Monday, January 20, 2020

When Sumo Wrestling Came to Hawaii in 1993 - Akebono, Konishiki, Musashimaru

In the summer time between tournaments, rikishi go on traveling tours around the country (and around the world) to give fans a chance to interact with the wrestlers and to promote the sport.  It has been a while since they have come to America.  In fact, the last time they were here was in 2009 in LA.  However, once upon a time when Hawaiian wrestlers were dominate in the sport, they went to Hawaii for a special two-day tournament.  In June of 1993, dozens of wrestlers descended upon the Hawaiian Islands to give the fans a true taste of this ancient sport.  And since Yokozuna Akebono, Ozeki Konishiki, and Sekiwake Musashimaru were at the top of the sport, this caused slight hysteria across the islands.  Spoiler alert, according to the July 1993 edition of Sumo World, Sekiwake Musashimaru was the tournament winner as described in the attached article.  Coincidently, the massive POG craze was going on at this time as well and this piece of history was captured on a set of POGs.  I got out of cards right when the POG craze hit so I missed getting absorbed in the collecting frenzy and missed collecting some great sets.  Luckily I was able to recently pick this up and will be cataloguing in future editions of my book.

These three rikishi were so famous that it inspired the famous Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwa'ole (Of the "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" fame) to write a song about them called "Sumotori".

Did anyone else get caught up on the POG craze?

Saturday, January 18, 2020

2002-2004 Radio Shack Zip Zaps Trading Cards

I've been working on this nearly impossible Radio Shack Zip Zaps trading card set for sometime now.  Back between 2002-2005, Radio Shack sold the Zip Zaps RC car starter kits for $19.99 that included one chassis, one rear axle, stock gears, stock motor, 4 custom hubcaps, stock tires, a body top, the remote, a small screwdriver and one collectible trading card.  There were close to a 100 different cars that were sold during this time in these starter kits and additional body kit packages and consequently there are close to 100 trading cards to collect(exact checklist is unknown, but this is what I have been able to checklist so far on TCDB).  Just recently I was able to add six new cards to my collection as well as the tough-to-find card binder that was sold separately to store these trading cards.  These cards rarely show up and if they do, they are frequently bundled with the starter kits which are still quite expensive on the secondary market for close to $50 these days.

Did anyone else play with these 15-17 years ago?

Sunday, January 12, 2020

I've been Zapped! Thanks Kenny at Torren' Up Cards!

Got a nice Zap this past week via Kenny over at Torren' Up Cards!  I never turn down any Brandon Laird cards from his MLB-playing days and these fit nicely in my collection.  Any numbered signature card is definitely a nice addition as well with this 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Auto #ed to 500.  Brandon arguably had one of his better years in the NPB this year, although his Marines still finished 9.5 games behind the league leaders.  Let's hope next year brings Brandon and the Marines a lot better results.

Kenny also hooked me up with this authentic sumo wrestling banzuke, or ranking sheet, from the July 1999 tournament.  Awesome!!  I had just landed in Japan at the end of this tournament to start working, although not a sumo fan yet.  Some great rikishi on this banzuke for sure: Akebono, Musashimaru, Takanohana, Wakanohana, Asashoryu (all the way down at Sandanme...the writing is so small I can't even find his name yet), and Kaio.

Thanks a million Kenny!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

2020 BBM Japanese Sumo Wrestling Cards Arrive Next Week!

Here we go, BBM's first sumo wrestling set of the year goes on sale next week to coincide with the first tournament of the year.  BBM has timed this annual release to be at the fingertips of collectors when their favorite wrestlers are battling it out in the ring during the January tournament.  A very much predictable release of 90 cards with the chance at an autograph in about every other box, this set is one of the more eye appealing in recent years.  Three subsets are intertwined in the 90-card set with the usual Young Hands (Up-and-Comers), Off-Shots (Candid - Back Stage Pass), and a special 1-card subset to commemorate Yokozuna Kisenosato's retirement.  Take a look and let me know what you think of this set. 


