Thursday, July 25, 2013

LEGO Theme Week: All the Way from Japan - Finally!

There are all sorts of trades that can happen on the blogs.  Some are carefully hashed out swaps where each and every card is accounted for.  Some are free and easy "send me X for Y" types.  Some are completely spontaneous.  

And then, there's the overseas trade.

The overseas trade is interesting for a couple of reasons.  First, it now costs an arm and a leg to ship stuff over the ocean so usually an overseas trade consists of a decent amount of stuff (or unique/rare stuff).  Second, overseas trades can take up to...well...forever to arrive.  It's sort of like the world's slowest slot machine - you hope for three sevens each time you check the mailbox but usually you get nothing.  And just when you are about to stop checking:  Bam!  A package from overseas and your faith in transatlantic (or transpacific) mail is restored.

My latest trade with Ryan (from This Card is Cool and, more recently Chaos and Kanji) is a perfect example of an overseas trade.  As you could possibly guess from Ryan's second blog title, he is currently residing in Japan - a country that I'd love to visit (especially since I love origami).  Anyhow, Ryan and I agreed to a trade quite a few months ago but his package to me seemed to take quite some time making it's way here.  I guess the postal service used a canoe rather than a jet plane or motorized boat to deliver the envelope.  

No worries though, the package eventually arrived and it was worth the wait!

We begin with the LEGO portion of the trade since this is LEGO theme week after all.

Actually, we begin with a LEGO-like product, though it's not actually LEGO.

What is that?  Actually, that's not a rhetorical question from me...seriously, what is that?!  I have no idea but it has a sweet "rice paddy" hat on...It's very Japanese looking I guess...well, if you take stereotypical Japanese wardrobe options and then combine that with tribal war paint on an all black figure.  

Did I mention the figure came with a plethora of weapons?  

Whatever it is, it means business!

Moving back to things that I do know something about...LEGO!

Ryan sent me a pair of figures from my want list - though I'm not sure if these are quite the same either since in Japan you actually know what figure your are buying (as opposed to the rest of the world where you buy blind packs).  I don't know if the figures are exactly the same as their "blind pack" counterparts or not - mostly because I don't actually own the "regular" surfer girl.

The third figure that Ryan sent me was the detective...

The detective is figure that I also acquired via other means at some other point since Ryan sent the package.  That's actually a good thing because it means I can compare these the two detectives to see if they appear to be the same.

As you can see, they certainly look the same.  My assembled figure is on the left (lying on its back) while the figure Ryan sent me is still in the packaging on the right.  The color looks right, the print looks right, even the gigantic magnifying glass looks the same.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say these two are the same - and that Japan has it much, much easier when it comes to completing the various LEGO Collectible Minifigure Series!!

It wasn't just toys that Ryan sent me though...he also had some Japanese baseball goodies for me.  We begin with the original catalyst for the trade:  The Sega CardGen Reds' team set.  

There are twelve total players in the set (with Joey Votto, Ryan Madson, Jay Bruce, Scott Rolen, and Brandon Phillips getting "star" treatment).  

The Card Gen sets appear to be part of some sort of game but I don't really know for sure...If it is, I think Mike Leake deserves more than one star (and Ryan Madson, that bum never pitched for the Reds but still kept all the money they paid him, he should be negative two stars).

Finally, Ryan sent me a smattering of other Japanese cards including my two favorites:

Shunsuke Watanabe

The Ace of Aces - now that's doing a compliment with style.  I can't tell you much more about the card (I know no Japanese) but it's still a great baseball card!

Kyosuke Sasaki

I like this card only because of the field in the background.  It looks like poor Sasaki is playing in tar pits.  Also, that's one ugly helmet he's rocking.

Thanks for the great trade Ryan!  And, as always, should anyone else want to trade - check out my want list and make an offer!


Ryan G said...

I was quite surprised it took 6-8 weeks for the cards to arrive. I wonder if they went through customs (was the package opened when you received it?) or if it was just on a REALLY slow boat. Most other packages seem to take 1-2 weeks either way, even by surface.

The not-quite-Lego figure was picked up in Korea, actually, and I'm not sure if it's Korean, Chinese, or Japanese.

As for the blind box vs. pick-what-you-want, Japan has capsule toy machines (gachapon) where you insert your 200-300 yen ($2-3) and turn the wheel, and you get a random figure just like a blind pack. Figures are so collectible here stores selling "opened" packages are quite plentiful (though figures usually aren't).

I'm glad you're happy! I hope we can put together another trade soon! The next year of CardGen was recently released so let me know if you want me to keep an eye out for Reds team sets and such - and more Legos!

Mark Aubrey said...

Nice stuff. I'm trying to figure out what the word "Gangster" is doing on the detective packaging.

"I say, Watson, be a chap and bust a cap."

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