Thursday, May 30, 2019

Nagoya Card Shop Tour with Dave Part 3

After our visit to Mint Ponyland we realized we had been on our feet for quite some time (especially Dave, who had come down all the way from Tokyo that morning) and it was getting late so we decided to draw our card shop tour to a close.  We had actually taken in 2 out of the 3 specialized card shops in Nagoya.  The only other one, a shop called Match Up near Yabacho station, would have to wait til another day.  Due to poor timing we also missed out on a fourth shop, Caps, which had just closed down in March.

We returned to Nagoya station and made our way over to Dave's hotel as he said he had something to give me.  I was absolutely astonished by what he had: two massive Yamakatsu Jumbo DX cards! Still in their original box!
These cards are massive, probably the biggest baseball cards ever produced.  I should have put something for scale in the photo but didn't think of it. So perhaps I'll do the next best thing here and express how big they are with a series of "they so big" jokes:

"Your Yamakatsu Jumbo cards are so big I swerved to miss running over one in my car and ran out of gas."

"Your 1977 Yamakatsu Jumbo card is so big, they only just finished printing it."

"Your Yamakatsu Jumbo cards are so big if you drop one in the ocean off the coast of Okinawa Japan and China will immediately get into a territorial row over who owns it."

"Your Yamakatsu Jumbo card is so big I had to look three times to see all of it."

"Your Yamakatsu Jumbo cards are so big that 17% of seismological activity in the Japanese archipelago is explained by their movement."

"Your Yamakatsu Jumbo cards are so big that when you buy them in bulk at Costco they come in packages of one."

"Your Yamakatsu Jumbo card is so big they make you buy a ticket for it if you want to take it on the Shinkansen."

And on and on (feel free to come up with your own in the comments).

These ones in fact were so big (not a joke) that Dave had to use a specific suitcase big enough to hold them without getting them bent.  How do you thank someone for going to that much trouble to bring cards across the Pacific to you?  It was really the kindest gesture I've ever experienced as a card collector and I just really love these cards and am massively appreciative of them!  

The two cards he gave me were of Tomio Tashiro of the Whales and Masayuki Kakefu of the Hanshin Tigers.  These cards are pretty hard to find and, in a bizarre twist, the only one I'd ever actually seen before was the actual Kakefu card that he gave me, which he had featured in a post on his blog a few years ago!

I was a bit worried about getting them home safely since it was raining and they wouldn't fit in my backpack, but fortunately I had some plastic bags that did the trick and they now safely reside in my home.

His generosity didn't end there though, he also gave me these beauties here:
A fantastic set of stuff that just 100% aligned with my interests: some 1989 Mermaid Data cards, two 1994 Calbee Hokkaido-Kyushu-Sanyo cards (veyr hard to come across), and some other vintage Calbee including a beautiful 1979 Yutaka Fukumoto.

We sat in the hotel lobby for a few minutes as I looked through all of these amazing cards, feeling a bit guilty that I hadn't thought to bring him a gift (I will though!!!) and then we said goodbye and I headed for home.

It was a great afternoon, being able to both connect in person with a fellow Japanese baseball card blogger (we're a pretty small community!) and great guy, and to take in some of Nagoya's baseball card shops for the first time.  Dave is now off on the rest of his trip, which he shared some of the details of with me but I won't spoil it here.  Stay tuned to his blog to see some amazing posts, bearing in mind that the  3 posts I've devoted here to it only made up a very small portion of it!

Sometime in the near future I'll try to head out to the only card shop we didn't get to, Match UP, and do a post about it.  I also discovered there is a baseball card show happening here in Nagoya in July, so I'll try to take that in and do a post about it too (though work/family scheduling might preclude that, I'll try at least!)


  1. I like Match Up because that's the shop that started my whole cardboard addiction, but honestly it's kind of the weak link for me. It doesn't have a whole lot of singles and for the most part it's more of a box breaking type of store. The owner's nice, but if you're looking for vintage or most NPB things that aren't parallels you're going to be pretty disappointed.

    As for the Abo card show, Match-Up is one of the vendors who usually sets up there. So you might see them there anyway :P.

    1. That is one thing I find really weird: none of these shops had any serious vintage selection.

      The first time I visited a baseball card store in Japan in 2002 I remember it having a glass showcase dominated by vintage beauties, mostly Calbees from the 70s, but also some Menko and other old stuff. Now though it seems like the card shops just focus on new stuff and inserts.

      Its weird to me because its not like Japanese collectors don't like vintage - the market for older Calbees (and Menko, etc) on Yahoo Auctions is thriving, so I don't understand why shops don't sell that stuff anymore. I get that their main bread and butter might come from newer stuff, but still it strikes me as odd that they don't even have a side line of older stuff available.

    2. You'd probably have better luck going to various places that sell all sorts of used hobby items (like Mandarake in Osu) for vintage stuff. And even then it's iffy, which should say a lot about the card shops.
      Caps had a little bit of everything (vintage included) because their approach was to constantly buy more inventory/stock for cheap at various outlets (not sure from where though). The other stores won't put in that effort (and probably for good reason since Caps isn't even open anymore).

    3. yeah, Mandarake is the best (only) in town for vintage, I recommended it to Dave on that basis.

      I've actually picked up a few vintage cards from Caps via Yahoo Auctions (where they are still active, not sure but maybe the guy just decided to do it online instead?)

      You are right about the other shops not doing what Caps did. We asked the guy at Bits if he had some of the Konami Game sets and he said no, because those aren't distributed via card shops. So basically they have established channels that they get stock through and don't stock anything which doesn't come down those pipelines, I guess unlike Caps (kind of wish I had visited that place in person before it closed now!)

  2. That photo with all of the cards he gave you is pretty cool. It shows the variety of shapes and sizes cards come in. What are those small cartoon cards in the upper left corner? Those look really cool... and remind me of something I'd see in the Japanese magazines my parents would buy me when I was a kid.

    1. Yeah, cards come in all shapes and sizes here!

      The little ones are stickers from the 1989 Mermaid Data set. Dave did a blog post about them a while back:

  3. Some great old stuff there and too bad the shops don’t carry the older stuff. I imagine the sumo stuff is even harder to come by.

    1. Yeah, I didn't see any vintage sumo at all and I think maybe only the odd box or two of contemporary sumo stuff. I wish they had more!

  4. I don't think I told you but I checked out Match Up when I returned through Nagoya a week later. Nice store although I ended up not buying anything there.

    1. Ah cool, I was actually wondering if you would do that on your second stop! Hope I can see a blog post about it!!