, or historic home in Smithfield, Virginia. Not the supermarkets or technology company and app, not the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, and not the Four Square Laundry front company for the British Army.
The ball game. Four squares. One rubber playground ball. Bouncing. Simple. Inside out, outside in.

In 2012, a group of kids played for 34 hours straight, setting the world record. Thirty four hours of bouncing. There's a championship tournament in Maine every winter. I guess everything needs winners, huh?

I wasn't very good at four square, but it was fun and easy to play. Ahh, those were the days.

As I mentioned a few days ago, when I bought my two boxes in December, I got four free packs of "Mini Trading Paper" cards. These are nearly square-shaped, and came two per pack. They're blank-backed and have a gold foil edge, and are made similar to the autograph/calligraphy boards you can readily find around Japan.
 These are both 2019 cards. The 2019 set has overcast backgrounds and a blue top-right corner.
 Here's one 2018, and one 2019. The 2018s have a sunset-style background.
 And here are the SP gold foil signature versions; if you enlarge the picture you can see the SP card numbering.
Yes, two more 2018 gold signature cards. Oddly, I ended up with one "double" but it was the regular and SP version from 2019 - the only SP card I got from 2019. On the other hand, I have only one regular 2018 card and three gold signatures.

But you can see that they use identical images, so the SP inserts are simply a parallel set. You may have noticed that the 2018 SPs also have gold foil accents in the lower-left corner, while the 2019 foils have a BayStars 70th Anniversary logo in that corner.

I've mentioned before, but on-card autographs are very rare, but available. I've seen a few of them at shops and shows, and I'm not dropping $100+ on one. Each card is pretty large - perhaps about five to six inches on a side.

I actually like these sets since they are so unique. That shouldn't be surprising, since I've also professed my love for manupatches, acetate cards, and multisport sets. The biggest reason I'm not chasing a full set is that the Mini Trading Paper sets are team sets. If they came out with a set of one player per team or the Best 9 teams for each league, I'd probably grab it. Or, how cool would these be with pictures of each of the stadiums? Perhaps an aerial shot on the regular set, and a shot inside the stadium for the SP set.

I'm in a hotel right now; I have some scans still before I get back home but things could get busy this week and next. Hopefully I can get some interesting posts queued up.

Until next time!


  1. After the first couple paragraphs of your post I was expecting you to say that Japan had a professional four square league and BBM had a new set of cards for it!

    1. Tangents. It's all about the tangents this month.

      In Japan, Four Square is called ganbako ("good luck" or "do your best"). Actually, it has a lot of different names, depending on where you are, too. But, alas, there is no professional league. That doesn't mean BBM won't include a four square player in next year's Shining Venus set, if they can find a cute enough girl to participate. They have a unicyclist and an exerciser (I forget her actual title), after all.

    2. Not to mention the "Fitness Bikini" woman

    3. That's the one! What a waste of cardboard. I guess some guys find that interesting. It just reminds me of a lot of those old 1980s/1990s objectification swimwear card sets that were released alongside the Pepsi, Hot Wheels, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles packs.

  2. Ha, BBM produces a lot of card set, I wouldn’t put it past them for a 4 Square set. Man, I wish there were sumo sets and cards like this. BBM is so stagnant with sumo card originality. Nice pick ups for sure.

    1. I doubt they'd make a whole set, since there's no league. But as I just mentioned to NPB Card Guy, I could see them tossing a girl into the Shining Venus set who plays four square.

      BBM is so stagnant with nearly everything. It's been quite a while since they've had something good and oddball. I like Infinity and Fusion and the Heisei set was nice, but there hasn't been an obscure-sport team set in a while... no golf, no gymnastics, no badminton...

    2. Does it come with three different pizzas, hot wings, and a 2-liter of a Pepsi product? ...(checking)... nope, but it does come with a can badge??

  3. I usually play a few games of 4 square each summer with my 5th graders.

    1. I was thinking how good this could be as a game in my English class. You have to say a vocabulary word every time you hit the ball, for example.

    2. Nice. I like that. Maybe I'll create some kind of math game this summer using 4 square.

    3. Awesome! Count by 2s, or 3s, or 4s, etc? Addition/ subtraction/ multiplication/ division tables? I dunno what standards you have, but I bet it'd be a good review anyway.