I've met people online in person three times in my life so far. The first time was way back in 2010 (I think) with a person who happened to be teaching English in Japan who was also a member of a forum, that's unrelated to this hobby, that I was a part of. The second was with Ryan of the blog This Card Is Cool, who I frequently met (once a month I think?) in 2012. The third person I met was Anco, who I've mentioned on this blog before.
During my two week vacation to Japan I managed to meet both Anco and Ryan. It was my first time meeting Mr. Anco and probably the tenth or eleventh (I lost count) time I met Ryan.
----------------------- I'll talk about meeting Mr. Anco first -----------------------
Anco-san lives in an area outside Tokyo that's near where I used to live back in 2012. As such we decided to meet up at a card shop I used to frequent (that he also frequents) when I lived in that area. It was the second day of 2015 (1/2/2015) and a little after 12:30, my shinkansen had been delayed due to the large amount of snow falling on the western part of Japan but I managed to arrive at the rendezvous point only a few minutes late.
I met Mr. Anco and his wife (or was it his fiancé?) inside the card shop. He had just bought a fukubukuro, which is basically a smorgasbord of different leftover products all packed into one giant bag for a low price (something the Japanese stores sell every year after New Years), that came with a hobby box of '14 Bowman Draft Asia Edition, a jumbo box of '14 Bowman Draft, a box of Topps Supreme, two loose jumbo packs of 2014 Topps Update and one loose jumbo pack of 2014 Topps Series 2. All that for just $200 (aprox.), what a steal.
He and I decided to bust a box of something on the spot so I decided to buy a box of 2014 Bowman Draft Asia Edition (the second box in my Clone Breaks posts) while he opened his box with his wife. The thing about Anco-san is that he always busts packs with his wife because while she's not a collector she supports his hobby and loves pulling hits (she once pulled a Kris Bryant auto) and gets angry at Anco-san if he buys cards without her. Lucky guy.
We opened some boxes, and then exchanged gifts/cards we had prepared for each other. Originally I was also going to meet another collector I had met online, but with it being New Years and all he couldn't make it. Luckily he and Anco-san meet each other pretty frequently so I was able to give him the gifts intended for him. I gave Anco-san a value box of Topps Update (the ones that come with Update Chrome), an issue of Baseball America with Francisco Lindor on the cover, a few Indians cards, and the Bob Rhoades T206 I picked up a few months ago. I gave his wife some candy and Hershey's chocolate.
In return I got a bunch of Yankees prospects I needed.
Like this refractor of Luis Torrens.
And the elusive Asia Black parallel of Luis Torrens. Even though it remains to be seen whether or not Captain Rex will find another one in the second box, I did manage to secure one via trade.
And an EEE auto of Yankees prospect Nick Goody that's numbered 02/10.
Goody is an awesome guy and this is an awesome card of his.
So after opening boxes and exchanging stuff, we headed to a cafe to have lunch. We ended up talking for over an hour about how different being a baseball fan and collector is in Japan and in America. They seemed to enjoy my stories of going to minor league games and major league games, while I enjoyed their perspective on how teams are run in Japan.
After that we spent some more time chatting in another cafe until the time came when I needed to head back to the station to catch my train home. We said our goodbyes and parted on the platform.
If you can read Japanese, feel free to get Anco-san's perspective on our day on his blog.
----------------------- Now for my meeting with Ryan -----------------------
A few days after meeting Anco-san I met Ryan-san in person for the first time in nearly two years. We went to all four card shops that operated in Nagoya city and we basically spent way more money than we wanted to.
Unfortunately Ryan and I didn't really trade since he forgot the cards he prepared for me and all I did was dump a bunch of cards he didn't need onto him. But we had a pretty nice time catching up with how we were doing and hitting up card shops.
At our third card shop we basically scanned the whole store looking for Calbee cards. Ryan needed some inserts while I wanted to accumulate all of the Hiroki Kuroda base cards (and inserts) I could find.
|Hirok had four different Calbee cards in 2007!|
I'm pretty sure I'm missing some parallels but I'm also confident that I managed to at least get all of the base Hiroks.
I also picked up a Calbee base card of Shohei Ohtani who made headlines a while back as a guy who wanted to skip the NPB and come straight to America. I really wish he had come stateside because I want to know how good a top high school prospect in Japan can become if they're brought up in the minors with the best of the very best over here in the states. If I had to guess they should be a lot better than most of the Japanese talent that's come over here.
At the fourth and final store Ryan continued his search of Calbees while I continued stocking up on Big Hiroks.
I managed to add that awesome sticker to my collection as well as some awesome preview cards.
After that Ryan and I made our way to a bus stop where Ryan had to get on his overnight bus back to Tokyo. I waited for the bus with him and then abandoned him when it became time for him to put his luggage onto the bus.
And so those were my two awesome collecter-ific days in Japan. It's always a ton of fun to meet fellow collectors in person and just blab about random stuff.
As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).