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

2020 Collecting Goals

A lot of bloggers out there seem to hate writing their New Year Collecting Goals.  It is sometimes viewed as an obligation or mandatory....something they have to do.  Not me. I love setting hobby goals and this post isn't as much for my readers as it is for me...although I definitely enjoy the loyal readers who are sharing in this adventure with me.  Let's hope 2020 was as fruitful and enjoyable collecting sumo wrestling menko and cards as was last year.  Here are my 10 collecting goals this year:

Goal #1: Blog at least once a week - 52 posts this year!
I had a lot of stuff to blog about last year, but not enough time and bandwidth to do it all.  This year, I am going to set a goal of publishing a blog post at least once a week which should be easy to achieve.  Hopefully I'll be able to add a few extra blogs in the middle of the week here and there to knock this one out of the park.  Thanks to my loyal readers for making this blog fun!
Goal #2: Publish the 5th Edition of the Sumo Menko and Card Checklist.
Gah, I really need to get this book out the door.  There are a ton of new checklists that I have catalogued or that are in the queue.  Lots of new information and several corrections.  Not to mention that this I have revamped some of the sections to make it even more comprehensive and historically accurate.  This is the year to do this!
Goal #3: Add 5 more Sumo World magazines from 1973-1999 to my collection.
This will be a tough one for sure as these Sumo World magazines are harder and harder to find on the secondary market.  Now that I am down to basically filling in holes with my collection, finding affordable copies will be hard.  Luck will have to be a factor here.  For those that haven't read any Sumo World magazines, they were once the only English-language source of sumo wrestling information.  People from all over the English-speaking world had subscriptions and it was the go-to guide for sumo enthusiasts.  With the advent of the internet, the publication quickly became outdated, but the historical value captured inside these is second to none.  A true treasure trove of information that is contained nowhere else.
Goal #4: Attend three card shows this year.
It is no secret that card shows are a dying event across the U.S.  Even with a rich sports market out here in California, we can't muster up much in the way of some local shows.  But I still love going and even more excited for the nostalgic euphoria that I get from the thrill of the hunt and the browsing.  My goal is to make three shows this year...and hopefully one or two with Fuji with a celebratory Del Taco feast afterwards.

Goal #5: Add three more 1973 Calbee cards to my set.
If I can snag three reasonably priced cards for this set this year, it will definitely be a miracle.  Acheivable, but still difficult.  I need to save my dollars and yen for the really expensive cards later on....if they are around.  If I can knock out 10% of the set every year, I should be done by the time 2026 rolls around.  Here, just take my money now, it is not going to be cheap!

Goal #6: Keep rounding out my Japanese yukata fabric bolt & card collection.
Most of you are like, WTH?  Yeah, this is one of the quirks in my collection.  In the 1960s and early 1970s, Japanese cloth makers would add photo cards to bolts of indigo yukata material to help entice the buyer into buying the material to take home to make their own yukata.  Say what?  Yeah, hard to explain, but here are a few pictures to help give you a visual.  The problem with these is not so much the price, but they are heavy and expensive to import to the U.S.  Not sure what I am going to do with them all, but I'll figure it out at some point.  I am assuming it will just come to me on why I have them at some point.  Weird, huh?
Goal #7: Publish at least 6 BBM Card Set reviews.
I used to do a better job at this, but with limited time this one has fallen to the wayside.  However, I'd like to continue with blog reviews (ideally YouTube box break reviews).  I should be able to cover all the sumo wrestling releases as well as the B.League basketball sets leaving me with doing a few of the non-sport and other "fun" releases that BBM does every year.  Wish me luck!

Goal #8: Add 20 more cards to my Non-Sport Collection
I am very particular with my non-sumo wrestling sets and only have a few sets that I am actively collecting: 1980s Japanese Myojo Noodle Cards, 2002-2005 Radio Shack Zip Zap Cards, 1980s Famikon (NES) Amada Cards, Airport Trading Cards, & 1970s Yamakatsu Bruce Lee Cards. Since I am whittling my sets down to singles now, large lots are hard to come by so achieving 20 cards in this category will be quite challenging.
Goal #9: Send out 10 care packages.
For those that know me, I love to give random stuff.  Much like Kenny's Zaps, it feels good to give.  Enough said....
Goal #10: Maintain/Improve Google/Yahoo/Bing Search Engine results for Sumo Card(s) & Menko
For a third year in a row, I want to be the #1-at-the-very-top-of-your-browser result when you go search up Sumo Card(s) and Menko.  Last year I was the #1 on Yahoo, almost the #1 on Bing, and the #1-#6 on Google.  This is a fun one to chase and trying to beat the search engines algorithms is always a challenge.  Plus, I want to be at the top of the list so I am easy to find for all you future readers out there.
Well, there you have it again.  Thanks for stopping by and sticking with this post to the end and thanks for sticking with this blog all these years.  Happy New Year and best of luck collecting!