Sunday, April 7, 2013

Card Shops In Japan - Part Four

Mint Yokohama, Yokohama

The final store I went to in Japan was Mint's store in Yokohama.   This store is located on the second floor of a building about four or five blocks north of Yokohama station.  

I was pretty happy that I was able to walk directly here from the station without getting lost.  As Ryan points out in this post, there's a Lawson's on the first floor and you can see the store on the second floor from the street.  (Actually, the fact that there's a Lawson's on the first floor should NOT be used as a landmark - it seemed to me that there was a Lawson's about every other block in Tokyo at least.)

The store itself reminded me quite a bit of the Mint Kanda store.  It was a small, run-of-the-mill card shop, well organized and selling singles, sets and unopened product.  The two guys working at the shop were quite helpful despite their limited English my inability to speak Japanese.  Unfortunately, they didn't have any of the cards that I was looking for.  They were in the middle of sorting the just released Calbee cards, so if there had been a single I was looking for, I'm sure they would have sold it to me.  Since I was looking for a complete set, they couldn't help me.

So that was it for card shops.  I considered attempting to go to Mint Urawa on that particular Wednesday evening since it looked like the train I was taking from Yokohama would go right to Urawa station, but while sitting on the train, I read this post from Ryan and realized that the store was closed on Wednesdays (which I think the guys in Mint Yokohama were trying to tell me).  I looked up a couple other stores that Ryan had been to east of Tokyo, but ultimately I decided that it just wasn't worth the time it would take to get to any on the stores.

Shosen Grande, Jinbocho

One other place I want to mention real quick is a bookstore in Jinbocho that's just a few blocks from Biblio - Shosen Grande.  Rob Fitts had told me about this place after I told him that the Tokyo Dome bookstore he recommended had closed.

They had a nice selection of baseball books down in the basement, along with packs of the most recent BBM sets.  I picked up a couple magazines put out recently by BBM - one on the Nankai Hawks and one on the Hakyu Braves.  I didn't realize until I was looking at the magazines that evening that the Braves magazine contained some promo cards for the 2011 BBM Legend Of The Bs set.  Obviously my lack of ability to read Japanese limited the attractiveness of any reading material to items with a lot of pictures.


In doing these write ups on the stores, I have realized two things - since I was specifically looking for singles from some specific BBM sets, I have a somewhat skewed view of what each store really had to offer.  The other thing is that there were a couple stores that I really went through quickly and I'm really grateful that Ryan was nice enough to put up with me hurrying him along.

Going into this trip, my impression was that Mint Ikebukuro was the best card shop in Tokyo.  After visiting these stores, I think they're tied with Quad Sports and Wrappers for the best.  Biblio, while amazing, is pretty much in a class by themselves.  Coletre and Mints Kanda and Yokohama are fine stores, but were I to do this trip over, looking for the same cards, I'd hit those first three stores first (actually, I did hit two of them first).  G-Freak I'd go back to if I had a couple hours to just browse boxes but I'd probably skip Niki and Mint Akihabara.

I will say, though, that Ryan has spent much more time at all of these stores and I'd defer to his experience and recommendations.


Ryan G said...

While you have your biases based on your interests, everyone has a slant to collecting, and I think your observations on Japanese cards are pretty much right where they belong. You didn't mention anything about MLB cards or packs/boxes, really, but any of the actual card shops (not counting Jinbocho book stores) will carry boxes and packs, plus a decent selection of MLB product at inflated prices.

I feel like a broken record, but I really need to fire up the Blogger website and write some new posts about all the card stores I've discovered lately. Thanks for all your help and sharing of information that's brought me to many more card stores than I thought existed!

And remember to email me your remaining (short) want lists so I can hunt as I continue my travels and explorations.

JasonP said...

Considering the state of the local card shop in America, I think it is amazing how many shops you found in such a relatively small geographical area. Granted it is an extremely densely populate area.

When I just think of Huntsville, Alabama, back in the late 80s, early 90s, we had four, maybe five actual card shops; nearly every major discount outlet (back then we had something like 4 WalMarts, three K-Marts and a Hills plus a ToysRUs and KayBee and Circus World in the mall which all sold cards) and convenience store sold cards. We also had something like four serious comic shops. All that in a city with a population of about 155,000. Today, we have one small card shop and one comic shop covering a population of about 181,000.

Deanna said...

Hey, for the record, while Yamashita closed as Yamashita, there is a new baseball bookstore in the Tokyo Dome exact same location called Oaks that has just as much baseball stuff and cards and whatnot. Sorry you got misinformed about that. The funny part is that most of us just call the new store "Yamashita" anyway.

I went to Mint Ikebukuro today and picked up "my boys" cards in the Rookie Edition set. Good times. I was angry because I bought the Big 6 card set at Jingu during Opening Day for 2500 yen, then saw Mint Ike had it for 1000 yen without insert cards. Guess who my insert card is? Todai pitcher Seki. SO angry, that is not worth 1500 yen :( Let me know what happens when you get the set...

kndynt2099 said...

Ahhh!!! Wish I saw this post a few weeks ago. I was staying in Jimbocho to watch a few baseball games.

I did manage to pick up a few Yakult cards at the selection MLB store in Shinjuku.

Was at Tokyo Dome many times but the place is too vast...I didn't find the baseball stores there but the Giants related stores and MLB Cafe.