Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Sumo Wrestling Tournament Winner - Congrats to Yokozuna Hakuho, 42nd Win!

The March tournament was full of story lines with Tochinoshin getting demoted back down to Sekiwake, Takakeisho getting promoted to Ozeki, and Hakuho winning his record extending 42nd top division tournament.  He is in beast mode with 10 more tournament wins over the closest previous Yokozuna Taiho who only had a seemingly "paltry" 32 tournament championships.  My prediction is the 34-year old Hakuho will keep competing until the Japan 2020 Olympics are over with so that he can be the face of sumo on the world's sports stage.  After that, I imagine he will have nothing left to prove in the world of sumo and will hang up his mawashi.  Here are the two latest Hakuho cards from the BBM's 2019 Sumo Card Set.

Monday, March 25, 2019

2019 US Sumo Open - Long Beach

One of the exciting things about moving back to the US this year is I will be able to now attend the annual US Sumo Open which will be in my "backyard" down in Long Beach.  On Saturday, 23 March was the 19th Annual Sumo Open with wrestlers competing from all over the world.  This is the largest sumo tournament outside of Japan and the heavy favorite this year was Byamba, but age is finally catching up to him and he did not place in the top three medal finishes!  These types of tournaments open up the sport to amateurs, youth, and women in a successful attempt to expose the world to the sport.  Congrats to Oielsandr Veresiuk (Ukraine), Jose Galindo (USA), and Hiroki Sumi (Japan) for taking home the Men's Heavyweight Gold, Silver, and Bronze respectively.  Congrats as well to Svitlana Kolenyk (Ukraine), Julia Dorny (Germany), and Marine Holmeide (Norway) for taking home the Women's Middleweight Gold, Silver, and Bronze respectively.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

2018 Japanese BBM Akatsuki Five Basketball Cards

This past weekend, FIBA drew the brackets for the 2019 Basketball World Cup and Japan landed a tough bracket E with the United States, Czech Republic, and Turkey.  For some reason that I haven't been able to determine, the World Cup was delayed from 2018 to 2019, but it is still being held in China.  Last year, BBM issued the Rising Sun set to highlight the men's and women's National Team called the "Akatsuki Five".  This is a 28-card base set with one special insert card per box.  All boxes have the same 28 base cards broken out among 14 women and 14 men, but have a random special insert card included which is either an autograph or memorabilia card.  Overall, a simple and decent set.  Here are the scans as well as a video I did for my YouTube channel.


Monday, March 18, 2019

German Flea Market Finds #5: Tobacco Cards!

Flea market season is getting back into full swing here in Germany and I picked up a whole slew of 1930s German tobacco cards last week.  There are some fun ones in this flea market find.  I picked up some more of the 1933 Gold Film Bilder Set (20913-5/6).  These are quite easy to find, but have some great early cards of film actresses and actors.  Some of the interesting ones in this set are Norma Shearer (1930 winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress), Lita Grey Chaplin (2nd wife of Charlie Chaplin) and Greta Garbo (Three-time nominee for the Academy Award Best Actress).

I was also able to pick up these 1933 Lloyd Flottenbilder die Welthandelsflotte (20247-4) (Translated as "Ship Cards of the World's Fleets").  Did you know the Titanic had two sister ships: Olympic and Britannic?  Here is the Britannic (top left) in all her glory before she was sunk in World War 1 by the Germans.  The Germans were forced to compensate England for the lose after the war ended and did so with the Majestic (top right) which was the largest ship in the world at the time she was launched.

The last ones I'll show today are from the 1933 Lloyd Reedereiflaggen die Welthandelsflotte (20247-5) (Translated as "Company Flags of the World's Fleets").  I pulled out a couple of the US Flags. In the upper left is the Matson Navigation Company out of San Francisco that is still in business today.  You are probably more familiar with their current logo. The upper right is the Goodrich Transit Company out of Chicago that operated a fleet of ships in Lake Michigan, but went bankrupt in 1933...right after these cards were printed.

Friday, March 15, 2019

2019 Sumo Wrestling Picture Banzuke

As a sumo card fan, we live and die by the rankings (banzuke) that come out every two months.  It means new rikishi making their way onto cards, retirements that take old rikishi out of sets, or changing of ranks for the vast majority.  The Nihon Sumo Kyokai (NSK) produces a new banzuke for every tournament.  One variation on this banzuke is the e-banzuke, or picture banzuke.  This picture banzuke features hand-drawn images of all the rikishi in Maegashira and up as well as the referees (gyoji) and announcers (yobidashi).  The quality of the paper is fantastic as well as the quality of the ink which results in a nice, vivid pictures of the rikishi in their kesho-mawashi.  Accompanying each photo is the rikishi's home prefecture, or country if a foreigner, stable information, and height and weight.  I recently received a picture banzuke as a gift and did a quick video to give you a better appreciation of it!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

2018 BBM Infinity Sumo Wrestling - Ozeki Tochiazuma Auto!

As a parent, you always want your child to do better and be more successful than you.  There is something about parental pride that pushes us to raise kids this way.  One successful sumo wrestling family is that of the Hayao father-son duo. The elder Hayao, competing under the name Tochiazuma, had a very productive 16-year career making it to the 3rd-highest rank of Sekiwake in 1970.  In 1976, his son was born and subsequently entered sumo wrestling in 1994 at the age of 18.  How did the younger Hayao/Tochiazuma do?   He made it to sumo wrestling's 2nd-highest rank of Ozeki and won three championships over 22 years of competing....far surpassing his father's successes.  In 2018, BBM issued their annual multi-sport set titled "Infinity" which focuses on families and family ties.  In fact, their family-themed subset is called "Family Ties" and card #99 captured the Tochiazuma father/son duo.  I recently opened a box of these on my YouTube channel and overcame the odds to get the younger Tochiazuma's Autographed Card!  My father and mother would be proud.....

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

2012 Sport Kings - Yokozuna Taiho

Among yokozuna, the great Taiho is considered one of the best.  The greatest of the yokozuna are called dai-yokozuna  [大横綱] (literally "Big Yokozuna").  There have been only a few dai-yokozuna among the 72 yokozuna that have ever walked the Earth and they are a once-in-a-generation phenomenon.  How great was Taiho?  At the time of his promotion, he was the youngest-ever to hold the rank....a mere 21 years old.  The dai-yokozuna Kintanoumi and Takanohana eventually "surpassed" Taiho with the latter attaining yokozuna when he was only 20 years and 5 months.  Taiho won a total of 32 championships, but was eventually surpassed by the dai-yokozuna Hakuho who has a total of 41 championships...and counting.  He holds one of the longest winning streaks of 45 bouts.... he is accompanied on this list by other dai-yokozuna: Futabayama, Hakuho, and Chiyonofuji.  Taiho won 83.4% of his bouts, the highest percentage of any dai-yokozuna.  At the time of his retirement, he held the record of most tournaments competed in as a yokozuna.  He has since been bumped down the list by three other dai-yokozuna.  And maybe as a final testament to his status, he died at the age of 72 years old....older than any dai-yokozuna that has ever lived.  Seven years ago, Sport Kings issued card #248 to honor the great Taiho.  A beautiful card all around.

List of Dai-Yokozuna:
Futabayama - 35th Yokozuna (1937-1945)
Taiho - 48th Yokozuna (1961-1971)
Kitanoumi - 55th Yokozuna (1974-1985)
Chiyonofuji - 58th Yokozuna (1981-1991)
Takanohana - 65th Yokozuna (1994-2003)
Asashoryu - 68th Yokozuna (2003-2010)
Hakuho - 69th Yokozuna (2007-current)