We were in Seattle about a month ago and while walking through Pike Place Market, I was a little surprised to encounter a baseball card shop (Market Coins) that actually carried some Japanese baseball cards. I talked to the guy behind the counter for a few minutes - he told me that mostly they had Japanese cards of Ichiro, but they also had some 2006 BBM 2nd Version packs as well as the 2007 BBM All Star set. I took a couple pictures of some of the stuff in their windows:
We talked a little about the 1993 BBM Ichiro rookie card - I learned from him that some guy in Taiwan apparently made a bunch of counterfeit versions of the card when Ichiro came to the States in 2001. The counterfeits are so good that it's difficult to detect any difference between it and the original unless you look closely under a magnifying glass. (They were selling the original card for $250 and the counterfeit cards for $40.)
This, of course, put a bit of a panic into me - what if MY 1993 BBM Ichiro rookie card was actually a counterfeit? I had bought the card off eBay rather than got it in a pack or factory set. Hmm...
I took a look at Gary Engel's checklist and price guide to see if he had any comment about the counterfeits. He didn't, but in his comments about the 1993 BBM set, he said that "many cards are often found with a diagonal cut". Great! Mine has a diagonal cut. For the first time since I got the card, I was happy that it was miscut. Because I'm betting that if you were going to all the trouble to counterfeit a card, you'd make sure it had a good cut.
Here's my card (#239 of the 1993 BBM set). You can see that the bottom border has an odd slant to it.
I strongly suspect that a card shop in the very touristy part of Seattle is not the only one in the city that carries Japanese cards, but I didn't have time to go anywhere else.