To be honest I'm just assuming these first couple cards are from a food related set - I had never seen this set before. I found these cards at Wrappers in Tokyo and decided to pick up two of them. Glico is a Kansai-based Japanese confectionary company so I assume they were some sort of giveaway with candy.
I'm not exactly sure when these cards were issued but I was able to narrow it down a bit. Hamanaka wore #25 from 1999 to 2003 and Tajima was a coach for the team between 2002 and 2003 so the cards would have to be from 2002 and 2003. Given that the Tigers won the Central League pennant in 2003 (for the first time in 18 years) and that Glico did another Tigers set that's listed in Engel, I'm going to guess this set is from 2003.
I've talked about the 2010 Georgia Coffee cards before - BBM issued this set as a giveaway with cans of Georgia Coffee. I picked up a handful of cards from this set from Mint Ponyland in Nagoya:
|2010 Georgia Coffee #009|
|2010 Georgia Coffee #019|
|2010 Georgia Coffee #002|
|2010 Georgia Coffee #022|
|2010 Georgia Coffee #018|
In a similar vein in 2016 Epoch and the Kabaya company (as in Kabaya-Leaf) issued a 36 card set that was given away with banana flavored gum called "Central League Gum". The cards featured only Central League players (6 for each team). I'm not sure but I think I got the Sawamura card at Mint Ponyland and the Ohsera card at Mint Umeda in Osaka.
|2016 Kabaya Central League Gum #07|
|2016 Kabaya Central League Gum #19|
I didn't have a lot of luck though, mostly due to the language and my impatience with crowds. I got a bento box for Yoshio Itoi at Koshien Stadium at my third NPB game but it didn't come with a card:
Food was good though.
I sort of got a player related meal at Fukuoka Dome a few days later. I got a burger endorsed by Alfredo Despaigne at a Freshness Burger stand. It was basically a cheeseburger with guacamole on it. It wasn't bad but it didn't come with a baseball card.
I screwed up at Seibu Dome a few days later. I had found a stand selling player bento boxes outside the ballpark and had seen that they came with cards. I had decided on the Tomoya Mori box and decided that I would buy it inside the ballpark. Once inside though I discovered that the stand I had seen outside was apparently the only one that sold the boxes. I could have gotten my hand stamped and gone back out but I decided I didn't want to fight against the crowd flow coming in so I settled for something else for dinner.
I was finally somewhat successful the next night at Chiba Marine Stadium. The Lotteria stands at the ballpark sell meals that include a silver pack containing one oversized (5 inches by 7 inches) card of a Marines player. I bought a cheeseburger meal (including fries and a drink) and got a card of Tatsuhiro Tamura:
I was finally successful at the last NPB game (well, last ichi-gun NPB game) I went to. At Jingu Stadium for a Swallows game I bought a bento box for Norichika Aoki:
The box included a card of Aoki to commemorate both his 1500th hit and his 100th home run, both of which occurred earlier this season (I should point out that those are his NPB totals - he'd passed both milestones a while ago if you count both his NPB and MLB stats). The front of the card celebrates the 1500th hit while the back celebrates the 100th home run:
Food related cards were one of the things I had wanted to keep my eyes out for so I was happy I had come across some. I'd have been happier if I'd gotten a Lions bento box and I was also disappointed I didn't find any of the Meito "Central League Home Run" popsicle cards from last year.