There's been a couple things I've learned about in the last couple weeks that I've been meaning to pass on but I just haven't around to until now...
- Jason told me about a website that will do proxy bidding on Yahoo! Japan Auctions for you called kuboTEN. Here's how it works - first you register with kuboTEN. Then you browse the Yahoo! Japan auctions looking for whatever you're interested in. You can browse from kuboTEN directly (they run the pages through a translator) but you don't have to. Once you've located something, you tell kuboTEN what it is and how much you want to bid. It may take several hours for them to post your bid, so it would be difficult to bid on something at the last minute. The seller then ships your item to kuboTEN's office in Fukuoka, who will then ship the item to you. It's all very slick, but as you might expect, it doesn't come free. When you win an auction, you need to pay kuboTEN not only the cost of the item plus whatever shipping cost from the seller to their office, but also 10% of the sales price plus $10. You'll also have to pay the shipping charge from Japan for your item, but you can combine shipping on multiple items. So far, I've won a group of cards from an auction and paid kuboTEN for them, but I haven't arranged shipping for them yet. I'm going to probably end up paying around $7 a card for the five cards I'm getting - a bit steep, but I've not been able to find the cards anywhere else. I'll talk about it more when I get the cards. I know Jason's been pretty pleased with them.
- One of the things I discovered while browsing Yahoo! Japan auctions is that there is a set that commemorates the 15th Anniversary of the Japan Baseball Foundation. I don't know anything about the Foundation, but the set is a boxed set containing 77 cards - 76 cards of OB players and a single memorabilia/autograph card. Not sure who's in the set off hand, although it looks like Sadaharu Oh and Hiromitsu Ochiai are on the box (and Masumi Kuwata and Choji Murata are the cards in the picture from the auction). I haven't seen anything on BBM's website for this set, so I'm assuming that it's not them (that copyright line on the box for them is probably simply for the pictures). I think that they may be done by Epoch, who did a bunch of stickers back in 2000, but I'm not sure they've done anything else since.
- There's a couple cool card galleries out there - Jason has posted his Hideki Matsui Home Run cards and A Noburo Aota Fan's Notes had a post a few weeks back linking to a nice collection of old bromide cards from the late 1940's.